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 2

Ice did her best not to respond to the male’s stares. She found them threatening but managed to control the aggression that tried to rise in response. Pale blue eyes lingered on theirs for a moment then studiously ignored them as she curiously examined the room. Her home was isolated and it had been a very long time since she had been out to deliberately mingle in the company of others. The last time had been a catastrophe with such dire consequences that, up until recently, she had preferred the security of being alone.
She closed her eyes, concentrating on the different smells that swirled around the bar. The smell of alcohol and tobacco were predominant. But her sensitive nose could sort out other fainter scents. The woman behind the bar had a warm sweet scent; it was intermingled everywhere, marking this place as her home. The large dark male had a deep, smoky scent; it reminded her of her brother, Shadow. Here was one who, although quite capable of being an Alpha, was content with his place in life, willing to follow a strong leader. The other…..his scent was sharp and misleading, a mixture of bravado, foolishness and underneath, hidden away from all, the steadiness of unshakable loyalty. That one would protect his partner to his last breath.
She wrinkled her nose and opened her eyes, huffing softly, her ploy had worked and the males now had their attention elsewhere. The tea smelled wonderful and tasted even better. Ice had to take very small sips; it was hot and she needed to let it cool a little in her mouth before she could swallow it down her damaged throat. Even with liquids she had to be careful or she would end up in pain and choking.
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Rude had studied the woman long and hard, thinking that maybe she was a former trainee who had disappeared when Shinra had crumbled. Her distinct looks didn't match any of the files that he had seen on the missing. He was seriously considering pursuing it when Tifa made a call and came back to the bar smiling.
"The CURE took and the hospital is releasing Yuffie to finish recuperating here."
The smile covered her whole face,
"Rude, will you keep an eye on things while I go up and make sure her room is up to par?"
The big man's lips twitched; secretly pleased that she had asked him and he nodded. Reno straightened up sharply,
"Hey…. What am I…..? Chopped liver!"
Tifa just snorted and rolled her eyes as she sprinted up the stairs.
Rude gave his partner an exasperated look from behind his shades.
"Man. like anyone would leave YOU in charge of a bar."
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Ice watched the woman run up the stairs, her weariness evidently forgotten. She heard the two males bickering easily at each other, as the dark one went behind the bar. She took the last sip of her tea letting it slide down her throat; it was time for her to leave. It had been nice to indulge her civilized side but she knew better than to tempt fate. Picking up the cup, she carried it back to the bar and set it down. The woman placed what she figured would be a fair price for the tea beside it and turned to leave.

"Hey….."
Rude caught her wrist. Only with a supreme effort did Ice manage to clamp down on the instant fear that being touched by a dominant male caused. She glanced at her wrist trapped in the big man's hand and slowly looked up into his face, keeping her own completely still. Sergeant had named her Ice for a reason. She hated that she couldn't see the man's eyes.
He gently released her.
"Man…. That's way too much for just tea."
He pushed a couple of the coins back her way but she was already backing slowly towards the door. Reno made a subtle move to block her path, but Rude gave a slight shake of his head. The Turk had seen a flash of pure terror in those strange eyes, and they had shimmered to silver before she had looked into his face with an eerie calm. He also had felt a good sized knife sheathed under the sleeve on the thin, but muscled forearm. He figured Tifa wouldn't appreciate accidental blood being spilled in the bar, even if it was some of the obnoxious red head's. Reno turned to watch as the woman slipped by him and walked out of the door.
He glanced at his partner, and waggled his red eyebrows.
"Wow…..your first tip."
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The woman just stood for a minute in the fading sunlight. She took a second to silently thank Sergeant for his endless lessons on staying in complete control. As she started her long walk home, a black motorcycle purred passed, heavily loaded with three figures. She recognized the two males. The young female sandwiched between them, although looking a little worse for wear, appeared much healthier than the last time they had met. She clicked her tongue happily against the roof of her mouth and headed towards home, she had no reason to hide her trail tonight.
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Yuffie had to admit, she certainly didn't mind being pressed up against Cloud’s slender but nicely muscled back. She couldn't really hold on with her hands, as even with a CURE it would take a while before they were totally healed. They were still wrapped to support healing bones and moving her fingers hurt like a bitch. This was why Vincent had agreed to ride home with them; he had his strong arms locked around her, helping her to balance from behind. If she hadn't been so loopy with pain medication and if her hands had worked a little better, she was sure she would have taken the opportunity to do some groping. Hold on….now that she thought about it, that would be a PERFECT excuse if Tifa caught on. CRAP! She just couldn't get her arms to cooperate. What a lost opportunity.
