A/N: Here's the last chapter. This one has a little bit of everyone's perspective. Enjoy!
Chapter 9: The Power of Cid
Yuffie squinted into the swirling snows as the Shera touched down just outside of Icicle Village. Next to her stood Vincent, seemingly unaffected by the lashing winds that twirled his cloak around him. Their mission has been unsuccessful; there had been no sign of any 'suspected illicit activities', but that wasn't much of a surprise to Yuffie, considering the whole mission was a bogus lie created for her own conniving uses.
The great loading doors opened, and Yuffie and Vincent shouldered their bags and hoofed it up the ramp. Once inside, they began making their ways through the twisted corridors of steel towards the bridge, Yuffie greeting the crew they passed with a grin and a joke while Vincent just nodded, stoic as always.
Yuffie had to restrain herself from cart-wheeling all the way to the bridge. She was in an excellent mood, mainly due to the fact that every time she opened her phone a picture of Vincent shirtless greeted her. She'd been staring at her background so much her batteries kept running out three times faster than normal.
She was also giddy with the anticipation of talking to Tifa so they could catch up on their various exploits. Plus, there was a possible 200 gil waiting for her, or, more specifically, awaiting her picture.
Yuffie and Vincent arrived at the bridge shortly after boarding. Through the great bay windows, Yuffie could see that ground below them begin to shrink as they took off once more, heading for Edge. The first tendrils of nausea gripped her, but for once she managed to ignore them, thanks to the beaming brunette bartender that was waiting for her.
"Tifa!" she shrieked, and Vincent's expression tightened slightly as his eardrum undoubtedly popped. Ignoring this, Yuffie dropped her bags and ran over to her best friend, enveloping her in a tight hug.
"Hi Pancake," Tifa greeted. "How did the mission go?" she asked, giving her a look that said Details. Now.
Yuffie grinned wickedly. She grabbed her bags once more, and gestured to the exit. "I gotta put these away, I'll tell you as we go." She waved to Cloud, who was reclining in a spare chair, then headed off, Tifa in tow, giving a parting "Laters, Vinnie!" as she left.
As soon as they were out of earshot they sprinted for Yuffie's small room aboard the Shera. Throwing themselves into the room, Yuffie locked the door before joining Tifa, who was sitting on the edge of her bed.
"Well?" Yuffie inquired eagerly, bouncing with excited energy.
Tifa smiled. "I messed up, so no spooning," she started, and Yuffie pouted in sympathy.
"But..." Tifa continued, reaching dramatically into the back pocket of her pants. "I did manage to procure this."
She whipped out the photo of Cloud, sans shirt, with a flourish. Yuffie's jaw dropped, then she cackled with glee, holding up her hand for a high five, which Tifa provided.
"Nice job, Teefs," she grinned at the martial artist. "Shame about the spooning, but at least you got a lil something to remind you of your adventure. Did you do it all according to the plan we came up with?"
Tifa nodded. "He completely forgot I'd taken the picture once I showed him the other one." Yuffie snickered, remembering the photo of what she had dubbed 'Miss Cloud, Queen of Trannies'. "As I expected, he flipped out and destroyed the photo. I forgot to mention that I still have the original, as well as a dozen more copies hidden in various places. How'd you do, though?"
Yuffie shrugged. "Nearly died, and still didn't get spooned, or a picture. Apparently Vince managed to warm me up some other way."
Tifa frowned. "'Apparently'?"
Yuffie shrugged again. "I was unconscious from hypothermia. Anyhoo, I managed a bit of improvisation, and voila. I intend to upload it to my laptop as soon as we get back." She held up her phone, displaying the semi-pornography that adorned her background. Tifa eyed it, eyebrows raised with an impressed expression. Yuffie snapped it shut.
"Hey, stop ogling my guy. You got Cloud."
Tifa wrinkled her nose at her. "I wasn't checking out Vincent, though that's not to say he's not in very nice shape. I'm impressed that you managed to do it. Even Cloud isn't as touchy about his privacy as Vincent. What'd you do to get his shirt off? It looked like he was in a washroom."
