Evolution of Innocence Chapter 10

By Janet Monstwillo

“Hello handsome.”

Cloud decided that he was never going to go into a bar again. (All that I ever find are girls who are all too willing to hit on me.) He prepared to give the owner of that feminine voice the most scathing look he could muster. Then he recognized her.

“What?” she asked with innocent eyes, noticing how his eyes were studying her. “Do I have something caught in my teeth?”

“Nah,” he replied quickly. (Too quickly) he thought to himself. (What’s the problem, Strife? You’ve got nothing to prove to her.) He regained his composure. “I recognized you from outside the convention, that’s all.”

“Oh really!” she breathed.

(Her face lit up like someone had turned a lamp on inside her skull.) Cloud allowed himself a smile. “That’s right. You were, uh ‘battling’ some guy with a Masamune, I believe.”

The red-headed girl was quite animated at this point. “You actually noticed that? Wow. Cloud Strife noticed me casting a little ol’ Ice spell.” She leaned closer and batted eyelashes over her gray eyes. “I’m sure you have a lot more in your repertoire that you could show me.”

He met her eyes, which held a question deep within them. Studying her face, he wondered what she wanted him to say. “Uhh... You have me at a disadvantage,” he muttered. “What is your name?”

“Jen Nova.” The girl burst into giggles. “Sorry, I couldn’t help myself. Nova is my last name, oddly enough though. My name is Kayley Nova.”

“Are you from Junon?” asked Cloud politely.

“No,” she said with a light twist to her voice. She met his eyes and then slowly smoothed the jacket of her costume.

He noticed that she wasn’t wearing a blouse with the outfit, and the girl had also bent over ever so slightly–with the full intent of giving him an eyeful of cleavage.

“I’m staying at a hotel across the street.” Kayley rested a hand on his arm and leaned over so she was speaking softly into his ear. “I have a nice bottle of wine up there. It’s a lot cheaper than the watery beer here.”

“Oh really,” Cloud managed to get out. (There is something about this girl, either her eyes or...goddammit, her brand of shampoo.) He had let his eyes close when she got near, and he felt intoxicated by the scent of...this woman.

She let her lips brush his ear ever so slightly before she withdrew. Noticing the response her invitation had managed to elicit from the taciturn hero, she decided to get an answer. “So, want to have a drink and chill out? I promise I won’t bite,” she purred.

Cloud was unsure of his responses, how he ought to respond. The military and mercenary work hadn’t really prepared him for dealings with the fairer sex, which previously had been limited to Tifa, Aeris, and Yuffie. (And Daphne...who is Aeris...) He was still confused over everything.

“I’m waiting for an answer.” Kayley pouted.

(She came back with Zack! I don’t owe her a thing.) His mind was made up in the heat of the moment and without a bit of afterthought.

Kayley led her prey across the street, up three flights of stairs, and into her bed.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“Only one question remains,” said Vincent.

“One?!” Yuffie scratched her head. “How do you come up with that?”

“Simple math. You should try it,” growled Red XIII.

She stuck her tongue out. “You red beast. I don’t understand how he can say ‘only one question remains’! Why is Aeris back? Who is the enemy? Where is Cloud? What is Reeve doing here? Who’s that red-headed disappear-y lady? Why did Cloud cut off Tifa’s clothes?”

“She has a point,” said Cid, “and I have a few more to add once her lil’ mouth gets tired of jabbering.”

“Why you so crabby?” Yuffie sniffled.

“Nicotine withdrawal,” muttered Red XIII.

Yuffie muffled a snicker and the rest of the group found it hard not to crack a smile.

“I heard that.” Cid smirked. “Believe me, if I was in withdrawal, you wouldn’t be smiling that cocky smile right now. If you did, I would slap it clear into Reeve’s lap.”

“Which brings us back to the beginning.” Vincent smiled. “Reeve, what were you doing when our paths crossed yours?”


“I could take your question literally, but Cid’s not in too good of a mood right now, and I like the present location of my mouth. I’m sure Derin can corroborate when I say that red-headed woman is a force to be reckoned with. To make a long story short, I was reckoning with her.”

“She didn’t look so tuff,” said Barret.

“Well, she attacked me from behind, cast Tornado on me, then cast Death Sentence on me.” Tifa looked at her old friend. “Knowing how I fight, what’s your opinion of her now?”

He looked stunned. “Well, I dunno Tifa,” he said slowly. “Except that I told Vincent that he shouldn’t have let ya go off all by you’self.” Barret threw a vicious glare in the direction of the gunman.

“Barret. Vincent was kind enough to take leave of me when I asked.” She smiled warmly at Vincent. (He can be so kind sometimes. An odd contrast to his cold exterior.) “Besides, technically, I was attacked outside the convention. Who’da thunk it? Besides, Derin came along to save me.”

