Hello! How is everyone on this fine day? I hope you're all well. Now, this fic is mainly a friendship type between Vincent and Yuffie, though it does have its hints at humor, and romance towards the end. I won't give away anymore and I hope everyone enjoys!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters used in this piece of fanfiction. They are property of SquareEnix and I am making no money off of them.
Yuffie had always been mesmerized by the color of flames. She enjoyed watching the oranges and reds reaching for anything that would help keep them alive. Though she considered herself the daughter of Leviathan, a water god, she had a very healthy respect for anything with flammable properties. She remembered what it had been like to sit in front of a fire alone, after her father had basically shoved her out of Wutai so that she could go on her quest for materia, but she had more pleasant memories. Most of them involving camping out with Avalanche, and most others involving a certain silent gunman. She had always loved to watch him from across the fire, watching as the flames lit up those intriguing garnet colored eyes of his. The only thing that had always killed her moment of staring, was when he caught her looking. But Yuffie had known in some part of her that Vincent had always known that she was looking.
He had probably chalked it up to a child's infatuation with something strange and new, but he hadn't known how wrong he was. He had been an enigma to her, and still was, nearly four years after. Though he had kept to himself after the whole battle with Omega, he had at least returned to Edge instead of going back to some type of eternal slumber. She was happy that he was nearby and she had access to spy on him whenever she could. But Vincent wasn't what was on her mind at the moment. No, she was mesmerized by the flames in front of her, and they had nothing to do with campfires, or cooking at a gas powered stove, or even one that used wood. She smirked to herself and felt satisfaction overthrow the anger and the resentment that was burning in her chest as fervently as the flames in front of her.
"What the fu—Yuffie, is that my car?" she heard a man's voice cry out.
Yuffie turned to look at the man in question and smiled, looking sinister. "Your clothes and your personal belongings too. Consider yourself homeless," she said, crossing her arms over her chest smugly.
"You're a total psycho!" the man yelled.
The ninja shrugged. "What did you expect, you idiot? Did you think I would just forget that I saw you with some other girl? In my own friggin' bed?" she sneered. She turned towards him and before he knew it, he was on the floor, clutching his broken nose and with watery eyes. "Be thankful that I didn't decide to use a more painful punishment to a part of your body that you love," she said, fingers sliding over a ninja star that glinted from a nearly hidden section of her shorts.
After the whole battle against Omega, Reeve had thrown them all a party, including the surviving WRO soldiers, and Avalanche. Though she had failed at getting Vincent to dance with her at least once, she had met a guy that had instantly caught her attention. He had been a high ranking soldier, but not yet any type of commander. They had hit it off instantly, and Yuffie had allowed herself to be swept away by his easy smile and his sweet words.
Months into their relationship, she and her soldier had decided to move in together. Things had been fine, even with her knack for turning rooms upside down in the matter of minutes, and his almost obsessive compulsive cleanliness. But only a few days before, Yuffie had arrived at their home earlier than planned from a mission of intelligence, and she had caught her boyfriend with another woman. In her friggin' bed! She hadn't told him about what she had seen. She had just left the apartment and had stayed with Tifa for a few days, plotting her ultimate revenge and the best way to screw up the bastard's life.
She had just neglected to mention that the fire she had been enthralled by just happened to be burning his car and his personal things. Yuffie smirked to herself and realized that if her now ex-boyfriend decided to call the police, she'd end up in jail. She didn't mind spending the night, Reeve would bail her out again. She heard the sounds of sirens before a fire truck pulled up next to the car and the firemen got out to try to put out the fire. Yeah, good luck with that, Yuffie thought to herself. She had poured the vehicle with every accelerant she had gotten her hands on, including a dusty bottle of old whisky that Tifa had had in her storage room. It had probably been an awfully expensive liquid, but what Tifa didn't know wouldn't hurt her. Besides, the bartender had helped in the plot against the man who had wronged her.
"Miss, I'm going to have to place you under arrest for assault and suspicions of arson," an Edge police officer stated. Reading her her rights.
Yuffie looked up and only then realized that they had gathered a rather large crowd of on lookers, the firefighters, and three police cars. She could see a news reporter running towards them and rolled her eyes as the officer cuffed her.
"Miss? Miss! What cause you to react this way and to put the public in danger? Aren't you a former princess? A member of Avalanche? An employee for the WRO?" the reporter yelled at her.
"I just want to give a shout out to Tifa, Cloud, Marley and Denny, Barret, Cid, Shera, Red, Reeve, and Vinnie! I love you guys! You need to get me out of jail Reeve!" she yelled into the camera, a grin on her face before the officer dragged her off and she let out a string of curses when the cuffs tightened. The cop shoving her into the back of the cop car cut the curses short. "Hey, that's police brutality!" she told the officer.
"Don't worry, kid. You'll see that our accommodations for your overnight room won't be so bad," said the officer as he and his partner laughed in amusement.
Tifa wrung her hands and wondered if she had been in the wrong when she had told Yuffie what she would've done if Cloud would've been the one to cheat on her. Except that she had said that she would set fire to Fenrir and the remains of Cloud's hair after she chopped it all off. But Cloud was a good boyfriend and he went out of his way to make her happy now. He even took over the bar once a week, every week so that she could have a ladies night out with Yuffie, Shera, and sometimes Elena, the Turk.
