A/N: Just a very brief warning. You see that big, shiny 'T' rating up there? Well, this time, I earned it. Nothing worse than a little language, though.
Prologue: It all started with zombies...
It started, as all great stories start, with a blazing argument that got out of hand. Well, not a blazing argument, but three of them, all contained in that delicious package of time that we call a week. You can steal a lot of things in a week. Hell, you can even steal a heart if you're good enough. Well, I can. Maybe. Yup, a week is pretty damn yummy.
Back on topic, it really was a gold record in the 'Godo can't get on with his gawd damn daughter' category. I almost thought I'd killed the old bastard when he ran out of breath and started panting like a sausage dog. I didn't mind, but that meant that my mom would probably be pissed at me when zombies rule the earth.
It will happen. And don't let anybody tell you otherwise.
Anyway, it wasn't even a good argument, just a blazing one. We were past all our epic, future changing, Yuffie-get-the-hell-out-of-my-house-and-rob-some-innocent-travellers arguments. Now we were arguing over stupid little things. Like how I drank out of the milk carton, or how he left the toilet seat up.
Oh. And childbirth.
Yes. To cut a long, long story extremely short, my dear old daddy wanted to know when I was going to open my freaking legs and shoot out a little baby boy to take over the Kisaragi name. I had several well-pondered arguments against that, most of which revolved around "If you want a freaking boy, grow a goddamn VAGINA and make one yourself!"
Unfortunately, Godo, for all his great wushu mastery, just didn't have skills mad enough to comply with my brilliant suggestion. In fact, he was usually so surprised at my awesome lingual skills that he sat down, still panting like a randy dachshund, in complete awe.
By the way, Cid, if your stupid cigarettes haven't turned you into a wad of cancer with legs yet, I just want to say one thing. I freaking LOVE you, you stupid, sweaty, lecherous, pig-ignorant chunk of fly-boy jockstrap. In fact, if you weren't a gazillion times my age and I wasn't so damn sure that Shera owns a whip, I would storm in there and elope with you so I could learn more of your awesome swearing arts.
Of course, things couldn't have continued like that, because that would be boring. And it'd probably have been the death of my dad. It all came to a head in the middle of the third argument.
"Yuffie. Last night, I told you never to darken my door again." he wheezed. Wheezing isn't very intimidating. "You have your own house. Why are you here?"
"Well", I said, affecting his copyright wheeze because I knew it would piss him off, "Firstly, I didn't come in through the door."
Godo looked at me with his killer death stare. Yawn. I've sat through Cloud's, Reeve's and even Sephiroth's killer death stares without developing a) a conscience or b) killer death. My dad's is no biggie.
At this point, I should probably mention that I was wearing all black. And that it was one in the morning. And we were in the family shrine. And he'd walked in on me putting his wallet into my back pocket.
"So...What exactly are you doing here, honoured daughter?" He put venom into the last two words. Even though he's a stupid smelly worn-out geezer, it still hurt. Stupid traditional Wutain values. Dad always could manage an emotional low-blow.
"Stealin' stuff. What does it look like, old man?"
Y'ever here of 'honour among thieves'? Basically, you don't steal from your own. Otherwise you get whomped on. Honour among ninja is like that, but kinda worse because ninja will torture you too. In other words, I was officially in trouble. And Godo was about to blow.
There's an old saying in Wutai. It's been an old saying ever since I made it up and started spreading it when I was six. 'A good ninja thinks fast. A great ninja doesn't think.' And I was awesome at not thinking. So, without thinking, I reached out at lightning speed. Still not thinking, I looked at his astonished face, winced, grabbed hold of his arm to use as a pivot, and judo-flipped my infirm father before he raised the alarm.
In retrospect, that was probably a bad thing to do. Firstly I could have killed him, but we'll skip that point for a more important one: I could have gotten away with it if I hadn't flipped the old man like a fillet of fish and stealthed out of there like an epic living shadow. Technically, I could have just resumed my position as leader of the Kisaragi clan, and everything in the house, including the five thousand or so of Dad's gil I had in my pocket, would have belonged to me. So it wouldn't have been stealing.
But, once again, I didn't do that, because that would also have been boring. It would have also meant I had to start taking responsibility, and I still believe the epiphany I had when I was three years old: responsibility is icky.
So, following the most time honoured tradition of ninjahood, I cheesed it. The tacky, tourist style decorations of my father's home rushed by as I darted from shadow to shadow. I rushed past the fountain, the guest room, the front doors. I rushed past the pagoda and the great gong that I used to run up and kick when Dad was standing in front of it. And all the way, my dad's tortured breathing rang in my ears.
Unfortunately, as I was following that time honoured tradition, I lost my ninja greatness and thought. And realised that now I was in BIG trouble. Dad would immediately raise the alarm and say that his daughter had attacked him, dishonouring herself by raising a hand to her parent. Which meant that now, everyone was going to be very, very angry at me. And that meant that I couldn't take my position as Big Boss of all Wutai back from Dad. Which meant I was stealing from the Big Boss. And had just made an attempt on the Big Boss's life. Which, regardless of who I was or what the Big Boss said, was gonna have everyone in Wutai out for my blood. Stupid traditional Wutaian values.
