when summer comes

6.25.2007 – 7.1.2007

AN: Run-on sentences. A lot of run-on sentences. Almost stream-of-consciousness run-on sentences. Yuffie-dialogues may possibly break your brain. But she's awesome like that. Also, monotonous terseness. A lot of terseness. Almost choppy terseness. Vincent's awesome like that as well. Except he doesn't break your brain; our Valentine is a heartbreaker instead – as he should be

As always – standard disclaimers apply. Poem quoted is by Li Po, translated by Ezra Pound.

Summary: "You are not shaving my hair off to sell to a wigmaker." Yuffie and Vincent and a day in Costa del Sol: on butter suns and shoes-cum-bullets, pretty foreheads and fashion advice. On how to say goodbye, and why not to. One-shot.

Reviewers brighten my world.

and if you ask how i regret that parting:

it is like the flowers falling at Spring's end

confused, whirled in a tangle

The sun in Costa del Sol is always a little brighter, yellower than anywhere else. This is what Yuffie thinks on occasion, which is not very often because she's not one for much reflection and introspection and how does that make you feel? brooding shit. That's Vincent's domain. Sometimes, though, the thought flits into consciousness like a minnow in sunlit water, flickering and insubstantial; in between damn, snowcone's melting, hands are getting all sticky, how 'm I supposed to be stealthy with sticky fingers and why did that man just put a banana in his pant pocket, she'll look up, head craning back, and think the sun more butter than gold, friendly and warm and dripping light in great luminant splashes.

Then her snowcone melts some more, trickling sugar water over her fingers, seeping into the cracks of her fist, oozing over her knuckles. Her ruminations are broken. She yelps in surprise and hastily licks her hand clean, and done with that, sets jauntily off to do whatever happens to be kickass that week – stealing materia or stealing gil or stealing boyfriends. She's never had much success with that last one because she's never tried it (but the fact that it's there as an option is comforting, because just in case), since materia and gil are much more kickass than boys. (Being kickass is very important to Yuffie. She's a little scrawny-looking in any case, and boys are more likely to pat her on the head and or ruffle her hair or clap her shoulder, laughing raucously, than entertain thoughts of teenage hormonal groping with her in some closet. Yuffie is certain this is due to a deficiency on their part and not hers. She's a kickass ninja, after all; who wouldn't want to grope her nonexistent boobs?)

Costa del Sol is as good a place as any other for her home-away-from-home, and better than many others. It's large, sprawling, full of people – exuberant, alive, loud, thrumming with laughter and chatter and sunlight. Which is why she never expected to scrape into Vincent Valentine. But expectations are made to be broken, she's learned (among other clichés), and scrape into him she does. He looms wordlessly over her on the sidewalk, shadow falling dark and silent – and she looks up at him, has to tilt her head far back and squint a little. He eclipses the sun for her. She cannot make out his face (which makes her a little sad, because the man has such a pretty face), but the sun halos him, a silhouette against shining radiance, and she almost guffaws at the sick, sick irony and ohgodit'snotfunny.

"Hi, Vinnie," she bounds forward, not quite hugging him (she's bravely, fearlessly, courageously kickass but not stupid) though still invading his personal space. She knows it, from the way he twitches and sighs and steels himself from taking a step backward. "Where've you been? How've you been? My Gawd, aren't you hot and sweaty and dying under than hideous contraption of torture you dare call clothes? You poor heatstricken man. We must do something about this, Vinnie – it's like eighty bazillion degrees and my blood's evaporating, how can you still wear a cloak? This had better not be some masochistic part of your 'woe, woe, penance' fetish or –"

"Hello, Yuffie," he says in his deep gravelly voice, monotonously long-suffering. As he had feared, she turns and walks with him, invades his personal space some more – chattering brightly and dancing around him, prancing, bouncing, sidestepping, dragging him forward and pushing from behind, poking his arm and prodding his shoulder, stooping down to tie her shoes and he thinks maybe, maybe, she's lost interest, maybe, maybe she's left, maybe, maybe but then she's up again, always up again, and he walks, pace steady and slow and patient, unwavering as she butterflies around him, skipping and hopping and boogying sometimes and people are staring at that that crazy girl, the total nutcase. She does not cling to him (he is almost thankful) and she wanders off sometimes (he is almost more thankful) – but she never strays far, always within arms distance (but Vincent has long arms, quite long) and always comes back, because, she'll say later, he eclipsed the sun for her after all.

