It really worries me how long this story has been idle. Nine months. That's how long it takes your average baby to cook. But since having my own computer, I've written a few oneshots and I thought I should probably update this—after all, it's been a long time! I hope I haven't lost my touch.
Disclaimer: What disclaimer?
She wasn't really sure how she was supposed to act these days. So she acted the same as she usually did, which seemed wrong. After all, she and Squall were technically and "item" now, so shouldn't she be acting a little bit different? Wasn't she supposed to walk around holding his hand or something like that? That's what she'd seen in movies, anyway. But then again, movies are to life as Spam is to filet mignon.
That still left Yuffie with the question: shouldn't she be doing something?
Although, thinking about it, she didn't really think Squall would care one way or another. He'd never really been one for public displays of affection anyway, which was fine because she'd feel weird kissing him in front of other people.
When they were alone it was a completely different matter all together. He was quite… affectionate. No, "affectionate" wasn't a good enough word. It was more like "horny." She didn't really mind so much, though. She'd waited long enough to have him all over her like he was now.
But… sometimes she wanted some space. He'd been trying to follow her around a lot lately, which was cute but only to a degree. Sometimes she just wanted to be by herself, like right now. She was browsing the weapon shop greedily, looking to spend some of the Munny she'd scored while fighting Heartless.
If he was here, he would probably offer to pay for her, and she really didn't like it when he did that. That's the joy of kicking Heartless ass—spending the Munny on something that Aerith wouldn't normally let her buy—like throwing knives.
She giggled girlishly as she picked up a set of knives in a wooden box, paid for them, and left. She could definitely something good about the more challenging Heartless; they paid really well. It didn't take her as long as she thought to save up M10,000 for the knives.
She left the weapon shop and slung her bag over her shoulder and wandered around a little more, looking for something else to waste money on. There were more shops she could buy from now, thanks to the Heartless. The shop owners always kept a wary eye on her whenever she walked in, though, because she was a teenager. It was like they had this automatic assumption that teenagers would rob them blind.
So instead, she contented herself with looking in the window displays. At one of the displays, she felt someone yank on the bag she carried and she almost fell down backwards. Annoyed, she spun around and came face-to-face with two guys obviously looking for trouble, although why they were pestering her personally was unknown.
"What do you want?" She asked, exasperated. "And what kind of a guy picks on a girl, anyway?"
"You've got some money," one of them said. "We want it."
Yuffie rolled her eyes. "You guys have a lot to learn about mugging. The idea is to do it where nobody else can see you." With that, she squeezed between them and started to walk away, uninterested in fighting with them. She had only just bought those knives and she didn't want to get blood on them yet.
The guy who had spoken grabbed her hair from behind and pulled her back. She yelped loudly and flailed, trying to hit him. She ended up whacking him on the head with the knife box as the bag swung.
"You guys really need to leave me alone," she said. "You've really got no honor at all if you try to steal from a teenager in the streets, let alone a girl. I haven't even got a purse, so how do you think I had any money at all?"
"Then where did this come from, then?" He pulled on her bag again and ducked when she swung it.
"Will you please just go find somebody else to annoy?"
And again they just stood there, apparently deadest on getting money that they weren't even positive she had. So she just glared at them, hoping that maybe they would leave. To her surprise, they looked quite scared and ran off.
Pleased with herself, she spun around to continue walking and bumped into something warm and fairly solid.
"What—?" She backed up to get a better look.
"They were really obnoxious, weren't they?" Squall asked.
"How long have you be standing there?" She demanded. "You scared them away, didn't you?"
"You're too cute to be intimidating with just a look."
"That makes me feel really confident," she said sarcastically. "Did you follow me again? You know I hate it when you do that!"
"I just like to keep an eye on you, Yuffie. And this just happened to be a coincidence, I wasn't following you this time." He put his arm around her briefly and then folded his arms across his chest. "What's in the bag?"
"You had throwing knives and you didn't even use them?" He asked, looking slightly amused.
