Don't own anything!


Reeve laughed. He couldn't help it. There was something about Vincent, staring down at Yuffie as she caught him across the face with one of Marlene's purple markers, the coloring paper and the marker's companions scattered across the bartop and Marlene clutching the brown as she stared in disbelief at the adults. Vincent never should have called Yuffie unbalanced, anyway, since they all knew she was, in more than one sense of the word.

Vincent glared down at her, as Yuffie stood in shock at the streak of ink from his eyebrow to the opposite line of his jaw, now clenched in a distinctly unfriendly manner. The young ninja, though, recovered fast. "Vince!" She exclaimed as she brandished the marker again. "I think purple's your color!"

Reeve doubled over, nearly knocking over his cup of coffee as he bent against the bar, letting the laughter roll out of him. It hadn't been that honestly funny, he knew, but it had been so long, and it felt too good. He heard Yuffie let out a shriek, and when he raised his head, eyes blurry from the tears, she was gone, as was Vincent, except for the trailing edge of that scarlet cloak as he chased her squealing voice.

Marlene turned back to her coloring book, unperturbed by the lack of purple marker. "Are they gonna get married like Cloud and Tifa?"

Reeve stopped, laughter dying on his lips. He stared down at his cup of coffee. "Maybe one day, Marlene."

She nodded, intent on the trunk of a tree. "I think they'd be happy, don't you?"

Reeve smiled down at his comrade's daughter. "We'll just have to wait and see." And Marlene gazed back up at him, as if she could detect the waver in his voice. This girl is too observant. He turned back to his coffee, swirling it in his cup before reaching across the counter to grab the pot off the burner. He topped it off, wondering why he was sitting in Seventh Heaven when there was so much still to do. He had excavating crews working on Midgar, his precious, fallen city; he had plans waiting on his desk, needing a final check before distributing funds and supplies and blueprints for Kalm. He had the remaining W.R.O. forces waiting for his command.

And it had begun to dawn on Reeve over the course of the past few days that he didn't want to make those commands anymore.

Vincent had tried to bolster him, reminding him never to give up. And he's the one chasing around ninjas, flirting like a teenager, Reeve thought wryly as he glanced at the door the two had disappeared through. What Vincent didn't know was that it wasn't the mass destruction of cities, the pile of rubble that had once been W.R.O. headquarters, or the thousands of people dead or unaccounted for that bothered him. No, it was just one loss he should've prepared himself for long ago that was stalling him now.

Vincent strode back into the room, face sporting a twin stripe to the one he had when he'd left, and Reeve could almost hear the victory fanfare, his normally cool expression was so smug. Yuffie, on the other hand, staggered into the counter, her face and arms a massive tattoo of streaky ink. She glared up at Vincent as he sat next to Reeve, reaching for the coffee. "That was not fair," She whined with a grin on her face as she pushed a clean mug at him so Vincent would pour her some as well. Vincent just smiled as Marlene paused over her coloring to stare at the adults again.

"Where's my purple?" Marlene demanded, and Yuffie began to laugh. Vincent just flicked a packet of sugar between his fingers as Yuffie dumped as many as she could hold into her filled mug.

Reeve shook his head as he added two sugars and a splash of cream to his coffee, the way Shalua used to drink it.