Well, here it is. The last chapter of Vincent's White Rose. I would like to thank Mistress of Dragons and NinjaSheik for their constant feedback through the whole thing. I couldn't resist a bit of a sap ending, so...
Read On and Enjoy
It was the most boring week ever for the wounded gunslinger. Another entire week, sitting propped up on pillows, not being allowed to move. Even though his wound was stitched and the major damage already healed with materia, Yuffie and Tifa weren't letting him leave his room. Tifa because she was slowly becoming a mother hen, Yuffie because she enjoyed teasing Vincent when he could barely retaliate. She was becoming quite insistent that they start their...physical relationship once Vincent was better. Nothing Vincent said could keep her from just running her fingers up his arms, or placing little kisses on his neck, trying to get him to cave in early. It took all of Vincent's self control to resist her advances, and that was a lot of self control.
"Knock, knock," Cloud said, interrupting what could have been a very interesting situation. "Sorry," he said, as Yuffie glared at him from on top of Vincent, who was breathing heavily from the extremely long and passionate kiss that Yuffie was using to break his self control (It had almost worked too), "was I interrupting something?"
"You could have been," Yuffie said haughtily, climbing off of Vincent, laying a kiss on his forehead. She smacked Cloud on the shoulder as she left, "stupid Chocobo Head" her parting line as she walked down the stairs. Cloud quickly checked that no one was in the hall, and then he closed the door and pulled out a small velvet black box, tossing it to Vincent.
"You," Cloud said as Vincent opened the box, "have very good tastes." The ring was the exact same as the one Vincent had seen in that advertisement. The materia jewel was a bright blue, and the band was a white gold, practically silver. "I think you're only problem's going to be when she sees the materia and she swipes it before you can say anything."
Vincent chuckled at that. "So, you think she'll like it?" he asked. He may as well get someone else's opinion; it didn't matter that much, he was still going to ask Yuffie as soon as he was allowed to walk around. That way, she wouldn't think it was something brought on by a near death experience.
"Of course she will," Cloud said, "Now, get some rest okay?" Cloud left and Vincent smiled before closing the box, closing his eyes to rest. A few minutes later, Cloud slowly backed his way into the room and closed the door, locking it. Vincent opened his eyes and looked at the spiky haired swordsman in confusion.
"What's wrong?" Vincent asked, "Is Tifa trying to kick your ass again?" His question was answered by the sudden sound of running and banging on the door.
"Cloud," Tifa shouted, "Open this door right now!"
Cloud just kept backing up. "What did you do in the past few minutes to piss Tifa off?" Vincent asked curiously. That was a new record, even for Cloud.
"She's not angry," Cloud said, "At least, I don't think she is."
"What did you tell her?" Vincent asked, still listening to Tifa bang on the door.
"That I picked something up for you. Next thing I know, she starts squealing. Good thing Yuffie's out, or she'd have beaten me up her," Cloud explained. Then he noticed something; Tifa wasn't banging on the door any more. "Oh, crap," he said, grabbing a heavy box and putting it in front of the door, "She must have gone for a key. That'll stop her."
"I don't think so," Vincent said.
Cloud looked at him and asked, "And why not?"
"Because the door can swing open the other way," Vincent pointed out. Cloud paled as he realised Vincent was right. Before he could do anything, Tifa had run back up the stairs, inserted the key into the lock and opened the door, eyes on Vincent. She jumped over the box and ran to his side, hand out.
"Let me see it," she demanded. Vincent didn't need to ask what she meant.
"Any particular reason," Vincent asked, gripping the box tightly in his hand, "why I should?"
"Because," Tifa said, not taking her hand back, "I'm the one who spends the most time with Yuffie apart from you, so I can tell you if she'll like it or not."
"Teef, let the guy rest," Cloud tried, but he got no reaction from his over excitable girlfriend, a world first.
"No, it's okay Cloud," Vincent said, handing Tifa the box, "A woman's opinion might be welcome."
