Manipulating the Terminator Line - Chapter 1: What In The World Could Ever Come Between Us?

This chapter was written entirely to Dolores O'Riordan's Ordinary Day. It sets up the chapter in a twisted way, if you look at the lyrics and keep them in mind while reading, or if you set it on loop while reading.

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy VII or any related works; these belong to Square Enix. Ordinary Day belongs to Dolores O'Riordan. Both have my thanks for the inspiration!

Yuffie sighed as she shifted position on the rooftop. Following Vincent around was getting to be annoying, especially since Reeve told her she couldn't interfere. For some reason, Vincent was supposed to think he was alone. Yuffie didn't think that would hold for a second. In her opinion, Vincent had crazy-scary-good senses, and he would know if she was a mile away. But, she idly mused, he hadn't made any move to suggest he was aware of her, so maybe he was a little preoccupied.

Preoccupied was a mild word, perhaps too mild for the situation they were currently in. Kalm was currently absolutely insane. Those suited freaks were running around and loading people into boxes, but not everyone. Yuffie had no idea why. She just knew that she didn't want to find out if she was one of the people they would shove into a box. The foot-soldiers were fairly easy to avoid, though. They almost never looked up, thus her current position on a roof. But the dogs, or whatever they were, were another story. They were all over the place, sniffing and growling at everything, and Yuffie was careful to stay downwind of them and well in the shadows.

Shifting again, as quietly as possible, Yuffie squinted through a pair of night-vision goggles. She knew her antsy behavior meant she was getting bored, or irritated. Finding Vincent through the goggles, Yuffie zoomed in on him and clicked the side button to record the entire thing. While the integrated camera hummed away, Yuffie let her mind wander, knowing she could re-watch anything she happened to miss. This mission just wasn't as important to her as she had initially thought it would be.

Pursing her lips, Yuffie thought back to when Reeve first gave her this mission. She was supposed to watch Vincent and make sure nothing happened to him. Why, Yuffie didn't know. Vincent was always fine. She wondered if it was because Reeve thought Vincent would skip out on their arranged meeting. He really wanted the crimson-cloaked man to work for the W.R.O. Smirking slightly, Yuffie realized that that was probably the very reason she had been told to follow Vincent, without his knowledge of it. That way, if he did skip out, Yuffie would know exactly where he was, and by proxy, so would Reeve. She had been very excited about following around her favorite person.

But this...this organization, or whatever they were, had just shown up out of the blue. Reeve was lucky she was in Kalm. His frantic orders over PHS had reiterated that she was to follow Vincent, but also told her to record everything she could, stay out of harm's way if at all possible, and help Vincent only if he was in danger of being taken away or killed.

So here she was. Following and recording and staying hidden. And currently bored stiff. And she didn't really know why. Normally, she was ecstatic to be able to follow Vincent around. It thrilled her to no end. She would be bouncy and giggly and happy - she would be like any other girl with a crush. But now...

Now, she wasn't so sure. She had liked Vincent for three years. But she hadn't seen him in nearly ten months. Instead, she had seen her father, the rest of Avalanche, the Turks, and Reeve. And the last time she'd seen Reeve, he had offered her a job. Head of the Intelligence Division. Her. She loved it. She was scared of it, though, having so many people to worry about. But she rationalized it as being just another facet of being a Princess. She would eventually have to rule Wutai - and this thought caused her to wrinkle her nose - and this was a similar position. Yuffie bit back a giggle as she imagined Reeve as Leviathan, the only one she would answer to when she was Empress.

Since her mind had been so consumed with work lately, she had very little time to think about the man she was currently following. Who, upon focusing on the image she was seeing through her goggles, just left the square below. Yuffie muttered a curse and quickly got up to follow him. The video she was recording now would surely make whoever ended up watching it sick, but she didn't care. Right now the most important thing was finding Vincent and not making it look like she was slacking on the job.

Yuffie snuck through mazes of pipes and shingles, trying her best to stay hidden. She had to sprint once and abandon the shadows in order to avoid a dog-thing, and that scared her half to death. Close up, she almost wanted to say the creatures were cybernetic, and she suppressed a shiver as she wondered exactly who on the planet these people were.

Hearing gunshots, she veered slightly left and scaled the wall of the building in front of her, ending up on its roof. Looking down, she found Vincent again and focused the goggles back on him. Observing him closely this time, Yuffie was suddenly struck with the realization of why she was so bored. Vincent was no longer her favorite person.

She realized that she liked him, but just as much as she liked some of her other friends. Settling down onto her stomach, Yuffie propped her chin up on her hands and idly swung her feet against each other, her legs bent at the knee so her shoes wouldn't scrape against the roof and alert anyone with good hearing that she was there. She watched Vincent intently, trying to determine what it was that made him lose his position on her list of people she loved more than anything on the planet, and as he bowed his head for a quick second after finishing off one of the dog-things, she knew what it was.

