Written by: Perpetual Thoughts and Meaning

Disclaimer: Hmm… I'll list some of the many reasons why I couldn't have made these characters… One: I think that the creator of these two would have the decency to make them IC and submit their work somewhere that they would be paid… Two: I'm running out of ideas… Erm, pie? -She's pummelled by tomatoes.- Okay, okay! I can't own them because… Um, because… -The crowd boos her.- I can't own them, because everyone hates me! -Cricket, cricket.- I knew it! Oh, yeah, being sued isn't on my nonexistent list of Things To Do now. -She wanders off to her cramped bathroom to wash the tomatoes out of her hair and metal attire.-

Spoilers: Yes… They aren't major, but they explain some stuff you wouldn't have known otherwise if you'd just started playing Star Ocean.

Summary: Albel and Cliff are partners on a mysterious mission that involves having to wake Cliff up without being clobbered to death! Yeah, I know, it's not funny. I'll just go right ahead and tell you: Albel's getting his revenge in the next chapter! Isn't that exciting? -Cricket, cricket.- … FINE! NO SHONEN-AI FOR YOU! -She grumbles and stomps off, her pride severely wounded.-

A/N: Aren't you happy that I finally updated? It just seems like these chapters get longer and longer, eh? Okay, I'll shut up, because no one gives a shit about what I have to say. I just wanted to apologise for taking so long to update. I've had this chapter playing through my head, but I just never bothered to write it down, because I was away from my computer at the time. I'd written down somewhere what was going to happen, call it a rough outline, and it didn't even look like what you're about to read. Damn it! Why can't my chapters be planned out like the real writers'! Whatever… While writing the last page I was on caffeine, so, they may be a bit OOC… Damn you, Dr Pepper, damn you!

Rating: PG-13, because most fourteen year-olds can't write rated R things without having some experience, which I thoroughly lack. Oh, also for some language, but who gives a shit if they curse a little?

Replies to reviews:

Kodamy: Heh, glad to see that you enjoyed it…

It was hell writing it, but if someone actually liked it, then I can reap the fruits of my work…

Death-Scimitar: Heh, I wouldn't have if I hadn't have written this story… Yeah, I have to admit, that's one of Albel's best attributes. Thanks. Wow, a coherent review… I did? Oh, I updated! Your scimitar might not be able to deflect Albel's blows with his Crimson Scourge, but hey, it's your career… Hey, tell me if you write a fic about them, because I need inspiration dreadfully. Heh, thanks for the comment! Ja ne!

EvilEatingSanta: Okay, that's nice to know… Yay? Thanks. I take that "VUNDAFOOL" means "wonderful", so yay for me. But…But I have continued! You like the monster that I made up, eh? Or does 'vat' mean 'bad' or 'what'? Yeah, Albel's getting his revenge all right, but in a different way than he ever imagined… Heh, writing now, mashhtaaah!

Chasing Izanami: Thanks. Well, some authors like to hear "Good Job" often, but some, like me, prefer their reviews to have the "Good Job" comment, and why the reader liked the story they said was great. Crud indeed.

Yeah, I felt the same when I wrote Part 4. A little voice deep inside me was complaining that I never made my DM/HG fics this quick, so why should I write a shonen-ai fic of all things so fast? I still regret making such a rush in their "relationship," -She pauses to cough for a few moments.- but I can't change it now, because it influences one of Albel's actions in this Part/Chapter. I'm making this story a short one, anyhow, so I suppose it'll be okay once I'm finished…

Fluffymadness: Heh, thanks for liking this along with my other kick-arse and totally awesome reviewers. Really, I appreciate it when you guys take the time to review my work. It makes my hobby so worthwhile. Yeah, they really do make a sweet couple. I have 277 hits on this fic, yet only 8 reviews… Isn't that wrong?

Part 5: Dead Smart part I

Here comes the pain,
you're no different from the rest.
Victim is your name in my vicious wasteland.
Here comes the pain,
your destruction manifests,
lying there broken looking up as I still stand.
Here Comes The Pain, track 12 on Slayer's 2001 release, God Hates Us All

Albel hadn't said anything since they had began their search for food. He probably was still pissed off about the kisses from earlier. The guy was so detached and despised admitting anything, and Cliff hated it. Why can't he just say how he feels? Cliff wondered as he paused to rest, leaning against the cool cave wall. Albel merely sat down a few feet away from him, his face buried in his hands. What's he so afraid of? Rejection? Cliff laughed at the thought, raking a hand through his bangs. Nah, he thought. He just probably likes to keep to himself. Yeah, that's more like Albel. He'd rather kill himself than show any other emotion that wasn't hatred.

