Disclaimer: Final Fantasy is owned by Square-Enix. I have this story, s'bout it.

Liminality

Chapter 1 : In Between the Lines

--

Yuffie Kisaragi was angry at herself. The world was rid of Geostigma, Sephiroth, and the influence of Jenova. Yes, the world may be one step closer to achieving peace. Praise to the Lifestream, as it's very capable of helping itself to reaching that goal. Yet, what were they doing currently? Avalanche, the Turks, and a few other select workers, were currently helping with the reconstruction of Shinra's monument that apparently was destroyed in the battle. The others thought it was a great idea, believing that Shinra was no harm, especially after they had 'assisted in saving the world,' saying that it would serve as a reminder that Shinra was no longer the old company it used to be.

Yuffie wouldn't buy that idea even if she were to receive every piece of mastered materia she could get her hands on.

Grumbling as she tossed away a piece of the rubble that was too twisted to be recognized as anything of use, she began to imagine herself in situations where she would be much more useful. Say, back in Wutai, possibly? Though, she doubted it would happen anytime soon, for she was currently digging through rubble, thanks to the votes of agreement of all those others in Avalanche.

When the question was asked of what next, after all the children had dipped themselves into the blessed waters, the suggestion of assisting with reconstruction of Edge city came into mind.

Of course, Tifa and Cloud agreed, they lived here, what else could they do? Barret agreed, he had already planned on coming here to visit Marlene anyway, and as long as his daughter's here, why would he give a damn? Cait agreed, as if his vote should've even counted as Reeve himself wasn't technically there anyway, and what could a damn toy cat do? With Cait plastered on his backside, Red agreed as well, it's not like his people couldn't live without him for a few days, anyway, they have plenty of backbone. Vincent, well, he did whatever he damn well pleased, and with nothing better to do than to help out with the construction, as it would've added to his list of sins if he left us with this tiresome chore, he agreed as well. In the end, Cid was the only one, besides Yuffie, who wanted to go home as quickly as possible, and return to his beloved Shera, but, he couldn't really just took off with the airship and left the rest of Avalanche here, so he was stuck as well.

What did Yuffie want? Yuffie wanted nothing more but to get the hell out of here, return to her people, tell them that the Geostigma threat was gone, find the missing children, watch families reunite, and while she's at it, possibly return to her previous task of attempting to bring the backbone back into her people.

But of course, Yuffie doesn't always get what Yuffie wants.

With her anger rising, she angrily tossed away a piece of rubble, regardless of direction, wishing the rubble would knock the living daylights out of any of the Turks. Rufus had a field day due to his recent recovery from Geostigma. He wasn't included in Yuffie's death threats. Though, instead of knocking a Turk unconscious, the piece of rubble and whizzed past Cloud's head. Not like it would've mattered, as his hair would've repelled the rubble right back at her.

Though, Cloud, now fully counseled and could felt like he could play the role of big brother, sensed the discontent in Yuffie, and made his way over to her. "Yuffie, is something bothering you?"

'No, Spikes, I just love the fact that I'm tending to my past greatest enemies' MONUMENT instead of returning home to Wutai.' Came out as, with a super-glued poker face, "Not really."

"You sure?" Cloud made a gesture towards the piece of rubble that barely missed his head. "That piece of rubble didn't seem too friendly."

'Stuff it, Mr. Know-it-all. Go back to your Boobs.' Translated to, "Accident, accident."

"Well, okay, if you say so…"

Giving up on the teen, he made his way over to Tifa, informing her of Yuffie's current situation, hoping a female touch would do more to help. Moments later, Tifa maneuvered her way past the rubble and crouched down next to Yuffie, assisting her with the over-sized pile.

Using a gentle, motherly tone, Tifa's attempt began. "So… what's wrong?"

"Nothing really." It's too bad motherly tones don't work on teenage girls with the weight of leading a city on her shoulders.

Immediately, Tifa changed her tone to a more firm one. "You're underestimating me, Yuffie. I know you know that I know you better than that."

Yuffie blinked a few times. "I'm sorry, what?" She received a dry look from the older woman.

"You're better at that kind of talk than any of us. Don't even try to play dumb." Tifa's voice was confident, sure of her victory.

"Really, I'm fine…" Yuffie knew, it was her last line of defense.

Tifa switched to motherly tone mode again. "Yuffie…"

Yuffie sighed, "I'll talk to you later."

"Good!" Tifa received the victory as easily as she believed she was going to win.