And, oh. Did I say BIG trouble? I meant huge, gigantic, super-massive trouble.
The moon was glaring at me like Leviathan's great serpent eye when I made it out of the pagoda square and into the village proper. It wasn't even a village any more, I guess. Dad's tourist crap had been bringing in so much money now that the planet was no longer a dangerous place and travel was becoming more popular. As I picked my way through the shadows like like a secret agent on speed, I realised that no one was following me. No one was awake, and no footsteps echoed down Wutai's dusty alleys. The streets, so long and cluttered now that Wutai was growing, were empty. Too empty. Suspicion soured in my gut like Cloud's lousy cooking. Once again, I tapped into ninja greatness, and shot up the nearest wall, my legs working like a tap-dancing spider. On the roof of the house, my instincts were confirmed.
"If the enemy leaves a door open, you must rush in."
I'd left the door of my house open. And they had rushed into it.
All of Wutai was standing outside my house. MY house. Some had gone in. There weren't enough traps to take care of them all. And I couldn't just storm in there and take them all out. I mean, my dad, sure, but the people of Wutai? The reasons that I had ever joined Cloud and company to whup Sephiroth's butt?
Although, to a casual observer, there was no reason why I should be stressing out about them laying siege to my house. After all, I wasn't in it at the time. What where they going to do, raid my goddamn fridge?
Well, to the 'casual observer', shut the hell up. When I went to my dad's house to jack some pocket money and stir up the old coot's asthma, I wasn't expecting to be hunted by my whole home town. And I'd left my weapons and armour at home- all of them. Along with my materia. My precious materia.
"If equally matched, we can offer battle;
if slightly inferior in numbers, we can avoid the enemy;
if quite unequal in every way, we can flee from him."
I had no weapons; they had mine. I had no materia; they had mine. I had no allies; they had mine. In short, I was quite unequal in every way. So, I neglected to stop off at home for supplies and weapons; I merely carried on following that greatest of ninja traditions. And cheesed it the hell out of Wutai.
No one followed. No one cared. I was just a shadow, running into the darkness, and they were embroiled in their righteous anger. I ran straight out of the front gates, and no one stopped me.
I didn't stop running until I had reached the mountains. The people of Wutai are famously territorial; most of them are scared of the world outside. Wutai had all they needed. Wutai had all that I needed. I felt the cold night air on my all-black clothing- which was made of thin material to keep down body shape and movement noise, with no consideration for keeping you from freezing your ass off. All I could think was that I had finally screwed up big enough to ruin my life. Dad, I could live without. Wutai, I couldn't. I was cold, I didn't have any food or water, and in an area populated with monsters that I couldn't beat because I didn't have my weapons.
But thinking about it wasn't going to help, I reasoned, in my great ninja way. Besides, I had five thousand gil. That was a start. I almost smiled to myself. But then I looked down into the village below.
Green lights were glowing near my house. The bastards found my materia. I shivered and groaned as I saw them trying it out. Playing with the treasures that I had risked my life to collect, and unwittingly gambled away for five thousand gil and an argument with Godo. But there was worse to come.
As I watched, a larger green light flashed. And then fire blazed. My house. I saw the magical flames lick at it, like Red XIII would lick at a bone, just before he tossed it into the air and devoured it. They flickered, and fell. The green light came again, and it repeated. The smells of scorching cloth and pine chased each other up the mountain and into my nostrils. I could picture my stuff singeing, warping in the heat. The doll I'd had since I was three, tucked away from the world behind a loose ceiling panel I'd knocked out in training. My first shuriken that I'd stolen from Shake at the age of five. The last paper swan that my mom had ever made me. It was all going up in flames, like so many monsters that I'd razed with that very materia.
And then someone got the smart-ass idea to cast Fire 3.
Needless to say, my house pretty much exploded. That stuff pretty much owned Reno and Rude single-handedly; my poor old pad had no chance at all. Feeling sickened, I turned and walked away.
And that was how I, Yuffie Kisaragi, the White Rose Of Wutai, was kicked out of Wutai. Well, it's the short version at least. As I trudged away across the mountains that led to nowhere but the sea, I wondered how in the name of Leviathan I was going to get out of this one. But, as I walked, I had one comforting thought.
Life's a bitch. Well, two can play at that game.
A/N: Well, I'm still not completely satisfied with my editing, but needs must; I really couldn't wait to post this because it was so much fun to write, and the sooner this is up the sooner I'll feel justified in writing another chapter. This is a prologue, so it's supposed to be short and sweet. I deliberately kept description down for plot reasons. So, please take five seconds out of your day to tell me what you think.
By the way, the quotations are from Sun Tzu's Book of War, which every aspiring megalomaniac should read at least once and which I keep under my pillow every night. As for the actual title of this story, well, who knows? Maybe it'll mean something.