The Orphans of Cerberus

BY : Fetherhd
Category: Final Fantasy VII > General
Dragon prints: 1726
Disclaimer: Square Enix holds all rights the the FFVII world and its characters. This is a not for profit fanfiction

The Orphan's of Cerberus Chapter 5

Yuffie was caught flat footed by Ice's attempt to escape. And she was even more stunned by the speed with which Reno tackled the creature before she could do any harm to Rude. Vincent must have been expecting something because he was right behind the Turk, one of his belt's off and ready in his hands. Cloud followed, and the young ninja saw Tifa wince as Reno and Vincent pinned the smaller female, muzzled her and trussed her twitching hands. Cloud got her weird looking hand- like feet.
The young ninja was shocked. This was not how she had expected the ex-Turk to deal with the situation. Vincent had a screaming horror of labs and scientists. Yuffie could not imagine him forcing ANYONE to be subjected to them.
She started forwards to put a stop to it,
"VINCENT..."
A slashing look from his unhappy crimson eyes and a hand from Tifa on her arm stopped her. The young woman knew that Ice was probably the only chance of finding a source for a cure, and her friends were just doing what they thought was in her best interests. She watched Reno roll off of the now quiet female and held her breath as Vincent searched for a heartbeat on the heavily drugged beast.
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Reno rolled off and growled at the gunman,
"GODS...Valentine...next time a little warning would be appreciated."
The ex-Turk didn't answer him, he had his human hand buried in the cinnamon mane trying to find the female's pulse. His fingertips found her throat and he twitched them back at the ridged and misshapen cartilage and scars they brushed. He could feel NOTHING through the thickened flesh there so he ran his hand down her side, until he could feel the very slow beat of her heart. The strong, arched ribcage rose and fell shallowly under his hand. He carefully checked the leather belts that bound her hands, feet and mouth. With her having finished the entire five pill dose that Tifa had slipped into the tea, he was confident that she would be unconscious until and after they reached Rufus's labs. He was more concerned that she continue breathing until they got there. That dosage was probably hefty enough to take Chaos out.
The demon snorted, "I WOULDN'T COUNT ON IT VALENTINE."
The gunman ignored his "guest" and he stayed down on one knee, his hand on Ice's side, monitoring her breathing.
"Reno, where do you have your copter stashed?"
The red head's eyebrows did a quick shocked dance.
"YO... you are REALLY going to turn her over to Rufus and his labs?"
The Turk made a huge show of looking around,
"OKAY...Just where have you hidden the real Vincent Valentine?"
The man in crimson winced and pinned Reno with a hard, ugly red glare. His words were a deep growl
"Shut up asshole...and just get us to your ride."
As they jogged to where the red head had parked his machine (the two Turks really HAD been there on business, with orders to bring Yuffie into the labs, one way or the other) Cloud stayed by Vincent's side.
The swordsman's face was troubled and pale,
"Vincent… I don't know if I can do this."
The gunman didn't answer, he wasn't sure that HE could do it.
Chaos chuckled darkly,
"OH COME ON VINNY. IT IS...JUST...AN ANIMAL. THINK OF HER AS A VERY LARGE LAB RAT. BETTER YET...A LAB MONKEY ...HEHEHE. OF COURSE...COME TO THINK OF IT...YOU...WERE JUST A LAB RAT ONCE ...WEREN'T YOU?"
Vincent pulled up short, all of a sudden feeling violently ill. He saw Yuffie glance back and slow down, forcing him to remember what was at stake here. Shifting the limp burden in his arms, he started forwards towards the copter that was waiting in the gathering dusk, he silently snarled
"Gods...Chaos, I really hate you."
"UMMHUMM...BELIEVE ME, THE FEELING IS MUTUAL. AND VALENTINE...FOR YOU...THERE ARE NO GODS."
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Reno bailed into the cockpit, he could not believe his and Rude's good luck. They had fully expected a battle to get Yuffie to the help she needed. The two men who were her close friends had a real aversion to anything related to Shinra. Not only had Yuffie agreed to come, but they had the bonus of a living specimen. He cringed a little at that particular thought.. The red head hurried through the complex machine’s start up protocol as Cloud and Yuffie strapped into the cabin’s passenger seats. He wanted to get this baby up and in the air before somebody changed their mind.
Valentine laid the barely breathing body of Ice on the floor between the seats and settled where he could easily reach her. Rude joined Reno up front and gave him the go ahead. With the thump of spinning rotors and the whine of straining engines, Reno lifted the copter into the darkening evening sky.
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Maybe it was the terrible sense of betrayal that she had felt as the drug took her under. Or… maybe it was just the feeling of overwhelming helplessness as she had been forcibly muzzled and trussed, but Ice found herself trapped, dreaming of the day where her memories both fragmented, and started.