"They're new, I don't wanna get blood on them yet." She smiled a little, knowing how silly she sounded. Squall cracked a vague hint of a smile, too, which made her very happy. He rarely ever smiled outside of the context of sex. Yuffie rather liked when she could make him smile with her clothes still on.
"So where were you going, anyway?" Squall asked as she slung her bag back comfortably over her shoulder and dusted herself off.
"Nowhere, really. I was just window-shopping… not even, really. It was more like just window-watching," she said.
"Oh, really?" He raised his eyebrows suspiciously. "Is it mere coincidence that you were lingering in front of this particular window?" He gestured to the large shop display window which glittered with precious gems. She'd stopped in front of a jewelry shop without actually knowing it.
"Actually, yes, it is mere coincidence. I don't usually stare so much at this window," she peered into a display case. Gold and diamonds winked back at her in the lamplight behind her.
There were some pretty big rocks in there, cut in every style imaginable and set in groups of two or more in rings, bracelets, necklaces, and earrings. People could sell both of their kidneys on the black market and still not have enough money to buy some of these. She wrinkled her nose as she backed up from the window.
"Nothing really interesting in these windows," she said. Squall gave her an extremely baffled look, like he couldn't believe what she was saying. And that confused her. "What? Did I say something?"
"You realize these are all diamonds," he said.
"Yea, I know. Big ones, too. So what?" When he gave her the same completely mystified expression, she sighed. "I think they're overrated," she explains. "I mean, yea, diamonds are nice and sparkly and rare and really expensive, but they're kinda boring."
"Diamonds are boring?" He repeated, as a question.
"Yea. They're just clear stones. At least, to me they are." She looked back into the shop window at the rows and rows of diamonds sitting nice and pretty in thick and probably heavily alarmed glass cases. She hadn't ever actually been into this shop before, but from what she saw in the window, they sold mainly diamonds. "I just think they're a little cliché, you know?"
"Are you saying something like diamonds are common?" He still didn't seem to get it, so she figured she might as well explain it fully to him.
"Pretty much, yea. When men go to get rings for their girlfriends, they always think of gold and diamonds. How unoriginal is that? Every married or engaged woman I've ever met has had a gold engagement ring with a diamond. Gold and diamonds are all well and good, I guess, but colored stones have so much more character."
"I get it," he said with a nod. "I sort of see what you mean, now. Colored stones stand out when everybody else is wearing the same thing."
"Something like that. It says a lot about the person wearing it and a lot about the person who got it. Something different… something unique. Something nobody else really thinks of."
Squall was… slightly surprised. He'd learned something new about Yuffie… something that she probably wouldn't have brought up. Ever. Yuffie wasn't one to talk about jewelry unprovoked. Their conversation had just sort of drifted in that direction.
He was really glad that she had told him, too. Now he knew what not to get Yuffie. Otherwise he probably would've thought a diamond would be okay for her. In a way he wasn't really surprised about it. He'd never known Yuffie to be the conventional type, so it wasn't so shocking to hear that she would prefer a colored stone to a clear one. And anyway, a colored stone would look good on her—especially if that was all she was wearing…
No, no, not in public, Squall told himself. He had to at least wait until they were behind closed doors. He'd never been a fan of PDA and actually thought it was pretty rude for people to stop in the middle of the street to slobber all over their partner. He still thought it was rude, but every so often he wanted to just hold her and kiss her without caring what the world thought. Besides the fact that they would probably label him a pedophile, snogging in public wasn't any less rude when he did it.
Pedophile… he snorted like a bull, trying to shake the word out of his head. He hated that word. Nobody ever really said it out loud, but he could tell by their looks and the way that they spoke that they were thinking it. Whenever he was with Yuffie, people always treated them in an offhanded way. Sometimes people would "accidentally" mistake Yuffie for his little sister or niece. The really cruel people would "mistake" her for his daughter. They were all trying to make the trivial age gap seem much larger than it actually was. He took some comfort in the fact that he wasn't possibly old enough to be her father—to be anyone's father. Who becomes a father before finishing primary school, anyway?
