The Materia Hunter

Summary: Yuffie Kisaragi's narration of the story of Final Fantasy VII as she deals with every teenage mentality in the book alongside her eventual partner in crime, the ever morbid gunslinger, Vincent Valentine.

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII.

I was sleeping. Really! It was my "self proclaimed day off." Until some random butthole with a great yellow spike growin' outta his head decided to come along and whop me upside the head with his big-ass sword. Jerkface. It's not like I attacked you or anything. Just because I threw something sharp at your crotch out of curiosity does NOT mean that we have to get violent, buddy! I was just happily skippin' along and goin' to get breakfast.. (shootin' up some lil birdies with my blowgun).. And then I spot this girly looking dude coming straight at me. Naturally, I am going to be curious as to whether or not this girly looking dude actually HAS any not-so-girly parts. Hence the throwing knife-action.

And then I get my ass kicked, nearly chopped off, and handed to me on a silver plate.

One.. two.. three. Spike and his buddies, I guess. A lady with the biggest honkers I've ever seen and a freaky great big red cat that talks. Yeah. Pretty normal morning.. I think I'll go steal all their cash now. That's what you get for picking a fight with ME, the Great Ninja Yuffie, jerks!

Yoink! Thank you very much and come again! Nyuk nyuk nyuk... They had more dinero on them than I thought. GOLD SAUCER, HERE-I-COMEEEE! Now to hide in this tree for a bit so I never have to see them again…

...Two hours later…

CRAP. They found me. So much for my strategic hide-in-a-tree scheme. Note to self: In the future, find better hiding spots. Like a carefully concealed underground lair. Gawd, that'd be so frickin' badass. Oh shoot, they're trying to kill me. Running away is not an option! Come on, Yuffie! CHAARRGEE!!!

Whoopsies. Got my ass handed to me again. GAWD, they have so much Materia. Let's tag along, shall we? Hahaha. Note to self: STEAL THEIR AWESOME MATERIA.

...Two more hours later...

Spike (I found out that his name is Cloud) left us in Junon. He keeps talking about "getting Sephiroth", and "saving the Planet". Sounds pretty deep to me. Hope I'm not in over my head. … Nah, I'm definitely not in over my head. I'll be making off with their shiny Materia soon, anyway. Meh. After a bit of bribing, we board an elevator to Upper Junon. Guess Spike wanted to play with the little girl and her dolphin longer. Gawd, that sounds weird.

Stupid Spike, he had to jump to Upper Junon on the dolphin, and we got to ride the elevator. When we got there, I DID raid a Materia store. It was really funny, there was this big fat guy runnin' the place, and I just swooped down while he wasn't looking, scooped up a box of Magic Materia and managed to conk him on the head with it as I swung back up to my place on a rafter. Hahaha! The look on his face was PRICELESS. Wish I had a camera! But afterwards, I had to stow away on this cargo ship that moved.... with water.. around it.. moving.. rocking.. burghh.. Barf city. GROSSNESS. Well anyway, we met this Sephiroth guy Spike keeps talkin' bout. He's freaky, he's wears all black, and he'd be pretty damn sexy (yes, I admit), if he chopped about twenty inches of hair off. Anyhow, he dropped this really gross hunk of flesh on the ground before he just.. disappeared. And the really gross hunk of flesh sorta bubbled (ew) and turned into this huge monster thingy that didn't seem to have joints. I thought it was kinda funny, cause when it cast Silence, (which didn't really work), it just sorta rose up a few inches and spun around. Heh heh. Yeah. Well, I kicked its ass, (of course), and we got outta there, AFTER finding this neat weapon, my Wind Slash, and this really yummy looking Summon called Ifrit.. Too bad Spike's using it. He gave me Shiva after he saved the little girl who owned the dolphin, though.

Well, now we're in SUNNY COSTA DEL SOL! Omigawd, I've always wanted to go here. There's another fat guy sellin Materia over there... and he's lookin' for a new employee.. Well, let's pretend to be a nice upstanding citizen and help him.. for now. Nyuk nyuk nyuk.

