Greetings. I'm Mengde – some of you may know me around here already. Right now I'm laboring away on a fiction in a section alien to many denizens here; it progresses, but slowly. In the meantime, this idea occurred to me once upon a midnight dreary.

Some background information: Rosso the Crimson and Azul the Cerulean are both characters from Dirge of Cerberus. If you haven't played the game, it's fine; A) you're not missing much, and B) it only pertains to this little story insofar as that I've borrowed two of its original characters for devious use here. You may wish to look them up so you have a visual of them if you've not played the game; in fact, I highly recommend it for Azul if you don't know what he looks like. A visit to the Dirge of Cerberus article on Wikipedia should avail you of their likenesses.

All that said, let's have some fun. There was something I noted a distinct lack of in Dirge of Cerberus, besides any motivation to return to the game after beating it: the part where Vincent and Yuffie get captured and have to find some way out of their terrible predicament. Seriously, I felt robbed. The following mock-up, dressed in plenty of hyperbole, was written in an attempt to fill that great hole Squeenix left inside me. Also, I suppose there might be some Yuffentine fluff for faithful followers of the fandom. Make what you will of this short.


Vincent's head was killing him. It felt like someone had used it as a gong, only they'd had to glue it back together a few times after hitting it too hard.

Slowly, information worked its way into his brain and his consciousness expanded itself. He was seated in a small chair, or rather slumped in it. The chair had its back up against a rather large pipe or something of the sort, which he assumed extended from the floor all the way up to the ceiling; the pipe felt metallic and was probably impossible to move. His arms were pulled back behind him and when he tried to flex them he felt metal dig into the wrist of his right hand. His left wrist, of course, felt nothing of the kind, but Vincent could feel the pressure there. They had at four pairs of handcuffs on him, which was wise, considering that he could probably snap a single pair if he tried. When Vincent tried to lean forward, the cuffs hit the aforementioned pipe and stopped him dead.

"Oh, Vinnie. You're awake."

Something exploded in the back of Vincent's mind. No. "Yuffie?" he croaked, afraid of the answer.

"No, it's Barrett. They've turned me into a small, dark-haired, very attractive Wutainese girl."

No wonder his head felt this way. Of course, the reality was that his current discomfort had probably been from that massive backhand Azul had landed – it all came flashing back to him now, very clearly – but this couldn't be making it any better.

"Where are we?" he asked. First things first, figure out their location.

"No idea. They probably took us deeper into Deepground – wow, that sounds stupid. I was working my way in when that red-haired chick surprised me and took me down."

Vincent blinked and tried to focus on his surroundings, which remained maddeningly out of focus. "Rosso? I beat her. She jumped to her death rather than lose to me."

"Well, she survived. Somehow. Kinda conveniently, too. Maybe her accent broke her fall."

Finally Vincent succeeded in discerning where they were – which led nowhere, because it was just a room, a room with four grimy brick walls, a heavy iron door in front of Vincent, and the single metal pipe in the room's center, which was probably not a pipe at all but just a fixture intended for the express purpose of securing prisoners to it. Light came from a bare bulb hanging from the ceiling, off-centered because of the pipe's presence.

"Wonder why they kept us alive," he muttered.

"You complaining? Though I think they could've done better on the décor. Seriously, it's just awful in here."

Ignoring the pain it caused him, Vincent craned his head over his shoulder to look at Yuffie. She was also seated in a small chair, back to him, her arms pinned behind her by wrists cuffed to the pipe-fixture. She only had one pair of handcuffs on, which made sense as she had nothing in the way of exceptional strength, but it confused Vincent as to why she had not been able to slip out of the cuffs.

Yuffie must have felt his stare, because she gave a small shrug that said volumes. "I've already tried getting out of these things, they made 'em special or something. The more I move my wrists the tighter they get. I had to stop trying or I'd lose blood flow to my hands." Vincent took her word for it; he could see no difference in construction between her cuffs and his own.

Further testing the limits of his freedom, Vincent tried to rise from the chair. He found that having his arms pinned sharply behind his back complicated things, but his feet were not secured to the chair in any way. Sloppy, but he wasn't complaining. A wave of dizziness hit him, though, so he sat back down.

"Lucky," Yuffie commented idly. "They've got both my ankles cuffed to the chair – the same tightening cuffs they have on my wrists. If I try to stand up my feet'll probably fall off. I guess they didn't figure you were as quite as limber as me."

