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 31

Abraham sipped fine cognac and silently watched Griffin as the barman finished closing for the night. It was very late, but since the elderly man had taken employment as the Shinra mansion’s Premier Valet, this was really the only time that his duties allowed him away from the household. Also…the man servant had wanted to be sure that NOTHING that he did in this first month would arouse any type of suspicion. The males currently residing in that house were notorious for being able to sniff out anything that was not totally on the level. Abraham had walked in dangerous circles most of his very long life and he knew that the situation he was immersed in could quite possibly be the most volatile one yet.
It was a matter of pride to Abraham that not a single Were had been born or…created…since the day he had ascended, that he was not aware of. It was tradition set in stone that the Patriarch was responsible for inspecting and APPROVING every litter of kitlings that was born to a Family female. This was not a difficult task in that even though they were long lived…TRUE Were to Were pairings had a very low live birth rate. The numbers improved if a human was approved to undergo a…. Change(something he RARELY approved)…. but still, younglings were far and few between. All were appraised in their first days by The Patriarch, and any that he deemed unfit were disposed of. His Alpha Seconds…the sire’s of said litters stood down and deferred to his decision if a youngling did not meet with his approval.
In the beginning he not only culled the weak but looked for potential candidates to be trained as Seconds AND he marked those that could become rivals. In these later years, especially after the loss of his life bonded mate he desperately sought a kit who had the potential for succession. His was an Alpha position that was filled by succession. The elder Alpha usually took centuries to groom a male of his bloodline for the time when he was ready to step down. Abraham would have stepped down decades ago except for the disaster that cost him his mate and his beloved son. With that loss it had become imperative that he continue in his leadership. Not one of his multitude of Seconds or Thirds had shown the strength of character or insight needed to lead the Family through these troubled times. AND with them being such long lived creatures…intelligence and INSIGHT were needed more than ambition and brute strength. If he were to die before he could confirm his successor…it would throw the Family into chaos as the Alpha males battled it out for the dominant position. This was something that must be avoided at all costs…their hidden existence amongst the humans was always a tenuous thing.
Abraham knew every Family member personally. The man had been stunned when he had opened the mansion door and found not one….but TWO unknown Weres standing on the marble steps, plus a first Generation Changeling. What the other black clad, golden clawed, intimidating being was….Abraham wasn't sure. His eyes had told him this was simply a human, but his instincts…they screamed at him…. RIVAL…walk with extreme caution!
Granted, the siblings looked different than Family…but he very much recognized the scent of their bloodline. Mariah had been in hidden seclusion, carrying HIS last litter when the disaster had struck. No one knew exactly what had happened, for the territory the elite group had been in was very remote. After one missed check in…it had only taken a few days to reach the last known den site…and it was as if there had never been any living thing there. ALL of Mariah’s escort had just…vanished…and the site had been swept clean of every physical trace.
Oh…Abraham was not stupid…he had his suspicions… but decades of quiet espionage had revealed nothing of his mate’s fate. Shinra’s forces were exceptional in their ability to create cover ups. Even so…many of his Seconds had wanted the Family to RISE and declare open war against the humans. The Patriarch though…he had not preserved his bloodlines and protected the Families’ very existence for centuries by taking ill thought out chances. Shinra had been a mighty force at the time, and without total proof as to Mariah’s fate, the great male had stood firm against the younger one’s desire for revenge. Although…it wasn't that the same desire did not burn as hotly in the ancient creature’s heart.
Fine fingers slowly rotated the snifter…none of the anger that raged in this powerful being’s soul made it to the cool grey eyes that studied the amber depths contained within. Rufus Shinra was scheduled to pay the mansion a visit, the boy had not even been born when Mariah and her litter had vanished. It would be…unfair…to arbitrarily blame the son for the sins of the father. Still… the Alpha intended to have his answers and he did NOT take it lightly that Shinra had stolen his mate and his offspring for their own twisted purposes. The quiet truce that Abraham had enforced on his Family where the humans were concerned, was a fragile thing at best. Its’ very existence depended on how he reacted to what had been done to his children.
The Patriarch had heard some disquieting things in the past month concerning his kits…things that had included torture and …experimentation. This was very evident in the fact that the children of his loins were no longer wolf based. His heart twisted uneasily here…HE would have culled "the Troop" as they were born. Their first breaths would have been their last! The deformed creatures would never have gotten the chance to pass on their mutated DNA. Let alone create a Changeling. And…here the Elder found himself hating the whole human race for this fact… he might as of yet have to be the one to cull what by rights should have been destroyed at birth, HIS kits…his very last son and daughter. Right at the moment…WELL…. with the concurrent disasters of Meteor and Omega (and yes…he had known the minute he heard of the Deepground Hellhounds that Shinra had intimate knowledge of Werewolves!) the human race was very much diminished, and NOT in much of a position to defend itself!
