Disclaimer: I do not own Yuffie, Vincent or anything else from Final Fantasy VII. All that is property of Square-Enix, but only until I secure my hold on the world and… ahem Love and peacemakers.
A/N: Uh, you won't believe this, but I actually thought I'd posted this. And it's been sitting here forever and I've been thinking, hey, wonder what's next? Man, that was a silly A/N I left, I've already done Mini... Apologies for my idiocy. :ducks for cover: This is my favourite chapter, though! So please forgive meeee!
Tales from the Less-Than-Well Equipped
Do You Know the Muffin Man?
In what should be a very familiar opening scene, Yuffie and Vincent were in the midst of a battle. It was not a particularly gruelling battle - they were quite powerful despite their lack of decent equipment due to the distinctly cheap-ass nature of mercenary Cloud Strife. But nevertheless, things were not going to plan…
"Shit, Vinnie, get outta the--!"
Yuffie didn't bother finishing her sentence as Vincent shrunk to the size of a doll. This could have been because at least half her brain was currently running in small circles, shrilling "KAWAII!" at the top of its lungs. She preferred to think of it as saving energy, because it was f---in' cold and she wasn't sure how much longer she'd be able to feel her legs below the kneecaps.
With a short, sharp slice from the Oritsuru, Yuffie finished off the last of the monsters and did a little boogie, more to keep herself warm than out of glee at having defeated her opponents. The cold had made her even more unstable than usual, however, and at the end of her first spin, she wobbled a little before falling on her ass.
"Yuffie, are you all right?"
It was weird, very weird, to hear Vincent's voice coming from the tiny little thing several feet away. Yuffie glanced over and grinned. "Fine, monster man, just a little chilly. Are you all right? You look a little different somehow." She teased. Vincent's pint-sized face twisted into a look, which despite his smaller stature managed to carry a double weight of die, die, die. Yuffie scooped the tiny gunman up out of the snow and chortled.
"Do you know how much I would pay to get a photo of you right now?"
Vincent's eyebrow - the little that was visible below his bandanna - twitched. "The most that you could steal back at your earliest convenience." Yuffie snorted.
"Well at least Mini doesn't addle your brains, monster man." She smirked. "Y'know, that really doesn't suit you at this height. How about… muffin man?" Vincent closed his eyes tiredly, signifying that he really didn't care one way or the other. "Right, muffin man it is."
She sat him in the crook of her arm and set off through the snow again, reflecting that as amusing as this was, she really was going to kill Cloud when she saw him again. It was fine to go looking for materia, even in the snow. But the materia situation had become less-than-funny a long, long time ago. And if the effects of Mini wore off while she was carrying Vincent, there would be hell to pay.
Not that it mightn't be nice to be stuck underneath Vincent for a while…
Thankyou, brain. Yuffie thought, giving it a mental kick. That was the last thing she needed to be thinking in the middle of the snow. Think of all the energy she must be wasting on blushing.
And man, was she blushing. Yuffie was pretty sure that if she'd held the tiny gunman up to her face, his cloak would have blended right in. Fortunately, he didn't appear to have noticed.
(For his own part, Vincent was becoming increasingly aware of the fact that Yuffie, despite her lithe, catlike movements and tiny frame, had quite large breasts for her size and the warmth of her skin was incredible through her tank top and…)
She waited until she was pretty sure her cheeks had regained their normal colour - or as normal as it got when she was freezing her ass off in the snow - before she cleared her throat. "So, muffin man, any ideas on which way to head?" It seemed to take Vincent a little longer than usual to reply.
"No." And his voice was a little huskier than it usually was, too. Hmm.
"Whatsa matter, Vinnie, are you cold?" Yuffie frowned down at the gunman - an odd experience, if she thought about it. She couldn't ever remember looking down on Vincent, especially not in a literal sense. He didn't reply and she made a face. "Me too. I think my legs are numb…"
She walked on for a while in silence, glancing around occasionally to check for monsters. However, it appeared they had had their fun and were content to watch from the shadows as Yuffie wandered in circles and finally collapsed of exhaustion and hypothermia. Yuffie snorted in annoyance. Like she'd give them the satisfaction!
A small part of her noted that if she was thinking about monsters being intelligent enough to be satisfied that she'd passed out from hypothermia, she probably already had hypothermia. And she was probably actually lying bleeding and icy-cold at the bottom of a slope somewhere. This thought was not particularly pleasing to Yuffie, so she shoved it rudely off its own little cliff and continued on her way through the snow. What would happen to Vincent if she had hypothermia, anyway? His pop gun wouldn't be any use against monsters, and he couldn't transform into Chaos…
Her lips twitched. Could he? That would be a sight to see - a tiny version of Chaos rampaging across the snowfields. She held in a giggle at the thought and glanced down to see if Vincent had noticed.
His eyes were closed, tiny doll face lolled back against her arm. His mouth was open slightly. Yuffie's eyes widened. "Vinnie? Monster man, you shouldn't go to sleep in the snow."
The gunman did not reply - didn't even twitch. Yuffie swore very loudly and stopped, knee-deep in icy slush. "Vincent! Vincent Valentine! Wake up!" She held him out in front of her and felt a brush of fear colder than any wind down her spine. His skin was pale as she was sure his bones would be, lips tinted blue. "#$…!"
Yuffie did the only thing she could think of - she pressed the tiny body as close to her as she could without crushing him. She had to get him somewhere warmer… some sort of shelter… she needed a cave, or a tent, or a… Dammit, Cloud! Where's a stupid Fire materia when I need one!
On Vincent's belt, of course.