Derin met her eyes and smiled. “I saw that woman follow Tifa out the door and I knew that it was our enemy. I had seen the way she looked at Cloud while we were sitting at the coffee shop. I thought, ‘okay, she has it in for him. How odd.’ But when she started an active pursuit, there was no time to be lost.”

“And he saved the day,” finished Daphne softly.

“No, Rissy,” he said firmly. “That bitch was about to cast some summon called ‘Ultimate End’ on us–”

Yuffie jumped up. “Knights of the Round?! But we have the only orb for that!” She checked her pockets. “Where’d it go?”

“I have it,” said Vincent quietly. “So hush.”

“But how would witch lady have it?”

“Remember the Master Materia?” asked Red XIII. “We have two Knights of the Round, since we have the Master Materia, but haven’t mastered the red orb. This woman might be carrying pieces of Huge Materia, though I have no idea how she could have gotten any.”

“It would explain how she would be able to do so many attacks,” said Daphne. “Tifa had Tornado and Death Sentence on her, almost had Knights...and we saw her vanish from Reeve before our very eyes. I bet she used Exit.”

“Speaking of Reeve, what were you saying, Derin?” asked Vincent.

“I was saying...that as Tifa and I were about to be chopped up into hamburger by King Arthur and his men, Reeve just jumped onto this woman and started hacking her to bits with the Masamune.”

This revelation put the group in shock. “The Masamune?!”

Reeve drew his sword, in answer. “Yep, the Masamune.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Kayley looked down at the blond man lying in bed next to her with a mixture of contempt and loathing. (You are a fool, boy. Nothing more than a simple fool. I will manipulate you into doing the things I wish. In return, you’ll receive something you believe is emotional fulfillment.)

She knew once she reached Gaia’s Cliff, and she had climbed to the rift in the Planet where the Lifestream flowed freely, that she would dispose of Cloud. (I will return to power and glory before this poor boy’s eyes. By the time he realizes what he has done, he will become either my first puppet or my first sacrifice. It’s so hard to decide.)

There was a strange pang of emotion within her. Kayley sighed. She despised this new incarnation, hoping with the core of her being that full contact with the Lifestream would not only fully restore her powers, but also free her of this annoying human feeling of remorse. As could be expected, the enigma living within the body of a pretty young woman was also in possession of the memories of that woman. A blessing or curse, depending on whether it was well suited to motives.

Remembering how to be a sweet innocent girl was helpful for the poisonous beast residing within; however, remembering a first kiss, Kayley’s mother, or watching Sephiroth stab another secretary within the Shinra building was a burden. The soul inside Kayley couldn’t help but wonder if that one deed of Sephiroth’s was wrong.

(No! It is one thing to reek of humanity, while being trapped inside the prison of a human body. Yet, another thing entirely to let humanity breed inside oneself. Once I enter the Lifestream and find myself...I’ll tear this body limb from limb. Free myself from this loath and vile instrument. For that’s all a human is. An instrument for my own wishes.)

She looked upon Cloud’s face. It was peaceful as he slipped away into sleep. The night had grown old and daylight had begun to peek from the mountaintops. Rays of light surrounded the area where he lay and she could not help but reach a hand out to caress his face. Already, a change had taken place in her. She wanted to keep him.

(Perhaps...tool is an incorrect word here. Humans feel things, and they are smart enough to shelter themselves from the weather and light fires when they feel a chill in their body. They fight a quick seizure of control, yet are too blind to see their natural rights slowly slip away. Natural rights? Ha! That is a concept conceived by foolish dreamers.

Maybe I should keep him as a pet. For as long as I’m in this body, at least, he can give me pleasure. This body enjoys when he smiles at it. I do enjoy receiving compliments on the appearance of my prison; I chose a pretty one because I could.

And as for afterwards...I could see if this human pleasure could be transferred to my original form. I will control this child, anyway. I can make him do the things he did to me tonight. Make him relive this night over and over again.)

She couldn’t help but wonder at the sinking feeling within her heart as she contemplated these things. Then Kayley came to a startling realization. She wanted Cloud to make love to her from his own will, as he had that night. At that moment, she also realized he only had slept with her because of stress.

Her eyes were alight with an internal flame. She cast a Sleep spell over Cloud to make sure he did not stir, and she quickly put on some clothes. As cold as ice, her gaze rested back down on his face. (No more fool thoughts. The only things that matters is this mission. His foolish friends will not raise a hand to me while I am in his company. He will lead me to what I need.)

She slapped his face as hard as she could without breaking the spell. (Then I will dispose of him. I have no use for such an inferior specimen. He can never lead, only follow. It will be a mercy killing...but why do I care about mercy?)

Kayley spent the early morning as silent as stone. The only thoughts she allowed to cross her mind were thoughts about her mission; it would begin when Cloud awoke.


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