Before they could discuss the possibilities of escape – if there were any – the door swung open, admitting Rosso and Azul, the latter of whom had to squeeze his massive frame through. Both the Tsviets looked worse for the wear, testament to the beatings Vincent had given them, but a feral satisfaction gleamed in their eyes. This situation was very far removed from good.

"Vincent," Rosso clucked. "To zink you vould be taken down by a little backhand – it is mozt unlike you." Her thick accent grated on his nerves, and the way she pronounced "backhand" – with all the emphasis on the second syllable and not the first – was especially wearying.

"We're going to have to repay you for the damage you inflicted on us," Azul rumbled. "I think we might as well get some useful information about your friends out of you while we're at it."

"Fine," Vincent deadpanned. "Make whatever threats you want and then get on with it. We won't tell you anything."

Rosso strode around him, her heels making clicking sounds on the stone floor, and stopped in front of Yuffie. Vincent felt himself tense up, wondering what the woman's intentions could be, but his gut did a triple flip when she said, "I zink I'm going to haf some real fun with zis one, Azul." Immediately his mind started going down the darkest paths of his imagination, none of them remotely pretty.

"Oh, great, it all falls into place," Yuffie groaned. "The red hair, the accent, the metal underwear… Yeah, I'm not liking where this is headed."

"Believe me, girl, you'll count yourself lucky quite soon," Azul laughed unpleasantly. "Vincent is going to be on the receiving end of… well. I think Rosso's methods will seem quite tame."

Now Vincent's gut did a triple somersault followed by various kicks and twists, culminating in a dazzling series of acrobatic maneuvers that would make any gymnast turn green with envy. Vincent gauged Azul's size, factored in the man's beastly nature, added in the fact that he could transform into a giant armored canine war machine…

Then, as alerts were wont to do, an alert sounded and interrupted the mounting tension of the moment. Both Rosso and Azul started, then looked at each other and exchanged nods. "Your meddlesome friends have broken zrough anozer perimeter," Rosso sighed. "Vorry not, however – ve vill be back shortly." The two Tsviets stalked out, closing the door behind them.

"Vincent," Yuffie said.

"Yes, Yuffie?"

"Was the big guy just threatening to bury his dog in you?"

"To put it one way."

"Well, the other way I was thinking of was that he was going to make you his b-"

"Escape plans, Yuffie," Vincent said, ignoring the taste of bile rising in his throat. "Do we have them, and if so, how can we execute them?"

"I've got a lockpick. Should work on your cuffs."

Vincent let silence hang in the air for a long moment before asking the question. "Where, exactly, is this lockpick located upon your person?"

"Sewn into the lower inside of the right leg of my shorts."

Oh, this was going to be very awkward.

"Yuffie, are you sure that there are no other lockpicks on you? Somewhere a little less-"

"Woof woof, Vinnie."

Fine. Vincent shut up and tried not to scowl. They could have as little as thirty seconds left or as long as five minutes. Decisive action was what was necessary. He was going to get up, get that lockpick, give it to Yuffie, and –

"Oh, by the way, Vinnie, seeing as how I'm wearing the cuffs from hell, I probably won't be able to do more than one cuff of yours before I drop the pick."

"That doesn't help, then," Vincent said, trying not to let any sort of relief filter into his voice – even though the loss of a viable escape plan should be dampening his spirits. "We'll have to find an alternate solution."

"I never said I couldn't still do your cuffs, Vinnie. I can use a lockpick with my mouth."

For a moment, Vincent seriously had to weigh this course of action, with all that it entailed, against finding out firsthand if the big dog still had its bone.

He moved, pushing himself out of the chair and into a standing position. Sliding sideways across the floor in an orbit of the pipe, dictated by his cuffed arms, Vincent positioned himself next to Yuffie and then crouched down, knees bent, calves under him, and craned his neck forward until his head was level with the ninja's thigh.


"Yes?" His response came fast and somewhat choked.

"It's in the leg on my right, not on yours."

"Oh." Vincent pushed himself back upright, orbited around the pole again, and came to a halt to Yuffie's right, his left. What a stupid, amateur mistake. He could hardly believe it.

He crouched again and tried to banish all thoughts of impropriety from his mind, then peered under the lip of Yuffie's shorts. Vincent could almost feel his face reddening; the situation was maddeningly embarrassing, even if death by massive lower-body trauma loomed in his future.