He really was being silly, thinking so much. He was just happy Yuffie had finally accepted him. He was so afraid that he'd frightened her away after being so… downright horrible to her. A few times along the line, he was pretty sure he'd blown it, and maybe with any other woman he would have, but not with Yuffie. Yuffie would have been hard for him to repel, even if he'd actually wanted to, which he didn't. Every time he'd scorched her, she'd come right back and see if she could help him. She was persistent… maybe that was part of the attraction. If she hadn't been persistent and hung around him, he might never have paid attention to her. Funny how things like this worked out.
Squall looked up and realized he'd lost track of Yuffie. She was pretty quiet when she moved, or maybe he was thinking really loudly—or maybe both. He didn't have to look too far for her. She was across the road, looking into another shop window.
"Is this what you do all day while I'm out busting my ass with training?" He murmured in her ear from behind.
"Only when there's nothing on TV and it isn't raining," she told him, still staring at a display of miniature ships in glass bottles.
"Do you know how they get those in there?" He asked.
"Well, sure," she said. "They get a bunch of little tiny men with little tiny tools and little tiny supplies to go in there and build it. And then when they're all done, they crack a little tiny bottle of champagne over the hull and have a party."
"That explanation would surprise me if it came from anybody else but you." He put his arm around her waist from behind. Yuffie blinked down at it, slightly surprised by this sudden display of affection—in public. But it was kind of nice… and nobody was around at the moment to sneer and make rude gestures at them.
Suddenly she backed away from the window. "I think we'd better go now," she said abruptly, walking away from the shop.
"What's wrong?" He asked as he caught up with her.
"Oh, nothing," she reassured him. "It's just that the shop owners sometimes don't like it when I spend all afternoon window-shopping. They complain that I get handprints all over the windows and I never buy anything and then they have to go outside and clean their windows all over again." She looked back up at him and shrugged. "I'm gonna head back to the room and then go get some dinner. Will you be staying out and training until two in the morning again or will you be joining me?"
"Don't make fun," he grumbled as they walked. "I do that for you, you know. I do that to be able to protect you."
"Well if you spend all of your time training and none of it sleeping, you won't have enough energy to defend me in the event of an attack. You'll pick up that sword and fall right over and go to sleep."
"I like to think you have a little more faith in me than that," he said quickly, sounding slightly offended.
"I do… but if you just keep working yourself and never stopping to eat or sleep or rest up, all of that training isn't gonna do you much good. The Heartless don't wait until you've decided to get a decent nights' sleep."
To that, Squall just grunted.
Now she knew she'd made him angry. Just like that. One minute they were getting along just fine, and the next minute, she's said something stupid and he's angry at her again. It was going so well, too. He'd almost succumbed to PDA. But by now she was well used to his mood swings. All she would have to do would be to leave him alone for a few hours and he would get over it himself.
The rest of the walk to the hotel passed in silence. An uncomfortable, uneasy silence. Yuffie expected him to peel off and go straight to the café for dinner but instead he followed her to the room. He plopped himself into a chair and watched her walk about the room.
She put her knives up on a shelf in their box and disposed of the bag. She picked up some clean clothes and started to take the filthy ones off, and she heard Squall make a choking noise behind her.
"What?" She turned around and saw him with a hand on his forehead.
"Can't you do that in the bathroom?"
"All I'm doing is changing clothes."
"I know, but… can't you… please…" he trailed off and swallowed hard.
"Oh, I get it. It's turning you on," she said with an impish grin. "And I'll I'm doing is changing clothes. It's not like I'm doing a striptease or anything."
"It's nice to know I have this kind of power. I have what you want—and I have to sit on it."
"It's nice to know you can reduce me to a sex-crazed animal," he growled. Despite his annoyed tone, there was an unmistakable glint in his eyes. He really wasn't very angry after all, it seemed. That miniature sulk hadn't lasted very long, so he couldn't have been even vaguely upset by it. Or maybe she'd made him forget all about it. Maybe she could solve everything by just taking off her shirt. She giggled.
"Oh, come on, you're a guy. It's not like you can help it."