Valentine stepped off of the bike and balanced it as Yuffie tried to dismount. He ended up catching the young woman as she fell. The girl (woman… he silently corrected himself… as the firm body he cradled in his arms CERTAINLY wasn't that of a girl anymore) was still very weak from loss of blood and the pain medications the doctors had prescribed could probably floor one of his demons. Ignoring her half hearted complaining he carried her through the bar and upstairs to her room. Tifa had everything ready and the gunman settled the slim body on the bed taking a moment to carefully tuck the blankets around her. The trip over had wiped out what little energy Yuffie had gained from the Cure.
Her eyes definitely had a spaced out look in them.
"Thanks Vin…ya know, you smell really nice."
She smiled and fell asleep. Yep… the man thought rather startled at the words…. She was definitely wasted. He heard Tifa snickering behind him and turned with all the dignity he could muster.
"If she wakes up… please let me know, her description of what attacked her has been sketchy at best."
Actually the ex-Turk had hesitated to press Yuffie about it as she had gotten very upset when he tried. He hoped in a more secure setting, his traumatized friend would be more able to talk about it. Vincent headed back downstairs only to stop in amazement at the sight of Rude stationed behind the bar.
The man's sunglasses swung to look at him.
"Valentine…"
The gunman just blinked, then growled,
"Where's Reno?"
He did not trust the big man's red headed partner.
Rude shrugged and handed the ex-Turk a glass of red wine.
"He is out chasing women."
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Ice had stopped at one of her bolt holes and slid out of the uncomfortable clothes that humans insisted on wearing. All she left on was her harness that carried her knives and whatnots, leaving her hands free. She did don a long soft cloak, as she knew that nakedness in public was frowned upon. She strolled casually along, watching people and just in general enjoying things that she normally didn't get to see. She didn't even mind the fact that traffic was heavy due to the weekend coming up. As a result it was getting late when she approached what was left of Midgar.
She was almost to the ruins, when a flicker of motion alerted her. She had a split second to turn and get her hands up before a blur of cream on gold knocked her backwards to the ground. Of all of her birth litter, Ice was probably the fastest at making the "Change." Sergeant had worked her hard at it until she could shift in the time it took a person to take a deep breath. By the time she hit on her back… hard… she was no longer human and her strong, talon tipped, stubby fingers were buried in the white mane under her attacker's snapping jaws, twisting those long nasty teeth up and away from her neck. She kicked hard, trying to get a purchase with her hind claws on the soft underbelly straddling her and her sister released her with a savage scream to leap off and land a short distance away. Quicksilver eyes caught another blur in motion, and she twisted sideways rolling out of the interfering soft cloak, barely avoiding getting pinned by the bigger of the pair that were after her blood.
Ice scrambled to her feet, senses actively searching for a path of escape. If she only had to deal with her sister she might have had a chance. The pale gold sibling was only just slightly larger than herself and even with the size difference, brains COULD overcome brawn. The female backed slowly, her mane standing straight out, making her appear larger. She had her head lowered to protect her very vulnerable throat and her mouth gaped in challenge, exposing her long ivory canines as she made herself seem as threatening as possible.
She could feel blood running from stinging wounds where her sister had scored her sides; the BITCH was wearing silver tipped extensions on her natural weaponry. THESE weren't going to heal anytime soon. Her silver gaze tracked the second dark brown, heavily maned attacker; HE was the one who was going to kill her. There was no chance that she could win a battle with his much heavier bulk, longer claws, and massive fangs. Against the two of them together, she was totally screwed.
Ice watched Lahar stalk towards her; her brother was on one side blocking her escape towards the city. Her sister waited on her other side; she was there to prevent Ice from escaping into Midgar. Silver eyes tried to watch them both. The only way to get to the maze of the ruins, where she might have a chance to lose them, was to go through her sister. There was NO way she was getting passed her brother. The female knew that her siblings would follow and try to run her into the ground. The female did NOT want to lead them back towards the crowded streets.
Hissing softly through her teeth, she slowly straightened up until she was standing on her hind legs. Her dexterous fingers deftly plucked one of her throwing knives from her harness. Lahar shifted from a stalk into a roaring charge. Watching him come, Ice fully understood why Sergeant had pinned that particular name on the great brown beast. Gathering herself, the female launched forwards to meet his charge. As she did, Ice hurled the balanced throwing knife at the blonde form on her left, putting all of her strength behind the throw. Caught off guard, her sister didn't get out of its way fast enough and the silver laced blade buried itself to the hilt in her side. She dropped, screaming, in a swirl of gold and white, twisting on the ground, trying to pull the lethal silver out.
