A/N: Holy shit guys. I haven't written anything in forever. Please ignore the suck.
Crimson eyes lifted from where they had once rested, staring patiently at the grain of the hardwood flooring, up into the face of the woman who had called his name; or a bastardized variation of it.
She was grinning, as usual. A brilliant smile splitting her face as she came toward him, a bounce in her step, a song hinted in her voice. "Didn't think I'd find you here," she claimed, clamouring onto a barstool next to him, even though he knew she had probably been aware of the fact that he would be there and at what time.
He didn't mind that she had found him. Actually, he had been hoping she would.
"So what's a guy like you doing in a place like this, Vinnie?"
He lifted his tumbler of scotch in response, to which she nodded exaggeratedly, making small mewling noises of understanding; "Gotcha, gotcha." She abruptly slammed her fist down on the bar top, catching the barkeep's attention. "Can I get a vodka and cranberry over here?"
He idly watched her as she leaned on her elbows over the bar, her chin resting on top of her folded hands. "It's been a while, Vinnie. Did you miss me?"
He couldn't lie to her, not with those dancing eyes and the mischievous curve of her smile, so he didn't reply.
"Missed you too, Vince. You know, Reeve ought to pair us up again soon, dontcha think? We make a great team, and it'll be just like the good old days."
Something in his chest clenched, but he couldn't pinpoint the source.
"S'kinda sad we don't get to be partners in crime anymore, eh?" She was perched on the edge of her barstool, looking for the tender and waiting for her drink.
He was relieved to know she hadn't been informed of his request to no longer work in close proximity with her. He doubted she would understand, at least not in the way he had intended it to be taken. She was a danger to herself: no, of course she was a very adept warrior, but if he was distracted for even a fleeting instant, he wouldn't be able to protect her.
"I thought for a while you requested it because you like, hated me or something."
His eyes went wide when suddenly the clenching sensation returned, and he realized it had been his heart.
She turned slightly to smile at him, and he realized the fool he must have looked like. "But I know that isn't it, is it Vinnie?"
"No," he croaked automatically. He couldn't lie to her.
The tall brunette barmaid set a tumbler full of crimson liquid in front of the ninja, who instantly swept it up and took a sip. Her face went sour and she hissed. "I said 'vodka and cranberry', you twit!"
Tifa tossed her hair out of her eyes and smirked. "Come back when you're twenty-one, Yuffie."
Put out, she drank her juice in silence, eyebrows drawn together in a glowering expression.
Vincent found it unbelievably hard to take. She was a woman who should never be caught frowning, and he scoured his brain for a way to replace the smile that should be lighting up the room. He was coming up with a lot of nothing by the time he realized she was looking at him, and the glow was back in her eyes, a smile splitting her face.
"So, you kind of like me, huh?"
He looked away, because she was so close to the truth it was devastatingly dangerous, and he could almost feel the sweat starting to bead on the back of his neck. "Yuffie I... You... You deserve an explanation."
"I have one. I made it up myself. Care to hear it?"
His eyes narrowed.
"One day, we were on a mission, busy being epic, when along came a cactuar, who was busy being green. Suddenly, the cactuar got mad, because we were more epic (or green) than he was, and he attacked us. Then, from the other side of the path another cactuar appeared, and you had to fight that one. Anyway, I was holding my own pretty well, but then you were a dick and decided you had to be a hero and tried to fight them both off, which ended up making things worse and then we both almost got our asses kicked.
"The moral of this story is, Yuffie is a Ninja and she doesn't need Vincents to protect her." She slipped off the barstool and smiled at him. "Mmkay?"
He stood also, looking down at her from his elevated height. "Then you understand why I requested a change of partner."
"I love you."
He kissed her then, square on the mouth, disregarding the sound of glass shattering from behind the bar. She tasted like cranberry juice.
When he pulled away, he nodded to her. "I love you too."
"Glad that's cleared up."
He kissed her again. He never could lie to her.
A/N: WHAT? NO ONE IS DEAD? NO ONE IS TERMINALLY ILL AND IN THE PROCESS OF DYING? NO ONE IS SAD? except for maybe Tifa, whose glassware just shattered on the ground due to her complete and utter shock.