Author's notes:  This crossover will star Heero, Duo, Trowa, Quatre, Wufei, and Zechs from Gundam Wing; Sanosuke and Kenshin from Rurouni Kenshin;
Mirai Trunks, Vegeta, and Shin from Dragon Ball Z; Lantis, Eagle, and Clef from Magical Knights Rayearth; Van from Escaflowne; Kamui from X; Tsunami
from Twilight of the Dark Master; Sephiroth and Vincent from Final Fantasy 7; Squall and Irvine from Final Fantasy 8; Kuja from Final Fantasy 9; Lloyd
and Albert from Legend of Dragoon; Serge and Glenn from Chrono Cross.  For those unfamiliar with these different animes and games, don't worry.  It
isn't necessary to know them in order to follow the fic, though you might feel a bit lost in the beginning.
Category:  Massive crossover, AU, Yaoi
Warnings:  This fic will have scenes of violence, angst, non-consentual sex, graphic lemons, limes, sap, shonen ai, and anything else I throw in.  For now,
there are no warnings aside from hints of shonen ai.
Pairings:  This will change with each part, the main will be:  1x2, 3x4, 6x5, SephirothxVincent, SanoxKenshin, LantisxEagle.  For this part, there are hints
as to some of these, but not much more.

Dark Tournament

Prologue 1:  The Gathering

A dry wind swept past them, rustling the cloth beneath their armor, and Albert swept his bangs away from his golden eyes.  He didn't have to look to know
he was lagging behind them, but that was his intention and he watched the dull grayish tan sand.  With each step his boots left an impression, the brown
leather sinking deep into fine particles.  Then the sand would slide down to fill the indentions, no tracks left to give evidence of his passage.  He squinted
when the unrelenting wind rushed him again; gritty grains were caught in his eyelashes, light brown hair blown into his face.  He could see them a few
yards ahead, and he knew he shouldn't stray too far behind.  There were monsters to be on guard for, and he quickened his step, ignoring the rising
ache in his muscles.  They'd been walking for so long he no longer expected them to find an atoll.  

Normally he was able to resist thoughts like this, but his mind was still stunned.  Their enemy, the man who'd killed his best friend and most loyal knight,
was no longer their enemy.  It was too much to take in so quickly, that Lloyd had actually been tricked by another, his treachery done with honest
intention.  And that person who'd fooled him, and them, was Dart's father.  And Rose was the Black Monster.  He couldn't comprehend it; his analytical
mind was completely unprepared for such farfetched revelations.  A light voice filtered back to him, hazy through the sun-baked air and he winced to hear
Meru's attempt at humor.  That was why he'd chosen to lag, he needed silence to think, time without distractions so he could come to terms with the reality
of their situation.  

The sand shifted suddenly, and he was broken from his thoughts when an enormous sandworm dove from beneath the sand as if those fine particles
were water.  The others grouped together, attacking immediately, and he gripped his spear, brown-gloved fingers closing tightly around the cool metal.  
This was one distraction he couldn't complain about. He ran toward them, his green cloak billowing out behind him.  Then his forward motion was halted so
suddenly that he would have fallen had strong hands not gripped his shoulders.  Hot air flew against him, so furious he felt as if his skin were melting and
he was tugged back, his vision going white.

* * *

A gasp sounded in the cockpit, and violet eyes snapped open.  For a moment, Duo's breath continued to sound rough in his ears, then he calmed slowly,
wiping the back of his gloved hand over his sweat-dampened brow.  His eyes narrowed and he looked at the wetness, it made the dark gray material a
black color and it was proof of how badly the dream had affected him.  Once more he'd been inside the insidious suit, Trent's eager questions drowned
out by his own tormented screams.  The images of Deathscythe, of death itself flying at him from all sides, they were so vivid he shook his head and was
wary of closing his eyes.  Less than a day had passed since he'd taken Deathscythe Hell away from the colony he'd hidden on, and he was certain the
nightmare wouldn't be the only one he'd have of the experience.  He had no idea what it was that allowed the suit to destroy the wall he'd built around his
fears, but it had done so easily.  

It was dark, and he blinked slowly, his eyes moving quickly over the view screens.  Space surrounded him, nothing to be seen save for faint glimmers of
the stars and he let his gaze drop to his instruments.  With his cloaking device, he had no fear that he would be found, and he was confident that his radar
would catch anything that ventured too close to him.  Otherwise, he wouldn't risk sleeping, especially since OZ had suits all over the place.  But no one
could see him, his suit was camouflaged perfectly, and he knew it wouldn't be detected on any sort of radar.  He sighed, and shook his head again as his
mind tried to return to the suit.  The officer had called it Wing Zero.  He'd been so interested, almost as if he lusted after its power.  He was dead now, and
Duo couldn't keep from feeling both sorry for the man, and glad that he'd failed to master the Gundam.  