Her siblings and herself had been transported from the labs to another place, the heavy thumping of an aircraft's rotors penetrated her sleep and blended with the dream, making it all the more real. They had all been excited, the young males in particular were hard to control, they rarely got to leave the confines of the place they had been born and raised. Sergeant had to be rough with his discipline more than once. Only his position as Alpha keeping all in line..
Ice had sat quietly the whole ride, ignoring their noise and jostling, captivated by the blue sky outside the window, and the multicolored patch-worked land they flew over.
When they had arrived at their destination, they had been turned loose in a large room surrounded by floor to ceiling mirrored windows. All of the males were worked up, they had been pitted against humans and beasts alike many times. With their ability to heal almost any injury instantly, even as youngsters, they never lost. The whole litter knew the routine leading up to a fight.
The beast that they had been pitted against had been tough but no more so than any other they had fought. In her dream, her sisters and her harried the beast making it turn one way or the other while the larger males engaged it, tearing long slashes with fang and claw until finally weak with blood loss, it had collapsed and Steel had moved in for the kill.
Ice’s anxiety and fear built as she tried to pull herself out of the dream. She heard orders given and Sergeant's angry arguments. He had finally removed all but Titan, Steel, and herself from the room. Evidently one of their masters did not trust the pack mentality and wanted to know which way her siblings loyalties would run. They needn't have worried. All of them had been rigorously trained to follow orders. Her brothers hadn't even hesitated when given the order to attack their sister. Ice had done her best, but was no match for the two males. In no time she had been savaged, rolled, and pinned on her back, Steel's long canines locked in her defenseless throat. The female had gone limp, trusting in instinct that the alpha male would release an omega female who submitted. Steel's pale green eyes had looked towards their master and on his orders, the big gray male had crushed and slashed through her throat, breaking her neck as he finished his kill. In her dreams, the burning of his saliva, the crack of breaking bone and the tearing pain of his fangs were as real as the day it happened.
Her brothers had walked away, leaving her gagging, drowning in her own blood as her body's healing factor could not deal with this devastating an injury, delivered by a sibling, quickly. She lay on that bloodied floor and fought to breath for what seemed like forever. Sergeant had removed Titan and Steel, then had returned for her. She had felt immense relief as her Alpha had checked the extent of the injury and gently patted the top of her head. She relaxed as best she could... he would make this okay. Then the man had moved around behind her. Ice heard the distinct sound of a round being chambered. Sergeant had substituted a lead bullet for the lethal silver, but it still did a remarkably good job of scrambling her brains. All the suffering female had felt was the heavy thump of the impact as it penetrated her skull and then nothing for a very, very long time.
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Yuffie winced as they took off. Damn, she HATED flying. Her stomach immediately started protesting. She closed her eyes and managed to control it with breathing exercises for a few minutes. Then couldn't stop herself from retching.
Reno must of heard her,
"HEY... no puking in MY copter! DAMN IT! You lose it, YOU get to clean it up!"
She managed to stick a finger up in that universal sign that EVERYONE understood where he could see it through the open door leading to the cockpit.
Reno looked back over his shoulder and with a wicked smile he banked the machine over,
"YO…This is your Captain speaking, we are currently maintaining at the altitude of eight hundred feet, our cruising speed is one hundred miles per hour. If you look DOWN and to the left you will see that we are FLYING over the picturesque ruins of Midgar."
He banked the other way, slowing and circling the copter, making it rock.
"And on the right, we have some more of the same, hehehe."
Yuffie groaned, when they landed, she was going to KILL the red headed Fucker! A firm hand on her shoulder and the young woman opened miserable eyes to Cloud's concerned brilliant blue ones. He handed her a plastic bag. She managed a weak smile before gagging and burying her face in it. It was a very good thing that there was really nothing in her stomach to bring up.
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As Ice tore herself out of her nightmare and rose to awareness, she was greeted by a head ache every bit as bad as the one she had woken up with after her...faked... euthanasia. The whump, whump of the copter's spinning rotors made thinking pure torture. Her healing factor was dealing with whatever they had slipped her, dumping it out of her system as fast as possible. The female very much wanted to throw up, but knew that with her mouth locked shut, that would be a mistake. Drowning in one's own vomit was NOT the most pleasant way to die. Her long ears twitched. From the sounds and smell of it, she wasn't the only one hit with the sudden need to empty her stomach.
The red headed male's (Reno...she was beginning to guess what his OTHER names might be) voice reached her and she had to concentrate on staying limp as he mentioned that they were flying over the ruins. She slitted one silver eye open, assessing her situation. The first thing she saw was Yuffie retching into a plastic bag. Both males had their attention on her. GOOD, doing her best to ignore her pounding head, Ice concentrated on her hands. She triggered a Change but slowed it to a crawl and confined it to her hands, wrists and forearms. This little trick was very hard to accomplish as it was incredibly painful, but it served the purpose of slimming those appendages considerably. While this was happening she studied the door of the aircraft that she was facing. If she remembered right (and her memories WERE questionable) the large window situated on each door was an escape exit. She fixed the position of the release latch and the small handles on each side, firmly in her mind. Her tail was dexterous, but unfortunately, it could not SEE.
