Author's Note: Well, here you were all thinking "Ha-ha! Convergence is over, finally a break in the Yuffentine from lynn!" Well take this, ya jerks, more Yuffentine, and fluffy/angsty as ever! I've got my eye open for a beta, so if anyone's interested in holding my hand through writer's block, fix my plot holes and generally yell at me for not being able to spell, do give me a shout! I'm available through FFnet PM and e-mail which is on my profile.
"Where are you going?"
Vincent freezes in the doorway, bowing his head. "Go back to sleep, Yuffie."
It's too late: the ninja sits up, gazing at his form silhouetted against the light from the hall. "What are you doing here, Vinnie?"
"Tifa gave you painkillers, and you have been out for a while." He doesn't turn back to look at her, simply turns his head slightly so his whisper projects toward her rather than other bedrooms housing sleeping members of AVALANCHE. "Go back to sleep, Yuffie."
"How long have you been here?"
He exhales quietly, and his head dips lower; "A while." He moves toward the door again, boots loud on the wooden floor.
He pauses again. "Sleep, Yuffie." It is almost a prayer as his eyes lift to the ceiling; anything to keep from looking back at her.
"I could have killed it myself."
He almost laughs, he almost cries. She would have died if he hadn't been in the right place at the right time; but she knows this. She knows she owes him her life, and this was her way of saying thanks. "I know, Yuffie."
He can tell she's smiling, because she is always reacting to everything, and she isn't snarling or whining or sighing. A soft laugh fills the silence, and he is proven correct. Once more he makes a move to leave.
"Wait," she calls after him. He senses her hesitation as acutely as his own, when once again her voice compels him to stay. "You weren't hurt, were you?"
He silently curses, subconsciously tucking his bandaged arm under his cloak. "I'm fine," he states gruffly. "Yuffie, you need rest."
"Let me see," she demands. He is sure she is holding out her hand and that her eyebrows are drawn both with determination and concern, even though he has yet to see her face.
"It will be healed by the morning; go to slee--"
"It's my fault," she interjects abruptly. His head jerks and he catches her eye, not at all surprised when his breath catches in his throat. She is sitting in bed with white silky sheets swimming about her, the black and blue bruises all along her left shoulder and arm a stark contrast to the moonlight and her milky skin. Her eyes are fierce and sad and young and wise and old and naive all at once, and she motions to his arm again with an outstretched hand.
Vincent's eyelids drop over his crimson irises once more, painfully, before he complies. The bed creaks with his added weight when he sits down next to her on the left hand side of the bed, extending his injured right arm out for her scrutiny.
She is quiet as she unravels sodden bandages, and he watches with interest as her expression grows grim, her eyebrows drawing together when she sees the bloodied gash.
"Does it hurt?" she asks quietly, fingers itching to touch it; to touch him.
"Not much," he replies, and it is truth. Tifa was a miracle worker with a needle and thread, and Vincent's mutated body had kicked into gear almost instantly, working to heal what would simply become another patch of slightly marred flesh. He doesn't flinch when her curious fingers trace the red mark from his elbow all the way down to his wrist.
"You're such an asshole," she tells him, eyes soaking in the injury. Her voice is weak, and not just because it is the middle of the night and her pain medication is wearing off. She is rewrapping his forearm again as he decides not to ask why she thinks he's so awful, because he thinks he already knows, and it's not a very logical reason. He concedes, as he sees the corners of her mouth struggling not to be pulled into a deep frown, that she can be allotted her lack of logical thought, tonight.
"Are you satisfied?" he asks when she is finished and her fingers brush against him as she ties a knot to keep him all pieced together. The ninja looks up at him with round steely eyes. She doesn't know how to answer that, and Vincent must admit he is not sure of the answer he was looking for himself. "Am I healing to your liking?" he adds, hoping he can eliminate all other possible lines of conversation.
"Better than I could have asked for," she replies. Her hand is still resting over his arm, her thumb rhythmically tracing the jarring line of dry blood that has seeped through its covering.