"Tifa! Tifa!" Marlene shrieked as she ran down the stairs and into the bustling bar.
"What's wrong sweetie?" Tifa asked the girl in worry.
"Denzel and me were just watching a movie when it was interrupted to show some live news. We just saw Yuffie getting arrested! She wants Reeve to bail her out," she said breathlessly.
"Oh, great," muttered Tifa to herself. She couldn't do much but call Reeve to make sure that he had seen the news. Cloud was late from a delivery so she couldn't go see Yuffie for herself. "Bring me the phone, please, Marlene," she said, refilling a customer's glass with wine. The girl did as told and brought her the phone. Tifa dialed Reeve's number quickly. She just hoped that Yuffie didn't manage to get into more trouble while she tried to get her bailed out.
Yuffie stared at the ceiling as she laid on her rather uncomfortable cot. Her bail had been set at 500,000 gil and she would most likely have community service to do if she didn't want to spend a month or more in jail. Stupid commissioner, didn't he understand what it felt like to be cheated on? Oh, well, she wasn't going to dwell on that. She wouldn't cry or scream. She'd had her revenge and that was that. Something red at her peripheral vision caught her attention and she looked over, doing a double take. "Hiya, Vince!" she said cheerfully.
"Yuffie," said Vincent flatly, looking at her from the other side of the bars. "In jail again?"
Yuffie shrugged. "I humor the cops. They don't know I can get out of here in the blink of an eye," she said, sitting up.
"Then you'd be a fugitive," said Vincent, crossing his arms over his chest.
"Could be worse," said the ninja dismissively. Then something occurred to her. "Not that I mind, but what are you doing here? Reeve is usually the one who shows up with the bail. Did he send you to do the dirty work?"
"Reeve is out of town and asked me to do him this favor. You're being accused of arson and physical assault. You're going to tell me that you were framed again this time?" Vincent asked as he moved over for an officer to open the jail cell.
"He was asking for it Vince. He thought I would be stupid enough to not find out that he was screwing other women in my own apartment, in my own bed. I caught him, allowed him to believe that I knew nothing, and then I carried off my plan. I threw all of his things out the window and then stuffed them in his car before setting it on fire. You tell me, Vince, what would you have done had you been the one being cheated on?" Yuffie asked as they walked to the front desk so that she could sign some papers.
Vincent remembered what it had felt like quite clearly, and he had done nothing. "I have no answer to your question," he said once they were out on the street and the bail had been paid.
Yuffie sighed and they walked quietly next to each other for a few blocks. "I don't want to go back to my place. I should've burned that bed and those sheets along with the car," she said impatiently. "I might as well impose on Tifa some more while I change apartments too," she muttered to herself.
"You're… you're welcome to stay with me if you'd like. I have an extra room I use to store my books and the weapons I don't use," Vincent offered.
"You're sure you want me living with you. Me. Yuffie Kisaragi," she said, as if speaking to a small child.
Vincent shrugged. "It was just a suggestion."
"You have a sofa bed, right?" At his nod, Yuffie grinned. "Just let me crash there while I find another apartment, and then I'll be out of your hair. I just…" here her cheerfulness faltered. "…I really don't want to go back there," she said softly.
Vincent didn't like seeing Yuffie act that way. She had always been the sunshine amidst the darkness that always seemed to surround Avalanche. She was all cheerfulness and happiness and to see her any other way just felt wrong. He knew what break-ups meant to women, but Yuffie wasn't letting anything show through the wall of indignity she had erected and he knew that she must've been hurting no matter how much she tried to hide it.
"Come on, Vince," she said, taking his gauntlet in her hand and dragging him along. "I need to buy myself a pint of rocky road ice cream. What flavor do you want?" When he didn't reply, she turned to glare at him.
"…Strawberry Cheesecake," he said simply, smirking when Yuffie let out a genuine laugh.
A few hours later, after having some of Vincent's chicken soup, and then finishing the pint of ice cream, Yuffie found herself lounging lazily on the sofa bed. Her head was resting on her folded arms and she was staring blankly at the TV screen as it played some romantic comedy. There was no more cheer left in her for the day. It was already late, but she couldn't sleep and Vincent had retired nearly an hour before. She had tried to not let her ex's betrayal get to her, because really, their relationship had revolved around sex and just having fun. She hadn't grown emotionally attached to him and she wouldn't miss him, but that didn't make his betrayal hurt any less.
She nearly jumped when she felt something warm settle over her shoulders, but it didn't cover her enough to be a blanket. She gazed as much as she could at her back and caught the crimson material draped over her like a small blanket. She looked up at Vincent and gave him a questioning look.
"I haven't forgotten the many times you begged for me to let you borrow it. I always said no, but it would be nice if it cheers you up a little," Vincent said calmly.
Yuffie smiled and nodded. "It does make me feel better, Vince. But I don't need to be cheered up. I'm okay," she said.
He saw right through her lie and sat next to her on the bed when she turned back to the TV, snuggling into the warm material of his cloak. "It's okay if you're not," he told her seriously. "I understand what you are going through, even though I don't know how deeply you felt for this man."
"It wasn't much. I liked him, and we had fun together, but this isn't the end of the world," she muttered, not turning away from the TV screen.
"Maybe it would help if you cried?" he offered in the form of a question.
Yuffie smiled to herself. "And what if I did? Would you leave me here alone, crying and miserable? Or would you know how to handle my tears?" she asked him.
