Yay! I edited it, cause when I wrote it I was dead on my feet and I had about a kajillion mistakes… so, yeah, enjoy, again, or for the first time, whatever be the case!

………………………

"I like it dark."

Vincent Valentine looked up, amber eyes slightly curious. Only slightly. But it was enough.

"You know, chocolate. I like it dark. The other stuff is too sweet and not chocolaty enough. Just in case you ever get any for me. " Yuffie Kisaragi, the champion of the earth and sky, the conqueror of evil, the single white rose of Wutai, and the only person who was able to look a Mister Valentine in the eye unflinchingly, grinned and turned in a circle, barely catching herself before she collided with said man. His eyes rolled, but if one looked carefully they could see the shadow of a shadow of a smile.

She always looked carefully.

"Why?"

She paused in her twirling and sat down on the steps to the Seventh Heaven, her smile growing bigger.

"I can't tell you."

"It reminds me of you."

"Hn."

"Ok, fine, since you're trying to strong arm it outta me I'll tell ya. Yeesh, no need to be so forceful Vinnie!" There was no response. "Fine then, I won't tell you. Besides, something so secret and sacred as that can't be told to anyone. Only my Valentine!"

"Take the hint, take it!"

"Your… what?"

"Dang. I'll go with plan B then."

There was a momentary silence, like the calm before the storm.

"Duh, Vin-cent. It's Valentine's Day! You of all people should know that! Men, sometimes they're just so stupid! No offense. But seriously, it's like Cloud and Tifa!" His eyebrow rose. "You mean you don't see it either?! They are so obviously twitterpated with each other!"

"Now say something about how you and me would be better together than they are! Say it!"

"I had noticed it, but I was only surprised you had." His voice, normally so deep and rough, like the storms of Wutai, was surprisingly soft. The strange element in it totally belied the insult. It was… almost like… like… She grinned a feral grin.

"I can work with that."

"You think it's cute, don't you!? That they're in-" She glanced around. "L-O-V-E."

"C'mon, come on!

His eyes flickered.

"So you do! Well, that's a surprise! And here I thought you were a heartless creature that lived solely on the souls of young girls." There was a slight cough that could have almost been a snort.

Gads… he was opening up so much… Ever since Shelke had brought him back, he was so much more responsive.

And as much as Yuffie was in debt to the girl for bringing Vincent into the world of the living… there was no love lost between the two girls. Yuffie had grown to tolerate the girl, simply because she lived with Tifa… but that was it.

"But back to the present."

"I am not completely heartless." He sounded offended. That meant…

"A, he's totally oblivious to my flirting, and B…"

"I got a rise out of VINCENT!!! Cloud!" The poor blond had only been walking past them on his way in to see Tifa. "I got under Vincent's skin! Write it down! It's a historic day!!" Cloud's mako blue eyes flickered between the pair.

"I suppose you only want me to write it down because you would have trouble doing it yourself, ne?"

Yuffie's jaw dropped and she looked to Vincent for support. He shrugged in a manner that meant 'Not my problem.' She went to retort, but Cloud had already started to walk back in. Unfortunately, he had a hand in his pocket, and it was twitching, like he was nervous.

"Hhhhmmmmm… how interesting…"

"Oh uncle Cloudiekins!" Cloud froze. That tone of voice… last time he had heard it… well… it wasn't pretty. It had taken weeks to convince Aeris that he wasn't trying to see her undress, that he only needed her hair ribbon… and he was there in the middle of the night because the sun hurt his eyes? He shuddered.

"Y-yeah?" A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead.

"Whatcha got in your pocket? Is it something roooomaaaaaaannnntic?" His breath hitched.

White Rose of Wutai: 100

Delivery Boy: 0

"Yuffie Kisaragi. I do not think Cloud Strife appreciates your watchfulness. It is not customary to be suspicious of friends. Aren't I right, Vin-cent?" Shelke's baby blue eyes flicked from Yuffie to Cloud and finally rested on Vincent.

Conniving Little Saber Witch: 1000

Ex Conqueror of Evil: -900

Cloud took the moment of tension between the girls and bolted for the door, clutching the little black box tightly in his hand. There was no way Yuffie was gonna get that.

Vincent stood. No way did he wish to be between two fighting girls. He wasn't dumb. Nope.

"Yuffie, Shelke, I need to go get something. I will return in time for dinner, though I plan to leave before breakfast tomorrow. Will you let Tifa know?" With a glance at the ninja and a sexy (in Yuffie's mind) swish of his blood red cape he stalked away to who knows where. Yuffie felt a slight pang when she realized he planned to leave the next day… but… It was easy, at least for Yuffie, to know what he was feeling. Vincent Valentine wasn't that complicated a person.

