I'm a Yuffentine at heart but Clouffie is trying to eat my BRAIN! Very rough, haven't spell or grammer checked it yet. Have NO clue where I'm headed with this. Probably won't be anymore updates.

Title: Phone Calls
Rating: PG
Summery: ' this is my phone and she has no right to call it.' (Lucrecia)VincentYuffieCloud(Tifa). Someone loses, someone gains.


" Tell Yuffie this is my phone and she has no right to call it."

. : - : .

It wasn't until months later that he noticed it. After the ordeal of Kadaj and the second attempt at Reunion, he had stayed behind much like the rest of AVALANCHE to help rebuild some of the damage caused by the three silver haired brothers. Everyone had used their phones as communication devices for finding each other and splitting up tasks within the commotion. Yuffie had been exuberant as usual and cheered wildly about her reclamation of her materia. Cid had used his new airship, Seirra, to transport the children and reunited them with their families. Barret and Marlene had a happy reunion, Red was content at the gathering of his friends, Cait Sith was a loud as ever, Tifa convinced them all to stay at the bar to fuss over them, and Cloud had found a measure of peace within himself.

He stayed for 2 weeks before announcing his leave back to the mansion, intent on going through Hojo's files to find information on what had been done to him. Cloud had found a measure of absolution, Vincent saw that as a shimmer of hope.

For the first few weeks back at the mansion his phone rang often. Yuffie and Tifa had threatened him with dire consequences if he ever thought to go back into the coffin. Cloud had expressed his own concerns quietly and reminded him that he was welcome to visit. Barret called to talk and allowed Marlene to speak to him as well. Cid swore in every sentence he spoke. Reeve called from his location in the City and was amused when Cait Sith highjacked the conversation. Red spoke sparingly but with wisdom.

After a while everyone was busy again and the calls came less often.

Tifa called at least once a week to check up on him. 'Remember to take care of yourself. Come visit us whenever you feel like, to talk or just for company. We'll be glad to have you.' An exchange of words on the other end, ' Yuffie says to remind you she's going to urm, kick your ass if you locked yourself in the coffin again.'

Cloud called less but still almost regularly. ' How have things been Vincent? Have you found anything of interest in the files? I'll let you know if I find another lab of Hojo's that might pertain to you. Oh, by the way, Yuffie says to come by if you can, she'll be leaving in another week.'

Cid called. ' How you f&# doing, Vamp Boy? Stuck in the gloomy house all the time ain't f&#& good for you. Get come damn sunlight if you want to be stop being called a Vampire. At the very least, you can shut the brat up about it. She's being annoying, tells you to remember the sunscreen if you don't want to combust. Call me if you want to go anywhere, the Seirra's the best f#&# ship around.'

Barret called, ' Yo Vincent. Still messing around in the mansion with the papers? I'm back at Corel now, if are close by, drop in for a visit. Marlene would like to see you again. Ain't that right sweetie?' a child picked up the conversation. ' Hi Mr. Vincent! Come visit if you can. I'm home in Corel now, but I'll be with Tifa soon again for a weekend.'

Reeve left him a brief message. ' I'm starting a new company. I hope you are well Vincent. I might have need of your skills sometime in the future, I'll let you know when it comes up.'

Red called but did not linger over the words. ' I'm back at Cosmos Canyon, I hope you are taking care Vincent. The others worry over you, Yuffie most loudly. Do not linger in the memories so much that they consume you.'

Tifa called most often in the late afternoon, and he could hear the sounds of Denzel and other children playing or running about in the background. ' Let us know if you need some help. We could come by just to help clear the mansion of monsters and make it more livable. If you need supplies, of any kind, I can send some over. Yuffie's back in Wutai now, she wanted me to remind you if you need to find her.'

Cloud stopped by on a short visit as he delivered a package to a nearby area. He stayed the night and looked through some of Hojo's works, trying to find possible remnants of what modifications he might have gone through, but did not linger over the files. He did not push Vincent to leave the mansion but instead just softly extended an invitation. ' You're welcome at the bar anytime, or let me know if you want me to stop by. Maybe bring Denzel, he's growing up well.' A twitch of the lips, ' Yuffie says you need more human contact and if you can survive him, you can survive anyone.'

His days passed fairly well and he made several trips to the waterfall to see Lucrecia. Her body was encased in the mako crystals and he stared at her, wondering if he could have changed anything if he had made different choices. His findings of Hojo's work did not amount to much; he was still left in the dark on much of what was done to him.

He was an observant man but there had been much on his mind in the past while that he had dismissed much of what he saw as irrelevant. It wasn't until 2 months later that he really took notice of what was happening.

