Disclaimer: Don't own.

Over and Over

The first time that she fell, it was more literal than emotional. She had fearlessly led the way down those stairs, deep into the belly of the earth, heedless of her teammates' caution and fatigue. If there was anything down there, she – the Great Ninja Yuffie – was going to be the first to find it. And if possible (especially if it was materia) she was going to claim it for herself.

In her eagerness, she had slipped in the inches thick dust on the steps and gone head over heels down the last few, sprawling headlong on the even dustier floor. And then she had noticed that there was a freaking coffin there. Her screech had probably been heard in Kalm.

Approximately one hour later, she was staring shamelessly at their newest companion. He did not glare, or yell for her to stop it – didn't even ask. He simply looked right back at her with unflinching, dead-looking red eyes that fascinated and repulsed her in equal measure. Then he turned away and followed the group.

She continued to fall for him through that journey – every time she learned something new, she lost a little more of herself to him.

It was small things at first – her cursory curiosity. Are you sure you're not a vampire?

Then her deeper curiosity. Hey, Broody, why were you sleeping in that coffin?

Genuine interest was next in line. Hey, Vinnie, why are you always going on about 'atoning for your sins'?

By the time they parted ways, her curiosity and interest were snagged on him like a particularly stubborn burr. And she never questioned why this peculiar, brooding man should attract so much of her concern – why should she?

Two years passed, and it became apparent that he didn't even need to be present for her to fall – she lost her concern, her worry and then her fear to him by the time he resurfaced to help them fight the Sephiroth Remnants. When that incident ended, she point-blank refused to leave him alone like he clearly wanted, turning up at the mansion a week after they had parted, to – in her words – 'make sure that you haven't fallen back into your vampiric ways!' Somehow, the idea of him going back to his coffin was almost painful to her.

That was about the time that she had noticed that she was feeling a bit empty when he wasn't around, and the implications of this terrified her. She left without warning.

A year passed, and she found herself back with him again, teaming up against those Deepground freaks. She hadn't meant to get so involved, but that was before she saw that freakish lady literally reach inside Vincent's chest. That was before she saw him slump over, a gaping, bleeding hole in his chest. She barely thought – she jumped down from her vantage point, caught the lady's attention, threw a flashbomb and high-tailed it out of there, half carrying, half supporting the unconscious gunslinger.

When she saw the wound knitting itself up right in front of her, she recognized the swooping feeling in her stomach not only as relief but the sensation of another fall.

He woke a few hours after that, and such was her happiness that she lost her balance as she cavorted around – something she was sure she had trained herself out of – and smacked her head against the side of the Shadowfox. Despite her demands for sympathy, it was inexplicably right to her that his 'compassion' was delivered in his usual monotone, with only the slightest of lilts to express his amusement.

She fell again not much further into that conversation – or perhaps 'melted' would be a better description. She had been teasing about his need for rescue, bragging, in fact, that it had been her to haul him out of there, asking if he was going to thank her. She didn't expect it – he had never thanked her, not that he had had much to thank her for – and was consequently struck dumb when he made a sound that might have been interpreted as a chuckle.

Which was, of course, patently ridiculous – Vincent Valentine did not chuckle. Not ever. Just smiling would make his face crack and fall off, a laugh – she didn't want to think about it.

But it was harder to dismiss the gratitude in his voice when he said, "Thanks, Yuffie."

"N-no, no - I didn't mean for you to take me so seriously!" That's what she said. Which was her way of saying, I'd do anything for you, no questions asked and no thanks necessary.

Her denial had pretty much stopped then – Vincent Valentine, completely unbidden, was holding her heart that way she might hold a piece of materia. The way that the crazy lady had held the materia she had ripped from Vincent's chest. In a crazy way – a way that only teenagers and hopeless romantics can appreciate – that image comforted her. Her heart was a piece of materia, and Vincent had stolen it from her.

Now, how to get it back…?

I wrote this months ago. I said to myself I'd post when I finished playing Dirge of Cerberus, but that came and went. I couldn't bring myself to edit it, because I was lazy. But I finally got around to it.

I love Vincent and Yuffie's dynamic, and once I heard the song 'Over and Over' by Three Days Grace, a lot of things just clicked together for me. I wrote the summary down in my notebook at 9 PM at night, stared at it for a moment, then got up, went to the study and spent an hour writing the original. Rarely am I so inspired.

So, hope you enjoyed, and please leave a review!