I sigh. Time to leave. Sucks. But we're headed for the Gold Saucer now, so that's cool. It's such a long walk there, though, and there are so many monsters.. They make me mad. Shouldn't they run away or something when they see me?! Great Ninja Thief Kisaragi here! HELLO!!! CAN YOU SPELL STUPID?

Stupid Spike. I walk all the way to the Gold Saucer, just for him. And then what? We get thrown into COREL PRISON, DAMN IT. Barret, Spike's friend with a gun for an arm seems to know somethin', and he's actin' strange. Oh. And we got this weird Mog/cat thing at Wonder Square. Calls itself Cait Sith. Why exactly this thing wanted to come with us, I shall never know.. It has a pretty shiny Transform Materia on it, though.. Tifa, (the lady with the boobs), Red XIII (the red cat), Cait Sith and I wait in this musty old house while the others go out to look for some guy to get us outta here. Gawd, this yucky old house is making me feel nauseous.. I HATE MUSTY OLD HOUSES. At least this one doesn't have monsters or spiders... hopefully. I had this AWFUL vision last night about this huge, dilapidated, saggy old mansion in this gloomy little town, and when I went in, there were spider webs and stuff, and these HUGE spiders, but I was stupid, and went DEEPER into the mansion, and went into the BASEMENT, which was even ickier, and I went into this one room off the side and it was full of all these freaky coffins and bones and SPIDER WEBS LIKE YOU WOULD NEVER BELIEVE! GROSSNESSSSS!!!! EW! This is exactly why I hate meditating. Stupid useless Godo and his stupid useless skills on "how to manipulate your inner energies". Gawd.

"Hey, all you people, get out. Mr. Strife needs you."

Finally, out of that yucky old place, straight into a brand new buggy. It's soo cool, it's red with these little gold bolt shapes on it. Or, it was cool. Until it broke right in front of Cosmo Canyon. I sigh. At least it wasn't in the middle of nowhere.

COME ON. First the fat dudes runnin' Materia shops, and now there's a SLEEPING dude! Well, can't complain. I'll just swipe a few of these... and yoink! Mission complete. Pitifully easy. Cosmo Canyon is really kinda corny. Red XIII (we found his real name is Nanaki), is from here. GAWD, I'm bored. Maybe I'll just go sleep in the inn for a while.

And now it's time to go. Guess I slept through everything that happened. Totally lost. Nanaki keeps talking about his father, Cloud was scared Nanaki was gonna leave, and Nanaki's grandpa, (he's weird.. he floats.), was encouraging him to go with us, and.. I really don't get it. I sigh again. At least the buggy's fixed.

Spike said that we're gonna skip Gongaga. I don't really care. But he says that we're goin' to his old hometown, Nibelheim, next. Great, huge flashbacks, here we come.. We ford the river in the repaired buggy and drive for about an hour or so until we come upon this gloomy little town. This must be Nibelheim.

Oh-my-GAWD. Can't help but not let my eyes pop out of their sockets on this one. That yucky old mansion from my vision is IN THIS TOWN. I think I'm gonna be sick... Cause Spike wants to go inspect it. And he says I hafta go with him. Why me?! I do NOT want to go in that icky, spider-infested house. Suddenly, he grabs hold of me and drags me through the front door. Yes, of course I'm screaming as loud as I can! I'm scared!

It's worse in real life. I was scared I was gonna fall out of my skin or something. Something about that place FREAKS ME OUT! But we found all these clues in a box left by some mad scientist, and so now we're on a treasure hunt in this hellhole full of spiders. How did someone LIVE HERE once!? Ugh. Anyhoo, we found all the numbers for the safe. But when Spike opened it, voila! A giant purple/red dancing monkey-thing attacks us! And so, I-kick-its-ass. Hahaha. I am SO good. Swiped some pretty good materia from that safe, too, before Spike noticed it. Odin. Summon. Trying not to get drool on it... Yeah. Well, there was this key, and so we picked it up and the tag said "Basement Key." Shit. ShitshitshitshitSHIT! No basement for Yuffie-chan, no way in HELL! Spike'll hafta throw me down those stairs to get me down there!