"He was. Even introverted vampires shower. A teeny piece of tape on the lock, and all I had to do was walk in and clickeroo."
Tifa nodded. "I guess we're even on the bet then," she pointed out.
"Yup," Yuffie agreed, lying back on the bed with an exaggerated sigh. "Wish I could've gotten spooned though..."
Tifa echoed her sigh. She studied Yuffie for a moment.
"What happened to your forehead?"
An uncontrollable grin broke out across Yuffie's face as she reached up a hand to cautiously poke the jaundiced lump, which had only just begun to shrink again. "Courtesy of the bathroom door opening into my head."
Tifa winced, then narrowed her eyes suspiciously. "Why are you smiling about it?"
Trying to look nonchalant and modest, she replied, "Vinnie took a look at it. He was very gentle about it."
Tifa giggled, punching Yuffie's arm lightly. "You lucky dork."
Yuffie stuck out her tongue in response. "You're just jealous."
Tifa shook her head. "I got to sit behind Cloud on Fenrir for nearly forty hours of travel time. That's forty hours of hugging him."
Yuffie yawned. "Nice. I had to stay up for twenty hours a day to discover when Vince takes his showers."
"When we were at Cid and Shera's, their garbage can burst into flames when me and Cloud were eating breakfast."
Yuffie blinked at her, eyes wide. "How the fuck did ya manage that one?"
Tifa shrugged. "Search me." They sat in silence for a few moments, both reminiscing on their various experiences over the last two weeks. Pursing her lips, Yuffie questioned, "I wonder what Cloud and Vince are talking about right now?"
Cloud and Vincent sat in an out-of-the-way corner of the bridge, lounging comfortably in two chairs as they idly poked around a board of checkers.
"So how did the mission go?" Cloud asked, jumping his red piece over one of Vincent's blacks.
Vincent was silent, studying the board, not speaking until he neatly leaped a black token over two of Cloud's checkers and claimed them.
"Nothing came up. Did the deliveries go alright?"
Cloud nodded, pondering his next move. "Yeah, same old driving and overcharging hotels." He slid a piece up a square.
Vincent stared at the board, unconsciously rolling a checker back and forth across his fingers.
"Yuffie nearly got herself killed," he commented. Cloud looked up from the board at this, eyebrows raised in surprise. Vincent met his gaze evenly, before returning his attention to the game in front of him.
"How'd she manage that?" Cloud asked, checkers temporarily forgotten.
"She thought she'd take a snowboard and head down to the hot springs, apparently. She lost the map she had, and ended up nearly freezing to death after falling into a lake." He cautiously slid one of his own pieces up, attempting to bait Cloud into taking it so he could take three of Cloud's pieces in return.
"Christ," Cloud muttered. "How'd she end up escaping that one?" He ignored Vincent's bait and instead moved another piece up the board.
"I found her," Vincent replied shortly, feeling awkward as he thought about the events of that day. He jumped Cloud's newly moved piece, hopping over a second to land in the back row. "King me."
Cloud, sensing Vincent's discomfort, didn't press the matter. He grudgingly placed a second checker on top of Vincent's piece. He drummed his fingers against the table top, frowning at the board. He glanced at Vincent, debating whether or not to tell him about the more interesting aspects of his latest trip.
He slid another checker up the board, trying to get it out of the immediate vicinity of Vincent's threatening king. Waiting for Vincent to make his move, he made up his mind and decided to tell him.
"I spooned Tifa."
Vincent blinked, looking up at the blonde with a raised eyebrow. "Congratulations?" he offered tentatively.
Cloud snorted at the response, feeling strangely relieved at having told someone. It was nice to have a chance for some guy talk, since he was generally by himself or with Tifa and the kids. "Thanks. She was asleep and doesn't know about it." He thrust out his chin at the board. "Your move still."
A silence fell. Then:
"I spooned Yuffie," Vincent stated, making himself focus on the board as Cloud's jaw dropped out of the corner of his eye.
"You what?" Cloud hissed.