A soft rustle drew his attention away from his disquieting inner thoughts as Griffin settled in the chair opposite him. Such was the look in the eyes that were the color of tempered steel, that Griffin automatically looked away as he rolled his head, exposing his throat. The glass lifted in a quiet toast.
"Thank the Gods Griffin for your finely tuned "trouble" radar….You were entirely correct as to your assessment of this situation. These are matters that I need to attend to…personally."
Yuffie stood at her bedroom window watching Rude and Whisper slowly move through the dance like moves of an odd blend of the Wushu and the Hau Kuen style of martial arts out on the back lawn. The young woman had laughed her ass off when she realized that the pair were teaching the Were-primate a form of battle skill nicknamed, Monkey Fist!
It seemed that the two Turks had taken the White under their wing so to speak and were augmenting the Were’s considerable battle skills with some…finesse. His grab, rend and tear style worked well for the beast….but the male’s almost human form had come into its own as the albino quickly absorbed the strike and fade fighting style that the team of assassins had perfected. The ninja sighed…she REALLY should be down there practicing with the pair. Ice and herself had made it a habit to join the males in their morning sessions. Yuffie actually looked forward to the lessons that the still agile pregnant Were gave her on fighting in her Changed form. The shin obi had returned the favor, instructing Ice in some of the more obscure hand to hand techniques that she had been taught.
Evidently the young ninja wasn't the ONLY one feeling lax this bright autumn morning as the gold and cinnamon figure of the other female was no where to be seen. Slender fingers absent mindedly turned a cell phone over and over again as the woman’s thoughtful gaze appreciated the distinct contrast of black and vivid white against the emerald green of the lawn. Slight movement in the gold and red foliage of the forest attracted the girl’s sharp gaze. Ah….it seemed that there were ALWAYS wolves lurking on the border of the estate’s extensive property. Vincent and the Turks had gone out several times, hunting the threat, but it was as if the things always knew they were coming. The men inevitably came back empty handed. Still…as long as the creatures caused no problems…eh… live and let live. They seemed to be keeping the monster population in the mountains around Neibelhiem in check…so the great beasts DID serve a purpose.
And….speaking of purpose, Yuffie leaned her forehead against the cool glass. HER purpose in life, at least as far as her father was concerned, was to get married to a royal suitor and produce an heir to the Wuttain throne. It did not matter to Godo that his young daughter was in love with Vincent…no…. Yuffie was well aware, that match would never be approved. As elegant and refined as the gunslinger was, he did NOT have a drop of royalty in the exotic elixir that flowed in his veins. The princess knew that it was HER responsibility to her country and her people to produce heirs. Even if she could somehow convince Godo and the powers that be that Valentine was the ONE…the demon-ridden man’s adamant refusal to have children was totally unacceptable.
The gunslinger had made himself VERY scarce since they arrived. Part of this, she was sure, was the man’s horrific memories of what had happened to him here. He had only made it down to the refurbished labs once…and this was just to confirm that they had truly been changed from the medieval seeming torture chambers they had been when he was an unwilling…guest. But, the girl also knew that Valentine was avoiding the issue by avoiding her. Vincent was worried about bringing monsters into the world? What in the hell did the man think SHE was now? Once her people found out that their princess had been turned into a beast (of course why THIEF was okay and beast wasn't was beyond her!)…well… all bets would be off. It would spell disaster for Godo and the throne. She had come to the decision this morning that IF Rufus could pull a miracle out of his ass and fix the situation she found herself in, she would bite the bullet and give in to what her destiny decreed.
Yuffie had just gotten off the phone with Godo. The man had been ecstatic when his daughter had informed him to compile a list of suitable men. As soon as she was done taking care of the current….situation….she would be coming home to take care of her…responsibilities.
A soft knock had the girl hastily scrubbing silent tears off of her face as she turned. The door opened and Abraham came in carrying a breakfast tray. Yuffie had learned fast that if she didn't show up for breakfast, it inevitably came to her in the form of whatever the solemn, elderly man deemed appropriate. Surprisingly, the man servant (with help from Elizabeth she was sure) had a true knack for putting together something that she just couldn't help but scarf down. That quicksilver gaze studied her face for a moment, then the man quietly set the tray down, uncovered her food and made a very slight gesture with his hand that practically ORDERED her to sit down and eat! The girl was settling down into the chair before she even realized that she had jumped to follow that silent order. A quick smile ghosted across her features as she wondered how Vincent…the man who NEVER seemed to eat…was dealing with this sort of thing. The ninja was very good at reading people, Abraham might SEEM the quiet, self effacing type but the girl had a strong feeling that these still waters ran very deep indeed! She would love to be a fly on the wall when Valentine clashed wills with this unassuming, grey eyed man.