And Yuffie cursed that which gave women like Tifa motherly tones to chide teenagers such as Yuffie before even becoming a mother. She blamed the experience Tifa received from upholding a sort-of orphanage and a bar at the same time. The children who weren't happy and the grown men who cause trouble probably gave her plenty of experience. Way more than enough to deal with a 'Yuffie situation.'

Yuffie continued to mutter curses to herself as she worked her way through the pile of rubble. Her mind began to work its way back into Wutai's current situation. True, some of the children in Wutai had been infected with the Geostigma syndrome, but not nearly as much as the children here. It didn't explain why all the children in Wutai had disappeared. Only the children infected with Geostigma had disappeared here, and only because Yazoo had took them away. Neither Loz nor Yazoo were anywhere near Wutai, and she doubted that they had time to get there, either. So why had all the children in Wutai disappeared?

When she arrived here and was filled in on the situation on the airship, she believed that the children of Wutai would be here as well… only to be disappointed, as she found out that none of the children that were in the control of those three were those that lived in Wutai, and that barely any of them were even Wutainese.

Yuffie sighed as she flung some rubble around. She was back in square one. At first, she left a message on Cloud's cell phone hoping he would have some sort of idea as to what might be happening. Looking at the events that occurred merely hours ago, he obviously had his hands full dealing with the other situations here, and didn't even get to check his messages, before managing to lose his phone. Now that his ordeal has been solved, it was obvious that it didn't have anything to do her situation, and she wouldn't have it any other way.

The current situation dealt completely with only Wutai, apparently. There was no use in dragging Cloud and Tifa and the others into it, especially after all they had just finished going through. Although it might sound like the worst time to do this, she felt as if this was the exact situation she needed to return Wutai to its former glory, for her people to find the strength in them to stand up once again. Not for any worldly noticeable purposes, but merely for their own benefit, so they no longer have to look down upon themselves.

Sadly enough, though, to keep this situation in the hands of Wutai only, Yuffie has to bear through this rubble digging until everyone consents to go home. Not to mention, she needed to think of an excuse good enough to either escape the wrath or pass the expectations of Tifa Lockheart.

It was the latter which worried her more. Rubble, at least, didn't chide her.

--

After an exhausting day of sorting through rubble, the members of Avalanche, along with the Turks and Rufus, sat around Tifa's Seventh Heaven bar like old friends meeting up for their daily booze at the local bar. To Yuffie, this situation was extremely wrong. One, Avalanche and Turks are not, repeat, are not, and probably never will be, old friends. Two, daily booze was bad in the first place, but she really didn't care about that detail. Three, to more than half the people here, this bar was the furthest thing from local that ever was. But, no one else was complaining, and frankly, she didn't really care anyway.

A scent mixed of cigarettes and booze found its way to Yuffie's nose. 'Oh, the old man's speaking. Gawd, that's a bad mix.'

"Yo. Anyone seen the #$ vamp?"

Everyone else in the room looked around briefly. Finding no sight of Vincent Valentine, the only one with enough qualifications to pass for a nickname like that, they shrugged. It didn't really matter, the life threatening situations were over, and he could handle himself. It isn't an easy task to get lost in Edge with so many directional signs everywhere, and they were all pretty sure Vincent could read. The worst thing that could happen to him is tripping over rubble.

--

And somewhere, in a different part of Edge, Vincent Valentine nearly stumbles on a piece of rubble, thus surviving the worst thing which could happen to him.

--

At this point, Yuffie decides to stop paying attention to what was happening around her. Setting her elbows on the table and her chin in her right hand, she returned within her thoughts; specifically, thoughts which dealt with her homeland. There was no doubt that what was happening in Wutai dealt with the events of Geostigma, after all, Yuffie was pretty sure that if any other life threatening events in regards to large amounts of missing children were also occurring besides Geostigma, the whole world, or at least Avalanche, would know. Yes, there was no doubt about it, the children were probably all back by the time she returned to Wutai.

Satisfied with the conclusion she came to within her mind, Yuffie started to notice her surroundings again. Vincent, apparently, was back within the bar. Looking around, she noticed everyone, save Cloud, the Turks, and Rufus, had their cell phones out. Following the masses, Yuffie took hers out as well, and inspected it. There was no doubt that she was absolutely clueless as to what was happening. Vincent seemed to catch her behavior, as it was quite obviously different from the others, and made his way towards her. And that's when she noticed.

"Eh? Hey Vince, when'd ya get a cell phone?" Yuffie snapped hers closed, using the same hand to point at the cell phone gripped in Vincent's human hand.

Vincent stopped himself a few feet away from the table, seeing as there was no more need to approach her, he replied as he returned to his original spot. "… I just bought one."