(after all. – but what is all of nothing, the forever of never? what is a sun that will not shine? and what of us?)

"Let's go to the beach," she enthuses after making him pay for three snowcones and a floppy sun hat. He'd protested, of course; everyone did when she spent their money, bitching, complaining, refusal like a battlecry – Vincent only a little though: a grave, solemn Yuffie and slight tightening of his lips before he acquiesced, relaxed, nodded all right, what would you like? (But Vincent does not bitch, does not know how to bitch – and his mournful counting of change somehow instills in her what bitching fails, something fluttering and raw and putrid like guilt, but that's ridiculous because she's not doing anything wrong, what's a couple hundred gil between friends?) "We can build sandcastles, yo. It'll be totally fun. I like fun. You don't, of course, but that's because you are weird and unwise in the ways of the world, though I am slowly curing you of that terrible affliction, so I think you should in gratitude buy me another snowcone and sunglasses like Rude's."

He stares at her, eyes crimson and sharp, expression odd – he's looking at her funny, why's he looking at her funny? – something at once perplexed and clear in those eyes, flinty yet bleeding. It's an expression she's never seen on him – eyes so young and confused and twenty-seven and that's not the broody moody I-have-a-demon-inside-I-know-all Vincent she teases. Something in them makes her pause, fidget, feel awkward and gangly, too short but still too large, too insignificant but still too noticeable. He's repeating her words in that pretty angsty head of his, but he doesn't (isn't supposed to) do that with her, not with her. Her skin feels too loose as if everything inside had shriveled and all that emerges from the nothingness within is her inane laughter, shrill and nervous and tittering. "Ah ha ha ha," she says, "you think sunglasses are kickass too, then? I think they make people look manly – stoic and silent and tall and – oh my god I sound like a transvestite – "

Those vermillion eyes are still focused on her, calm and intense and unblinking (it's been fourteen seconds, what's wrong with him, people are supposed to blink every six seconds, it's a scientific fact) – like the sun that burns itself out in the sky above, burning and leaking energy, burning and leaking life, and one day, she knows, one day it's going to boom, go boom and explode and then there won't be a leak. "Vinnie?" she asks, hating how small her voice sounds, how little, how young, how like a child. She wants lungs like Barret's, a voice box like Barret's, and then she could talk in grand booming roars and nobody would take the Great Ninja Kisaragi Yuffie for some mere pick-pocketing girly waif and –

Vincent opens his mouth. Closes it. Thinks a moment longer, and says instead (because it isn't what he wanted needed had to say), says, mumbles, mutters, soft and quiet and he needs to enunciate, poor man, "Aa."

That's it. "That's it?" she frowns, "Nothing like no, Yuffie, why would you want a penis or no, Yuffie, you don't sound like you want to undergo transsexual surgery or no, Yuffie, your boobs will grow into you one day or no, Yuffie, you need to stay a girl so we can make beautiful babies or – or – geez, Vinnie, geez."

He thinks about this, tilting his head fractionally to one side. She's spent enough time with him (a lot of time, tens of thousands of years of one-sided conversations and back to back battles and going to sleep to his slightly rasping breathing and waking up to his voice saying polite and distant and no-quite-exasperated "Yuffie, please, wake up" and that's really something, she's always thought, warm and fuzzy inside, that's really something because she's the devil to wake up and he's only not-quite-exasperated) – sufficient time to know he's carefully considering what she's said and she wants to hit him over the head (but he's so tall and she's so not!) because she's making a joke, she's being funny, or at least, she would be if there was someone around to appreciate the humor

"I am not buying you another snowcone," he says finally.