Ice couldn't spare her more than a passing glance. She needed to twist by Lahar, she was counting on her agility and small size to get her past his charge and into the maze. She wasn't counting on the two bullets that plowed into her broadside as she whipped by him. They were ordinary lead, so her body's healing factor automatically compensated, almost instantly repairing the damage they caused, as it pushed the foreign material out. More problematic was that the impact shock quite literally pushed her into Lahar's powerful, raking arms. They both went down in a kicking, clawing, biting ball.
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Reno had stealthily followed the strange woman since she exited the bar. Yes, he was mildly interested in the mystery surrounding the lovely thing. And she had acted a little odd when Rude had startled her, but lets face it the big man could be scary. This isn't what had interested the red head. Reno was thinking more along the lines of finding out where she lived and seeing if she might want to go out with him for a drink or…something. The red head had a radar for circumstances that just might just get him laid, and he KNEW that the mute woman was lonely. Maybe, if he played his cards right, she would be eager for the company of someone she could….converse…. with. Reno had a weakness for beautiful women {or men….he wasn't very particular} and he was hoping to angle an invitation into her bed.
The Turk was a little surprised when she ducked into what looked like an abandoned warehouse. She came back out a short time later dressed in a soft green cloak. The man could not help but notice how it made her long thick, cinnamon colored hair seem all the richer. Reno followed close enough that he occasionally got a glimpse of her sharp planed face and a flash of pale eyes as she stopped at intervals to watch the night time activities around her.
Reno started to get a little concerned, when she turned towards the old city of Midgar. The ruins were dangerous even in the day, and night was falling. Maybe he should intercept her and offer to walk her home? He watched as she turned down a decrepit alley way and decided that being the gallant knight and walking her safely the rest of the way home would score him some points. He hurried his stride, hoping to catch up.
He was working on a pick up line and made it halfway down the alley before what he was seeing... registered. He whipped back against the wall and instead of reaching for his E.M.R., He drew his damned gun. Two monsters were faced off at the end of the street, of the woman he had been following, there was no sign. The smaller of the two creatures was backed up against a wall, its long muzzled head turning one way than the other, evidently trying to find a way past the other much larger beast. That one was stalking forwards with deadly intent written in every line of its heavy shouldered frame. It broke into a charge, head down, a deep roar ripping out of its gaping mouth. The smaller one reared up and the astonished Turk watched as it threw a glittering knife with remarkable accuracy at a THIRD creature blocking the other end of the alley. It hit its mark, because the lighter colored beast fell thrashing into the dirt. That drew the red head’s attention to the soft bloodied green cloak balled up on the street. (SHIT!...So much for getting laid) The second monster also charged forwards in what looked like a suicide run. In the last instant it twisted away, evidently trying to make a break for the ruins.
No….that wouldn't do! The Turk had already decided that none of these THINGS was getting out of that alley. He shot the smaller one twice broadside and watched in satisfaction as the bullets put it right into the bigger ones arms. Both of the things went down in a fighting twisting ball of flashing claws and snapping teeth. Reno waited, slouched lazily against the wall. He would let the big one finish off its opponent, then he would kill it. There would be less work for him that way.
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Ice was, as Sergeant would have eloquently put it, in deep shit. She just barely managed to avoid getting her throat torn out, twisting so that her brother's long canines clamped down on her shoulder instead. She snapped at his face trying to get him to let go before he did too much damage. Her hands were busy, desperately keeping his claws away from her chest and stomach, she was NO match for him in strength and he managed to score her deep across the belly. The male was close enough in DNA that her healing factor did NOT treat his claws as foreign; any injury HE caused had the potential of being fatal. She rolled under him using one long toed foot to pull the silver laced knife out of the opposite ankle sheath. Holding it tight in that hand like foot she drove it up hard, into his groin. Lahar screamed and released his hold, jerking himself off of that burning blade.
Ice shot out from underneath him and was up and running. She raced down the alley heading back into the city. Her concern about the populace was forgotten in the need to just get away. The shoulder Lahar had mauled was badly damaged and her stride not nearly as long as it should be. The slower male still had a real chance of catching her.