Ice lay in her very comfortable bed, in her lovely comfortable room and was miserable! Her muscles ached…her breasts hurt.(all four of them) and her stomach was rolling in very unpleasant ways. If anyone had mentioned that being pregnant was THIS unpleasant she would have just kicked Chaos in the balls and run for her life. The golden female huffed softly at THAT particular mental image. She knew she should get up and join Yuffie for their morning sparring session and then breakfast but just the thought had her ulping and curling into a ball. She would NOT throw up….that was a torture that she had learned long ago to avoid. It was hard enough getting things to go DOWN her throat let alone having those same things come back up. Maybe if she just lay here and did NOT think about food….. There was a soft scratch at the door and Ice sat up in alarm…OH NO, she had forgotten about Abraham! The smell of barely cooked, coddled eggs preceded the manservant into the room. Cool grey eyes just blinked as there was a blur of motion and Ice disappeared into the bathroom.
Ice hung over the toilet, her stomach trying to exit out her damaged throat. There was a soft motion behind her and long, warm fingers carefully pulled her cinnamon mane back out of the way. Abraham gently rubbed her back with the other hand as she gave a dry retch…there was really nothing in her belly to bring up. The female heard his rich voice murmur that maybe he should just bring her up some tea? Ice took a moment to feel a little sorry for herself…Where was her mate? Where was that strong, wonderful…DAMNED… winged JERK! HELL with kicking…she should have taken those balls and EATEN them…OH! BAD image…that thought did not help her heaves at all!
Vincent spun, twisting away as a Changeling tried to set its' slavering jaws into his shoulder. Bringing Cerberus around, the gunman unloaded three shots at point blank range into the thing’s misshapen head. He felt a twinge of satisfaction as said head promptly disintegrated. Valentine had taken the time to create rounds that were laced with silver just for these occasions. They were very effective in killing a Were changeling…BUT… had the severe drawback of only being reliably accurate at very close range. As a result, the person using them inevitably took some damage from slashing teeth and claws.
Rufus had lost quite a number of operatives in this way trying to deal with the pockets of Changelings that kept appearing around the Midgar ruins. All it took was a saliva touched scratch and a defender quite literally turned into the enemy. Shinra was at his wits end dealing with not only the loss of troops but a serious moral problem as soldiers ended up having to kill friends who had just the day before been defending their backs. Both Rude and Reno had been called away from the mansion several times in the past month to be a part of these extermination details and only their incredible skill and pure unadulterated luck had brought them back unharmed. When Vincent found out the risk Rufus' people were taking trying to defend the public, he had stepped up to volunteer, after all…he was immune to the deadly virus.
A heavy weight landed on the ex-Turk’s back and knife like claws dug in before he could reach up with his own silver capped talons and tear the thing off. He slammed the writhing, screaming body against a wall, pinned it there with his flesh arm, and with one long stroke, disemboweled it. WELL….almost immune! He could hear Chaos keeping up a running litany of ancient curses as he dealt with the damage. One of these days, the gunman thought wryly, he was going to have to ask what some of those nasty sounding phrases meant. He would LOVE to use a couple of them on Highwind. A quick shot put the gutted beast out of its misery as Valentine made a fast reconnaissance of the area. The Galian beast confirmed that there were no more Beasts at large and the man slowly stood down. A call in to Reno, and he could soon hear the thump of copter blades as the Turk skillfully brought his machine in to land behind makeshift barricades. It would take little time for Shinra’s forces to do a sweep and clean-up and then the civilians who had been evacuated would be allowed to return to the area.
As the exhausted gunman slid into the passenger seat he caught a flash of pale eyes as Reno’s sideways glance took in his shredded shirt. (Vincent never HAD been able to make Yuffie tell him what she had done with his cloak!)
"Ah man….YO…I am getting really tired of cleaning your blood offa my seats!"
Valentine shrugged.
"Better mine than yours."
The ex-Turk tiredly sagged back, closed his almost gold eyes and tried to relax so that Chaos could have total reign in his aching body.
Red brows lowered as the man spared his passenger a concerned glance even as he delicately maneuvered the machine back up into the clear sky.
"You okay?"
As he took in the tired warrior’s slight nod…Reno turned his attention to getting them to Shinra’s headquarters as quickly as possible. They had actually come to the Healing Lodge for an arranged pick up of Tseng and Rufus. The President was finally going to be introduced to the Weres, a meeting that Tseng was very much looking forwards to. There had been an outbreak while they were in route so Vincent had taken the time to divert and deal with it.
Reno studied the quiet man out of the corner of his eye. These dangerous… excursions… were taking their toll on the ex-Turk. Tseng had been very concerned that these extermination runs were becoming more frequent. The head of Shinra’s science department had put forth the theory that the two unaccounted for siblings were causing the outbreaks and maybe Rufus should send his vaunted Turks into the ruins to hunt them down. Reno thought it very strange that the two remaining Troop members would be causing problems NOW. From what Whisper had told him, the ONLY Were who had prowled Edge looking for prey was Titan and that monster was dead. Both Ice and the White had been adamant that Ghost, the remaining brother did not have the….confidence….to mingle with humans and Vixen was smart enough to avoid them at all costs.
