I remember the day when it happened- the first time I really knew Vincent. I was slumped over Teef's bar, at three in the afternoon, and we were having 'girl talk'. Well, okay, we weren't. She was having girl talk, I was bitching about my latest dating catastrophe.
Just to let you know, I wasn't drunk. I'm a ninja. Ninja are never drunk. Not even on their eighteenth birthday. I wasn't drunk. I had a head cold and I was hallucinating. I got the head cold by using my awesome ninja powers to stay underwater for eight hours whilst spying on Reeve. Yup.
But anyways. I was talking to Teef, and all of a sudden, she turns around, and plonks her glass back on the counter, and she snaps back at me, "That's just life, Yuffie. Love isn't black and white."
Yup. That's Philosopher Teef for ya. Never let it be said that she's all breasts and no brain. Although, I sometimes worry about the ratio.
Anyway, the more I thought about it, the more it bugged me. Why couldn't love be black and white? It seemed simple enough to me. I was telling her so, but she just asked me if I was sure I wasn't drunk. Now, I'm not a touchy person- ninja have epic control over their emotions- but I just can't resist a good storm off. So, I got up, told her that her new cocktail tasted like Cid's ashtray, and left.
I was on my way out when I saw a familiar face. It was a familiar face not only because we'd pretty much been through hell together, but also because his exploits as 'savior of the world' had earned him about a gazillion screaming fangirls that he didn't want. Yup, Mr Glass Half Empty himself, Vincent Valentine.
He looked almost out of place, in the middle of Edge. Boob's bar was in a pretty lively area, and the dull reds and blacks of his costume made him stand out more than if he had been wearing nothing but neon bulb. I wondered idly what he wore when he washed it. Or did he wash it at all? The thought made me shudder.
"Yuffie. How...nice to see you. Are you cold?" he said, cocking his head ever so slightly as he looked at me. Normal people didn't notice his little gestures, but to a trained (and awesome) ninja, they were plain as day.
"No. I was just...uh..."
He looked at me again, confusion clouding his crimson eyes. It happened a lot. It seemed he just couldn't figure me out.
"Say, Vince. What are you doing outside your crypt, anyway?" I asked, looking for a chance of subject.
"Tifa has invited me to taste test one of her cocktails." he answered, looking as though he'd rather give a rectal exam to a skunk.
"Oh, Boobs asked you to? Man. She already talked Cloud and Cid into it. For the guys that handed Sephiroth his butt back, you sure are whipped." I teased, flashing him a grin.
Vince, however, simply went a little paler than usual. "Boobs...? Whipped? What are you talking about?"
I have to admit, right there, that I laughed so hard I almost threw up. I don't even know what set me off. Maybe it was just Vince being Vince. I didn't mind, though. I needed a good chuckle. As soon as I was done not retching all over his fancy golden clogs, he gave me that strange look that only he has. It's kind of a cross between utter confusion and mild amusement, a weirdly cute blend of two emotions you really have to kick him before he'll show.
"Yuffie...Are you drunk?" he asked.
"No-no-no-no." I said, waving my hands. "I just got drafted in to taste Boo- er, Teef's new cocktail."
"...In that case, I believe I shall think twice before partaking of it. It appears to have had a marked effect." he muttered.
I huffed and told him to bite me, forgetting for a moment the running jokes about him being a secret vampire. Luckily, he appeared to have forgotten them too- or, more likely, something important had occurred to him.
"Yuffie. How did you get here?" he asked, crimson eyes locked onto mine. My stomach did a somersault, although I wasn't sure if it was the glare or the cocktail.
"I drove." I responded, pointing to the SHADOWFOX armoured van I had 'borrowed' from work. He put his head in his hands and groaned almost silently.
"The last time I was in one of those, you were supposed to be driving. And you crashed. I'm assuming that you were sober at the time, although it's sometimes hard to tell. Reeve would be very displeased if I let you drive off drunk and you died." he said, shadows and acid charging his words. As much as I hated to admit it, he had a point. I couldn't even parallel park those damn things.
And so it came to pass that Sir Cape 'n' Claw brought me to his place to 'sleep it off'. I was almost semi-pleased with the development. I'd never seen Vincent's place before. I think he was happy- or at least as close as he gets to happy- about it, too, because it gave him a cast-iron excuse to not drink Teef's booze. I didn't know what to expect, except that his house would be in Kalm. My mind kept getting lost in thoughts of a giant medieval dungeon, complete with shackles and coffins, all cunningly disguised with the exterior of Kalm's little cottages.
As it turned out, I was, for the first time in my entire life, wrong. Well, half-wrong. It wasn't a dungeon- you wouldn't find any shambling corpses or thumbscrews, for instance- but it was old fashioned. There was a lot of rich wood there, the high quality stuff that your grandma has wet dreams over. There were low ceilings, and- get this- the guy had an open hearth going there. It was like that house everyone goes to at Christmas.
I asked him about it, once, a lot later. The answer was a triumph for idiot-logic.
"Yuffie, in the past four or five years, I have survived three events in which, logically, the world should have ended. Sephiroth has died, been reborn, and died again, and the lifestream almost stolen by the planet's final weapon. I have accepted the possibility that, if I can live through all this, I may well keep living for quite a while. Therefore, spending money on the place that I shall have to keep living in is not a bad investment."
Yes. He really did say that. It took him about fifteen minutes, with all his little dramatic pauses and my prompts for him to go on included, but he said it.
Now, what was I talking about...Oh, yeah. Anyway, that was my first look inside his place. I have to admit, I was a little impressed. But I was less impressed by his manners.