Sometimes, he thought that the guy had blood lust, or something… His eyes always had an odd sparkle in them when they were fighting monsters. Of course, this sparkle only showed itself when their opponents were 'worthy,' as he called them. Otherwise, his eyes remained cold and blank when they had run-ins with the 'worms.' Cliff had realised this early on when they were back on Elicoor II, during their trials through the Urssa Lava Caves. Something in his eyes seemed to come alive when they were fighting, as if he actually had a soul under all his armour. Of course, Cliff didn't believe in such nonsense, but he couldn't help but wonder what was going through Albel's head in all those blood-ridden battles. Perhaps he was thinking of his next move, or perhaps he wasn't thinking at all, merely focusing all his energy on the fight before him. The guy was so easy to read sometimes, but mostly, the guy was like a blank slate; unreadable and difficult to comprehend. If only he could pierce the depths of Albel's angst-ridden mind for just a moment, maybe he'd be able to understand him much better. Or he might find something that he didn't want to, which often discouraged him from such thoughts.

The guy was insane, there was no other way around it. There was a certain aria, a weird energy around him, if you will, that just made Cliff want to stop in his tracks and absorb it. He wanted to grasp its meaning, to finally know what it was about Albel that was just so peculiar. He wanted to know what it was about Albel that was different and so intriguing. That's what first made him interested in Albel and what inspired his goal to break the inflexible swordsman's shell and find out what made him tick. He hadn't ever been curious about anyone as much as he was about Albel. Everyone else he knew were either dull, or too easy to crack. Albel, however, wasn't one to break easily, which peaked his curiosity in him even further.

Cliff doubted that Albel would ever allow him to kiss him again, which really was a shame. He might've taped into the complicated psyche of Albel the Twisted, and he was certain that Albel enjoyed the kisses as much as he did. The pigheaded man hadn't said it, but he'd kissed him back, which was better than nothing, right? Cliff stared into space as he let his thoughts linger on Albel, his lips pursed into a contemplative scowl. If only Albel wasn't so damn difficult, he thought, lacing his fingers together. He knew he wouldn't be able to understand Albel any time soon, but he was a patient man. After all, he had put up with Fayt's clumsiness, so what excuse did he have for Albel? Yeah, he'd wait, no matter how long it took.

"We might want to start moving," Albel murmured, breaking his train of thought.

Cliff nodded over at him and they stood, Albel not bothering to catch up to him. "Are you okay, though? No aches, everything's normal?" he asked, examining him thoroughly.

"I'm fine," he snapped, scowling heatedly at him. "If you ask me that question every time we stop on this journey Fittir, you'll regret it."

"Well," Cliff said, "it's just that you're not the type to tell me if anything hurts. You're prideful."

Bastard, telling me shit that I already know… Albel thought grumpily to himself.

Albel rolled his eyes at him and unhurriedly began walking toward him. "Listen," he growled acidly, sending shivers down Cliff's spine, "I'll tell you if I'm too weak to go on, got it?"

Cliff swallowed and nodded, a bit disturbed at the gleam in Albel's scarlet eyes. "Got ya'," he replied.

Albel eyed him critically, his scowl darkening. "You lead. I'll help if I feel like it, but otherwise, you're on your own," he drawled, tilting his head up so that he could stare into his azure orbs commandingly.

Cliff nodded again, smirking down at Albel. "I don't have a problem with that at all," he said, turning around and walking leisurely ahead.

If we run into that monster, Albel thought edgily, then we'd better be ready, because I won't let myself be killed, especially by that freak of nature.

Albel decided as he followed Cliff that he did want to face Spivak again. He felt the thirst for vengeance flowing through his veins, his lips curling into a sadistic smile. Oh, that freak would pay dearly for what he said, and more! Albel couldn't wait to get his claws (okay, only one hand has claws, but whatever) on him and take care of that menace once and for all… He just hoped that Cliff wouldn't get in his way or say that he couldn't fight, because he was going to fight anyway, even if Cliff told him to stay low. Why should he have to follow his orders, anyway? Who the hell made him captain, huh? Yeah, he was Albel the Twisted, and he'd do whatever the hell he wanted, regardless of what Cliff told him to do.

"What do you say that we take a little rest on those rocks?" Cliff asked, breaking Albel's train of thought.

Albel glanced over toward the rock formation that Cliff was talking about. The rocks had been arranged that they created a sort of stairway, only the path ended near the ceiling of the cave. "Are you tired already?" Albel retorted, smirking when Cliff turned around to face him.