Still…this did not help the fact that they were having to call upon Valentine more and more often. Tseng had shared with his Second his worries on the demon ridden man overextending himself trying to deal with these outbreaks alone. Even with the risk, they were going to have to figure out a better type of back up for the alleged immortal. Reno had included Vincent’s brush with death because of Sergeant’s attack in his initial report and the quiet head of the Turks had been more than alarmed at how close the gunslinger’s demon had come to NOT being able to deal with damage inflicted by a Were.
Reno had made the suggestion that Whisper would be the perfect ally to back the gunman and his suggestion had been met with resistance. It seemed that Rufus did NOT want to turn a dangerous beast loose without some type of guaranteed control. When the redhead had started up from his chair…practically bristling with outrage at the offhand comment, his boss had made a hidden gesture. It basically meant stand down…we will deal with this later. The Turk had controlled himself with difficulty but had understood a little more when Tseng had waited until they were alone and then explained the…discrepancies… between what Reno and Rude were reporting and what Dr. Destinie was putting forth in her reports. The Head of Intelligence had formed his own opinion on things and had a trip to the Mansion planned with Rufus so that they could see for themselves just exactly what Whisper and Ice were.
A sideways glance confirmed that Valentine seemed to be asleep…thank the GODS Rufus had NOT made that ill advised comment in the demon ridden, beast possessed man’s presence. A crosswind buffeted the copter and Reno swore softly as he quickly compensated. There was a glimmer of gold as one of Vincent’s eyes slitted open.
Smart ass demon….What did HE know about flying? Wait…Well…FINE! It wasn't Reno’s fault that Chaos had NO appreciation for the way a TRUE seat of your pants pilot flew!. STILL…Reno kept his attention strictly on what he was doing until they came in for a soft landing on Shinra’s roof.
Abraham received word that Valentine and Reno would be returning within the hour. He quickly made his way to the Turk's room to let Whisper know that Rufus Shinra would be arriving with them and to make sure that the young male was dressed and ready.
A quiet knock elicited a soft,
"Its open."
Whisper was standing by the window, anxiously watching the sky. Abraham studied the Were for a moment, taking note of the narrowed red eyes and soft lips that were set in a thin, pained line. The valet's age frosted, chestnut eyebrows arched up in surprise as without warning, the white flashed from his almost human form to the beast than back to human in the space of a minute. The Albino stifled a curse and just barely managed to stop himself from repeating the cycle, AGAIN.
The man seemed not to notice as crimson eyes glanced his way, trying to gauge his reaction to the Were's lapse of control, as he sorted through the closet. The Valet carefully laid a change of clothes on the bed and this time a frown marred his calm features as Whisper's form rippled again. The albino growled softly and flinched when cool hands settled on his tense shoulders…
"Are you okay young man?"
Those broad shoulders sagged.
"NO…Reno says I must show Rufus that I am in control at all times. I CANNOT seem the beast today. I MUST appear as human as possible…and this is hard! The beast always dominates when we are stressed or unsure. Rude says that it is very important that Mr. Shinra view me as a man and not think that I am just a beast!"
"And do YOU know what you are, Whisper?”
Abraham's nimble fingers combed through and then began braiding the creamy mane. The young male unconsciously started to relax as his body recognized the familiar ritual of being groomed.
The Were sighed and his tagged ear twitched as the manservant gently de-tangled a wisp of hair from the piece of metal and added it to the braid.
"An experiment…and a failed one at that. I am property of Shinra. If Rufus does not find me acceptable…" Again that little tag flashed in the sun as the delicate ear it adorned flattened. "He will have me destroyed."
The clever hands paused, and a fingertip lightly brushed that inconspicuous piece of metal. If Whisper had been able to see the RAGE that glazed those mercurial eyes for a moment…he would have been alarmed. Still, Abraham's stoic face remained calm and the tone of his baritone voice did not change.
"Are you afraid of death….is that why you are having problems controlling…the beast?"
Whisper snorted,
"Oh no…death is not what I fear….I am an omega male, a rogue, and an "aberration" to boot…I have lived with the reaper as my companion my whole life. No…I just do NOT want Reno or Rude to be the ones ordered to euthanize this… specimen. I don't think Reno's soul could survive it. And if he can't obey his Alpha's order…Well, Rude would have to…"
Whisper did not finish the thought, but Abraham did not need him to. He was well aware of what being a Second to a powerful male entailed.
The Valet finished his work and neatly wove the end of Whisper's braid back up though the strands to hold it in place.
"Hasn't Rude been teaching you exercises on finding your center and holding to it in order to remain calm and focused during battle?"