"To save her life," Vincent glowered, red gaze flickering to him. "She was going to freeze to death otherwise."
Cloud leaned back in his chair, pondering this information silently as he studied the ex-Turk.
"You like her, don't you?" he asked as Vincent slid his king back towards the center of the board.
Vincent frowned at him from underneath his cloak. "No, I do not."
Cloud smirked. "Yes, you do," he countered, checker board again forgotten at this new development.
"I. Do. Not," Vincent repeated emphatically.
"Someone's in denial," Cloud said in a sing-song voice, grinning openly now.
"Just because you're desperately in love with Tifa doesn't mean I have the hots for Yuffie," Vincent stated flatly. Cloud's grin disappeared, and he blushed. Vincent allowed himself a small smirk at his victory. Cloud, however, was not about to give up that easily.
"...Did you just say 'hots'?"
Vincent rubbed his forehead with his gloved hand. "It's your move, Cloud," he gestured at the board.
Cloud ignored him, the grin back on his face. "She's rubbing off on you already."
"Cloud, it's your move."
Cloud, still grinning, carelessly moved a checker. "I think she'd be good for you, actually."
Scowling, Vincent captured the newly placed checker. He was feeling very grateful that he hadn't mentioned the fact that Yuffie had been naked and he had been wearing only his boxers. Though he knew that he had only been doing what was necessary, Cloud would undoubtedly have a field day with the bit of information.
Cloud ignored him. "What, you don't agree with me? She's a great kid."
"She is not a kid," Vincent corrected automatically before he could stop himself.
Cloud gave a very feral smile. "Ah, my mistake. I'm thinking you do agree with me then."
"No, I'm not agreeing with you. I'm just saying that Yuffie is no child."
"So what, you think she's stupid or something then?" Cloud pressed, sparing a glance for the board and noting how few of his pieces remained.
"That's not what I said, damn it," Vincent growled, feeling like he was being expertly herded into a corner.
"Well what do you think of her then?" Cloud jumped a lone black piece.
"I think that..." Vincent was feeling very much out of his league, and he didn't like it.
"Your move, and sometime today please," Cloud prompted.
Vincent glared at Cloud, crimson eyes glowing. "I think that you're very lucky it's dangerous to fire weapons on an airship." Without even looking at the board, he jumped two of Cloud's remaining three checkers. "And king me."
Cloud clamped his teeth down, suppressing a laugh as he gave Vincent his second king. He looked at his remaining piece, and gave it up as hopeless, moving it into the path of one of the black checkers. Vincent took it immediately, before leaning back and crossing his arms over his chest. Sighing, Cloud leaned over, collecting his captured pieces and laying them back out for another game. Vincent slowly started repositioning his as well.
Just as they became ready for another round, they were joined by Cid, who plopped down next to them, customary cigarette in place.
"Min' if I join ya? Co-pilot is takin' over for a bit." He gestured to the board with a gloved hand.
"Sure," Cloud said, and Vincent nodded. Cloud moved over, allowing Cid to take his spot. Cid started the game, sliding a red piece towards the edge.
"Hey Cid, can I ask you something?" Cloud asked, observing the game intently.
Cid grunted a confirmation.
"Do you think Yuffie would be good for Vincent?"
Cid blinked at Cloud before throwing a look at Vincent, opening his mouth to exclaim something filled with expletives, but Vincent interrupted.
"I think Cloud should hurry and ask Tifa to marry him before she elopes with Reno, don't you, Cid?"
"Reno?" Cloud exclaimed indignantly. Cid left out a bark of laughter, scrambling to catch his cig as it dropped from his mouth.
"You two are a bunch of fuckin' cowards," he stated bluntly, placing the recovered cigarette back in his mouth. "Call yourselves men, fuckin' pussies can't even tell a lady that ya like her."
"I agree," said Vincent, drawing looks of surprise from the other two men. "That Cloud is a coward, that is," he clarified. "It's obvious Tifa cares for you, and that you care for her, and you still don't do anything."
Cloud scowled. "Speak for yourself, hypocrite."
