A/N: Because no matter how hard I try, I'll always come back to the Yuffentine angst.
Disclaimer: Don't own it.
Music: La Viguela, Gotan Project.
They sit in a theatre.
Beside him Yuffie fidgets – again – crossing and uncrossing her legs, the smooth skin pale against the hem of her black dress, and he finds himself momentarily distracted.
"Sit still," he whispers, some of the annoyance he is feeling lacing his tone. His irritation is no fault of hers, but stems from the fact a large part of him would rather continue looking at her legs than watching the unfolding drama before him. Not that he'll ever admit to such a thing – Yuffie's ego is plenty large enough already.
"Vinnie, this play is boring," she whines, albeit with enough sense to whine in a whisper. Nonetheless, some of the nearby patrons shoot scathing looks at them. "I hate tragedies."
Vincent gives her an exasperated look. "Then why did you agree to come?"
She shrugs. "Wanted to spend time with you." The words are said almost carelessly, casually, as if that's the way it's always been and something in Vincent's chest feels warm and there's an idiotic grin trying to break out on his face. He feels like a teenager all over again.
Not that he'll ever admit to such a thing.
"Let's go," he says instead, standing. Yuffie looks surprised, but she grins at him and takes his offered hand. He guides her through the crowd, ignoring the glares and the haughty murmurs they leave in their wake until they're finally back out in the city air of Edge. He tugs on her hand, pulling her around the corner of the theatre so that they're alone in the dimly lit parking lot.
"Why do you hate tragedies?" he murmurs, looking down at her. She looks fully an adult now, in her posture, the almost undetectable lines of her face – but her eyes still glint with some internal mischief, as if she's always laughing on the inside, eternally young.
"They're so depressing. All woe-be-me and my-life-is-so-hard and it's just stupid. What the hell's the point of anything if you can't get a laugh out of it?" She wrinkles her nose, apparently disgusted at the very thought of such a thing. It does not escape Vincent that she could very well be referring to what he was, not so long ago – he remembers a scoff, 'Boring!', and wonders if she would have labelled him a tragedy.
He doesn't dwell on it. Whatever he used to be, now he could laugh again. Yuffie gave him that.
"Yes, heaven forbid that you ever take anything seriously," he drawls, one corner of his mouth tugging up.
She sticks out her tongue at him and punches him lightly in the shoulder. "I take us seriously, don't I? What more do you want from a girl?"
"Well, I can think of a couple of things," he deadpans, earning him a "You did not just suggest what I think you did, Vincent Valentine!" and Yuffie tugs on his tie, bringing his head down and kissing him.
She tastes like laughter, and all thoughts of tragedy fade from his mind.
They sit in a briefing room.
Beside him Yuffie fidgets – again – and Vincent shoots her a look. She just scowls at him.
"We get it, Reeve," she tells the man across from them, who frowns at her. "Dude in a red trench coat, carries a rapier, likes quoting bad poetry. Can we go now?"
"This is a recon mission, Yuffie," Reeve reminds her for the fifth time. "And this man is very dangerous."
"Ninja, Reeve," Yuffie reminds him for the fifth time. "Besides, with Vinners there, what's the worst that could happen?"
Reeve looks like he wants to argue further, but Vincent gives the tiniest shake of the head that says lost cause. Reeve sighs, and sags back into his chair.
"Well then, good luck."
Yuffie is already on her feet and heading for the door. "Airship in ten, Vince!" she calls back over her shoulder, and she gives him a smile before disappearing into the hallway.
"How do you do it, Vincent?" Reeve asks, his voice a mix of amusement and irritation.
Reeve grins. "I wish she would take these things seriously sometimes."
Vincent just shrugs as he stands to leave. "If she did, she wouldn't be Yuffie." And that would be a tragedy.
"Hn, I suppose." Reeve sighs again. "Take care, will you?"
Vincent nods and steps out the door.
They sit in the mud.
Beside him, Yuffie is not fidgeting. Shivering, but not fidgeting. She is hunched over awkwardly, her hands pressed to her stomach in a vain attempt to keep her own guts from spilling out. He's shivering, too, but it's not from the cold rain that comes down in sheets around them.
He keeps touching her, feathery light brushes before pulling his hands away as if they've been burned – he feels like he's trying to pick up sharp pieces of glass from a beautiful vase, hopelessly broken beyond repair. Yuffie's eyes are closed, the paleness of her skin more stark than ever against her black hair.
If only he had his materia. Potions, anything –
Her voice is barely audible over the rain. He swallows, forces his hands to stop shaking. "I'm here, Yuffie."
"Tell Cloud..." her voice trails off, too quiet to make out the rest, and sheer panic seizes him. He grabs at her, holds her face in his hands, sharp edges be damned.
"Yuffie? Tell Cloud what, Yuffie?" His voice is higher than it should be. He's not even interested in the answer, just that she keeps talking and never stops because a silent Yuffie is a dead Yuffie and he will never tell her to be quiet, never again –
"Tell him...tell him to keep his filthy hands off my materia."
Her eyes open, bleary and dull and dying but still mischievous. For several moments Vincent stares at her, and then great, heaving laughter bubbles out of him and Yuffie is grinning at him because Yuffie doesn't do tragedies, not even her own.
By the time he finally stops laughing, she is gone. Even in death she smiles, as if at some private joke, and he kisses her one last time.
She tastes of laughter, and it is a tragedy.
A/N: For those wondering about Need For Dates: I haven't abandoned it. It IS being worked on, just very slowly. Thanks for your patience.