It was dark and Yuffie shook. As she folded in on herself she shuddered and cried, pitiful little squeaks like a newborn bird and she shivered just as much as a bird would too. Her eyes were shut tight against the darkness of the room, but that did nothing to keep the menacing, threatening, evil darkness of her dreaming mind at bay. Her lids, squeezed tighttighttight to keep out the reality, only served to keep her grounded in the nightmare night tremor night terror and as her terrifying night trembled so did she.

The nightmares came frequently. They always had. Aeris, Sephiroth, Meteor, Momma, death.

It was near-lucid dreaming and although her mind screamed wake up wake up WAKE UP she tumbled down. Farther, farther, farther twisting turning down the depths of the black well that house nightmares. She was burning, burned by blackness and hate and anger and sadness and she couldn't even stretch a pinky finger towards the surface.

And then comes the cool, soothing presence like a blue flame. It chases away the darkness and the death and Yuffie wakes, opens darkened gray eyes, to two hands pressed to her temples and eyes as scarlet as roses, the sheer opposite shade of her icy blue flame but capturing the same essence.

There is silence. It's the silence of familiarity and comfort and business-as-usual. The silence of camaraderie. And Yuffie begins to smile a little as the last bits of the darkness fade away and the thought of camaraderie with Vincent VinnieMcVinsters Valentine sinks in. She doesn't giggle, to preserve the moment, as if her bubbling, throaty chuckle would ruin the moment of peace like a—like a—

Like a blade through a flower girls stomach as she prayed. Like a knife across a mothers throat as she sung a lullaby in her garden.

Grin fades, blink the tears away.

Like a ninja dropping in on an unsuspecting group of travelers. Like a wolf-whistle as a busty barmaid sneaks to the room of a spiky-haired hero to ask him on a date at the Gold Saucer. Yeah, like that.

And all the while as her face darkens and brightens, blood red eyes watch, hooded from the darkness of the room. This darkness is peaceful though. This darkness Yuffie can handle.

Still, no one has spoken a word.

Vincent's hands have long since abandoned their gentle framing of Yuffie's face just as her hands no longer clutch the sheet in a grip reserved only for when scaling walls or that moment right after her shuriken returns to her but before it takes flight, arcing and flashing and whistling and singing through the air.

It is Yuffie who breaks the silence, although there is no surprise there.

"I have nightmares. Night terrors. Night tremors."

Vincent nods slightly.

"I talk in my sleep. You probably knew that, with your supersonic bat-hearing. Is it 'cause you're a vampire? Is that why you have it?"

Vincent sighs.

"I cry in my sleep. I scream in my sleep. Once the tremors start, I can't wake up. Except for when the blue flame comes."

Vincent sits and listens.

"Sometimes… I just feel like I'm drowning and I can't breathe and the darkness suffocates me like that one time Cloud sat on me to get me to shut up." Only much, much worse and more menacing and not hint of a joke buried in its smothering depths. Plus, Cloud's plan hadn't even worked because the extra weight on Yuffie's chest just made her holler louder, but that was besides the point.

"Sometimes… my Momma's there. And sometimes Aeris is and she begs me not to leave her. Not to leave her to die. And she was just like the sister I never had all good and funny and beautiful and gentle and listening and everything. And I left her to die. Sometimes Sephiroth is there and he just glares, and I swear to Gawd, Vinnie his glare could almost match yours except not quite 'cause your eyes are prettier, only a more deadly pretty. But your eyes are gentler too and his are hard and cold and bitter, but they're empty and that's why you can glare better. You can't glare at someone all empty. It doesn't work."

Deep breath. Talk it out and breathe.

Because Yuffie isn't all butterflies and sunshine and smiles all the time. She has nightmares, night terrors, night tremors and only her blue flame keeps them away. Her red-eyed-but-still-blue flame.

And then she wants answers.

"Why?"

"Why do you pretend not to care?"

"Why do you pretend when you know I know because how could I not know when you come here every night to be the blue flame?"

There is silence again only this time it's full of questions and tense accusations and Yuffie feels like she's getting close to a tender, touchy, bruised subject. Bruised like the time she sparred with Cloud and ended up thrown against a tree. A subject black and blue like the entire left side of her after that fight. Bruised like the shadows under her eyes before the blue flame began coming to her.

