Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts.

Pairing(s): LuxordxYuffie! Miniscule hints of LeonxCloud at the side. Because I'm just cool like that.

A/N: Happy Birthday Manda-chan!! I hope this is okay…ugh, it's not, but…well anyways. I tried to keep everyone in character and failed miserably. And the whole Yuffie-Luck thing…I fail at life xD Anyways, a very happy birthday, Onyx Panthera!

There is a certain comfort in knowing that someone is there and will always be there. There is no need to speak, no need to confirm anything. It is simply known that that particular person is and will always be in existence, and they will always be there.

It is this connection that Yuffie felt every day. As she went about her business, following her role in life as the optimism of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee, she was able to maintain her cheerful disposition in even the worst of circumstances. She had her friends, after all: Aerith, Squ—Leon, Merlin, Cid, Cloud, and even the elusive Tifa was a person she considered a companion. Her friends gave her strength, and her strength gave her happiness. Her happiness was a great factor in keeping the minds of the Restoration Committee stable (that is not to say she did not drive each and every person insane with her incessant chatter, cheer, and deviousness).

But when it came down to it, there were often times Yuffie felt disregarded or isolated from her friends. She felt utterly and senselessly alone. Asking for help, when it came down to it, would only put an even greater burden on those she cared about. That, to Yuffie, was simply not an option.

Eventually, Yuffie's plots to force Cloud and Leon into a steamy bedroom adventure began to grate on everyone's nerves. When Leon finally snapped, Yuffie was left to herself, crying in a place no one would see her, wallowing in absolute depression where she would not interfere with the happiness of anyone else. It was then that she realized something – just as the Restoration Committee was growing irritated at her fervent scheming, Yuffie was falling farther and farther into her own pit of despair.

When the air was thin and the breeze was biting, Yuffie held herself and watched the sun fade to cityscape red and then disappear. She was not ungrateful. In some part of her mind, Yuffie was content with the way things were. The vast majority of her thoughts, however, were pinned on her own desperation to see her friends smile and the regret she felt towards the way she had managed to accomplish the exact opposite. Was she awful for craving their happiness to give her strength? Was she selfish even in her need for their well-being?

An ebony cat happened across her path, briskly darting down the nearly-deserted alley. It glanced at her, and, feeling a sort of distraught at her newly given bad luck, Yuffie sighed deeply. She groaned in exasperation, and then…

…it winked at her. Just a coincidental tilt of the head, and Yuffie found the cat watching her closely. It looked away, disinterested, and then it turned back and winked at her before resuming its quick traverse to its destination.

This was completely absurd, and even the open-minded Yuffie knew it. Cats could not simply wink at you. But then, she had seen a lot of ridiculously strange things in her life, so this should be considered normal.

but winked? It seriously winked?!

In a fit of characteristic curiosity, Yuffie vaulted to her feet and hurried off after the strange cat. There was nothing more important than getting to the bottom of things.

Ultimately, the search for the cat was useless. It wasn't a cliché situation where the pursuer actually finds the cat; it was more a futile wish. Yuffie had, however, gotten herself mixed around and confused, which was actually very cliché. She wasn't lost, per se, (Yuffie is a ninja, after all, and not a helpless heroine) but she was rather disgruntled.

Just as her moment of resignation began to sink in, a dark, hooded figure walked by.

At first, Yuffie couldn't believe what she'd seen. This dissolved almost instantly – she felt an out-of-place contentment wash over her. Suddenly, everything was okay, and she found the will to keep going and keep trying to make her friends smile, because things like irritation happened all the time when people were around each other often. The figure disappeared behind the corner, but Yuffie did not let him (or was it her? She was sure it was a he) escape before shouting a 'thank you'. With that said, she giggled to herself and climbed atop the buildings, giddy enough to race all the rooftops home.

With Yuffie's return came reprimands from Leon, worried grunts from Cloud, and lectures from Aerith. She couldn't help but smile all the way, and much to her comrades' surprise, she gave everyone a warm hug before skipping the way to dinner.

Not too many days later, Yuffie was reminded of her not-so-direct encounter during a poker match with the group. She had recently become quite horrid at the game, unfortunately, but the outcome is not relevant. It is actually the wave of familiarity she felt as she held the cards in her hands that caught her off guard. Shaking her head, she silently watched the others play, trying to remember where it was that she saw—no heard—no felt—the essence of the cards, the essence of luck(or lack thereof, in Yuffie's recent case).

The nights thereafter, Yuffie found herself addicted to anything that involved gambling. Whether it was betting on something – anything she could find to bet on – or a roll of the dice, Yuffie did not want the thrill of gambling with fate to leave her. Even if she—the epitome of fortune—had lost her luck in its entirety, she was determined to keep going.

Her friends – amused as they were – developed a strong sense of concern. Leon was reduced to making excuses every time she begged to make a bet, Cloud was forced to duck and cover whenever he sensed her presence, and Aerith found herself unable to sternly confront Yuffie about her addiction. It made Yuffie happy, after all, and no one wanted to deprive Yuffie of her happiness (especially when it took her attention off Leon and Cloud's relationship).

It was, in fact, Tifa who finally spoke to the chipper ninja.

"Hey," said the brunette, looking slightly awkward, "Everyone is worried about your addiction to gambling."

Yuffie, of course, was certain that it was not an addiction, and she told Tifa so.

"No, it's an addiction, Yuffie. What brought this on in the first place? You can't be bored."

Yuffie shrugged. She didn't know. Talking about it made her feel insecure.

"Maybe you should try retracing your steps. Find the root of the problem. You're kind of scaring everyone. Cloud's been hiding. Hiding."