Yuffie stopped retching, took her face out of the bag and looked directly into Ice's open eyes.
"HOLY SHIT...Vincent we have a problem!"
"CRAP!" Ice uncoiled, slipping the leather belt off of her now slender wrists. She pushed hard away from the wall with her bound hind feet at the same time that wonderful tail whipped up, jerked down on the latch and threaded itself through the handles all in one fluid motion. As she hit the opposite door she pulled the escape hatch open and promptly dropped the heavy thing on the crimson cloaked male as she passed over him. The sensitive aircraft rocked violently with the sudden weight shift. The female used her momentum, storing the energy, then releasing it, she sprang off of the door, across the compartment and out of the now open window. Ice could hear Reno cursing as he fought to balance the copter. The machine's gyrations almost made her miss her catch on the window sill with the strong toes and talons of one foot.
She hung upside down for a couple of seconds, her hands spread and Changing, balancing herself against the cold metal side. They were a long ways UP over the ruins, and it was getting dark. Ice felt someone reach out of the window and the female let go...kicking out a little and dropping to catch herself with hands and tail on the copter’s slender skid. Holding tight with her tail and one hand, the rotors downdraft was quite strong, she jerked the belt off of her feet. Ice got a good grip with her toes and cut the distasteful leather off of her muzzle with long sharp claws. She was still upside down, a miserable position to be in with the mother of all headaches. As the helicopter’s door slid open, the female managed to right herself, ending upright with all four "hands" and a tail holding on for dear life.
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Vincent stepped cautiously out onto the copter’s skid. Ice scooted back as far as she could go to the very back end. She was a lot more balanced and confident then he was. The man crouched slightly trying to make himself seem less threatening.
"It's okay Ice, one of us will stay with you at all times, NO ONE at the labs will be allowed to hurt you."
As he mentioned the labs her thin, mobile lips peeled back, smiling at him with a close mouthed, long fanged grin. He knew there was no humor there. She peered into the dark void beneath them, and he had the feeling she was calculating the long distance DOWN to the ruins.
The gunman almost told Reno to start dumping altitude but stopped as Chaos's gravelly voice interfered.
"NO… TELL HIM TO RISE! IF YOU DON'T WANT HER SPLATTERED, YOU HAD BETTER RELEASE ME. SHE...IS …GOING TO JUMP AND I AM GOING TO NEED SOME AIR SPACE TO MANUEVER."
Great... Valentine tersely told the red headed pilot to get the machine climbing. He warned the dark demon, before he released control to him.
"I need her ALIVE... Chaos... and UNHARMED."
"YEAH, YEAH, ALIVE, UNHARMED. I GET IT."
Chaos sounded nonchalant, he knew he could have some fun without actually hurting the beastie.
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Ice was alarmed when the machine started to rise, but the alarm turned to pure terror when the man on the skid with her CHANGED. A swirling black and red mist obscured his form for a moment, then, out of it appeared one of the scariest beings she had ever seen, and this included her brothers. Grey skin, black talons, and wings the black and scarlet of drying blood balanced itself easily on their slender perch. The whole machine dipped as the weight on that side increased faster than the pilot could compensate.
That oddly crowned head turned to pin her with lurid, ancient, EVIL gold eyes and her heart seemed to stop as the THING smiled at her, a gape mouthed, sharp fanged, menacing smile. Its words hissed and caressed across her ears like a hypnotizing serpent as it reached towards her.
"COME...LITTLE MONKEY...LET ME GIVE YOU A HAND!"
The female tried to step back, away from this nightmare and her foot met empty air. There was NO way she was letting THAT get its claws on her. Without hesitation Ice spun, launching herself out and down into free fall.
Chaos chuckled darkly, the creature's terror had been just as sweet as any humans he had ever tasted. This might be a lot more fun than he had originally anticipated. He watched the pale form free fall for a couple of seconds, than casually stepped off of the skid, dropped out of the machine's downdraft and unfurled his wings to take up the chase.
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The only warning Reno had, was Yuffie's,
"HOLY SHIT…Vincent...we have a problem."
Then all hell broke loose in the passenger compartment. The red headed pilot had his hands full as the weight shifted around faster than he could compensate, making the machine impossible to balance.
"YO...people... get it under control back there!"