"Cheapskate," she sticks her tongue out at him, crosses her arms, and waits for him to cave.

"It is for your own good," he replies, firm and serene, does not cave.

Yuffie fumes. "Why not? It's so hot and –"

"You will vomit," he tells her. This is true; her stomach is cramping all sorts of horrible and another shock of cold might do it for her but really – she doesn't need him telling her what's best –

"Nuh-uh!" she scowls, adamant, and almost stomps her foot.

"Highwind," he replies, blinking morosely at her. (Vincent is the only person she knows capable of emoting through his eyelids – she wonders why he can't extend that trait to his voice.) Why, his eyelids ask, why are you making me prove my point?

"Ffngrr," she swears, glaring balefully at him, and clapping a hand to her mouth rushes to the nearest bush to be violently sick. Mercifully, nothing comes up; her intestines do not explode and her teeth do not fizzle into stumps from more stomach acid. "That was despicable of you, Vincent Valentine, and I'm sure that I would never do anything as meanly contemptible as that. Do you see me exploiting your weaknesses, forcing you to do things you don't want to do?" A sudden gust of wind nearly sweeps her hat away, and Vincent looks, in his own blank way, ironically amused. "No, you do not. In fact, if it were you puking your guts out for some reason that is not your fault – I would never make fun of you for that. I would never capitalize off that. No! I would be there while you heaved and heaved and heaved in agony and I would hold your beautiful man hair back for you – " Yuffie pauses to look at his beautiful man hair, lustrous locks glinting blue-black under the sun, like those shampoo commercials she sees every once in a while on television. She wonders a moment (a crazy irrational minnow-in-water moment) why his hair doesn't glint red-black because Vincent totally defines red-black and decides it's because – "You'd look good in blue, Vinnie." He doesn't even blink at this non sequitur. "Red's too angry for you, doesn't suit your pallor. You don't have the ruddy complexion for it. I have the ruddy complexion for it – I can therefore wear red and green and everything including puce, which just goes to show how awesome I am because nobody can wear puce, the word sounds too much like puke. Except me, because I've got olive skin and that's just amazing. I'm amazing. So you should listen to me and switch over to blue and I've been spending too much time with Tifa, haven't I?"

Vincent tells her gravely, "Yes."

"You should still take my fashion advice, because that's the last bit of advice you're going to get from me in a long time, mister. I don't know how you're going to survive without your Yuffie telling you to eat your vegetables and drink your tea and iron your clothes –"

He looks at her, a great confused stillness in his gaze. "You do not tell me any of that."

"That's not the point. And I totally would if I had to or got the chance – whichever came first. I would nag you, Vincent Valentine. Do you know why? Because I am pissed off. I am hurt. I am upset. I hope you know that – I hope you're weeping bitter tears of – of – I don't even know, you probably have some crazy-ass five syllable word for it, since you practically wallow in it all the time – but you've pained me and offended me and I cannot be friends with people who do that. In fact, you couldn't even sink lower if you stole my materia. I can never forgive you," she intones, dark and ominous.

"Yuffie," says Vincent, a strange lilt in his voice, and it's like the strange expression his eyes, terrible and beautiful and somewhere in between, all at once. "Yuffie – "

"Unless you're still willing to buy me those sunglass," she babbles, unwilling to hear what he has to say in that peculiar tone. "Sunglasses are kickass, after all. You know? Well – no, you probably don't, since you don't do kickass, but that cloak of yours is pretty neat-o. Swoosh. So dramatic. Swoosh." She makes accompanying hand gestures, fingers fluttering, "Swoosh. The shoes, however, are holding you back. The shoes are not cool, Vincent, and that is my solemn opinion as a girl. Metal pointy shoes, Vinnie, have no redeeming factor – zilch, zip, zero, and further such z-words. Unlike sunglasses, you see, which are composed entirely of sparkly win. Therefore, you should buy me a pair."