And so, Yuffie embarked on her journey to find the corner where she'd seen the dark figure. It was easy to track the place down, but the man wasn't there this time. Acknowledging the differences in time, she flopped down on the ground and waited.

Yuffie couldn't just sit there and do nothing, however, and she pulled out a pair of dice she'd hidden and began guessing out loud what number would appear each time she rolled the dice. She was wrong every single time.

The sun set, and Yuffie didn't notice. All her focus was placed on her frustration with the dice.

"Why can't I guess right? Not even once! Where did all my luck go?!" she yelled, throwing her arms into the air wildly.

She didn't notice the cat saunter by. She didn't notice anything else, until it was made evident.

She rolled the dice. "Seven!" she gasped. "Be seven!"


And the dice rolled out to ten.

She growled, then rolled the dice again. "Five!"


The dice rolled out to three.

It was then that Yuffie realized there had been another voice, and her head snapped up. Had the sun still been entirely there, she would have noticed a shadow cast over her. But there wasn't enough sun, and as her eyes widened at the sight before her, the sun disappeared completely, and she was engulfed in darkness.

She felt something in front of her face. When her eyes adjusted, she noticed a hand hovering there. She glanced up briefly at where the man's face might have been, but even though his face was evidently tilted down, it was too dark to really see. She took his hand. He pulled her to her feet.

She didn't register the situation until he was walking away. "Hey, you!" she called. "…thanks."

He didn't stop, but she swore she saw him wave. And then he was gone.

Yuffie was far from distraught at her failure to 'get to the bottom of things'. On the contrary, she was quite blissful. To her amazement and the Restoration Committee's dismay, she was back on her eternal winning streak. When asked, she grinned broadly and shrugged. Leon was astounded to find she wasn't rigged with cheating tools, and Aerith was still worried about the 'addiction'. Finding no other explanation, everyone ignored it and assumed she had simply suffered a losing streak.

Whenever she went out after that, building or fighting off heartless, Yuffie felt like she was being followed. It wasn't as sinister as it probably should have been. Yuffie rather liked it. She knew that unknown man was watching over her – as opposed to stalking her – and she never once questioned his intentions. His presence was almost comforting.

Yuffie's luck eventually died out. The relief of her friends was matched only by the disappointment of the gambling ninja. Naturally, she chose to seek out her luck muse, deeming it a simple task (he was always following her around anyway).

Her awful luck returned to her full-force and Yuffie was incapable of tracking down the mysterious man. Day or night, he was nowhere to be found, though she could sense him there, somewhere. After days and days of searching (and nights of losing munny), Yuffie felt hopeless, like maybe she'd imagined everything. Deep down, she knew it wasn't so, but she was so utterly confused at this point that she embraced the closest thing to an explanation there was. That happened to be insanity.

And it was in this time of Yuffie's forfeit that she was out raging her anger on heartless that were attacking a specific section of the city – which was, oddly enough, quite far away from the Restoration Committee's current project. Yuffie was sent alone, as everyone could see she had enough rage to release that she could most definitely handle it all on her own (and she threatened to castrate Cloud, which made Leon agree immediately).

In all her sweating glory, Yuffie had lived up to her word and eradicated the whole of the heartless army. She was pleased with herself, but it wasn't quite enough. No, because she wasn't angry with the heartless. She was angry with that stupid man.

As if on cue, the stupid man arrived in a wondrous swirling cloud of black. He stood rigidly and held a stare-down with the enraged ninja before casually pulling back his hood.

He had very short yellow-blond hair, mild blue eyes, a slight beard, and a silver earring. Nothing amazing except for the fact that he was the reason she was so angry and yet he still had the audacity to smirk at her.

From this tense moment spurred a battle of sorts, if it could be called that. It consisted of Yuffie's deranged ninja-star-hurling and the man's nonchalant dodging. He seemed to have no trouble evading her senseless battle skills (or lack thereof) and at last it was done with: Yuffie started laughing. She couldn't remember why she was attacking this random man or why she was so angry in the first place. She felt completely at ease.

Then a crowd of giant cards appeared and circled her, and she immediately tensed. She wasn't sure whether to be wary of or surprised at the objects. I've never seen giant cards before.

In a flash of movement she couldn't detect because of her distraction, the man stepped out of one of the cards and grabbed her. Before she could realize what exactly his goal was, he kissed her.

It was only a brief instant, but Yuffie felt all the luck in the world—tangible, racing through her, melting into her blood, becoming her. Even after the kiss ended, she could still feel the high of victory.

The man had already gone when she came to her senses. Well, he hadn't really gone, actually. She could still feel him. Watching over her, almost like…no, not an angel. He was something else entirely.

There is a certain comfort in knowing that someone is there and will always be there. There is no need to speak, no need to confirm anything. It is simply known that that particular person is and will always be in existence, and they will always be there.

Yuffie felt this bond in everything she did. In everyday activities, in all her sudden wins – which turned out to be more than her typical luck– and every time she looked at a deck of cards. She never lost her will to fight for the happiness of those she cared about, and in every moment of weakness, she knew she wasn't alone.

As for the games, her dearest friends were still concerned as ever, but as Yuffie's gambling high spiraled down into a calm hobby, worrying wasn't the issue: envy was. Yuffie won every single game, every single time. Forget her outstanding luck she'd had before her intense losing streak – now she had an endless supply of luck hidden somewhere, and no one could figure out why (or bring themselves to ask). And when they did, it proved to be useless anyway.

"What's going on?" Leon demanded skeptically.

"Is the world ending or something?" asked Cid.

Yuffie hugged the vast collection of poker chips tightly. "I have the Lord of Luck on my side."

Cloud snorted. "Don't you mean Lady Luck?"

Yuffie snickered triumphantly. "Nope."