Vincent was quiet for a long moment and didn't know what to say to her. Women in tears had never been his strong suit, but he knew that bottling things inside wouldn't be healthy for someone like Yuffie. He had been bottling things inside for years, he knew how to handle it, but he didn't want Yuffie to turn into him. A man with no emotions.
"I'll cry if you hold me," Yuffie murmured so quietly he might have missed it even with his enhanced senses. She started when the bed shifted and she felt Vincent settle behind her.
"I'll hold you, but you don't have to cry if you don't want to," Vincent murmured, tentatively sliding a hand across her waist, over the material of his cloak in a comforting hug.
Yuffie just nodded and settled into his warm embrace. Though she hadn't wanted to cry, the tears fell from her eyes silently, and she didn't bother to wipe them away. Vincent's warm arms were there with her until she knew no more and was fast asleep.
The following morning, Vincent blinked into the early sun shining through the cracks in the curtain. For a moment, the room he was in was not familiar to what he had been waking up to for nearly a year now. He blinked at the ceiling of his living room and realized that the weight in his arms was also unfamiliar. He looked down and was a little shocked to see himself holding Yuffie tightly to him. She had shifted over to face him and her face was tucked against his shoulder as one arm was draped loosely over his chest. She was still wearing his cloak, but she looked peaceful and innocent as she slept. He realized then that though he had always been reluctant to have any type of physical contact with anybody, he didn't mind the feel of Yuffie in his arms.
He didn't know how long ago his thoughts on the ninja had changed, but it hadn't been to long. Maybe it had started with all the help she had provided during the Deepground incident, or when she had saved his life. He had been sarcastic in thanking her, but he did owe her his life.
He lay there for a long moment, listening to Yuffie's deep, even breathing and wondered why it was that she fit so perfectly against him. He had held Lucrecia in the same way a few times, but she had been a little too tall to fit completely against his side. Vincent started when he felt Yuffie shift and cursed himself for not leaving her alone in the bed from the moment he had woken up. He closed his eyes and decided to feign sleep.
Yuffie snuggled into the warm hardness beneath her cheek and smiled contentedly to herself. Had she ever slept so peacefully and comfortably before? When her eyes finally felt like opening, she froze and nearly fell off the bed in her haste to sit up. She blinked and stared down at Vincent as he slept. How mortifying! She thought to herself, clenching the material of his cloak in her hands. But on the upside, he had held her through the night and had been the one to offer the comfort first. Those thoughts lit up her face with a smile and she tentatively leaned forward and kissed his cheek. "Thanks Vince," she said quietly, getting off of the sofa bed and nearly running off towards the restroom.
Vincent opened his eyes and stared, unseeing at the ceiling. His gloveless fingers reached up and touched the spot where her lips had touched him. And though he had expected regret and disappointment that he had allowed Yuffie to touch him that way, a small smirk found its way to his features instead.
"I was so worried about you!" Tifa exclaimed when Yuffie nearly bounced into the bar, early in the morning.
"Vince bailed me out last night, and I spent the night at his place," the ninja said with a grin.
"You could've at least called me," said Tifa with a frown.
"Aww, I'm sorry Teef, I never intended to make you worry. Besides, the plan was a success. Did you see my shout-out on the news?" Yuffie asked.
Tifa couldn't contain her laughter and nodded. "I'm just happy that you're okay. So… Vincent allowed you to badger him into staying at his place."
Yuffie shook her head excitedly. "That's the best part. He came over because Reeve was out of town, so he bailed me out. Then he offered to let me stay at his place. He offered me a shoulder to cry on, and he held me all through the night," she said excitedly, almost squealing in delight.
"Oh, congratulations. I know how long you've been trying to find a way for him to notice you," said the brunette bartender as she went back to accommodating some new bottles of alcohol.
"I have not," Yuffie exclaimed indignantly. "I'm very torn up over my break-up," she said with a hidden smirk.
"In the arms of Vincent? I'm sure you are…" Tifa said with a wink.
"Well, you're right. I mean, I don't want to get my hopes up with Vincent, but this is big. He actually held me. He offered me physical comfort when we all know how he's about any type of physical contact," said Yuffie.
Tifa smiled. "But hey, you haven't told me how your ex reacted. He did return in time to see the show, right?"
Yuffie's face turned positively evil. "Of course. He called me a psycho, I called him out about his infidelity, but then the cops arrived. I didn't even get a chance to really beat the snot out of him."
"I always knew there was something fishy about that man. I didn't like him from the start," said Tifa absently.
"Well, why didn't you say anything?!" the ninja asked her friend.
"Because you liked him and it wasn't up to me to tell you that I found him suspicious. Sometimes you have to find things out for yourself," said Tifa wisely.
"Well, you could've saved me a lot of time," Yuffie said petulantly.
"Honestly Yuffie, who dates a guy named Earl?" asked Tifa.
Yuffie giggled. "What was wrong with his name? Imagine… You are cordially invited to Yuffie Kisaragi and Earl… Earl's wedding," she said, smiling and scratching the back of her head.
"Don't tell me that after months of dating and living with him you didn't even know his last name," Tifa said incredulously.
"Of course I knew it," said Yuffie dismissively. "He told me plenty of times, but I was never paying attention." They both looked at each other and broke into laughs again. "I never minded his name. It was the things he was good at that I really liked," she said with a shrug. "Besides, who dates a guy named Cloud?" she countered.