She ploughed on through the snow, numb fingers struggling with the buckles of her shoulder plate. If she could loosen it enough that Vincent could sit inside the quilted guard, right next to her body warmth, he'd probably wake up sooner, right? She didn't know. Cold was not one of her things. She could have dealt with desert better than this.
Damn. Damn. Damn. Don't panic.
This damn section of forest looked exactly the same as dozens of other sections of forest she'd passed through! Yuffie growled in annoyance and maybe just a little bit of panic as she increased her pace. She had to find somewhere to go to keep Vincent warm until he woke up, or he was dead. He was so dead and there wouldn't be a thing she could do about it.
She hated to admit just how much the thought hurt her.
Finally she felt the shoulder plate loosen a little, and she tucked Vincent inside the upper edge, curled along her collar bone with his face resting against the collar of her green shirt. She brushed her hair out of his face as well as she could and tightened the plate a little so that he wouldn't just fall out.
Have to find a place. Have to find a place to stop. Leviathan, please, show me to shelter. Haven't I always spoken with you, brought you offerings? I'm a good little Wutaian. You've never actually forbidden stealing or anything, have you? So please, please, please Leviathan, Da Chao, give me a place to shelter from the cold…
She could see another clearing up ahead, but the wind was so fierce that she couldn't tell if there was just more forest on the other side of it or whether it lead to something more promising. She pushed through the stiff, reluctant branches of a squat pine tree…
…and the world was snatched out from under her, skipping away to the right as though it had just been a butterfly, pretending.
She brought her arms up to her face and neck to shelter Vincent and fell face down in the snow.
Warmth. Pressure. The scent of musk mixed with fresh straw and burning tallow.
It was bright outside her head, bright and warm. But the something resting on top of her was heavy. It was sort of pleasant, though, reassuring maybe, like the weight of a heavy quilt in the middle of winter.
She cracked an eye open and winced at the light. A little brighter than she'd been expecting. But it wasn't a harsh white light; it was a softer golden tone, like a wall of candles. It didn't take long before she opened both her eyes and started to look around.
The first thing she looked at surprised her enough that she didn't bother looking around at anything else.
Vincent, still unconscious but very much larger than he had been when she'd last seen him, was sprawled across her from the neck to the hips, his head still resting in the hollow of her shoulder. His was the weight and the unassuming musky fragrance to the air. Yuffie felt her heart jump up to triple time in her ribcage and tried to slow her rapidly increasing breathing rate.
It was a wonder it took him as long as it did to wake up, really.
After a few minutes, Yuffie was done being embarrassed and getting ready to scream and flail and embarrass somebody else. She took a deep breath, fisted her hands…
…and Vincent shifted slightly nearer, turning his head enough that his nose brushed the column of her throat. He nuzzled it lightly in his sleep and Yuffie suddenly found that she couldn't make any sound, least of all a coherent accusation at the top of her lungs. She could feel her hands begin to shake. She took a shuddering breath.
"Vincent. Vincent. Vincent."
He frowned and shifted again, inexorably drawn towards wakefulness but obviously much preferring to stay where he was. Yuffie could feel herself blushing again, but she clenched her teeth and kept repeating his name. She had to get out of this situation before she did something totally stupid…
"Vincent. Vincent. Vincent."
He sighed lightly. "…ffie…" The girl screwed up her face.
"Vincent Valentine, get up! NOW!"
As though his body - if not his mind - obeyed her instructions, she felt his upper body pull back, his face drawing away from her neck. She felt at once much warmer and much colder as his eyes slid open and focused groggily upon her. He blinked once and a slight frown found its way onto his face. He blinked again, and when his eyes opened, he recoiled from her as though he had been slapped.
However, it appeared that his body couldn't quite handle that much movement so quickly, so he flopped facedown in the straw beside her, limp as a boneless fish. Yuffie was happy to find that her inability to breathe properly was not due to Vincent's proximity, but rather Vincent's Gargantuan weight on her tiny ribcage. It reassured her slightly. "No longer the muffin man - that means no free rides." She said candidly. Vincent made a small sound and pushed himself up with his human hand.
"Yuffie… you don't think… you don't suspect me of…!"
One look at that mortified face - or at least, vaguely sheepish, which was more or less as mortified as Vincent got - made Yuffie wish she'd chosen different words. She rolled her eyes and propped herself up with her elbows. "Don't be dumb, Vinnie, it was a joke. Can't expect me not to be glad to have the use of my lungs again. You really need to lose some weight, you know that?"
She could have sworn Vincent's face coloured slightly. "I…" He avoided her eyes with all the skill of his profession prior to joining AVALANCHE, face a picture of wretched apology. Yuffie could have screamed - she'd meant to put him at ease, not make him more uncomfortable!
"Ugh. I said don't worry about it, idiot! Y'know, a joke?" She sat up properly and winced as a headache made itself known. "Ow." She raised a hand to her forehead and grimaced. "Hey, Vinnie, want to help me kill Cloud? I'll tie him up and gag him, then you can shoot him in the legs and we'll toss him in a river with lots of sharks…"
Vincent blinked. "I… don't think sharks live in rivers, Yuffie. In any case, we are far from any river we could--"
Yuffie's eye twitched. "Joke. Vincent."
A/N: Ever seen Full Metal Panic!? Remember Sousuke Sagara and Kaname Chidori? Please review and let me know what you thought of the chapter. Next chapter involves… poison again, I think.
And those of you who were wondering why Vinnie was babbling of heat just before he passed out... well, you have two options, here. The first is the rather boring explanation of becoming delirious with cold. The second is that he got too excited for his weakened physical condition to handle. I'll let youmake up your own minds
Well, she's married to the muffin man…