He heard Valentine tell him to take his bird UP, and when he looked out to protest, his eyes were met with black and red mist as Vincent shifted forms to Chaos. Reno shut his mouth and took the machine up. Swearing, he fought the controls as the copter dipped heavily. Reno could not believe his eyes when the pale form of Ice baled off, leaving the safety of the aircraft and leaping into clear air. Then he had another fight with the squirrelly machine when it rebounded up and over as the weight of the demon left the skid. He could hear Yuffie dry heaving and sent her a silent apology as he banked the copter hard, bleeding off altitude and speed, trying to get a glimpse of the doomed, falling beast, and the nightmare that was pursuing her.
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Ice was caught in a grim battle between her animal instincts and her intelligence. Pure fear had the animal part of her practically gibbering in terror. Her other side knew it was going to need ALL of its intellect to map out a way to survive this fall. Pushing the fear away, Ice concentrated on the moment. She was falling in a classic, head down, arms and legs pulled in, ruff tightened down as far as it would go for streamlining, pose. She wanted time to study the mess she was falling into, but was sacrificing it for speed. The female KNEW she had to get down fast. She was agile but damn it...she didn't have wings and the Changer from the aircraft DID.
She adjusted her eyes, Changing them so that she could see in the dark. In infrared, the ruins were ablaze in the night. She was still far enough up that she could not make out any detail, all of the hot reds, yellows, and oranges of the day's absorbed heat blended together. She risked a quick glance around… where was that nightmare? A slight pressure wave hit her and she reacted out of instinct spreading her arms, and legs, flaring her mane out stiffly and flattening/widening her body. She could not fly, but had spent many hours rocketing through the ruins, swinging and flying in a way only something primate could. She KNEW how to use her body in this element, even without wings. She watched in satisfaction as the slight, but sudden, decrease in speed that the air resistance made, caused her fall to slow. It was enough that the frightening winged male missed his strike, and passed instead very closely UNDER her. Watching that strongly muscled, wide back pass beneath her at incredible speed, Ice's face creased in a nasty, tooth showing, hostile smile. She had come up with a plan.
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Chaos hovered for a moment, as the helicopter pulled away and started to circle. His golden eyes watched Ice fall, idly noticing that she was consciously increasing the speed of her drop. No matter, the little she monkey didn't have a chance in hell of getting away from him. He glided away at a right angle to her, giving himself some room to maneuver. When he was far enough above and to the side, he rolled, pulled in his wings and dropped in a fast stoop. The faster he caught her, the more fun he could have before his host forced him back into his prison. He was grinning in anticipation, thinking of what he was going to do to his victim as he reached for the soft gold/red form with sharp black talons. The grin changed to a snarl when the female spread her arms and legs, stiffened her tail, and FLUFFED out, purposely changing her aerodynamics and her rate of drop. Instead of intersecting her path, Chaos came in too low and rocketed by, passing underneath. Growling harshly, he rolled and flared, stopping his forward speed. Holding for a second as the female continued her fall, he side slipped, closed his wings and dropped hard, directly over her. He was again reaching for her, with no gentleness intended (after all, she healed almost as fast as he did) when she twisted, rolling in the air to meet him chest to chest. One strong hand and a foot flashed out catching him around the wrist. Before the demon could pull back, Ice scrambled along his frame like a monkey, claws digging in and leaving bloody gashes as she made it up to perch on top of his back.
With a savage curse, Chaos flipped over trying to throw the clinging female off. Damn it! As far as he was concerned she could just SPLATTER. As she moved along his back, burning claws piercing as she went, the demon screamed in rage and started climbing. HELL... he would make it his personal mission to SEE her splatter... Valentine be damned.
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Ice buried all four sets of claws into the thick muscles of the demon's back as he rolled and pitched, trying to dump her. She winced at his scream of rage and pain. Ignoring his growling dire threats and snarled curses she worked herself slowly forwards leaving deep bleeding gashes every time she moved a hand or foot, until she was locked over his shoulders between the wide red/black wings. He could not reach her here with those dangerous sharp talons. Ice twitched as the flesh around her buried claws tried to heal and close, she had to keep working her fingers and toes for her claws to stay embedded. The creature suddenly ceased trying to get rid of her and started pumping the great wings, gaining altitude.
No...that would not do. SHE wanted to go down not up! For a second Ice hesitated. Sergeant had quite literally beaten the rule into her that she was to NEVER bite a human. But, her lips pulled back, this was most definitely NOT a human. The female drove all four of her long canines into the heavy musculature where the right wing met the broad back, closing and locking them with brutal force around its main supporting bone. At the same time, she disengaged the talons of her right hand and reaching out, she grabbed the wing's leading edge and pulled it back towards her... hard. The flight surface immediately crumbled as the demon shrieked in pain. They pin-wheeled down towards the ruins, her impromptu mount trying to slow the fall with his one, undamaged wing.