Tifa called to check up on him and to catch him up on the latest news, chiding him for spending all his time in the basement laboratory. Reminding him Yuffie said that he promised not to sink back into the dark and never see them again.

Cloud was a welcome presence far or near whenever he called. He never pushed and almost understood. 'Research takes time, but don't let it make you forget everything else. I might drop by again soon to look through some of the files on my own. Yuffie says hi.'

And that was it right there. 'Yuffie says hi.' 'Yuffie said to remind you.' 'Yuffie's back in Wutai.'

' Yuffie says'

' Yuffie said'

' Remind you Yuffie said'

' Yuffie'

' Yuffie'

' Yuffie'

' Yuffie'

' Yuffie says...'

But Yuffie didn't say. Not anything, not to him directly. Not since when he first got back to the mansion and everyone had called initially to make sure he was settling in comfortably. After the initially spurt, Yuffie never called.

He sat on the living room sofa in the late afternoon light, the sun rose and coloring the room in shades of orange and purple. He went through his log of calls and messages but did not find her number. He went back to his voicemail but her voice never chirped out at him. He stared at the silent phone pensively before slipping into his pocket and descending back to the basement.

' Yuffie says...'

. : - : .

The first call came when Cloud was riding between Kalm and Midgar. A small package tied to the back of Fenrir for delivery. He did not stop the motorcycle, simply took one hand off the handles and pulled the cell phone out to stare at the caller ID.

Yuffie Kisaragi, the letters proclaimed.

He stuck it back into his pocket; he didn't have time to answer the call right then. The package was on express. Tifa also called about another delivery and he was on his way to the outskirts.

A few days later his phone vibrated again when he was in the middle a fight with a fiend. He ignored the sensation and jumped over the dragon to avoid an attack. It vibrated several more times during the fight but he was not able to pick it up. Later after he had found a stream and washed the blood off his body, he flipped the PHS open to see they had all been from Yuffie.

He called her back and she picked up on the third ring.

" Hi!"

" Hello Yuffie." He said. " You called."

" Cloud! You're actually returning calls now?! Oh my god, Leviathan bless!"

" Was there a matter of importance?"

" Just call to chat." She chirped. " But I expected the voicemail to pick up. 1 in 10 makes it through! Or it was the odds Marlene and me calculated. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk." Then he could hear her pout, " We would need to do new math again since you started picking up and calling people back." He smiled softly. " Hey! This means I can make a new bet with Cid! Oh, oh, DON'T pick up his calls, but call him back AFTER. I can make so much gil off the old man. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk."

" Yuffie..." He said.

" Come on, Spikes! I'll split the winnings with you." She offered.

He was skeptical. " How?"

" ...Ninety, ten." She confessed reluctantly.

He almost chuckled but held back. " I'll be the one who has to call him back, though."

" Okay, fine." She said exasperated. " Eighty-Five, Fifteen."

This time he did chuckle. " I'll think about." And hung up on her.

On the other end she cursed at the dead line. When his phone vibrated again, he saw her name and didn't bother to pick it up.

She called him repeatedly over the next few days and he ignored it. When he finally deigned to answer her call she tried persuading him again. He told she needed to work on her negotiation skills and hung up without giving her a definite answer. He pretended not to notice his phone shaking on the table when he was back at the bar.

Tifa looked at him but he continued to make his sandwich silently. She walked over to the PHS and connected the call.

" CLOUD!" He could hear her shout.

" Hi Yuffie." Tifa replied wincing.

" Oh, Tifa." He heard her visibly deflate over the other end.

" Yes, me." Tifa said amused. " Did you need Cloud for something?"

" He, no! Just calling to eh, talk."

They spent another hour on the line but when Tifa hung up she still had no idea of what Yuffie had called for in the first place. Cloud let a sense of mischievous victory wash over him. But Yuffie had more skills then him in the area of creating havoc and she knew how to get around it. She called late at night erratically when most people would already be asleep.

He only picked up the phone on the first night. " Good night Yuffie," was all he said and hung up on her.

He didn't check his voicemail until two weeks later. He knew most of them would be from her. He had picked up all of his other calls in order not to have to go through all of her ramblings to get to what others wanted of him.

...Package is a small box lined with green on the back porch. Tifa's voice sounded from the first message about an old delivery before Yuffie's avalanche of calls.

Cloud? Spike? Are you there? End Message.

Are you going to pick up? End Message.

I guess you're busy on the job! End Message.

Cloud! Come on! It isn't that hard, I mean the cut is totally fair! It's not like you would need to call him back for a longer conversation. End Message.

Look at it this way - I'm the one who has to convince him to put good money on it. You just have to like, re-dial! End Message.