"All right," says Vincent, patient and quiet.

(all right? – you are simple in ways i have never learnt – but i study your silences in their infinite variety. – what have you taught vinnie? what is infinite and what varies? what is all and what is nothing? who are you, and you to me? – and oh)

Oh. "And this is why you are my most favorite person in the world, Vinnie old friend," she crows, latching to his left arm and steering him down the street to a sunglass vendor. The upper portion of his arm is human, all lean muscles and wiry slimness, but the forearm and hand is golden, burnished metal. She drums her fingers on that, little ping-ping sounds; a steady, rhythmic tattoo she taps on his claw and then she's humming, whistling, bawling loudly my bonnie is over the ocean, my bonnie is over the sea. He tries to shift away, to extricate himself out of her grasp, skittish and awkward and embarrassed and tense, but she clamps down harder, warningly, bares her teeth at him in mock menace, and he concedes defeat, because this isn't necessarily uncomfortable, because he doesn't want to use force and accidentally hurt her, because, because, and Vincent has a thousand because's. He's still not happy with this (Vincent just doesn't touch people), the faint contraction of his brows unseen because no one can see his eyebrows. But Yuffie can tell (she's had practice) – his bandanna wrinkles a little (only a little; he's not one for expressions and his facial muscles are stiff with disuse, rusty with neglect, probably atrophying and grossness, really, but what a waste) and Yuffie thinks Vincent probably has a beautiful forehead, the loveliest forehead in the world, one that ladies swoon over, which is why he keeps it covered because random women unconscious on the streets is not conducive to public welfare. Probably also why half his face is covered by his hair – Vincent's face tends to have that effect as well. In fact, now that she thinks about it, his general appearance left people fainting, like that time in that cellar, in that coffin, but for different reasons entirely.

"Vinnie, Vinnie," says Yuffie in a sudden burst of affection, something warm and molten and glowing sloshing around inside, and she might have thought hemorrhage but it's golden and she's never captured sunlight in this way before, sunshine within. "Vinnie, Vinnie," Yuffie repeats, "Vinnie, Vinnie," she almost sings, the syllables languorous and childlike on her tongue, merry and bright with mirth. His name has never been uttered thus; he is renamed, rechristened in her laughter, her joy. "Vinnie, Vinnie, can we get the wrap-around kind with the cool reflective lenses? The one-way mirror kind? That'd be so kickass. No one would be able to see my eyes. Godo's always rambling about how you have to look people in the eye when you talk to them and blah blah blah boooo-ooooring – "

So he buys those sunglasses. She will not buy them for herself because Yuffie has always been miserly. Vincent, however – Vincent has long given up material possessions (the Guns do not count; they are his soul if he had one, his heart if it wasn't dead, his everything which is still nothing). He doesn't need money, and he doesn't know why he has it; currencies change, inflation persists, economies collapse and rebuild themselves and nothing is eternal but he is. He doesn't need money because it doesn't last, and nothing he buys with it lasts and what is the use of ownership, of possession, if it all becomes dust dust dust – he's going to live forever after all.

But Yuffie's teaching him to live now. So Vincent is generous and Yuffie beams smiles grins bubbles happiness, exuding joy like the sun exudes warmth and in Vincent's heart flutters a shadow of that emotion.

"So, so, we're going to the beach now, right, Vinnie?" Yuffie doesn't wait for an answer (they're often no and it's better, she's learned, to assume yes and worry about things afterwards and hope people are practical and believe in a philosophy of what's done is done), and drags him by the arm again, looking back up at him sometimes, and he sees himself in her 'bitching sweet lenses,' a distorted image, shorter and rounder, hair less unkempt and face a little less lean, a little less pale, but still wholly Vincent. He wonders if this is how she sees him.

(what are snowflakes like through your eyes? am I but red on black on red? can you name all the shades of blood, in sunrise and sunset and the midday zenith? what is a sun that will not shine? – and who is vinnie?)