His neck hurt.  That discovery caused a slow smirk to curve his lips, and he lifted his arm, slipping his hand beneath his heavy braid so he could rub his
neck.  The seat was not a comfortable bed to sleep on.  It had been designed for the purpose of bracing the pilot, not for napping.  But he'd deserved the
rest.  He'd finished the final repairs on his new Gundam before he'd left Hilde and the colony, and that alone had taken hours of concentrated effort.  
What he'd planned to do within a week had instead been accomplished within those long hours.  He had definitely earned some much-needed sleep.  
There was also the fact that he didn't have a plan for the immediate future.  With no knowledge as to where the other Gundam pilots were, it was up to him
to decide what to do next.  And he'd decided to wait a while before acting.  It was obvious that his emotions had been strained both by his rising
depression and the stint in Wing Zero.  He'd even entertained the thought of going with Hilde to a different colony until he learned more about the other
pilots' locations.  

Eyes drifting closed, he leaned his head against the hard seat, his fingers closing over the arms.  Unable to act, he was filled with restlessness.  The jerk
of his suit caused an instantaneous reaction, and he was leaning over the instruments immediately.  The previously still and black view screens were filled
with white rushing light, and Deathscythe Hell flew back, so fast it might have been standing still.  But he could feel the movement and his fingers were
poised over his instruments as he thought to discover what was happening.  Then his suit jerked around him and the whiteness entered the cockpit,
burning his eyes till he shut them helplessly, darkness sweeping over him.

* * *

For months he'd felt himself deteriorating, his lungs were slowly dying, as was his body.  But now, pain blazed through him, overwhelming the pain of his
coughs, the magic burned through the FTO as if it were his skin being scorched.  It was over, he knew well, and Eagle hunched forward, blood coating his
lips as his hand fell down to lie limp in his lap.  He could feel Debonair's magic eating at his suit, and the determination that had kept him alive past the
doctors' predictions slowly slipped away.  Lantis would live, he'd done everything possible and the man was freed now from the girl's grasp.  He'd live,
surely, but Eagle's eyes closed with an internal pain, as he knew the man's feelings for Hikaru would cause him agony.  He was dying, as good as dead,
so the girl had to be the true pillar.  

He'd come to Cephiro to become the pillar, to save his own planet, and to be near the man who had left him.  Lantis wanted to destroy the system, he
knew, but Hikaru would become the new pillar and the man would continue the tradition started by his brother.  Like Zagato, he would love a woman who
could never return his feelings without destroying Cephiro.  If he had been able, he would gladly have taken her place and spared his friend that harsh
fate.  But he'd interceded into the battle one time too many and their enemy was not going to accept it any longer.  That one attack, the last one, seemed
to last for eons and his cry collapsed into a fit of coughs, each desperate gasp coming shorter.  Then his body failed him and he crumpled, his eyes
closed when the mobile suit fell back.  Electrical currents mixed with the magic, building towards eminent destruction.  He couldn't think, so he never
questioned the incredible speed with which he was moved backward, his mind was already drifting off.  The awaited explosion never came.

* * *

His first thought was that he intended to repay Fargo for having pulled such a cowardly stunt.  The man had a point, however, it was foolish to trust a
pirate, and Glenn didn't really blame him for drugging them.  He'd been beaten by adversaries more powerful than him, so the man had naturally resorted
to desperate measures.  Yes, he understood, but that didn't change the fact that the man was a coward to him.  The drug was still in his system, but he
could move and he opened a gray-blue eye, taking in his surroundings.  There were no guards in the cramped room, and he managed to push himself up
onto one armored elbow.  His muscles were slow to respond, but he was soon kneeling beside his two fallen comrades.  Serge lay near him, and he
leaned over the boy.  They hadn't had time to heal their injuries following the battle with Fargo, but the pale boy was breathing deeply.  

He checked Leena next, but she too seemed to be well aside from the drug-induced sleep.  That would wear off, and they would need to make their
escape.  There wasn't time to waste trapped aboard the pirate ship, and Glenn slowly rose to his feet, his stance a bit unsteady.  They were in some sort
of cargo hold; boxes and odd shaped bags filled the corners so only a small space was left for them.  The pirates hadn't taken their weapons.  This
realization confused him to no end, but he didn't ponder over it.  No matter how lax the pirates were, or how cowardly their leader was, there had to be at
least one guard at the door.  His two comrades had yet to stir and he had made up his mind to try and wake them when he felt a presence.  

Slipping his hand ever so slowly to his waist, he gripped the hilt of his sword.  He pulled it half way out of its sheath as he started to turn and he caught
sight of long white hair moving quickly.  Then black-gloved hands closed over his arms and he felt a tug on his body, a soft inhalation sounding in his ear
before a white whirlwind of heated air swept over him.