"For the last time, I don't like Yuffie – "
"Did I hear my name?"
Yuffie suddenly appeared beside them, Tifa popping into view shortly after. Cloud and Vincent froze, while Cid just sat back, drawing on his cig, watching the action with a bemused expression.
Tifa and Yuffie glanced at each other, picking up on the awkward tension. "Did we interrupt something?" Tifa asked, eyebrows raised.
Cloud just stared at her, while Vincent was apparently absolutely enthralled by the checker board. Cid disguised a laugh underneath a cough.
Yuffie frowned at Vincent. If he stared at the board any harder, it was liable to combust into flames. Which was perfectly possible, judging by Tifa's tale of garbage woes.
"Erm, earth to Vinnie?" She waved a hand in front of him. Very slowly, Vincent looked at her.
"Hello, Yuffie," he said, in a rather strangled tone, hurriedly glancing back at the board. Cloud was still staring at Tifa, looking like he'd been hit over the head by a blunt object. Cid aimed a swift kick at him, snapping him out of it. He immediately stared at everything but the barmaid, flushing red.
"What is wrong with you guys?" Yuffie asked, eyeing them as if they all possessed some particularly rare disease.
"Cloud, are you okay?" Tifa questioned, watching the blonde with concern.
Cid's attention was caught by something sticking out of Tifa's back pocket. It looked like the corner of a Polaroid picture. He started inching his hand closer, preparing to snatch it at the opportune moment.
"I'm fine, Tifa, thanks," Cloud said, still not looking at her.
"You guys are weird." Yuffie was eyeing the checker board with a professional's eye. She moved one of Cid's pieces. "Your move, Vince."
Vincent, wishing he was somewhere else, moved a piece at random.
It was then that Cid made his move. With a lunge, he grabbed at the picture corner. Tifa, realizing a split second later what he was aiming for, attempted to move out of the way but ended up banging into Yuffie, knocking her over to sprawl on top of a very surprised Vincent. Cloud just watched, mouth hanging open once more. Cid managed to get a hold of the picture and yanked it out of Tifa's pocket, flinging himself backwards to get out of reach of the martial artist, his chair falling over as he did so. Tifa, already in pursuit, tangled up in the chair, swearing, and Cid took advantage of the stumble to put more distance between them.
Meanwhile, Yuffie lay dazedly on top of Vincent's chest, feeling surprisingly snug. His chair had flipped backward at their collision, and they now lay on the steel deck. Vincent was feeling very awkward, partly due to the hard floor but mostly because of Yuffie's proximity. This, he told himself, only bothered him because it must be very uncomfortable for her.
Cid, seeing that now was his chance to look at his prize, glanced at the picture. With a yelp, he flung it back to Tifa, wiping his hands on his shirt as if they were dirty.
"FUCKIN' A, I DID NOT NEED TO SEE THAT SHIT!"
Tifa scrambled, picking up the picture, looking mortified. "Cid, please, don't tell-"
"What was the picture of?" Cloud asked, curious.
"YOU, YOU FUCKIN' CHOCOBO, YOU AND NO SHIRT, FUCKIN' CLOUD PORN-O-GRAPHY, THAT'S WHAT!"
Cloud looked blankly at Tifa for a moment. The whole bridge had gone still, with even the crew not daring to breathe. From their position on the floor, Yuffie and Vincent watched the proceedings with interest.
"But, I destroyed..." Cloud looked very confused for a moment, face scrunched up as he recalled that fateful day in Frelt. A dawning realization crossed his face. "You used the picture of me in that dress as a distraction, didn't you!?"
Tifa was saved the trouble of answering the accusation by a sputtering Cid.
"WHAT PICTURE OF YOU IN A DRESS?"
"I, er – I had to dress like a woman once to save Tifa from that sick Corneo guy, okay? I'm not a cross-dresser or anything," Cloud said in a rush. Trying to find something else to focus on rather than his own humiliation, he bent down to pick something up.
"Here, Yuffie, you dropped your phone."
