In the year and a half that had passed since Godo and Yuffie had reconciled, things had begun to change. Within three months, Yuffie and Vincent had decided they would move back to Wutai, which is just what they did, continuing to live together peacefully. Just two days after they had settled down in Wutai, Yuffie found herself pregnant with her first child...
Yuffie stared at the test she held in her shaking hand. "Pregnant?" she mouthed. "Pregnant?"
She heard a tap at the door. "Yuffie? Are you okay in there?" It was Vincent. Hastily, she dropped the test into her pocket and opened the bathroom door. "I'm fine, honest," she said.
Vincent frowned. "You have been in there for half an hour. Are you ill? You have been throwing up these past few days. What have you caught?"
"Vince, let me get a bloody word in edgeways! I-er...I'm pregnant, if you must know..."
Vincent's jaw dropped in shock. "W-what?! You cannot be serious!"
"I am..." Yuffie extracted the test from her pocket and handed it to Vincent. He gaped wordlessly at the reading.
"Are you sure you want to have a child, Yuffie? I...I do not know if..."
Yuffie put her arms round Vincent's neck, a small smile on her face. "No child of mine will be a vampire, Vince!" she said optimistically. "You've got no need to worry- nothing will go wrong. And as for you, you'll be a great father..."
"..." Vincent was still unsure, though he had chuckled at the vampire remark. He turned away, eyes closed.
Yuffie looked at him, stricken. "You're not...you're not going to leave me over this, are you?"
"No, I would never do that." Vincent turned to Yuffie again, wrapping his arms round Yuffie, pulling her to him. "I love you...I will not leave you." He gazed into her eyes, which were filling with tears. "I will not abandon you or my child. Rest assured, my love...I will be here, always..."
Yuffie was right- nothing went wrong, and when their little girl was born, she was found to be perfectly healthy.
Their baby, who they named Yuni, was now six months old, and at the present moment in time was sat, babbling happily, on Tifa's knee, who had come to visit with Cloud and their ten month old son Klaus. Klaus was a tall baby for his age, and had inherited his father's bright blonde hair and blue eyes. He was already learning to walk, and kept tumbling backwards onto his bottom after failing to pull himself onto the sofa.
Tifa put her arm more securely around Yuni, and tickled her chubby stomach. "So, how have things been with you and Yuffie, then?" she asked Vincent. For once, Vincent had discarded his cloak, and had attempted to neaten his hair, which had been pulled back into a loose ponytail. He smirked a little. "I never thought I would be with her this long, Tifa. But I guess I got lucky..." Sighing, he picked Klaus up, who was having a tantrum because he still couldn't get up, and placed him on the sofa. "I trust you received the invitation Yuffie sent a while ago?"
Tifa nodded. "I'm looking forward to your wedding; I've never seen a Wutainese one before. You guys are so sweet together- I knew it was true love the minute I saw you kissing her in hospital, when she had collapsed..." Tifa trailed off, smiling.
"Yes, our first proper kiss...that had to be one of the happiest days of my life..."
"I still think it's pretty funny though," Cloud laughed from his position beside Vincent. "But you guys go well together, I can see it now."
"Wow, Cloud saw some sense!" Tifa let Yuni slide off her lap, where she sat on the floor, making faces at her father.
Vincent stuck his tongue out at her before turning back to Tifa. "It feels strange, having a child of my own. I feel blessed... and to tell you the truth, Yuni is an easy baby to look after; all she wants, really, is her bottle, her dummy and her little blue bear." He indicated the bear Yuni had picked up, and was rubbing her face against it affectionately. "Plus, she is not infected by Chaos..."
"Well, Chaos left your body when Omega was destroyed, remember? It's not in you anymore," Cloud said, fishing in his pocket and handing a dummy to his grizzling son. He watched Yuni fondly. "She's really cute, isn't she?"
Yuni responded with a series of babbles muffled somewhat by the bear's arm in her mouth.
