The Orphans of Cerberus

BY : Fetherhd
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1741
Disclaimer: Square Enix holds all rights the the FFVII world and its characters. This is a not for profit fanfiction

The Orphans of Cerberus Chapter 1

Awareness came slowly to Yuffie Kisaragi. She realized she was lying face down on cold, wet pavement. What?…where?…rolled slowly through the young woman’s confused mind and she tried to push herself up. Her brain wasn't functioning well at all but it DID tell her that something was terribly wrong; her arms didn't want to work as they should. When she managed to get her eyes to focus, all she could see was torn flesh, broken bones, and the red of running blood.
Holy SHIT… the girl thought, that can't be good.
A coughing grunt and the rending sounds of something relatively large feeding on flesh had her flattening back down and playing dead. Pain was starting to filter through the numbness in her brain. The young ninja welcomed it. It gave her something to focus on while she tried to sort out what was going on. She realized that there was a body on the ground not to far from where she lay. Her mind hazily pinned a name on it. "Dex…" She had gone clubbing with the young man and his date, her mind scrabbled around trying to remember, "Ah yes…."she felt slightly triumphant “…Melissa.” The triumph turned to sick nausea as memory came flooding back and she figured out what (who) was being eaten.
They had been walking back towards Tifa's place (Dex had insisted on seeing her safely there) when a nightmare had dropped in amongst them. Yuffie had gotten the impression of black fur, glowing yellow eyes, and long white teeth as the monster launched itself at her throat. It was incredibly fast. She had gotten her arms up but had been slammed back into a wall by its weight. Her head had impacted with the bricks and after that, things had gotten muddied. Yuffie did remember kicking the creature a few times, hard in the belly as it savaged her arms. She vaguely heard Melissa screaming through the ringing in her ears, then, the …thing….had dropped her and turned its attention elsewhere.
A difference in the night caught the girl's wavering attention. It was silence; she could no longer hear gruesome sounds of meat tearing and bones crunching. Stifling her own moan, she somehow managed to get herself rolled over. There was blood everywhere, hers, Dex's and… her stomach heaved. Partially it was her probable concussion, but mostly it was the bits and pieces of flesh scattered around haphazardly in pools of blood. It was all that was left of the vivacious young woman that had danced so enthusiastically at the clubs that night.
A slight movement attracted Yuffie's gaze, she saw Dex's hand clench and realized that he was still alive. That motivated her to try and get her battered body moving. Yuffie had just managed to work herself up with her back against the wall (no small feat when fighting the dizziness of blood loss on top of the dizziness of a concussion) when another nightmare strolled out of the darkness with a loose limbed, four legged stride. It eased up to the terrified ninja and swung its long, narrow muzzled head so it could look into her face. Yuffie was so paralyzed by shock, pain, and fear that she could only watch and hope it killed her quickly. A slight smile pulled at her lips, some ninja… shit… she couldn't get her arms up to do ANYTHING. The monster’s own lips rolled up in reaction, revealing long white fangs. Its nostrils twitched, then swung in close, delicately SNIFFING at the injured girl's breath. Apparently satisfied, it settled back on its haunches and dug around in a pouch that was on a belt around its narrow waist.
HOLD ON…. Yuffie knew she had to be delirious. She wished she was, a moment later when stubby fingered, sharp clawed… hands… stretched her arms out, one at a time and bound them tightly with strips of cloth. She didn't even have the strength to scream; only whimpers came out of her mouth.
The girl managed to hold on to consciousness as the creature rose and ambled over to the fallen man. Yuffie's hope surged as the thing gently rolled Dex over and did the same odd, SNIFFING around his face. It stood for a minute head lowered, as if THINKING, and then it slid its weird looking "hands" through his hair. One hand stayed on Dex's head, seeming to be petting and the other stroked down his jaw. Yuffie had no warning as those strong hands grasped and twisted sharply, breaking the young man's neck.
Oh my Gods…oh my Gods….oh my f****** Gods!... ran through the ninja's fading mind as the monster turned its unwavering attention back to her. As the killer approached, Yuffie dreamily noticed that it had eyes the color of quicksilver. Again it crouched by her and dug around in that pouch, this time the girl did manage a thin scream before she passed out, as it pulled out a hypodermic syringe with a long, thin needle and plunged it into her neck.