He opens his mouth after long moments of pondering, even though it probably only feels long because Yuffie's attention has never been so great when it comes to silence. He opens his mouth, and Yuffie zeros in on it, focusing all her attention on the smooth contours of his trembling lips.

"Because you have nightmares. Because you have night terrors. Because you have night tremors. Because you talk and cry and scream in you sleep. Because in your sleep, you suffer."

"Because this Planet of ours is a planet of loss and love. It is a planet of lost love and love lost and we have felt both occur. Because sleep is a refuge from all the loss and hurt and painful love. Because sleep can be solace but not when it's so tainted by horrors."

Yuffie absorbs this but Vincent isn't done and she smiles at the thought of people actually believing that Vincent Valentine doesn't talk. He does, but only when necessary. Like when he needs to be the blue flame and get rid of the badness and bring in the good. Like when he needs a friend.

"Because I had nightmares for thirty years, and I had no blue flame, no red flame, no flame at all to chase them away. I had only the voices of the demons to hold those nightmares, night tremors, night terrors in place."

There is silence yet again and Yuffie nods.

"You care about us." About all of us. About me.

Vincent meets her eyes and she thinks she sees a smile flicker across his mouth, across those smooth quivering lips of his.

"You know about the heat of the darkness eating away at you, gnawing and snarling and twisting and ugly. You know about that too."

His lips smooth out once again, smoothly smooth and he tilts his head in understanding and confirmation. His features are fuzzy in the dark, but Yuffie's eyes had adjusted and even if they hadn't and all she could see were his eyes glinting in the darkness, she would still know that he was beautiful.

He is her beautiful, blue flame. He is her angel at nighttime. This is an odd thought and she decides to voice it, without really thinking.

"You're like an angel, you know." You're like my angel, you know.

His eyebrows knit together, ever so slightly. A tiny crease appears along his forehead and he shakes his head, dark hair swaying like a curtain of darkness. Except this darkness isn't like the suffocating blanket of Yuffie's dreams, but like a silken screen of soft, smooth, shiny comfort. Like a black waterfall that she knew by heart. Like her mothers hair. Like her own short, inky black strands. Parallels between the two opposites of the group.

The two opposites who weren't so opposite after all. Because Vincent had nightmares and Yuffie has them, and he is her blue flame and what he won't tell her is that his nightmares stopped when he saw her round, gray eyes gazing at him without fear as he towered down from the lip of his coffin.

Because they were both the optional members of the group, the ones who didn't quite belong but who were now as engrained in the dynamic as anything. And because they both have liquid-night hair, tied back in bandanas because bangs are a pain and they get in the way.

"You're like an angel, you know."

"I think you need to go back to sleep, Yuffie."

"You really are. You're like my angel, you watch over me, you know?"

"Those with evil in them can't be angels, Yuffie."

She sighs and gives his cheek a little slap, only more of a love tap as her momma would've put it.

"Since when have you been evil? You helped save the world numerous times. That sounds pretty heroic to me."

"I carry demons inside my mind. I am not good like an angel. I have evil inside me."

"So be an evil angel. Everything needs balance."

Darklight-yinyang-firewater-earthair-lifedeath-evilangelic.

"Be the best of both. It's like being everything, you know?"

Vincent doubts her reasoning a little, but doesn't think to question it to her face. This happens rather often. He soothes her nightmares, she awakens and they have conversation in the dead of night. Some nights, the dreams exhaust her to the point where she simply takes his hand and falls back asleep, content with the thought that her blue flame was near.

Her voice is fading by this point. Thick and growing wearily distant. "Anyway, I've already decided Vinnie. You're my blue flame, my evil angel." She takes his hand as she says this and wavers where she sits. She does not slump over, but seems to fall gracefully, like how a swan might lay its, long arcing neck down. To add to the effect, the white sheets slide down her lithe body but she doesn't seem to notice. She doesn't shiver or shudder or tremble or shake with the absence of the dreams and the comforting, extra presence in the room.

Her eyes slide shut and her face relaxes and her breath puffs out in rhythmic pace. She dreams of flickering blue outlined in red.


(AN: First of all, I own nothing...tear. Secondly, this is just a little something I came up with as I was procrastinating. I'm actually really proud of it and I like that it shows a more serious side to Yuffie, but I think her spunk is still there. Anyway, con.crit. is always appreciated so click the little gray button XD Oh and I also apologize for any typos...i tried to do a good job of proofreading.)