t.itle: Looking Glass
r.ating: PG-13 to R, depending on the chapter.
w.ordcount: too many
f.andom: FFVII
p.airing: YV (I don't write anything else, but we can PRETEND, right?)
s.ummary: Vincent Valentine, serial murderer and satanist who gave his body to Chaos in exchange for eternal youth. Yuffie Kisaragi, human whirlwind, runaway extraordinaire. A Junon bike. The open road.
n.otes: Now, gathered from the four thousand corners of the internet for your reading ease! Because I WANT you to rip out your own eyes!
a.dditional notes: The ficbit that spawned the rest...


Story I: Through, Into, Under, and Out of that Damned Looking Glass

i.

Vincent Valentine was not the kind you called a savoury character. Nor was he, in fact, the kind you approached under any circumstance other than desperation. Or unless you knew him very, very well.

That long dark hair, the black clothing, the red trench coat all screamed a message that warned most people off. His red eyes scared the people his hair or clothes didn't warn.

So did the freaking huge revolver.

But Yuffie Kisaragi didn't fear him. In fact, she didn't seem to care that he was a wanted man. Her chirpy exuberance made the world around her seem a little brighter. She always glossed over his chequered past (hah, more than chequered— it was downright plaid) by calling it "your boring story".

Let's go to Nibelheim, she'd said. Who'd look for a wanted man in Nibelheim?

That entire "hiding in plain sight" theory seemed to work well for her. Who would expect an extremely talented ninja to wear bright yellow and green, idiot fishnet stockings on only one leg, and yellow sneakers? And who would expect a wanted murderer to have neat black hair, well-tended clothing and travel in the company of a cheerful teenaged girl?

So they'd gone to Nibelheim, and now she was trying to fit in with the teenagers there. She was robbing houses blind of course, stealing random things as well as useful ones and then leaving them in other people's houses. It had been Yuffie who had turned the matriarchs of the Lockheart and Gainsborough houses against each other.

And all over an idiotic teacup, Vincent thought with a smirk. Women are truly so strange...

And she'd also turned Cid Highwind and Barrett Wallace against each other. Not through theft, this time. But rumours.

By the time the town realized just who had stolen so much from them, she and Vincent would be long hidden, and the town itself would be in a state of complete uproar.

"Come on, Vinnie!" Yuffie hissed.

Vinnie. He hated that nickname with a passion, or so he told her. In truth, it actually made him feel... Good. He liked that she bothered to shorten his name. It denoted some form of emotional attachment.

And so he followed her up the stairs to Shinra Mansion. The Shinra family, the townspeople said, had been a vicious family full of all sorts of hideous activities. Like Chaos-worship, human sacrifice, and incest. And then one day, the patriarch of the family, Guy Shinra, had allowed his eldest son (Rufus) to murder one of his younger sons.

After Reeve's death, the Shinra family had fallen apart, and the house was rumoured to be haunted.

They made their way through the darkened mansion. At length, they found some sort of secret passage.

"No signs of Chaos-worship anywhere!" Yuffie whined. "Why are all these damn things hoaxes?"

"Because Chaos-worshippers have the sense not to perform their rites where entire towns will learn of it," Vincent sighed.

He knew from experience.

"Oh. Okay. Well, maybe it'll be in the passage..."

He sincerely doubted it. The people of Nibelheim tended to blow things entirely out of proportion. He had never seen a group of people so prone to wild storytelling and exaggeration.

Tell me why-y-y-y you cry and why you lie-ie-ie to me! Tell me why-y-y-y you cry, and why you lie-ie-ie to me! Well, I gave her everything I ha-ad, but she left me sittin' on my own...

Vincent blinked. Where the hell had she learned that song? That was a song from his teen years, and that had been a good twelve years ago. None of the radio stations he knew of in Wutai played anything but modern rock.

ii.

He followed her until she reached a locked door.

"If there's anything good in this ratty place, it'll be in here." She nodded firmly.

When she tried to open it, however, it didn't budge. Not even under her expert kicks did the door shudder.

So he sighed and put his shoulder to it. Chaos had given him superhuman strength in exchange for a host to stay in. It had been Chaos who had forced him to kill.

Ever since meeting Yuffie, however, Chaos had gone disturbingly quiet. Vincent was used to Chaos stirring at every beautiful face, every sign of innocence unspoiled. Boys and girls and men and women, young, adult, elderly. Anything that lived and breathed, Chaos had wanted to destroy. And now that Yuffie was with him, Chaos had seemed to calm. He contented himself with the havoc that Yuffie wrought on almost everyone she encountered.

Before he unleashed the strength Chaos had given him, he only used the strength a normal man of build could use. The door shuddered, but did not react the way a less sturdy door might have.

He planted his shoulder to it again, this time using the strength Chaos had leant him. After a few shoulder-rams, the door flew inwards.

"Ladies first," Vincent murmured.

Yuffie smiled and pulled on his hair. She kissed him on the cheek and strode into the room he'd opened.

He couldn't help but watch the way her bottom shifted in those entirely too-short shorts. He'd seen other men react the same way to her, mesmerized not by her bust but by the way she walked. Her confidence made her seem years older than she was.

And then she opened her mouth and every man who'd stared at her inwardly cringed at what a disgusting pervert he was.

"Are you coming or not? There's, like, coffins in here! You gotta see 'em!"