The female heard several more shots crack out and she swerved to avoid the man who suddenly stepped out from the alley wall. She heard her brother grunt, but knew that like her, the bullets wouldn't even slow him down. With her ears pinned back, Ice could hear his every angry moaning breath as he gained on her. She twisted her long prehensile tail up, as his teeth popped together in a bid to catch it. When she hit the end of the side street she barreled out right into the heavy traffic of Main Street. At the pressure wave of air that hit her, the female acted on pure instinct. She leaped up high and somersaulted, her eyes not leaving the form of her brother as he ran right under the wheels of the passing automobile. She completed her rotation at the top of the leap and as she dropped back down she drew both wrist knives. The vehicle took Lahar down under both sets of wheels but even as it passed, he was trying to get up, broken bones and torn body automatically knitting back together. Ice fell out of the air, landing hard on his massive shoulders. Aided by gravity, she drove both silver blades into the center of his broad skull. They penetrated, piercing through his bone, his brain and then driving through his lower jaw to pin him to the concrete below. Another pressure wave and this time her reaction just wasn't fast enough, her leap cleared the hood but she slammed sideways into the windshield. The startled driver lost control, hopped the curb and stood on the brakes. Ice flew off of the hood through a shop's plate glass window to land with a crash amidst the broken glass.
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Reno charged out of the side street just in time to see the larger of the monsters get run down. To his amazement it regained its feet almost immediately only to be hit from above by the smaller one and the deadly blades it seemed to pull from thin air. The big beast was pinned to the street like a bug. The other wasn't fast enough to avoid being hit itself and when the flying glass and noise had settled it had disappeared through some poor person's shop window. The red head slowly walked out to the dead creature, traffic had come to a complete stand still. Shaking his long red pony tail slowly, he made a phone call.
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Vincent had slipped up to check on how Yuffie was sleeping when his cell rang. Swearing softly he quickly closed her door and flipped his phone open. RENO…..how the hell had RENO gotten his phone number?
He almost didn't answer…but then realized the annoying man would just keep calling until he did. He growled into the phone,
"Reno… you had better erase this number from your phone AND your memory!"
The man on the other end was unusually quiet, then,
"Heya Val….Yo…DON'T hang up! I think I found one of the things that attacked the Yuffie. You need to get down here."
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Ice would have given up any of her few precious possessions for the ability to scream. The female lay on her side in the glass and tried not to move as her body pulled itself back together. Screaming would not have helped the broken ribs and internal injuries caused by the impact to heal any faster, but damn it... it would have made HER feel better. She waited only long enough for the last glass like pain of bones pulling together to pass, then rolled carefully over so she could get to her feet. Her shoulder was still a bleeding mess and the long slashes across her belly and down her sides seeped blood, but her vessel was patched together enough to get the hell out of there. She gave a careful shake, spraying glass and blood in equal amounts, then leaped out of the broken window to land on the hood of the vehicle that had hit her. Ice slid on the bloodied metal as people screamed and scattered. The female found herself face to face with the smaller male from the bar who had understood her hand language. He was still recoiling, bringing his weapon up and around when she snapped long teeth together twice just centimeters from his nose. He ducked and she launched over him. Her leap carried her to the side of the building and she caught herself on the masonry. Using her strong fingers and toes the female scrambled up the wall and over on to the roof. His bullets whipped through her cinnamon mane, causing it to lift in the wind of their passing, but they didn't hit anything solid.
Ice headed for the safety of the ruins. Her system could handle an incredible amount of injury but the energy drain was massive when it had to deal with the kind of damage this night had wrought. It was going to have to shut down to deal with the wounds caused by her siblings. Her body was hurting, still bleeding, totally exhausted, and she needed to get to safety soon to give her depleted resources a chance to recharge. If she put it off much longer, her tired body would take matters out of her hands and just shut down where ever she happened to be. THAT would not be a good thing. Making a quick decision, the female headed UP instead of down. She didn't have the energy left to reach her underground home. She had a better chance of reaching one of her high safe holes. Her heavier, less agile brothers did not like to climb. Even if she didn't quite make it all the way up, she had a better chance of surviving while she couldn't protect herself.
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When Valentine arrived, there was a pretty good crowd gathered. Reno was standing in the street scratching his head, gun held loosely in one hand. That surprised the ex-Turk a little. Reno was not known for using that particular weapon very often. At least the red head had the presence of mind to keep people totally away from the creature pinned to the street.
The Turk's light colored eyes brushed by the approaching gunman, looking back up a side street.
"I think these things got a woman who came into Seventh Heaven earlier."
He shrugged unhappily, and prodded the thing on the ground with the toe of his shoe.
