Author's Note: Okay, this idea has been floating around in my head since about March and I just really started brainstorming on it the other night. And I was going to put it off until after "Blind Instinct" is finished, but this really cool opening scene popped into my head and I had to start it. So, somebody please slap some sense into me. And it probably won't be updated that often until after I get "Blind Instinct" finished.

Summary: Alternate Universe. Yuffie Kisaragi, a teenager who has spent most of her life on the streets, stealing to get by. Squall Leonhart, a man who just wanted his wallet back. How will the fates throw these two together?

Maybe a slightly dark fic. I dunno yet. We'll just have to see. So, for now, I'll have the rating at PG-13, but, if at any time you feel that it should be rated higher, tell me and I'll change the rating.

Yeah, I suck at summaries. Sorry.

[Disclaimer: Okay, time for the standard disclaimer. I warn you, it will change throughout the story. Kingdom Hearts and all characters therein are owned by both Disney and SquareEnix. I am making no money whatsoever from this story.]


Chapter One: Vain Pursuit

Rain. She always had hated the rain from almost as far back as she could remember. Maybe her hatred of the rain began thirteen years ago. Yes, that was probably the event that triggered her loathing of the life giving drops. For it had been raining the day her mother had finally succumbed to the disease that had been threatening her life for five years. Of course, no one else believed that domestic abuse was a disease. Only Yuffie. Her mother had tried leaving the man from the time her tiny daughter had been born, only to come crawling back each time because she had believed his endless lies. The lies he always fed her. There was the standard, "I promise, Amaya, I'll change this time." And then the ever popular, "Just give me one more chance, Amaya." And then there was the one lie that was permanently burned into Yuffie's head. The one lie that turned out to be the last lie she would ever hear from her father. "I only bought the gun for protection, Amaya. You know that I would never use it."

Shivering, the now seventeen year old Yuffie stood beneath the awning of the small pawn shop located in the downtown area of the thriving metropolis. She loathed this city with a passion but she knew deep down inside she would never be able to leave it. This was the only place where she could make her living doing the only thing she knew how. Pushing her short, choppy, and lank ebony bangs out of her face, she fingered the cash in her other hand, silently adding it to the little bit she had stashed away. Math seemed to be the only school subject she had ever found a use for. Albeit, her schooling was limited.

"Eighteen dollars," she muttered disgustedly as she rolled the three five-dollar and three one-dollar bills together and shoved them into the side pocket of her tattered khaki shorts. "Eighteen lousy dollars for that damn ring. And I thought the piece of shit would be worth at least fifty." Sighing, she realized that even with the thirteen she had in her other pocket it would not be enough. But, then again, she never had enough. Such was the way things went when you lived on the streets.

She turned as she heard the bell over the pawn shop door behind her ring only to find the large, burly owner glaring at her. "Look, girlie, if you don't have any business here, don't be standing here. You're scaring away my customers," he said in a low voice, putting a fake smile on his round, ruddy face as a potential patron walked past. As soon as the man had passed, the owner turned back to Yuffie, glaring. "What are you still doing here? Now scram!"

"Bastard," she mumbled under her breath as she took a step out from under the awning and into the rain. Looking up, she saw the dark torrents of water falling relentlessly from the night sky, soaking her almost instantly to the bone. Her thin, tattered clothes did little to keep the moisture out and the cool, night air, considerably chillier because of the rain, soon caused her shivering to increase drastically.

With water running through her hair and down her face, she crossed her arms protectively over her chest and took off across the street, being narrowly missed by the approaching and seemingly never ceasing traffic of the city. She ignored the angrily honking horns and stepped onto the opposite sidewalk, thankful for the protection this block length awning provided from the rain.

Falling into the small crowd that had formed, she busily worked her way through them to start on her walk home, picking a few pockets as she went. A girl had to get by somehow, she had always reasoned, knowing that there wasn't much choice for someone like her, a street rat as she had been branded by countless people. Of course, she had plans for when she finally got enough money together.