Ya know... spiral staircases make ya dizzy when ya fall down em... I see black fuzzies, and they're very, very cute... Dreidel, Dreidel, Dreidel, and Dreidel I shall PL-AAAYYY.... moogley.... ow! MY ASS! STUPID BAT!! I came to senses after that STUPID BAT BIT MY ASS!! RAWR! I nearly tear it to bits with my teeth. Serves it right. Ah.. The door. THE door. To THE room. With THE bones, and THE skulls, and THE creepy coffins. Thank god it's locked.


HOLD IT! That key, the safe.

SHIIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTT! No, ya stupid spikey jerk! DON'T OPEN IT!

Voila. I see black fuzzies...... and they're very, very cute...

The cover of the middle coffin comes off and WHOMP. I keel over on the spot. Damn Spike. Thought I told ya not to open the door...

I hear voooiiiiiiiceeeeesssssss....

"You know Sephiroth?"

"Good night."

What is you name?"

"My name is Vincent."

Footsteps.. Wah.. They're gonna just leave me here with a creepy guy who lives in a coffin. HE'S GONNA SUCK MY BLOOD.. Hey, wait, I'm conscious.

"Are you alright?"

I peel myself off the floor and look up into a pair of eyes."

Blood red ones, to be exact. They blink at me, almost innocently. I think I'm gonna have a heart attack. Don't wanna die... He's gonna suck my blood! He really is a vampire! He even looks like one!

Black.... and fuzzy.... and very, very cute....

Flop. There I go. He's really gonna suck my blood. Last thing I see is his creepy face. Red eyes, black hair, a complete contrast to his paper-white face.



Agh! Where the hell am I?! I see.. dark! Dark! And it's cool and dry.. Ah. A hotel room. Hey.. A HOTEL ROOM! WHAT AM I DOING IN A HOTEL ROOM??? AUGH!

"You are awake." A monotone voice emanates from the corner of the room, sending a quick shiver down my spine. I reached for the lamp at the bedside and go to flip it on when my hand stops. Freaky long-ass fingers are clamped around my wrist. Ew. Eek! The monotone voice is very close now, right by me, in fact.

"Go to sleep. The others will rest for about four more hours. There is no reason for you to be awake at this hour."

I stare at the darkness, trying to figure out who was in the room with me. It obviously isn't Spike. Racking my cloudy brain, I root around for something. Shreds of memories start flooding back, making my head hurt as if a Tonberry was attacking me.

"Are you alright?" The soft, deep voice of a man speaks softly in my memory, no change in pitch.


Can't remember anything else. ... OMIGAWD, THERE'S A FRICKIN VAMPIRE IN THE ROOM.


Bam. The door opens with a bang as Spike runs in, hair messy from sleep. The room is suddenly filled with light, and I blink. Never have I been SO-DAMN-GLAD to see that spikey-headed jerk in my entire life.

"What's the matter, Yuffie?"

I look at Spike, eyes round as saucers. "H-HE'S GONNA SUCK MY BLOOD!!!!" I screech, diving under the covers in an attempt to protect myself. The man, who I'd not gotten a good look at yet, stares ahead blankly, nothing showing on his pale features. Hahaha, I almost sounded like a writer there, didn't I? Hahaha.

Cloud just gapes at me, the lump in the bed. "What are you talking about?" he says, oblivious. "Vincent's not a vampire..."

I poke my head out. "Nyehhhh. What would YOU do if you woke up suddenly after being unconscious in a strange hotel room with a man you've never met before, grabbing you by the wrist and telling you to sleep?" Shooting a look at the unresponsive, vampiric man, I observe him for a second.

He's not bad looking, if I do say so myself. That claw is pretty damn hot... Here's a list of alllllll the descriptions I have for him.

He has long black hair, tamed by a crimson headband.

He wears a matching cloak, which is buckled at the top to conceal the bottom of his face. Argh.

Black clothes underneath. Prolly even black underwear. Boxers... or briefs? Hrmm...

Pointy boots. How the hell does he walk in those? They have metal on them! They don't bend! Does he fly?

