a/n: I can't believe I'm doing this, but what the hell. I recently bought the manga "DOLL" by Mitsukazu Mihara. In one glance, I was convinced that I had found an actual picture of Vincent Valentine himself with short hair and not as a Turk. Whoa. So, naturally, I had to buy it... and read it... and think it would be cute if Kaya was Yuffie and the doll was Vinnie. So that is what I did.
This probably counts as plagarism, and I'm sorry. Very sorry. In fact, I'm still sorry and quite ashamed... but I couldn't resist. So I apologize profusely, o great officials. I love you guys anyway, even though I have no idea why you banned that one fic of my sister's.
The storyline is owned by Mitsukazu Mihara and FF7 characters are owned by Squaresoft/Square-Enix. Some of the dialogue is self-invented, but most of it is from the book.
Yuffie/Vincent-themed this time around, dears. If I can get away with this one, there might be future installments with different pairings... but hey, I'm a Yuffie/Vincent lover anyway, so it's no problem. Besides, the doll frikkin' LOOKS like Vincent. Like I was gonna make him Barrett or something! (And Barrett rarely gets paired up with anyone else, so that would have been hard anyway)
God, I am such an unoriginal bitch. You are allowed to kill me, as long as you go buy the book. Volume 2, I think, is also out... which I need to go buy...
The elderly woman stood in the door way.
"So, do I look beautiful?"
"Yes. Beautiful." The voice was both young and ancient, with a lilting touch and a sip of monotony. His voice had barely changed, even in all this time.
"Oh!" An mock-exasperated sigh. "All these years and you still haven't learned how to properly compliment a woman!" She walked from the foyer and into the room where he stood. He held up a heavy coat for her. "You said the exact same thing forty years ago."
"Yes. I'm sorry."
She looked wistfully at his flawless, pale face. "So matter of fact. So... mechanical. Human in appearance alone." He helped her put on the coat.
"Yes. You said exactly the same thing forty years ago."
She turned to him with a sigh in her face and a hint of sadness in her eyes. "I wish... you could at least smile. The newest dolls come with real emotions, did you know that?"
She smiled sadly and put her hand up to his face, catching his cheek. "Forty long years and you haven't changed... while I have become an old woman. You're the lucky one, frozen in time."
Her eyes left his and she stared out the window. "At my age... all I have is the past."
-a nameless doll
At the age of sixteen, Yuffie Kisaragi was a lovely thing: pale, slender body, short black-mahogany hair, gray eyes the color of storm clouds. Add the bonus that she was the daughter of the Lord of Wutai, and no man could resist her.
She stared at him. Distaste was obvious in her eyes.
He stared at her. There was nothing in his.
"This doll is yours. He will take care of your every need."
Her father gestured to the man.
She stared again at him and scrutinized his face. He looked ahead at her, his face emotionless, as she scanned him over. White, snow pale skin. Deep, empty red eyes. Long raven hair.
"Don't frown, Yuffie. I gather he's more competent than five humans."
You mean... cheaper than five humans, don't you? She turned her gaze to her father, who was looking at the doll as if he were a new son.
A suited man walked up behind Godo, and he turned away from them. "Mm? Oh. Look, I'm late. Katsu," he addressed the butler, "Call Hidaka and tell him I'll be at the Kagurazoa office today."
He bowed. "Yes, sir."
Yuffie suddenly bounded up behind Godo. "Hey, don't you know what day today is?"
He looked at her over his shoulder, an expression of confusion and annoyance on his face. "I'm busy, Yuffie. And what type of question is that anyway?"
The door slammed moments later. Yuffie stood there, glaring at it.
She turned back to the doll. He stood, looking at her with those empty crimson eyes.
Yuffie looked right back at him and then kicked him in the shin.
"Great. Haven't seen my father in days...weeks... and all I get is this... useless piece of junk!"
She walked up to him. His eyes continued to bore into hers. It was starting to get creepy.
"Hmm..." She grabbed the collar of his cloak. It was red, but not as dark as his eyes. "I've seen those SG Corporation commercials... Is it true what they say? That you'll do anything I tell you?"
"There are some limitations, but..." His voice was velvety with a touch of eternal youth to it. It was soft and monotonous, but not a tone to put her to sleep. A struggling smile, a grimace, crossed her face.