She reached into her last pocket of the evening and pulled out the black leather wallet, slipping it into her own pocket with the other items she had stolen before someone noticed her holding onto it. The last thing she needed was a rain-soaked chase through the streets. She had no doubt that she could lose any pursuers within the maze of alleys the city provided, but she was simply too tired to want to go through the effort.

Feeling herself being watched, she quickly looked up and noticed deep stormy blue eyes with a jagged scar running between them glaring at her as the owner of said eyes tentatively reached into his back pocket. "Busted," she muttered under her breath as she began sprinting at top speed and hoped to put enough distance between them that she would be able to lose him quickly.

"Hey, get back here!" the man called in a deep baritone, immediately starting after her and pushing through the crowds.

Yuffie spared a quick glance over her shoulder to see that he was gaining on her, his legs pumping seemingly effortlessly. Obviously, he worked out, not the typical desk jockey she had taken him for. "Perfect," she panted, increasing her pace and turning sharply to the right to cut through the alley.

The man closely followed her into the alley, believing he had her cornered as he saw the high fence at the end of the alley. He bent over, his hands resting on his upper legs as he panted slightly. "Now, give me back my wallet and I won't turn you into the cops," he finally said as he caught his breath, standing up straight and brushing the long locks of his wet hair out of his eyes.

Deciding it might be in her best interest to play along for the moment to catch him off guard, Yuffie looked at the ground in a sign of submission and put on her most repentant face. Yes, she had spent countless hours in front of department store windows practicing this face in the reflection. "I'm sorry, mister," she muttered softly, her head still lowered but peaking through her dark bangs to watch him. "But, this is the only way for me to get by. And what with my parents and five little brothers all being sick, it's up to me to get enough money together to pay for food." She briefly wondered if she was laying it on too thick, but quickly dismissed that thought as she saw a flicker of sympathy cross his face.

As she watched, she could see his resolve slowly melting and he began to walk slowly down the alley towards her. "Look, just give me the wallet. There's nothing in there, anyways," he said, this time a little more gently than he had previously. He reached his hand out slowly, as though she were some strange dog that might bite at any moment.

Her head shot up, a large grin coming across her face as she darted to the left and jumped on top of a large dumpster and then gracefully leaped onto the edge of the fence. "You, my good friend, have been duped by the Great Ninja Yuffie. Consider it a compliment," she called from her position before bounding to the other side of the fence and leaving him alone in the alley.

Running, she could have sworn she heard the sound of something hitting the dumpster and then a loud string of curses. "They're all the same," she muttered as she slowed to a trot and glanced over her shoulder to make sure she wasn't being followed. "Every damn one of them."

A few quick turns to the left soon brought her to an abandoned warehouse, the one place she had actually lived for more than a month at a time since her mother had died. The ninja wearily slipped through the broken window on the building's side and slowly climbed up the stairs to the attic where she kept her few belongings. The attic was the only place she truly felt safe.

A small overturned wooden crate served as a makeshift table and she immediately dumped the contents of her pockets onto it. Sorting through the items she had procured during her evening run, she set the wallets aside. She always did them last, telling herself she was saving the best for last. But it was a lie. The wallets rarely had more than twenty in cash and the credit cards were virtually useless to her unless she sold them, something she had yet to resort to. Usually, she would break the cards up and throw them in her trash pile. Shaking her head, she knew people would never believe she did that. After all, she was a thief. Little did most people know, but some thieves still had honor.

Honor. She nearly scoffed at the word. It was her supposed honor that kept her living on the streets. In all her time as a thief, she had never stolen from anyone who looked as though they couldn't afford to lose a little cash. It was something she could never bring herself to do. She didn't know where her honor came from but she silently cursed whatever gods had bestowed it upon her. She dearly wished to be like the other thieves she knew, those who had no remorse and were able to live better than she ever could with her honor.

