AN: So, I realized that I've never really done a long Yuffentine fic before (Yuffie and Her Playstation aside, because that's really just fun-filled, fluffery drabbles XD). Anyway, once I realized that I'd never done a long Yuffentine fic, I then realized that I WANTED to do a long Yuffentine fic... and here I am. I want to write something (potentially)epically, superly-duperly long. Something adventure-filled-yet-relationship-fueled. Something fluff-filled-yet-serious. Something funny-yet-thought-provoking. Something Yuffentiney. There may be a bit of a love-triangle later on, but at heart this will be a Yuffentine. If you don't like that, please leave. All flames will be used to toast marshmallows, thankyouverymuch XD And by the way, this ignores DoC because I hate Shelke and don't feel like dealing with her. So nyah.
Disclaimer: Square has still not agreed to sell Final Fantasy VII to me. Apparently, my soul is not enough payment. But don't worry! I'll think of something else, just you wait!
Yuffie woke up to the acrid smell of smoke stinging her senses. She immediately jerked up from her bed, the fog of sleep fading within the time it took her to reach her window. What she saw sent her heart plummeting to her feet.
The Pagoda was burning. Orange and ruby tendrils licked up its sides and awfulawfulawful black smoke poured from its roof, smothering the night. But it wasn't just the Pagoda that was consumed in flames, no; all the houses she could see from her perch above the town were also ablaze. She could hear explosions, like dragon shrieks, tearing her village apart. She could hear screaming and sobbing and choking. It took her a moment to realize the sounds were coming from her own throat. It was then that she felt the heat at her own door, recognized that her house had not been spared.
Yuffie's brain flew into overdrive. She quickly shed her pajamas and tossed on the first pair of shorts and shirt she could find. She stuffed her feet into her unnecessarily large boots, not even bothering to tie them yet, grabbed her Conformer and flung her lithe body out the window and onto the unwelcoming ground below.
She stole silently along the outskirts of town, staying out of the light thrown by the blazing remnants of her village. She felt her chest burning, felt tears streaming down her face, but at that moment it seemed all emotion escaped her comprehension. Her goal was to reach her father's house, even knowing that it would be in the same-dying-shape as the rest of Wutai. If she could get there, make sure Godo was safe and, Leviathan, figure out what the hell was going on—
Her legs pumped faster and faster, taking her through the trees, up the hill and then she skidded to halt, rubber soles chafing on the uneven cobblestone of the sacred courtyard. The Pagoda was a great, horrible vision, a beacon of fire silhouetted against the hate-black night. It would be rather poetic if it weren't her village, her town, her people, her Pagoda, her traditions, her life.
For a moment, the flames blinded her, bathing her figure in a golden, flickering glow. And for a moment, just a moment, she allowed her heart to grieve.
Who could do this? Not even dirty Shin-Ra went this far, not even—
A hand encircled her wrist, yanking her back from the open courtyard and into the trees again.
"Yuffie!" The haunted eyes of her father greeted her as she spun and reeled, trying to make sense of everything.
"Dad! What the hell is—"
"No time, Yuffie! Get out! Run and don't come back! Not until we know it's safe!"
The disturbed look in her father's eyes told her it would be her death to argue. So she gulped, drew him into one too-short, too-tight embrace, and took off into the darkness. She didn't even chance a look back at the destruction of her village. All she would be left with was the smell of smoke and the image of the fiery Pagoda, seared into her memory.
It wasn't often that Vincent Valentine stayed with Tifa and Cloud in Edge. He normally preferred to spend his days quietly in the Shin-Ra Mansion, or occasionally taking the odd bounty-hunting job to rid a civilian of a particularly pesky monster. Yet, once a year, the newly-married couple housed all of AVALANCHE for a party celebrating the anniversary of when Meteor was destroyed. So, once a year, Vincent spent a few days in Edge, catching up with his comrades and enjoying their festivities. He usually wasn't very involved in the actually partying, but he showed up, and that was what mattered.
It was the sixth anniversary. Six years since Meteor and four since the Remnants. Everyone had gathered, save for Yuffie. It was this thought that Vincent, ironically, woke up to. His peace and quiet would soon be over, because the most chipper (and loudmouthed) member of AVALANCHE was set to arrive that evening.
Tifa was all smiles throughout the morning, chatting animatedly about how excited she was for Yuffie to finally get there. Being the only two women remaining in AVALANCHE had forged an unbreakable bond of sisterhood, Vincent supposed. Although he wasn't sure that twenty-two year old Yuffie could really be considered a woman yet, he thought with a quiet chuckle.
Then Tifa turned on the morning news. And Vincent stopped laughing. And the room went silent as a grave.