"Touché," said Tifa, laughing honestly. "Well, come on, I'm going to get started on breakfast and I'm sure you haven't eaten anything just yet." To emphasize Tifa's point, Yuffie's stomach grumbled. She grinned and walked her friend to the kitchen.
Later on in the day, Vincent enjoyed a tall glass of iced tea with Cloud. They were sitting in the corner booth, watching over the few patrons who had come in for lunch while Tifa and Yuffie had taken an emergency trip to the grocery store. They had mysteriously run out of potatoes for the potato salad and had left them to tend to the bar during the time it took them to go and come back. Cloud had offered to go get the vegetables for Tifa, but she had declined, telling him that she and Yuffie needed some fresh air. He was on his day off, but he didn't mind running errands for Tifa. She deserved any break she got. Both he and Vincent were sitting in comfortable silence, with nothing to talk about, but not minding it at all. Both weren't strangers to silence.
Vincent looked up slowly when the bell on top of the door jingled and signaled that someone was entering the bar. He looked on with vague interest when he saw a man enter with a huge arrangement of yellow and orange flowers of various kinds. He tried to look around the flowers to find the owner of the bar, and Cloud stood, a frown on his face. "Can I help you?" the swordsman asked.
"Can I please set this down? It's kinda heavy," the young man replied. Cloud motioned to the bar and the man set down his burden, letting out a sigh and producing a small clipboard from some random pocket in his pants. "Sign here please." He pointed to a line at the bottom of a receipt.
"Who are these for?" asked Cloud impatiently as he signed.
The man took back the mini-clipboard and squinted. "For a Miss Yuffie Kisaragi. They're from her boyfriend," said the man before he saluted and was out the door.
Vincent moved over to look at the flowers and then at Cloud. "Did he say… from her boyfriend?" Cloud nodded and they stared at the flowers for a moment. "Does this mean that he wants to get back with her?" he asked.
Cloud shrugged. He had thought that maybe a man had sent those flowers to Tifa, but he had felt relief wash through him when the man had said that they were for Yuffie. He wondered now about the look on Vincent's face. "Maybe he wants her forgiveness," he put in.
"Would she want to forgive him?" Vincent asked, a frown crossing his features now.
"You want to… throw the flowers away before she and Tifa come back?" asked the blond with a raised brow.
Vincent was quiet for a moment and debated what he should do. Now, the gentleman part of him, the part that his mother had raised told him that no, he had no business interfering in her life. That she had a right to make decisions for herself. But then again, the Turk side of him, the ruthless side, wanted nothing better than to burn the pretty flowers into ashes. The asshole didn't deserve her and was a fool to think that Yuffie would fall for some cheesy flowers. But as he looked at the flowers, they weren't cheesy at all. They were exactly the type of thing that Yuffie would love. She wasn't the typical type of girl who did and liked girly types of things, but she was a lover of nature and had spent a better part of her teenage years becoming acquainted with the lands that made up their world.
Before he had a chance to tell Cloud that no, they couldn't make decisions for Yuffie, the door opened once more and the two women walked into the bar. They were laughing and talking and carrying grocery bags. At the sight of the flowers, Yuffie's eyebrows shot up in surprise.
"Oh, Cloud, you shouldn't have," Tifa said with a smile.
Cloud cleared his throat. "I didn't," he muttered, cheeks turning pink when Tifa kissed his cheek. "They're for Yuffie," he said, an evil idea coming to mind. "From Vincent."
Vincent stiffened at the man's words and would've shot him if he hadn't been in risk of shooting Tifa too, despite being an excellent marksman. Then he saw the way Yuffie's eyes lit up and contemplated taking the credit, but only for a moment. Then his face went blank and he shook his head as Yuffie thanked him.
"Aww, Vince, I love them. They're beautiful!" she said, reaching up and placing a kiss on his cheek.
Cloud waggled his eyebrows at Vincent and looked self-satisfied as she gunman's cheeks colored faintly. Vincent for his part couldn't believe that she had dared to kiss him in public. Of course, he didn't mind, but he didn't want her to be embarrassed when he told her that the flowers weren't from him. He was also trying to ignore how he could still feel the touch of her lips on his cheek, even minutes after it had happened. He had to stop her because she was still going on and on about how pretty the flowers were. "They are not from me," he said after he had had enough of Yuffie's gibberish and Cloud's smirk.
"What?" Yuffie asked, stepping away from the flowers abruptly. "Who are they from then?"
"Your ex," said Cloud.
Yuffie sneered. "In that case, these should be in the trash bin outside," she said, taking the vase full of flowers and walking towards the door.
"But they're so pretty!" Tifa protested.
"You want to keep the flowers that came from my cheating ex-boyfriend?" asked Yuffie in annoyance.
"It isn't the flowers' fault who sent them. They're pretty, and they light up the bar. Besides, they'll just last a few days and then they're gone," she said with a pout.
Yuffie hung her head. "Fine Teef, you can keep them here," she conceded.
"Great. Why don't you come with me and help me cook?" Tifa asked, grabbing Yuffie and taking her to the kitchen.
"I thought you didn't want me in your kitchen anymore," said Yuffie.
