Welcome children! This fic was inspired by the Christmas Viva La Reefie contest, with jealousy as the main subject. Though it won't be part of the contest because I didn't finish it in time, I still posted it up with the okay from the peeps at the Forum. I hope everyone enjoys, though it's very short compared to what I usually write. It's just a little angst, fluff, and a happy ending rolled into one, so have fun with it.

Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them.

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Shadows

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It seemed that she had spent the entirety of her love life living in the shadow of a dead woman. She wasn't one who spoke ill of the dead, and she had really liked one of those women, but she was tired of sharing the spotlight. With Vincent, it had been nice for a while, calm and relaxing and she had felt she had been on cloud nine, but the silences had always been there, he had always seemed distracted and his broodiness hadn't gone away. Yuffie had realized that he still thought of his lost love. The woman who had stuck Chaos in his head, the woman he had died for, the woman he hadn't ever truly stopped loving.

But whatever. She was giving herself a headache, just thinking about Vincent and their failed relationship. She had cried, of course, but they had parted on peaceful terms, and she loved him like a friend. Though not being able to kiss him anymore had taken some getting used to. Vincent was an excellent kisser.

Staring up at the monument that had been constructed right in front of the WRO headquarters, Yuffie came to the next woman. She had been someone she had cared about, but sadly she hadn't made it. Shalua had given her life for her sister, for someone who hadn't known how to appreciate her sacrifice, and it had taken Yuffie a while to see that Shelke needed help, but she could understand now why Shalua had done it. Still, she had left behind one heartbroken WRO commissioner.

A commissioner who looked adorable when he rambled, or when he fell asleep at his desk, over his keyboard and then was left with little imprints on his face. Reeve was... her boss, and there was no use being jealous over dead ladies when you were invisible, or when they refused to let go.

Why were men so stupid? She asked the statue in silence. It looked just like Shalua, the way she had looked before she had lost her arm and eye. It wasn't so surprising why Reeve had loved her. She had been a genius, and very pretty, despite the loss of her limb and eye. "I don't suppose you'll answer my question, huh?" Yuffie muttered, turning to go. The sun was setting, she was going home for the evening, and it seemed like Edge would have another cold night.

Once she was a distance away, she turned back to the monument and spotted someone who looked very much like Reeve standing right in front of it. He stared up at the Shalua made of stone for a long moment before making his way to his car. Sighing to herself, Yuffie tried her hardest to not feel jealous. But how could she seriously compete with someone who no longer existed?

She didn't remember how she had come to feel anything for Reeve, except that suddenly one night it had all built and exploded in her heart, letting her know that yes, she was now in love with Reeve Tuesti. She could remember they had had stayed overtime—which Reeve usually did, being commissioner and all—and they had been sitting side by side, looking over some maps for her next mission. Suddenly, he had leaned over and touched her cheek, smiling charmingly as he drew back his finger and explained.

"An eyelash. Make a wish."

Yuffie had smiled and forced down a blush when she made a wish and blew it from his finger. Her wish then had been for Reeve to notice her as more than just a friend, or a trusted employee. She wanted him to see her as a woman. A woman who knew what she wanted, and what she wanted was for a man to love her, and only her, for the rest of their lives. She just hadn't counted on him still loving another woman.

She had heard stories of how Reeve had always been by Shalua's side, comforting her and giving her the support she needed to find her sister, but the scientist had always held finding Shelke as her top priority. Reeve had deserved better than that and Yuffie had seen it even before she had come to have feelings for him. Now though, Shalua was gone, but Reeve was free, but his mind was still with his lost love.

Yuffie knew from experience with Vincent that when the woman that a man loved died, she took a piece of his heart with her. Reeve was no exception. Blinking and staring up at the dark sky, which had nearly covered the sun, Yuffie's eyes widened when she saw the signs of snow coming. It had never snowed in Edge before, but the weather during winter had become increasingly cold. Rubbing her arms over the flimsy sweater she had pulled on before leaving the office she walked faster towards Tifa's bar, hoping warmth and something sweet would be waiting for her there.

By the time she arrived, more snowflakes had fallen and she was shaking from the cold. Tifa handed her a cup of hot chocolate and rubbed her arms to warm up her body without asking. "You know we're in winter, why aren't you wearing something warmer?" she asked in that motherly tone of hers.

Yuffie shrugged, but it looked more like a spasm from the cold. "Didn't think it through," she muttered, teeth clacking.

"I think I'm going to be watching you when you leave the house from now on," said Tifa before going back to pouring drinks.