'Oh. Ohhh… so that's what was going on.' Yuffie slapped herself mentally for getting too indulged in her thoughts. "Guess I wasn't paying much attention. What's the number?"

A few seconds of silence pass. Within these seconds, Yuffie could tell Vincent lost the urge to speak. So, instead, she turned to the next person she saw some form of movement from.

Tifa cleared her throat to speak. "Ah, I'll give it to you later, Yuffie." Along with that was a tiny smile. Yuffie groaned inwardly. It was no normal smile; it was a coy, playful smile. A smile which meant that Tifa knew something that was happening behind the scenes, a smile that was most likely used at the wrong time, for the wrong idea, a smile that Yuffie could completely use to her advantage.

Yuffie brainstormed for a while as the rest of the group continued doing whatever activities they were partaking in. Suddenly, the solution came to her.

'Well, surviving a squeal fest from Tifa would be a lot easier than a scolding. This'll be perfect!'

"Hey, brat!"

'Gruff voice number one… Barret, is it?' Yuffie raised an eyebrow and looked towards the big man with the gun arm. "Yeah, what's up marshmallow?"

Apparently, the image of Barret in his sailor suit was permanently engraved in Yuffie's mind, as it had been her nickname for him since their journey, starting from Costa del Sol. She definitely had to admit, Cloud came up with a good one that he did.

Barret growled, but ignored the insult. "What's your plan?"

"S'cuse me?"

Before Barret could reply, Cloud intercepted, for better or worse. "Weren't you listening at all? We've been discussing about what each of us is going to do now for a while already. What are you going to do now?"

'Guess I missed out on some team info. Oh well. I'll pick up stuff here and there; can probably guess where half of them are heading anyway.' Yuffie let out a laugh. "Were ya? My bad. Pretty obvious though, I'm definitely heading home to Wutai."

Cloud nodded. "Yeah, I thought you'd say that. Are you going to stay a few days and help out with the reconstruction?"

'Uh huh, I would just die at the chance of helping the reconstruction of another city rather than attending to my tourist trap of a home, Spikes.' Yuffie shrugged carelessly. "I'm already here. Sure, why not?"

"Great. We could use all the help we can get." Cloud seemed to be pleased with her answer. "Alright everyone, we've got a big day tomorrow. Better get some rest if we want to get any work done."

After a few grunts and mutters in agreement, one by one, the group eventually migrated to their own rooms. Except for Cloud and Tifa, who stayed after for the clean up, and Yuffie, who was still on her way up, everyone else was in their own quarters.

Tifa looked at the stairs leading up to the rooms, eyes fixated on the ninja who was slowly climbing up the stairs. "Oh, Yuffie?" She called out to her pleasantly, a tone which brought fear to the aforementioned ninja, causing her to cringe. Said ninja slowly shuffled back down the stairs, taking a seat at the bar.

With a sigh, Yuffie mentally prepared herself. Tifa let out a small giggle and motioned towards Cloud. "Need him to leave?"

Yuffie took a quick glance at the only other person in the room, which was currently cleaning tables, and rolled her eyes. "Don't think so." Tifa nodded and clapped her hands together.

"Good! Then let's get started! So, let's continue our talk earlier today." Tifa went around the counter and took a seat next to Yuffie.

'Can't answer too swiftly, or else she'll find me out.' Yuffie hesitated, opening and closing her mouth a few times, and then merely gave Tifa a shrug.

"Come on, Yuffie, you can tell me anything!" Tifa gave Yuffie a small nudge. "Or do I have to guess?" At this, Cloud began wiping the tables slower, distracted by the conversation.

Yuffie shrugged again. "Be my guest."

Tifa tapped her chin a few times, giving off the appearance that she was considering something. In reality, Tifa didn't think too deeply into the matter before asking straight off. "Hm… well, does it have to do with a certain... person?"

Quickly turning her face from Tifa's eyesight, Yuffie managed to stutter out. "W-What the heck makes ya say that?" Cloud raised an eyebrow at this.

Tifa let out a tiny squeal, though not too loud as to disturb the others upstairs. "I knew it! It's Vincent, isn't it?" Yuffie could just picture Tifa in 30 years. She'll be the perfect gossiping mother type. Slowly turning her head back to face Tifa, Yuffie gaped at Tifa.

Yuffie squeaked out a reply. "How…?" Inside her mind, Yuffie could swear she saw the mental image of herself spewing chunks. Oblivious to the fact that Yuffie turned away because she WASN'T blushing at a time she was supposed to be, Tifa continued her squeal barrage.