He had loved, made mistakes, and paid the price. He was moving on now, trying to heal. And he was doing a darn good job of it. Yuffie was proud of him, and she was oh so deeply in love with him, but she refused to push him into a relationship when he was still raw from the last. It would do neither of them good.

"Probably off to angst in peace, where little girls don't act like they're your grandmother."

Yuffie stuck her tongue out at Shelke. "He said my name first." So it was a little childish…

"You are more immature than people give you credit for. Stay here, Yuffie Kisaragi. I will alert Tifa Lockheart." Her monotone had a hint of annoyance in it.

"Oh no you won't! He was soooo looking at me when he asked!"

"Nah, that's alright, I was headed inside anyway."

There was a small struggle to beat each other to the front door.

Then a slightly larger one to get though the hallway to the front counter.

Then they both froze in horror.

Cloud –spiky haired, shy, introverted, Cloud!- had Tifa pressed against the wall, her head tilted up, one gloved hand caressing her neck, the other her hip, and he was molesting her mouth. With his tongue.

"Nasty, nasty, ew…. Not something you really wanna see. Now if it was me and Vincent…"

But before Yuffie could let out a rude remark Shelke spoke up.

"Is this what you call kissing?" She sounded as grossed out as Yuffie felt. Cloud and Tifa froze in their movements and guiltily turned towards the voices.

For a moment she allowed a slight camaraderie with her rival for Vincent's attention, if not his affections. "Nope," She quipped. "That's what you call snogging!"

"Oh, I see… What is the difference?"

"Well… When you kiss…"

"Yuffie. Shelke." Yuffie grinned.

"Don't forget to tell Tifa!" And then she ran as fast as her little ninja legs could carry her, hoping the spiky haired shark would go after the little blue eyed seal, and not her.

"Sorry Shelke seal, you are a necessary sacrifice."

3 3 3 Happy Vincent Valentine Day! 3 3 3

Vincent narrowed his eyes.

The wrinkled old woman at the cash register narrowed hers.

"You are sure you do not carry dark chocolate?"

"Yes! Yes, I am sure we do not carry dark chocolate!! I don't care how much you glare at me, handsome, we do not have dark chocolate!" He opened his mouth. "And I don't know where you could possibly find any! So unless you're gonna buy something else, I suggest you scram!"

And scram he did, though he would have called it a tactical retreat. Or a necessary loss.

So there was, walking down the street, trying to find a vendor that sold dark chocolate. Who knew that most girls liked the sweeter kind?

Wait… if Yuffie's tastes in chocolate were reflective of her tastes in men… then, logically, she would want a darker man, one who wasn't… too sweet. Vincent fit that category, didn't he?

Well… he hoped he did.

But he wasn't going to risk his friendship with her in case she didn't. She had seemed like she was making advances on him earlier, what with the Valentine puns… but there was no telling, so he would sign it as 'anonymous' or 'your secret admirer' and… and…

And there was another street vendor, this one with a table laden with stuffed bears that held pillows that read "I love you" and "Be mine" or boxes of chocolate. Perhaps…

Then he realized that everything was some shade of pink, even though the young man running the table was in all black, from his spiky hair to his clunky boots. There was no way that the table would have something bittersweet there.

So he sighed and started to walk past it, but a voice called out.

"You want dark chocolate, right? For your girlfriend?" Vincent stopped and stared. It was beyond creepy for the man to discern that much from a passerby's glance at his wares.

"She's not my girlfriend."

The man leaned forward, grinning happily. "But she will be! Rissy here has something for you." He stuck his fingers in his mouth and gave a piercing whistle. "Rissy! Vincent's here!"

"How do you know my name?" The man was waving excitedly though, and he didn't hear.

He grinned again, this strange man, and leaned back in his chair, as if satisfied that 'Rissy' would be here soon. "So, you and the ninja, huh? She told me it was only a matter of time, but I didn't believe her… Guess I owe her some more gil. Eh… I'll just make it up to her tonight!"

Vincent's hand was edging toward Cerberus, ready to aim and shoot if need be. This… this freak was going too far.

Then there was a light touch on his shoulder and a voice he hadn't heard for over three years was speaking.

"Hello, Vincent." He turned slowly, as if not believing his ears. But who would? Aeris Gainsborough had been dead three years, and yet she stood, whole and untouched before him, green eyes sparkling with mirth. "Here, one plush toy with dark chocolate, free of charge." She gave him a slight hug and pressed a fuzzy item into his hands.