"Awww, how sweet," Tifa cooed. "Where's Yufs, anyway?"
"She and Siyo are at a meeting with Godo, supposedly about the wedding plans. Siyo has been a great help to us, I was wrong to ever doubt him."
"Is he the dishy guy with blue hair who I saw with Yuni earlier?" Tifa rolled her eyes at Cloud, who had pouted childishly when she said 'dishy'.
"That's him...he is a good babysitter, he dotes on Yuni ever so much. I do not complain, it gives me and Yuffie some time together..." a cheeky smile formed on Vincent's face.
Both Cloud and Tifa laughed. "You really have changed, Vincent," Cloud observed. "In more ways than one; I hear you have started to age again?"
"Yes, you are right." Vincent ran a hand across his brow, feeling the solitary wrinkle recently formed. "My previous years do not count; I am starting again from twenty seven, and I will admit, I am overjoyed. I was despairing that I would live while all of you died. Now I have no worries."
"What do you think made you age again?" Cloud asked.
Vincent and Tifa exchanged glances, both smiling. "Love..." they said in unison.
One more month went by, and the day of Yuffie and Vincent's wedding dawned. The weather seemed to have been invited too; the sun wore its best shining outfit, brightening the pale blue sky devoid of cloud. Looking up at this sky, sat up on Da-Chao, Vincent counted his lucky stars that he had been found in the coffin all those years ago. Had I been told five years ago that I was to marry a ninja princess and have a baby girl, I probably would have shot whoever had told me in the head and told them not to be ridiculous. But it's reality...it's happening, and I couldn't be happier... Vincent tugged at his robe. The last time he had worn Wutainese dress was when he was a child, and he was not used to it now. Nevertheless, he liked it; it was patterned with red and black, his favourite colours, and it fit him well. He had tied his hair up again, and overall, his appearance was quite pleasant.
"Ah, Mr. Valentine..." Vincent turned to see Siyo behind him. He looked the same as ever, though he had discarded his usual vest top and jeans, and had also donned a robe, patterned with blue and silver. Vincent looked up at him. "It suits you," he commented.
"Many thanks, Mr. Valentine. As does yours." A year had not changed Siyo's friendly, formal character in the slightest, thought he had replaced the blue streaks in his hair with red. "Lord Godo told me to inform you that we are ready to proceed with the wedding."
"Ah...I am ready also." Vincent stood, and followed Siyo down Da-Chao excitedly. "Are our friends here?" he asked the young man.
"Hmmm..." Siyo pulled a folded piece of parchment out of his pocket and looked at it. "These are the wedding guests. Your friends...Cloud, Tifa and Klaus, Nanaki, Barrett and Marlene, Cid, Shera and Terra, Reeve and his cat contraption- Cait Sith, is it? There are others you will know, I trust, but those I have just read are the only ones I know." He put the parchment back in his pocket.
With Vincent so eager, it didn't take long for them to get to the bottom of Da-Chao. A small surprise awaited him at the bottom- a young girl sat in one of the cherry blossom trees. As Vincent got nearer, she recognised him, and jumped down to greet him. "Vincent Valentine," she said, in a familiar voice. "It has been a long time."
"S-Shelke?" Vincent's eyes widened in surprise. No wonder he had not recognised her. Her hair was longer and a little darker than it was previously, and she was wearing a dark purple dress instead of the grey bodysuit she usually wore.
Vincent smiled, putting a hand on her shoulder. "How have you been?" he asked.
Shelke Rui allowed a small smile to appear. "My life since the Tsviets has been rather uneventful- I have contented myself with assisting the WRO." She lowered her head slightly. "Our attempts to bring back my sister were fruitless...she has returned to the planet."
"I'm sorry." Vincent found himself remembering back to when he had known Shalua- she had a metal arm just like him, but it was her life-support system, not merely a gauntlet. He remembered how she had sacrificed herself to save Shelke, wedging her metal arm between the closing doors so Shelke could escape. The snapping sound of the metal still echoed in Vincent's mind horribly.