Vincent made no comment. He knelt to get a closer look at the beast. It's frame was huge. He figured, if it stood on its hind legs, it would stand close to seven foot tall. It could easily look over his head. But where he was long and lean, this thing was thick, heavy and powerful. It had broad shoulders and heavily muscled arms that were long in proportion to its body. They ended in almost human looking hands if you disregarded the talons that tipped the blunt thick fingers. A straight wide back supported a heavily arched, long ribcage and a surprisingly narrow waist. The shorter legs ended in feet that looked more like wickedly clawed hands and again they seemed as if the animal was built to move on all fours, but might be able to walk upright. It had a thick based, long flexible tail.
Reno knelt down next to him. His face was thoughtful, not an expression that Valentine had seen very often. He poked the short brown fur on the thing’s flank with the muzzle of his gun.
"The scary thing about this is, I put four bullets into it and it didn't even flinch."
Vincent blinked,
"Hnnnn... are you sure you hit it?"
He knew that Reno didn't LIKE to use the gun, but he was a Turk, they didn't usually miss.
The red head snorted,
"YO..." His blue eyes held the gunman's crimson ones and his face was solemn.
"I am no Vincent Valentine... but I DIDN'T miss. I know for a fact that I hit the smaller one twice and all it did was knock it around a little."
"Smaller one...?"
Vincent straightened a little, sharp eyes glancing around.
"UmmmHummm," Reno touched the twin knives that penetrated the beast's head and locked it to the pavement, with a reverent finger,
" It's the one who planted these babies."
Vincent just stared at the Turk,
"RENO...maybe you should tell me the WHOLE damned story."
Reno looked a little sheepish, then grinned,
"Well... It started with me following this woman that came into the bar."
At Vincent's arched eyebrow the red head continued.
"You see... I wanted to get laid..."
The gunman listened to the Turk while he ran his human hand through the thick coarse mane that covered the male's (It's genitalia were definitely male) head, neck, and chest. It started deep brown and faded to a golden tan at the ends. The neck was powerfully built and it's skull was deep and wide. The span between the thin, shell like, pointed ears was much wider than the tall man's hand. The ex-Turk was willing to bet that the brain it protected was large and had been capable of cognitive thought.
It took bracing a knee against the neck and a considerable amount of force to pull the long, heavy blades out of the wound they had created. They had been driven in with remarkable force. Once he had the head unpinned, Valentine realized why Yuffie had called this thing a nightmare. It's muzzle started out broad but narrowed down along its length. For all its narrowness, it was deep to accommodate the animals ivory hardware. The thin lipped mouth was armed with four long dagger like canines and the rest of its teeth were nothing to joke about. Vincent knew that dogs with this type of jaw structure had massive crushing power. It was easy to see how the young ninja's arms had gotten so badly damaged. She had been very lucky... it could have been her throat. The beast had a low, broad forehead, and brows that made it look like it was frowning even in death. It's glazed eyes were a light golden brown.
"And then it ran right up the building..."
Reno's words brought his attention back to the red head.
"What?! It got away?"
Great... the gunman had been hoping that this would be the end of the problem. A flash in the thick mane caught his attention, he ran sensitive fingers along that long thin ear. The tip had been pierced with a thick metal band. His sharp eyes could just pick out the engraved words...Property of Shinra Corp...
He turned it to where Reno could see it and the crimson eyes that watched the red head’s face pale, glittered with an angry hot gold.
"Would you care to explain this?"
It came out a growl.
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Yuffie wriggled around on the bed. Damn...she just couldn't get comfortable. She ached EVERYWHERE. The bar was quiet, everybody was probably already asleep. The young ninja pushed the blankets back, she was dying of thirst and the glass at her bedside was empty. Maybe she could make it to the bathroom? She was just swinging her legs
weakly over the edge when her door opened and Cloud's tousled blonde head peeked in.
"YUFFIE! You shouldn't be up"
He hurried into the room and pushed her gently back into the bed.
"If you NEED anything just holler...okay?"
Yuffie let herself flop back down.
"GODS ... Cloud, I just needed a drink."
Cloud tried to cover her back up and she pushed fretfully at the blankets.
"I JUST need a drink! Don't need the blankets, its too damn hot as it is."
Cloud frowned at her, and she couldn't quite stifle her giggle. Cloud's face just wasn't built for frowning. Now Vincent... he could frown. He was the CHAMPION of frowning. Speaking of which, where was her favorite tall, pale and handsome? Before she could ask, Cloud brought her a full glass of water and then being the sweetie that he was, helped her to drink some. He settled her back down, and INSISTED she be under the covers. Fine...she could just kick them back off when he left. Which she did.