"I have no idea how you're going to swim unless you're willing to strip," she tells him dubiously, "and you're in a real pickle, buddy, because I know everything, so I suppose you'll just have to not swim – it's the shoes, Vinnie, it's the shoes. They're metal."

"Yes, Yuffie," says Vincent, not quite sure what he's agreeing with, not quite concerned either way.

"I going to have to take you back with me to Wutai one day," Yuffie declares, "And then you'll have to take your shoes off because that's custom and you're such a stickler for propriety it's not even funny. And then you'll have tea with Godo and Godo will be like blah blah blah I have nothing important to say blah blah I'm an old fart way past his prime blah blah and you'll be like dot dot dot I'm Vincent Valentine and I'm capable of emoting through ellipses and I'll steal your shoes. And then I'll have someone melt them. Into bullets. That's like the best idea I've had in the last five minutes. Awesomeness. I'm going to turn your shoes into bullets. You'll be much happier after than, Vinnie, trust me." She pats his arm consolingly, nodding sagely, and tells him again, "It really is the shoes, Vinnie."

"Yes, Yuffie," says Vincent.

"Although I still think you should've bought me that last snowcone," Yuffie grouses, and Vincent tries to understand where that 'although' came from. "Bu-uut – I forgive you. And that's some damn special forgiving, Vinnie, because I love snowcones. You can make it up to me – "

"I thought you had forgiven me already?" He asks.

"You can make it up to me," she repeats, stridently ignoring him, "by lending me your cloak. Don't look at me like that – I'm not going to piss on it. I just – I don't want to get sand up the ass, and my shorts are kind of …" Yuffie pushes her sunglasses up, settling them on the top of her head, and twists around to look at her behind. Vincent very solemnly does not. "…Short," she concludes. "Why are you making that face, you jerk? The sand's really hot."

"Aa," he says, succinctly, and gives her the cloak, or she takes it from him, or some strange combination thereof. (Somehow, it is easier to breathe, as if everything is lighter and cooler and brighter and Yuffie and he does not, cannot understand. Why, he thinks, and how? And then: what?) Yuffie makes him stand next to her while she crouches down by two kids and makes up some crazy silly story about looming, bloodthirsty, pretty vampires and why the two should scram if they know what's good for them (and she's just concerned about their welfare, really, as an act of public charity and totally not wanting the prime real estate over which they're currently squatting). The taller of the two kids squints up at Vincent, who, though blank and expressionless, does not like the scrutiny, the impending shriek of terror.

None comes.

"You old hag," snarls the boy, scowling at Yuffie, "Your boyfriend's like – crazy looking, yeah, but not cool enough to be a vampire. Do I look like a retard to you?"

"Hey, sucker," Yuffie holds up a fist, scowling right back, as Vincent blinks in confused relief, "I'll make you look like a retard, how's about that? Who the hell are you calling hag, anyhow? Didn't I tell you to scram? Didn't I?"

In the end, Yuffie proves to be scarier than Vincent, and she gloats happily about this while watching with a sense of accomplishment the two boys flee howling away. "I," she tells him, spreading his cloak on the sand, sitting down cross-legged and comfortable, "am so much better at intimidation tactics than you, Vinnie. You may proceed to spontaneously combust with shame now."

"Spontaneous," he replies quietly, "is to occur, by definition, without external cause, Yuffie. I cannot be spontaneous if you tell me to – "

"You can't be spontaneous period," she replies, huffing. "Logic is so overrated, Vinnie; work with me here. But whatever. Here we are, at the beach, you and me and sand. It'd be such a hot threesome – um, okay, no? Okay. Okay… So, what do you want to do?" She asks with strange consideration, a flash of kind thoughtfulness. He ponders for a moment.

"I do not know," Vincent admits at length, "It…has been awhile since I have been to the beach."

"How long," she demands suspiciously.