"Yes, mother," Yuffie said with a grin. The bell above the front door jingled as it opened and she stared at the man that as of recently had been occupying her thoughts.

Reeve shivered a little and dusted his shoulders free of snow. "Did anyone hear that there's a storm coming?" he asked with a cheerful smile.

"Thanks for letting me know you were coming here, Reeve. I could've avoided a very cold walk down here," Yuffie muttered in annoyance, still rubbing her arms.

Reeve smiled and waved at Tifa, who returned it with a warm smile of her own, and he turned to walk towards Yuffie. Looking with concerned eyes at her, Reeve stepped up behind her and began to rub her arms gently, enough to make the warmth return to her limbs.

If he decided to do the same with her legs, Yuffie would do some major ass kicking. "Thanks Reeve," she muttered. She really did hope that her blush wouldn't register on her face the way she could see herself inwardly. A face that red wasn't healthy.

"I've noticed that you get cranky whenever you're cold, hungry, or bored," Reeve commented, taking a seat next to her.

"And how would you have time to notice all that about me?" Yuffie asked, rolling her eyes. "You spend most of your time..." Staring into space and thinking of Shalua. Yuffie cleared her throat. "...with your nose stuck in a circuit board," she murmured instead.

"I notice a lot of things," Reeve said. "Like how Vincent is left handed. Tifa enjoys the scent of Junon lilies. Barret has Marlene's name tattooed on his wrist. How Cid thinks of Shera when he drinks tea. How Cloud thinks that no one can see him watching Tifa as she washes the glasses. And how you... when you're sad, you get this little glint in your eyes, making them look like a lighter brown," he said quietly.

Yuffie turned to look at him, amazed at what she had just heard. "It's nice to know that you spy on your friends," she teased.

Reeve smiled, and her heart skipped a beat in her chest. "I don't spy. I merely observe. I can tell you at least one thing that no one else has seen in the people that work closely with me," he said, thanking Tifa when she handed over a glass of wine.

Yuffie had to wonder what he had known about Shalua that no one else did, but she wasn't in the mood to pry. She hated it when either he or Vincent became sad over a question asked at the wrong time, or when she should've kept it to herself. "What are you going to do for Christmas?" she asked, turning to look straight ahead at the wall, not meeting his eyes anymore.

"I wish I could say that I'd be spending some much needed vacation time in Costa del Sol, but I have too much work to do. I have to put in the paperwork for the employee bonuses and there are missions that have to be extended because of the vacation. If no one else does it, it's up to me," Reeve said before taking a sip of wine.

Yuffie shook her head. "You work entirely too much, Reeve," she said. "If you don't take a break, you'll fry."

"Very well phrased," he said with a snort.

"Maybe you should leave Cait Sith in charge for a few days."

"And find the building burned to ashes? I think not. I think he has been hanging around you for too long. My friend has gotten into trouble that he was not programmed to do," he said with a chuckle.

They fell into companionable silence, with only the noises from the bar filling in. Yuffie sighed into her hot chocolate and then finished the last of it. Moving to wash it in the kitchen instead of there at the bar, Yuffie started when she saw that Reeve had followed her.

"Did you need something?" she asked him, drying her hands and turning to look at him.

Reeve looked at her and frowned. "Are you okay? I get the feeling that something is making you sad. Is it Vincent again?" he asked.

To tone of his voice sounded strange to Yuffie, but she couldn't figure out why. She smiled and shook her head. "I'm fine, Reeve," she said with a brief smile.

"Your eyes are shining," Reeve noted.

Yuffie shook her head and her smile brightened. "I think I actually miss my dad," she said. It wasn't entirely the truth, but it wasn't a lie. She did miss her father, but she was sad because she knew that Reeve was also thinking of someone else. They stared at each other for a moment again and Yuffie began to fidget with the cloth in her hands.

"Guys! You've got mistletoe!" yelled a voice suddenly.

Yuffie jumped and turned to see Marlene and Tifa standing by the door. Marlene had been the one to speak. "What?!" the ninja exclaimed, looking around to see where.

"Marlene and Denzel thought it would be funny to put mistletoe in really silly places," Tifa said, pointing towards the unmoving fan above them.

Reeve looked up and smiled in embarrassment upon seeing the mistletoe there, on one of the fan's propellers. He looked at Yuffie to see her reaction and noticed the nearly stricken expression on her face, he didn't know what to make of that. "Yuffie...?"

"That's not funny, guys," Yuffie snapped, throwing the cloth onto the counter before beginning to storm out.