"I was thinking about you, not me," Cliff said, scowling down at him. "I was worried that you were tired. We've been walking for a while."

Albel rolled his eyes, but his stomach fluttered at his sincerity. "I told you that if I was tired that I'd tell you," he drawled. "I feel as fine as I did when you asked me the last time we stopped to rest."

Cliff sighed and nodded, raking a hand through his bangs. "Yeah," he said, "it's just that I don't know if I can trust you. You're not the kind of person who admits anything to anyone, Albel."

Albel shrugged, staring up at him, his smirk faltering. "Nonetheless," he drawled, "you should believe me when I promise such things. If you don't trust me, then how can I possibly trust you?"

He's right, Cliff thought.

Cliff nodded again, staring down at Albel. "Yeah," he replied, "I see what ya' mean. I guess I can start trusting you."

Albel raised his eyebrows at Cliff, his face blank as usual. "You guess?" he asked silkily, his eyelids covering his scarlet orbs partially.

"Ah, fine," said Cliff, smiling down at Albel. "I'll promise to trust you if you trust me from now on. Deal?" He held out his hand for Albel to shake.

Albel eyed his hand for a short moment before grudgingly shaking it. "Deal," he drawled with a small smirk. "I still have to insist that you not worry about me."

Cliff's smile grew and Albel ignored the flutter of his stomach. "I'll try," he said, "but I can't really make any promises. I really can't risk you getting even more injured than you already are."

Albel rolled his scarlet orbs up at him, crossing his arms over his chest. "Yeah," he said, "whatever. Just promise me that you'll try, all right?"

Cliff shrugged, his smile growing. "I'll try," he said. "I promise."

Albel eyed him passively before wandering over to the rocks and sitting down on the lowest 'step.' "You'd better," he muttered under his breath, his crimson eyes glassy.

"So, you wanna rest after all?" Cliff asked him, walking slowly toward him, their eyes locked in a fierce stare.

Albel raised his head and tilted the inky black bangs from his scarlet eyes, his lips pursed into a contemplative scowl. "You seemed intent on doing so," he drawled, "so why not?"

Cliff shrugged again, stopping when he was a few feet in front of Albel. "Just asking," he replied. "Ya' don't have to be so defensive all the time. It's like you take every other comment of mine as an insult."

Albel's crimson eyes narrowed and his mouth curled into a murderous scowl. "What else am I supposed to think?" he snarled. "I can't let my guard down in this cave. If I do, then we both might find our lives abruptly cut short, got me?"

"I am afraid that you are too late for that," a hazily familiar voice hissed from the ceiling.

Albel and Cliff's heads both snapped up, Albel's fangs bared, and Cliff instantly acquired a defensive stance with his fists raised in front of him.

"Who the hell's that guy?" Cliff asked Albel, who didn't spare him a glance. "A friend of yours?"

Albel snorted. "As if," he said darkly. "That cretin's the same scum that almost ended my life yesterday, and I mean to sever him to only bloody shreds!"

"Hold on," Cliff said as Albel stood up. "You can't face that, er, monster in your condition! Just leave your revenge to me, okay? I'll let you deal the killing blow, if you want."

Spivak smirked widely, watching the two with his arms crossed over his chest. "I could have killed you both by now," he drawled, breaking their intense stare.

Albel growled and his artificial arm lingered dangerously close to his Crimson Scourge's scabbard. "The only thing that I hate more than Klausians is an arrogant scum-bag!" Albel shouted, surprising Cliff and causing the monster to chuckle. "What? Are you finally realising that this time only one of us will leave the battlefield!"

Spivak floated down to the floor, his smirk widening. "You do realise that you are predicting that you and your companion will die in this battle?" he drawled, aggravating Albel thoroughly.

"Why you piece of-"

Cliff shook his head at Albel, cracking his knuckles at Spivak. "Like I told you," Cliff said to Albel, "I'm gonna the one givin' this monster a poundin'!"

"Hmm," Spivak drawled. "Just give it your best shot."

Albel scowled and sat back down, his thin jet-black eyebrows furrowed over his gleaming scarlet orbs. He'd just better not get his ass kicked, Albel thought, watching Cliff critically. Cliff seemed to be guessing what he'd been thinking, because he met his piercing stare with one of his own. Albel's scowl darkened, but he didn't break their stare. Cliff nodded lightly down at him before facing Spivak, grinning widely.

"Are we just gonna stand here, or are we gonna brawl?" he asked arrogantly, crossing his arms over his chest.

