A/N: Well, I'mma just put up the reason for why I wrote this. Basically, I wrote this because The Ballad Of The Gunslinger And The Cat recently received its tenth review. Although I'm no review whore and I reject the insidious review ransoming ("i'll nevre carry on this grate storie if I dont get 5 reviews for the 1st chaptar", etc. etc.), I am delighted when people review, and like to encourage it with little oneshots for landmarks. Here's a little bit of...well, I don't know what to term it. Contemplative fluff, maybe? Either way, enjoy.


She sings in muffled and private tones, her legs dangling languidly over the window ledge. Her towel is wrapped tightly but carelessly around her, and she tosses still-damp hair to and fro without seeming to realise it. There is little she enjoys more than to allow the sun's warming rays to dry her after her morning shower. I enjoy it too, although I am aware I should not. I walk over, making no sound on polished wooden floorboards, and brush a bare shoulder with my 'warmer' hand. She turns and smiles to me secretly, masking her grin with false modesty. She knows that her skin fascinates me, and she knows that I am uncomfortable that she, or anyone, has such power over me. She knows that the glow of her gossamer shoulders in the sunlight draws unwanted parallels with the sallow tint of my own. She tells me that I should stop worrying about what other people think and enjoy myself. I ask her if she would still love me if I was anything but what I am.

She says she'll think about it.

Although I had known many things in my life before the experiments, I had not known Yuffie; I sometimes feel that I had not truly known Lucrecia. I wonder, sometimes, as Yuffie drags me to the sofa to pretend to watch a movie with her, if all women, or perhaps all people, are as complex as the ones I have known. I only pretend to watch the movie; my real intention is to be closer to her. Insofar as I know, she only pretends to watch the movie as well; her real intention seems to be dropping blobs of ice cream on my cloak, laughing, and cleaning it off with her finger before putting said finger into her mouth.

I have never known her to be sitting down without a tub of vanilla ice cream in her hands; I have also never known her to take more than three spoonfuls before complaining of the ailment known as an ice cream headache. On the occasion that she desires a flavour other than vanilla, she brings both that flavour and a tub of vanilla, regardless of whether she intends to eat the vanilla or not. If she wishes to try two flavours at once, she will pick a spoonful out of one tub and mix it into the other, effectively ruining it. I often wonder why she does this; when I ask, she tells me that she enjoys the colours. I accept this as a valid reason immediately, because Yuffie knows ice cream and I do not, and I cannot endeavour to know ice cream because every tub we have has been mixed with vanilla, and Yuffie would be mortified if I ate any of the vanilla ice cream that she so enjoys.

I have considered the possibility of buying a tub for myself and trying to sneak it into the house, but Yuffie's uniqueness stops me. She seems to have an inbuilt sense for knowing if there is food in the house, particularly ice cream, and has an encyclopaedic knowledge of any nook and cranny where it could be hidden. When she finds it, she invariably confronts me, in varying degrees of sadness or anger, and asks why I would possibly hide food from her. She knows that I wish to try some myself, but also knows that I am too stubborn to ask for some of hers. Eventually, I give in, and tell her that I was hoping to surprise her with a gift of her favourite food. Her eyes twinkle as she identifies the lie, and she tells me that I can never surprise her, and that if I wish to give her gifts, flowers would be better as they do not melt when taken out of the fridge.

Her desire for me to bring her flowers is another facet of daily life that I cannot quite conquer. There are many flowers near our home; she needs only to reach down on her morning wander and pluck them. She tells me that's not the point, and wags her finger like a teacher reproaching a naughty child, despite the fact that I am considerably older than her.

Her morning wander also bemuses me. As a rule, Yuffie does not wear shoes at home, and pads around the house either in her bare feet or a pair of worn cotton moogle slippers that are three sizes too big. However, at eight o' clock in the morning sharp, she pads out of the house and into the fields beyond. Her shoes remain where they were, and her feet or her slippers come back cloaked in mud. She also refuses to dress before 11 o' clock for any reason, and so makes these journeys in her favourite pale green pajamas. This routine occurs no matter what she was doing the night before. It does not bother her if there is a blob of vanilla ice cream on her pajama shirt, or if her hair is still damp and lank from our more amorous night-time activities. The only reason she will break this routine is if a truly glorious day comes about.