The creature huffed softly to herself, she had waited for the human to loose consciousness; she was, after all, a very cautious creature. Carefully checking the still body over, she found the girl's cell phone. Opening it, the female scrolled through the menu and picked a number at random. She looked around verifying where she was and tapped in a quick text, then she sent the call. Carefully setting the phone on the young woman's slowly moving chest, the beast climbed up to the roof tops to watch and wait. The pressure bandages had slowed the bleeding, the injection of her antibodies MIGHT stop the virus, and this one was young enough that she should survive until help arrived.
Tifa was relieved that Cloud was there to help shoo the last few diehards out of the front door of Seventh Heaven at closing time. Normally it was no problem for her, but with Vincent visiting, any drunk who SEEMED to give her the slightest bit of flack usually found themselves casually pitched head first into the street by the enigmatic gunman. Although hard to rile, Valentine had a low tolerance were rudeness was concerned. It was hard on business when the quiet man decided to make one of his rare visits.
Glancing up from wiping down the bar, Tifa couldn't stifle her smile as Cloud paused halfway up the steps leading to their room, making subtle, come hither motions. She passed the shadowed table where Valentine sat; lean frame comfortably slouched back against the wall, inevitable glass of red wine in hand. A gold glimmer in his crimson eyes gave away the fact that… maybe… Cloud's gestures weren't as subtle as he thought.
"Umm, Vincent, do you need anything else before we go to….."
Tifa trailed off, a light blush climbing her cheeks as Clouds hints from the stairway became less than subtle, she grinned as she watched him, and then jerked her attention back to the part of the slender gunslinger's face that she could see above his cloak's collar. One elegant eyebrow arched up, making her cheeks burn in response.
Those carnelian eyes twinkled,
"I require nothing Tifa… Cloud on the other hand…" She could have sworn the gunman's lips quirked up.
"I shall just wait here and make sure Yuffie makes it in safely."
Tifa chewed her lip lightly as she glanced towards the door. The hyper ninja was a little late, but not abnormally so. She glanced back at the quiet man and smiled,
"You do realize that she will most likely be drunk when she gets here?" She raised her brow in imitation of him, making no effort to hide the twinkle in her own rich red/brown eyes.
Was the only answer that Vincent returned.
Tifa's eyes widened as Cloud made a very suggestive motion with his slender hips and the petite woman couldn't stand it any longer.
"Good night Vincent,"
She giggled and chased her lover up the stairs.
Valentine watched the pair grope and giggle their way to their room and ruthlessly squelched the envy that tried to worm its way through his chest. He had managed to shed a large portion of the guilt he had carried for so long, after the battle at Deepground. But the fact that his demons still dwelled within, kept him from loosening the tight control he kept on his emotions. Any of what was considered the…HOT… emotions… anger, hate, passion… could prove a trigger to one of the monsters locked inside, so he had conditioned himself to keep things cold and emotionless. His friends did not understand, but that was acceptable, it kept them safe.
Speaking of safe, he thought with a hint of unease. Yuffie was now most definitely late. Valentine had no sooner finished the thought when he heard Tifa's phone faintly ringing. It rang quite a few times before she picked up, the gunman's pale lips twitched; they must have forgotten to turn it off before hand. It was probably the young ninja needing help home.
He was surprised when both Cloud and Tifa came thundering down the stairs a minute later in various stages of undress. Vincent straightened up, alarmed by the fear on their faces. Tifa didn't say anything; she just flipped her phone to him. Catching it, he read the text Yuffie had sent. There was an address, not too terribly far from the bar, and then just three simple words... Death visits here.
The creature waited quietly, she spent her time licking her hands and feet clean of all of the blood that had caked on them off of the street below. She had real difficulties dealing with the fact that her carnivorous side truly enjoyed the sweet coppery taste. She tried to ignore the pleasure, as she recalled the many times that Sergeant had drilled into her that the eating of anything human was a bad thing. The beast side rationalized that she had to be sure to leave no trail home, so the blood had to go. Her thin ears twitched as they picked up the loud roar of a vehicle, it almost drowned out the sounds of something coming fast over the roof tops. She crouched low, the fact that a human would take this risky route surprising her. Her sharp eyes caught a blur of black and crimson in the darkness on the roof opposite her position and her mane ruffed out at the thought that shuddered through her ….PREDATOR!.
For a moment she poised to leap down if the crimson cloaked figure proved to be a threat to the injured woman, but instantly relaxed when she heard the fear and concern in the tall man's soft, deep voice as he knelt down and murmured.
