A/N: This is my first ever attempt at writing Yuffie's point of view. Also my first attempt at writing anything remotely Yuffie/Vincent. Be scared. Be very scared.
Disclaimer: Not mine.
Yuffie was having the worst day in the history of worst days.
It was worse than the time she'd tried fishing with Cid and ended up tangled in fishing line with a hook in her pinkie. She had told Cid that fishing worked a lot better her way--her way being 'chuck an explosive in the water and watch how many fish you get!' So what if it was a little messier? It beat sitting in a stupid boat with a pole. But no, Cid liked his poles.
It was worse than the day she had visited Barret at his oil field and she had maybe sort of accidentally halted production because she kind of possibly decided to see what it would be like to drive one of the drilling rigs. How was she supposed to have known that trying to go forward would really take her backward? If Cid had ever agreed to give her flying lessons to take her mind off being airsick one of the innumerable times she was forced to take to the sky, maybe she would have been a better pilot. Not that an airship and a drilling rig were the same, as Barret pointed out (shouted and cursed at the top of his lungs) when she told him as much.
It was even worse than the day when she had been forced into a Wutaian political meeting. Holy Leviathan, and she had thought Reeve's board meetings were boring! In comparison to her father's get-together, Reeve's meetings (which Yuffie generally listened to while playing chocobo racing games on her cell phone--damn addictive pixelated birds) looked like a full-blown party with drunken guests and a stripper named Selene Sparkle.
Not that she'd ever known a stripper named Selene Sparkle. Actually, now that she thought about it, Selene Sparkle sounded more like one of those silly cartoon characters that Yuffie watched with Marlene--er, that Marlene watched and Yuffie occasionally happened to see when she stopped by Seventh Heaven for a drink. A very adult drink. With lots of alcohol. That she just so happened to drink while giggling over cartoons.
And Cloud worried she would corrupt the children. Puh-lease. Just because she taught them how to pick locks, pick pockets, and pick their noses in front of stuck-up rich folk who might look down on them didn't make her a bad influence. She was even careful that the Wutaian she taught them was comprised of entirely clean words. It wasn't her fault they were fast learners and had picked up the cursing just from listening to her at Avalanche reunions.
But this was all beside the point. Right now, she would have welcomed a fishhooked pinkie or a drilling rig or even one of her father's political meetings. (Maybe she could even start a new trend! Pinkie piercing; she could make a fortune!)
As she stood outside at almost midnight in the pouring rain, soaked and muddy and cold, she tried to wonder why she was thinking about bad days and staring at the door in front of her without even knocking on it. She tried to wonder, but really, she didn't need to wonder at all. She knew that in reality, those days hadn't been "worst days." Or at least, they had their own category of "worst days," in that they had been full of non-lethal, everyday activities. They weren't the horrible, painful, aching days that really mattered. They couldn't hold a candle to Aerith being stabbed, or thinking Cloud had been blown up by Sephiroth-wannabes, or her mother's death. But reality hurt and if she could just think about fishhooks and drilling rigs and Selene Sparkle then maybe she would be able to turn away from Vincent's door. Maybe she could be the adult she was supposed to be and the professional head of Intelligence that she was and not have to show up at his place in the middle of the night like some little lost waif.
The door opened without her lifting a finger to knock. She looked up into the familiar face and familiar eyes and suddenly she was talking like nothing out of the ordinary had happened, because that was safe. "Hey, Vinnie! Betcha didn't expect to see me here, huh?" She bounced through the door without invitation because that was familiar, too. She was dripping water all over his floor, leaving muddy footprints everywhere, and she had to suppress the sudden, absurd urge to jump onto the couch with her dirty shoes, to cause some sort of chaos because then maybe it would draw her attention off of the ache and the memories and the smell of death that still seemed to clog her nose, even though it had been three hours since she had taken the body to the morgue.
Yuffie squeezed her eyes shut just briefly and then removed her shoes, which looked like they had been made from mud themselves at that point. She set them by the door and stood there holding back shivers, planting a perfect plastic smile on her face, a smile that had fooled many over the years. A smile that had never fooled Vincent, so she didn't know why she was using it for him, didn't know what she thought she was doing.
Except she did know. She knew if that smile slipped then she might slip with it; she might fall and crash and then all her shields would shatter.
Vincent was still looking at her, and he didn't ask why she was there. He never asked anymore, hadn't in a long time. He simply turned and went into his bedroom, returning with a stack of clothing. He always kept some clothes her size now, ever since that first time she'd arrived in the pouring rain, stolen some of his clothes, and worn them over to Seventh Heaven.
"Thanks, Vince!" Yuffie took the clothes, sloshing her way into the bathroom to dry off and change. By the time she came out, Vincent had cleaned up her trail of water and mud. Yuffie pounced on him and planted a firm kiss on his lips (and they were cold, cold like always, but oh-so-warm compared to the icy pit in her stomach) before bounding toward the stove with the intention of heating up some water for hot chocolate.
Vincent caught her arm before she had taken two steps, turning her toward him. His face was as calm as it ever was, but his eyes were searching hers, and he could see right through her, right down into that iciness inside of her. He didn't even have to say anything for her to start to crumble.
He did speak, though, and her walls were too thin, her smile too frozen. "Yuffie. What happened?"
That was why she was here, after all, wasn't it? Because she could pretend and pretend and wear her plastic smile. She could think about picking locks or stupid, nonsensical things like pinkie piercings, white noise to block out the screams in her head, but his level voice could shatter all that before she even had time to fall.
She was holding him then, arms sliding under his cloak to wrap around his waist, clinging to him as the icy ball in her stomach exploded into a million glittering fragments. Then her words were tumbling out of her mouth as she had tumbled into his arms, and they had nothing to do with playing chocobo racing games on her cell phone or watching cartoons with Marlene. The words that came out told the broken tale of her all-day search to find a little boy's missing mother, only to discover her bruised, beaten, and dead in an out-of-the-way alley. They told of the screaming and crying that had come from the child when he learned his mother's fate, screams that still hurt her ears and pierced her heart.
Vincent's hand was on her head, fingers in her hair in that stiff, yet calming way of his, and his cloak was folded warmly around her. And that, too, was why she was here--because his lips were always cold and his cloak was always warm and his arms could always hold her even if he wasn't always good at it. Because even if in the beginning he hadn't always noticed her, he had always seen her.
Because sometimes she needed to shatter.