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Reno knew he shouldn't but he cheered silently when Ice avoided the demon's first strike. The creature seemed totally at ease as she fell, and the red head was beginning to hope that just maybe the female had a plan to survive the seemingly lethal fall. He had seen the kind of damage her body could deal with and without even realizing it he started looking for a place to land.
The pilot had a stab of concern when Chaos, clearly angry, dropped directly down on the plummeting form and could not restrain his enthusiastic,
"YO...way ta go Ice!" when the female climbed the demon's frame, bit and then twisted a wing, forcing Valentine’s eldest to unwillingly drop. She ended up riding Chaos down...well...like a monkey!
Rude flashed him an incredulous look,
"RENO...all she is doing is PISSING him off!"
"Shit... "
He hadn't thought of that, Chaos was going to kill her when they reached the ground.
The red head winced at Yuffie's shrieked, "RENO...I am going to kill you!" as he dropped the machine fast, intent on beating the struggling pair down.
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Chaos watched the spinning spires and jagged peaks of the Midgar ruins rapidly approach. He had no use of the wing that was quite painfully locked in the female’s surprisingly strong grip, so the demon was turning in the air, timing his other wing's beats so they were not falling near as fast. The dark one had stopped swearing and cursing, saving his breath for the hard work of trying to slow his fall. That didn't mean he wasn't livid though. His rage burned like a cold fire through him. The demon was going to rip Ice into pieces and bath in her blood when he reached the ground. Lets see if she could heal herself when there was nothing left but... hand ...sized ...bits. Chaos felt his host struggling to surface and ruthlessly jerked the pinned wing against the female’s locked fangs, using the pain to keep his anger focused, the better to keep Valentine under until HE had finished this.
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Ice struggled to hold the powerful wing and stay on the demon's broad back. Her mouth burned where the bitter, black blood flooded it and she gagged, trying to breath and NOT swallow at the same time. She had not heard the demon make a sound for the last couple of hundred feet, just his harsh intakes of breath as he worked to slow their fall. That didn't mean she could not feel the RAGE rolling off of him in waves. If this male got the chance, he WAS going to kill her. The female wanted nothing more than to GET OFF of this ride of horror.
Ice waited until they were almost on top of the burnt out shell of a tower and she released her grip of teeth and claw. As the enraged demon rolled, spreading the damaged wing and righting himself, she leaped for bare girders as they hurtled past. The male lashed out as she launched herself, black talons missing his grab, but tearing a long slash on her arm from her shoulder to her elbow. As a result, although she caught the cables she was aiming for, the falling female could not maintain her grip. The injured arm gave and she continued to fall. Twisting, Ice landed on a sharply slanted metal beam and slid along it on her hind feet, skin tearing and sharp claws grinding down as she used them as brakes, slowing her momentum. When she reached the end, she dropped to all fours and rocketed out over empty space. She was aiming for a long flat roof, fifty feet out and down. Unfortunately, that is the flat area the winged male plowed into, still moving at a relatively high rate of speed. His impact was enough that he disappeared in a cloud of dust. Ice landed hard, rolling as she bled off speed, she caught herself on the edge, almost dropping into the hole his crash landing had made. SHIT! She could hear the demon cursing savagely and KNEW she was so screwed.
With a pained grunt, the female hoisted herself back onto the roof and spun around, backing up as a seething, angry, black and crimson nightmare pulled himself out on the other side of the hole. He turned, freezing Ice with a blazing hot, golden stare. Blood was running off of the damaged wing which he could not seem to fold properly and his black lips were pulled back in a hate filled predatory smile that showed all of his elongated fangs. The large male moved with deadly, graceful intent towards her, as waves of red rage poured off of him. Ice would have screamed but all she could do was pant. Pure fear locked her muscles up. She was paralyzed, as hypnotized by the demon's evil gaze, the overwhelmed animal part of her mind shut down in fear induced shock. All she could do was watch and wait as her death approached her.
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As Reno threaded the copter into the ruins, its spot lights picked up Chaos's less than graceful descent and the smaller female's amazing one. The usually uncommunicative Rude even rumbled, "Nice!" at the aerobatic slide and fly she accomplished before landing on the SAME roof as the demon.
The red head groaned, Damn...that poor female had a serious case of shit house luck! As the bloodied form of Chaos pulled itself out of its self made hole and started towards the motionless golden female with lethal intent written in its every line, the Turk did the only thing he could think of. He cut his rotor speed to almost nil, just leaving enough to keep them spinning for balance and dropped the machine like a rock, straight down. Rude braced himself against the side and didn't say a word, trusting in the red head's unusual skill in flying the squirrelly machines. Yuffie screamed in the back, it was worse than being on a fast elevator headed DOWN and Cloud braced himself and her as best he could.
Reno took a second to warn everyone,
"Hold on... this is going to get a little rough."
