Final Fantasy is not mine, never will be! I'm hoping this will get some good reviews, if it does, I might keep it going. I have several more chapters in mind. I hope you enjoy! This is post Dirge of Cerberus!
"Come on Yuffie… just breathe… in… out… in… out…" It hurt to think, it hurt to breath, even though the soft cadence of Tifa's voice made her focus on the words. It felt like fire was burning inside her gut, tears leaked out of her eyes, her hands balled into fists. Cloud was somewhere… wasn't he? "There it is… Hold her Tifa…" Ha, he was there. The memories from the last two days came flooding back to her, and to why she now had two slugs in her belly, and a very upset Vincent Valentine was pacing back and forth in the other room, with Barret and Cid trying to calm him.
Two Days Earlier…
"Oh come on Vinnie! You can't stay cooped up in this place forever! This isn't healthy you know!" Yuffie Kisaragi stomped her foot, the sound of her boot heel on the soft earth still didn't turn the sullen man from his ruminations. He sat there, staring at the still form of his old beloved, though the young ninja didn't know why he couldn't just let her rest, and move on with his life. "I wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for Tifa and Cloud, and you know it! Gawd Vinnie, do you even speak?"
There was a small sigh as he turned to regard the boyish ninja girl… woman actually. She was nearly 21, and her form was taking on that soft, round shape of a woman. It had been 5 years since he'd met the joyful ninja, and she still could press every button he possessed. "Unlike someone I know, I only speak when necessary." Yuffie rolled her eyes at the older man, "You know Vincent," she accented the T in his name to show her annoyance, "Some people enjoy talking to each other, getting to know people… and all that. I don't even know why they sent me up here to get you, I thought you were over her…"
He sighed, but something else stabbed him in the heart. He was over Lucrecia, he had come up to this place to visit another grave… two to be exact, each buried next to the other. Yuffie let out a soft sigh, and she looked down at Vincent Valentine, for once seeing that utter sadness there, something he normally kept buried under his cold exterior. "That wasn't your fault Vinnie… Vincent," she corrected herself, wanting to make him feel better, not worse. She felt a strange stirring in her heart, the same strange feeling she'd had 2 years ago when she'd found him, dying on the floor of Shinra Manor. The man shook his head, "Yuffie… she took a bullet for me. How can that not be my fault?"
Yuffie knelt down behind him; wanting to reach out, but stopping herself, he wasn't much of a touchy, feely guy that was for sure. "Shelke was stuck in the body of a ten year old, and the more she developed her feelings, she knew she didn't belong in normal society. We all knew, that Lucrecia's memories in her head made her love you; even though she could never be with you… she did what she had to, in order to insure you lived on. It would have killed you Vincent… not even you could take a bullet in the heart."
"And why do I deserve to live, after all this?" His voice was strained, she'd noticed that knowing the entire story of his transformation, and loosing Chaos in the process, had started to tenderize the hard gunman; she'd actually seen him smile on occasion. It was a smile like Cloud's, rare, but completely lit his pale features, until the incident a year ago. The WRO and Shinra Electric Power Company made their alliance public, Reeve had wanted the people to start putting their trust in the new power options from Shinra, and Rufus had backed him the whole time, wanting to repair the damage he, and his family, had done. They were all there at the announcement; Reeve had begged them all to come, to lean credence to the WRO, since AVALANCHE had become the unspoken, poster kids for the saving of the planet. It was a huge turn out; even Tifa had managed to convince Shelke to come, since she had helped with the Omega Disaster. They all stood there, in the backing sun, as the announcement was made, then a group of citizens, still against Shinra, opened fire on the crowd. The snipers had targets, Reeve, Cloud, Vincent and Barret. Reeve had been using one of his dolls, so when the first shot rang out, the real Reeve was safely tucked in the camera booth. Cloud grabbed Tifa and hit the floor, receiving a grazing wound, and Barret took the slug in his shoulder… but the gunman on Vincent was neither incompetent nor lazy, and the bullet was on course, and he didn't have enough time to move out of the way. Shelke however, did, and rushed to block the bullet, her mako imbued quickness giving her the chance to save the man she loved. The bullet struck her in the chest, and she fell to the ground, dead. Vincent sat there for hours, cradling her against him, unable to cry, but wishing he could.
He wished he could now, shed at least one tear for the girl, but it wouldn't come… that made him feel like more of a monster then Chaos ever had. He closed his eyes and bowed his head, he'd been wandering for the year after that, never answering his phone, and his friends were starting to wonder if he was even alive. Cloud had sent them out to anywhere they thought he might be, and Yuffie had gotten Lucrecia's cave. She had called them, happily relating the news, that at least he was alive, but she still hadn't had any luck getting him to move. Yuffie did feel bad about her badgering, and small snippets of memories started to come to her, Meteor Fall, when she got him off the mako cannon, the feeling of his arms around her, when she'd been saved from Nero, cradled against his chest. That just made her heart ache more, and she realized, in that moment of quiet reflection as she watched his profile be shamefully covered by his cloak and hair, that she had feelings for Vincent Valentine.
Yuffie didn't even realize what she was really doing; her heart was pulling her to do a thing that normally, she would have rolled her eyes at whoever was attempting it. She slipped her arms around his shoulders, hugging close to him. "Vinnie," she said softly, "We're your friends… we love you. Please don't push us away. Do you think Shelke gave her life for you so you could sit in a graveyard the rest of your life? You are obsessed with death, you can't pull yourself away from it."
"I am dead, Yuffie," he said softly, she could feel the reverberation though his chest as he spoke with that deep, rough voice of his, and the ninja girl found tears coming to her eyes. She didn't cry for the women buried in the cave, but rather the man who watched over them and the deep pain she could feel radiating off his warm corpse. A drop of water soaked into the thick, red fabric her cheek was resting against, and she shook her head, "You don't have to be." Her voice was barely over a whisper, thick with the tears that threatened to roll down her cheeks. Something amazing happened then, a gloved hand moved to cover the ninja's, he leaned back against her, closing his eyes. As he did that, a small, fragile tear slipped down his cheek.