"Yuffie..." Reeve stopped her, a hand on her arm. "It's tradition."

Yuffie closed her eyes and Tifa saw the look on her face. Realization suddenly hit the bartender like a ton of bricks. Yuffie's eyes opened and she pulled her arm out of Reeve's gentle grip. "I'll see you at work, Reeve," she said before nearly running off to her room there at Seventh Heaven.

"Marlene, why don't you go tell Denzel to start getting ready for bed?" Tifa asked her gently.

"But... what's wrong with Yuffie?" asked the girl. "How come she didn't want to kiss Reeve?"

"Honey, we'll ask her tomorrow, okay? Right now I think she's tired," Tifa said with a reassuring smile.

Marlene didn't look convinced, and neither did Reeve for that matter, but Tifa had a feeling that Yuffie wouldn't think kindly of her blurting out her feelings when she had no right to. "Okay... but maybe we should try to get her under the mistletoe with Vincent next. Maybe that will make her happy?" asked Marlene.

If Tifa hadn't been such an excellent reader of silent expressions—she'd had years of practice with Cloud—she would've missed the tightening of lips and the slight narrowing of Reeve's eyes. She laughed nervously and ushered Marlene out. "We'll talk tomorrow, Marley, run along now," she said distantly.

Reeve just sighed and waited for Tifa to walk back into the kitchen. "Maybe I should get going. I have to return to the office anyway," he said, not meeting her gaze.

"Reeve... are youokay? All this work isn't healthy. You can get sick. You need to take a break," Tifa said in worry, walking him towards the bar and the front door.

"I need something to keep my mind occupied," Reeve said with a heavy sigh.

"From Shalua?" Tifa asked gently.

Reeve just shook his head and a rueful smile made its way onto his handsome face. "Other... personal things," he said evasively.

"Is it Yuffie?"

Reeve smiled and kissed her forehead. "Goodnight, Tifa," he said before walking out of the bar and into the cold.

"Goodbye, Reeve," Tifa murmured.

From her window, Yuffie watched him go as well. Letting out a sigh that shook, she didn't bother to push down the tears that burned at the corner of her eyes. She was dreaming the impossible. Reeve would never see her. At least not the way she wanted him to. Besides, how could she compete with someone as smart and so like Reeve, the way Shalua had been?

………

On Christmas Eve, Yuffie made her way through the empty floor of the WRO, where Reeve's office was located. She knew for a fact that he would work through the holiday, but she had wanted to deliver her gift personally. It just wouldn't do to hire Cloud to deliver her package to Reeve on Christmas. Besides, there was news that a blizzard was coming and she wanted to make sure that Reeve hadn't become a popsicle in his office by now.

Stepping into his office without knocking, she caught sight of Reeve standing by the window behind his desk, inspecting the snow falling outside. "They say that it's a storm that has never been recorded in this region," Yuffie commented.

Reeve turned to look at her and smiled, a mug of something hot, held in his fingerless gloves. They looked hand-knitted. He noticed her looking and shrugged. "Shera made them for me as a present. Cid said that she knitted him a sweater and their new baby a warm blanket. I think she knitted something for everyone," he said. "As far as I remember, it never snowed in Midgar."

Yuffie nodded and walked up to him, pulling out a small box from the inside of her large, warm coat. "I just wanted to come and give you this," she said quietly, noticing how his eyes darted from her hands to her eyes.

"Thank you," he said honestly, taking the box from her. "I took your gift to Seventh Heaven. It's under the tree," he said, sounding apologetic.

Yuffie just shook her head. "Don't worry about it Reeve," she said, trying to sound like her old, cheerful self, but she was very aware that she had been forcing it the last few weeks. Reeve seemed to notice it too, but he never commented on it, well, except for what he had said at the bar a few evenings ago. "Don't you wanna just drop everything and at least go have dinner with us?"

"I'm almost done with my paperwork. If I finish today, I can have tomorrow and the end of the year off," Reeve said sheepishly.

They stood in awkward silence for a moment until Yuffie began to back away and towards the door. Reeve cleared his throat and looked at her. "Yuffie... what happened at Tifa's bar, with the mistletoe?"

Yuffie shrugged and scuffed the tip of her boot on the carpet. "I wasn't in the mood for games. Sorry. It was a bad day." Aside from the fact that he had looked like he hadn't wanted to kiss her? "Besides... I didn't think you'd want to kiss someone like me," she blurted before she could stop herself. Yuffie slapped a hand over her mouth and began to back away faster. "Forget I said that!" she called before nearly running out the door.