"There's no 'maybe' about it," Tifa said, bringing the box up to eye level, opening it carefully. Her eyes widened when she took in the glowing blue materia and silvery shine of the white-gold band. "Oh my god," she said as she admired the ring, "That's beautiful; Yuffie will love it." She handed the box back to Vincent, and then she turned on Cloud. "Why don't you ever buy me things like that?" she demanded, folding her arms.
"Great," Cloud said as he moved the box away from the door, "Thanks Vincent, now she has something else to complain at me about."
"It's a serious question Cloud," Tifa said, following her boyfriend out of the room, "You don't ever by me anything; why?"
"Because you'd find out about it before I gave it to you," Cloud said simply, "Which makes the whole process pointless except on your birthday." Their voices drifted down the stairs, leaving Vincent by himself again. Suddenly, he didn't want to be on his own; he stood up, wincing as his wound twinged. He moved slowly, trying to not aggravate the stitching and grabbed his shirt, which was still torn from his fight with Soto. His glove and claw weren't up here, and neither was his cloak. So, he walked to the door slowly, opening it and making sure no one could drag him back to his room. He took the stairs one at a time, being extremely careful not to rip open his stitches. He could hear Yuffie's voice downstairs, and then he realised that the ring was still in his hand. Crap, he should've left it under his pillow or something. Lacking options, he put it in his pocket, hoping that no one would notice it.
"Okay," Yuffie said as she came in, "Next time you need groceries, get them yourself." Tifa was at the bar, in discussion with Cloud, but the conversation ended as soon as she walked in the door.
"Why?" Tifa asked, hoping Yuffie hadn't caught the conversation. She and Cloud were discussing when, where and how Vincent would propose, and Cloud had almost started begging that Tifa stay out of it. "Was it that bad?"
Yuffie put the two bags of groceries on the counter. "Two guys just wouldn't get the meaning of 'I have a boyfriend, so back off.' I had to give them the slip just to get your stupid fresh food."
"Want me to shoot them?" A voice asked from the stairs. Everyone turned and saw Vincent leaning on the wall, smiling.
"Vincent!" Yuffie cried out, bounding to his side. "What the hell are you doing? You haven't fully healed yet!"
"I am not staying in that tiny room any longer," Vincent told her, "I'm fine," he said quickly, seeing the concern in Yuffie's eyes, "it's just been two weeks since I last walked any distance."
Yuffie supported him as he walked to a table, not wanting to try his luck on a stool. He sat down a little heavily, but otherwise he was the same as always, just a little tired. Before Yuffie could scold him, the door to the bar opened and Reeve walked in, a Cait Sith at his heels.
"Ah, Vincent," he said, "Nice to see you up and about."
"Reeve," Vincent greeted the WRO leader, "I see you have another one," he said, nodding at the Cait Sith.
"Yes," Reeve said, looking forlorn, "You know, I still haven't forgiven you for shooting my last one."
"I told you," Vincent said with a straight face, "Cerberus misfired."
"Of course it did," Reeve said sarcastically, "Just when he was about to say how happy he was that you and Yuffie were together."
Vincent said nothing, and Reeve sighed and scratched his head. "Well, it's water under the bridge. Anyway, I was just in the area and I thought I'd ask you something."
"Go ahead," Vincent said, gesturing to the seat in front of him. Yuffie held his hand tightly, wrapping her other hand on his arm. Reeve sat down and put his hands in his lap, Cait Sith jumping on the table and curling up like a regular cat.
"I've been doing some research into Deepground," Reeve said, "And I've found numerous references to someone known only as 'G'. According to what I've been able to decipher, he's another of Shinra's projects. I was wondering if you knew anything about it."
"Why would he know about some random letter?" Yuffie demanded, her grip tightening on Vincent's hand. Vincent carefully returned the pressure to calm her down.