"Clean my shoes with your tongue."
His eyes were empty. "My pleasure."
She moved over to a cushioned chair and sat down. With her leg propped up, she started talking to the doll, not caring if he was listening or not. What did it matter to her anyway? He was just a machine.
"That's father all over. Typical of him." She sighed and leaned back further in her chair while the doll crouched in front of her. He was licking her shoe. "Work always comes first. Family... third or fourth. My mother... just wasted away and died. He barely noticed."
Yuffie stared off into the air. "Today's my birthday. I wonder... what I shall give myself?" She looked down at the doll. "You can stop now. Come."
She stood up, her short white dress waving as she moved stick-thin legs forward. The doll followed, the eternally apathetic look still on his face.
The dining table was set with lavish dishes. Pastas, rice, cakes, everything available was set out before her. All looked decorated. All looked beautiful. All looked filling.
"You have eaten a great deal, madam." The doll quietly stood behind her chair, bending over slightly so that his quiet voice could be heard. His lips portrayed no emotion, like everything else about him.
"Yes, and I intend to eat even more! Bring me dessert..." An annoyed expression stole across her face as she continued eating her pasta. He nodded slowly, then walked to the manor's kitchens to get his mistress more food.
A dull glaze crossed Yuffie's eyes as she looked ahead, tasting nothing. Her fork automatically picked up the food as she ate and ate.
It was late at night when Yuffie finished her last tiramisu and ran for the bathroom. The doll was still in the kitchen where she had commanded it to go and clean her dishes.
The acid taste bit into her tongue and made her face wrinkle in disgust in the mirror. She stared at her sickened face for a moment, then flushed the toilet to erase the evidence.
I have everything... and nothing.
"Hello, I'm Rufus Shinra. You must be Yuffie."
He was a good-looking man, undoubtedly. If Yuffie had cared in the slightest, she would have even said he was handsome, with blond hair pulled to one side of his face and eyes like dark blue ice.
Her father's friend smiled. "Isn't she lovely, Rufus?" the blonde said. "Didn't I tell you she'd make the perfect wife?" The woman's smile grew and Yuffie knew it was forced. Elena didn't like this arranged marriage business any more than Yuffie did. She'd always known Elena was alright.
Godo nodded eagerly. "Yes, she is truly the finest blossom of Wutai."
Yuffie's eyes went instantly down. She should have known better than to trust her father on a "friendly social dinner". Typical of him.
"It's a good deal for everyone, Yuffie." Oh. Her father was talking. "I get someone to carry on the business after I'm gone... and they get financial security. And you... well, you get a husband."
This room was big and empty – occupied only by a table, two chairs, and them. The doll stood by the door, staring at the floor. The dinner had ended hours ago.
Yuffie looked tiredly at the table where her tea sat.
The doll stared at Yuffie, empty red eyes boring into her head.
"An arranged marriage! Can you believe it?"
She was older now, if only by a year. The doll stood behind her, clever mechanical fingers working the ties in her dress.
A metal finger brushed her back and she shivered. "You know, we could always get you a new hand. It wouldn't cost much."
The doll continued tying the ribbons. "No. This hand feels no pain."
Half a year ago she had been reading old letters from two friends she hadn't seen in at least seven years. Ever since Yuffie had turned thirteen, Godo had forbidden her from interacting with her peers, and that had included Tifa and Aerith. They had still been sending her letters for the past couple of years, though Godo knew nothing of this. He'd found out then and thrown all the letters into a fire in her room, then hurried away to get to a meeting while Yuffie sat crying in front of the fireplace.
The doll had barely hesitated to move once Godo had left. By reaching his left hand deep into the flames, he'd managed to save the most of a few letters, but most of them were already ashes. Yuffie had stopped crying just in shock. Her eyes had connected with his, and he'd said in his empty monotone that he was sorry that he couldn't save more. In a room smelling like burning plastic, Yuffie had slowly taken the half-burned letters from his hand and then thrown herself at him, hugging him for all she was worth.
Now, Yuffie blushed whenever she thought of that day. She had stored the letters in a more secret hiding place and had apologized profusely to the silent doll. Because of her carelessness, the fire had burned away the plastic skin. Now, it was only a golden skeletal arm, though none of the moving mechanisms had been damaged.