Vincent had left the bar and taken the most direct route to the address that was on the cell. He flowed over the rooftops utilizing every bit of the unnatural speed he had been enhanced with. As a result he arrived at the gruesome scene before Cloud and Tifa, who came on the swordsman's cycle. He felt his demons awaken, stirring as the warm scent of death and blood rose up from the alley and he made sure to keep them under an iron control. Dropping easily on to the bloody street he strode over to Yuffie's crumpled, pale form. Experienced eyes swept over the three bodies as he carefully knelt, normal hand gently probing the young ninja's neck, desperately searching for a pulse. He softly murmured her name in relief. It was there, weak and thready, but there. Careful fingers brushed the bandaging on the young woman's arms as he used his enhanced senses to search the alleyway. GODS….he thought, there was so much blood. Cloud and Tifa had parked a short ways away and he distinctly heard Clouds choked intake of breath and Tifa's retching.
"Don't come any closer,"
He waved them back with his gauntleted hand and gathered the ninja's limp, bloody form in his arms. Cloud and Tifa overrode their concern for Yuffie and obeyed. They knew the ex-Turk didn't want them accidentally disturbing any of the gory evidence. Vincent was planning on tracking the killer if he could.
He carried the young woman over and gently turned her over to the blonde. His deep voice was rough with concern and repressed anger.
"She is alive, but only just. Get her to the emergency center. I will see what I can do here."
Quicksilver eyes watched the crimson cloaked human from the shadows, with growing concern. The creature had fully expected that whoever came to rescue the woman would be in a rush to leave and get her to help. She had NOT even considered that one would stay and cover the bloodied ground with the thoroughness that only a born killer could achieve.
The female flattened out even more as the man found the murderer's tracks leaving the scene but did not follow them. He kept systematically searching until he found the faint tracks that she had left in the tacky blood when she had arrived. Then like a silent shadow, the hunter followed them over to the male who had been so badly infected that he was not salvageable. He did not seem to mind handling the dead as he examined the deep but not immediately fatal wounds on the corpse's neck, and she could hear him mutter quietly to himself when his sensitive fingers discovered the broken neck.
Stilling even her breathing, the creature eased back, closing her inner eyelids so that her gaze went from bright silver to slate grey, a color that was much harder to spot in the darkness. The man stopped again at the bloody spot where his companion had lain and he shook his long raven hair back from his face as his odd colored eyes tracked her slight imprints to where she had climbed up to the roof. Her instincts screamed….RUN…. but Sergeant had spent years training her, with sometimes harsh methods, so that she was able to override the animal impulses with her considerable intelligence. She would only break if he flushed her.
Vincent kept perfectly still as his senses probed the dark roofs. Having learned everything he needed to know from the gory street, he was trying to decide which trail to follow. There had been two creatures here. With the similarities in the tracks, he had come to the conclusion that they were of the same type, the second one being quite a bit smaller than the one who had initiated the original attack. He found it very odd, that the larger was the only one that seemed to have fed off of the kill. And why had the second beast killed Yuffie's companion after the initial attack and not her?
With a soft, "Hnnnn…" the gunman came to a decision and decided to track what seemed to be the most dangerous one of the pair.
Tense muscles gradually relaxed, as the hidden one watched the hunter disappear into the dark. The female eased up, she had a bolt hole relatively close that she would head for. There was NO way she was leaving any trail back to her home that the crimson one could follow.
The creature looked in the direction that the noisy machine had come from. Her inner eyelids flicked back and an oddly wistful expression sifted through the silver eyes, then passed over her long muzzled face. The injured girl had many who seemed to care for her, something the female truly envied. She huffed sadly and hoped that the young one would recover; she never knew what the outcome was when she interfered in one of Titan's attacks. Thankfully, the rest of her siblings, when they did venture out, were not as apt to leave any injured victims alive. She would never have been able to keep the virus from spreading if that was the case. As it was, eventually she was going to miss on a clean up, and then all hell would break loose.
The light of dawn was just filtering through the windows of the intensive care unit waiting room when Valentine arrived. Cloud was there, which was a bit of a surprise as the blonde had almost as bad an aversion to anything medical as the gunman.
The blonde wearily looked up as the ex-Turk quietly entered the room.
"Tifa is with her, they will only let us in one at a time. It was touch and go for a little while, but barring infection, the doc's think she will be okay."