Omigawd, his eyes are RED. Not brown-red, like Tifa's, but RED. Like, blood colored. Freaky. And his skin is the color of my mother's wedding kimono. Stark white. Almost pearly. Freaky, and ew. This guy needs to go to Costa Del Sol...... permanently.

Yeah, he's a little weird looking… and kinda hot, too. And he's a got a GUN. A handgun, or somethin.. And it has MATERIA in it.. Materia... mmm... Maybe I'll be nice to this guy..

"Hiya!" I squeal, suddenly enthusiastic. Cloud leaves the room as I bound over to the vampire-man. "I'm Yuffie! You're Vincent, right? Mind if I call ya Vinnie? Vince? Vin? Vincey? V?" The guy just stares over his collar at me, silent. It's like, he's scanning me for viruses, and I'm a computer.

"A pleasure, Yuffie," says Vincent softly, barely audible. He bows his head, formal. "Yes, my name is Vincent. You may call me that."

"Hey, yeahhh.. Where are we?"

"We are in the Nibelheim Inn."

I sigh, shaking my head. "You don't talk much. C'mon, sit with me." I walk over and sit, then pat the spot next to me. "We can talk about.... ah. Hee hee hee. Materia!! I love Materia, don't you? Isn't it cool? What kind of Materia do YOU have?"

Wordless, Vincent sits next to me on the bed. Strange. Wasn't really expecting him to. Anyhoo, he pulls out his gun. Not to KILL ME, stupid (though I'm sure it crossed his mind), but to inspect the magic orbs inside.

"Barrier, Restore, Lightning."

I notice an empty slot in his weapon, and I point to it. "Won't you fill that one?" I ask, cocking my head to the side. For some reason, I'm starting to feel a slight bond between the two of us.

"No, I have no need to." I shake my head at this. One can never have too much Materia! Feeling EXTREMELY generous, I dig out a small drawstring bag of Materia from my shorts. Searching the orbs, I find the red Odin summon from earlier. With a great sigh, I hand over the summon to the gunslinger.

"That's Odin. Found it while we were getting the key to open your door. Use it, kay?" In silent response, he slips the red sphere into the remaining slot.

"Thank you, Yuffie."

GAWD, I feel weird right now. Why the hell do my legs feel like jelly? And am I.. blushing? GAWD!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I fling myself onto the pillows and notice Vincent looking at me, perplexed.

"Night, Vinnie."

Needless to say, he shudders ever so slightly. Yuffie-chan's infamous nicknames can do that to you. I remember when I used to call Godo "Goldfishie" after the fish living in his pond. After I'd called him that at one of formal ceremonies to renew his status, he never managed to live that down... Hahaha. But he forbade me to ever use that name again. I sigh. Silly old man.

"…..zzzz….. mmph..?" I crack an eyelid to see Vincent rising from his spot on my bed. He pulls the covers over me and moves to the other bed. Well, maybe he isn't so creepy.. My shin feels slightly warm from the place on the blanket that Vincent had been sitting on. Just like my dad used to do… back when he was nice.

The next morning, I feel something cold on my shoulder, shaking it gently. Hmm. Whoever the owner is must not know I'm a morning person. Well, I open my eyes and see…

A tarnished brass claw on my shoulder.

I jump slightly in fright, not used to seeing Vincent's prosthetic yet.

"Are you awake?"


"Good. Cloud says to meet at the edge of town by the entrance to the Nibel Mountains in half an hour."

"Kay…" I rub my eyes, blurry with sleep, and sit up. "Hey Vinnie?"

He shuddered again, though not noticeably. "?"

"Why couldn't I have shared with Tifa? I mean, not to be rude or anythin'… but she's a girl, and you're… not. Well, unless there's somethin' you're not tellin' me…" I stretch my right arm, then my left, and repeat.

"The rooms in this inn have maximums of two beds, so Tifa is with Aeris, Nanaki and Cait Sith roomed together, Cloud and Barret as well, so naturally that left us. And since I was in charge of carrying you back after you collapsed, Cloud said it would be alright."