Yuffie froze. Tifa sent her a glance mixed with sympathy and relief that the spotlight would soon be focused on someone else .
"Er, thanks Cloud, just pass it here – "
Cloud was staring at the open phone. "What's your background of, Yuffie? It – "
Cloud trailed off, looking from the phone, to Yuffie, and finally to Vincent. Everything was completely silent.
Until Cid came back and looked over Cloud's shoulder.
"Ah, fuck," Yuffie swore.
"WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU TWO?" Cid yelled, gesturing wildly at Tifa and Yuffie.
"Cid, shut up, dammit – "
"What is he so upset about, Yuffie?" Vincent asked, the words slightly quiet from lack of breath thanks to the ninja on top of him.
"Nothing, Vinnie, Cloud, gimme my phone, now, or there is gonna be a lot of pain for you in the near future."
"It's you, Vincent," Cloud said, eyes gleaming with the satisfaction of someone who was about to squeal I was right and you were wrong. "Her background is a picture of you...with no shirt on." He drew out the words, taking an extreme amount of pleasure in them.
Yuffie froze, hand still outstretched. She glanced down at Vincent.
He stared at her, unable to believe it.
"Heh," she giggled weakly. "That was a funny one, wasn't it, Vinnie? Cloud's just joking. Aren't you, Cloud?"
Her tone promised untold tortures. Cloud didn't pick up on it.
"No I'm not, here, I'll show you." Cloud held up the phone so Vincent could get a clear look at it. Yuffie sent him her patented ninja death glare.
Vincent's mouth opened and closed silently as he attempted to think of something to say.
"You look like a fish when you do that, Vinnie," Yuffie stated. "You should be flattered, you know. Only the truly worthy adorn my phone's background. In fact, your picture is the only one ever to be displayed that doesn't have me somewhere in it."
"...You told me you were sending a text message," Vincent choked out.
"I lied, sorry," Yuffie said, giving him a rueful grin. She suddenly realized just how close they were. If she just leaned forward a few inches, she could -
"I think now would be a very good time for me to leave," she blurted, no longer able to meet Vincent's eye as she leapt up, heart pounding as she tried to ignore whatever the fuck she had just been thinking. She snatched the phone away from Cloud and grabbed Tifa, who was busy trying to look as inconspicuous as possible, bodily dragging her from the bridge.
A billowing silence was left in their wake.
Vincent continued staring at the door through which Yuffie and Tifa had made their escape. Cloud was watching Vincent with a satisfied smirk. Cid was rubbing his eyes, attempting to rid them of the images they had been forced to endure. He looked around shortly after, and noticing the complete lack of movement, bellowed, "BACK TO WORK, YOU LAZY ASSWIPES!" The crew jumped, and immediately went about trying to look occupied.
That dealt with, Cid looked at Cloud, who was still smirking. Noticing his look, Cloud turned his gaze onto the pilot.
Cid just shook his head. "Goddamn cross-dresser..." he muttered, stalking off.
Cloud's smirk disappeared.
Vincent gradually sat up, finally looking away from the door. He slowly looked over to Cloud.
Cloud looked at Vincent.
"What have we gotten ourselves into?" Cloud murmured rhetorically.
Vincent answered anyways.
"Something far worse than Sephiroth, I think."
Cloud nodded. He couldn't agree more.
"Cid is my hero. Seriously, we should do divine intervention with him more often," Zack exclaimed, grinning, his eyes still watering from laughing so hard.
Aerith nodded in agreement. "He certainly makes things exciting." She turned to her partner in crime. "Now, I believe the two weeks are up, and the bet is officially finished."
Zack turned to her, shrugging. "We tied. Yuffie and Tifa both got pictures but were unaware of their wonderful spooning experiences. Bet's nullified."
Aerith pursed her lips, wishing she could disagree but knowing he was right. "Yeah, I suppose."
They both turned to view the scene below them once more.
"Ya know, things are starting to get very interesting," Zack mused.
Aerith slowly nodded, watching idly as Yuffie and Tifa ran for their rooms, both looking extremely humiliated at what had just transpired. "Mm, they certainly are."
