Should read my 'Cities of the Future' first.


Antigone Shinra levels her gaze with him, autocratic and a color like the flash of hurricane-steel.

She is undeniably Shinra, she has the face, slim and sharp, and she has the hair, white-platinum-gold, and that is what makes her boss. Her claim to power, although Squall knows for a fact they keep girls like her in cryo—just in case—and that's why the Shinras will never die.

He doesn't want to wonder which number Antigone is, doesn't want to know how thin her blood is or how far her mind has gone from all those years of cryo and the all information stuffed into her skull.

Still, he can meet her eye. It's easier to hold her gaze than Roxas's, even if Antigone has a wineglass full of dragons and a heart made of steel—the latter inherited by her First, ages ago.

"You've brought this month's report?" Antigone demands. Her scarlet lips are wrapped around the edge of her polycrystalline glass, the dragons sliding on smoke down her throat like nightmares, hurriedly coiling in her lungs and her veins.

Her voice is low and purring and… she is so young. She looks to be perhaps seventeen, yet she has the voice of a demon—that is no stretch of the imagination, but Squall knows the real stench of a Tuner; cloying, like decaying lightning.

"I have," he agrees, tossing the disc onto her desk, it glimmers a faint rainbow in the low lighting.

Her mind, Squall knows, has been artificially aged up to par with the tasks required of her and when she reads through his figures she sneers, "This could be more impressive. Don't tell me it was a mistake to trust you?"

She stands, her black suit clinging to her frame in ways more dangerous than masculinity. Her fingers loosen, pivoting around the stem of her wineglass as she stalks towards where he stands; center of the room, spotlighted before her desk like a criminal.

With a dagger-graceful gesture, the dragon-black liquid wafts past her bloody lips, miring inside her lungs as ash.

Her eyes are hungry… Poor child, Squall thinks and she snarls.

"We took you under several outstanding recommendations, which you have failed to live up to," Antigone mutters in sulky reply to his pitying expression.

She drinks more and Squall wonders how long this expendable girl will last before her next self-and-twin will be awoken from cryo to take over their solemn vendetta against the city.

"Don't play games with me," Squall commands softly, she looks torn and then vicious.

"Captain Almasy, chairman Loire, and your predecessor would be disappointed in you," she hisses, perching herself upon her desk, putting on the mask of the nocturnal hunter she has never been. Squall doubts she has been allowed out of the compound yet.

And the wineglass is empty. She sets it aside reluctantly and reaches for her knife, the hilt is emblazoned with the hideous old crest of Shinra Electric. It is an effective threat, even if she is more prudent than to dirty her hands with him.

After a moment of juggling it dangerously between her hands, she sets the silver artifact down and looks at him. Her eyes are telling and she wants him very badly. She wants to kill him, to fuck him, to touch and to torment, to force him to accept her and her name.

Squall, impatient, reaches out and touches her, lets his veils down and lets her see what waits inside him.

His eyes are gray, like her steel-plated heart. His teeth are iridescent in the dusk of her office, pearlescent and sharp. His fingers are strong, he is dangerous and he is a soldier of his own devising and… his presence smells like blood and ozone. She is frightened; it is as if she has released something from its cage in the blackness.

"I could," Squall says darkly—he had warned her not to play games. "I could mention how you don't seem to live up to the precedent of your other selves. But I believe that would be petty, and I would rather not."

She tenses fiercely and then spreads her legs, pressing his hand to the heat between her thighs. Her husky voice forces him to suppress a shiver. Child, desperate child wanting what is beyond her, he tells himself.

"Why am I not good enough?" she demands, the petulance in her vixen's voice strengthening Squall's resistance.

"You're too clean," he growls. "I won't be the one to break a virgin."

Antigone grits her teeth and then pulls him closer, coaxing, flirting. "Laguna's runaway brat and Shinra's president, what better match is there?" Begging.

Child, poor child with all the knowledge she needs to run Shinra, but not the familiarity to see Squall has long since been enthralled by a beast. The quiet and calm of his soul—which she knows, she remembers from a childhood that was not is not never can be never should have been hers—has changed. He is infected by that mako SOLDIER who steals into his bed and the thrice-cursed demon-child he cannot turn away.

"You sponsor Kingdom Come," Squall reminds her flatly. Propriety, he remembers propriety and Antigone remembers too, with her faraway and empty memories.

Angry (frustrated, defeated) she shoves him away and goes back to her high-backed office-throne, putting the desk between them. "I want you to continue cleaning up this business with Hearts," she demands. "The work you and the blond have done thus far isn't enough. I want Edison's drug tested more extensively, before the Turks can catch wind. They'll side with the Nobodies to save their skin and then all our work will be for nothing."

Squall bows to her mockingly and she stares; her steel-blue eyes have become soft, weak—Antigone Shinra will soon die.

"Leon," she entreats suddenly, reaching out her slim porcelain hand—as perfect as it needs to be. Squall rebukes her quickly, sharply, "No."

He then turns to leave her office, pausing with his hand poised above the keypad. His final warning is all he has…

"Don't do this again, Antigone. I'm… I'm tired of watching you die."


Standard Disclaimers.