It was too dark to see if they even had the clearance for the wide rotors. Sure enough there was a loud clang and the craft rocked as one of them clipped a girder. Luckily the red head, with more than a little cursing, managed to keep them level. As the roof rushed up he gunned the rotor’s speed, trying to slow their descent, but as he dropped the copter in between the demon and the female, he still had almost no lift. The machine slammed down and one skid crumbled. It whipped around barely missing taking Ice's head off with the long tail, she ducked at the last minute. It caught Chaos, picked him up off of his feet and hurled him back down into the hole he had just come out of. When the dust settled the machine was in a more or less upright position but it sat tilted severely on just one skid and at least one rotor was badly damaged.
Rude just looked at his red headed partner,
"You realize," he drawled," that you just wrecked a multi-million gil machine to save a monkey...right? MAN …..Rufus is going to KILL you."
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Yuffie groaned and then swore.
"Rufus is going to have to get in line!"
The girl jerked her harness open and glared at Cloud.
"I don't care if all of the people in the WHOLE world turn into slavering creatures and DIE...I will NEVER get into one of these things with HIM again."
Reno shook his ponytail out of his face and grinned nonchalantly back at them,
"YO... What’s the prob...haven't you guys ever seen a hard landing before?"
Yuffie just gave him the stare of DEATH and crawled out of the cabin. DAMN! she was glad to be on firm ground even if it was a roof... several hundreds of feet up …..in the Midgar Ruins...in the dark...with an angry Chaos...Was that a GROWL she just heard coming from that hole? oh CRAP!
Cloud drew his sword, and the two Turks took up defensive positions as there was movement in the dark at the gaping hole's rim.
Yuffie could not hide the relief in her voice as a golden claw caught the edge and a dusty dark head appeared.
"VINCENT!"
Cloud and the ninja ran forwards to give the exhausted, injured man a hand up.
He straightened slowly and his crimson gaze probed the roof.
"Where is Ice?"
The young woman didn't care right at the moment. She was more interested in the fact that when she hugged the pale gunslinger, her hands came away bloody.
"GODS …. Valentine where is this coming from?" Yuffie was working at his cloak’s many buckles with frantic fingers. The man caught her hands gently in his.
"I am... okay... Yuffie, we NEED to find Ice."
Reno's voice drifted out of the dark from behind the bulk of the wrecked machine,
"Ya might as well let her take a look at ya. Ice is long gone."
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Steel gazed down in utter disappointment at the new litter. Vixen grumbled at him but was too weak and tired from birthing to interfere. The gray female's despair was very evident in her flattened ears, sucked in silvery mane and the way she totally avoided looking at her mate, the troop's Alpha male. Said male casually rolled the kits around with one clawed hand. Two were so deformed they had been still born. The other one was weak, and missing a limb. Steel growled softly, this is how EVERY litter that they, the dominant pair created, turned out. The fact that they were litter mates, and had been genetically altered meant that they just could not seem to produce kits that even came close to being viable. Steel hummed in misery under his breath. The male had even allowed the second ranked pair to breed in hopes that it was a problem confined to just the dominants, but that breeding had produced the same dismal results. There would be no trying THAT again as Snow had died from injuries caused by their rogue sister and her Gods be damned silver knives.
Steel's lips wrinkled a little in hostility. He was torn between the instinctual need to kill one who was not of the Troop, or to catch her,(he snorted, THAT would not be easy) and force a mating to see if that would produce viable young. The Troop was running out of options with just one fertile female left.
Shadow ghosted up behind him, as quiet as his namesake. He did not approach closely until Steel shifted over allowing the second rank male to peer down at the dead and dying kits. Vixen moaned softly and her sad eyes pleaded with the two males to make this right, something that they were not able to do. Steel allowed Shadow to pick up the two who were dead, and the alpha scooped up the one that was still squirming feebly. He moved closer to his mate. He took a moment to clean some of the birthing blood from between her hind legs with his warm soothing tongue. Then he transferred his attention up, cleaning the tears of sorrow and pain from her muzzle. He finished by gently swiping the broad, strong appendage over each of her eyes in order to comfort her. Rumbling softly at his mate, he turned and followed his lieutenant out, he would do her the favor of not killing the living one were she could see or hear it.
Titan watched his two leaders carry the offspring out and accepted the one that Shadow gave to him, as he started to stuff the morsel into his mouth, Shadow growled and ordered him in his deep rumbling voice, to take his meal ELSEWHERE. The massive black male shrugged and vacated the area. Steel watched the yellow eyed subordinate male leave, carrying the small form. It did not bother the alpha, as it would be a waste to not use the protein. He would not partake of the gruesome meal, but Shadow, Titan and Ghost were welcome to. As the coal colored male vanished into the darkness, Steel broke the neck of the remaining live infant and handed the limp, body off to the pale form of Ghost. That lowest ranking male gave him a close mouthed submissive smile of thanks and scampered off to enjoy the fresh meat that he rarely got to indulge in without a lot of stress. Steel's pale green, thoughtful, eyes did not leave the fading black form of Titan. He knew that the male had been leaving the ruin's to hunt, and not just for meat. Steel wondered if a...careful... breeding with a human female might be the answer to their problem.
