"A ninja's gotta take on pirates sometime, right?"
--Paris Is Burning
It's always a bar of some sort, Vincent decides. Whether it's a bar at the end of the universe or this stinking, filthy rum-hole in a place called "Tortuga," the worst always happens in bars.
He is not jealous.
He just doesn't like it when shady characters flirt with Yuffie.
The pirate means nothing by it. That much is obvious. The man's in his late twenties or early thirties; life on the sea has roughened him enough that one might as well be the other. Yuffie is still smack in the middle of her teens, and not stereotypically attractive.
In short, she's not likely to be this man's type.
Vincent still wants to punch him.
Vincent took one look at the pirate and decided that he didn't like him. He was filthy, he reeked of rum, there was vomit on his shirtcuffs and he had coins in his hair. Obviously a bad influence.
Cid already wanted to kill him. Introducing Yuffie to somebody like this meant the experience would be even more painful. And Cid's response when he simply didn't die would be even more explosive.
"So, you're a Spacer from Radiant Garden?" The man tilted his head, looking at her with lashes so dark they couldn't be natural. Surely no man had access to that genetic lottery. "Are you one of Sora's friends?"
Yuffie took a swig of rum, her mouth wrenching at the taste. She forced a swallow and replied, "Kicked his ass in the Coliseum a couple times, if that's what you're asking."
So that was how they were playing it. Interesting.
Vincent drank from a mug he had to force himself not to wipe clean. The rum burned, at once too sweet and too bitter.
"Now," says Jack Sparrow, making a vague gesture and nearly tipping over his rum, "if I were to say to you, I want to steal the unstealable, what would you say?"
Yuffie gives him one long look. For the space of a moment she is a strange spacefaring ninja biker type, trying so hard to seem tough and not even recognizing where her real strength comes from. "I'd ask why you're blabbing it to some out-of-towner. That's what."
Captain Jack Sparrow laughs, then, because there's nothing else to do but laugh. If he doesn't laugh it off, he loses face, and he can't afford to lose face here. If he really is a captain, he'll never find a crew. Somehow, Vincent doubts that he actually is a captain.
Vincent still wants to punch him.
"So I'm stealing it all on me onesie?"
Port Royal had been beter. Nicer. Fewer pirates, badly in need of a good sword smith, and more order. Also, less vomiting in the streets.
But that selfsame lack of pirates was exactly why Yuffie hadn't liked Port Royal; she'd snuck them onto the next ship bound for Tortuga, and why they weren't in prison or dead was beyound him. Maybe Gummy spacers were common enough around these parts that nobody questioned it. Maybe nobody wanted to mess with the ridiculously large rifle strapped to his back.
"In there?" He didn't actually ask, Are you sure?, but it made its way into his tone.
She noticed it. He could tell because she squared her shoulders and lifted her chin. She gave him and the tavern and the world at large a serious, threatening glare, as if she were trying to convince them all that she was not in the least nervous. But she didn't convince him and if she convinced herself, he would eat his cloak.
"Yeah, in there."
Against his better judgment, he opened the door for her and followed her in.
"Sounds like you are," Yuffie tells Sparrow, taking another careless drink of rum.
He feels vaguely gratified, and yet his palm itches.
Vincent watches her out of the corner of his eye, wary. The rum he remembers was fairly potent, and this is even stronger. He has no doubt that the alcohol content is quite high. The technology level is such that strong rum is almost the only thing truly safe to drink, especially on a ship.
Jack looks askance at her. "No details at all, then?"
His palm begins to hurt. He looks down at his hand and understands why: he's been digging in with his fingernails. There are little half-moon cuts, all of them bleeding, in the white meat of his hand. As he watches, the cuts heal and vanish.
Yuffie looks at him through her peripheral vision. Whatever she sees sends her into a huge, cat-like yawn. She stretches her arms as high as she can and shudders with it. "Be right back, boys. Play nice."
And with a jaunty wink she's gone.
Vincent grits his teeth.
Captain Jack Sparrow, Professional Irritant, looks over at him and smirks. "You're looking a mite angry, mate. Is she that important to you?"
He's going to crack a tooth if he keeps this up and he knows it, but Jack Sparrow gets under his skin. "You have no idea."
"Let's do it," Yuffie said, cracking her knuckles and staring at the data they'd found on the world. There wasn't much of it; it wasn't a popular place. Even Sora had only been there twice.
Vincent stared at the navigation screen and tried to ignore the sinking feeling.
Ninjas and pirates didn't get along. It was a well-known fact. Yuffie herself had told him that, long, long ago.
This was ony going to end with them in prison. And Yuffie would probaby have a black eye in the end, if not knife or gunshot wounds.
"I think I might," says Jack Sparrow with a mocking gleam in his eye and Vincent has had enough.
No. He's had more than enough of this nonsense. Jack Sparrow is nothing more than a filthy, stinking pirate with a piss-poor personality and worse hygiene. He is obviously incapable of understanding the complicated nature of Vincent's feelings for Yuffie, and that he would dare to mock them has him so furious he doesn't even know until he realizes that he is breathing hard for no apparent reason.
The crunching sound Jack's nose makes as his bare hand comes into contact with it is extremely satisfying.
Vincent ducks his head to avoid Jack's answering blow--surprisingly enough, it would have been a hell of a punch, had it connected--and blinks when somebody else roars and overturns a table.
After that, the pirate bar is breaking bottles, roared cursewords, and broken chairs. Splinters and glass shards and alcohol fill the air.
Despite the fact that he's eyeball-deep in the barfight, Vincent has strong suspicions as to its actual cause. It seems an awful lot like the chaos that follows Yuffie around like a lovestruck puppy. And out of the corner of his eyes, he sees a whirl of short dark hair and tanned skin.
Yuffie's laughter sends a thrill up his spine.