Tifa sat up in bed at the look on Cloud's face when he came back to their room.
He ran his hand through his spiky hair.
"I think you should check on Yuffie, she felt awfully warm to me."
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Ice had to stop for a moment and have a brief argument with her body. Yes she told it, I need to rest, but later. Give me just a little more time. It complained ...but allowed it. She was moving up the burnt out skeletal remains of one of the tallest buildings. Her gait had gone from a quick limping trot to a dragging walk, but still she continued up. The female was aware she wasn't going to make it to her safe spot so she was watching for any flat covered place she could curl up on. She came to a gap in the scaffolding and had to back track a short distance so she could make a short run to get the momentum to leap for a platform on the other side of the twenty foot hole. The landing jarred the injured shoulder and she slipped, for a moment the three hundred foot fall beckoned, then her claws bit in and she staggered forwards. Her vision tunneled down and her body would no longer listen to her arguments. For its own sake... it shut her systems down.
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Vincent followed the beast into the ruins. He had left Reno with the warning that, after he had finished this, he was going to find Rufus Shinra and he wanted an explanation. The gunman doubted that he would get a satisfactory one.
The creature was leaving a very clear trail of blood. The ex-Turk didn't understand why it had not bled out by now. When it took to climbing the skeletal remains of the skyscrapers, things got a little more difficult. The man had to let the Galian Beast come forwards a little as he needed it's powerful sense of smell to sniff out the blood trail where the monster had leaped from building to building as it climbed. Valentine needed all of his enhancements to follow the dangerous path that the animal was taking. As it was, dawn was brushing the horizon before he was finished. The man had to move carefully, if he were to fall, Chaos' wings would not be much help. This section was crisscrossed with cables, old rusting pipes and jagged metal.. There was no wing room at all.
The ex-Turk came to a wide gap in the beam he was traveling on, the leap was tricky but he landed easily on the platform on the other side, his red cloak shifting in the light morning breeze. There, in the pale dawn's light he could see the still gold and red form of the other creature. It was huddled very close to the platform’s edge. The thing must have finally collapsed and died from its injuries. No... as Vincent cautiously approached the still form, he could see the slow rise and fall of its ribcage. It wasn't dead yet. He drew Cerberus from its holster. This was something he could easily rectify.
A queer movement along the beast’s red sides had him holding his fire and he found himself kneeling down to get a closer look. The gunman watched in a rather sick fascination as the gaping wounds in the muscled shoulder and on its lean belly...pulled...themselves slowly closed. Muscle fiber, nerves and veins twisted towards each other, wavering like living things in the cool air. They reconnected, then slowly tightened, knitting the edges of the ugly injuries together. Using the tips of his gleaming claws he parted the fur along the bloody side and wondered why the long slashes there, weren't healing in the same way. Shaking his head…. Shinra's weird wonders would never cease it seemed….he stood back up. Vincent aimed Cerberus at the back of its broad skull and lightly stroked the trigger.
The shot went wild as his left leg was jerked out from underneath him. Valentine landed flat on his back as the creature twisted up astraddle him. It had intelligence, because moving with incredible speed, it first pinned his gun arm with one talon-ed hand and the other trapped his gauntlet against his chest. He could feel the long toes on one hind foot dig into his hip as it used its strong leg to help hold him down. He arched up against it, amazed at its strength then froze as it swung that long muzzle and caught his jaw and neck between sharp, deadly canines. The beast held him there for a long minute, its bite painful but not breaking the skin. Then it opened its mouth ,releasing him. Tilted silver eyes studied his face and he could feel strong hands and feet flexing. Vincent didn't let himself flinch as that long nose swung down again and delicately sniffed at his eyes, along the sides of his face and his mouth. Valentine could see its eyes flash from silver to gray to silver as it flicked clear inner lids across them. It huffed softly to itself, and in one smooth motion released him and launched itself off of the platform. The ex-Turk rolled to the edge and watched it drop, arms spread, legs tucked, prehensile tail {THAT is what had yanked his leg out from under him} acting like a rudder. The creature fell fifty feet and caught a cable in passing with one hand. It used the jerk and its momentum to change direction and fly, cinnamon mane flowing in the wind, another twenty feet to catch a vertical pole in one hand and two feet, spin around it and fly off in a totally different direction.. There was no tracking it with the gun. The beast traveled the three hundred feet down in just seconds and disappeared into the depths of Midgar.


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