* * *

The American pilot wasn't going to forgive him.  The thought continued to resonate in his mind despite his attempts to shove it away.  It had been
necessary, hitting the boy, and he'd made certain he gave Duo the first shot.  But it wasn't the blow but the lack of confidence; the boy no doubt counted it
as a betrayal.  Even as his body was active in catching his Gundam, Heero's mind was not on that.  It wasn't until he settled into Wing Zero's cockpit that
he was able to snap into the right frame of mind.  Zero's system was loaded as his fingers flew over the control panel, lights illuminating the interior.  He
triggered the release of the Gundam's transport additions and spread the wide white wings, as the suit was no longer encased.

His mission was finally centered in his mind and he thought of that, his last battle.  Once he'd rescued Relena and destroyed the retaliation of Treize's
daughter, peace would have to follow.  All he had to do was make it to earth once more, then he would destroy the hidden base and finish things once
and for all.  Then, once peace was again assured, he would force Duo to forgive him.  Midnight blue eyes narrowed and Heero's dark brows lowered.  The
Gundam turned, long wings spreading and shining in the darkness of space and earth came into sight.  The sphere was his destination, but Heero's eyes
latched not onto that sight, but onto a sight that made his breath catch in his throat.  A man was floating in space, directly in front of him, and he was
looking at him.

The first thought that crossed his dazed mind was that the man seemed as surprised as he, as if he hadn't expected him to turn.  Long white hair
streamed down the man's back, and he wore no helmet, no space suit to protect him.  Clothed in a long black coat, the man stared at him, then light blue
eyes narrowed, red lips parting and he disappeared.  Unable to take in what he'd seen, Heero gave no resistance when Wing Zero suddenly pitched
backward, black space giving way to spreading whiteness that consumed everything.

* * *

They were trapped, doomed to die by their own hands and it was so ironic he might have laughed.  But Irvine had never been the sort to laugh in the face
of true danger and he didn't want to die.  It was infuriating, the sight of Selphie's hopeless expression, Zell's clenched fists as he too stared at the sky as if
some salvation would reach them from there.  They'd accomplished their part, they'd done their best to send the missiles off target, to keep them from
crashing into Balamb Garden, and they'd set the self destruct for the base to prevent any more missiles from being sent.  And now, they were trapped
inside the base, the countdown till detonation the only thing left to wait for.

Zell was talking, something about Squall having chosen them because they were dispensable and Irvine stared at the boy.  He didn't believe that, not at
all.  Selphie was quick to argue, and he closed his mouth, as there was no need for his interference.  Squall, as their leader, had let them go because he
had faith in them, and Irvine knew that for a fact.  After all, Squall had never once berated him for his faltering during the attempted assassination of
Edea.  He would not have sent them if he didn't believe they could accomplish their goal and Irvine was sure, the boy would mourn over their deaths.

The first explosion sounded behind them and it rocked the very ground they stood on.  It also shocked them into movement.  Selphie was the one to spot
a potential sanctuary, and Irvine ran after her and Zell, the battle tank they'd defeated shining like a star in the night.  It was a slim hope, that they might
weather the explosions inside, but he was willing to grasp it.  His pale tan coat hit his knees when he stumbled and he hesitated for a split second,
catching his rifle before it could be lost.  Then, as he lunged forward to run again, something caught him, halting his movement.  The tug made his eyes
widen, and he closed them, certain he would fall onto his back and die as the explosions began to increase in strength and proximity.  It was then that the
smoke-filled air turned to a white fire and he was shoved back into oblivion.

* * *

They had been dead for more than a year, yet Kamui couldn't forget them, not ever.  It was impossible, they were the only ones he'd had left, and he was
alone without them, completely isolated from human kind.  Oh, he could have disappeared into society, could have pretended to have a purpose like other
humans had, but he had no will to pretend anything. He had no motivation, no reason to do anything aside from sitting there, the rough tree bark soothing
against his back as he gazed at their graves.  Her, Kotori, she'd died because he had failed to keep his promise; he'd failed to protect her.  And Fuuma,
his beloved friend had died by his own hand.  He'd sacrificed him to save the earth, he still wondered if he had made the right choice after all.

There were no footsteps, not even a whisper of cloth, but he turned his head when the man appeared.  He didn't bother to get to his feet, but he felt an
odd sensation, curiosity.  It was something he hadn't felt for a long time.  Fine white hair touched the ground when the man knelt beside him, and Kamui
stared into narrow, pale blue eyes.  Dark red lips parted and the man drew in his breath as a gloved hand closed over his arm.  The man's hair flew back,
rippling, tugged by the violent wind.  Then they traveled.