"A few decades," he answers, though that's cheating because he's counting the three that he spent asleep in a cellar. Nonetheless, she lets out a strangled gasp, several syllables long, wide-eyed with horror.

"Terrible," she declares, and bows her head a moment, as if in respectful silence. He is still standing, and shifts a little, bemused. "I feel for you, Vincent," Yuffie tells him thickly, "The pain must be unbearably tragic." And so saying, she puts a hand to her forehead and flings herself onto the ground.

"…Yes," he manages, still a little bewildered, and then tries not to stare at her petite, scantily clad figure lying on top of his scarlet cloak. It is not difficult, he notes with relief, but the urge itself had been disturbing.

(for whom? – closets are for cloaks. do you (un)remember closets? grainy wood and mingled breaths in the faint light of the crack under the door shining dim and pale and glowing on your beautiful, beautiful skin and what is it to be twenty-seven? can you remember and can you forget and that dampness of umbrellas and rain hats. what is twenty-seven and seventeen and what is the difference, the non-difference, (in)congruence and the eternal? what is the all of nothing and why have you red eyes?)

Yuffie springs to her feet. "Well! We'll remedy this right away," she says in that resolute way Vincent sometimes remembers in nightmares, and departs. He watches in mildly horrified consternation as she stalks up to the two boys who had ran away from her, and after a bit of low conversation and grinding her right fist into her left palm, Yuffie comes skipping back to him, a plastic bucket in one hand and a tiny purple shovel in the other.

Vincent thinks he should probably say something about this, and wonders how Tifa or Cloud or even Cid would react. But he is not Tifa or Cloud or Cid, he is Vincent, and in the end, it is not Vincent's place or right or need to chastise anybody. Still.

"That was," he searches for a proper adjective but all he can manage is, "unkind, Yuffie."

"I know!" she shouts, bizarrely gleeful, as if it is a good thing to be selfishly unkind. Vincent wonders a little, but says no more on the matter. "We're going to build sandcastles, Vinnie!"

"Yes, Yuffie."

And they do.

Or rather, she does, sloppily, and he, finally sitting down, watches quietly, building castles of an entirely different, more insubstantial nature. Chaos giggles somewhere in the back of his mind, high-pitched snickers like the ones that used to float from Tifa and Aerith's tent a long time ago. Silence, Vincent commands, but Chaos does not listen, never listens, and titters in that delighted way because it has been so long since Vincent has wanted.

Eventually, the sun begins to set and Vincent says to Yuffie, "It is late. And the tide is rising."

"Oh," says Yuffie, "All right," and sticks a twig in one turret. "Well," she dusts her hands, scrambling to stand up, "How do you like my castle, Vinnie? It's beautiful, isn't it? It's gorgeous. I don't normally go for the whole castle thing, of course, since pagodas or admittedly more kickass, but since I built this, you know it's hot stuff."

Vincent looks a long moment at the misshapen lump of sand that Yuffie has packed into the shape of a molehill. He is quiet.

"Okay, well, I'm going to return the bucket to the two little twerps," she smiles a little, and he, oddly, feels something relax inside, like faith, or trust, or something brighter than either of those. He feels, perhaps, relief. "You wait here," she commands, as if he is two years old, or a dog, or a two-year-old dog. Yuffie disappears a moment later, and Vincent sits quietly for a while, patient and waiting. It is a strange, half forgotten feeling to wait; he has unremembered much of how to expect.

When Yuffie comes back, she picks up his cloak and shakes it clean of sand and hands it back to him. "Hey, thanks for this. I know you don't like to part with your teddy blanket. Chivalrous of you. But, Vinnie, if you want to grow up to be a real gentleman, you've got to start anticipating. Yuffie, beautiful damsel, allow me the honor of cushioning your fine tush with the clothes off my back."

"Aa," he replies, refastening the buckles. She observes with a slightly wistful air as the lower portion of his face is hidden from view. "Shall we part ways now?"