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It took Yuffie, Cloud and finally (believe it or not) both Turks to convince Vincent not to immediately follow the escaping female.
It was Rude's,
"MAN...going down into that, injured, and BLEEDING is not a smart move. There are THINGS in there that hunt by SMELL!" that convinced the gunman to take a few minutes to remove his cloak and shirt so that his friends could assess the damage caused by Ice's teeth.
Valentine heard Yuffie suck in her breath,
"Damn, Vincent...shouldn't that be healing faster?"
The young ninja's use of his given name instead of her usual annoying nicknames, gave a voice to her concern.
Vincent hissed through clenched teeth and could not control the flinch as Reno poured antiseptic from the copter's first aid kit over the torn, deep, bleeding wounds slashed over his right shoulder blade.
"YO...keep still, and don't be a baby."
The red head's long cold fingers were remarkably gentle as he probed, cleaned and bandaged the nasty looking bite.
"I ain't going to stitch that, pretty sure that I heard somewhere that animal bites should be left open to drain. Ummmm, helps prevent...infection."
Reno's mobile face was shuttered, he did not even want to IMAGINE what the already screwed up ex-Turk might turn into..
Speaking of which, Vincent consulted quietly with Chaos, "So...oh great hunter...do we have to worry about …...?"
The demon snarled,
"DO YA WANT THE GOOD NEWS FIRST OR THE BAD?"
The gunfighter winced, he would have to be careful, the demon was not going to forgive Ice anytime soon. And IF he got his powerful hands on her, Vincent was pretty sure she wouldn't survive.
****************************************************************
Chaos hesitated, he was furious with his host for snatching control back before he could exact some revenge on the female. But he did answer. After all, it was HIS well being at stake also.
" THE BAD NEWS IS...YES, THAT... BITCH ...INFECTED US WITH THE VIRUS SHE CARRIES AND IT IS INTERFERRING, TO A DEGREE, WITH MY BEING ABLE TO HEAL UP THE WOUNDS."
The dark demon let the human sweat it for a moment.
"BUT... NO...WE DON'T HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT TRIGGERING A METAMORPHISIS AS MY HEALING ABILITY IS FAMILIAR WITH THE BUG AND IS...DEALING... WITH IT. IT SEEMS THAT...YOU...WE, HAVE BEEN EXPOSED TO THIS BEFORE."
"WHAT?" Vincent realized he had said this out loud when he got a curious look from Reno, who had finished binding his shoulder.
A soft laugh rumbled through his mind, pushing Chaos back for a moment,
"Haven't you EVER wondered where I come from?"
The Galian beast seemed to find his host’s confusion funny.
"I was created from a Lycanthrope, what you would call a werewolf. ALL werewolves are carriers of the virus. Hojo must have modified it and used it when he implanted ME, into you. The Chaos gene is keeping it suppressed and under control. I am not sure how Ice was created, whatever she is, it is not WOLF based. But... I am sure that she was constructed using one of my kind as a base, her scent is very similar."
Valentine rocked back on his heels,
"But... werewolves are just a myth, they don't actually exist."
The Galian beast just snorted. Chaos chuckled darkly, his good humor restored by his host’s evident distress.
"YEAH VALENTINE, AND... DEMONS... EXIST ONLY IN NIGHTMARES AND FAIRY TALES."
***********************************************************************
Reno stepped away from the seated gunman. He envied the man's ability to heal almost any injury but would NOT be willing to pay the price that Valentine had paid to acquire that ability. Sometimes, when the ex-Turk got...that look... in his eyes, it really CREEPED the red head out. He wondered what it would be like to carry on a conversation with something as ancient, immoral and just plain evil as Chaos. The Turk paused, if he were a betting man (which he was) and a pervert (which he most definitely was) he would bet that the ancient reprobate had some GREAT tips on some really kinky...! Reno cringed and shook his head, oh my GODS! sometimes he even disgusted himself. (although, to be honest, that didn't happen very often!}. This was not something he would care to discuss with the demon any time soon, the man shuddered, that dark one would PROBABLY want to... demonstrate... what ever technique they might discuss. He glanced Vincent's direction and jerked his gaze away when the crimson eyes flashed to an amused glimmering gold for a second. Reno had to clamp down iron control when fear made his stomach jump. Could the man's resident demons read minds? GODS! he hoped not.
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Rude came back out of the wrecked copter, he had taken a moment to contact Rufus and see how soon another ride could be sent their way.