On those days, she takes her shower first, wraps a towel around herself, and pads into the fields to let the sun dry her. I am always drawn along as if hypnotised, and she grins at me cheekily. She will find a patch of grass that suits her, seemingly at random, and flop down among the earth and the dew to enjoy the gifts of the sun. I lie next to her, my clothes conspicuous next to her glowing skin, and an hour flies away from us before she jumps up and remembers breakfast. We then both dash headlong to the house, as Yuffie giggles, and I chase her as I know she desires, scooping her into my arms if I catch her.

It is, in some aspects, like living with a child. She is whimsical and mercurial, the wind personified in a woman. But despite her immature habits, it is her who comforts me when I wake in the middle of the night, sweat pouring from my forehead as I have the nightmares that I swore to myself I would never have again. As she strokes my face in a way that would be profaning for anyone else, the nightmares fade into the haze between sleep and wakefulness, a distant realm where my memory does not stretch. She tells me I was talking in my sleep again, moaning. I ask her what about. She tells me that I was scared that she would leave me one day, and pulls me into a hug. I choose to believe her.

Our friends come to stay, sometimes, but this doesn't seem to bother Yuffie. She conducts her life as nothing has changed- ice cream, morning wanders and all. When that happens, I am embarrassed but not ashamed. I am embarrassed because these are private things, but nothing could make me ashamed of Yuffie, and fewer things still can make her ashamed of herself. Tifa may gently nudge her to wear something more than a towel when Denzel and Marlene come to play, but no one questions Yuffie's right to do what she wants. We have a common understanding that this is just the way she is.

For all her strange serenity when dealing with everyday life, Yuffie has not lost her fire. Her ire, once inflamed, is still formidable, as is mine. We seldom have large arguments, but when we do, they rage for hours until one person finally admits defeat. Usually, it is me. For some illogical reason, even as she rages and burns against me, I feel a certain pride that this unbelievable ferocity is coming from the woman that I love. I submit as a gesture of respect, not because I feel I cannot win. This is, at least, what I tell myself.

Yuffie's anger is also roused by little things, like commercials, or when the pizza is late. But by far the strangest thing to which she responds with anger is us; or, more accurately, descriptions of us from other people. All interpretations are blasphemous to her, as she believes it degrades what we have, but the one that really annoys her is when people say she is 'the light to my darkness'. Each time she hears anything along those lines, she immediately stops what she's doing, and draws closer to the offender, her finger jabbing them repeatedly in the chest. She tells (all but shouts) them that we are not 'darkness and light', but the sky and the earth.

She tells them, her voice cracking with emotion, that she is my freedom, and I am her shelter. That she is the bird, and I the cage; that without the other, each is nothing. My pride seems to burst from my chest, and I join her in battle, complimenting her vivacity with quietude, her heart with my mind, her fantasies with my logic.

She sings in muffled and private tones, like a bird in a cage. Her towel is wrapped tightly but carelessly around her, and my arms are too, providing shelter and warmth. She tosses still-damp hair to and fro without seeming to realise it as she presses her lips to my hands. There is little she enjoys more that to let the sun's warming rays to dry her after her morning shower, snuggled in the deep red of my mantle. I enjoy it too, although I am aware I should not. I brush her bare shoulder with my 'warmer' hand, and decide that I do not care. Here I am, and here I shall stay; a cage with the door wide open, the earth reaching up to meet the sky. I ask her if she would still love me if I was anything but what I am. She says she'll think about it. She knows, and I know, that this is a promise: That if one of us is to change, the other will change right along with them.


A/N: Wow. That actually came out pretty well- reading this, it feels almost like a daydream...I guess it qualifies as fluff. Hope you enjoyed it!