Disclaimer: I do not own Yuffie, Vincent, Godo, Wutai or anything else from FFVII.
A/N: Here we go. The final chapter. I mean it this time.
A Perfect Circle
Yuffie sat on her front porch, darning socks. She'd pricked her fingers half a dozen times trying to darn and watch the villagers' comings and goings at the same time. Now she watched her fingers like a hawk, tongue protruding from the corner of her mouth as she worked.
Prior to the darning, Chekhov had been trying to teach her to do tapestries and cross stitches and embroidery. Yuffie had finally told her retainer to teach her how to stitch wounds or make clothes or darn socks - things that were useful. Chekhov had grit her teeth and stormed off to whine to Godo about his stubborn daughter. Shake had snidely showed the older girl how to darn and gone to play tag with the other village children.
So it was that Yuffie was watching her needlework and not the road when Vincent Valentine walked into town.
She heard the crunch of deliberate feet coming slowly across the square in front of her house and stilled her expression. That would be Godo, coming to tell her that she was to learn embroidery to better prepare herself for married life. He'd said it three times already for completely different things - cooking, dancing, massage. She'd laughed in his face every time he'd said it. She was too plain, too boyish and too headstrong for any of the men her father had chosen to ever want to marry her. A grin tugged at her lips at the very thought.
The grin faded as feet thudded up her stairs and a shadow - rather tall and thin for her father's at this time of day, she thought with a frown - fell across her needlework. She stabbed herself again with the darning needle and dropped everything with a loud, "Ouch!" She stuck her finger in her mouth for a second, and when she took it out, said, "Get the hell out of my light, moron!"
A chuckle that was defnitely not her father's errupted from the throat way, way above her head and she nearly gave herself whiplash, she looked up so fast. Vincent's brows were quirked at her, a pleased smile on his face. "I had wondered what you'd say when I walked into town. I must say, I had not placed money on that."
Yuffie said, "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god."
Vincent's smile widened a fraction and began to mutate into a grin, the tips of his canines beginning to show. This was a reaction he had been banking on. "Hello, Yuffie."
Yuffie said, "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god!"
She dashed her needlework out of her lap, scattering it all over the porch itself and off the edge into the garden below, and leapt on him. Fortunately Vincent had a good sense of balance, or they would have both crashed down the stairs and into the courtyard. She seized him about the chest and held him as tightly as she possibly could. Vincent's arms closed about her with a firmness and a confidence she had rarely felt in him and she found herself grinning so hard her cheeks hurt.
She said, "Vinnie! Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie, Vinnie!"
Vincent rested his chin upon her head and closed his eyes for the briefest of moments before she pulled back and began doing a frantic dance on the spot. He opened his eyes again and regarded her with the barest smidgen of annoyance. He'd been enjoying that.
"Why didn't you come see me sooner, you bum!" Her words were harsher than her expression: she was still grinning too hard for him to take this as anything other than a joke. Her hands were on her hips, eyes shining almost luminously silver with delight. Vincent shrugged, the action calmer than he felt.
"Though seasons have passed, many more will pass before I leave this place; and my only other destination, the Lifestream." He said, reverting to his old speech patterns. Yuffie took a few moments to translate this into Yuffie-speak.
"You're staying?!" She squeaked, and flung herself at him again. "Oh my gaaaaaaaaaaaaawd!"
Vincent rested his chin on her head rather more firmly this time, murmuring, "If that's all right with you." Yuffie responded by squeezing him tighter.
"Mmm, I suppose so." She said, voice dripping with sarcastic reluctance. "Where are you gonna live? You'll have to build your own place, no one's died since Grandmother Asako... oh..." A pause. "You could rebuild her place."
Vincent knew Grandmother Asako's house. Grandmother Asako had been the proud owner of the oldest cherry tree, which showed its old age by spitefully dropping the same branch on her roof every year and making the whole thing cave in. It had gotten to the point where the people of Wutai placed bets against each other on which day it would finally fall. Asako had always won. She had been a short, shrivelled, chestnut-coloured old woman, but gods help you if you got on her bad side. Grandmother Asako had been Grandmother Asako when he had been a boy. His mind boggled at the math and he decided to leave well enough alone.
"I would be honoured to rebuild the house of Grandmother Asako."
Yuffie giggled into his collar bone. "Oh, she'd love you." She said teasingly. Vincent smiled. Grandmother Asako had been one of the few people who'd actually paid any attention to him as a child after his mother's death. As he - and no doubt Asako as well - liked to think, she wasn't stupid. "You'll have to talk to Godo about it, since Wutai isn't actually mine yet."
"I'll do that."