Reeve frowned to himself and looked down at the box in his hand. He opened it quickly and looked inside, a smile sliding onto his face. He held in his hand a crystal figurine that looked just like Cait Sith. It was beautiful and it looked expensive. Setting it down next to a picture he had of him, Yuffie, and some other WRO soldiers, he smiled as the small figure glittered in the light coming from outside.

Working up his courage, he took off after Yuffie, worry invading his gut when he remembered that the storm was supposed to arrive shortly. He took the stairs, instead of risking getting stranded in the elevator if the electricity went out. He may have built the back-up generator himself, but it still would've taken time for it to turn on, and by then Yuffie would've been gone. He took the steps two at a time and could hear Yuffie's footsteps distantly, which meant that she was almost too far for him to reach.

He was tired. He was tired of mourning Shalua and of trying to convince himself that he did not feel something for a twenty year old girl. What would their friends say? What would she say? But just the fact that she had thought that he hadn't wanted to kiss her made so many things clear. Like the times she stayed in late with him, or brought him lunch or dinner from the deli a few blocks down. How she worried if he was getting any sleep and sometimes nearly kicked him out of his own office and dragged him by the scruff of his coat to his home. Was he imagining it all?

Meanwhile, Yuffie exited the WRO officers after showing her security pass to the guard at the door again. Almost everyone knew her already, but her dear boss had some very strict rules about who entered and left his building. Once outside, the storm nearly hit her like a physical blow. The temperature must've dropped since she had entered the WRO building, and the street in front of her wasn't too visible.

Looking up at Shalua's statue, Yuffie shook her head. "I had to blurt that out like that," she muttered. "I think this is goodbye for us, Shalua. I'm going back to Wutai after that episode." Why can't you just let him be so that he can see past you? You and Lucrecia are like shadows over their heads. Will you ever let them live in peace?

Muttering to herself about being a delusional idiot, Yuffie missed Reeve as he came up behind her, his eyes darting from the back of Yuffie's head to Shalua's stone made features. "Who said that I didn't want to kiss you?" he asked, voice almost carried away by the wind and the snow.

Yuffie froze and stared ahead, not finding the courage to meet his eyes. "I thought I told you to forget that," she said in annoyance.

"Is that what you really want me to do?" he asked, closing the distance and standing right behind her. "To forget that I wanted to kiss you?"

It took Yuffie a moment to register what he was saying, but she turned to look at him suspiciously and shook her head. "What are you saying, Reeve?"

"I'm saying that... maybe I did want to kiss you. Is that so hard to believe?" he asked calmly, noticing the shine in her eyes and the snowflakes catching on her eyelashes. He had always loved Yuffie's eyelashes. They were her best feature. So dark and long.

"You're in love with Shalua," she said in a shaky voice.

"I've learned that I need to let go. I was afraid to do so before."

"Before what?"

"Before I knew that maybe you wanted to kiss me too," said Reeve with a gentle smile.

Yuffie bit her lip and looked back at Shalua's statue, her eyes filling with those annoying things called tears. Leviathan, she hated crying. Reeve turned her back to look at him by the chin. Their eyes met and she shook her head shamefully. "I'm jealous of a dead lady—may she rest in peace—and I don't want to be," she said softly, a few tears trailing down her face.

Reeve cleaned them away with the tips of his fingers, which were going cold and smiled. "You don't have to be," he assured her.

"Why?" she asked, her eyes searching his.

"Because, even when Shalua was a big part of my life, we never got to enjoy our love. Her sister was her main priority, and I understood that. I also came to terms that maybe we would never get a chance to be truly happy. Then I hired an exceptionally talented ninja as my head of Intelligence and she won me over with her easy smiles, and her funny jokes. I just... I was never able to tell her how I felt because I thought she didn't feel the same way," he said, his fingers smoothing over her cheeks.

Yuffie stared up at him and couldn't believe what she was hearing. She had been dreaming of this moment for a while now, and to finally have it, she was having a hard time accepting it. "Reeve... the reason why Vincent and I broke up was because he never stopped loving and thinking of Lucrecia," she said quietly.

"But that only meant that he didn't love you," Reeve replied.

Yuffie stared. "Does that mean... what?" she asked, stunned.

"If you'll have me, Yuffie, I promise to do all that is in my power to make you happy. Shalua will always be someone special to me and I have laid her to rest, but you... you are someone that has a special place here. I have a feeling you'll always be here," he said, tapping his chest over his heart.