Now that's more like it, Albel found himself thinking.

Spivak shook his head at Cliff, his mouth curled into a haughty smirk. "Impatient ones such as yourself always die first, because they always race into battle unprepared," the creature stated coolly. "Do you long for death badly enough that you shall let your foolish emotions control you?"

"What did you say to me?" Cliff asked incredulously. "Are you sayin' that I'm overzealous when it comes to fighting!"

Even I know that, Albel thought. He always rushes into danger, without planning ahead, which I've only done once, when they had appeared at my base in Kirlsa the second time.

"Exactly," he replied. "Often the impatient underestimate their opponent as well. Such is a costly mistake, because often their opponent is much stronger than they are."

Albel's scarlet eyes widened before narrowing in malice. "Are you saying that you're a better fighter than him, you pompous worm!" Albel barked, desperately wanting to slice him open with his claws.

Cliff's eyes widened in realisation before he regained control of his over-pouring thoughts. That arrogant piece of shit! was one of the better thoughts. The situation hit Albel and he masked his face. He realised then that he'd been defending the dumb arsed, pig-headed, lame excuse of a… Fittir-, er, Klausian. What the hell was he doing, standing up for him, as if he actually thought that he fought well? Sure, the guy was strong, but he was so damned irrational! He couldn't understand the rage growing inside him when he heard Spivak's mocking words, because he knew that he could care less about what people thought of the Klausian. So what the hell was this strange feeling, then? It was as if a savage beast had been unleashed into his veins, suddenly controlling every thought and impulse. The feeling grew from his stomach in heavy waves of which he knew wasn't hunger, but something else entirely.

Spivak shrugged. "Not really," he replied, "because I have not seen him in action yet… Seeing as he is tagging along with you, however, I can make a safe bet that he is probably just as weak as you are."

"What kind of bet is that!" Cliff shouted, taking the monster by surprise. "Honestly, your means of logic are worse than mine! To assume that the weak form packs together is ludicrous! Have you ever stopped to think that sometimes people are forced to work together? Now you're the one that's underestimating me!"

"Hmm," he murmured. "Our duel has begun… Should you die, your friend shall be food for my friends, and perhaps you as well…"

"Like hell that would happen!" Cliff countered, glowering at Spivak, his fists raised as he waited for his first strike.

Albel scowled darkly as he watched Cliff with narrowed eyes. What the hell's he doing? He's just standing there like a sitting duck! he thought heatedly. If he doesn't keep his promise to me, we'll both be dead men! That bastard knows that, too! Damn it, when I see the first sign of weakness from Fittir, I'm defying his orders and kicking that monster's scaly ass!

"First of all," Spivak began, "I must know your name. In order to mark your grave, I must know everything… To diminish this pathetic existence of yours, I must become that which I oppose."

Cliff raised his eyebrows at him, his guard successfully dropped. "What…?" he asked, before he lost control of his thoughts.

Spivak closed his eyes and Cliff's hands went to his skull, his face etched in pain. "Possessing your thoughts for the time being," the creature said. "Your name is Cliff Fittir, eh? Ah, that is why you are so defensive of him…"

Spivak's hands glowed an icy blue, and Cliff cried out, stumbling backward, trying to regain his balance, but at the same time, failing miserably. Albel's fingernails dug into his right palm as he watched Cliff become a pawn in Spivak's little game. His fangs bared, heart pounding, adrenaline shooting, his legs forced him standing on their own accord. How the hell could Fittir just let himself be controlled so damn easily! Did he want to be dead! Fuck no, he wouldn't allow that stupid dip-shit to fail, to allow them both to die! The beast had grown immensely inside him and now had control of his every movement and thought, desperate to annihilate this annoying menace that had its power over Cliff.

"I'm sick of seeing that damn smirk on your face," Albel growled, unsheathing the Crimson Scourge with a flourish.

"Albel, no!" Cliff shouted, his arms numb like noodles, his balance completely nonexistent. "I'm gonna kill him, and that's final!"

Albel glared down at the pathetic man Cliff had become, his scarlet orbs narrowed into slits. "Not if I have anything to do about it," he whispered hoarsely. "You can't even move, fool. Why should I just sit down and watch some fool writhe about, when I could be doing the job myself? Huh? Tell me!"

"The way you think is interesting," Spivak murmured, his smirk more malicious than arrogant now. "Shall it be enough to save you, however? I think not."

"Your thoughts are bullshit!" Albel shouted, charging at Spivak, his right hand caked in his own crimson blood. "Action's how I settle things, not thinking! Thoughts and threats prove nothing, only that you're just another scumbag waiting for my blade to shred your unworthy skin!"

