Optional Characters
by Great Materia Hunter Yuffie
Chapter 8: Chaos is Basically a Demonic Punk

Yuffie nudged Chubs to a higher speed. She glanced behind to check where Vincent chasing her. What she saw made her freeze in shock.

A humongous WEAPON was flying right next to Vincent. It was so big it made him look like a itty-bitty red-cloaked action figure.

"Oh. My. GAWD," she breathed.

Vincent seemed to see it; Yuffie saw him blanch. His black chocobo tried to veer to the right to avoid the enormous legendary monster, but the confrontation was unavoidable. The WEAPON seemed to move in slow motion, lifting its huge arm and casually knocking the gunman off his chocobo. Vincent skimmed along the cliff, then rolled to the ground where he settled and lay very still.

The mounted ninja was moving so quickly that he was out of sight in moments, receding around a bend. His chocobo had stumbled, then regained its footing and, with all the brains of a bird, still ran mindlessly to the side of the WEAPON, trying to outrun it.

Yuffie didn't have time to think. The Sapphire WEAPON was gaining by the second, growing impossibly large as it drew nearer. Then she could see the black chocobo out of the corner of her eye, racing without a rider. The WEAPON was looming behind, and she forced herself to look at it.

She almost blew chunks. Gawd, it's looking at me!

It lifted its alien hand predatorily, and without thinking, Yuffie pulled back on Chubs' reins and dug her feet into the stirrups, making him jerk his head up and slow abruptly. The WEAPON's hand missed them, but by so short a margin that she could hear the air rushing past. She turned Chubs around and drove him to his top speed. Glancing behind, the ninja discovered that the blue WEAPON was still going the same direction it had been, completely ignoring her.

Wha...? What, so it just knocked him off his chocobo for no reason at all? Does it just fly around, bashing people into walls? What a jerk!

"Just because you can push people around, doesn't mean you should!" she shouted at the monster, which by then was a speck on the horizon and probably couldn't hear her.

"Friggin' jerk!"

A sound of trotting made her turn. The black chocobo was still running down the ravine after the WEAPON, basically being stupid.

"Hey, choco choco choco!" Yuffie yelled, trying to get it to slow down, and making Chubs move to intercept it. The black stopped and cocked its head at her. She dismounted slowly.

"Birdie choco-choco! Pretty choco! Come here!" Yuffie rummaged in her pack, and then held out a small purple materia, Chocobo Lure. The chocobo obliged her, entranced by the materia, moving just close enough for Yuffie to grab the reins. "Gotcha! Come with me for a minute, okay choco?"

The black warked loudly, and then Chubs warked even louder, not to be outdone.

Yuffie grinned and mounted Chubs again, leading them back the way they came. She almost did not want to return; it would only be bad news. Either the gunman would be alive and she'd have to start running again, or he would be unconscious or dead, in which cases she would feel obligated to help him or bury him, respectively.

The black chocobo warked loudly when they came in sight of Vincent, who was on his back near the ravine wall, in exactly the same position he had landed in. One arm was curled to his chest and his legs were spread out and his black pants were torn. He had a long gash diagonally across his chest made by the monster's claw, which was bleeding profusely and ran in a thick rivulet until it pooled a few feet away from his body. Yuffie quickly got down and led the birds closer to him, hoping that he wasn't dead.

She crouched next to his prone form, looking at him silently for a moment before stretching a hand toward his neck to check for a pulse. After a few moments, in which Yuffie cringed inside that he was probably dead because of her, she found his pulse. Yuffie could see the slight movement of his chest when he breathed, so she guessed that he was still alive.

She leaped up, rifled through one of her blue chocobo's side packs and pulled out a thick bandage and a roll of gauze and hesitated before also grabbing a pretty good potion. She didn't want to be stingy, but she also didn't want to waste her money. It was really a fine line between how little she could spend to heal the guy chasing her and yet not have him die on Wutaian land.

The ninja came back with the items, and, demonstrating a confidence that she truly didn't feel, she unbuttoned his coat, then his shirt, peeling it away from the blood and flesh congealing to it.


The blood spurted up and covered her hands. The wound was long and she had no idea how deep it was because blood was pouring out of it like a stream. But Yuffie was ready with the potion and poured the whole bottle directly inside him, until the wound closed a little, with a long, still-bleeding line remaining. Then, she quickly placed the white padded bandage on the blood, and unrolled part of the gauze as the blood seeped through it, turning it completely red.