Zack glanced sidelong at her. "I think there's still work to be done."
Aerith turned her head to regard him. "I would have to agree, Mr. Fair."
Zack cracked his knuckles and slowly stretched out his neck. "How would you propose we go about this next step, Miss Gainsborough?"
Aerith grinned. Zack was strongly reminded of Yuffie whenever she came up with some particularly evil scheme, and felt rather afraid.
"Oh, I have some ideas."
A/N: And that is all, dear readers. As you may be able to tell, there are sequels planned – I'm not sure whether I'll write another chapter fic or follow up with a series of oneshots. But oh, I have some ideas.
Thank you for all the reviews and support. I love you all.
If you enjoy my writing (which I hope is this case, since this is the ninth chapter), you can check out my profile for more fics.
And here is a 'trailer' of my current WIP. This one is serious business. Drama, Mystery, Angst, Romance, all that jazz. Consider it a bonus for sticking with Spoons.
Bonne chance et bon soir!
The following preview has been approved for ALL AUDIENCES, by me. Rated M for Mature. Anything here is subject to change.
"Where are you?"
Five men stand rigidly at attention, dressed in black combat fatigues.
"It starts tonight."
A black, unmarked helicopter chops through the air, shrouded in clouds of snow.
"Does that mean she's awake?"
A woman lies unmoving in a tube, suspended in mako
The woman's face twitches. Her eyes open.
Two years after the fall of DeepGround, the elders of Cosmo Canyon are brutally executed.
Nanaki stands by the statue of his father, howling raggedly into the night sky.
"What do we know about this? What did they want?"
Yuffie sips a cup of tea, looking over a brightly decorated Wutainese street.
"It appears they were after two sets of documents."
Tifa hums to herself as she washes dishes in Seventh Heaven.
Reno sits at a computer, reading a classified file. At the top, the word 'AVALANCHE' can be seen.
"The first deals with WEAPONS."
Cloud speeds down a highway on Fenrir
"The research done by a student of planet studies, named Fuhito."
Cid stands at the wheel of an airship, Vincent standing silently behind him.
Reeve sits at a desk, his head in his hands.
"We're not sure."
Cloud takes a corner. As he turns, his eyes widen in surprise.
"But nothing good will come of this."
A RPG rams into Fenrir, tossing the bike and its rider into the air.
"Who are they?"
A man, dressed stylishly in a white suit, enters Seventh Heaven.
"A street gang, by all outward appearances."
A redheaded man serves coffee in a cafe.
"They got a name?"
On an autopsy table, a body is lifted to reveal a branded 'L' on the right shoulder blade.
"The Loveless, they call themselves."
A crowded Junon street, full of afternoon shoppers, becomes filled with screams as an explosion rips through a store.
"This is no street gang."
Yuffie dives away, as machine gun fire tears up the earth where she was standing.
"This is war at its worst."
A man roars in defiance, firing an aged rifle as a tide of men rushes towards him.
"And I fear it will consume the entire world."
A hulking man slices through a squad of WRO soldiers, grinning.
Tifa hugs Marlene and Denzel closer as they stare at a television where the news is playing.
"Junon is completely obscured by smoke, all contact with local WRO has been lost-"
Believing the threat to be over, the world has let down its guard.
Barret blasts away at something, as Rude sprints past him.
In the peace, a new threat has festered, and now it strikes.
"I am a monster. And monsters conquer the world."
"What the heck was that?"
The hulking man from earlier laughs. A black tattoo of a dragon rests above his right eyebrow.
A gloved hand clutches a folder tightly.
"The Gelnika, the one that crashed."
"What about it?"
Aerith watches helplessly as a flower withers and dies.
"Who are you?"
A man stands on the Junon cannon. He clutches a red rapier in one hand.
Zack lays on his back, blinking up into the rain, riddled with bullet holes.
"My wish for tomorrow shall shatter my soul. For the price of my pride."
A single black feather drifts downward, landing lightly on a drift of snow.
"Flight is no more for my wing has shattered."
Dreams of Grey