His obsession with Lucrecia was getting to her. Sure, Lucrecia was a beautiful woman, and she looked very kind. Yuffie had gone to her cave a few times and just sat there, trying to be Vincent and see what he saw. All she saw was a beautiful, kind-looking woman trapped in mako crystals and not likely to get out any time soon. Privately, Yuffie thought that if Chaos wasn't able to get her out, then she would never be released and Vincent was wasting his time. She had, after first coming to this conclusion, tried to make him see it through various means: sticking to him like glue for a week, stealing his materia again, not stealing his materia, dressing as provocatively as she dared, being very nice to him, wearing glasses, and reading science books. None of those methods ever worked. And apparently, sometime in the ten-month interval since she had last seen Vincent, Yuffie had grown tired of trying. Nodding decisively, she decided that she would forget him and move on, or at least try to.

Shaking herself in an attempt to get back into super-ninja-spy mode, she moved her fingers and began twisting the dials on the night-vision goggles, trying to get Reeve as much information as she could.

From his place in the deep shadows at the rear of the building's rooftop, Nero the Sable shook his head. This girl was Yuffie Kisaragi, the Wutaian ninja from the Avalanche group that had supposedly saved the planet? He could barely believe it. She looked like she was barely an adult, and from her habit of kicking her feet together, he pegged her as twitchy. A twitchy ninja. The image amused him to no end. He supposed that was a good alternative to the irritation he had been feeling towards her a few moments ago.

When Nero had arrived in Kalm, he had not intended to get involved, but he had wanted to see this Vincent Valentine and determine the level of threat he and this W.R.O. presented. Leaning against the wall, he decided he was not impressed with the W.R.O., but Valentine was proving interesting. Deciding he had seen enough, he turned to disappear back into Deepground's headquarters when a flash of light caught his eye. The light reminded him of Weiss, and this aroused his curiosity, as he had never seen anyone but Weiss like that, and as far as he knew, no one else existed, or should have.

Narrowing his eyes, Nero dispersed enough of the dark cloud surrounding him to get a better look at the blur that was showing up in his mind and through the haze of Oblivion as such bright light, and he had discovered it was a young girl. Confused, he took advantage of the chaos Valentine was causing - his choice of words made him smile at the irony - and relocated to a rooftop opposite the girl's. Perhaps the light wasn't quite as bright as he had originally assumed. He was distracted, after all.

He was not mistaken. Observing the girl, who seemed to be deep in thought, Nero realized that she was as bright as his brother, if not more so. Her light was, if he dared to use the words, more pure. Nero, in a mild state of shock, nearly swallowed the girl in Oblivion when the more rational part of his mind called attention to the fact that she seemed to be spying. But for whom?

Casting his thoughts about like a net, he filtered out the minds of the personnel he was familiar with and kept a mental eye on the girl and Valentine. Valentine wasn't aware of her. But she was there to spy on him. Gently pushing deeper into her mind, as he had no idea if she was trained to detect mental intrusions, Nero discovered that the head of the W.R.O. had sent her to follow Valentine and make sure he didn't, take off? The terminology he understood, the intent he did not. Nero mentally shook himself; it was not important. What was, was this girl's train of thought. Deciding to dig further in her mind, Nero tuned out Valentine and refocused on the girl right when she got up and bolted.

Cursing, Nero opened his eyes and physically regarded the world below, realizing the girl had left because Valentine had. Trying to keep his tenuous hold on her mind, he overlapped the feel of her thoughts with the map he had memorized of Kalm and waited, amused at her run in with the canines, until she stopped and settled in to her new position, upon which he followed her.

Making the transition as quietly as he could, he took up watching the girl again and cast himself deeper into her mind. That particular ability was so useful at times. Though only his fellow Tsviets knew of it, and of them, only Shelke and Weiss truly understood the depth to which his mental networking went. Finding a suitable train of thought upon which to slip into the girl's mind, he immediately sought out the core of her thoughts, wanting to know her name and how she identified herself.

And this was where he found himself now. Though he found it interesting that the girl, Yuffie, he reminded himself, did not think of herself as the princess she was, but rather as a ninja and the Head of Intelligence for the W.R.O. What was even more interesting, however, was her thoughts about Valentine. Biting his lip, Nero wondered if he could use this to his advantage. He still wanted to swallow her in Oblivion for daring to be a brighter light than his brother, but perhaps crushing her would be better.

Smiling slowly, Nero realized that crushing her would be infinitely better. How perfect, he thought, for a creature so bright to be corrupted, broken, and tainted absolutely black, and then left to live in agony and shame until they died? She was the W.R.O.'s chief spy...that would come in handy. Nero realized, with a momentary jolt of pleasure, that if he played his cards right, he could use her to betray all of her friends' secrets to him and make Weiss' takeover of the planet even easier. The only problem he could see was how to go about it.

Focusing on her thoughts again, Nero looked to see if there was any way he could manage to gain her trust. She was something of a bleeding-heart towards the misunderstood, loving, capable of intense loyalty and focus on those she considered close, and currently in the middle of making a very serious, life-changing decision. All of these would work wonderfully to his advantage. All he had to do was give himself a permanent door into her mind and appeal to her dangerously loving nature. He would present himself as a victim, gain her trust, and break her entirely. And she would be such a willing participant. She would never know how wrong she was.

Notes: I again ask that if you favorite this story, you leave a review. I use the reviews to improve and figure out what works and what does not, so I view them as more than a mere ego-boost or a status symbol. Even a simple "This is good," tells me more than you may realize.

Thank you for reading!