Cloud rubbed his vivid blue eyes and slid a hand down his face.
"GODS….Vincent, whatever got to her practically shredded her arms. They still haven't figured out how she got herself wrapped up…."
The swordsman stopped at Vincent's slight frown and the small shake of his head.
The tall man walked over to the window.
"She didn't…. I found traces of TWO monsters. One attacked first, fed and then left. I tracked it as far as the Midgar ruins. The other…I think that second creature helped Yuffie, but then it killed the boy who was with her."
Vincent shook his head slightly, he had been unable to track the smaller monster more than a couple of blocks. What secretly worried him were the obvious signs of intelligence it had shown. That one had NOT wanted to be followed and had gone though great pains to cover its trail.
The smaller man looked up; he caught the odd expression that crossed the normally impassive gunman's face.
"Do you think there are more of them?"
Cloud Strife would remember the ex-Turks next words in the near future, as the man was as dead on with his prediction as he was with his gun.
Valentine shrugged slightly,
"I hope not….Cloud….If there are, and they are as intelligent as the second beast seems to be. We may have a serious problem."
This is very much my fault; Valentine couldn't shake the thought as he carefully ran a finger tip over Yuffie's heavily bandaged and splinted arm. The surgeons had repaired all of the damage, but due to the massive amount of blood the girl had lost, they were waiting for her to regain a little of her strength back before they used a CURE.
It was just a breathy whisper, but it made the gunman snatch his hand back like it had been burned.
His crimson eyes darted to the pale face and the young woman looked up at him. His companions would have been surprised by the gentleness present in his deep voice.
"Do you need more pain medication Yuffie?"
Her brown eyes blinked sleepily, opened to about half mast.
" Heya Vinnie…noo….mm..nose itches."
She shrugged her shoulders slightly and winced.
"Can't seem ta get m…hands up to scratch, could ya?"
It's the least I can do, Yuffie, he thought as he reached down and lightly scratched her nose. She sighed and her eyes slipped back closed.
Vincent continued scratching gently for a moment or two. Then he bent down, smoothed her soft dark hair back from her face and whispered.
"You asked me… no… begged me to go with you last night. If I hadn't refused, you would not be here and your two friends would not be dead. For that… I am very, very sorry."
Tifa wearily rested her head on her crossed arms, thank the gods there were only a couple of patrons in the bar. Reno and Rude had wandered in supposedly to have just a drink or two, but the woman knew they were concerned about Yuffie. It had been two days since the attack and the Doctors had been planning on using a CURE today to heal up the worst of the damage. Neither Vincent nor Cloud had called yet and all of them were concerned. Every time her phone rang the two Turks would look over until she shook her head at them. It would have been cute except for the fact that she was so tired.
A soft sound, and a small piece of paper being slipped practically under her nose, brought her head up. She had to blink a couple of times to get her eyes to focus on the written words. It simply said, I would like a cup of tea please. Surprised she looked up into a lightly tanned face and two concerned eyes that were the pale, pale blue of old arctic ice. The young woman stood very still as she waited patiently for Tifa to get her brain in gear.
Tifa always had tea available; Cid was addicted to the stuff, so it only took a moment for her to prepare a cup. It was a testament to her exhaustion when she absently asked if the woman wanted sugar and cream. She winced, embarrassed when the woman just shook her head slightly. Her long, rich cinnamon colored tresses flowed around her like a mane. The blue eyes narrowed a little as if thinking and the woman's slender, long fingered hands seem to flow through a short complex dance. Tifa stared, confused, it was beautiful to watch but she had no clue what the woman needed.
"Yo…"Reno had oozed his way up to the bar,
"She said…No cream or sugar, but some honey and lemon would be nice."
The red head gave the newcomer what he considered a sexy smile.
"You mute or something?"
The woman nodded slightly and tapped her lips then tapped her throat; she did not smile in return at the lanky Turk. Carefully picking up her tea she stepped back and made her way over to sit by a window. Reno leaned lazily against the bar making no secret that he was ogling the woman's tall slender form as she walked away.
Tifa poked him hard.
"Reno, how did you know what she was saying?"
The Turk looked solemnly at her as Rude joined them at the bar. The big man sounded thoughtful as he stared at the stranger who was delicately sipping the hot tea in small deliberate mouthfuls.
"It's a type of sign language that we are taught for covert operations. The question you should be asking is…..where the hell… did she learn it?"

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