a/n: I noticed I only had TWO FF7 stories up, and that is ridiculous! I've been watching Advent Children recently, and I've been wanting to do one of these for a long time. Here I go!
If there was one thing that Yuffie Kisaragi could do well, it was getting people to smile. Among with many other useless abilities, like stealing materia; annoying people; drinking sake; stealing materia; playing cards with a drunk Cid. The latter was only once, and it was major fun, getting Cid to lose in Speed, along with Egyptian Rat Screw, and many other various card games, all while swearing in a slurred voice and wavering dangerously in his chair. She had taken a few pictures, but only a few. She was being a good girl that night, considering what she could have done with that lipstick she had happened to have in her pocket.
Getting people to smile and laugh was simple to Yuffie Kisaragi. It came naturally with that bubbly, energetic attitude that she had; after all, she had gotten Cloud to smirk, which was saying something, and many times she had had good times with Tifa at the bar.
But Vincent Valentine was another story.
Of all the time they had spent together, never once had she seen a smile ghost across those pale lips that blended in perfectly with the rest of his marble features. Never once had a laugh, a chuckle, a snort escaped him at one of Yuffie's many jokes and pranks. Not even the time when she had messed around with Cait Sith's programming and had gotten him to sing Mr. Frump constantly--so much that everyone had had it memorized by the end of the day. Not even the time when she had stolen Barret's only clean pair of boxers and laced them with itching powder. Barret had been scratching his ass all day, which had Yuffie rolling on the floor, clutching her gut as if she had kidney stones.
A ninja loved a challenge, and Yuffie always was weak when it came to giving up a challenge.
As Yuffie rubbed her thin hands together, watching the raven-haired gunslinger stride slowly across the kitchen to where his breakfast--a bagel with eggs--lay, she had to stifle her urge to jump up and down in her seat. This would be her best prank on Vincent to date, but dressing up as Cloud and pretending to flirt with Vincent came in as a close second.
Vincent remained unaware as he sat down at his seat at the table, and then…the sound came.
The painfully slow farting noise which emitted from the cushion made Yuffie howl in laughter, complete with tears flowing down her cheeks and cramping sides. It was totally quiet in the kitchen after the sound died out, excluding Yuffie's muffled giggles, and Cloud cast a strange look at Yuffie from the corner of his blue eye.
Dear Lord, he prayed, bowing his head, forgive me of my sins, for I am about to murder this woman…
Whatever was running through Vincent's mind was blank surprise. If Yuffie still had the boldness to pull yet another prank on him after the 'incident' with that blonde wig and the black clothes that looked oddly like Cloud's, he didn't even want to know what she would do next.
"Yuffie…" he said gradually, turning his crimson eyes to hers.
"Yes, my love?" she joked, still giggling.
"…You do realize you're the only one laughing."
She did realize this, so she sighed and leaned back in her chair, eyeing Vincent with a chocolate orb.
Damn, she thought, running her bottom lip through her teeth. Why won't Vinny smile?! What have I been missing!
The next time she took it to her pretty, little head to take another shot at it (no pun intended), she was armed with shaving cream and a feather. It was cliché and classic, sure--but it was always gratifying in the end, no matter how old it was. She almost giggled, picturing the ex-Turk with shaving cream all over his face, but she managed to choke it down as she approached his bed.
Now, Vincent rarely slept, unless he was fatigued and barely conscious. In those occasional nights when Vincent would crawl into a random bed--sometimes Yuffie's; she couldn't even count the times she had crawled into bed and come face-to-face with his red gaze--he was at his most vulnerable. He was a very sound sleeper, peaceful and quiet, and sometimes Yuffie just let him sleep on, just watching him until she fell asleep herself. These moments were strangely intimate in their own way, tender. The only moment where Yuffie finally calmed down and took a moment to realize how much she had begun to like her companion.
Shaking her head to break her train of thought, Yuffie advanced farther until she was right at his side, staring him right in the face. She gently pulled back the red sheets that covered his flesh hand and squeezed a large glob of shaving cream dead center in his palm. Then, smirking as she did so, Yuffie tickled Vincent's nose. He let out a soft snort and slapped his hand to his face to try to get rid of the tickling sensation. Shaking in her effort to sustain her laughter, Yuffie repeated herself, and Vincent slapped his face again, getting more shaving cream on himself. It even splattered Yuffie across her face, and she snorted in laughter, ducking under the bed as Vincent began to stir. She heard the bed groan and creak as he sat up, then his low growl as he realized that he had shaving cream all over his face and bangs.
