Disclaimer: I own nothing.

A/N: I know, it's been forever ;_; and I am so so sorry everyone, I'll try harder, I promise!

Chapter Fourteen:

Vincent watched as Yuffie stumbled her way out of the remains of Midgar, choosing to leap over refuge and debris rather than run nimbly through the streets of Edge. He silently dodged between shadows; though he had told her he was going to keep ahead of her, he found it more fun to grab victory from her nose, than to earn it and wait about.

Once Yuffie reached the outer limit of what used to be the greatest city in all of Gaia, she suddenly screeched to a stop. Vincent, not prepared, smacked into the wall he had been about to gracefully climb and leap over, leading rocks to tumble down and smack into his head. Yuffie looked around curiously, before looking out upon the world and scratching her head, a dumbfounded expression etched across her pale face.

"Uh, where the hell WAS Marlene anyway when Meteor struck?!" she screeched, falling to her knees in frustration, fingers woven through tufts of short chocolate hair.

Vincent sighed. Of COURSE Yuffie hadn't paid attention to Barret's constant rambling about his precious girl, she was too busy trying to filch everyone's materia at every possible moment. Tifa wasn't around to clue her in again, so it was up to Vincent. Quietly as he could, he made his way down the length of the broken city wall that had once held the upper plate, and with a cat-like grace, he climbed and jumped it. He was at far enough distance that Yuffie would not have seen him, so he set off running towards Kalm. He ran past Yuffie and threw her a wink as she looked up, before sprinting past her.

"WHAT THE HELL, YOU DRUG INDUCED, EXPERIMENTAL FREAK!" Yuffie screamed, hurrying to her knees and running off as fast as she could after him. Vincent smiled. This pace wouldn't affect him, but halfway to Kalm, Yuffie would be in a hilarious amount of pain from leg cramps.

So amused by this, it seemed like only minutes had passed while he was running, before Vincent found himself in Kalm. Slowing to a stop, Vincent decided to throw a glance behind him and opened his eyes in surprise. Yuffie was gritting her teeth, head down as she panted, running as fast as she could, right into Vincent-

She collided with a concerning amount of force, given her size. Vincent was thrown back onto the cobblestone ground as Yuffie head butted right into his chest and fell on him.

"Ergh, I'm sorry!" Yuffie panted, weakly trying to push herself off of Vincent. Rolling his eyes, he grabbed her by the arms and set her back up, holding her up in place as she began to fall forward again. He patiently waited for her to gain her breath.

Gulping, Yuffie took a deep breath before apologising again. "I am so sorry for barrelling into you—are you kidding me?"

Vincent smiled as Yuffie raised her head and groaned in embarrassment. She was constantly being bested and belittled by him, and it was only fuelling her rage.

Yuffie jumped to her feet and pointed her finger at him, ready to yell at Vincent, when her knees gave way and she toppled onto him again.

"For Bahamut's sake..." she groaned into her chest. She sniffed to hold back tears as her legs jarred with pain. Vincent frowned, guilt tying his stomach up in knots. He had known her body wouldn't have handled that run too well, regardless of how athletic the girl was, yet he had also known she was too stubborn to give up. He stood up and helped her to her feet, choosing to wrap an arm around her waist and bent to help her walk; Vincent felt that carrying her at this time would have been even more belittling than usual.

Obstinately, Yuffie tried to shrug his help off. Sighing, he pointed across the small town circle. "Yuffie, there's a bar over there; at least let me help you get a drink."

Sighing, she looked up at him, and grimaced. "I suppose."

Silently, they hobbled to the bar together, Vincent straining his back as he almost doubled over to Yuffie's height. Carefully, they shuffled inside the bar, and helped her into a chair, where she immediately collapsed. Vincent signalled to the bartender for a glass of water, before delicately folding his long limbs into the seat beside her.

"Why did you run after me?" Vincent finally scolded as the bartender handed Yuffie a drink. She snatched it greedily and gulped it down in just a few seconds, handing it back to the bartender and asking for me. As the cheery barkeep hurried, Yuffie looked up at Vincent and snapped at him, "as if I WASN'T going to run after you, you knew what the clue meant; I am NOT losing to someone like you."

Vincent smiled, before replying "but didn't Cloud say, and I quote, 'You'll both have exactly the same clues, but no following each other blindly instead of working your clues out'?"

Vincent's smile grew as the red across Yuffie's cheeks spread and she spluttered as she tried to think of an excuse. Damn, was she cute; for a brat, anyway.

The bar tender returned with a drink, and a slip of paper. Yuffie snatched them, gargling out a thank you as she smashed her water down, one eye reading the slip of paper. She spluttered and started choking again, her eyes watering as she thumped her chest. When she was done, victory gleamed in her eyes, and she climbed onto her chair. The bar looked around in curiousity as Yuffie began to bellow.

"The great Ninja Yuffie, Princess of Wutai, protector of the weak, and most attractive person ever is finally taking the lead and setting out on the path of victory!" she announced to a fanfare of cheers. The bar people had no idea what was going on, they just liked to join in on things.

Yuffie jumped off her chair, and smirked at Vincent, she leaned in, so their noses were touching, and winked, before patting his cheek and shoving the note in his mouth. She ran out, her energy rejuvenised as she laughed her way from Kalm.

Vincent gently tugged the note from his mouth, laughter rumbling through him. He'd never met a more conceited girl, he thought as he unfolded the note. One word was written on it.

Wark.

Vincent continued to laugh as he motioned for the bartender to bring him food. He would have plenty of time to catch up with the young girl, he may as well take a break and indulge, he thought as he settled back comfortably into his chair.