She went for another bandage, and just as she was placing it on his bleeding chest, the man opened his eyes and snarled at her. Yuffie jerked her hand away automatically. She could see he was trying to move; his arms and legs were jerking strangely and he was making odd noises.

And he was staring at her too, his eyes never moving from her face.

His eyes are like all the blood, she thought, dazedly.

Then she realized that his moving around was shifting the top bandage off. "Hey, don't move, ya' idiot," she said as she set it right, holding him still with her two small hands. The girl looked at him again, and he was still staring at her. It was somehow more unnerving because he was perfectly still, not moving, exactly as she had ordered him to be.

The bandage replaced, she wiped her bloody hands on a rock and sat back with the gauze in her hands. She tried not to look at him because she didn't want to see him staring at her and if she didn't look at him, she could pretend that he wasn't.

Nice logic, there, some part of her mind commented.

Shut up, you, she answered promptly.

"Sit up so I can get this around."

The gunman opened his mouth, but no sound came out. He closed it again, looking confused, which looked strangely childish on his serious face.

"What is it?" she asked, clipping the gauze to the top bandage. When he didn't respond, she moved behind him and said, "This might hurt, sorry."

He made a sound, but then was silent, so she gripped him under the armpits and lifted him up off the ground.

"You weigh like a million pounds!" she said, puffing.

Leaning his back against her upper chest, she grabbed the gauze roll and quickly wrapped it tightly around the bandages on his chest and around his back many times until the roll ran out. Being that physically close to someone that she knew was conscious was disconcerting; she blushed and didn't even want to know how pink her face was.

It's just because I don't know what he's thinking about. Hot stranger + close physical contact an embarrasing situation. It's not that I like him or anything. It would have happened to anyone.

"You should go on a diet or something," Yuffie said between gritted teeth, trying not to think about his soft black hair against her cheek. It smelled like something dark that she couldn't describe, and it was longer than hers, for which she was slightly jealous and very appreciative.

He made a sound again, but it was unintelligible and more like a growl of pain than anything.

By his body language, she could tell she was making him uncomfortable. He kept his head forward so it did not fall back on her shoulder and his whole body was strangely tense.

She let him back down, moving a few pointy rocks out from under him. Then Yuffie helped him put his head down gently, patting his forehead like she would to a small child. "Good job. You deserve a reward or something," she said, trying to dispel the awkwardness that was there because he would not talk.

It was when Yuffie was clipping the gauze in place that he finally spoke, but it was only one word.

"Why?" It sounded as if he bit the word off between his teeth, leaving it barely formed.

She automatically glanced at his face. He was still staring at her and she wondered again what in the heck he could be thinking about.

"I...I couldn't just let you die. You saved my butt and I owed you one," she replied, completely serious.

That was true enough. He had been nice enough to lie for her on not one but two occasions. Of course he had also woken her up on two occasions as well, which was a killing offense in her book. So, with the medical attention, she figured they were pretty even now.

"Can you move?" she asked.

His head shook back and forth awkwardly.

She thought for a moment, then brightened and said, "Okay, in that case, in exchange for me being your nurse, you're going to give me all your materia!"

His red eyes became very wide and he shook his head more emphatically and jerkily than before.

"No? Well, if you really can't move, then you can't do anything about it, can you?" She reached for his Quicksilver and expertly popped the materia from the slots, then did the same to his arm bands.

When Yuffie looked at his face again, he was glaring at her so fiercely his eyes were glowing red. She grinned cheekily, finally in her element, and looked at all the pilfered materia.

"What, this is all you got?"

Another glare in response, and he even barred his teeth at her like an animal.

"Barely enough to pay me for my time. What are you, a cheapskate? Anyway, I'll let you keep your chocobo. And here," she threw something at him, a flash of purple that landed with a painful thump on his stomach.

"An Enemy Away. So you don't get eaten by monsters. You'll be able to get around real soon, I bet, and when you do, I want to be far, far away from here."

He said nothing, so she tied the black chocobo's reins to a bush and mounted Chubs.

"I'll see you later!" she paused, then said, "Never mind. Nothing personal, but I hope that I won't ever see you again. I don't need you chasing me around. It's flattering, but kinda creepy, so quit it."

Without another word, she kicked Chubs into a walk, following the ravine deeper into Wutai.

Was it really cool to just leave him there? her conscience mumbled accusingly at her.

Hey, I can't take him with me, he's trying to get the Huge Materia back, she replied, but the reasoning sounded thin to her and she winced.

He said he couldn't move. What if something happened to him?

So what? He's a tough kid, he'll be fine, she thought airily.

But what if...?