A smile curved his lips as he continued to listen to her ramblings.

...You're not going to pick up my calls are you? End Message.

I wonder what you'd be doing if I happened to have an important thing to say? What if I actually needed help or something? What if I was like, passing on a message from like, Reeve or something? You'd totally miss it! You have to call me back! This might be important! End Message.

...You're not even checking the voicemails are you? Otherwise you would have called me back from the last one. End Message.

For a moment he furrowed his brows, she didn't really sound disappointed, only a little, instead there was a sort of soft pensiveness and a sad happiness to her tone.

I can't believe you let Tifa answer the phone! Arg! Arg! You cheater! End Message.

He laughed, recalling the incident.

...Good Night Cloud. End Message.

He blinked.

Are you on another job right now, or are you just ignoring my call, you big MEANIE! I'm going to tell Denzel and Marlene on you! Wait until I tell Tifa you've been ignoring me! End Message.

Hahaha, Godo thought he could outwit the Greatest Ninja Yuffie! Well THINK AGAIN old man! I still have my materia! You're only GUARDING it, you know Cloud! If you let someone steal it again, like some silver haired idiots, I will KICK YOUR ASS. End Message.

Hope you're feeling good, Spikes! Because I'm going to GET YOU BACK for this. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk. End Message.

...You know, this is almost like... End Message.

After deleting the messages he stood leaning on Fenrir and stared at the phone silently. Yuffie's soft, almost wistful tone was strange to him. He and most of the others only knew her by her exuberant, chirpy, almost over-the-top voice. In the last message she sounded...older than he was used to from her. He put his phone away and slung a leg over Fenrir. He had to head back to Kalm to pick up a package.

He was sitting in an inn later that night, changing into his bedclothes when the phone shook. He picked it up and looked at the caller ID: Yuffie Kisaragi. He stared at the letters with an almost heavy feeling, debating to pick up the call or not. He connected the line at the last ring before it went to the voice box.

" Yuffie." He said.

" ...Cloud?" She questioned.

" Yes." He confirmed.

Pause. Then, " FINALLY! You've been avoiding my calls Spikes, you big MEANIE! The LEAST you can do now is AGREE to my deal!"

He laughed, at her words and attitude, and also as a sense of a weight falling off his shoulders. What it had been, he wasn't sure.

" Come ON! I'll even spilt it with you Sixty-five, Thirty-five."

" How about I get to keep one of your materia?"

" Are you CRAZY?! One of my - which by the way, means MINE"

He happily listened to her shout and ramble about how he sooo did not deserve her materia, they were hers and were for Wutai. He did not need them; he would probably lose them.

" -and are you even listening to me?!" He realized it had been some time since he had made an affirmative noise. He opened his mouth to say 'yes' when, " Forget it! Fine then Spikes." She sniffed indigently over the other end. " You can forget about the cut and the materia!" She hung up on him. He looked out into the night sky with a smile and tucked into bed.

A few hours later the phone vibrated. He turned over and cracked one eye open to see her name on display. He turned back over and went to sleep, allowing it to go to his message box.

The next day he was almost back at the city when he stopped for a break. He parked Fenrir off the road and unpacked his rations. Biting into the bread he accessed his voicemail.

...You're probably sleeping now, sweet dreams Cloud. End Message.

He paused in his lunch and let his hand drop down. Staring into the deep blue sky, the odd pressure was back. He listened to the message one more time: sweet dreams Cloud, before deleting it.

Over the next few weeks he found the pattern. For the regular chat or business she would phone during the day or evening. Whenever he picked up the late midnight calls she would ramble about something or other, and called back even later or not at all. When he let it go to his voice box, she never talked of anything important either, but yet they unsettled him somehow. Whenever he tried to bring them up: Yuffie, about the call last night, she would laugh it off, clam up, or hang up on him. He learned to mention them only in passing.

Yuffie wasn't Vincent. Yuffie wasn't a creature of silence and deep tragedy that she carried around her like a cloak but she needed this somehow, these silent calls that she never spoke of and he allowed them because they helped her - he hoped. He felt honored to be chosen, even if it added a weight to his shoulders, because they meant something to her. They were also starting to mean something to him.

Godo tried to stuff me into a kimono and show me off to some delegates today, and I said SCREW YOU OLD MAN! And ran circles around the people he sent to find me. They never did, because I am the Greatest Ninja ever! Nyuk nyuk nyuk. End Message.

The cherry blossoms are blooming again. The cherry tree in my back yard is beautiful and cherry row is a sight to behold. There are lots of legends around this time of year. I hope you're taking care of yourself Cloud. FOOD AND SLEEP are ESSTENTIAL. No matter how much you tried to convince us otherwise on the journey! End Message.

