A/N: I first posted this fic sometime last year and was using only the trailers for Advent Children as a basis of comparison for Yazoo. Having recently seen the movie in its entirety made me want to finish this; however I realized that my portrayal of Yazoo was a bit off. I've tweaked some things in both this chapter and the next; it's my personal opinion that there wasn't enough of Yazoo shown in the movie to get a really good handle on his personality, but this is my attempt.

NOTE: For anyone who has yet to see the movie, there WILL be spoilers later on. If you have seen the movie, however, you will notice that the storyline I made up for this fic months ago has some huge discrepancies in relation to the actual film; therefore I ask that you consider this an AU fic.

XIX

Yuffie was being followed.

It didn't surprise her; she'd been expecting something like this would happen. From the moment three days ago when she'd answered her PHS using her trademark flippant greeting -"Yo, Yuffie here! This had better be good!"- and heard the quietly grim voice of one Cloud Strife on the other end she'd simply known that trouble was coming, and that it would be unavoidable. That very day she'd left Wutai, hitching a ride on her father's private jet to the main continent to reunite again with the others she had fought alongside in the Meteor incident. Cloud's hurried explanation over the PHS had been brief and totally unenlightening, but she knew him well enough to realize that the underlying tone to his words was a mixture of fear and apprehension. It had to be bad to rouse Cloud –Mr. Stoic- into such a state, and so she'd arrived on the mainland feeling a bit nervous herself.

Cloud had met her, along with most the others she'd journeyed with. Cait Sith was absent, which didn't really surprise her, but what was astonishing was the presence of Vincent Valentine, recluse extraordinaire . The fact that he was present put a whole new level of urgency on the issue, and as Cloud explained his reason for assembling them all together Yuffie experience a peculiar sinking sensation deep in the pit of her stomach that she had never really felt before …

Despair.

There were three of them, Cloud explained –three men almost identical to Sephiroth, three men who were quite blatantly hostile. Their purpose was unknown, but it was undoubtedly sinister, and had something to do with all the children so recently afflicted by GeoStigma. Which was why, Cloud explained, he had called them all together – people were needed to protect the children and to gather information on the three men, and people were needed to keep close tabs on the now wheelchair bound Rufus. The son of the former President was also the current employer of Cloud; Rufus had seemingly had a change of heart in the face of his near death experience almost two years ago. Cloud detailed to his gathered friends that he didn't trust Rufus, and Yuffie wasn't the only to think his mistrust was rightly so. And so the friends, brought together in times of danger and reunited once again under dire circumstances, dispersed to do what it was Cloud asked of them.

Which brought Yuffie to where she was now – walking along an isolated street in New Midgar, keeping within the glow of the streetlights, and knowing with cold certainty that someone was following her.

She sighed. She had an inkling of who it was. She had been assigned the dubious honor of attempting to locate Tseng, former leader of the Turks. The only thing impeding her search was the fact that nobody knew for certain whether Tseng still lived; rumors about his demise were numerous and ranged from ludicrous to highly probable, and Rufus himself was remaining tight lipped about the matter. Cloud had a suspicion that there was more behind the scenes than his new employer was letting on –hence Yuffie's currently fruitless assignment.

Throughout the day, as she'd roamed New Midgar discreetly questioning and discriminately searching for something –anything- that would set her in the right direction, she'd caught glimpses of someone tall, someone red headed, someone familiar watching her from afar. She'd almost shrugged it off until she recognized the lanky, slouched form as none other that Reno of the Turks. He was making a good show of pretending he was in fact out for a day on the town, but Yuffie had spent much of her life carousing with unsavoury characters and was willing to bet that A) he was trailing her and B) he was doing so at Rufus' request. This made Yuffie wonder if perhaps Cloud's suspicions weren't correct … why would Rufus need to know what she was doing?

As a car passed her with the quiet rumble of its engine, headlights piercing the gloom that came in the moments before dusk, Yuffie snorted. Why indeed? That was million dollar question, wasn't it? Keeping her head down, her hands in the pockets of the tan slacks she'd donned for the purpose of this outing, Yuffie concentrated on the sound of her footsteps against the sidewalk and was able to discern –just barely- other footsteps echoing her own. Her path carried her past a small pub situated at an intersection in streets; she rounded the corner at a casual pace and immediately pressed her back against the brick wall of the pub. One hand slid to free her shuriken from where it rode tight against her back beneath her jacket as she focused on quieting her breathing; the footsteps that had followed her drew ever closer …