"..oh. Vinnie, what happened yesterday? I collapsed, but I don't remember.." I shove the covers aside and stand up, already dressed for the day. Sleeping in my clothes is normal for me. It's one less thing to do in the morning. Vincent pauses and looks at me, those unnerving red irises boring into my skull, like they're trying to find whether or not I'm "worthy".

"You blacked out at my feet inside the Mansion. Since you involuntarily… drooled in your sleep, the others left you with me."

I blush now, even darker than last night.. "Errr, sorry bout that, Vinnie.."

"I don't mind."

I turn even redder. How the hell does he DO that??? I mean, I'm a LEGEND! The GREAT MATERIA HUNTER YUFFIE KISARAGI!! FEAR MY WRATH! But nooo, Mr. Vampire Freaky-Ass has to come along and stab me through the heart with his sexy metal claw and hot one-pitched voice that says those three words to me..

No, not "I love you", idiot. "I don't mind." The hell is that supposed to do??? NOT turn me on! Grrr… This guy is pissing me off… I slam the door to the bathroom irritably. Yuffie Kisaragi is not a morning person, even to hot vampire men.

Okay, it's official. Mt. Nibel is freaky. Especially without Spike around to swing his big ass sword at all the enemies. He left me with Vinnie so Tifa and Aeris could get some more battle experience. Ha. Hahaha. No, Cloudy-boy, Yuffie, ultimate psychic reader and all around perfect hot model can see RIGHT through you. Getting popular with the ladies, huh? Well, not working. I SAW Tifa eyein' Vinnie before we left. Well, well. HE'S MINE. MINEEEEE!!!! ALL THE MATERIA IS MINEEEE!!!!!! MUWAHAHAHA!!!

Sorry. I didn't realize the toast had mass amounts of caffeine in it. Toast usually doesn't.. Note to self: avoid hotel toast and go for the pancakes.

Anyhoo, maybe Tifa does like Spike. They're were "childhood friends", and they're "soooo cute!!" as said by Aeris. Though, I know that she's secretly in love with him, too. Guess there's no room for me in there. A love triangle's not a triangle if there's four people. Then, it's a square. And squares made of love are… scary. Well, once upon a time (last week), I thought Spike's little muscles and spikey blondness were kinda hot..

But, no.

"Yuffie, please keep up with me. Cloud requested that we leave the mountains by tomorrow's nightfall."

Damn Vinnie and his long legs… How tall IS he? Six feet maybe? And I'm… five foot two. Ooh. I feel "petite". That's what my mom always called me, saying I was lucky to not have to watch what I eat or worry about my figure. Not that she was bad looking, though. My mom was the prettiest woman in all of Wutai. That's what I believed until I saw her face, covered in cold sweat, white, dead. My brother was never alive, and he took my mother with him. Sighing, I run to catch up. I guess I hafta be grateful; at least I'm not listening to Barret cursing with every step, or Cait Sith daring me to try his slots in that tinny voice of his.

"Ooh, this is SO COOL!!" I jump up and down, twirl, and then pose. I've never seen a natural Materia fountain before.

"We'll camp here for the night."

My head jerks up from the crystal thingy I was inspecting. Elemental materia. "Really? Ohmygawd, Vinnie, I love you, this is so cool."

Silence. The bird in the corner chirps annoyingly. Weird urges to pull out blowgun…

"Very well." Vincent gathers some loose kindling lying around, and the green Materia glow surrounds him as he pulls out his gun.

"Bolt." Monotone, as always. A strand of lightning flashes down at Vincent's command, setting the wood alight. When he turns away from me, I grab the Elemental Materia from the fountain. Hey, what he doesn't know can't hurt him.

"Hey Vinnie?" I turn the makeshift pot holding the bird around. Yes, the bird from the corner.


"Why were you sleeping in a coffin in the basement of a creepy house?" I ask as bluntly as possible. I try to match his unemotional gaze as I look at him, unblinking. Heh, I'm pretty good at this.

"To atone for my sins, this is the best I can do."

"… huh?"


Someone's shaking me. Man, if I could ever get my hands on their neck….

"Yuffie, wake up."

"mmph… shuddup….."

"Cloud said that we have to meet on the other side by daybreak."