She sighed. "I can't believe this is happening to me."
"And this dress! It was my mother's! How cheap can you get?" She stroked the white silk fondly with a laugh in her throat and a rip in her heart.
"So... do I look beautiful?"
She scoffed at his answer. "So matter of fact. So... mechanical. Human in appearance alone." Still, she smiled gently at him before flopping onto a couch. "Still, it doesn't matter. He's not marrying me, he's marrying the City of Wutai."
"Do you... love Mr. Shinra?"
She looked at him, startled. Had he just shown a hint of emotion?
Yuffie was silent. "Do you... do you think a doll and a human could ever get married?"
The doll gave her a look that spoke more words than he would say in a week. She blushed. "I didn't... I don't mean you! Stop looking at me like that!"
He cocked his head a fraction of a centimeter. "Madam...?"
If possible, she blushed harder. "Who'd marry an emotionless thing like you?"
His shoulders gave the slightest hint of a shrug before he walked away to alert the wedding crew that she was ready.
Yuffie stared at his back. Why was her heart hurting?
But... I was the doll, fulfilling my assigned role as the dutiful daughter. Until, that is...
"I'm not saying it's impossible for you to have children. It would just be... difficult, that's all. There are all kinds of fertility treatments we can try."
The doctor was annoying, she decided. Always babbling. Maybe he was just nervous to be treating the princess of Wutai, wife of the heir to Shinra, Inc.
"Yes. Of course."
She must have been, what... twenty-six? Twenty-eight? Too young to never have children, either way. She had forgotten her age at this point – there was no doubt that the doll knew, however.
At home she began to talk to her husband. "I understand that you are disappointed, but..."
"What? Yuffie, please. Get to the point!" No doubt he was late for a meeting.
Well, it simply wouldn't do to have his lowly wife hold him up now would it? "It is... nothing, Rufus. Nothing important."
He scoffed and got into his car. A suited bald man walked up behind her once Rufus was out of sight. "Madam, I got this information for you, as you requested." He handed her the brown paper bag. "I... apologize if any of this is upsetting."
She shook her head wearily. "No... it's alright, Detective Rude. At this point I should be used to such events." She thanked him and went inside.
The doll instantly came to her and took the bag. "Let me carry it, madam."
They walked over together to a desk in one of the mansion's rooms. Yuffie opened the bag and poured the photos, disks, and papers onto the table.
One glance at the photo and she knew everything. "I knew it..."
"Rufus! He's having an affair."
She picked up the picture. It showed Rufus walking and holding the arm of a thin blonde woman in a red dress. "There has to be an heir, you see. For the business. Even if it's the mistress's child!" She threw down the picture. "I'm sure my father would approve."
The doll stood, emotionless and unmoving, at her side. She looked at him and held the empty, blood-red gaze. "You will say nothing of this to anyone, is that understood?"
Yuffie nodded tiredly and pushed back her chair, packing away the incriminating evidence of her husband's infidelity. "Come on. It's time to brush my hair!"
She grabbed the doll's human hand and walked quickly ahead, dragging him to her mirror and vanity. For a fleeting instant, his eyes stared for a moment at their hands, but then her hand was gone and she was sitting on her fluffy chair, waiting.
He picked up the brush and started brushing her hair. It had grown out slightly after the years, but it still only went to her shoulders. She had remained adamant in keeping it short since Rufus had told her to grow it out. She'd been so happy at her little rebellion, the doll remembered.
"In my way," she began, "I'm as much of a doll as you are. A... coldthing, unable to have children." She spat out the words like she had spat out her wedding agreements so many years ago. "The doctors tell me it's because of the bulimia. Making myself sick so many times when I was young... I damaged something inside."
She sighed and turned her head a fraction of an inch so she could just see his face. "All that food... I barely kept any of it down."
"I know." His voice was smooth, like he was stating the weather, or an agreement, or an affirmation of something he'd known since the day he first saw her.
"You... you know?" She tried to crane her head fully around, but his brushing kept her looking forward. "How do you know?"
He sighed and closed his eyes, never ceasing to smooth away the rumples in her hair. "I have eyes. I watched over you all these years..."
