XIX

I am an impulsive person.

I won't hesitate to act on a whim; that how I got mixed up in this whole mess in the first place. See, I have this … compulsion, if you will. I like materia. I like it so much that I'll often go out of the way to secure it from other people. Some call it stealing. My own father says I've a textbook case of kleptomania. He's overreacting, of course. I merely give the materia I acquire a new and better home. But my shortcomings aren't the focus here …

Like I was saying, I'm an impulsive person. I don't often think things through before I do them. Life's more exciting that way, in my opinion. My old man calls me "reckless" and "harebrained", but I'm the one out living through adventures while he sits in the pagoda picking his nose, aren't I? So I win that round … but I digress. Sometimes my headstrong nature gets me in trouble. I found that out the hard way when I joined up with Cloud and company. At first I told myself I was only going along because they had materia, and they had a lot of it. But somewhere along the way I found myself caring for these people despite all their totally annoying habits (like Red – I mean, he licks himself in public! Ew, much?). And so I went forth with them to stop Meteor, destroy Sephiroth, and save the world.

Sounds simple, eh? Not so. Because amidst all our heroics and grand gestures there was one tiny factor that somehow managed to snag my attention. Actually, it wasn't a tiny factor. It was a six foot, leanly muscled raven haired, dark and brooding factor, and his name is Vincent Valentine.

I'm not much on the tall, dark and deadly types. I mean, obviously they have some issues if that's their entire personality. Who wants to hang with someone less lively than a corpse? Bad analogy, but anyways … there was something about him, something inexplicable, something subtle that would always catch at my eye and make me ponder him and his reasons for going along on our crazy crusade. And to be honest, he's rather pleasing to the eye, even if he is pale to an excess. But he's not all that effusive, if you know what I mean. In fact, I've had better conversations with cardboard boxes. But despite all this, despite all my reservations, as our journey went on I found myself more and more intrigued by him. I couldn't dwell on it, of course – I'm a princess, for crying out loud. So I shoved my growing fascination down and aside and began to concentrate on bigger, more important things, like Meteor.

Once we'd saved the world from almost certain destruction we drifted apart. We all had our own demons, and we were all still aching from the loss of Aeris. Though I didn't know her well, I knew that she had been special – a real treasure, a beacon of life too soon extinguished. Her quasi-martyrdom had affected us all differently, but it had struck Cloud the hardest; I think that he loved her on some level. So we left each other, each with our own demons, needing to heal and needing to forget –if only for a while- all we'd seen on our quest.

I'd returned to Wutai, not because I wanted to but because I really had no other place to go. I didn't want to infringe on the solitude of my friends because they needed their time alone. And so, mired firmly in the boring political aspect of my heritage, I spent the days following the Meteor Incident in the home of my birth. Those days became weeks, and those weeks became months, and finally a year had passed since I'd left the others. And while some of the hurt and some of the regret had faded from me during that time, one thing had remained –my interest in Vincent.

I couldn't get him out of my head. I think, all told during our time together, we'd had maybe three conversations, all of them brief. We'd fought together often, saving each other's asses, and our presences had become familiar to each other. I'd figured that time away from him would erase this little infatuation, this school girl crush, but I was wrong. There was something about Vincent Valentine that had a hold of me and wouldn't let me go, and it slowly began to drive me crazy. And so, one year, two months and thirteen days after I'd parted company with the others, I once again left Wutai on an insane quest.

I was going to find Vincent.

Idiotic plan, I know. But I had to do something; I couldn't very well live my life longing for him, could I? Maybe if I was face to face with him, I could figure out what the hell it was about his gloomy nature I found so goddamn riveting and get rid of it some how. Or I could tell him about it, which would, I was sure, earn me a dour glare and perhaps a bullet through the head. But hey, life's full of risks, right? So it was with some trepidation I caught a flight to the main continent, and after landing at the Gold Saucer I rented a buggy and made a direct beeline for Nibelheim. Why there? Well, it's where we'd found him, after all, and I was guessing he lurked there for a reason; it was like his own private exile and if ever there was a person who indulged far too much in self torture it would be Vincent.

I got to Nibelheim soon enough, and walked right through town to the old mansion. God, but that's a damn freaky place –bunches of ShinRa mako byproducts roaming its depths just itching to take a chunk out of someone's hide. They were no threat to me, and so I made my way into the basement with ease. I found the door to what I'd begun to think of as Vincent's Tomb; it wasn't locked, and so I opened it to find as I'd suspected a lone closed casket on a granite slab. Apprehensive and hating it, I'd approached the coffin, wondering if Vincent was indeed inside and hoping rather fervently that he wasn't. Ah, the wonders of infatuation …

I paused beside the head of the casket, taking a deep breath and gripping the lid with both hands. It was now or never, I knew, and so I flipped the lid off in one movement, grunting with the effort. And quite suddenly, in a blur of red and black, something had me by the throat and hoisted me into the air.

I'd found Vincent.

He stared at me expressionlessly, glittering crimson eyes devoid of anything I could interpret. And as I clawed in vain at his metal hand wrapped so tightly around my throat, I watched as comprehension slowly dawned across his pale face; with a soft exclamation he released me. I fell into an undignified heap on the floor, gasping hoarsely and torn between wanting to hit him and blushing because –oh my god!- he'd touched me. I settled for trying to get my breathing back to normal, climbing unsteadily to my feet and watching as he raked his metal hand through the somewhat wild mane of his black, black hair.

"Yuffie?" He asked after a moment, that deep, soft voice sending my hormones racing.

Trying very hard to stop blood from suffusing my cheeks, I nodded and tried to strike a pose with some semblance of dignity.

"Hiya, Vin," I said.

XIX

A/N: This idea came out of nowhere and wouldn't let me go until I wrote a fic. So if you dun like the pairing, I'm sorry, but I kind of like it and the possibilities it gives me. XD