"finee….. I'm up…"

"Come." Someone puts a hand on my shoulder. Wow.. They have long fingers. They put their other hand on my shoulder and pull me to my feet, barely supporting me as my legs threaten to collapse like jelly.

Wait, that's not a hand.

"Mornin' Vinnie…"

I stumble after the blur of crimson in front of me, yawning and rubbing my eyes as I go. A few minutes later, a huge metal building comes into view. At that moment, I decide to wake up.

"Wow, what is that?"

Vincent gives me a scrutinizing glance before he responds.

"That is the Mt. Nibel Mako reactor."

Wow. Now that I think about it, this is the first time I've actually seen a Mako reactor. My dad always told me that they were pieces of junk that always broke, providing people with barely adequate and smelly energy. So, we never had one in Wutai. I never imagined they'd be so frickin' huge! But Vincent didn't even look at it… And we're not going in, so I guess it doesn't matter. Still.. just.. wow.

Weird. There's a door in the side of the mountain.

Now it gets even weirder! There are all these TUBES, and they all have numbers. AND they're all yucky and dirty and smelly with this green goo dripping off of them.. Hope we don't hafta touch 'em or anything..


Oh, GAWD!! Vinnie just went IN one of them… ooo, this is so gross…

"Vinnie?" I yell into the tube he went into. It's black in there.. and gooey. Double super outrageous GROSSNESS!!

A voice floats up from the lower level. "The pipe leads to the lower level, where we may exit the cavern. We are to meet Cloud and the others there."

"Oh, so I hafta…. slide down this gross, disgusting thing???"

I hear Vincent sigh slightly, barely audible. "Yes, I am afraid so. Hurry."

Sticking a toe warily into the mucky pipe, I realize that the green gloppy stuff in glowing ever so slightly. Triple, no QUADRUPLE ew. It's all sticky, and some parts are crusty…

"Yuffie, we haven't time for this. Please just go down the pipe."

I screw my eyes shut, close my mouth tightly and dive into the pipe. A whoosh of air rushes past as I slide, and my eyes pop open to receive the breeze. Gooey stuff splatters my face. This is so so so so gross… The next town BETTER have a good dry cleaner or laundromat, or SOMETHING!!!

"Oof." Of course, I have to have landed on my face.. And there's something cold on my cheek. Upon examination, it is… gold, pointy, divided into sections..

Whoops.. I landed on Vincent's foot.

"You okay?" A human hand pulls me to my feet, and some green goo drips off of my shirt, landing on the concrete with a "plop".

"Yah. Ew, gross!! What the heck IS this stuff? GROSSNESS!!!"

Vincent pulled a clump of the stuff out of my hair as he spoke. "This is a waste product produced by the Mako reactor."

Oh. Great. And here I thought it might have possibly been something nice, like candy…

Numbly, I follow Vincent, wiping crap out of my eyes all the way. "Man, I can't see… It got in my eyes. I closed my eyes, too! Oh, gross…."

Vincent whirls around to face me. "It got in your eyes?!"

"Yeah, and it.. gah. It isn't coming out! Argh…. AH!"

Vincent thrusts out a hand and pushes my right shoulder down, making me fall backwards onto my "delicate hindquarters".

"What the heck was that for??"

"Stay still, or it will spread and you will not be able to see."

"You mean I'm gonna go BLIND?!?"

"Stop moving." Vincent's voice sounds monotone, yet I can sense a desperation lacing it that I hadn't noticed before. Water pours into my eyes, flushing out some of the green. I barely see him digging out an Eye Drop before the stinging starts. I let out a cry and slap a hand to my face. Immediately, the hand is dragged away as the eye drops are put in.

Though the stinging disappears, everything's so green… and hazy..

More water.

A few panicked minutes later, I blink slowly, and my vision swims back.


Almost roughly, he grabs my arm and drags me to a standing position. "You can see alright?"

I blink again, getting things back into focus. "Yeah… I think so."

"Fine, let's go."

I don't even have the time to ask before Vincent leads me by the hand toward the exit. I can't believe it; Vincent just saved my sight! … Huh. That was random.

"shit.." Vincent muttered under his breath, pulling out the Peacemaker.