The toy was a chocobo with black 'feathers' and a red bow. It held not a heart shaped box between its wings, but one that was reminiscent of a smaller version of Yuffie's conformer.

"In there is a pure dark chocolate shuriken," The man at the booth supplied helpfully. "She'll love it, just as much as she loves you."

Vincent ignored him. "Aeris… you aren't back for good, are you?"

She gave a sad smile. "No, just for today."

"Does Cloud…?" The rest of it went unspoken: Does he know?

"Yeah, we gave him the earrings for Tifa. He was a lot more grateful than you are! Stuck up vampire…"

"Hn. Thank you. This will help."

"Oh, this too!" Aeris held up a single flower. The pale pink flower was stained with a red nearly the color of blood.

"A bleeding heart? How cliché." He studied the bloom and gave a slight frown.

"Not at all! Most guys give out red roses." There was a glare directed towards the man's direction.

"You are sure she will find this acceptable?"

"Oh, Vincent. If you gave her a broken fire materia she'd still be happy." He gave a meditative frown. Was Yuffie that in love with him? Perhaps she was… as in love with him as he was with her… Yes. He supposed it was possible. Hadn't the ninja herself told him that anything was possible?

He would think on this.

3 3 3 Happy Vincent Valentine Day! 3 3 3

It was after dinner, one that had passed in embarrassed silence on Cloud and Tifa's part, enraged silence on Shelke's part, cheerful silence on Yuffie, Marlene, and Denzel's parts, and curious silence on Vincent's part. What had transpired?

Well, he wasn't going to shatter the silence. So he had just tucked in his food before taking his dishes to the sink and exiting to his guest room.

Yuffie had simply watched, her hopes for a Valentine dissipating as a pensive mood started coming over her. Now, she was on the couch, staring morosely into space. She really wanted to… well… maybe just go say hi… but then he might think that she was being annoying… And besides, it wasn't like it was that big of a deal anyway. It was just a day that some people used to sell a lot of chocolate. At least, that's what she told herself, to try and keep from crying. She squeezed her eyes tight to keep a tear from falling down her cheek.

"If you want him to be your Valentine, you should just go ask him. He's not that scary." Yuffie's eyes popped open, shocked. Marlene stood there, smiling happily. "You look at him the same way Tifa looks at Cloud, and she told me that she loves him, so you must love Mr. Valentine."

"Why are kids so dang perceptive?"

"Well, I… Uh, that is…" Marlene frowned at her stumbling words,

"Here, this is Puppy." She held out a stuffed kitty. "She helps you to be brave. She helped me when I told Tifa that I accidentally dropped a glass. I wasn't as scared."

While Yuffie didn't exactly want to bring a stuffed toy to visit Vincent, she didn't want to hurt Marlene's feelings either, so she gingerly took the blue and pink cat with a nod. "Oh, yeah, I feel better already!" She hoped that she sounded sincere.

Marlene seemed to think she was. She grinned and nodded, as if saying 'See? I told you so!' Yuffie gave a slight smile and stood, patting the younger girl on the head. "Thanks. I'll go talk to him right now."

"Okay!" Marlene scampered off in a different direction, probably to find Denzel, while Yuffie steeled herself. Puppy did help, a little. It was like having a shield. Sort of.

She'd rather have her conformer.

And now, oh, now she stood before the door of her doom. Well, she stood before Vincent's door. Same thing, pretty much. Puppy was slowly being strangled by the death grip the ninja had on the kitty.

Slowly, oh so slowly, she reached out and knocked lightly on his door.

There was no response and she started to back away, but it creaked slightly, and opened, revealing one drop dead sexy vampire look alike.

Who had… just gotten out of the shower… and had no shirt on…

"Oh, Leviathan why?!"

"V-Vincent!" He studied her, leaning casually against his doorframe. His long sleeved shirt, cape, headband, gloves, clunky boots, and gauntlet had all been discarded, leaving him in a pair of leather pants. And only a pair of leather pants. Need she reiterate? She looked at the floor to hide her blush. He had very nice feet, long and thin and pale… sorta like the rest of him. Lanky. Yeah, that described him well. And his hair! It was still damp and it clung to his shoulders in jet-black ribbons. She swallowed.

"Not to sound rude, but I do need to get some sleep. I will be leaving in the morning." He immediately regretted the words when she looked up, grey eyes morose.

"O-of course. I'm sorry, I shouldn't have interrupted you. I'll see you later."

"Stupid! How could I have thought he would be glad to see me!?"

She turned and started to walk away, but his arm snaked out and grabbed her. When she looked back, a slight spark of hope in her chest, she found him staring at his arm as if it had gotten a mind of its own. He wouldn't have grabbed Yuffie, not if he was in his right mind!