"G..." Vincent said under his breath, "Sounds like one of Hojo's pet projects. But I don't ever recall ever hearing of anything like it, sorry."
"That's okay," Reeve said, picking Cait Sith up and standing, "But maybe once you've recovered, you could give me a hand."
"I'll think about it, Reeve," Vincent told him, "But if this 'G' has something to do with Deepground, it might be worth talking to Shelke."
"You're right," Reeve agreed, "I'm heading over to Shelke's next. Thank you, Vincent." Reeve said goodbye to Tifa and Cloud and left. Soon after he left, Barret came in with the two kids.
"Hey, Vince," Barret called out, "You allowed to move again?"
"No," Vincent answered, "But I'm moving anyway. If I sit up there any longer, I'll die of boredom."
"I don't blame ya," Barret said, "Marlene, go upstairs with Denzel, okay? The grownups have gotta talk."
Marlene pouted, but grabbed Denzel's wrist and dragged him upstairs. "Yuffie, could ya go up and watch 'em for me, please?" Barret asked the ninja.
"Oh, I don't count as a grownup now, huh?" Yuffie said, folding her arms and pouting. Barret just gave her a look. "I'm going, I'm going," she said, kissing Vincent on the cheek before following the children up the stairs. Vincent felt the eyes of Tifa, Cloud and Barret on him and realised what was going on.
"Oh god," Vincent said, using the table to get up, "I think I'd rather bore myself to death than become an interrogation subject."
"Come on," Tifa said, "We just want to know-."
"Tifa," Vincent said, turning away from the stairs, "Please, just this one time, mind your own business." He turned and made his way up the stairs, which was harder than going down them. Once he got to the top, however, his knees gave way and he hit the ground.
"Okay," Vincent said, breathing heavily, "Next time, walk around the room a little bit, before trying to climb up stairs." He tried to get back up, but his legs didn't want to comply with his wishes.
"Vincent?" Yuffie's voice came from the other end of the hall.
"Are you okay, Uncle Vincent?" Marlene's voice came from the same direction. Some footsteps later, Yuffie and Marlene were trying to help him up.
"I'm fine," Vincent assured them, "I was just a little dizzy."
"Would it kill you," Yuffie asked as she and Marlene picked Vincent up and helped him to his room, "To ask for help every so often?" Yuffie supported Vincent's weight until they reached his bed, where he sat down on the mattress, hard. Marlene left quickly, closing the door, and Yuffie slid Vincent's shirt off so that she could see if he had ripped open the stitches.
"Oh," Yuffie said, looking up at him, "You're lucky you haven't ripped these." She made to stand, but Vincent's hand wrapped around her elbow, pulling her back down. "What?" she asked confusedly, then her eyes shined mischievously as she moved closer, "Have you changed your mind then?"
"Yuffie," Vincent said, pushing her back slightly, "I'm trying to ask you something, and you're making it very difficult to concentrate. I'm nervous enough as it is."
"You, nervous," Yuffie said in disbelief, "What could possibly make you nervous? What are you gonna do, p..." Yuffie cut off her own thought as Vincent pulled a black box out of his pocket and offered it to her.
"Yuffie Kisaragi," Vincent said, trying to keep the nervousness in his voice to a minimum, "Will you marry me?"
Yuffie brain practically shut down when her brain processed those four words and the meaning behind them. Vincent wanted to marry her. Then her brain kicked into overdrive with questions; why? Was it because of Godo? Was it because he almost died? Why now; what had happened? Then, looking up at Vincent, she saw all the answers in his eyes.
He loved her; pure and simple. Marriage was just something that told everyone that fact, and told everyone that he was hers, and she was his. They both knew that, but very few people, namely her father, wouldn't accept it until it was made official by law and all that other crap that had nothing to do with how they felt about each other.
"Yes," Yuffie whispered. Vincent smiled and opened the box, revealing a white-gold ring with a glowing blue materia in place of a diamond. Yuffie gasped, her hands flying to her mouth in surprise. "Vince, it's beautiful," she said as he took it out and slipped it onto her left hand.