Wow, someone's a potty mouth.

"A Materia Keeper. Watch out."

This big, blue, spidery thingy climbs out from behind some rock. And it has a beak. Weird.

"Materia Keeper, eh? Does it…. uh.. keep Materia?" Can't help myself from licking my lips here. I can just see what kinds of awesome Materia I'll be able to swipe…. and all the stuff I'll…. I mean, we'll get from winning…

"No. It's just the name of this beast. Be alert, for we must fight."

Aw, darnit. "Gah!" I yell, tugging out a shuriken from the holder on my back. "If you don't have any Materia, why the heck are you called a Materia Keeper??" A little disappointed as the mountain of colored orbs disappear from my mind, I throw the spiked ring at the freakish blue spider. However, it doesn't return like it usually does.

With a resounding "clang", the shuriken falls from the creature's flesh to the floor, which is at least fifteen feet away and right below the spider's armored stomach. My eyes widen as the monster charges, angry, right for me, beak outstretched. Without my weapon to deflect or counter, I'm finished…

"Oh, hell…" I think, cringing together, preparing for the blow.

However, it never comes.

Another loud "clang" reverberates off the walls of the cavern as horn hits metal. I open one eye for a peek, then both in surprise. Vincent is braced in front of me, his brass prosthetic wrenched in the grasp of the monster's sharp beak.

He turns his head to me and speaks, slightly pained. "Retrieve your weapon." Without even a nod, I sprint and take my shuriken off the ground. As I turn around, an awful sight fills my newly renewed sight.

Electricity courses through Vincent's body, his arm still attached to the beak of the monster. I recognize this attack. It used to be used a crime punishment in Wutai.

The beast was using Trine on Vincent!

"No!" I scream, anguished. Flinging my weapon desperately, I rush toward the scene. Two steps away, my shuriken returns like it's supposed to, and I catch it, expertly flinging it back again. The electricity stops its course, and Vincent slumps over, unresponsive. Almost in slow motion, I watch as the Materia Keeper slams its horn into his stomach, again, and again, and again…

An ethereal silence sweeps overhead, and I find that I can't move. Everything in front of me seems unreal, like I'm reading it out of a storybook. Then suddenly, a knight on a horse descends gracefully from above, a glinting steel sword in hand. The horse gallops past, and its rider attacks the beast, then disappears in a flash of steel.

And now it's real again. The Materia Keeper lies in a lump of disconnected flesh on the cold concrete of the floor. Vincent lies a few feet away, a bloody gash in his stomach. However, he remains conscious, which I find really weird.. Though I'm not tired, I can barely find the strength to go to him.

"You okay… Vinnie?"

"Yes." Still monotone!! And calm as a rock. This guy is absolutely bizarre…

He stands up and helps me to my feet, acting as though he is oblivious to the hole in his middle. "We should leave quickly. Cloud and the others are probably waiting outside."

Almost on cue, the PHS rings, and I answer it.


"It's Cloud."

"Hey, Spike. Whassup?"

"We've been waiting forever! Hurry up!"

"Yeah, yeah.." I decide to fool around a bit. "But I just don't feel like it.. Can you wait a couple hours, maybe?"

"Yuffie…." He sounds angry. "just get your butt out here, please. Vincent's with you, right? You guys okay?"

I become serious. "I'm okay, but Vinnie's pretty beat up from a fight we had with a Materia Keeper. We'll be right out." With a 'beep', I hung up the PHS and stuffed it back into my shorts pocket.

"Let's get out of here."

Vincent nods. We exit the cavern room and follow the twisting path back out onto the grassy area outside. Tifa waves at us, and I wave back. Something's up with Vincent, though. There's a FRICKIN' HOLE IN HIS STOMACH!! And he's walking and acting normal.. well, normal for Vinnie. What exactly IS this guy?

This story has been written over a span of several years. Looking back at these beginning chapters, I can see that they need much improvement. At some point, I'll probably just rewrite them entirely. However, this small editing job will have to suffice for now. Even if you disliked this first chapter for its sloppiness and the dispositions of the characters, I invite you to read on. I feel that it improves significantly over the course of the story.