"I am sure she is happy now," he said. Changing the subject, he added, "I had no idea Yuffie had invited you-I thought you two did not get on?"
"Ah-she sent two invitations to the WRO headquarters for Reeve and myself. My invitation contained a small note from Yuffie; she wants us to cast aside our differences and become friends. I am all for trying."
"Yuffie has seen sense then." By now, Vincent and Siyo had set off again, with Shelke walking beside Vincent. Looking up at him, she said quietly, "I was surprised when I discovered you were to marry Yuffie Kisaragi. Never had I imagined such a couple. But from what I have gathered from Cloud and Reeve, you now have a child?"
"Yes...Yuni is half a year old now, Tifa has her. Tifa has adored her from the first time she saw her, and always takes her with her when she is here."
Shelke laughed softly. "Her son, Klaus, is rather cute as well, is he not?"
"He is a remarkable child. He has chocobo hair just like his father..." All three of them laughed.
The wedding was to take place outside the Pagoda, where Vincent, Siyo and Shelke had now arrived. Looking around and spotting Reeve, Shelke muttered, "I will leave you now. Good luck." She went off into the crowd.
Vincent himself looked at the crowd of people-all of Wutai had turned up to witness the wedding. He didn't think Wutai held so many, it wasn't a big town at all. He spotted his friends stood near a clump of trees, slightly away from the others. They were all there- Cloud holding Klaus, who was asleep with his head on his father's shoulder, and Tifa pushing Yuni backwards and forwards in her buggy, trying to stop her whining for her daddy.
Tifa bent her head towards Cloud. "Vincent looks pretty swish in that robe, eh?"
"He looks weird..." Cloud muttered, shifting Klaus a little so he could hold him tighter.
"I wonder what Yuffie will be wearing?" Shera wondered. "All these Wutainese kimonos are beautiful...I want one!"
"Me too, me too!" Terra burbled, holding her mother's hand excitedly.
"&%$ing hell Shera, I ain't made of money!" Cid said. "Get your own."
"Daddy, it's rude to swear!"
Vincent and Siyo reached the Pagoda, where Gorki, Shake, Chekhov and Staniv were stood. They were having a whispered conversation, but they broke off when the other two drew near.
Chekhov, the guardian of the 3rd storey of the Pagoda, approached Vincent, a warm smile on her face. "How are you feeling?" she asked, as Siyo stepped away from them to speak with his father.
"A little nervous, if truth be told, Chekhov." Vincent fiddled with a stray hair that had fallen from his ponytail.
"It will all run smoothly, I can assure you. Gorki, Shake, Staniv and I have been talking to Miss Yuffie, and we can assure you she is highly nervous too. Have no fear, though, after this you will be together forever! That's worth the gruelling ceremonies, isn't it?"
Vincent had to agree.
Chekhov laughed slightly. "Believe it or not, I have certain qualifications that allow me to be able to marry two people together, so I will be the one to do it for you and Miss Yuffie-or Mrs. Valentine, as she is soon to be." She looked over Vincent's head-the crowd was falling silent. "Ah, it must be beginning. Stand to this side of me, Vincent, that's right." Chekhov stood a little straighter, her hands folded in front of her, watching ahead of her.
Yuffie, accompanied by her father, had appeared and had begun to walk down the makeshift aisle. A flowing white furisode enclosed her small body, her long sleeves rippling. A single white flower had been positioned behind her ear, and overall she looked beautiful. She beamed at Vincent as she approached him, eyeing up his robe with a twinkle in her grey eyes.
Laying a hand on Yuffie's arm, Godo spoke to her in an undertone. Yuffie nodded, and Godo stepped back with an encouraging smile.
"Are Wutainese weddings any different from the usual ones?" Tifa whispered to Shera, who had travelled with Cid to Wutai on a few occasions.
