Author's Note: Taking a short break from epic-angst-fest Yuffentine to post this short introduction to a potential Reefie I've been mulling over. I'm not sure if I'll continue it, but if you guys think it has potential, it might make me consider doing so. Well, without further ado; I give you "Artificial Intelligence".

Stress is something I am invariably used to dealing with. It is regularly remedied by the disassembly of one of the older models of Cait Sith, a shot of dry gin, and a good night's rest. However, this time around, the stress was not due to a communications error, or missing paperwork. No, it was far more grave than that. You see, Vincent Valentine was missing, and this boded ill for me, for he was the WRO's greatest asset, next to myself and pulling out just ahead of one Yuffie Kisaragi. It wasn't because he was any more skilled than she; they both had their specialties and both were deadly in their own ways. Rather, it was because honestly, the ninja could be a bit of a brat, child, drama queen, kleptomaniac, abomination...

But that's getting away from the point. Vincent Valentine; world's latest savior, best shot this side of Junon and the WRO's prized possession (my prized possession) was missing. Gone. Disappeared. I could feel my hair turning gray; and at 38, too.

Of course, next to the fact that I didn't have my best man to help eliminate, or at least train others to eliminate the now leaderless DeepGround soldiers, I also get to deal with the world's greatest terror, now that Sephiroth was dead and Omega was back in the Lifestream: You see, just as I was a good employee less due to Vincent's vanishing, Yuffie Kisaragi was one best friend short, and was not (to be kind) taking it well.

As you can probably assume, her not taking it well meant I was also forced to share in her self-pity. It came in the form of random visits to my office. Sometimes she was hopeful and optimistic (a trait I sometimes wanted to squash, selfishly) but other times she was on the verge of tears. I had taken a habit of timing her so called random visits, and had it equated into a pattern that proved that her idea of random was not all that random at all. A quick look at the clock informed me she would be coming in any sec--


Marvelous; today she was feeling apathetic. I reached for the drawer in my desk that contained a various collection of medication and yanked it open. The pill bottles rattled. "Miss Kisaragi," I greeted half heartedly. "What can I help you with?"

I didn't invite her to sit down, but she did anyway.

"Has Vincent called?"

I wondered if telling her that Vincent's phone probably died three days ago would be too insensitive, but didn't have a chance either way, as Yuffie began weeping, her elbows propped on my desk. "I know he hasn't, you don't have to spare my feelings. I don't understand Reeve, wouldn't he want us to know he's okay? Doesn't he know I care?"

I awkwardly reach across and pat her hand. "Vincent likes to keep to himself," I said. I didn't think it was much of an assurance, but at least I wasn't suggesting he was dead. The idea brought a whole new set of stresses to the forefront of my thought.

She didn't look encouraged at all, in fact she sulked, shirking down in her chair. "Heh, go ahead; tell me he might be dead."

I couldn't help but let the little look of surprise claim my face at her very precise reading of my thoughts. Coincidence, really, but it astounded me no less.

"I know, alright?" Her eyes flashed up to catch my gaze, and I was sharply aware of the steely lilac-gray eyes that stared at me, as well as the tears that rimmed them. "I know he probably dragged himself to her cave to lick his wounds, and I know he might be dead."

"Yuffie..." I should have known better than to try and interrupt her, but something within me couldn't stand what she was saying and what the words were doing to her.

"It's just no one has the guts to tell me. So tell me, Reeve. Tell me he's dead." Her fist dropped onto the desk with a thud.

"We don't know that." My voice was less sure than I thought it would sound, but I kept my gaze fixed on hers. "For all we know, Vincent could be on his way back to Edge this very instant."

She looked at me through cold eyes, and she suddenly looked ten years older, weighed down with the pain of a woman twice her age. "He's not."

However bad I felt for her, I could not ignore my annoyance at her deadpan dismissal of hope, when just yesterday she had been all rainbows and sunshine at the idea of letting 'Vinnie' take his time and come back when he was ready. I clucked my tongue irritably and turned from her, rolling my desk chair to the bookcase. I grabbed a stack of them that had been held together with an elastic and a note from the library. It was on horribly acidic green copy paper, and the librarian's handwriting was messy—still I could discern the memo's general phrases. "I received your message, Mr. Tuesti. Here are some books on the topic you asked about, all written by the top researchers in the field. My best regards, sir. I hope you feel better soon." I ground my teeth. Whoever I had asked to fetch these books had told the librarian they were for me. Excellent: apparently now I was having trouble coping with grief.

It was in my newly developed sense of annoyance that I tossed the books carelessly onto my desk, watching abstractly as they slid in front of Yuffie's face. Of course, had I not been so consumed in my internal rage at life as a whole, I would have stopped before acting so brashly and considered that tossing self-help books at an obviously distraught female may not have been the most sensitive thing I could have chosen to do.

She looked under the god-awful green note and read the first title aloud. "Grief: They're Gone, Move On…?" Her eyes rose to my face, just as my sensitivity thought leapt into the forefront of my mind. "What the hell is this, Tuesti?"

"Those? Oh, for…" My eyes rose to the ceiling. "I thought that…" Shit, shit shit. "You know, just some resources…" Who else could I blame this on? Oh bugger, Reeve, you've gone and shot your own arm again. Or is it foot? Arm? Foot? Arm? Wait—arm? Shalua! Dead! …ish. "Shelke!" I blurted.

Yuffie's head tilted.

"They're for Shelke. You know, coping with Shalua being all incapacitated, and all. I thought, what with you living with her over at Seventh Heaven, you could deliver them for me?"

The ninja eyed me warily, but nodded once. "Yeah, I guess."

I did not guard the breath of relief that escaped me.


Author's Note: Well, what did you think? Is it worth continuing with? I'm not 100 percent sold on my voice of Reeve, although I've been told I write him well in the past. Well, I guess we'll see!