* * *

Kenshin's fingers brushed the blades of grass beneath him, his right hand curved about the hilt of his sword.  The river moved slowly in the dark, brown
water turned black by shadows, but he wasn't looking there.  His eyes were on the shimmering blade revealed as he pulled his sword out of the scabbard.  
He'd cleaned the blood away, but he could still see it and his lavender eyes narrowed.  As long as he'd been a wanderer, he'd not once broken his no-kill
rule; he hadn't allowed blood to stain his sword.  But tonight it had been wetted, by Sano's blood.  Trailing his thumb over the dull side, he remembered
the determination written on the young man's face, the fury of his attack.  It was as if the man had taken his frustration out on him, at least, this was what
Kenshin preferred to believe.  

The fact that Sano had cut himself, had grabbed his blade, didn't dispel his guilt.  It was his sword.  He knew very well how much the Sekihoutai meant to
him, but it had shocked him that the man would go so far.  The man had left them, and Kenshin doubted if his interference would stop him from joining his
friend's quest to destroy the government.  That meant he might have to face him again in battle.  And he would do so, there was no way he could allow
Sanosuke to desecrate the name of those people he cared so much for, even if he did so unknowingly.  His hair moved as a light wind swept him, and his
eyes widened suddenly.  The grass beneath his left hand had not stirred, and his sword was held readily by the time a weight dropped onto his shoulder.  
He tried to turn, but the strength behind him was even stronger than his own and he was caught in a rush of light and heat, his sword falling to the grass.

* * *

The others were worried about him, but Lantis was more worried about Clef than about himself.  The guru had disappeared weeks ago and no one
wondered at it except him.  The land had been reborn since the destruction of the pillar system; Cephiro was once again a beautiful and peaceful
country.  They didn't understand why he was so surprised, the mage had been a solitary figure before their woes had started, and they believed he'd
gone back to that.  But Lantis knew better.  Clef was gone, not into seclusion, just gone.  The palace was different.  The refugees had gone back to the
land to restart their lives.  In their place were new refugees, from Autozan.

Since Ferio had taken it upon himself to bring order to the influx of people, Lantis didn't have anything to occupy his time.  It was just as well, though, as
he had no wish to be near Eagle's people.  Every time he looked at Geo he could see the hatred in his eyes, he blamed him for the sacrifice Eagle had
made.  But he hadn't known, he'd been unaware of the man's health, and he'd never thought that his order to attack would lead to his death.  He knew
now why Eagle had followed him, and why he'd tried so hard to keep Hikaru from becoming the pillar.  In the end, she had ascended to that position, and
as such had dissolved the system altogether in a manner Lantis had never even thought of.  And then, she'd gone back to her own world.

In the end, he hadn't repeated the cruel fate of his brother, doomed to love a person incapable of thinking of anything but Cephiro.  Instead, he was
alone, even Primera no longer thought of him as hers, she'd finally given up winning his heart.  Since there was nothing to hold him, he thought he would
go out into the country, perhaps to search for Clef.  If the guru had wanted privacy, Lantis was certain he would have said something, anything.  It wasn't
like him to cause others worry.  On that thought, he walked through the halls of the palace.  The damage had been repaired and it looked the way it had
in his youth.  

Upon reaching the throne room, he shut the door silently behind him.  His long black cloak rippled when he moved toward the throne itself, and he could
imagine Clef seated there, tall staff in hand.  No one had come to this room since the mage's disappearance or departure; even the Prince avoided it.  
Lantis knelt before the throne, as he had knelt before the mage in the past, but his thoughts were not on the man.  He remembered his parting with
Hikaru.  The girl had promised to remember him.  It was infuriating, what good was it for her to remember him, none.  He wouldn't forget her or Eagle, yet
that did nothing to help his bitterness, memories were of no use to him.  His head snapped up when the hand fell on his shoulder, and he had a glimpse of
pale blue eyes before everything went white.

* * *

The God would destroy the world.  His utopia was nothing but a mistaken dream, rather than creating a world of peace, the God would kill everything.  
Yes, peace would then reign, but only because there would be nothing left except for the God, the God of Destruction, the Virage Embryo.  He'd killed,
mercilessly, to allow the last species to be born, and now Lloyd knew himself for the fool he was.  Emperor Diaz, masked as always, mocked him even as
he thanked him for his contribution to what he'd thought was their mutual goal.  Fury blazed through him and he gripped the Dragon Buster, his magical
wings lifting him from the platform.  Cursing the man who'd led him astray, he was about to attack when Diaz sent a blaze of magic at him.  

Lloyd had thought himself strong, but this magic was such as he was unprepared for.  The attack was accompanied by Diaz's proclamation that he was no
longer needed.  Blown down into the platform, his armor did nothing to protect him and the rock broke beneath him. For a moment, he tried to hold onto
consciousness, aware that the fall would kill him, but the impact dazed his mind.  The gap that had separated Diaz from the Dragoons now swallowed him
in his descent and darkness crept in.  He never felt the arms that caught him about the waist, halting his plummet, or the wind that followed.