The heavily maned head nodded under his hand.
"Well then, those same exercises can translate into everyday life. They will help you in stabilizing your form. Just take a deep breath, go through your mantras to find your center and hold to it, no matter what your emotions are doing."
Abraham's lips quirked up in a slight smile as he felt the young male go very still under his hand. As he was getting ready to slip quietly out of the room Whisper's light voice stopped him.
"That does help…thank you Abraham."
The man servant paused before leaving.
"You should not worry, son. If Shinra cannot see what a gem he has in you…well …if that boy is as much a fool as his father was, he will NOT be in a position of leadership for long!"
Whisper's head whipped around at this comment…but the man was already through the door and gone before his surprised mind could formulate a response to the statement. Abraham did not see the contemplative look that settled over the White's face after he left…that had SOUNDED to the omega male like something a Troop member would say…it was NOT something he would expect to hear coming out of a human's mouth.
"Stop, squirming Ice!"
Marion patiently waited for the golden female to quit wiggling around on the exam table. Even with the removal of the heavy restraints and the addition of padding, clean sheets and a pillow, The female still HATED to be on it. Usually, the Doctor took the blood for Yuffie's shots up in Ice's room were the female was much more relaxed. Today though, she had wanted to perform an OBGYN exam after the draw and needed the little stirrups that were attached to the exam table in the lab. It was having her heels in these that was causing Ice to shift around nervously, trying to get comfortable. The Were's elegant hands flowed through a terse dance as she lifted her cinnamon maned head to glare balefully at the Vet..
"This SUCKS! How can anyone lay still in this position? Is this really necessary?"
It took Marion a moment to translate what the female was saying in her head. All of them had been taking lessons from the Turks and Valentine so that they would understand Ice if she needed them. Yuffie was a little quicker…
"Suck it up Ice…ALL women have to put up with this shit! It is just a part of life."
The ninja had some compassion for the wiggling Were, after all the female had experienced some horrendous things while strapped on an exam table….BUT… since Yuffie had been putting up with these exams since before her first cycle, the princess' sympathy was slight.
There was a soft snort from the uncomfortable female…
"ALL women? Even…white coats?"
Pale eyes narrowed and Ice's soft lips curled up as Yuffie giggled while Marion gave a solemn nod.
"Well…if that is the case…"
The golden female's head flopped back, her opinion of this clearly written in every line of her tense body. The Vet warmed her gel in her hands and performed the internal exam as quickly as she could. The soft growl that escaped the damaged throat was an unneeded remainder to be gentle. All there felt as it should and Marion's attention was already focused on the next part of the procedure. The little Vet did not see Ice's arctic eyes fly wide when she pulled the speculum out of its warming drawer. The female, upon seeing the odd shaped instrument, was off of the table like a shot, dragging her sheet with her. Yuffie was NOT in her beast form, and the small belly that Ice had already developed didn't slow the female down one little bit. The Were beat the ninja to the door with at least three feet to spare.
Ah HELL….Marion glared evilly at the now empty exam table, Damn IT! Maybe those restraints weren't such a bad idea after all! The narrowed eyes fell on the instrument she still held and a wry smile twisted the scientist's lips. Well… she would give the female this one, Ice probably WASN'T the first female that had wanted to pull a screaming exit out of the room when it was brought out…the thing did look like a medieval torture device! GODS… she hoped every exam wasn't going to be like this. With an exasperated sigh, the little Vet joined the chase, forgotten speculum still in hand.
Vincent was the last to enter the mansion's imposing front door. (Of course, Abraham helped with this impression just by being the one who opened said door!) The gunman wasn't sure why the elderly man set his nerves on alert mood. The man certainly wasn't big or imposing in physical stature. Maybe it was the way he carried himself, his every movement unconsciously telecasting sheer self confidence. Or maybe it was the Valet's steely, unflinching, grey gaze. The Galian grumbled softly in the back of the ex-Turk's mind. The beast was uncomfortable with the fact that he could not get a true reading on the manservant's scent. Abraham wore a cologne that was not strong, but was blended in such a way that it combined with and changed his true scent.
Abraham showed the group into the sitting room. Rufus was now well enough that he was out of his chair, but the young man still needed the support of an elegant cane. Valentine was not fooled by the blonde's aura of fragility. The President had been trained in combat by the very best and even with his bad leg, he was quite able to defend himself. The ex-Turk knew for a fact that the ornate stick that Shinra used had at least one type of weapon hidden in or on it. Of course, this was a mote point. With the silent Tseng always at his back and Reno shadowing their every move, the chance of the boy ever having to defend himself was slim to none!
