A Breathtaking Work of Truly Astronomical Genius

I: "Hanging With Yuffie"

"That is not a word," Vincent scowled.

He didn't like to scowl. But when it came to Yuffie, scowling was apparently more effective than just staring at her. She didn't have the... whatever it was that made most adults feel uneasy or ashamed when he stared at them.

"Yes it is."

"You cheated."

"I did not cheat! It's a word, I swear!"

"You also swore you weren't up to anything before you stole our materia."

Her face darkened. "Don't talk about that! How many times do I have to apologize? Besides, stealing materia and playing hang man aren't the same thing! I may lie, I may steal, I cheat at poker and go back on deals, but I do not cheat when it comes to word games! People'd know you're cheating!"

"That cannot possibly be a word. It doesn't mean anything."

Yuffie pulled a tiny dictionary out of her pocket. "Adjective, first definition: full-bosomed, second definition: having a full, shapely figure." She stuck out her tongue and used her index finger to pull down on the skin just under her left eye.

"You made that up."

"I did not!"

"Give me the dictionary."

Yuffie handed it over.

Vincent read it.

"See? Zaftig really is a word!" She giggled insanely. "You lose!"

Hang man was a game he was usually so good at, too. "It still sounds like nonsense," he mumbled.

"Ohmygosh, Vinnie Valentine, are you being a sore loser?"

"No sorer a loser than you a winner."

"What?"

"I'm not being any sorer of a loser than you are of a winner."

"Are you calling me a braggart?"

He didn't bother answering that question. He'd started this entire argument, he knew. Not that he wanted to admit that. He did have his pride after all, no matter how little he deserved it.

Just how did I let her suck me into this game? He wondered as she erased the drawing she'd made in the dust. She re-drew her gallows and a few horizontal lines. Six of them, to be exact.

"No clue," she said. "I'm not entirely sure what this word means, but I heard it somewhere."

"O," Vincent sighed.

She drew a circle on the gallows, as well as a crossed-out O.

"S."

She added a line under the circle and a crossed-out S.

"A."

The letter A went into the second line.

Vincent blinked. Was she doing this word again? "I."

The letter I went in the fifth line.

"G."

The letter G went into the last line.

"Zaftig, Yuffie."

"Nope!"

"What?"

"Nope! I'm not going to count that against you, so guess again."

"R."

The letter R went into the third line.

Vincent blinked. In his mind he imagined the word as xARxIG. What the hell? What kind of word was she using?

"E."

The letter E went into the first line. Vincent blinked again. Just where the hell had she heard the word earwig? That was some kind of insect... They had long, thin bodies and weird antennae, and supposedly could kill you if they crawled in your ears.

What a strange little girl.

"Earwig."

Yuffie grinned. "You got it, Vinnie! So now it's your turn!"

He sighed and wiped at the dust, clearing out Yuffie's etchings. He drew his own gallows and thought to himself of a word that would be suitably obscure and yet something she didn't think he would pick.

Well, sepulchral is out. Hm, obscure word...

Had he been the sort to grin, he would have done so quite evilly. He scratched out seven lines in the dirt and wrote an S in the last line.

"Adjective," he said.

"E."

That one went into the fifth line.

"O."

O went into the second line.

"T."

He drew a circle under the gallows.

"Uh, can't be an S... Why not N?"

N went into the third line.

"O-kay, Something-O-N-something-E-something-S. And it can't be bones, 'cos it's got too many letters. Ooh, and it's an adjective. Okay, gimme an R."

The R went between the E and the S.

"Huh WHAT! What the hell kind of word is that?"

"A more common one than zaftig."

Revenge was sweet. Yuffie never did guess "bonkers".