That same arm slowly pulled her close and the other wrapped around her in an awkward hug.

Ok, so he wasn't in his right mind.

Her face was pressed against his bare chest and all she could think was "I thought I got past the whole hormonal teen stage!" when he slowly leaned his head down to rest his lips against the top of her head. What had gotten into him?!

"Binshent?" He slowly drew away at her mumbled words.

"I, I apologize. That wasn't a good thing to do."

"What? And why not?" She was giddy, grinning from ear to ear. Vincent had hugged her! That meant he didn't hate her, which meant he may even like, may even lo-

His voice was raw with emotion. "Because, Yuffie, I would only darken you." And she was a light, one that should always be kept lit, not hidden away in darkness.

Suddenly it wasn't about if he loved her, she knew it. Deep down, in some foreign recess in her heart, she knew that she and a Mister Valentine were truly, deeply, madly in love with each other, and it made her blood sing, made her heart pound and she smiled at him, like a mother with a stubborn child.

"What if I lit you up instead?" She was calm now, perfectly at peace.

"There is no way you could prove that."

Her eyes said 'Watch me!' and she walked towards him, Puppy slipping, forgotten, to the ground.

"Yuffie." His tone of voice said stop, but she watched his eyes and they begged for help. Slowly, so as not to startle him, she stretched her arms up and wrapped them around his neck, pulling him down. She gave him plenty of time to back away. She gave him a choice.

He chose to close the distance between them, press his lips to hers. They were both trembling, with nervousness, with excitement, it didn't matter. All that mattered was that what they had denied themselves was now coming true.

Yuffie's hands wandered across his chest and down his arms, tracing scars and lines of muscle before curling around his waist. His caressed her cheeks, and pressed harder into the kiss, his hair falling in a curtain around their faces. His tongue ran across her lower lip before he pulled away for air. She tasted soft, he decided, like vanilla ice cream. Sweet, but not overly powerful, something that was good anytime.

"Yuffie… I…" He trailed off.

"I know… You don't have to say it. I love you too."

He shook his head stubbornly. "No, I need to." He swallowed, Adam's apple bobbing. "I love you."

A mischievous grin spread across her face. "Does this mean you're my Valentine?" He looked shocked for a moment, then gave a low laugh that sent shudders through her body.

"Only if you'll be my Kisaragi." Her small mouth formed an 'o'.

"You just made a joke!"

"I did. I am not completely lacking in humor." He pressed another soft kiss to the corner of her lips, before tracing a line around her eyes to the top of her forehead where he planted another soft kiss. "I also have a gift for you. Two, actually."

Her eyes lit up with childish delight. "Reeeeaalllyyyyy??" She bit her lip in excitement and bounded to his bed, plopping down on it and waiting patiently for her present. He found where he had stored the little black chocobo and handed it to her, a blush stained his cheeks a pretty pink hue.

"I had some help picking it out…" He trailed off as he watched her stare at it. "Do you… like it?" She motioned him over and when he sat, she pulled him close.

"Thank you. It means a lot that you…" She gave a laugh. "That you got me something. You have no idea!" An exultant tear ran down her cheek and she shook her head. Being one of the few men who didn't try to remedy crying with desperate cries of "What's wrong!?" he lifted the flower from his dresser and settle himself behind her on the bed. Delicately, he tucked it into her hair and simply held her, in a peaceful and contented silence, until she had collected herself.

"I had better go. Don't want them getting ideas." She sounded reluctant, like she was afraid he would disappear. He didn't want her to feel that way, he had to do something…

"W-wait." She glanced at him. "Sleep with me tonight… and stay with me when I leave tomorrow. I don't know where I'm going, but I want you with me. Let them have whatever ideas they want to."

His eyes were so uncertain, so bare, that in that moment, Yuffie felt she couldn't have loved him more. He had laid bare his soul, well, his equivalent, anyway. She nodded. To heck with all their assumptions. As long as she was fully clothed in the morning, no one would get hurt.

"Yeah."

It was awkward, at first, sharing a bed with someone. But after some rearranging, they were snug. Yuffie was curled in his arms, using his shoulder and chest as a pillow. Their legs were twined together, and Vincent's left hand was curled against the skin of the small of her back. It was warm and comfortable, and they nearly glowed with happiness and love and all those good emotions. He rested his cheek against the top of her head.

"Sweet dreams, my love."

"Vincent… " She murmured sleepily before drifting away. "The reason I like dark chocolate is because it's like you. Bitter at first, but that makes it all the sweeter."

He gave a soft, true smile, one that shone like hers did.