Vincent made absolutely no move to let go of the slim ninja. Yuffie made no allowances for him to escape. They stood there in the circle of each others' arms for a while. Unsurprisingly, Yuffie broke first. "Come on in, I'll make you some tea." Ah, tea. The Wutaian symbol of... everything, really. Vincent followed her inside and eye-smiled at the mess. "Ah... don't mind the bomb site. And don't step on the cats." She extricated a zabuton from underneath a particularly sleepy looking tabby and handed it to him. "Have a seat."
She turned around and threaded her way along a trace of floor lined by piles of scrolls, books, slippers, cats, shiny things, childrens' musical instruments and ninja equipment. He winced inadvertantly as her foot narrowly missed a throwing star. "What have I missed?" He asked when she was standing safely by the kettle on the other side of the room. She shrugged.
"Same old thing. 'Yuffie, you're a disrespectful brat with no reverence for the family name or title or traditions and you'll never make a respectable marriage if you continue on this way and what am I supposed to do, here, live forever?' That kinda thing. Godo wants me to get married." She didn't notice the sudden total silence at her back. "I keep telling him it's never gonna happen, not in Wutai anyway, and he keeps insisting that I change my habits, and I keep telling him he can shove it up his..." She had noticed the silence now. Brushing a few strands of hair out of her face, she turned to face Vincent, whose eyes were still and thoughtful. "You all right, Vinnie?"
"I am fine." He said distantly. "I have been travelling, trying to find where I belonged, as you told me to."
Yuffie crossed the floor again, this time nicking the throwing star with her toe. She paused to fling the thing carelessly at the wall, but ninja ways are hard to suppress and the throwing star embedded itself deeply in the front of a chest of drawers. She sat down next to the second zabuton, upon which the tabby had curled up again. She hadn't the heart to remove him a second time.
"That doesn't sound all right to me." She said dubiously. "I mean it, are you feeling okay?"
Vincent turned bloodred eyes upon her and she caught her breath as he spoke to her. "Yuffie, do not be alarmed by this, please... I came here today intending to find you. I do not intend to allow you to slip away as easily as you did on our last meeting."
"...what do you mean, Vinnie?" She had a growing, burning, fizzing feeling she knew exactly what he meant, and that hovering knowledge was threatening to make her heart explode.
"I mean that fulfilling your request this past year has taken every ounce of strength I have within me. I am in love with you, Yuffie Kisaragi, and do not wish to be separated from you ever again."
Yuffie's hands, which had clenched in her lap, fell lax at her knees. She stared at him rather blankly for a time and he, slowly, felt the barest trickle of doubt filter through his heart and into the cracks of Chaos. And then, like a Chocobo clearing the final jump, a smile spread over her face and she looked up at him happily and honestly. "Ditto, Vinnie." Vincent spent a few moments staring at her, feeling the searing liquid joy suffuse him.
Yuffie, being of slightly more impulsive nature, slithered across the floor to place herself beside him, and kissed him for the third time.
Godo found them sitting happily in each others' arms an hour or so later. His daughter had been tamed, draped blissfully across the sharpshooter's knees as he told her of his year, occasionally stealing a kiss or a smile; Vincent had opened himself fully to this slip of a girl, who took what she needed and never (well, rarely) gave it back, not noticing the stunned Wutaian father standing on the porch. Godo opened his mouth and yelled.
- - -
They were married within the month and all of AVALANCHE was there, along with a hefty portion of what remained of Shinra. Cait Sith spiked the punch.
Vincent rebuilt Grandmother Asako's house and never lived in it. He left flowers and incense and rice cakes at the cherry tree outside.
The cherry tree blossomed every year. And every year it dropped the same branch and destroyed Asako's roof. And every year, Vincent and Yuffie fixed it up. Neither of them even considered removing the cherry tree, because it had been Asako's, and no one wanted to cross Grandmother Asako, even if she was dead.
And, eventually, an heir to Wutai was born. She had skin as pale as the palest plum blossom, and eyes the colour of the ocean.
They only turned red when she was very, very angry.
- - -
A/N: And there you have it. Hope you enjoyed reading LM as much as I enjoyed writing it. =) And don't expect a sequel; the fun in this pairing is all in the suspense. ;P Thankyou to everyone who supported me in this fic, even with all the indecision between continuing on from chapter six or not. (I still like the ending it gave. But still, I like annoying Godo, and this made the fun last longer. ) Special mentions go to Wyrren and Shizumaru.
Oh, and everyone leave Iflyte alone, because I think co-incidences are perfectly possible in a flooded fandom like FF7. I don't think my work has been plagiarised, and I'm sure there are dozens of fics that deal with a similar situation. I appreciate the concern, though. :)