There: a small glimmer, barely detectable in the dim light of the overhead bulb. Vincent craned his neck even further forward and tried getting his teeth on the lockpick. It was difficult with an entire half of his face pressed against Yuffie's thigh. Once, twice, three times he tried and failed, but the fourth time he got his teeth locked on the edge of it and he pulled.

It didn't come loose.

"Huffie," he grunted around the bit of metal between his teeth, "hen hoo haid hat hoo'd hewed hit hin…"

"Just tug a bit harder, Vinnie." Yuffie's expression was a study in unconcerned nonchalance.

Tug harder he did, and again, and again – the lockpick suddenly was out, some thread that had been arresting its passage now displaced or snapped, and Vincent nearly swallowed the little piece of metal. As it was, it fell diagonally into the floor of his mouth, beneath his tongue, and stuck there, where he was unable to get at it.

"Up," the ninja said, like she was talking to a dog – no. Vincent studiously avoided all lines of thought pertaining to dogs.

Slowly he forced himself up, until his head was level with Yuffie's and his legs were straight, with his torso now pitched forward and twisted about to give him the necessary depression. The position was unpleasant in the extreme, pulling on all the cuffs on Vincent's wrists, though only his right gave any sort of protest.

"Bit closer," Yuffie said. Vincent obliged, still struggling to get the lockpick free from his mouth and back between his teeth.

Yuffie, of course, cut straight to the chase and pressed her mouth against his. He stiffened, something tantamount to an electric shock shooting up and down his spine, as she felt around in his mouth with her tongue. She hit upon the lockpick and with amazing deftness freed it, curled her tongue about it, and retreated with it. Three seconds passed after Yuffie had freed her tongue and lockpick with it from his mouth before Vincent realized he had stopped breathing.

She jerked her head at him to circle back around the pipe so as to present her with his cuffs. Feeling strangely numb, Vincent straightened up out of his contortions and did so, watching over his shoulder as she craned her neck a bit, got the lockpick between her teeth, and started picking the first of his cuffs' locks, directing the movements of the pick from behind her teeth with that amazingly deft tongue.

Vincent just watched in rapt silence. What a woman – ninja. What a ninja. And professional colleague.

The last of his cuffs' locks clicked and surrendered to Yuffie, her pick, and her tongue, and Vincent freed himself with a violent jerk of his arms, which flared up with pain but died down as he stretched them. Yuffie spat the lock out onto the floor. "Hurry up, Vinnie. These cuffs-from-hell aren't fun."

Having been a Turk, Vincent had no problem picking locks, especially on cuffs. He picked up the lockpick and set to work on Yuffie's hands, the old training coming back to him relatively quickly. The lock gave with a satisfying snickt and Yuffie gave a short laugh of glee, shucking the cuffs and snatching the pick back from Vincent so she could free her legs much faster than he could.

"Job well done," Yuffie said after she'd gotten herself uncuffed, pocketing her lockpick and stretching languorously. "Wonder where they stashed our stuff."

Vincent pried open the iron door – Rosso and Azul hadn't even bothered to lock it – and peered out. "They're just outside. The coast is clear."

"Let's get going, then! We've wasted too much time." Yuffie gave Vincent a light punch on the arm as she passed him. "You head back to that elevator or wherever you were going, and I'll pick up where I left off. We oughta do this again sometime, Vinnie, it was a nice distraction."

With that, she was gone.

Vincent picked up Cerberus, checked to see if it was still loaded, and tried to return himself to his normal level of unflappable calmness. Failing that, he merely assumed an inscrutable expression and swept off into the labyrinthine corridors of Deepground.

Not a minute later, Azul and Rosso returned to find two missing prisoners and seven pairs of abandoned handcuffs.

"Oh, hell," Rosso muttered. "Vat vent wrong?"

Azul, more than a little disappointed, eyed the chair that Yuffie had been cuffed to, its legs still sporting the restricting cuffs that had held her ankles, then looked at the other handcuffs strewn about on the floor.

"I'll tell you," he rumbled. "Whatever idiot grunt we had cuff those two while they were out didn't follow orders properly. The fool secured the ninja's hands with a normal pair of cuffs instead of the restricting ones. She was just playing with us – she could have slipped out of those any time she wanted."