Yuffie blinked slowly, then stared ahead at her reflection. Such a beautiful face. So beautiful that it had damned her. Something inside her was laughing, but something inside was crying, and something was breaking. What was it? Why was everything so blurry around the edges?
Her mouth creaked open. She felt like she was going to cry, but she couldn't. She wouldn't. Not in front of the only person who knew her. Never in front of him.
"Ha ha. It's... it's not funny, and yet..."
Her throat tightened. The doll stopped brushing, an apathetic line on his lips, and started combing her hair with his robotic hand.
"...no one else knew." Her voice was small, like a lost child's in the darkness. "Not my father, not my husband. You... you, a doll... with no emotional hardware... you were the only one who cared enough to notice!"
She leaned her head in so her face was hidden by a curtain of dark brown. The doll glanced at the back of her head and put his real hand on it while she stared at her lap.
In the end, she did not cry. What could tears do for her?
The tragedy was, all I ever wanted was for someone to see the real Yuffie. I hated the roles that I played; the dutiful daughter... the good wife!
When a son was born to Rufus and his mistress, I said nothing.
"Yes... I see. Yes, I'll be right there."
Wrinkles furrowed and stayed on her face as she hung up the phone. The doll, ageless as ever, stood a couple of feet behind her as if waiting to hear what had been said on the phone.
He didn't have to wait long.
"My father. Dead."
She only needed three words for him to understand everything going on in her heart and in her mind. "One less role to play."
She sighed. Yuffie Kisaragi – she could never be Yuffie Shinra – was finally free, but what could she do now? "I am free... but free to do what? Be what? What was I without him?"
Yuffie walked outside and into the back garden. The doll followed her, always two feet behind, as she thought about what she could do.
She no longer had a father to please with her unfaltering obedience... but what was she as disobedient? All her life, her very actions and choices had been dictated to her by men. Now that one of them was gone, she could finally do what she wanted.
What did she want?
"You know..." he said, starting her out of her reverie. "I will... always be here to take care of you. Forever."
She stopped and turned around. Eyes that were gray with love and sadness connected with empty scarlet, and a brief flicker of happiness flitted across her mouth.
"You... are the only one... the only one I have ever been able to talk to."
She walked up to him and looked up. "I have to know..." Yuffie reached up a pale hand beginning to show wrinkles and cupped his cheek. "...if you will come with me willingly."
They did not move.
"Relax, Rufus. I want you to formally acknowledge the child as your son and heir. And no, I don't want a divorce."
Yuffie examined her nails. "No. It would be... difficult... for you, what with Father leaving everything to me." Yeah, difficult indeed, since Shinra, Inc. had been defeated by a rebel group (AVALANCHE, wasn't it called?) and had been leeching off the Wutainese economy ever since. And even though she'd have loved to make things difficult for him, she needed this...
Rufus blinked. His mind was still trying to realize that his wife had just accepted the fact that he'd been having an affair with his co-worker Scarlet and had even had a son behind her back. Wasn't she supposed to be throwing paperweights at him and screaming like the caring wives did in movies?
"But... I do want a favor in return."
Rufus inwardly groaned. He should have seen this coming...
"Give me my freedom."
Yet again, Rufus Shinra blinked in shock. Yet again, he'd over-gauged his wife's reaction.
"Let me live the life that I choose."
Yet again, Yuffie remembered that her husband was an idiot.
Her gray eyes looked distant as she stared deeply into her tea cup, as if the solution to world hunger was hidden in its murky leaves. All that... all those memories that had brought her here, to this house...
She'd managed to pull strings and pluck pennies from the Shinra vault for this house. Yuffie smiled slightly and sipped her tea when the doll came into the room.
"I cut some roses from the garden. Should I put them in some water?"
He stood in the threshold with the bouquet of pink and red roses in his arms. He, at least, still looked the same, down to the deep red cape that just showed his mouth to the empty crimson eyes.
"Yes... but you needn't ask."
He nodded and went to the kitchen to find a vase.
Yuffie's smile spread across her face as her beloved doll elegantly placed roses as pink as sunset clouds and red as his eyes into a china vase. They'd planted them six years ago, together, in the garden of her private house. He'd surprised her by picking the pink ones from the catalogue, and he'd explained that they reminded him of the sunset while she'd tried to hide giggles at her emotionless doll liking pink, of all colors.