"No, not really. There's still the ring, which I think is on the opposite hand, and the kiss at the end and stuff- but the speeches are just a little bit different, that's all. In fact, Wutainese people believe the time spent together afterwards is to be cherished more than the wedding; thus, the ceremony is quite short." Shera quietened as she heard Chekhov clear her throat.
Back at the Pagoda, Vincent extended his hand; wordlessly, Yuffie took it, and they both turned to face Chekhov.
"Are you both ready?" she said. Vincent and Yuffie nodded. "Then I shall begin." She cleared her throat.
"Citizens of Wutai, family, friends, honoured guests, today is a day to be cherished- for today we will witness the conjoining of Yuffie Kisaragi and Vincent Valentine. If anybody has any reason why this couple should not be married, please state your reason now." Silence met the middle-aged woman's words. "Very good," she said.
"Vincent Valentine, do you take Yuffie Kisaragi to be your wife, in sickness and in health, no matter any misfortune that befalls you, till death do you part?"
"Yuffie Kisaragi, do you take Vincent Valentine to be your husband, in sickness and in health, no matter any misfortune that befalls you, till death do you part?"
Chekhov gave a slight nod. "If there is anything you wish to say to your partner, please do so now."
Vincent spoke first, a little nervously. "Yuffie, "he began, "first of all I want to say how truly grateful I am that you discovered me in the Nibelheim basement all those years ago. I cannot think of how my life would have been had I not been found. I am even more glad that it was a strikingly beautiful young woman you found me, the woman before me now, who shrieked in fear and proclaimed that I was a vampire." Yuffie blushed, but she kept her gaze. Vincent continued, "My life since falling in love with you has been the best experience I could ask for. I would not wish to love anyone else other than you, Yuffie, and I never will. We are a true family now that we have been blessed with our own child, and once we are wed, the final hole in our love will be sealed. I promise to protect you from harm and danger, and should anything deadly arise, I will gladly give my life for you."
Yuffie smiled. "I had no idea you could give a speech so well..." she whispered, before speaking in a louder voice. "Well, finding you in that coffin was a surprise at first. But look where it turned out in the end! You and I, together, we have a daughter, a beautiful daughter, and very soon we will be bonded together for the rest of our days. Also, I gotta say I'm relieved that you're ageing again, 'cos if you stayed your same age and I grew old, how would that make me feel? But it's not going to happen, and for that I'm glad. The love we share will not disappear, ever. I can swear on mine and Yuni's life that I will never stop loving you, Vincent Valentine."
Chekhov watched with a little smile on her face. "It is settled- Master Siyo, the wedding rings, if you please?"
Siyo stepped forward, carrying two gold rings on a small red cushion. He stood before Yuffie and Vincent, who took the rings from the cushion, sliding them onto each other's right-hand middle fingers, as it is done in Wutai.
Chekhov smiled. "May all your fortunes come true, and may you live in harmony for the rest of your days. Leviathan and the Gods rejoice for you. You may now kiss, and then will you be eternally bonded."
Vincent, still holding Yuffie's hand, moved closer to her. He gazed into Yuffie's glimmering eyes, smiling at her, before leaning down a little, kissing her lips softly.
The gigantic crowd broke into enthusiastic applause and cheering, with an appreciative wolf-whistle from Cloud. "Knew you had it in you, Vincent!" he said.
Tifa's eyes were sparkling with happy tears. "Look, they're so happy together," she whispered, watching Vincent pull Yuffie into a loving embrace, his arms tightly wrapped around her.
"&%$, the vampire has a wife? Wow, he's growing up!"
"Daddy, stop using those naughty words!"
Vincent pulled away from the tender embrace, hands on her shoulders, stroking them with his thumbs. "Can you believe we did it?"
Yuffie laughed. "No, I really can't!" She readjusted the flower behind her ear, smiling warmly. She looked back at Vincent. "I love you, Vince," she said, settling back into his arms, feeling tears of joy well up in her eyes.
"I love you too..."
Well, it was long overdue.
X X Tia X X