After quite a while, we are back with another chapter of this story. Life pretty much happened and been busy, but we did it. Hope that you all will enjoy this one!

Ch. 16 Escape

The moonlight trailed into the bedroom, shimmering brightly in the darkness of the night sky. Cloud stared next to the window, staring out at the darkened land cast in darkness. With a deep breath Cloud closed his eyes and wondered what laid beyond the manor. What else was out there? He knew there was a town at least and he knew he had been there before, but it was all too hazy for him.

But he was going to go out there. He was going to finally see what else was beyond all of this. Finally some relief he felt in his chest. It was a weird feeling to be feeling, he wasn;t all too sure what to make of it at first. But he felt almost mixed over it. He wanted to feel happy, and he thought that he should. But everything Addy was planning for him was going against what he had been instructed on.

Opening his eyes, he stared up at the moon again. It seemed so promising to him. It seemed to calm him for some reason. The brightness and color just seemed so entrancing to him. He wished he could stare at it longer, but soon enough he heard a light knock on his door. He knew who it was before they even opened the door.

"Cloud… I've checked around and there seems to be nobody present. It's perfect. Are you ready?" Miss Addy asked him, wanting to be sure of his decision.

"I… I think so." Cloud replied meekly. "We… We are really leaving?"

"Yes, I am not going to wait another night. We leave now and that's going to be that. Just let me know, okay?" Miss Addy said as she held out her hand. "I will be here for you every step of the way, just as I have these past years."

"B-But… What if we get caught? What will Professor Hojo say? He doesn't approve of this does he?"

"He won't find out. I won't let him ever harm you again. You don't deserve to live like this Cloud. You need to live a life, a real life like how any other kid your age should live."

"I just… I'm scared. But… it would be nice to go somewhere…"

"I know it would. Just keep thinking those nice thoughts, and we will make it out okay?" Addy whispered to him gently.

Cloud slowly nodded his head towards her, not knowing what else that he could say. Every thought that crossed his small mind at the moment was a stay, or to go? It shouldn't have been a hard choice, but there he was, questioning every action he might take.

But after much thought, he finally was able to make up his mind. He trusted Miss Addy more than he was afraid of Hojo. She was right.

"I think… I'm ready now," he spoke softly.

"All right, then let's head out. Stay by my side and keep quiet, understand?" Addy said as she made her way over toward the door.

Pushing the door open as slow as possible Addy looked back and forth before she stepped into the hallway and motioned for Cloud to follow her. Taking one last deep breath he walked over and stayed close to her side. For a few moments he almost forgot to take his next breath, but once they started walking down the hallway he exhaled again. It was so strange for him… he had been through countless training… so many tough challenges from Professor Hojo… yet this was more terrifying than all of those together.

He tried to push the negative thoughts that occurred to the back of his mind. Easier said than done. Wasn't his training to be a SOLDIER after all? Despite his dislike of it most of the time, his tenure there had granted him some useful information that he tried to hold on to.

He pulled at Miss Addy's coat. "Hey, can I ask something?" he tried to whisper.

"Hm, yes? What is it?"

"M-Maybe I could help us to get out? I mean...I did have to learn a lot here anyways…"

Miss Addy's face drew into a surprised expression as her brows furrowed. "No need for your magic, but stealth, that's what we need, okay? Can you do that for me?"

The blond nodded his head. "Yeah, I can do that I think."

"Good, now follow me."

The two slinked along the wall, sticking closely to the hard surface. Cloud was trying his hardest not to hold his breath, as he needed to breath normally like Miss Addy was doing. She seemed to be so calm and collected during all of this, and Cloud didn't understand how it was possible. But if she managed to do it, then surely he could as well. They could make it out… out into the outside world to some place else. To some place safer… as far as Miss Addy told him.

He couldn't even imagine the idea still. A place that was safer than this? A place outside of these walls? He reminded himself that he knew what was out there and there was really nothing he had to be afraid of. He was sure once they got outside of the mansion he would feel better. Once they were far, far away from it he would feel something better inside of him.

That hope was what was keeping him going.

But the longer they moved down the long hallways, the more his heart raced. It felt wrong to do this. This was wrong for him to disobey Hojo. He was going to get caught. He would be in trouble and would be terribly punished.

Why had he agreed to this in the first place? This was all such a bad idea, even if Miss Addy did try to reassure him. None of this felt right and now Cloud could only worry about the consequences.

The sound from his throat started as a small whimper, but it was slowly getting louder. Miss Addy turned around quickly and placed a hand on the side of Cloud's face. "Shh it's okay Cloud. Just take a deep breath for me, okay? Can you do that? We're almost there. Just a bit farther and we will be out of here."

"N-No I can't!" Cloud shouted, raising his voice louder.

"Cloud please you need to be quiet," Miss Addy warned him.

But it was already too late.

There were footsteps coming from the other end of the hall. "049? Are you out of your room?" one scientist asked as a flashlight turned on. "You're not supposed to leave without…" When the light hit him and Miss Addy, they both froze, staring with wide eyes at the other scientist.

Cloud's face remained affixed to the man only for a moment before he started to shake. Everything that he had feared was going to come true. He never should have disobeyed and tried to leave. He just knew he would be in trouble now.

"I-I… um… " he tried to speak, but the words just wouldn't come out.

"We were just out on a walk," Addy answered slowly, making sure to choose her words carefully.

"Then what was 049 screaming about?" The other scientist asked.

"He suddenly started having a panic attack, and I am trying to get him to calm down," Addy responded without much hesitation at all.

"You should have brought him down to the lab for observation, not towards the front of the manor," the scientist replied, sounding far from convinced.