"Fits perfectly too," Vincent said, his tone slightly joking, "That saves me some Gil." Yuffie just shook her head and pulled Vincent into a passionate kiss.
"I can't hear anything," a voice said, muffled by the door. Vincent and Yuffie broke apart, looking at the door in confusion.
"Well, shut up then," a deeper voice said. Was that Barret? That meant that the other voice was Tifa.
"What are you doing?" Marlene's voice was louder than the others.
"Hey, you told us eavesdropping was bad!" Denzel's voice sounded.
Amidst the argument on the other side of the door, there was suddenly a cracking sound. Then, the door gave way, sprawling Tifa and Barret onto the ground, groaning.
"I told you," Cloud said, appearing suddenly and looking down at his girlfriend, "Vincent told you, but you still didn't listen. Now I'm going to have to fix this damn door because you couldn't keep your nose out of their business."
"Well," Vincent said, almost grinning, "Guess that means my Gil has to go into a wedding planner now."
Tifa, still dazed as she stood up, was suddenly in instant recovery mode. "What did you just say?" she demanded.
"Well," Vincent said, "I was hoping that you could give Yuffie a hand in planning the wedding, but like Cloud said, you didn't listen when I asked you to mind your own business."
"Oh, come on Vince," Yuffie said, looking at her fiancé, "I don't want some stranger helping me plan our wedding. Let Tifa do it; she knows me as well as you do."
"Yeah," Tifa said, excitedly, "I'll work for free, and you won't be disappointed, I promise! And I'll stay out of your business for a whole year! Please? Please? Please, please, please, please, PLEASE?!" she pleaded, bouncing up and down like a schoolgirl.
Vincent considered it for a few seconds, and then nodded. Both girls squealed loudly, Yuffie hugging Vincent tightly, then following Tifa out of the door.
"Man, Vince," Barret said as he got up, "You caved quicker than Cloud."
"Did I?" Vincent asked, looking at Cloud.
"That should keep Tifa busy for a while," Cloud said, "Thanks Vincent."
"You're welcome, Cloud," Vincent responded, smiling.
"What the hell did I miss?" Barret asked, looking back and forth between the swordsman and the gunslinger.
"A couple of days ago," Cloud said, "I walked in on Tifa looking over some papers. She's been playing wedding planner for a couple of months now. I told Vincent, and he came up with a plan to keep Tifa off my back."
"Why?" Barret asked, then realised what Cloud meant. "Oh man, everyone's settling down now. Makes a guy depressed." He left after congratulating Vincent.
"Yay, Vincent's marrying Yuffie!" Marlene sang, running after Tifa and Yuffie, wanting to help.
After offering their congratulations, Cloud took Denzel and offered to show him how Fenrir worked, so he didn't feel left out. That left Vincent by himself. He lay down, closing his eyes and putting his hands behind his head. He had finally done it; he had proposed. Yuffie had said yes, and he wouldn't be bothered by Tifa for an entire year, which was the bonus from the situation.
As Tifa gushed out her plans out to Yuffie, who was surprised to find at least a month's worth of work already done, Yuffie admired the blue materia set into her ring. She was getting married, and to Vincent. She'd write to her father tomorrow to tell him the news, just in case he had a back-up husband tucked away. In a few months, she wouldn't be Miss Kisaragi. She would be Mrs Valentine; she had to admit, she liked the sound of that. But she had another title already in mind, as she technically wouldn't be Wutai's White Rose anymore. She would be Vincent's.
"Vincent's White Rose..." she mused quietly. She really liked the sound of that.
Yuffie: Awww! That was cute!
Fiori: GET THE HELL OUT OF MY HOUSE!
Yuffie: Oh, come on!
Yuffie: Okay, okay, sheesh. Fiori does not own FFVII or the characters.
Fiori: No, I don't. NOW GET OUT!