"Rest assured; I am fine." Now that you are safe, but Vincent doesn't say this, Vincent never says this. "Will you sleep now, Yuffie?"
He doesn't wait for her to say anything and stands up; his departure is long overdue: he should never have been there in the first place, but her cries in her sleep had drawn him, in particular when his name was uttered among the muffled sobs.
Resignedly she lies back down, and although he had warned himself not to, he turns back in the doorway. He watches her carefully trying not to jar her dislocated shoulder, or the fresh deep gash on her abdomen, and he wants to trace those battle wounds with fingertips as soft and loving as hers.
But he is Vincent, and his touch will never be loving, because the sharp violent metal of his past just won't let it, and it does so much more harm than good.
She is curled up on her good side, the right side, facing away from him, and soft sigh leaves her lips. He pretends he is deaf and could not hear it. He pretends he has already left.
"I said," she utters, louder. "I love you."
He can't find his voice, and he wishes he had left before this all began. He wishes he had had the good sense to leave when the world had been saved the first time, wishes they had left him in the coffin in Nibelhiem. Because Yuffie is always reacting to everything, because she so willingly walks into danger, and he loves her too, which is why he needs her to be safe: Safe from monsters, safe from nightmares, safe from him. "I know," he croaks, in a voice not his own.
He sees her chest rise and fall with a sigh, and she subsequently curls into herself, hissing at the pain of her stretched wound.
"Sleep," he whispers, voice a prayer.
"No." It isn't very logical, but she keeps proving, over and over and over, that she doesn't do things logically.
He wonders why, and decides there must be something freeing about completely disregarding logic, for he has never met anyone so free and as illogical as Yuffie.
Abstractly, he wonders what it's like to be free.
The bed creaks once more with his added weight, and sharp cool digits very tenderly trace the wound on her abdomen, following it from where bandages begin under her shoulder blade, and were taped in a curving swoop, following the arc of the swing of a blade as it sliced through her skin. She hisses in pain as his trek nears its end, violent metal stopping just above her navel, and he winces, eyes closing and hand jerking back, only to find it was caught. He (terrified) very logically assumes he's hurt her, and his heart lurches as he tries to pull away without maiming her further.
The claw is not caught in her bandages, nor is it embedded in freshly torn flesh. Her blood does not stain it like so many of his foes'. It is very tenderly cradled in her hands, two of them needed to circle it entirely. Her fingers, so loving, trace the seams and joints, and he wishes so deeply that he could feel it. The soft pads of her fingers caress the gold digits, very cautiously touching a talon's sharp point.
He is suddenly reminded of who he is, who she is, and the fact that he should not be here. "Yuffie..."
His eyes flicker to her face, away from where her hands were curled securely around his claw. Her eyes are open, gazing down at the mesh of metal and flesh that they create.
"Sleep," she repeats; voice softer. Her lips threaten to form a very uncharacteristic frown, the kind that can only spring from a whole soul full of hurt.
He's so very tired of hurting her, and he wants to leave, because to relive the hurt, logically, one must remove the source of pain.
But Yuffie has never been a logical thinker, and Vincent wants to be free.
She doesn't comment when he moves on the bed, shifting his body so he lies behind her, the glaring metal of his claw draping over the exposed milky skin of her midriff. He feels her body press back against him, and he inhales the sweet smell of sakura in her hair.
"Thank you," she whispers, and her hand presses his against her, fingers lacing with dangerous talons.
At first he's shocked she's even said it, and not scolded him in defence of her own self-reliance, but it then occurs to him that he doesn't know what she's thankful for; he's done nothing but cause her pain.
"When you hold me," she continues; voice full of wisdom, but soft like a child's. "It hurts less."
And his basis of logic is shifted, shattered, and his heart shakes free of shackles, and beats a little faster for her.
Author's Note: I love. I'd love some feedback, because at times I'm feeling really awesome about this, and at other times, I'm all 'ehhhh'. Anyway, I think that's why I want someone to bounce ideas off of. Anyway, don't forget to review!