Cloud whined, backing up from both Miss Addy and the other scientist. He could feel his heart beating loudly, and he was afraid that the other two could head it. He knew he shouldn't panic. They told him not to panic yet here he was breaking the rules again.

Addy was looking at him, she was remaining calm. He couldn't understand how she was able to do it, but if she could maybe he could too. He just needed to hold his breath and hope for the best. But what neither he or Miss Addy expected was to hear another set of footsteps approaching them.

"What's all the commotion?" another voice rang out as the person slowly became visible as the light shining through the Windows crept upon him. It was one of the other assistants close to Professor Hojo.

"049 was feeling a bit confined tonight, nightmares I believe," Addy replied as calmly as she could. "I know I should take him to the lab for observation but I believe fresh air is what he needs best, not musty basement air."

The new addition to their small gathering walked closer. "Adelaide, while I understand you are his caretaker, you know that can't happen. Besides… you know if the Professor catches you out here it won't be good."

"And it won't be good if his current prized experiment breaks down and sets the room on fire by accident. He needs fresh air. Unless you would like to go and explain to Hojo why I couldn't help his little experiment recover properly."

Cloud glanced back and forth between the two of them. He knew he was on Miss Addy's side, but it almost seemed like things would break out into an argument at any time. The other man in the back was starting to move restlessly and seeming to block the way they had come. The boy couldn't help but become more nervous as his breathing increased rapidly.

"Miss…Addy…" he said as he started to breathe more heavily and gripped her coat.

"You see? If I don't hurry him outside to get some natural fresh air he could go off and then we would all be in deep trouble. It would only be for a few minutes, that's all. Just enough for him to calm down and then it's back to bed."

The two scientists exchanged glances with each other before turning back to Adelaide and the boy. "It's not like we have any saying in it, but we'll be watching anyways. Go," the last one that had entered the conversation directed toward the door.

Addy gave her thanks and took Cloud by the hand, moving as quickly as she could to head further towards the font of the mansion. They were getting closer and almost there, if they had no further interruptions she knew that they could be in the clear. Though a quick glance to her side she saw that Cloud was still worried, not having calmed down yet.

She gave his hand a gentle squeeze. "We're almost there, okay Cloud? Just a bit further and you can feel better."

"But will I really… feel better?" he asked quietly without looking up at her.

"I'm sure it will," she replied heartily. "And, remember you can use the powers you have as well if needed. Don't forget."

It was as if a spark went off in his mind, but only for a brief moment. "Oh, yeah, I kinda forgot about that just with… this all going on. Okay then…" he trailed off as they broke the threshold to the outside finally when Addy thrust open the doors

The cool nighttime air rushed to meet them and Addy sucked in a deep breath of the outside air. Thankfully it wasn't winter time or their little plan would have been much harder. With it being spring, and all of the snow from winter melted, there was nothing for them to leave tracks. The more discrete they could be, the better.

"Come Cloud, we just need to get beyond the gate. Once we are there we are free to do what we want."

The two of them strode out toward the middle of the courtyard, trying to see in the darkness of the night. Fortunately for them, the evening was filled with clouds, which blocked the would-be light from the moon. The smell and taste of spring was in the air all around them, the lukewarm air surrounding the pair.

It had been what felt like ages since cloud had been on the outside. He could feel A little dampness on his cheek and it slowly creeped downward, falling to the ground.

"I… this is outside. I never… thought I'd see it again," he mustered through some quiet sobs.

"I know it's been a little while since last we were out here, but there is nothing to be afraid of. Not anymore."

Walking further they came up to the gate. Just beyond that was the open land, no walls or gates to stop them. All they had to do was unlock this one and that would be the final step. One more step and finally all would be well.

Addy reached in her pocket to sift around, then quickly changed to the other one. She patted herself down all over before finally pulling out a small key to use on the lock. She placed it into the lock and tried to turn it, expecting there to be the click of the unlock sound. But instead she was met with nothing and the key having no effect on the lock.

"What?" she questioned aloud. "What gives…?" She tried again but nothing seemed to work. "I'm sure that this was the right key. It has to be."

Addy stopped to run a hand through her hair, trying not to let her anxiety get the best of her in the moment. "Okay… so either the key is wrong or the lock is changed. I probably grabbed the wrong key through. Shit."

Cloud looked around for a moment, trying to figure out what to do. He was still partially scared, but being outside again finally somehow seemed to energize him a bit. He looked close at the lock and then to himself as he remembered what Miss Addy had said to him.

Placing his hand to the lock, he started to focus his mind. And I see aura begin to emanate around his palm as he felt himself growing a bit cooler. The lock started to creak its metal once it started to grow colder.

"What was- Cloud?!" she said surprised when she saw him. "What are you… oh, I see! Good thinking for that."

The entire lock was soon encased in ice, and with Cloud forming a ball of ice in his other hand he chucked it right at the piece. It shattered instantly and fell to small pieces on the ground before them, causing the gate to slowly creak open.

"Is that… Was that acceptable?" Cloud asked softy.

"Yes, completely it was. Now, let's get this open and get out of here," she said to him as she put her arm behind his back.

"It's strange, I figured that the other guys would have noticed something at this point. But, the important part is that he's almost free. We're almost free."

Her thoughts, however, had betrayed her. She could hear some footsteps from behind her, and she need not even look back at this point.

"And where do you both think you're going?!" a cold and raspy voice rang out towards them.

And there we have it. For now at least. But we have a plan once again for these coming chapters, and it's gonna be quite a ride. So if you wanna find out, come back next time. :) Thank you all for keeping up with this story and following it, we appreciate it.