He'd given her his infamous deadpan look, which was only just different from his normal expression. But, then again, she'd spent so much time looking at his face – his beautiful, snow-white, inhuman face – she could tell every hint of emotion his emotional hardware could dish out.
Which, of course, had prompted her to pick the red ones and explain that they reminded her of his eyes.
She smiled at the memory and softly said, "It's strange..."
He stopped arranging the flowers and turned to her, awaiting her command.
"These last ten years, here in this house with you, have been the happiest and most peaceful of my life." She sipped her tea, still smiling. Her face had eternal wrinkles now, and her hair was no longer a rich brown but a quickly-dimming dark gray. It would not be long until her hair matched her eyes.
"Why is that?" She shook slightly when she spoke. Her heart had been having a couple problems lately, but there wasn't anything serious, as far as the doctors could see. Sometimes, she'd lie in bed and just listen to her heart beat, slow and steady, just to make sure she was still alive and that she'd still see her darling doll when she woke up.
"Is it because... you don't smile... more honestly than most people actually do...?"
Yuffie's tea cup rattled and broke when she dropped it. Her hand was clutched at her heart. The doll was by her side in an instant.
Something akin to panic crossed and stayed on the doll's face as he grabbed Yuffie by the shoulders and turned her face-up.
Within moments, he was running as he had never moved before to the phone, his mechanical mind already processing the course of action he needed to take.
As a machine, it was little problem to get immediate help through the telephone. He'd used it a few times before, as well.
So what was this sense of worry that invaded his emotional hard drive? Why was he feeling unfamiliarly... outrageously...
"I see. Yes... I'll be right there."
Rufus hung up the phone, a half-smile adorning his face.
"Is it... is it her?" Scarlet asked nervously. She subconsciously wrung her hands and Rufus smirked at her antics. Even after living together for the past ten years, she still worried about his "wife" and her relationship with Rufus.
"Yes. That was Reno. The old witch has had a heart attack!" This, obviously, was not a very nice thing to say, seeing as Rufus was at least a couple years older, but Scarlet said nothing. Besides, Rufus looked younger than he was, so it was okay. The blonde smiled.
"All that money," he crowed, "is finally going to be ours!"
"I ask... but one thing of you."
Rufus, Scarlet, and some other Shinra officials sat in various hospital chairs around the dying woman's bed. On the other side sat some of the fellow leaders of Wutai, like Chekhov and Staniv.
The doll sat right next to her face at her bedside. He stared at the floor, wondering what these uncomfortable feelings in his hardware were.
All except the doll looked solemnly at the old woman's face as she spoke her last words to them. "This doll..."
The aforementioned doll quickly looked up and stared at Yuffie's wrinkled face. She was looking at the ceiling, smiling. "...no, this boy... take good care of him once I'm gone."
Scarlet patted a light red handkerchief at dry eyes while Rufus let out a breath. He'd been sincerely worried that she'd do something stupid, like leave all her money to the doll or something... but thankfully, it seemed the old hag still had some brains on her. "Of course."
"Good." Yuffie closed her eyes. "I can die happy now. Please, leave me..." she had a brief coughing spasm. The doll put his human hand on her shoulder and she steadied. "...I wish to be alone with my boy."
The Wutainese officials nodded swiftly and stood up. Yuffie's smile increased by a millimeter when she saw tears in Chekhov and Shake's eyes. So... maybe the princess of Wutai did have some supporters...
Rufus and the rest of the Shinra leaders left quickly. Rufus was wearing a full-blown smile now, laughing quietly like a schoolgirl as he thought of his rich future. "Did you hear that? She called it her boy!"
"Shh!" Scarlet looked worriedly back at the door. "She might hear!"
"Aw, she's senile. Forget her! We're gonna be rich!" Rufus very nearly broke out into a happy dance in the death ward. The Shinra officials, Rude, Elena, and Reno, looked at each other and rolled their eyes.
Yuffie looked up to the familiar red eyes of her doll. "Well?" she repeated, a smile still on her pale lips. "Am I still beautiful?"
An aged hand reached up for the cheek of an immortal while Yuffie smiled. Her eyes widened a bit when the line that dominated his face moved slightly, no longer a simple line.