* * *

Sandrock was not equipped for space, the boosters sent him too far in one instance and were not strong enough in the next.  The Gundam was now
cumbersome, and Quatre was hard pressed to destroy the suits facing him.  But he was fighting with anger and a determination to protect the colony
beneath him.  Trowa was there, but not the cool pilot he'd known.  Rather, the boy had been vulnerable, lost without his memories of the past and Quatre
knew he had no one to blame but himself.  It was up to him to protect both Trowa and the innocents inside the colony and his determination made up for
the flaws in his fighting style.  Swiping down with his curved blades, he sliced the last suit, the explosion rocking him and sending him back amid a shower
of metal.  

The closed cockpit resounded with his breaths, and he swiped at his brow, pushing damp blonde hair away.  He was exhausted.  Every movement had
taken much more control and effort than he was accustomed to as he'd had to control the suit against the lack of gravity.  But he'd destroyed them all,
debris floated around him and he let his visuals turn to the smooth metal of the colony.  Anger rose in him, as he knew they were only safe for now, the
battle among the colony rebels and the new OZ would reach them again.  The only way to truly protect them would be to stop the fighting.  Quatre was
again filled with determination; he had to unite the Gundam pilots, together they had a chance.  Without his memories, and secure with the new people
who seemed to have adopted him, Trowa was lost to the cause.  He dropped his head, his heart still pounding from the exertion, and he relaxed his
hands.  

His radar sounded an instant before he was struck, and the Gundam pitched forward.  Quatre bit back a startled cry, and pulled on the controls.  
Sandrock jerked roughly, and the screens were lit up with the impact of laser fire.  He didn't have to look to know it was a mobile doll, nothing else would
have had the speed to get that close before his radar caught it.  Gaining control, he turned his suit, wincing at the slowness as his enemy continued to fire
on him.  For a moment, his hand hovered over the switch for the boosters, then his eyes narrowed.  His blades were heated within a matter of seconds,
and he flung them at the mobile doll.  He had the pleasure of seeing the black suit cut nearly in half, but he didn't pause to relish it.  The boosters took
him there, slowly, and he retrieved his blades, searching for any more suits as he couldn't risk letting another one sneak up on him.  Despite his watch, he
didn't see anything approaching him, and he never felt the man take hold of the back of his suit.  But he saw the light.

* * *

There was an urgency behind his attack, but it wasn't a result of the disaster Libra would cause if it were to impact on the Earth.  Trowa was more
concerned that Quatre would die inside the falling piece of metal, that the boy would continue fighting no matter how useless.  Lifting Heavyarm's left arm,
he fired consecutively, the barrel spinning as bullets were unloaded into the section of battleship he was inside of.  He understood how the blonde boy felt
and his eyes narrowed.  Heavyarms had taught him never to give up until the end, and he knew Quatre must have thought the same.  The Gundam was
heating around him, yet he continued, determined to spend all of his ammo.  After all, he wouldn't need it after the segment crashed down and he wouldn't
pull out unless Quatre did.

The sound of his radio cracking was barely heard over the shots fired, but he listened to Wufei's message.  With the beam rifle, Heero would have a
better chance of destroying the piece than all of them together.  Turning toward the wall facing the outside of the segment, he unloaded his missiles, the
breastplates of his Gundam opening to release the bombs.  They crashed through the wall, the explosion racking him briefly, then he thrust the boosters
and aimed for the hole he'd made.  There was no obstruction in his forward motion, but the blackness of space he'd been heading toward abruptly gave
way to white shards of speeding light.

* * *

Trunks didn't get too close to his father as he followed the saiyan's trail.  There wasn't a reason to, as he soon caught sight of the destroyed islands
beneath him and heard the android's booming voice.  Cell was completely confident in his superiority to them all, and Trunks was reminded of the lack of
confidence the others had shown at Vegeta's boasts.  Even Goku had doubted the man, but Trunks knew.  His father had ascended, just as planned, and
so had he.  Both of them were stronger than Cell now, he was sure of it.  Cell may have absorbed one of the androids, but Trunks didn't believe he could
have gotten strong enough to defeat them now.  Vegeta had ascended beyond the level of super saiyan, and he had gone even further.  Nothing could
stand against them now, not even Cell.

It was as he drew closer to his father that he sensed something, and he paused in the air.  A quick look around showed nothing, the ocean was clear
beneath him now that Cell had destroyed the islands there, and the sky was clear.  He couldn't even see his father anymore as Vegeta hadn't hesitated.  
It wasn't a power that he felt, not one he could recognize, but he was convinced there was a presence near him.  Looking again, he was caught by
surprise when someone gripped his arm from behind and he ripped away, turning with such speed he might as well have disappeared.  He caught a
glimpse of someone clothed in black, then the figure was gone.  In the next instant an arm curved around his waist and he was blinded by hot whiteness
before he could break the hold.