"Well, I've gotten over that chocolate fudge fiasco just recently and I was finally able to remove the stains on the ceiling," said Tifa with a sigh. Her arms had hurt like hell afterwards, but she had a spotless ceiling once more. "Besides, we can talk trash about your ex and the flowers he sent you," she said with a wink that both men missed. "I can't believe you kissed him," she murmured.
"I know," Yuffie said just as softly. She hid a grin and nodded, going back to her loud tone. "Throw in some freshly baked cookies, and we've got ourselves the perfect afternoon of girl talk," she said before they were gone.
"What was it with the face?" Cloud asked Vincent as they took a seat in the booth again. At Vincent's blank look, the blond shrugged. "You were frowning, much the same way I had when I contemplated another man sending Tifa flowers. Is there something going on… between you and Yuffie?"
Vincent shook his head once. "I just worry about her emotional stability. She may not show it, but the whole situation upset her," he replied.
Cloud tried to refrain from looking smug. He had always known something would happen between Vincent and Yuffie, despite what the others thought. They had just had a very interesting friendship from the beginning. Yuffie had always seemed to counter Vincent's silences and general broodiness. They were perfect for each other. "Why don't you just tell her that you're interested in getting to know her as… more than friends?" he asked smartly.
Vincent glared at the man in front of him. "She's twenty years old. I am over sixty though I may not look it." Or feel it, he thought inwardly. "She deserves someone young and more into the things that she likes," he said flatly.
"You mean a guy who makes her cry and is unfaithful? Didn't know you wanted her to suffer," Cloud baited.
"I don't," said Vincent, feeling indignant. He didn't want to see Yuffie sad ever again. He was silent for a moment longer while the other man finished off his iced tea. "How do you suppose I ago about this? I'm not exactly relationship or women savvy."
Cloud let out a small, abrupt laugh. "And you think I am? Geez Vincent, you saw how long it took me to take a chance with Tifa. I didn't know what to say to her, and sometimes, even now, I don't know how to approach her about certain things. All I know is that she means the world to me and I'm happy that we're together now. You just never know how happy you'll be until you take the chance."
Vincent thought about it for a moment. He just… couldn't burden Yuffie with his sins, but he did like her as more than a friend. What could he do to get the ninja to see that? What if she wasn't interested?
Cloud gave him a serious look. "Don't start to doubt that she doesn't feel the same way. You do remember how she's been acting all these years around you, right? She hasn't exactly been subtle."
"But she's been calm this past year. Since the day she met that character that cheated on her," Vincent stated flatly.
The swordsman shrugged. "She doesn't forgive betrayal, or at least Tifa has told me that much. Don't stay stuck in the past, Vincent. I know what I'm telling you from experience. Take the chance, and if things don't work out, at least you won't have any more regrets to add on to the list."
"What about being her rebound?"
Cloud didn't know how Vincent knew that term after being in a coffin for thirty years and then secluding himself so much after coming out, but he shrugged. "It doesn't make you the rebound guy when she's liked you for years and has been waiting for you to make a move."
"She's been waiting for me to make a move?" asked Vincent in surprise.
"Well, why do you think she hasn't made a move first?" Cloud asked softly. "Though I take that back now. She made a move when she kissed you just now."
Vincent thought over Cloud's words and nodded once. Yuffie hadn't made a move, as Cloud put it, because she was afraid that he was still stuck in the last. That he still loved Lucrecia and would never let her go. In all honesty, the battle with Omega had given him closure and he understood some of Lucrecia's reasons for why she did what she did. That closure had allowed him to move on and live his life in peace. Now it would allow him to move on with another woman if she gave him the chance. He still didn't know how he would go about it, but he was seriously contemplating taking the first step. If Yuffie didn't return his feelings, she would be honest about it. He just couldn't think about what he would do if things really didn't work out.
As luck would have it, Tifa planned a beach trip for everyone a few days later, and everyone from Avalanche was invited. She had ulterior motives though, and among those were her wanting to cheer Yuffie up, by pushing her and Vincent a little closer. They wouldn't be going to Costa del Sol's public beaches, instead they would go to a secluded part of the continent where they had discovered a peaceful section of the beach. There the waves were calm and the water shallow and safe enough for the children, but at a walking distance if they wanted something deeper. Everyone had accepted to go, with a little prodding and cajoling, even Red would share the day with them.
Vincent gazed at himself as they all walked down the ramp of the Shera. He was wearing a pair of loose pants, and a matching shirt. They were black, but he was perfectly comfortable in them, and besides, Yuffie had picked them out too. They had spent the last few days in peace. She hadn't cried anymore, but she had been acting a little strange. She was still looking for an apartment and would soon be out of his place, but Vincent didn't know if he really wanted her to leave. He was sure he would miss having her there so close and constantly in his life.
Though he had started to worry about his sanity already. There had been nights when he couldn't sleep and he took a long moment to watch her from his bedroom as she slept. She loved her pillows and cocooned herself in various blankets, making a tangle out of them. But her face during sleep was her most peaceful and at times her most beautiful. When she dreamt nice dreams, she smiled, and when she had a nightmare, her forehead would scrunch up as if in pain. Maybe it was a good idea for Yuffie to leave, he was growing too attached to her when he didn't even know if she felt remotely the same way about him. But he had agreed to go with them all on their day of fun. He wasn't a fan of really hot weather, but when Tifa had told him that it was all to cheer Yuffie up, he had conceded, trying to ignore the smugness in Tifa's voice afterwards.