Hey, he's a big boy. He can make his own decisions. Unfortunately for him, today he decided to mess with Yuffie Kisaragi and now he's paying for it, she boasted to her conscience, completely ignoring most, if not all, of the facts.

What if he...?

I'm sure he'll be okay. Anyway, he's our enemy, remember? So what if something happens to him? Yuffie asked, choosing to forget that she had just painstakingly bandaged his wounds, which totally refuted her claim.

But didn't you like his hair? asked her conscience desperately.

Conscience! I'm surprised at you! she exclaimed, completely flabbergasted.

So, you did like his hair. Good, I did too, said her conscience, relieved.

Then we are all in accord, said her frontal lobes.

Yes, his hair is mighty fine, said her hypothalamus, which was incredibly strange because the hypothalamus is in charge of memory, not judging masculine beauty.

What is wrong with you people? she growled. Just shut the heck up, will ya?

she growled.

There was immediate silence, but she could sense all of the many parts of her brain silently mourning over the fact that they probably wouldn't see Vincent's beautiful hair ever, ever again.

Chaos cursed, seeing that the human was going to fly into the ravine wall. Not because he feared for the human's life, or even his own (he always kept a theory that should the human die, then he would finally be freed), but because the show had just been getting good. The world went black for Vincent, but not for the demon, who held a sentiency that was unaffiliated with the human's corporal awareness.

The demon felt reality slowly crumble away, like melting snow, then fall back into place in a new and alien order.

Reality filled his being, and he relished it like a dessert. He realized that his body did not feel normal. His consciousness was filling up different parts than he was used to, from the life he had held years ago. There were no wings, he had no talons, his face was more delicate and hair was springing from his head and he had toes and fingers and something about the human's middle was hurting him very great deal.

Completely disoriented, the demon tried to open his eyes. They would not. He tried again, tracing the correct line of nerves to the optical center, then flipping the switch, an act that is simple for newborn babies to accomplish, but not for Chaos, who had only been in control for about five seconds and found he knew nothing of how to control a human body.

Perhaps I should have been paying more attention before, he mused, but the thought was interrupted by what he saw when the eyelids separated and the eyes focused.

The human girl?

He growled instinctively, and was pleasantly surprised when it worked and sound came out. Then, after enjoying her shocked expression for a moment, shook his head mentally and set out to figure out how to move the human's body.

Chaos concentrated on certain areas to find out how to reach them. This resulted in general shaking. Then he realized disgustedly that the pain in the human's middle was worse when he was experimenting, so he decided to leave it off for the time being. Besides, the movements had all the skill and finesse of an infant. It would be better to experiment in a more private setting.

He returned his attention to the girl, who was, he was pleased to see, tending to his wounds. Well, the human's wounds. But until he was free of the human's imperfect body, Chaos would consider it his own.

With nothing to do, he stared at the girl, who was looking at his chest rather obsessively, as if she did not want to meet his eyes.

Or, he thought, perhaps she just finds the human's chest pleasing.

he thought,

He automatically bared a animalistic grin, but when he stopped to think about how he did it, he lost his concentration and the expression disappeared. Damn. He was going to more need practice if he was going to be able to pose as the human.

He stared at her face, her throat, her small breasts and narrow thighs as she hovered above him, watching his blood being absorbed by the bandages. Her lips parted; a lock of hair fell into her eyes and she pushed it back behind her ears, leaving a streak of blood on her cheek.

Something was...developing in his body. A heat, a tension.

He wanted to pull her to him, drag the clawed hand through her back, to feel her tremble with soft death throes as he ripped the bleeding flesh from her pretty throat with his dull human teeth...

But...it was not only that.

He wanted to pull her to him, drag his hand through her short black hair, to feel her tremble with virginal trepidation as he raked the white flesh of her pretty throat with his dull human teeth...

He grimaced, he tried to move, to kill her, to eat her, to consume her, but he couldn't manage such complicated movement.

She pressed a hand to his chest. "Stop moving, ya idiot," she said, and reset the bandages, which he had shaken off in his lust to utterly consume her. He stopped moving instantly, going rigid with her touch and the pain rushing through the wound in his stomach. His blood ran red through his human body, quick and stretched like canvas. He bared his teeth.

She looked up at him; he stared at her eyes until she looked away. The animal in him celebrated; even though she was hovering above him, she was still not as dominant in her eye contact, which meant he won.

She wrapped gauze around him, lifting him up from the back. Chaos kept his head forward, instinctively, expecting her to attack him like he would have attacked her. The girl spoke, nonsense really, and he did not pay particular attention to it. She touched his face, and his hair, then set him down on the ground. He could smell her sweat, her fear.