* * *

His right fist felt as if it were on fire.  That was natural enough, though, he had torn nearly all of the skin off his knuckles.  Sanosuke hadn't gotten far from
where he'd left the ex-monk when he paused.  He sank to the ground, his legs folded beneath him, and pushed back the white sleeve of his coat.  
Unwrapping the red bandage he wore about his wrist, he smirked at himself, remembering the monk's shock.  The man hadn't expected him to survive,
and he definitely hadn't expected him to master the odd technique.  To be able to turn a rock into dust with his fist was a talent that was bound to come in
handy, and Sano was pleased with himself.  Now he would be able to be of more help to Kenshin, if he ever caught up to the man.  

Binding the bandage about his torn hand, he winced a bit, but his mind wasn't really on his wound.  Thinking of Kenshin led him back to the image he'd
seen the night before and he wondered if he had truly seen the ghost.  The fact that he was on the land where the Captain had died made it more likely,
but he'd never believed in ghosts.  It was undeniable, though, that he had seen Captain Sagara, whether it had been a dream or reality was the question.  
He doubted if he'd find an answer, and he knew there wasn't time to ponder over it.  Kenshin had such a head start on him, and despite his complete
confidence in the samarai's strength, he was worried.  Mostly he worried because Saitoh was with him, and he didn't trust that man at all, especially with
Kenshin.  The former Battousai may be battle smart, but he was incredibly naïve at times.  He was tightening the bandage when hands dropped onto his
shoulders, and he had just enough time to tense in surprise before the wind rose up to sweep him back.

* * *

The Dragon Tear had shattered when he'd gotten his body back, and Serge looked at the pieces now.  Small shards littered the floor, but a single crystal
shone out from among them and he knelt slowly.  He was grateful Steena had thought to bring him clothing, as his boots were not cut by the sharp
fragments.  Brushing them aside, he lifted the small gem and slipped it into his pocket.  The priestess would know what it was, he was sure, but he paused
for a moment rather than leaving the chamber.  The others were waiting for him outside the tall doors, but he was in no hurry.  He was marveling at the
ease of his transformation.  

Finally, the others would come back.  They hadn't recognized him since he'd been forced to assume Lynx's form, and while a few had believed him, none
would rejoin until he regained his true body.  But now, they would, and he was grateful.  It was true that he'd found allies, but he missed them, especially
Glenn.  Together, they could combine their attacks, increasing their strength beyond either of their powers. A small thing, maybe, but the man was also
one of his strongest allies and he'd had trouble fighting without him.  Once he reunited with the others, he would finally be able to finish the quest and
destroy Lynx.  It was with this that he straightened, and he turned to the door resolutely.  He gasped when he found a tall man standing inches from him,
and he could do little more than stare as his hand was caught.  When it came, the white light and the travel were almost familiar as he thought of the
dimension Lynx had sent him to.  Then all thought ceased.

* * *

Sephiroth waited patiently as the young man was drawn to him, Cloud Strife who had beaten his every form.  It was intolerable, that he should be
prevented from completing his goal.  But Meteor was already approaching, there was nothing the team of fighters could do now.  He gripped his sword
when the blonde man finally arrived, and they faced each other.  His pale sea-green eyes were clear of anger, and he waited for his opponent to attack.  
Cloud may have succeeded against him with the help of the others, but he was alone now, and Sephiroth would kill him.  The man didn't speak, and
Sephiroth was caught off guard when he rushed forward suddenly, magic power shining around him.  

He knew immediately what the attack was, but he was unable to move fast enough, Cloud's Omnislash cutting through him.  The repeated blows knocked
him back, each more powerful than the last and Sephiroth was helpless against them.  The force of the man's limit break was even greater than the
strongest magic he'd used against him in the past, even stronger than Knights of the Round, the best magic summon material Sephiroth had ever heard
of.  Pale bluish green light blazed from the sword as Cloud leapt into the air before him, and the downward swipe threw him back.  

Blood ran down from his temple, and he stared in shock, looking at the one who'd defeated him for the last time.  He could feel his power, his life leaving
him, and for the first time in so long, he wasn't angry.  Lifting from the ground, he floated back, away from the man who crouched, sword still in hand.  His
magic left him in bursts of white light, and his vision grew dim.  Cloud was blurred and he stared, pain blazing through his entire core until it was all he
could feel.  When his pain turned into a hot fire, he thought it was death, and he didn't notice the wind at all, or the hands.

* * *

They were so far ahead the others reached the end of the bridge while he was only half across.  It was then that the entire complex shook, and Squall
crouched, unable to keep his balance and stand at the same time.  The bridge was withdrawing and collapsing, he looked over his shoulder and could
see parts of it falling down into the sand cloud that rose up to swallow them.  Quistis and Rinoa were screaming for him to run, and he could see the
others waving their arms.  Shoving his gunblade into his belt, he ran toward them.  The bridge wasn't just falling, it was retracting, and as fast as he ran,
he could see he wasn't going to make it.  He leapt for the railing when it disappeared beneath him, and he caught hold, curling his arm around the metal.  
The prison continued to descend into the sand, and he shook along with it, sand and dust filling the air around him as it was lifted by the wind.