Tifa, Yuffie, and Shera had been the first ones out of the ship so that they could set up their little spot. Cloud and Barret had carried out a table for their food later on and everyone else had taken a chair. Vincent and Cid had been in charge of carrying the huge umbrellas that would take care of the sun once they sat down to eat.
"Not in the mood for water, eh, Vince?" asked Cid he caught up to him after making sure that his ship was safe. He had noticed that Vincent wasn't wearing anything suitable for swimming or getting wet.
"I don't much like swimming. I rather stay on dry land," Vincent replied.
"Same here. I think I'll stick with the sand and the shade where I can smoke," he grumbled as they walked down towards their friends.
Vincent saw that Tifa, Yuffie, Reeve, and Red were already at the water, and that Barret was setting up the table so that they could place the umbrellas were they were supposed to go. Vincent's gaze stopped on Yuffie when he finally noticed what she was wearing. He cleared his throat and looked away when she looked up and waved at him. She was in a two piece bathing suit, the bottom made of tight short-shorts, and the top that thankfully covered most of her skin, but tied behind her neck and right between the shoulder blades. Though it was reminiscent of what she usually wore, the bathing suit was made of thinner material and did nothing to hide the soft curve of her hips and the smooth skin of her waist. She and the other women were already getting ready for the water, as were the children.
Vincent found his eyes sweeping down Yuffie's legs before he could stop himself, and there was only one person who noticed, and it wasn't Yuffie. Tifa smiled to herself and poured some sunscreen lotion into Marlene and Denzel's hands before handing the bottle to Cloud so that he could take care of her back. "Hey, Vincent?" she called.
"Yes, Tifa?" Vincent walked over to them and gave her a questioning look, trying to keep his eyes off of Yuffie as she rubbed some lotion onto her arms and then on her stomach and waist. Why was he even looking at her that way? He didn't want to be dubbed a pervert if she caught him looking.
"Maybe you should help Yuffie get some lotion on her back, since it'll be the most exposed skin. I'd do it myself, but I need to make sure the kids are protected too," she said in a slightly rueful voice. She cleared her throat when she felt Cloud's hands pause on her back. "Hurry now, Cloud, the sun is getting hotter," she said quietly.
"What are you doing?" he asked softly.
"Nothing. Now hush up," she replied.
Yuffie glared at her friend and tried not to blush as she handed Vincent the lotion and he reluctantly reached over to rub it over her shoulders. She wondered how uncomfortable it was for him to touch her, but before she knew it, his fingers slid over her waist and the small of her back, faintly ticklish. She smirked to herself and didn't miss the smirk that crossed Tifa's face as she ushered the children to the water.
Vincent swallowed hard and tried to keep his eyes off of her backside. It wouldn't do if all of their companions saw him ogling Yuffie like some hormonal, teenage boy. When he had finally accomplished in placing the lotion in appropriate places without trying to feel her up, he stepped back and blinked when she smiled at him. "Thanks, Vince, I don't think I would've been able to reach those spots myself," she said in a low voice.
"You're welcome," he said, going back to his monotone before walking away and to where Barret was sitting with Cid and Shera.
"You're welcome for that," said Tifa softly.
Yuffie walked into the lukewarm water and couldn't help the grin on her face. "Yeah Teef, you couldn't have been a little more subtle."
"Well, with men like Cloud and Vincent, sometimes subtle doesn't precisely work. They need something more obvious to show them that we're interested," said Tifa as she watched Cloud trying to show Marlene how to properly float.
"Oh yeah, and what type of obvious did you use on Cloud?" asked Yuffie curiously.
"You know, a couple of accidental, teasing touches. Brushing up against him whenever I could. One night I just plain kissed him and then walked away. The following morning, he wouldn't look me in the eye, but that night… well, that night he let go of all that was holding him back," said Tifa softly, blushing. "It took me a while to get to that point, but he put in the effort to allow me in."
Yuffie grinned and jumped into the water, splashing the other woman. When she emerged, she was on the deeper side of the shore. "I don't think it'll work with my target, Teef. You know… physical contact is normally a no-no."
"It can't hurt to try,. I mean, you've kissed him on the cheek already," Tifa replied as she followed her friend and swam around leisurely. The reason she loved that beach so much was because the waves were so small that it was almost like a lake and it was so peaceful, away from prying eyes.
Yuffie sighed to herself and floated on her back, lost in her thoughts. Tifa was right. She had kissed Vincent on the cheek and had still managed to keep looking him in the eye. Maybe it was time for something more drastic to get Vincent's attention.
A long while later, they had lunch and enjoyed some drinks under the shade of the umbrellas. Everyone talked about what they were doing nowadays, and Yuffie grinned when everyone confirmed that they had seen her shout-out before she had gotten arrested. When the food went down, they all resumed their fun in the water, challenging each other to races to see who was the fastest, or who could stand on their hands with their head underwater. By the time the sun was setting, everyone had gotten a healthy tan, with the exception of Barret and Cloud, who had refused to put on sunscreen anywhere besides their faces and would suffer with burns on their shoulders and arms. Yuffie smiled to herself as she noticed Reeve dosing off peacefully. This day had been a good idea for the commissioner, who never allowed himself the chance to rest. She sighed in annoyance when an airship flew above them and landed right next to the Shera. A couple of WRO soldiers ran out, carrying a briefcase. She frowned and wondered if anything was wrong.