"I thought I was above all that."
"You can't fight nature, you know. Trying will only make your eyeballs explode."
"Eyeballs? Where do you come up with that?"
"Because I knew you'd get upset if I said 'testicles'."
She heard him snort with suppressed laughter even though he'd put his face in his hands.
He didn't know whether to be slightly annoyed or amused about his situation. Lately it had been hard for him to keep himself under control when they where alone together. Ever since she had broken down his guard and since he'd stopped inadvertently frightening her and pushing her away, there was really nothing to keep them apart anymore… which resulted in explosive and somewhat pornographic situations at nearly every opportunity, regardless of whether or not it was technically appropriate.
Even fighting led to sex. Fighting especially led to sex. Good manners no longer dictated that they keep their hands to themselves, even during an argument. Attempts at physically restraining one another in the heat of an argument ended up with somebody getting naked. Conventional relationship psychology would call it something like, "power struggles for domination in all aspects including but not limited to opinions, physical power, and intimacy."
In that case, it was probably a really good thing that there weren't any conventional relationship psychologists in Traverse Town at the moment.
It wouldn't take a trained professional to know that their relationship was different than most. Nearly everybody noticed. It was hard not to notice two people who seemed so completely different, who spent a lot of time arguing with each other and didn't even hold hands on the streets but yet were obviously enamored with one another.
"Come on, stop pouting and get up," Yuffie said, pulling on one of his hands. She'd changed into some cleaner clothes while he had been thinking. He'd missed it. Nuts. "Come on!" She said again, kneeling on the floor on front of him and resting her head atop her hands, resting on his knee. "Stop pouting like that, you know I was just teasing you."
"I know you were," he said simply. "I just have to wait and plot for about an hour and a half until we come back."
She raised herself higher on her knees and put her mouth right up to his ear. "Nobody said you have to wait. Nobody's made any promises about anything," she breathed. She kissed his neck and tugged gently on his earring with her teeth.
This was going to take an extraordinary amount of willpower.
"Yuffie," he growled, trying really hard to maintain. She wasn't listening. And she was biting his neck.
And his collarbone.
And she was licking.
So help me, there had better be a Heaven, he thought, which took up the last cognitive powers in his head. "Yuffie!" He covered her mouth with his hand and pushed her back down to kneel flat on the floor.
She looked at him with that big-eyed innocent look that she only used when she wanted something. She used both of her hands to peel his from her mouth.
"Is there something wrong?"
Squall took a very, very deep breath. "Don't you think this is a little trashy before dinner?"
"No, not really," she answered after she had apparently thought about it for an entire twenty seconds. She rose back up and made for his neck again but he stopped her.
"Okay, all right, I get it," she huffed, finally giving up—for the moment. "Just once I wanted dessert first. But it's okay, I get it. Dinner first, sex later."
She got up and put her shoes on and headed for the door, but he didn't follow right away.
"Come on. If I walk real close in front of you, nobody will notice that," she said.
He shook his head. She was awfully bold, and really fresh. She had that strange, sexy innocence about her. She was very different from most other women, but it kept him on his toes and he could never be completely sure what would happen next. Yuffie would always be able to surprise him.
He stood and joined her at the door, gently nudging her out first. Then he put his arm around her, fingers grazing her skin just slightly below her waistband as a silent promise for things to come.
He didn't say very much, most of the time. He would be like that forever, probably, hardly speaking unless provoked. Words didn't suit him so well, she'd discovered, and his most effective communication was silent, but remarkably effective. She inadvertently shivered and twitched when his hand made contact with a ticklish spot.
Words would never suit Squall so well as this.
I feel so very incredibly accomplished right now. I finished my first HDILT chapter in nine whole wide entire months. I'm sure my lingering fans are very happy about this as well. I foresee chapters being out slightly quicker than before now that I don't have to share a computer with everybody else in the house.
I hope you all found this enjoyable. This chapter feels like it's a different tone than the others… which I had to go back and re-read! (Shh—don't tell anybody!) Just drop a review on your way out and don't forget to tip your waitresses.