Voices reached him through the commotion, they were telling him to hurry.  He couldn't move without uncurling his arm, and he fell down a few inches till
his hands were the only things holding to the rail.  There wasn't time to inch his way toward the others, and he tried to move faster, but it was hard.  His
hold on the flat edge of the bridge was tenuous, and he had to let go of one hand in order to move even a little bit.  But he had to hurry, and he ignored
the danger as he felt himself lowering more.  The dust cloud rose up just as he neared the platform where the others waited and he lost sight of them.  
Then, his gloved hands slipped, and he closed his eyes against the sand as he fell.  He was caught beneath his arms, and he thought for a moment that
one of them had managed to reach him.  Then the sand was blown away in a gust of blinding light.

* * *

His hand lifted so the energist was in the air, and Van watched her float away.  The beam of light that had drawn her to his world was finally sending her
home and he felt his heart drop.  Then, Hitome was gone.  He stood for a long moment before his arm fell to his side, the pink energist clasped in a loose
grip.  His burgundy eyes were dull when he turned them to Escaflowne.  The suit was as he'd left it, on one knee, at peace.  Like him, it had no more
battles to fight, no one to save.  But he knew he had a country to care for, and he shook himself roughly, blinking to clear his vision.  As the king, it was up
to him to lead the rebuilding, and he knew it would be no easy task.  

Set in his purpose, he stepped to the pale suit, his eyes moving over it.  The long red cape gave it a regal appearance, and he knew it would wait, for the
day when he needed it again.  His hand lifted, and he touched the bent leg, feeling the cool metal one more time.  The bond between man and suit still
held, and he had to pull his hand away, blinking quickly.  Then an arm swung around his waist and he was pulled against someone.  His head flew back,
looking over his shoulder, and he had a clear view of a black clothed arm stretching out in front of him, a pale hand touching the suit.  The red cape was
blown back suddenly, and hot white fire consumed everything.

* * *

The day had finally come.  Today, the strange boy's prediction was supposed to come true, but Vegeta was more than ready.  Three years had passed
since the teen had appeared, and he had been through the most rigorous training in his life, awaiting the foretold enemy's arrival.  The boy, no more than
sixteen at the oldest, had humiliated him more than he could bear.  Watching him destroy Freiza so effortlessly had been bad enough, but to have the
youth claim to be a super saiyan was too much.  Vegeta knew it wasn't possible, but the thought that one so young might be able to master the
transformation had been a force, pushing him to reach that ultimate goal.  And he had.

His thick black hair was blown back as he flew toward the energy he'd sensed, and a cruel smirk marred his face.  He didn't sense the androids the boy
had warned them about, but the others' energy was clear to him, as was Kakarot's.  The saiyan was losing energy so fast, it was like a beacon to him, and
Vegeta homed in on it with something akin to glee.  The fool had obviously paid no heed to the warning, and it was satisfying to know that even his super
saiyan powers could be sapped by a simple virus.  He'd been demeaned too many times, surpassed again and again by someone who was completely
beneath him, but now Vegeta was the one with the strength.  Having ascended to super saiyan, he was confident in his superiority, and he looked forward
to displaying it before Kakarot and the others.

The androids must have been there, he'd seen the devastation of the town as he'd homed in on the energy loss.  But he didn't care.  Once he finished
with them, he would only have to wait for the antidote the boy from the future had brought to take effect.  Then, when Kakarot was again recovered,
Vegeta would finally prove himself by killing the man.  No longer in his rival's shadow, he was completely focused on the upcoming fight, and he
disregarded the prickling at the back of his neck.  In the back of his mind, he felt it, but he paid it no heed.  It wasn't until a black figure appeared in front
of him that he halted suddenly, his speed curtailed abruptly.  Anger blazed through him at the interruption, but he never had a chance to use it.  One
moment the man was before him, and the next his arm was clenched in a tight grasp and the blue sky was split into ivory splinters.

* * *

They had done all they could.  His reddish purple eyes flicked to the others for a moment, then Vincent turned away.  If meteor would destroy the planet
now, he couldn't say, but he knew well that there was nothing they could do to prevent it.  Perhaps if they'd been able to catch Sephiroth sooner, they
might have prevented the disaster from being summoned.  Now it was too late.  The enemy had been destroyed, he'd fought alongside Cloud and Cid,
and the three of them had taken out the man's last form.  It was infuriating, the knowledge that despite their victory they all might be minutes from death.  
But he knew Cloud was right.  They had done everything in their power, and they should feel proud of their effort.  He didn't feel proud.