"There is a couch in the room to the left. You may spend the night there." he said, acting as if he were doing me a great honor.
"Y'know, Vinster, it's traditional that when a guy brings a young woman back to his crib, he gives her the bed. If you carry on like this, you're never going to get any tail." I huffed.
Leaving him completely baffled beneath the emo-goth exterior, I went to go and slum on his sofa. It was rock hard. He'd probably never even used it.
Nevertheless, a small amount of discomfort does not stop a ninja doing what she wants, and this ninja wanted to sleep. Unfortunately, where a small amount of discomfort failed, Vincent Valentine succeeded. As I was tossing and turning, the most blood-curdling noise came from his bedroom. I'm not kidding when I say I thought he was strangling a cat. I didn't have any shuriken- Teef usually handles any troublemakers at the bar, except when Cloud's there. Then bad things happen and someone ends up with sword wounds.
It turned out I didn't need one, though. Vinnie came out of his room of his own accord, looking somewhat put out. I glared at him.
He looked almost sheepish, and said, in his lowest tones, "My apologies. I...sneezed."
"Gawd, Vince. What am I gonna do with you?" I said, punching him on the arm and grinning. Still looked concerned. I can only guess that he didn't sneeze very often.
By some sort of unspoken agreement, we both stayed up. For a while, we sat in silence, just letting the sound of nothing echo around his house. I think that made him feel a little better. After a while, though, I did something that I can't imagine doing, and had no reason to do.
I can only say that I was probably drunk after all.
"Vinnie? Why is love so tough?"
The question rang out like some kind of blasphemy in a church. For a moment, he didn't speak. Great ninja that I am, I was too scared to look at his face in that moment.
"Because, Yuffie Kisaragi. You have lived in dreams with alabaster walls, where nightmares dare not to haunt." he said, his voice drifting in the air like fine smoke. He offered no explanation, and I didn't ask for one. I tried to change the subject, feebly.
"You, uh...like poetry, then?"
He turned and looked at me, then, with crimson eyes alight and dancing. His body was straight and tall, like a tower, bearing down on me.
"And if I do? I can understand why you would degrade such things, but for some it constitutes an outlet for things that should never have been suffered." he said, with his voice like ice. My heart flipped. Jeez, he was intense when he was mad!
"Actually...I like poetry." I admitted, looking down at my feet for fear of meeting those eyes. "It's a strong Wutain tradition. It's 'the finest form of feeling', or something like that."
As soon as I'd said it, the charge in the air dropped. I could almost feel his body moving back to how it had been again. The hairs on my arms prickled.
"I apologise." he said, simply. "There seems to be a sentiment against it amongst young people."
"And you thought I had something against it because of that? You don't really know me at all, do you?" I said, my voice falling back into sing-song teasing. But I could hear a timidness that wasn't there before that kind of annoyed me.
"You are...hard to predict." he said.
We let that drift in the air for a while. I was thinking about what had just happened, and how this was going to change things between us. On one hand, I was still cautious of his anger. But, on the other, we'd shared something. We were closer, now, than before.
"Vince?" I asked, after five minutes of silence.
"Yes." he said, without inflection, just signalling he was listening.
"Is love black and white?"
I must've been drunk.
Vince didn't answer straight away. But he didn't turn around, and ask me if I was okay, or wonder what I was asking the question for. He took me seriously, like an adult. It gave me a warm feeling inside.
"....Yes. Love is, indeed, black and white." he said, his claw reaching up to brush his chin gently.
"Tifa said it wasn't. I didn't understand why, and I got angry, and I left...and I guess that's the reason all this happened." I said, almost apologetically. What was wrong with me?
"Love is black and white because there are two kinds of love, Yuffie. The first is warm, like a thick cloak on a winter night. It keeps you safe and warm. The second is like coffee."
I stared at him, a little. A small smile, only perceptible to the sharpest of eyes, crept across his face.
"It's black and bitter-sweet, and burns in the back of your throat." he explained.
I stood there, and I had to admit, I was impressed. Damn, Vince was good.
"So. If there's two kinds of love, which is 'true love'?" I asked, testing him.
"Both." he answered. After a moment's silence, he went on, "Both. True love is both black and white, like the keys of a piano. And they say that it is also like a beautiful melody, that once played, can never be played again."
The night drew to a close. I left the next day, thanking him for his hospitality. He told me it had been "a pleasure, I think". I smiled as I drove the SHADOWFOX back to work the next day.
I ought to get drunk more often.
Well, ouch. I got some comments on my Yuffentine Valentine's day special which indicated that I could write good Yuffentine's, so I immediately wrote this one to prove that I can't.
Seriously, though. It didn't come out nearly as well as I'd like it to. I couldn't really capture Yuffie's point of view, and probably should have done it in Vincent's anyway. The concept was nice, though.
OOC? Maybe. However hard we try to hide it, all of us have a sensitive side, even Vincent and Yuffie. And, with culture and experience as motivators, it's perfectly possible that both could find an outlet in poetry.
Really, though, it was an excuse to have Vincent sounding epic with his little sound bites. So sue me.
Which raises a point: my disclaimer. Well, as disclaimers are legally invalid (and really if you put one, you're just admitting that you know you broke the law), Square can sue me if the mood takes them. But they'll get all of two pounds, and lose on free advertising and fan culture. So, yeah- we're only allowed to use the characters because it's a good deal for the people who made them, so long as we don't profit.
Wishing you a Merry March for reasons I don't quite understand,
Note: I recently edited this chapter to make it congruous with a second (unplanned) chapter. The edit consisted entirely of putting the word 'White' at the top. And changing the separators.