"I thought... you didn't see me," Yuffie admitted. "That maybe all that I was for you was a shadow in the background."

"I see you, Yuffie. You have various colors, how could I not see you?" he asked, leaning in to kiss her forehead.

A smile so bright made its way onto her face. "You're not worried about what our friends will think?"

Reeve shrugged and grinned. "They accepted you and Vincent, how am I any different?"

"I think it's the whole 'grown man playing with toys' that throws them off," Yuffie said with a cheeky smile.

Reeve squeezed her shoulders as they made his way to his car, which had very nifty wheels made for driving in the snow. "Is the offer for dinner still up?"

"Yeah. Tifa will be happy to see that I was able to drag you out of the office. Let's just wait to tell her that we're going to date," Yuffie said as they got into his car and he began to drive carefully.

Reeve nodded and put the heater on at full power. He could barely feel the tips of his fingers, while Yuffie looked warm and toasty in her huge coat, green hat, and thick mittens. It took them longer to get to Seventh Heaven, but he wouldn't risk driving them into a ditch or up a tree. The storm was raging as they ran towards Tifa's bar and nearly got stuck in the doorway as they both tried to enter at the same time.

"Geez, Reeve, forget how to be a gentleman already?" Yuffie muttered.

He just grinned and leaned over to squeeze her fingers before they took off their coats. Tifa had already ushered out the customers, so the only people there were their friends. Marlene and Denzel ran out to greet them and Yuffie hugged the girl to her as she offered to take their coats and put them on the hooks in the backroom. They also mentioned that some of their friends were already in the dining room, waiting for dinner.

"Hey!" Marlene said with a grin, stopping with Denzel at the doorway between the bar and the kitchen. "You have mistletoe again!" she said.

"I thought you were putting it in strange places," Yuffie said with a grin.

"Yeah, but Tifa took them down and just put one up right where you're standing," said Denzel with a shrug. "She told Marlene it was a bad idea for them to try to play cupid."

"Will you kiss Reeve now?" Marlene asked curiously.

Yuffie turned to look at him and smirked. "I don't know. Does he want to be kissed today?"

"I most certainly do," Reeve replied. Her eyes lit up with a different light, and he realized that this was the first time he had ever seen her so happy. It made him warm to think that he'd had something to do with it.

"Gross," muttered Denzel as he and a giggling Marlene left them alone in the bar.

"Are you sure we're ready for this?" Yuffie asked him quietly.

"I believe so. Besides, I think it's time I made Cait Sith a female companion too," Reeve said with a wink.

Yuffie giggled and felt her heart flutter in her chest as Reeve began to lean in for a kiss. Her giggling stopped when their lips touched and she sighed gently against him. In that moment, something told her that she had stopped being a shadow and had become someone real to Reeve Tuesti. They drew back, cheeks pink and with smiles on their faces. "You know, I caught you in your first lie," she said as they began to walk towards the kitchen.

"What? I don't lie," Reeve said with a sniff.

"Yes, you do."

Reeve gave her a curious look. "How did I lie to you then?"

"You said my jokes were funny," Yuffie said with a grin.

"And they're not?" She gave him a look. "Fine. Fine. But you would've hurt me if I had said they weren't funny before," he said, matter-of-fact.

Yuffie smirked and elbowed him in the gut. "Just for that, I expect you to laugh at every joke I make."

"All of them?"

"Yes."

They stopped at the voices coming from the dining room. "Ready?" Reeve asked her.

"Yeah," Yuffie said with a smile. "I think I've been ready for this for a while."

Reeve smiled and leaned in to steal a small kiss. At her questioning look, he grinned. "For luck." Yuffie smiled and wrapped her hand around his again. Reeve followed her and felt as if a great weight had been lifted from his heart and his shoulders. Though he knew that not everything would be candy and roses, he had hope for the future again. It was good to know that finally he had stopped being a shadow to her too.

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Yay! I was happy with this story, though it's short and it doesn't offer much info on how they fell in love with each other. I know I said I would never write another ReeveYuffie, but someone mentioned to me in a review that I should never say never. So here is this fic. This one was inspired by the prompt for the Viva La Reefie contest that closed a few days ago. I did try to get it out before deadline, but I had a busy weekend(I also went to see "Marley and Me," and I loved it!) But I was allowed to use the prompt, so here is the finished work. I hope everyone enjoyed it, since it was fun to write, just don't forget to let me know how I did. Have a great week everyone, and those of you following "Princess of Thieves," I'll have an update soon. Thanks for reading!

Joey