"Aw… there's no reason to hide it!" Tifa, who probably figured that being squealed at is the last thing a person who just admitted their deepest, darkest secrets needs, calmed herself. "Wow, Yuffie… I had no idea until today."

At the tables, Cloud nodded in silent agreement with Tifa. Yuffie shrugged. "Well, it's no big deal. It's just a crush that's been on my mind lately. Don't tell, 'kay? You too, Spikes."

The two nodded their heads in reply. Yuffie set her elbows on the counter, and again, her chin on her palms, still keeping an eye on Tifa. "So how'd ya know?"

"You were so out of it after you realized Vincent was gone today, and then you were having trouble speaking to him, I just had to notice." Tifa's eyes seemed to be glistening with pride at her observations.

'Oh Tifa, you're so naïve. But, I guess that's what so great about you.' Yuffie yawned, and stood up to leave. "Man, I'm beat. I'm heading to bed Tifa. G'night!" With that said, Yuffie headed up the stairs.

'Yeah, the Great Ninja Yuffie Kisaragi passes with flying colors! Totally safe! Sorry for using ya, Vince, but it had to be done!'

--

Unbeknownst to the three still in the bar, up the stairs was said red-eyed subject, who was just innocently on his way to help clean up the bar, who, coincidentally, happened to hear the whole conversation. Needless to say, the man was in an awkward position, or, he felt that way. In reality, there was no position to really be in. Vincent stood at the top of the stairs, pondering what one was to do in this type of situation.

It wasn't the first time this type of situation had happened to Vincent that was for sure. But, it was easy with other females, as he didn't personally know them, nor has he ever interacted with them. Hence, dealing with their infatuation was as simple as just straight out ignoring them. Yet, this time…

Yuffie was a comrade to him, indefinitely, as is the rest of Avalanche. Vincent couldn't simply just ignore her, and he definitely couldn't just go along with her infatuation. Vincent now had to figure out a way to deal with this situation, in a matter that wouldn't destroy his current position as a comrade, and to make sure that Yuffie doesn't end up hating him, instead. Vincent was not fond of the idea of being at the end of Yuffie's oversized shurikens.

Vincent snapped out of his thoughts as he noticed the small hand waving frantically in front of his face. Looking down, he noticed the object of his troubles. "Yuffie."

After finally hearing a reply from him, she lowered her hand. "Hey Vince. You're still up? Crazy." She covered up a yawn. "I guess that makes sense. You slept in that coffin for who knows how long."

Vincent made no reply, and merely stared down at her. 'She seems to be acting normally. Does she not realize that I have heard the whole conversation?'

The two of them stood there in that position for a while. When Yuffie still received no reply from Vincent, she shrugged and turned to leave. "Well, I'm beat. Night, Vince!"

"Good night, Yuffie." Vincent watched as she headed into her room, closing the door behind her and locking it. 'Perhaps, as she is acting like nothing has happened, I should also do the same.'

With that thought in mind, Vincent returned to his own room.

--

Within the vicinity of her own room, Yuffie collapsed onto her bed, absolutely ready to pass out for the night. The situation that just happened obviously hadn't registered in her mind quite yet. For Yuffie, she had just escaped the wrath of Tifa's motherly care without so much as a scratch, and so she was currently in bliss. She began to work her way out of her boots, leaving them at the foot of the bed. Taking off her jacket and flinging it somewhere across the room, she settled herself on the bed, adjusting herself to a comfortable position.

Minutes later, she shot up into a sitting position as quickly as it had taken her earlier to collapse on the bed.

'Oh boy, oh boy… this can't be good.'

Yuffie flopped back down on the bed again, this time, face down into the pillow. Needless to say, Yuffie knew that the probability of Vincent having heard her well sewn out lie was above ninety-percent. With a load groan, she flipped herself to look up at the ceiling. Slapping the back of her hand onto her forehead, she began to think of possible methods to rectify the situation.

After drumming her brain for possible solutions for a few minutes, again, she suddenly sits up.

'Wait a minute… why the hell am I wasting time thinking about this? I bet Vince isn't even going to do anything. There's probably nothing to worry about. Just gotta ignore it and let time pass it down. Yep, sounds good!'

Yuffie falls back on the bed, drifting to sleep this time around. Her last thoughts before losing consciousness probably ensured that she would have plenty of nightmares tonight.

'Damn… I hope this doesn't come around and bite me in the ass later…'

--

Hello everyone! First of all, I'd like to say thank you very much for taking the time to read this. And another thanks for a review! I'd appreciate a lot of constructive criticism, as I am not an experienced writer. I have a lot of ideas for this story, and support from the readers would be of great help to me! Thanks again!