(no no no – it is like flowers falling at Spring's end and vinnie vinnie vinnie am i more than the sakura petal against the sky of your grey dawn? vinnie vinnie vinnie –what of us and not-us, and what are we outside of that? what is the 'us' apart, the all of nothing?)

"I suppose," Yuffie answers reluctantly, toeing the sand. She draws a y, draws a v – hurriedly scratches it all out. He pretends not to see; does not understand anyway. Abruptly, she flings her arms around him, face buried a little above his stomach. From somewhere beneath his chest (his diaphragm, probably, that's why it's so difficult to breathe), she says muffedly, "It was good seeing you again, Valentine."

He stands awkward and stiff and looks down at her dark head.

"But you've got to stop taking me on these dates," she says to his spleen, and then looks up at him, grinning and cheeky. "It's enough to turn a girl's head, you know."

"Yuffie, I – "

She squeezes a little harder and he obeys her unspoken command to shut up. "Try not to break too many hearts before I see you again. You're a menace to the public welfare, I know, with your face and your voice and your chivalry, but refrain from flirting with every girl you come across. Some of them are dangerous, young man – you're still in your salad days, and foolishly reckless with your heart, and ignorant of certain unsavory elements out there, which is why I impart my vast wisdom on you right now to save you much desolate sorrow. And don't do anything stupid, hear? Like going back to that dumb coffin or avoiding sunlight or something. Big growing boys like you need your Vitamin D."

The left corner of his lips might have quirked a little; she can't quite tell in the shadows of the fading sun. "Yes, Yuffie."

"And drink your tea," she continues, "Eat your vegetables. Iron your clothes – "

"Yes, Yuffie."

She is silent for a very long time, face hidden again, and he looks over her head at the ocean. His hands are limp at his sides; something tremors in them, like a twitch, and he wonders why. Yuffie's shoulder quaver for a brief second, relaxes, and then she steps back, looks at him a long moment, a long, quiet, solemn moment – and smirks. "Well, bye. It's been fun. Let's do this again – "

"Let's," he says, wryly, "May I have my materia back?"

"Dammit," she hisses under her breath, but reaches into her pockets and returns his clinking materia. He thanks her gravely and she grouches something profane. Then there is silence again. She shifts nervously. "Well – I suppose – I'll see you in Wutai, Vinnie, sometime soon. I'm issuing a formal invitation right now to come and sip tea with my old man. Preferably in the next two months – after that, I'm putting a bounty on your head. For reference, how much do you think your head is worth? Actually – while we're on that subject – how much do you think your hair is worth, Vinnie? How much would a wigmaker pay for it? Just out of curiosity, I - "

"You are not shaving my hair off to sell to a wigmaker, Yuffie," he tells her very sternly.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, wasn't planning to," she mumbles, "Like your hair for m'self anyway."

He smiles very minutely, very gently at her. "Goodbye, Yuffie."

"The hell you talking about, retarded asshole?" she snarls, "See you later. None of this dumb goodbye shit, what'd I say about being stupid? And I say it first – hate being on the receiving end of things. Later, Vinnie. And two months, hear? Two." Yuffie wriggles her fingers in a wave, and turns and slouches away, hands in pockets, every so often kicking up a splash of seawater. The tide is crawling up to her ankles now.

He looks down at the little waves buffeting Yuffie's blob of sand. The castle is crumbling into mush, he observes, and glances back up at the retreating back of its creator. He turns and walks (somewhere, anywhere, but no longer nowhere) away. Vincent's castles remain.

till we had nothing but thoughts and memories in common

and then, when separation had come to its worst,

we met

The author does not necessarily condone bullying little boys for plastic buckets and tiny purple shovels. But Yuffie is a sucky role model to have, in any case. Forgive the pretentiousness of the parenthetical italics - they were written a little past midnight, and incoherence (as well as insanity) is showing. In fact, please forgive the general incoherence of the piece.

One day, I will write something that makes sense.

Reviews would be lovely.