"Reeve, wake up," Yuffie said, shaking his arm.
"Not now, Cait. I need five more minutes," he muttered, moving away from her touch. Before Yuffie could try again, the men had reached him and she noticed who one of them was.
"Commissioner Sir!" they said in unison, loud and clear.
Reeve sat up in an instant and blinked the sleep from his eyes. "What? What? Is something wrong? Is the world at war?" he asked quickly.
"We're sorry for intruding on your vacation, sir, but Mr. Shinra needed these contracts signed ASAP, so he wanted them today," said Yuffie's ex.
Reeve nodded. "Fine, fine. Give them here and give me a moment to read through them," he said, taking the briefcase.
"Reeve Tuesti! Do not tell me that you're working on your day off!" Tifa nearly screeched, making everyone within hearing distance wince.
"Sorry Tifa, it will only be a few minutes and then they're gone. I'm afraid it can't wait," said Reeve with an easy smile.
Tifa let it go and noticed the young man in the group of soldiers watching Yuffie. The ninja stood and began to walk, but he broke away from the group and followed her. The bartender looked around inconspicuously and noticed that Vincent was watching them, trying not to look too obvious. She smiled to herself and hoped that this was enough of a push for Vincent to realize that Yuffie wouldn't wait for him forever.
"Why are you following me?" Yuffie hissed as she walked towards the shore and away from prying ears.
"Look, Yuffie, putting aside the fact that you destroyed my things, including most of my clothes, I want to apologize for what I did," he said seriously.
"Don't worry about it. Your betrayal just made me see that I deserve so much better than you," she murmured, her eyes darting to Vincent for a moment. She refrained from smiling when she caught him watching them.
"I don't… see a future between us either, but I'm serious. You are a very amazing person and I kick myself for what I did to you. For not talking to you about it first," he said quietly. His fellow soldiers motioned him over, signaling that they were leaving. He turned back to Yuffie once more and sighed. "You hope you find a guy that wasn't a jerk like me. You're right, you deserve better," he said before walking away.
Yuffie swallowed hard and watched him go. She didn't want to feel bad for him, but at least he had had the guts to apologize to her when he should've been scared for his life of seeing her again in person. She let out a sigh and walked back into the water, the sun starting to set and making a beautiful, orange-red sight. The water was at least still warm, but she knew that soon enough it would cool a little. She stood there for a long moment, the water reaching her hips and staring into the horizon. She didn't know how long it had been until she heard the sound of someone nearing. She looked up and smiled when she saw Vincent, standing next to her and with his pants soaked through. "You've stayed out of the water all day. Why come in now?" she asked him quietly.
"Just in case you needed someone to talk to, or someone to listen," he replied, watching the sunset with her. "Did he say something to upset you? Did he ask you to take him back?"
Yuffie wondered at the nature of his question. Why was he asking? Was it out of pure curiosity, or would it anger Vincent to think that she was considering taking her ex back? "Would you think less of me if I took back a guy who cheated on me?"
Vincent shook his head once. "I would never think less of you. You have proved yourself as an amazing, selfless person, even when you steal things. Any decision you make is yours, and no one else has a right to judge you," he murmured. Yuffie felt her heart soar a little at his words. "But I think that you are too special to allow yourself to be with a man who makes you miserable. You don't deserve it," he said seriously.
Yuffie looked at him in awe. "Wow, Vince. I think that's the most you've ever said to me before. But… thank you," she said with a grin. Before either of them knew what was going on, she had bounced into his arms and hugged him tightly around the middle. "It's a good thing then, that I would never take him back, no matter how much he apologizes."
Vincent placed his hands on her back and realized that he hadn't even bothered to worry about who was watching them—which happened to be everyone, including the children. Then Yuffie ruined the moment by making him lose his balance and pulling him completely underwater. They both came up spluttering and gasping for air, and Vincent was greeted by big brown eyes, framed by matted dark strands of hair. She grinned at him and pushed his bangs away from his eyes.
"Have some fun, Vince," she said brightly, paddling around him. "You've been sitting out of the sun all day. Are you afraid you'll melt?"
He glared at her but followed her little teasing game. "I always had sensitive skin," he said in a monotone.
Yuffie let out a laugh and was happy to see him so care free. She would've given half of her life to see him that way at least once. After talking about nonsense and swimming for a little more, she dragged him out of the water and towards the bonfire that Cid and Barret had just finished building. Tifa handed them both a large towel and they sat in their chairs, close to the fire. Yuffie smiled and took the offered stick and a marshmallow from Denzel and Marlene.
Once the sun was gone, the only light they had to go by was the bonfire and the full moon that looked huge from where they sat. Yuffie hadn't realized that she would ever get to see Vincent in front of a fire again. He looked amazingly handsome, like always, and she couldn't really keep her eyes off of him. She felt a blush color her cheeks when his eyes darted from the fire to her face, and she hoped that the flames were enough to hide her embarrassment.
There had been something different about Vincent for a few days now. She had noticed it because, really, what didn't she notice about Vincent, even when he was being anti-social? Tifa had been right about him watching her when he thought she wasn't looking. She wondered what was going on between them. If maybe it was all a figment of her imagination. She didn't want it to be something her strange brain had cooked up, but she didn't know how else to go about things. She stood from her seat and walked off to get a cup to pour a bit of drinking water into it. Then she slowly walked down towards the shore and let the warm water lap at her toes. What else could she do to make Vincent see that she was right in front of him? Something that didn't scream desperate or annoying.