He touched her hand with his human one, covering it on his face.
"My most beautiful Yuffie-sama."
A last tear snaked down her wrinkled face. She was dead before it reached her chin, curving over smiling lips.
He would not let go until the doctors came again to take her body away.
Thank you, my darling...
"Look, nobody wants it around!" Her voice sounded annoying and whiny even to her.
The doll stood by the wall of the room. His eyes were fixed on a white coffin in the middle of the room, even though his sound sensors were listening to the conversation between Rufus and his newlywed wife.
"I mean, the way it looks at you, like it knows things... it's creepy!"
"Hmm." Rufus agreed. "And it's an old model. Wouldn't get much for it." He looked to the flower-covered mantelpiece. There were several bouquets of lilies (from who? Who were these Aerith and Tifa people?), but most of the mantel was covered in dark pink and red roses. They all surrounded a picture of the older Yuffie, smiling at the camera. Rufus didn't know where the picture had come from, but he suspected the doll did. He'd personally never seen her smiling in pictures before.
"I know!" Rufus had a sudden brainstorm. Scarlet looked temporarily worried – those brainstorms were never healthy for him. "It can go out in a blaze of glory – with her!"
He pointed to the emotionless doll. "You, doll – get in the coffin!"
The doll strode forward. If Yuffie had been there, she would have sensed the trace of anger his slightly narrowed eyes held... but since she wasn't, neither of the humans noticed or cared. "Yes sir."
"Will it burn?" Scarlet asked hopefully. The doll's empty eyes had just freaked her out, like at any moment they'd read her mind or make her into a robot-zombie thing.
"Oh, sure! This new style of cremation is very thorough. There won't even be one screw left." He nodded to Scarlet, then turned back to the doll. "Well, come on, doll. Get in, boy."
Rufus moved the coffin's lid off and gestured for the doll to get in next to Yuffie's body. He was smiling cockily.
The doll looked at him, and Rufus felt himself shivering subconsciously. Scarlet was right – those red eyes really were unnerving...
The doll stared at the body of his former mistress and gently pushed Yuffie over a few inches. The roses, pink as sunset clouds and red as his eyes, trembled as they too were shoved over to make room for the new occupant. When he was laid down beside her, his eyes were always on her face, still smiling in her last moments, her last thoughts of him.
The doll closed his eyes and smiled.
"Ooh! Did you see that? It smiled." Scarlet peered over her husband's shoulder as he put the white lid back on.
"No! This old thing wasn't built to smile. It's just junk, pure and simple!" He closed the lid on his dead wife's coffin and locked it. "Now, we've got a funeral to attend..."
In the darkness of a white coffin, a nameless doll took a human hand in his own human-looking one and did not let go.
He did not stop smiling, either, until flames overtook his mechanical body and made ashes of an old woman and her doll.
Smoke still rose from the crematorium when Rufus and Scarlet walked out to their car.
"Boss! Boss!" The redheaded, pony-tailed Shinra official ran after his superior into the parking lot. His expression was worried, but Rufus only smirked slightly. His mind was still on his new fortune. "Yeah, Reno?"
"Boss," Reno panted, "what did you do with the doll?"
"Oh, that thing." Rufus waved his hand in a nonchalant shrug. "We burned it... with her. What's the big deal?"
"You idiot!" Reno yelled. Rufus looked stunned for a moment – no one, not even Reno, got away with calling him an idiot. "There was a will... Yuffie left a will! I've just come from the reading... she left all her money and property to the person who takes in the doll! If no one does... if no one does, it all goes to charity! Every penny!"
Reno put a hand over his forehead and eyes in defeat while Rufus and Scarlet stared at him in shock.
"Wh...WHAT?!" Scarlet shrieked.
"Reno... Reno, man... you... you're kidding, right?" Rufus stuttered. "...right???"
When Reno said nothing, Rufus slumped to the ground in a dead faint while Scarlet shrieked in anger.
A silent column of smoke rose from a crematorium in Wutai.
...do you think a doll and a human could ever get married?
a/n: If you liked this, please review. My mind enjoys thinking that someone cares about my crappy writing. Flames will be used to power my PS2, since the little man who runs on the hamster wheel inside it is taking the day off to visit his aunt. At least that's what he told me...