A motion in the great hall leading in captured the gunman's crimson gaze. Rude and Whisper entered followed by Elizabeth who carried a tray of refreshments. For a moment Vincent felt a pang of sympathy for Whisper. The Albino's ears were so flattened, they almost could not be seen….and this was saying something as his… braided?… snowy mane was also sucked tight, betraying the Were's nervousness. As the pair approached Shinra, Valentine noted how Tseng moved around to stand slightly in front and to the side of his charge. Glowing ruby also caught the very slight widening of the Turk's inscrutable eyes as he realized how very large the Troop male was. Rufus, to his credit, did not move or change expression. He just studied the advancing male with slightly narrowed, blue eyes.
Rude, who stayed at Whisper's side, gave a slight nod towards his partner. Reno straightened out of his customary slouch, and made the introductions.

"Yo…boss, this is Whisper. Whisper, meet Rufus Shinra, President of Shinra corporation."
One slender hand made a languid rolling motion that encompassed the still form of the Head of the Turks.
"And… this is Tseng, the President's Second, and my Alpha."
Vincent hid a smile as both of Tseng's dark eyebrows shot up at the unorthodox title. Whisper's sharp gaze remained focused on the silent assassin and he gave a slight nod as his instinctual assessment agreed with just WHY this unimposing male was Reno's superior. Those bloody eyes flicked to Rufus and Valentine could just SEE the wheels turning in the Were's mind as he tried to figure how it was that Tseng was the Second ranked of the two. There would always, it seemed, be a chasm between how the two species thought and operated… culturally.
The sound of running feet and shouting in the great hall snapped everyone's attention to the entrance just as the gold and cinnamon form of Ice came shooting through it. Elizabeth had to do a quick twist and lift to keep her tray from being dumped as the panicked Were blew by her. Ice was naked, and running as if the hounds of Hell were on her long tailed ass. A soft white sheet billowed in her wake, one edge clutched in a strong hand. It wasn't a Hell hound that followed right on her heels, it was a ninja who was laughing so hard that she was having problems keeping up. Valentine tensed as Tseng…unaware that Ice was no threat, stepped in front of the white suited Rufus, his hand drawing a pistol from it's hidden shoulder harness.
As quick as the top dog was, Whisper was faster by far. He stepped towards Rufus. ALL of the Turk's reacted including the only living retired one in history. Vincent's hand dropped to Cerberus, Chaos and the Galian suddenly very much alive and active in his mind. He would have no choice but to protect Ice if it came down to it. The demonic duo would insure that! The Albino's bloody gaze flashed his way as Whisper turned, neatly intercepting his sister before she could accidentally mow Shinra down. Ice was running so mindlessly that she didn't even try to stop, the female slammed into the wide chest of her brother with an audible…THUMP! Whisper rocked back at the impact, the force of it driving a soft grunt through his clenched teeth, but he stood like an immovable, silky furred boulder. With fast, sure moves he caught the sheet and spun the stunned female around, deftly covering her nakedness. A strong tail slipped around Ice's slight belly bulge, holding the impromptu garment in place. The White's light voice was remarkably calm.
"President….this is my sister, Ice. Please excuse her if she acts a little odd sometimes, she had her brains scrambled by a bullet at a young age and the damage sometimes affects her behavior."
Gleaming ruby eyes never left the elegant blonde's face as Whisper gave his gasping sibling a slight shake and his silken lips just brushed the edge of her delicate, metal tagged ear as he nodded towards Shinra's tense hound.
"Ice…this is Tseng…Reno's Alpha and Second to the man he is currently protecting. That one is Rufus Shinra, Heir to Shinra Corporation and as such…." Here those carmine eyes narrowed and a touch of bitterness entered the usually gentle voice. “HE… is the man who owns us!"
The Were's expressive ears had risen to a more aggressive position causing his I.D tag to flash in the light. Whisper's creamy mane ruffed out making the male suddenly very intimidating.
Valentine started a little as Chaos rumbled,
The Dark One had NEVER liked Rufus.
"Shut up, Chaos we do not need a blood bath here!"
Vincent had a right to be worried. Tseng's gun was leveled on Ice and the ex-Turk was positive that there would be silver laced into the ammo loaded in its’ clip. Rude had his weapon out and Reno had coiled, his E.M.R. in one hand. The red head's pale eyes darted between Whisper and Tseng. They had ignited to blue flame as the Mako in the Turk's system fired up in response to his adrenaline rush. Valentine had a sudden sinking feeling that the man had no clue as to which way he would go if violence broke out.
Crimson shot with gold slashed the Valet's way and Vincent's elegant brows furrowed down in shock. The man servant’s eyes were narrowed and they glimmered like steel heated to the molten point. The man still stood as if completely at ease…BUT his entire aura had changed. A feeling of ancient power rolled off of the man in an overwhelming wave and Vincent actually let Chaos push forwards in reaction to the perceived threat.
This was a rumbled growl as the Demon Lord suddenly recognized a true rival.