"Yuffie," he whispered under his breath, letting out a small burst of swear words before he contained himself. Yuffie cupped her mouth over her lips to muffle her breathing, and soon she saw the bare feet of Vincent Valentine, almost covered by the baggy black hems of his sleeping pants. He paced for a while, searching in the closet, then behind the open door. Finally, as he stopped his hunt, he started to make his way to the bed. His knees appeared, then his face, staring into the darkness and searching for her. Yuffie shrunk back farther into the blackness, hoping desperately that Vincent didn't have some freaky night-vision thing going on, and in her attempt to get out of his line of vision, her leg shot back and kicked the wall. Later, she would see a very large, black scuff mark from her shoe, but she had more important things to worry about.
"Yuffie," he said, eyes jumping immediately to where she lay, curled up like a ball, and she could hear the frown in his voice. "Come out."
"Meow?" she mewled, hoping that Vincent was stupid enough to take the bait. However, despite her hopes, Vincent merely narrowed those rose-red eyes and reached out with his human hand to try and find her.
"Nice try, Yuffie." A fingertip grazed her bare arm, and then those fingers circled around her appendage, pulling gently. She relented, letting herself be dragged across the carpeted floor slowly, until she was completely exposed to Vincent's wrath. The small ninja gulped, smiling shakily at her partner.
"Fancy meetin' you here, Vinny!" she said, talking quickly. "Funny story, this whole thing. Ya see, I noticed that a mouse came into your room, so I just figured I'd be a good person and get it for ya--"
"There are no mice on the Highwind, Yuffie. You know that. Barret…took care of that."
"Yeah, well, one could have gotten on, y'know! Anything's possible!" she protested, pushing herself up and pouted prettily at the red-eyed vampire…thing that was her teammate.
Vincent sighed--which he did a lot in Yuffie's presence--and wiped the shaving cream off his face. "What I'm wondering is why you won't stop pranking me. Cid would have much more amusing reactions."
Yuffie paused, then bit her bottom lip as she thought over what to say. Could she spill the beans, tell him her intentions were not only for her own enjoyment (thought that took up quite a big part of it), but just to get him to smile at her? Or could she make up some ridiculous, unreal story that Vincent would take, because he was too cranky and tired to talk with her anymore?
She decided to take her chances, however, so she opened her mouth and said, "Well, Vince, I've just been tryin' to get you to laugh, smile, anything! You've been down all the time, and I just wanted to--"
"This whole time," he said in a blank voice, interrupting her explanation short, "you've just wanted to see me smile?"
"Uh, yeah?" she replied hesitantly, waiting for his reaction.
And did it come.
First, there was a small sparkle in his eyes, then a shifting of his lips. They were pressed together, compressing harshly, but the corners of his lips began to twitch upwards. He was fighting the chuckle that dare escape.
How childish that Yuffie just wanted to see something happen on his face! What was so exciting about it, anyway? Just a smirk.
Yuffie watched in satisfaction and amazement as a small, barely-there smile ghosted past his lips, then a soft laugh that shook his shoulders. Vincent shook his head, still laughing.
"Ha!" Yuffie jumped up and pointed a finger at Vincent's face, which was red due to his efforts to sustain his laughter. "See? I got you!"
His only response was a tiny wheeze. After a few moments, he controlled his amusement, and he looked at the small ninja girl in front of him, fiery and, frankly, looking very pleased with herself.
"You wanted to see me smile?" he whispered, "just a smile?"
"Just a smile," she confirmed, and gasped aloud as Vincent pulled her in for a warm, soft hug.
"Thank you," he whispered into her hair, splaying his flesh hand along her lower back. "Yuffie."
"Aw, you're welcome, Vinny!" she grinned, and she closed her eyes in response to his warm breath on her face.
In the end, Yuffie won, and somehow she knew that she had gotten a lot more than what she bargained for.