She was clipping the gauze closed when Chaos decided that his curiosity was now much too great to keep to himself. There was no reason for the girl to be bandaging the man's wounds, in any case. It didn't make sense.

He opened his mouth, tried to anti-concentrate, breathed out...


Ah, what an improvement over growling! My first word in thirty-odd years! I deserve a snack for that...

He stared at her surprised face, wondering how she would taste if he ever got a bite of her.

She said something else and he did not really listen, too busy examining the way her throat moved when it vibrated. Lovely, really.

And then something she asked finally got through to him. "Can you move?"

Could he move? Well, no.

He jerked the human's head from side to side.

Chaos was disturbed to see her eyes brighten with avarice. "Okay, in that case, in exchange for me being your nurse, you're going to give me all your materia!"

Oh, hells no.

He shook his head again, jerkily.

And then she proceeded to take all of the materia, leaving him a stupid Enemy Away, which glinted and winked at him from its spot on his chest. And then she left, flashing that damnable cheesy grin behind her.

Damn...that girl.

And then the world spun and his strangely soft head fell back onto the ground. He lost control as the human came back to consciousness.

Vincent opened his eyes and swallowed.

Wh...what happened? he felt like he was drunk.

For once, Chaos did not seem to have a witty remark.

Vincent sat up, then noticed something purple slip and fall. He stared at it, then at his torso, which was covered in bandages and blood.

Chaos? Do you know what happened? he sent the question, plucking at the covered wound. How badly am I hurt?

he sent the question, plucking at the covered wound.

Chaos answered, but he did not sound sarcastic; he sounded merely preoccupied, as if he were busy doing great things on the other side of his brain. You are...not mortally wounded... he trailed off, and sent Vincent the mental picture of Chaos posing like the Thinking Man. He supposed that meant Chaos was being inattentive or thoughtful.

He stood up, grunting. Ah! My materia! What the hell happened?

Chaos seemed to shake himself. The...ninja stole them, he growled.

He caught sight of his chocobo. Grabbing the Enemy Away, he climbed on an outcropping and mounted slowly, as not to hurt himself more.

Eh...this is going to hurt, riding this beast while wounded.

No response from Chaos, not that he had expected any. But sympathy would have been nice.

So...which way did she go? The chocobo kicked, bobbing its head.

Chaos sent him a mental picture of his tiny body getting torn to pieces. Mortal. Am I mistaken in believing that you were once a Turk? I was under the impression that tracking was one of the few skills you do posses. The sarcasm was palpable.

He gritted his teeth. The job would be easier if I knew which direction in general to look in, monster.

Chaos huffed. Keep your damnable questions to yourself, mortal. I...have things I need to do.

But Vincent had already trotted the chocobo (carefully so as not to hurt himself) to a spot that boasted many chocobo tracks, and even a few tiny ninja tennis shoe tracks.

What things could you possibly be doing? You are stuck in my mind. You might as well help.

Do not presume anything, human.

Vincent paused, considering that. Alright, then. I won't. So, which way?

For some reason, Vincent caught the image from Chaos of the ninja getting impaled by spikes. To the west, you imbecile.

The gunman looked that way and sighed. He checked his gun, reloaded bullets, examined the nozzle.

What are you waiting for? Was it just him, or did Chaos sound a little frazzled?

Trying not to grin, he deliberately holstered his gun, then scratched his head at length.

Get going, human. She will escape.

I didn't know you cared. Scratch, scratch.

I do not. Vincent got the impression that he was sulking. Now move or I will move you myself. Otherworldly claws clinked together, hovering over his brain matter.

Vincent got the impression that he was sulking. Otherworldly claws clinked together, hovering over his brain matter.

Vincent kicked the chocobo and it set off, warking. I will get my materia and the Huge Materia back, he thought to himself, or perhaps to Chaos. And then I will go find Hojo and kill him.

Chaos grinned, a ghastly mental expression. That is the first thing you have said all day that made any sense.

Vincent winced, clutching his stomach. "Ow," he breathed. The chocobo's gait sent pain shooting through it.

Chaos merely laughed at him, malevolently.

A.N. So, yeah. Plot development Chaos can now control Vincent's body whenever Vincent gets knocked out. And I guess he isn't going to let Vincent know about this. And also, Chaos is like a lecher or something. I dunno what that's all about. He's a punk. And this story is still giving me SO much trouble since I've lost all my notes. It sucks so bad. This chapter was hecka long, though. So maybe it counteracts its lateness. XD