Tseng watched the lovely female in utter fascination. The pupils in those silvery blue eyes dilated, and then shrank as the creature's inner eyelids flicked across. The Turk could tell that the Were was waging a war within herself, her intellect battling the beast to rise to the top. The man's trigger finger relaxed a little as her long tail slid out from under the sheet and coiled lightly around her brother's thick wrist. Ice licked her lips, flattened her ears and made an odd rolling motion with her head, exposing her scarred and ridged throat. The assassin totally lost his inscrutable look as the slender hands flowed through a graceful dance.
"Greetings, Tseng…Ghost of Steel." The cinnamon maned head nodded at Rufus, "Thank you, Alpha of Shinra Troop for providing us this lovely Home. My brother and I are quite happy here."
Shinra's top dog felt a light touch on his hip and he reluctantly stepped aside at Rufus' quiet demand. The man was very aware that the silver/blue and the crimson took careful note of his submission to the younger, crippled blonde.
Marion came skidding into the sitting room just as the elegantly dressed blonde man stepped up to face Ice. The little Vet wisely stopped and held her position just slightly behind and to the side of Yuffie. Taking in the Turk's battle readiness, the coiled deadliness of the rapier-like man that accompanied Shinra (EVERYBODY knew who HE was) and Vincent's quiet, lethal stillness, it did NOT take a rocket scientist to figure out that this situation could blow up into bloodshed in the blink of an eye. The Doctor had to give Rufus credit for courage or foolishness. The man stood face to face with Ice (who in typical primate fashion, ducked her head so she wouldn't be looking him directly in the eyes.) and Whisper's six foot seven frame towered over the both of them. One manicured finger tipped Ice's chin up…
"Happy? Then, why are you running from Dr. Becket. Has she mistreated you?"
The words were spoken in a silky, cultured voice. Marion suppressed a slight shudder….damn! That man was SEXY. And being as how she was living in a household just packed FULL of testosterone driven, masculine…hell lets be honest….HOT male flesh. (not the least of whom was Valentine with his dark, imposing…Oh My Gods! Give me some of that!…demon!)This was saying something! The woman stifled a smile, she wasn't the ONLY female in the room feeling the man's sexuality! Ice's pale eyes flashed up to meet the deep blue ones and a pink tongue tip slipped out the corner of her mouth as her hands practically flew.
"Oh NO….Marion is wonderful. She is very kind to me." Ice looked the Vet's way and winced as her whole posture changed to express her utter mortification.
"I do not like the lab and became frightened. It isn't Dr. Beckets fault that I…panicked! PLEASE do not send her away!"
Marion stepped forward a little as the pregnant female got agitated. She kept her words soft.
"Mr. Shinra, Ice is not the first woman who has felt the need to run screaming out of a doctor's office during an OBGYN exam."
Rufus just looked at her, then his gaze flicked to Yuffie as the young woman solemnly nodded in agreement. A quick glance at the instrument still held loosely in the Vet's hand and a light smile tugged at the man's thin lips.
"I see….I assume that you did not finish the exam? Can it not be done somewhere other than the lab where Ice might be more at ease?"
Marion shrugged,
"I still need to run some tests, and it needs to be in the lab because I want to use the ultrasound and take a look at the babies."
Ice's cinnamon head snapped around, and her tail let go of Whisper as she turned so she could see the Vet. The prehensile length of it curled in excitement around Shinra's bad leg. The man's almost white brows tried to crawl right off of his forehead. Something that sounded suspiciously like a snicker came from Reno's general direction.
"Really…you can SEE my kits? You didn't TELL me that!"
Marion grinned at the female's obvious excitement.
"It was going to be a surprise."
"OH….oh…can it still be a surprise? I will go back to the lab!"
The wistful look on Ice's sweet face was impossible to resist. And doubly lethal on the males in the room.
"Yo….come on Doc!"
"Man…you had better say yes…"
Rude went so far as to take off his shades and pin the scientist with an intense brown glare.
"See the PUPPIES?…..oh… I DO want to see our puppies…..?"
Everybody's heads jerked around to stare at Vincent. That rough growling voice had not belonged to him or Chaos'. The gunman actually had a pink tint to his pale cheeks as he slammed a hand over his mouth, Abraham all but forgotten!
"Sorry…"he mumbled around his fingers. "The Galian beast gets a little excited when it comes to the…um…puppies."
Even Shinra was not immune, he carefully pulled the female away from her brother and gave her a slight push towards the door.
"Doctor….I want an ultrasound to check the health of Ice's kits done…A.S.A.P. This is a direct order!"
He was rewarded with a flash of pale eyes and a gape mouthed grin. Ice didn't seem to care if all of her teeth showed or not.
Marion smiled and gestured back the way they had come.
"The last one back to the labs gets to clean the rat cages!"
Ice had not made one step when Reno's voice cracked out.
