(A/N: This was my Genesis Awards Secret Santa giftfic for the fantabulous Pen Against Sword. Check out her fanfiction profile, and check out the Genesis Awards while you're at it!)


Chapter 1

"Miss Kisaragi, those handcuffs are made of mithril. If you continue to struggle, you'll do yourself an injury, and we don't want that, now, do we?"

Yuffie responded by spitting in President Rufus' patronising face- if a face could be patronising. Erm.

Rufus sighed, pulled a white handkerchief from his pocket and wiped his cheek. "I'll return later, then, when you're feeling more agreeable. Or when your team-mates turn up to collect you. They're taking their time." He paused. "Though I must say, I can't blame them."

He vanished from the room, the bolt sliding shut behind him. Yuffie started to regret spitting; her throat was getting dry after refusing food and water for nearly a whole day. Well, twelve hours. Eight. Whatever, her throat was dry and she'd just wasted a glob of spit on that creep of a man and that glob of spit was looking more and more beautiful with every passing second.

Groaning, Yuffie looked around the room for some means of escape. For blank walls looked back, mocking her. No windows- gawd, if Shinra were going to kidnap her and lock her up, couldn't they at least give her a decent view? The building was like fifty gazillion floors high; if they didn't want her jumping out they could have just plonked her in a room at the top. But no. Here she was, trapped in a space roughly the size of a matchbox, and it was similarly well-lit. Every so often, Yuffie would catch a whiff of a sickly, banana-y odor, but she couldn't locate the source. This drove her up the wall. The blank wall with no windows. Bah.

Maybe they'd put her in there because they knew she was a great ninja, the White Rose of Wutai. Maybe they thought that even on the highest floor, she had the skill to hop down as gracefully as a Tail Vault hopping from an unattended cooking pot. Maybe.

Or maybe they knew that that lot was all nonsense, and that she was only allowed to call herself a 'ninja' because all the other ninjas of Wutai were long-dead and couldn't put her to shame, except in the storybooks, but then storybooks with Wutaian heroes were hard to come by these days; "The Scintillating Stories of Simon Shinra" were now standard stock. Yuffie sighed and curled up in a ball for warmth. The team would come back for her eventually. They had to. She still had their materia.

Well, Shinra had it now, but AVALANCHE'd need a ninja with them if they wanted it back; she still had her ribbon tucked into her bandanna and her lockpicks hidden in her socks.

Everything had gone smoothly until Don Corneo had shown up and kidnapped her. She'd been helpless; sure, she had armfuls of materia, but that meant that she couldn't throw her shuriken, and the trouble with stealing magical weaponry that didn't exist in your hometown was that you didn't know how to use it when you eventually got the chance. So yup, she'd been helpless as he'd tied her and that yappy Turk chick up on Da Chao, and then the Turks had arrived, and Yuffie had thought that everything was gonna work out okay after all, even if she did have to hand the materia over (for the time being, at least). She'd breathed a sigh of relief.

And then the Turks had realised that she was holding AVALANCHE's entire materia stock, while lacking the ability to use it. Sure, they were off duty, but they knew a great opportunity for preventative measures when they saw it. She didn't remember much after Reno's eyes narrowed and his lip curled in a smirk, but when she awoke she was locked in this midgy room with its banana-y smell and bare walls and fugly carpet, and President Rufus Shinra stood by the door trying not to laugh.

That same door now creaked open; Yuffie glared at the guard who walked in. He carried a tray of food and drink. She hoped that if she scowled hard enough, she could distract herself from her rumbling stomach and itchy throat.

The scent of roast chocobo drifted across the room; Yuffie bit her lip. So yummy...

"Er, Miss Princess Kisaragi, Miss?" said the guard, trembling. "I have your dinner-"

"I don't want it!" howled Yuffie, unable to tear her gaze away from the chocobo leg glazed with- oh man, was that honey? Sweet, mountain honey made from the nectar of wildflowers from Corel? She wanted to cry. "Take it away!"

"Er, Ma'am, the President said that I was to leave it in the room with you even if you said you didn't want it. He said-"

"I don't care!" Yuffie marched up to him; he took a quick step back, pressing himself against the door so that it closed behind him with a click.

"Ma'am, I know you're royalty, but you're not allowed to leave this room. President's orders. Where shall I put the chocobo?"

"Take it awaaaayyy!" yowled Yuffie, reaching out to grab it from him. The guard gave her a funny look, but he didn't get much further than that, because the door behind him swung open and he tripped forward. Grabbing the chocobo leg, Yuffie took her chance and leapt through the doorway, pushing past the figure who had been trying to come in.

She hurtled down the corridor, trying to get her bearings as she ran. She wished she knew something, anything about the layout of the Shinra building. There had to be lifts, but where? She paused at a flight of stairs- run down now, or try her luck and see if she could find a lift instead? This might be the difference between capture and freedom. In the end, Shinra settled the decision for her; she saw a troop of guards advance around the far corner and without further ado she jumped down the stairs, taking them six at a time and then cursing as her ankles throbbed in protest.

As she ran down stairwell after stairwell, hearing feet clatter above her in pursuit, she counted down the floors. 32, 31, 30, 29, 28- hang on, where was the next staircase? Yuffie skidded to a halt, staring in disbelief. 'Floors 4-27 and 36-59 are elevator-access only,' read the sign tacked to the wall. 'Experimental architecture courtesy of R. Tuesti! Have a nice day, and don't forget your keycard!'

She swore, kicked the wall and pushed on the door to the 28th floor, preparing to make a wild dash across whatever room awaited. There was just one teensy problem: the door was locked tight. Yuffie rattled the handle; the door didn't take the hint. Above her, the soldiers pounded down floor after floor, and now she could actually hear their racing breath. She punched the handle. Nothing doing. Suddenly, there was a shout as one of the guards reached the top of her stairwell.

"She's here!"

Yuffie gave a scream of frustration, kicked the door and then wailed again as pain stabbed into her foot. Then she froze, shocked, as she realised that the pain was due to her heel making its acquaintance with the long metal objects stuffed in her sock.

The lockpicks!

With a triumphant cry, she whipped them out and stuffed the torsion wrench and the half diamond into the slot. In most ways, she wasn't the greatest ninja, but when it came to lockpicking, Yuffie Kisaragi was second to none. In less than a second, the door gaped open and she dashed through, only to squeak as a large hand grabbed her by the scruff of the neck and yanked her right back again.

"Nice try, kid," said the guard. Yuffie saw a truncheon swing forward, and then everything went black.