Cid and Barret led the way back into the main cave, and Vincent watched as the others passed him.  A glance back found Cloud waiting, and he turned
away, leaving the young man alone with Tifa.  If they were going to die, at least those two would have their moment of peace.  His black boots echoed
when he entered the wide area, and he could see the others ahead of him.  The five were moving quickly, and Vincent noticed that nothing slowed them
down.  The monsters they'd fought with nearly every step had vanished and he wondered briefly if they had been a product of Sephiroth as well, another
obstacle to keep them from reaching him.  Either way, there was nothing to stop their escape from the cave, and he moved further from the place where
he'd left Cloud.  

The young man had told them to go home, but he didn't have a home.  Even if the planet survived, Vincent knew he would never go back to that mansion
where they'd found him.  He could have, could have slept again, years of silence.  But the thought sent a shiver down his back.  He had no intention of
lying in a coffin again unless he was dead.  His comrades disappeared around a corner of the corridor before him, and he paused suddenly.  For a
moment, he stood still, then he turned, his gun aimed at the figure standing behind him.  His narrowed eyes widened when the man's red lips curved into a
small smile, then the figure disappeared.  He didn't know what to expect, but he lunged forward when someone grabbed him from behind, the clawed glove
on his left hand digging into the black cloth of the arm around him.  There was a hiss that might have been a pained breath, then wind roared in his ears,
and he was swept back.

* * *

Wufei had recognized the suit, and while he didn't know the man personally, the name was enough to put him on guard.  A traitor was no one he had
respect for, even if he'd switched to the right side.  The fact that the Lightning Count had obvious trouble controlling the suit only made it more evident to
Wufei that the man was a danger to everyone.  It was more proof that he needed to eliminate all weapons from space, and he knew he would fight alone
to see this happen.  He would fight with integrity, and he knew it was up to him to succeed his clan as they had so willingly sacrificed themselves for the
cause.  Zechs Merquise would be an enemy to him, for as long as the man fought in space.

Wing Zero disappeared behind him, his own Gundam speeding away, and the Peacemillion was soon gone as well.  Both were swallowed by the blackness
of space and distance and it wasn't until he was completely isolated that Wufei allowed Altron to halt.  The repairs on his newly remodeled Gundam were
complete, and his battle against both OZ and the White Fang was already underway.  The man's request that they fight together had only reaffirmed
Wufei in his determination to fight alone.  Only then could he be sure that he was doing justice to his people, eliminating the weak fools who thought they
were strong.  With this in mind, he checked the reports, looking for news of any battles near his location.  Despite his alliance with the colonies, he had no
affiliation with the colony rebels, and he intended to destroy them as well as OZ.  A jolt broke him from his concentration, and his head snapped back, his
black eyes widening as he stared at the view screens.  Then the light blinded him.

* * *

The dark blood-red metal stood out amid the white of the snow, and he stared at it, his pale blue eyes following the curve of the Gundam's knee.  Epyon
was a sign to him; created by Treize, it represented the fight he had been offered.  The Sank kingdom had fallen, and Zechs knew he had nothing left to
fight for.  He'd spent his entire life taking steps so he would one day be able to take back his country.  And now it was gone again, given up by his own
sister and taken by the same group he'd once worked for.  Romafellor was now looking to conquer the colonies, and Zechs knew he would accept White
Fang's offer.  Once more, he would fight, but now he would face the planet he'd protected just a short time ago.  Relena had become the head of the
Romafellor foundation, the proclaimed "Queen of the World", but Zechs knew the girl's dream of an easily obtained peace was impossible.  One had to
fight for such a world; a peace won without fighting would not be kept.

The representative of the colony rebels had offered to send transport to him, so he wouldn't have to pilot the Gundam into space.  This, he knew, would
allow his position as their leader to go unnoticed until he was ready to announce it to the world.  For a moment, he thought of simply taking Epyon,
disappearing somewhere or even destroying the suit.  But he wouldn't do it.  He had spent too long with a mission in life to go to a passive one now, amid
the chaos of war.  He would fight, whether his side was right or not.  But he thought it was.  The earth had been the source of conflict from the very
beginning, and the colonies had been subjugated since their creation, ruled and controlled by those in power.  By protecting the weak colonies, he could
fight for a cause again.  

Thick snow gave way beneath his boots as he crossed to the Gundam.  He'd hidden it, a laughable attempt when the color was so dark against the snow,
but he no longer needed to.  Climbing into the cockpit, he let the hatch fall shut and turned it on, Epyon rising slowly to its feet.  The system, nearly
identical to the one in Wing Zero, immediately came into effect.  His resolve was steadied with the same quickness, and he turned in the direction of the
place where White Fang would meet him.  But the Gundam only moved a few feet before it halted, held by something he couldn't see.  Air swept
inexplicably inside the closed hatch and he was gone in a flash of light.

.-.

PART 2

.-.

FEEDBACK

FANFICTION INDEX