The female winced, unwrapped her tail from around Rufus' leg, gave him an apologetic little pat with it and then quite literally, high tailed it out of the room, sheet and all. Yuffie was right on her heels when Rufus's silky voice brought her to a quick halt.
"Princess…I received an interesting call from your father the other day. It seems that we need to talk."
Valentine's ruby eyes narrowed and there was a flash of honey gold in the girl's dark gaze.
"Not no… but HELL no, Shinra. Don't even consider it! You would NOT survive the honeymoon!"
Then the young woman disappeared down the hallway before the young man could respond.
Tseng maintained his silence, his analytical mind absorbing and filtering through the data he was being presented with. These creatures were most definitely NOT what he had been expecting. Reno had been right in insisting that they come and meet the siblings in person. And speaking of Reno….Unfathomable brown eyes shifted to his Second. He had been unaware that his top team had become so…attached… to their assignment. He would have to discuss this with them and Rufus.
Even as his mind ticked things over, the top dog was well aware of everything going on around him. Tseng was the first to turn when Vincent hissed and then staggered. The ex-Turk steadied himself, the fingers of his good hand pinching the bridge of his nose as if he had a severe head ache and the Turk distinctly heard him murmur.
"FINE… I give in!…..both of you… STOP IT! You can go!"
And then… spoken so everyone could hear.
"If you will please excuse me. It seems that I MUST go down to the lab."
These words were hardly out of his mouth when Valentine's form blurred and Tseng was hard pressed to keep his neutral mask in place. The demon that stood in the gunman's place was Chaos but there were hints of the Galian beast thrown in. Gleaming gold eyes held the man's stunned gaze as Chaos/Galian gave himself a little shake, the dusky wings flicking out and then rustling closed. As the Dark one exited the room it was all Tseng could do to keep his mouth from falling open. Oh My Gods! Chaos had a TAIL….and…it was wagging! They could all clearly hear the demon lord talking to himself.
The Turk's attention turned back towards his charge and the man did not see Abraham's head lift as a sweep of one wing wafted Chaos' scent the Valet's way as the demon passed. The elderly man staggered slightly and his metallic eyes flew wide. Those strong lips opened as the man peered after the retreating demon. Silently, almost pleading Abraham breathed the name…
Rufus looked up (and he did have to look UP quite a ways) to meet Whisper's ruby gaze.
"I understand that my Turks have taken it upon themselves to train you?"
The white male gave him a hesitant nod.
"Good….why don't we go out to the lawn and you can demonstrate how far your training has progressed?"
The President hung back a little and let his Turks catch up with him before they followed the young male out to the lawn. His face was set in its’ usual placid expression but the blue eyes were furious as he tossed a small electronic device to Tseng.
"Get those DAMNED tags out of their ears. I want Whisper enlisted into the Turks as a Rookie, he is eligible for all benefits. AND… write it up so that Ice receives a monthly stipend from the family accounts. I won't repeat the mistakes that were made with the remnants. My Gods CURSED father brought them into this world, and by destroying their people he made damned sure that they were totally dependant on Shinra Corporation. As far as I am concerned…those two are NOT Shinra property! They are to be considered part of the Shinra family with ALL of the privileges that entails!"
Chaos did not MIND sharing this form with the Galian beast. After all, the beast was MUCH more excited about having puppies then he was. Lets face it, the Demon Lord was not the most emotional of the demons that occupied the Host's mind. Still, it was with…interest… that the Dark one watched as Dr Beckett's hand traveled over the little bulge in Ice's firm belly, looking for the developing fetuses. Dusky lips curved a little as the winged male felt Ice's tail coil around his arm and wrist, it's serpentine grip betraying his mate's excitement and nerves.
Tail?…that brought him back to the thoughts he had been having about sharing this form. Something did not feel….right. A soft snicker from behind had him glancing at Yuffie. The warrior child looked as if she was strangling herself trying to keep from laughing and her bright gaze was glued to his ass. Now granted…the Demon felt he had a better than average butt… BUT… her fixation was making him paranoid. He finally opened and lifted a dark wing so he could check his posterior himself.
A soft, shaggy tail waved at him and OH MY GODS! It was attached to his BUTT!
A rumbling growl shook his large frame.
The Galian beast whined softly.
"But Chaos you can't really show your appreciation of the puppies without a tail to wag!"
The conversation was interrupted by Marion's' triumphant crow…
Golden eyes widened as shadowy forms became clear on the screen. There was a confusing mix of heads, limbs, and snaky tails.
The Galian tried to push his point.
"BUT Chaos…these puppies are…"
The soft patter of multiple heartbeats filled the room and the Demon Lord's golden eyes turned butter soft.
This was articulated in a soft purr. As one long talon slowly traced a path on Ice's velvet stomach, circling around each of the four hearts that beat on the ultrasound's screen, the Demon Lord seemed unaware that his tail was wagging so fast that his velvety wing leather rippled in the breeze it created.

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