Vincent moved after her. The room did indeed contain a coffin. Nothing but a coffin, in fact.

"Well, I guess we know where the cool stuff is at," Yuffie snickered. "These Shinra people sure had a hell of a sense of humour."

"This probably isn't a good idea, Yuffie."

"Aw, is Big Strong Vincent Valentine scared? What if it's a zombie!" She cackled.

"It's probably just a corpse, Yuffie. Opening the coffin will let the stench into the rest of the room."

"Hn, good point." Yuffie pulled a yellow scarf out of her bag and tied it around her mouth and nose. She tossed him his own scarf, a black one, and set to work opening the coffin.

He tied it around his face and sighed when she had trouble lifting the lid, even after she'd undone the whatever-they-were that held it closed. He strode forward to help her. The coffin lid was unusually heavy, he noted. His brief period of time working with a mortician told him that this was no ordinary coffin.

It's like they wanted the corpse to stay in here, he thought, brow furrowing. Something wasn't right about this.

Corpses didn't move. Corpses didn't try to escape.

Had they buried someone alive?

With a groan, the two of them shoved the lid onto the floor.

The corpse sat bolt upright and stared at them with eerily blue eyes.

Yuffie squeaked and thrust herself against Vincent, wrapping her body up in his trench coat and whimpering nonsense.

"Oh my Gawd, Vinnie, oh my Gawd, oh my Gawd, oh my Gawd, Vinnie, it really is one!" She whimpered, even as the corpse said, "Thank god. I never thought I was going to get out. So, what are you doing down here, anyway?"

The corpse blinked. "Wait, what?"

"V-Vinnie, oh my Gawd, it really is a zombie!"

The corpse went quiet. After a beat, he deadpanned, "Braaaains."

"OH MY GAWD!"

He laughed. "Sorry, sorry. I was just joking."

"Who are you?" Vincent asked.

"I'm Cloud Strife. Not too sure if the Strife family's still around here, though."

"Are you a zombie?"

"Nope. I'm perfectly alive. I think. Don't worry; I'm not going to eat your brains."

"You sure do talk a lot for a zombie..." Yuffie gave Cloud a hard look. "And you're really pale. Are you a vampire?"

Cloud was silent for a while. "I'm not going to suck your blood, either."

"Oh. Okay." Yuffie paused. "Hey, Vinnie, how long have we been in here?"

He checked his watch. "About an hour."

Yuffie grinned. "Oh, goodie. Looks like I win this bet. Now Marlene gets to steal Cid's airship poster."

"Marlene? Barrett's younger sister? Yuffie, what are you doing?"

"Wreaking havoc. Havoc is fun, you know. You should try it sometime."

"Why are you turning this town against itself? This is the first time you've done this."

Yuffie sighed. "I told you, Vinnie. To make sure that by the time they figured out that I'm behind all the pranks around here, we're both long gone. And they'll have used an amazingly good deal of all their energy and shit fighting with each other."

And then she grinned. "I'm pulling off the greatest prank ever tonight, Vinnie. I'm robbing the candy store and greengrocers. I need a little sugar in my life, and it's probably not healthy to eat lots of candy without your veggies."

That was her code. Candy store meant materia shop, and greengrocers, plural, referred to weapon and item shops. Materia was a thing she loved; money was a thing she needed.

She tugged on his hair again until he bent enough for her to reach. She nibbled on his ear and whispered, "I think it'd be a good idea to, you know, fill up the Black Shadow."

Ah, the Vincent Black Shadow. A Junon bike, so half the time, when he'd first bought it, it hadn't run. Very safe. But once he'd fucked around with the electrical system (god, Lucas Electric did shitty work)... Well, at least the headlight switches had the positions of "off, dim and bright" instead of "off, dim and flicker".

A few hours of Black magic tinkering with the engine later, it had actually started. And it ran steadily now.

Vincent nodded and whispered back, "I keep some cans of petrol tied up in the highest branches of The Tree, you know. It shouldn't be too hard."

Yuffie shrugged. "Just make sure nobody sees you."

He laughed bitterly at that. "Six months, Yuffie, and you still warn me of that. No one will see."

They never did. Only arachnophobes looked up consistently.

He thought to the bundles that hung in the only living tree left on the Shinra property. Yes, he could easily sneak those down. Something about him made people ignore him unless he was making his presence obvious.

Only children seemed to be immune to it, and adults rarely listened to children.


Epilogue

Yuffie's ill-gotten gains sit in a duffle bag, which she keeps tied behind him. The travel-bag, which contains their clothing and other supplies, he has strapped to the bike.

For once, he has buttoned his trench coat. She sits in front of him, but it is more like in his lap. He buttoned the coat around her, so that it now covers both them. There is more than enough room.

Her face presses up against his chest, her arms wrap around his waist. He can feel her tighten her arms as they take a sudden turn.

The wind whips through his hair. He can hear the wind screaming past them. It chills them both. This shouldn't be, because she is practically sitting his lap, with her arms and legs wrapped around him and the only thing an outsider could see of her is a slight lump in his coat. They are giving and sharing body heat.

Another sharp turn and her grip on him tighten.

He would wonder why she insisted on sitting like this when she could just put on a pair of pants and a coat and sit behind him, but he knows better. She is an adrenaline junkie, and this is a ridiculously dangerous position to ride in. She feels it every time he turns.

Over the wind, he can just barely hear her cry out in exhilaration.