"Alone again?" asked someone from behind her.
Yuffie grinned, but forced the smile to become something smaller. She turned to look at Vincent and shrugged. "I don't mind your company. But… is it just me, or have you been following me around recently?" she asked, a joking note to it.
Vincent smirked faintly and tried to keep his eyes off of her legs again. She was still in a bathing suit, but over it she was wearing a shirt made of nearly translucent material. "I just want to know that you're safe," he murmured.
"Why?" she asked lightly. "I can take care of myself."
"You are… special to me," he admitted. He had resolved, as he stared into the fire earlier, that maybe it would be best to come out and say that he was interested. He hadn't been able to come with any other way that didn't make him sound like some school boy with his first crush.
Yuffie smiled at his words, realizing that her hands had gone cold because of her excitement. "You mean… as a friend… or something… more?" she asked, blushing again.
"Both," he murmured softly. He took her shocked silence as a chance to continue. "I still don't believe that I am the best man for you, but… we will never know it unless I took the chance, or… if you don't return the feeling."
The ninja stared at him for a long moment, not believing what he was really saying. She wanted to laugh hysterically and ask her friends if they were playing a joke on her, but Vincent looked truly serious. She wondered how much it had taken him to admit that to himself and out loud to her. Before she lost her nerve, she stepped forward and took one of his hands in both of hers, faintly realizing that he had looked so normal without the gauntlet on she hadn't even noticed that he wasn't wearing it until now.
"You've been a great friend to me," she said, looking into his eyes and watching him wince. She wanted to cry because he thought she was shooting him down when she wasn't. She wouldn't have dared because she had been waiting for this moment for years now. "And I loved that you took the chance to tell me this," she said with a grin. She said no more and stood on her tip-toes to press a gentle kiss to his lips, sliding a hand behind his neck when he responded.
They pulled apart when cheering and catcalls sounded from the bonfire. Yuffie let out a faint giggle and looked at Vincent again, noticing that he was watching her with a soft look on his usually blank face. "I'm just sorry you'll have to deal with Cid and Barret if we actually go through with this," she muttered.
Vincent lifted one shoulder and shrugged much the same way she had a habit of doing. "I think it will be worth it," he said quietly, reaching up to rub a thumb over her cheekbone. "Now that we have talked about this, will you… join me for dinner sometime soon?"
Yuffie nodded happily. "But only if you cook it. Your food is amazing, and it tastes way better than mine," she said brightly.
"It's a date then," he said with a small nod. He graced her with a small, honest smile before he walked back towards the bonfire.
Yuffie tried her best to contain her squeals of happiness and couldn't wait until she and Vincent finally had their first date. It all seemed surreal that Vincent had been the one to ask her out first, without any prodding, but she wouldn't argue with that.
Besides, she better liked how, "You are cordially invited to Yuffie Kisaragi and Vincent Valentine's wedding," sounded. So she didn't mind that he had beat her to admitting her feelings first. Vincent stopped halfway up the beach and waited for her to follow him, and together they walked back towards their friends.
First off, to anyone named Earl, or who has a family member named Earl, I mean no disrespect. I was just trying to find a name for this guy that wouldn't be something so cliché and that's what I came up with. I have nothing against that name, nor do I know anyone named Earl. Now that I've gotten that out of the way, how was this piece? I left out the angst this time and decided for something lighthearted and fluffy. I think I needed it too, taking into consideration all the drama that has been going on in my fanfiction world this past week. I won't get into it, but at least the stress inspired me to write this piece, and the drama is officially over. Those of you following, Turn the Page, don't worry, I will explain in my next update. Was it too OOC, or maybe too rushed? I tried not to get them involved and in love right off the bat, so maybe it seemed a little slow. Dunno, so feel free to let me know.
Now, please make my day peeps and let me know if you liked this fic or if I'm losing my touch. I had kinda lost my VinceYuffie muse because ZackTifa was eating my brain and hogging up my muse. But I'm back! Besides, I had to suffer through having my six-year-old brother hanging off of my neck while I typed most of this oneshot. He has autism, so he doesn't get the idea of: "Please stop, you're choking me!" and he loves to hang around with me when I'm on the computer. He kept asking me to spell random animals for him. If you guys don't know what autism is, look it up and inform yourselves. This is something that is affecting more and more kids each year and you may even know someone who has autism but you haven't realized it yet. Most people take an autistic child's behavior like a tantrum and you may make faces or think, "Why can't the mom teach her kid not to do that?" Just think twice about it because kids with autism have problems with behavior and how they communicate with other people. They sometimes don't understand that they can't get a certain toy, or that they may be in danger, so you have to hold his/her hand. So next time you see a kid throwing a tantrum, stop to think that maybe he has some type of disability, and not that he's just being a brat.
Well, enough of my public service announcement. I know this one centered mostly on their friendship, but I may write a sequel that includes some romance and fluff. VinceYuffie fluff makes me feel all giddy and I love to write it. I don't know yet, but I hoped everyone enjoyed this fic and that you all have a great week.
P.S. Please ignore the typos and errors that are bound to show up?