Going back to the task at hand, she realized that most of the jewelry she had taken was worthless, most of it cheap imitations of the real thing. That only left the wallets. And it was just a small pile of wallets. She had only managed to pick up three before that man had discovered his was missing. Remembering his expression of shock when she had jumped onto the fence, she laughed softly. It was something she would have to remember for when she was feeling lower than usual.

She decided to save his wallet for last, grabbing a light tan colored one and dumping its contents onto the crate. Sighing, she realized the man she had taken this from was only carrying around a couple dollars. The rest of his wallet was full of credit cards, receipts, and business cards. She set the credit cards aside to be disposed of before reaching for the next one. This one was even less empty than the previous as it had no money, one credit card, a driver's license, and a slip of paper with a phone number. Biting her lip, she tossed the wallet over her shoulder in disgust and put her head in her hands. Tonight's salary was even less than she had hoped for.

But, there was still one wallet left. Picking up the faded black leather wallet, she briefly wondered why the man chasing her was so adamant about getting it back if it indeed had nothing in it like he said. "He must've been lying, that son of a bitch," she whispered softly as she greedily unfolded the wallet and expected to find it full of cash. She dropped her head to the crate with a loud 'thud' when she realized that there was no cash in the wallet. Only his driver's license, two credit cards, and a few pictures.

Bored, she began to pick through the faded photos, noticing that nearly all of them had the same two people in them. One in particular sparked her interest. The owner of the wallet was sitting in a plush recliner with a beautiful young woman resting in his lap and leaning against his chest. Another one, of the same woman, had her standing in the sunlight, a soft smile on her face and one hand pushing back her ebony hair, the brown streaks running through it matching her eyes perfectly.

"So this is why he wanted the wallet back?" Yuffie asked herself, glancing over a few more of the pictures. "Just for these pictures?" Slipping them back into the wallet, she pulled out the driver's license and stared at his picture, wondering how he had gotten that scar on his face. "His wife probably threw something at his head when he came home drunk one night," she said aloud, laughing as she got the mental image of the gentle looking woman in the pictures maliciously throwing dishes across the room at her husband.

"Okay, Scar, let's see what your name is." Yuffie momentarily wondered why she was so curious about this man. Normally, she would never bother looking at the personal items in a wallet she had stolen. It put a face with one of her victims and usually made her guilt-ridden. But, something about this man drew her in. Something made her curious. She couldn't explain it. Reading his name aloud, she frowned. "Squall Leonhart? What kind of parents would name their kid 'Squall?'"

Giving up on the enigma that was this Squall Leonhart, she put all his stuff back into the wallet and closed it. Unlike with most other wallets, she found herself unable to throw this one away. Maybe it was because she was intrigued by how much these pictures apparently meant to him. Or maybe she was just getting sentimental as she grew older. She didn't know. Nor did she care.

She stood up slowly, finding herself still shivering slightly from her wet attire. Crossing the room, she pulled out the heavy sweatshirt she had found only a month before and slipped it over her head. It had indeed been a lucky day when she had come across this shirt. Very rarely did she ever find anything worth keeping in the local dumpsters. She usually had to rely upon stealing things from unattended clotheslines, which were few and far between in the city.

Her eyes drooping as fatigue hit her, she lay down upon the pallet she had made from anything soft she could find and pulled the tattered blanket around her. Ignoring her rumbling stomach with practiced ease, she soon found herself in her nightmarish world of slumber. Most people had the luxury of having good dreams. But not Yuffie. In her dreams, she always relived her past. More specifically, she always watched her mother die again and was never able to save her.

Author's Note: Okay, so tell me what you think. It's different from anything else I've written, no? Well, anyways, I'm gonna post it and let you guys' reactions to it tell me whether I should continue or not. Oh, don't expect it to be updated that often until I finish with Blind Instinct. After that, this will become my main focus.