How's Tifa and Denzel? Hope you're taking care of them. The little man is a TERROR, no matter what he says about me and cookie dough - IT ISN'T TRUE. Marlene's doing good in Corel but she says she's going over to the bar again? Hope everyone's alright. I wonder if... End Message.

Stupid geezer set me up on a blind date with one of the nobles. Nyuk nyuk nyuk. He is NEVER going to agree to come with me again. Ha ha ha. End Message.

...Good Night Cloud. End Message.

...I wonder... End Message.

Her calls were sporadic: sometimes on consecutive nights, sometimes skipping days. He stored them up to a few at a time before listening to them. Her voice made the long nights he spent camping easier to bare. Tifa called sometimes to chat but there was always an expectancy from her. The silents questions of when he was going to be back, how far was he traveling, how long was he going to stay away. Yuffie never pushed for any thing in her messages.

Sometimes he would get one that would make him go back and press the 'SAVE' button.

...The stars are out tonight. They're very beautiful... I wonder if you're looking at them right now too? End Message. Push 3 to save, push 7 to delete.

Her voice had been soft, gentle, full of wistfulness mixed with a hint of wonder.

Saved.

When the time comes, he wondered if he could move them from the cell phone if it got too full for the small memory card. He would have to talk to Reeve.

Johanna had kittens! Right on my couch! It's never going to be the same! She wailed aggravated. If I didn't love the critters so much, I'd urg! End Message.

Saved.

I'm standing in the ocean right now, and you all would probably call me crazy. A natural laugh. But you should see the moonlight shining on the water, it's so dazzling tonight and I know Leviathan is just demanding I come. Sounds of giggling and water splashing. It's probably lucky you can't see me right now I'm absolutely soaked. I should end this call before I drop the phone in the water. End Message.

Saved.

Should I regale you with the adventure of my day or allow you mercy? She teased. I climbed to the top of Da Chao today, as I do many times. But today I stood there, wind ruffling my hair, and saw my people. My country. The little boy starting his morning stretches, workers waking to bring the city to life, elders going for their morning walks, street venders hawking their wares, the morning sun lighting up the mountains, and seeing my Wutai come to life. ...Thank you for giving me the chance to save them. End Message.

Saved.

Her voice lingered in his head, sentences echoing in his mind, tone seeping into his body, and her laughter, wonder, distress, aggravation, hope trailed after him. Her messages shared her pain, happiness - her life with him. They chased away the loneliness in the dark hours and comforted him.

Tifa was there when he went back to Kalm; she was waiting for his return. She tried her best to make him comfortable but he couldn't take her with him on the journeys and he had never known how to ask for what he needed. She kept a place for him; she gave him a safe harbor. But she didn't understand why he kept leaving.

Travel was what had kept him sane for a long time. Even if he had put some things to rest, it didn't mean he could just stop. Just because he was finally able to sort out his memories didn't mean he didn't have nightmares. Hellish dreams of green liquid and piercing needles still haunted him. Hospital tools looked too much like the ones in his dreams. The prison of the mako confinement with his extra sensitivity was still with him.

He thought about stopping. Just stopping, letting himself crash head first without a care, letting the controls spin unrestrained and let himself fall, fall, and fall into the dark nothingness that awaited him.

But he had Tifa now, and Denzel to watch over. He had to make sure they were okay. They were waiting for him, but sometimes he thought about letting go metaphysically. Let himself drop back into the memories of places long gone, days long past, back where he had been happy. Where he might have been headed towards a failing grade in the SOLDIER exams but he had his troop, his life, his hometown, and Zack with him.

Tifa's voice and Denzel's voice, Tifa's eyes, and Denzel's face, and both of them waiting for him to come back weighed against everything his life had been before the five years of hellish experimentation that changed him from an unknown foot soldier into a would-be SOLDIER First Class.

In the nights away from the bar and the long hours of waiting when he was not on Fenrir racing to nowhere fast, his past haunted him. Yuffie's voice came to fill the silence, to chase away the loneliness that Tifa had never found a solution for, to push back the brink of madness that Sephiroth fell into so willingly.

He hoarded her calls, saved them, hid them and the comfort they brought him away. Her voice was loud, soft, sweet, aggravated, mad, happy, cheerful, annoying, chirpy and they swirled round and round in his head.

You know Spike, I saw Sephiroth before we were AVALANCHE. I was young and he came to fight the Wutai War. You guys called him a Hero and we called him a Monster. I hated him but I also met him. He wasn't the best person but you know...the General and the Sephiroth we fought were not the same person. He was no longer the General Sephiroth I knew. End Message.

Saved.

They kept him going.

. : listen to me : .