Cliff winced as he watched Albel and Spivak come blow for blow at another. He felt horrible, because Albel was still very injured, while he wasn't. Why should he have to watch a sick man fight? The guy didn't give a shit if he was bleeding to death, as long as he had a good blade and an opponent to slaughter! The only problem was, that Albel sometimes, well, more than sometimes, didn't think about his condition before going into a fight, such as now. The guy was brave, however, with the way he never backed out from a duel. Of course, this could have to do with his blood lust, and the sparkle was very apparent in his otherwise unfeeling orbs.

"From… now… on," Albel spat out, one word for every cut he inflicted, "I… won't… lose… to… anyone!"

Albel charged at Spivak again, only this time, the monster jumped over him and slammed his head into the cave floor. Cliff's eyes widened at Albel's pained, but determined expression. Was he just insane, or was he just too arrogant to admit defeat? He watched Albel climb up to his feet slowly, having to use his sword to prop on. Cliff's eyebrows furrowed as he watched Albel's movements become sloppy and ineffective. He just had to do something, damn it, but how? He couldn't move because of that damn monster's control over his brain, and he couldn't even structure a semi-rational thought. Something kept on whispering in the corner of his mind, 'the hands,' but what the hell did it mean?

"His hands," Cliff managed, causing Albel to glance over at him, unconsciously letting his guard down, and being knocked off his feet by a surge of white energy from Spivak.

"What?" Albel asked as he dodged Spivak's blasts of energy, his legs failing him a couple of times.

"I wanna take your place, but his hands are keepin' me down! Chop off the set that's blue," Cliff replied, each word sending shock waves to his brain.

Spivak smirked as he prepared for yet another round of blasts. "I doubt that he will be near me enough to do that, even when he is dead," he said, his head bowed, his palms slowly being filled with different coloured orbs.

"I don't need your help!" Albel shouted at Cliff, just barely sidestepping out of the way of another barrage of red and blue coloured blasts.

I don't need anyone's help, Albel thought, especially not his!

You need a time-out, a voice sternly stated. You're exhausted, and the analeptic is wearing off.

It isn't! Albel retorted. I'm only imagining it!

Right… The voice sarcastically said. Is that why your moves are weakening?

They are not! he incredulously snapped back.

Keep telling yourself that and you'll be dead, replied the voice coldly. Do you want that?

Damn it, fine! Albel thought, scowling heatedly as he dodged another wave of different coloured orbs.

"Goumashou," Albel growled, his talons glowing a bright crimson as he successfully shredded Spivak's first pair of arms from his body with his powerful swipes, his normal hand limp around the Crimson Scourge.

"How?" Spivak stuttered. "It is as if you have grown stronger in a matter of seconds! No matter, I can still destroy you and Cliff Fittir!"

"I don't think so," Cliff said, climbing to his feet. "If anyone, you're the one that's gonna die. You messed with the wrong guys, and you're gonna pay for it!"

"We'll make sure that you learn from your mistakes," Albel acidly drawled, taking a defensive stance, though his body protested.

Cliff eyed Albel's reopened wounds with furrowed eyebrows. "Albel," he said, catching his attention, "I think that you should stand down for a bit and take some time to recuperate. Your wounds look worse than ever."

Albel met Cliff's eyes and silently nodded, his expression bemused. "For once, I'll agree with you," he said apathetically, sheathing his blade. "Just don't let the previous incident happen ever again."

Cliff nodded, uncertain which situation that Albel was talking about; him immobilised, or the kisses. By the fiery gleam in Albel's eyes, however, he knew the answer to the unspoken question. It's not fair, Cliff thought. Albel broke their eye-contact as he sat down on the bottom 'step,' his gaze warily on Spivak, who only smirked as Albel's eyes narrowed.

To be continued…

A/N: I believe that Albel's the kind of person that would be possessive, don't you? I felt like the story needed more Action/Adventure in it, because it is the main genre, after all. I'm horrible at it, though, but at least I tried. This chapter's a bit of a disappointment, considering that practically nothing happens. I mean, it's so horribly constructed that it's so damn hard to tell what's going on. I've probably lost all my reviewers… If you're reading this, then I know that you're not going to review this shit…

HELP I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT TO DO FOR THE NEXT PART! Hey, could you guys help me? I have no idea what I should do for the next chap… E-mail me and shoot me some random ideas, okay? Could you guys do that for me? I really want to finish this story, but I need some help… I mean, with all these people who have read my story, someone should be able to give me an idea, right?