Her fingers tightened over her freed weapon as a form appeared; expecting to see Reno, she was somewhat taken aback to find that instead of a Turk it was merely a young woman carrying a baby in a harness; the woman didn't glance in Yuffie's direction and instead continued straight across the street. When she was out of sight Yuffie sighed in irritation; being around Cloud was already messing with her nerves. What she needed was a good stiff drink at a bar … preferably the new Seventh Heaven. Nobody mixed drinks quite like Tifa …

Her train of thought derailed as she turned, preparing to take the shortest route to Seventh Heaven, for some five paces from her was a man, standing just beyond the reach of the nearest streetlight and thus was suitably shrouded from view. Yuffie eyed him warily, thinking perhaps it was a homeless drunk, or maybe even some down on their luck ruffian looking to sell their body. When the man didn't move, Yuffie decided she'd simply walk around him, and began to do so when he spoke.

"Yuffie Kisaragi."

She froze at the sound of her name, for this was no voice she recognized. Keeping a distance between them, she circled the man, trying to make out distinguishing features, attempting to recognize a face. He turned as she did, pivoting on the spot; a few seconds passed in silence before she demanded shortly, "Who are you?"

No answer came. Yuffie scowled after a long moment of drawn out silence, the hand holding her shuriken twitching in a menacing manner. Something about this was making her increasingly nervous. Finally she said, "Show yourself."

In silhouette, she could see his head dip once in acquiescence; two steps he took then, until he stood just within the lurid wash of the street lamp. Yuffie couldn't stop the strangled noise that escaped her as certain things were brought to her immediate attention – the similarities she couldn't deny in the haughty structure of the face, in the long lengths of the metallic hair, in the cat-like depths of his eerie eyes. When she found her voice again she said unevenly, "You are not Sephiroth."

A minute smile graced his face. "No."

"But you're tied to him somehow." As she spoke her eyes feverishly took in other details; the sophisticated mixture of black armor and leather that encased entirely his lean form; the wicked looking gunblade worn in a loose holster about his hips.

"Yes." He replied, smile never fading.

Ah. This then was one of the three Cloud had spoken of. "What's your name?" Yuffie asked with a belligerence she didn't quite feel.

"Yazoo."

A smirk came to her then at his name, but faded quickly as she found herself on the receiving end of a gaze both cold and completely enigmatic. Struggling to gain the footing she felt rapidly slipping away from her, Yuffie asked, "What do you want?"

"Simply to talk," Yazoo said, taking first one step and then another towards her, the movements smooth and predatory. Refusing to give way, Yuffie remained where she was, craning her neck back to glare at the taller man. Every instinct she had was screaming at her to leave here, to flee and leave this danger behind. She'd never been one to listen to common sense, however, and so when he stopped a mere hairsbreadth from her she steeled her nerve and waited with bated breath for what would come next.

"I've been told you're a foolish girl," Yazoo said, the hint of another vague smile flickering about his lips.

"I've been told you're an asshole," she snapped back, and was disappointed when his smile became full blown and one of genuine entertainment.

"Impertinent," he remarked.

"You're not the first to say."

"Little girls," he whispered then, leaning so close his breath fanned her face, "Shouldn't be out past dark."

"What are you going do about it?" She took great pride in the fact that even though every muscle she owned was tense and quivering, her voice was still steady.

He drew back, smile fading, and something dangerous, something cruel slid behind his eyes. And in the next instant he had freed his gunblade from its holster; as he brought it up to bear Yuffie was moving, striking out with the speed and agility she so prided herself on. She brought the shuriken down just as he took aim at her; before he could pull the trigger she'd twisted his arm down and away so that when he fired, the bullet rebounded off the sidewalk and projected harmlessly away. He retaliated with a swiftness that was astonishing, ripping away from her and delivering a powerful backhand blow that sent her reeling. Staggering around to face him, she wiped with her forearm a trickle of blood from her mouth, hoisting her weapon up in preparation to throw.

Yazoo watched her intently for a long moment before he let fall the gunblade, and it clattered loudly to the ground. Confused, wary, Yuffie frowned at him.

"Weapons are overrated," he said with another unpleasant smile.

She understood then; he wanted hand to hand combat, and her answering smile was jubilant. He was underestimating her, but he would find that out the hard way …

"Alright," she said, tossing the shuriken aside and dropping into a defensive crouch.

And had very little time to prepare, for suddenly he was coming for her. Fast.

XIX

Another Note: In my head, I kind of thought that when confronted with Kadaj, Loz and Yazoo Cloud would be able to put two and two together and realize that they were tied to Seph some how. I just figured that silver hair and creepy eyes, not to mention above average strength, agility and overall power were sort of a dead giveaway. I guess I was wrong, but that's the story I'm going with for this fic. Thanks for reading!