"Okay peoples, it looks like we are going to have to get ourselves out of this mess. Rufus says that there have been a couple of outbreaks of people "Changing" into those mindless things like the lab tech. Evidently the hospital has treated a couple of cases that came in alive as just...animal...attacks. The president has all of his teams out right now trying to...quarantine... the problem. As soon as a copter is clear, he is sending it to coordinates that are a little easier for a pilot to reach. We are going to have to hoof it to meet them."
He gave his partner a hard look that the red head winced away from. Usually Reno could ignore any dirty looks from Rude because of the shades, but the big man had taken them off to better see in the darkness.
*********************************************************************
Yuffie watched as Vincent gathered himself and rose, moving with his usual lithe grace. The young woman could not help admiring the way the moonlight played across the man's lean, muscled torso and pale skin. Even the many crisscrossed scars that glimmered a muted silver added to Valentine's masculinity. OHHH if she could just get the male into a dark private...Yuffie realized where her thoughts were going and covered her face. WHAT was wrong with her? They were in a dangerous situation and ALL she could think of was climbing that long, tall and handsome...CRAP! she was so glad it was dark enough to hide her blush. Still, she was incredibly disappointed when Vincent shrugged back into his torn shirt and settled the crimson cape with a practiced flowing swirl over his shoulders. Cloud had returned to the passenger compartment and came out a moment later holding the pouch that had been removed from the odd harness that Ice had worn. He also brought the two silver knives that Vincent had given him and the four smaller exquisitely balanced throwing blades that they had removed from the drugged female. All of the little knives were laced with gleaming silver. The quiet swordsman joined the ninja as they followed the gunman when he tracked Ice's blood trail across the roof to where she had headed down into the ruins.
Vincent knelt and touched the puddle of rapidly drying blood left where Ice had frozen before the copter intervened. There was quite a bit of it.
Chaos growled happily,
"OH YES...I MARKED HER GOOD!"
The man sighed,
"I thought I said, alive and UNHARMED?"
The demon was unrepentant,
"CONSIDER IT THE BEGINNINGS OF PAY BACK FOR THIS." his damaged shoulder twinged sharply. The gunman winced, then pushing Chaos back, he followed the trail to were it dropped off of the roof. Cloud, Yuffie and Reno joined him. Rude just leaned against the bulk of the copter and actively watched the darkness, there were monsters that roomed these ruins.
"Hnnnn," Vincent shot Cloud a stern look.
"I have to get Ice back, Yuffie's health depends on it. Can you make sure that Yuffie gets to Rufus's lab and stay with her until I return?"
The gunman knew what he was asking of Cloud but felt there was no choice. Cloud swallowed hard but nodded.
Yuffie's head shot up.
"NO WAY! ...I ...am going with you."
The young ninja looked petrified.
"I WON"T go to ANY lab unless you are there, Valentine, so unless you want to truss me up like you did Ice... you can just FORGET it."
She glared at the three men. Reno just grinned and put up his hands, he would have NO problem trussing the brat up, matter of fact, it might be fun. Vincent just closed his eyes with a long suffering sigh and Cloud ran his hand distractedly though his spiky hair.
He looked at the crimson cloaked gunman with unhappy blue eyes,
"Don't even ask me to do it against her will, Vincent. It isn't going to happen."
In the end, with much growling, useless cajoling and a lot of whining, not necessarily from Yuffie, it was decided that Yuffie, Vincent, and Reno (because he was ordered to not let the bitten girl out of his sights) would try to track and recapture Ice. Rude and Cloud would meet up with Shinra and take the one syringe of antibody's that was left in the female's leather pouch to the labs to be analyzed.
Yuffie watched that last syringe disappear into the dark with Cloud. If she Changed anytime soon, she would be stuck, unless Rufus could create a miracle or they could find Ice. (although Yuffie had her doubts that the female would willingly help her, after the way she had been treated)
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Ice staggered a little as she tried to keep up her fast, three legged pace. She was tired, sick to her stomach (even though she had vomited out a lot of the drug that her system had cleansed from her blood, much to her throat's distress), thirsty, and her slashed arm ached abominably. She just wanted to get HOME and never leave it again. To HELL with the havoc her siblings could create in the human's world, right at this moment, the female could not bring herself to care. She stopped for a minute, trying to staunch the slow flow of blood that still oozed from the gaping wound that the winged male had created. They had removed her pouch and without some type of binding, the damn thing just would not close. The human's had even removed her silver knives, she was practically defenseless. If she ran into a brother, the crimson male had practically signed her death warrant.
Fine... Ice looked around trying to place her location. There was no way she could continue down further into the dark. There were THINGS down here other than her brothers that would be attracted to the scent of her blood. She recognized where she was at and with a soft huff she turned and headed for Sergeant’s resting place. It was possible that she could rest there for a short while. There were very few that would dare to follow her down THAT narrow tunnel.


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