Wutai was burning.
"No word on the cause yet," a reporter was saying, "And no help has been able to get through to the island country since the distress call went out, early this morning."
"Oh my god…" Tifa breathed. Cloud was standing solemnly in the corner as Barrett and Cid both started in with curse-filled exclamations. Nanaki began pacing and Reeve immediately began placing calls into his office. The silence in the room was broken only by his frustrated ranting.
"Yes, I know this situation is still developing, but goddammit I'm the President and I should have heard about this—no, don't try to calm me down! There are innocent people over there and—well fuck you too!" He slammed the slim phone down on the bar and ran a hand through his hair. Silence reigned yet again, and then…
"We have to go there."
All eyes turned to Tifa, standing defiant and strong, hands on her hips.
"We have to go make sure Yuffie and her family and her people are okay."
Cid immediately perked up. "Well, fuck, what are we waiting for? I've got the Shera tuned up and ready to fly, let's get our asses in gear and go!"
"Tifa isn't going anywhere." This time everyone focused their attention on Cloud, and a confused tension filled the air. The couple was staring at each other, seemingly locked in a silent battle. Vincent felt a small pang in his stomach as he realized that Yuffie would be laughing at them if she were present, cracking jokes about a lust-filled staring contest or some such nonsense.
It seemed that a victor had been determined, as Tifa finally glanced away and sighed quietly. "He's right…" She conceded, "I shouldn't go anywhere where there might be fighting…" She paused, and regret filled her features, "I had wanted to tell you all at a happier time but… I'm pregnant."
There were whistles from Cid and Barrett and quiet congratulations from Reeve, Vincent and Nanaki. The barmaid mustered up a small smile. "Get Yuffie here safe. Then we can really celebrate."
It was then that Reeve's voice cut in. "I think it would be best…" he paused as if testing the words in his mind before speaking them aloud. It was something he often did, a habit he could never seem to break, but Vincent liked that about him. Reeve was hardly ever hasty. "I think it would be best," he began again, "If Cid were to take only one person to Wutai." At the shouts of protest, he simply held up his hands. "Let me explain my reasoning. We don't know what the situation is. We don't know if this is a terrorist strike, a political attack, or an unfortunate environmental event. But I know for a fact that if all… six of us go running in there, guns blazing, things could get messy. So I suggest we send one person in, as more of a stealth operation. To try and glean as much information as possible, or to simply find Yuffie and get here safely to Edge. Either way, we cannot afford to make a large scene until we know exactly what is going on."
So, while the comrades certainly weren't happy about that particular course of action, Reeve was the President—which didn't automatically give him authority, but it did certainly give him credibility. And that credibility was how Vincent found himself on the Shera, flying towards Wutai.
It had been reasoned out that Cloud needed to stay with Tifa, Barrett needed to be around for Marlene, Reeve was going to be tied up in making statements to the people of Edge and Nanaki would stick out like a sore thumb. Cid had point-blank refused to leave his airship alone anywhere where it might end up spontaneously in flames.
"I love the brat to death," he had admitted gruffly, "but that airship is worth more to me than anything, 'cept maybe my firstborn."
It was with heavy hearts that AVALANCHE had separated. Tifa and Vincent had locked gazes before the hatch of the airship closed. Her eyes begged him to bring Yuffie home. His silently promised that he would do just that.
He just hoped he'd be bringing her home alive.
Someone was following her. Yuffie knew it. She could sense it in her very core. Whether that someone was friend or foe, she hadn't a clue. And then she scoffed to herself. Friend? She didn't have friends, not in Wutai at least… not anymore.
It had taken her a while to reach Da Chao, not because she didn't have the paths memorized and engrained in the very tissues of her heart—because she did—but because the light cast by her flaming village reached far, and she was working desperately to remain hidden in the inky shadows.
Especially now that someone was following her. She had run in circles all over the great craggy statues, for hours and hours and hours and hours until she felt like time was just running together in one very long, very awful second. Each round of the mountains took her back to the same place. The Fire Caves. The birthplace of her most favorite piece of Materia—except for Knights of the Round, obviously—Steal As Well.
The petite ninja knew, knew within her heart of hearts, that if she could get into the Fire Caves, she would be safe, at least for a little while. It struck her as ironic that the same thing that destroyed her village, her life, is what could possibly save her in that moment. There was a small problem though. Her Leviathan Scales were sitting in a secret compartment of her basement. Out of sight, out of reach, out of luck.
Yuffie was never out of luck. She had always refused to let herself be. She was Lady Luck, anytime, anywhere and right then, she decided, was no exception. She sucked in a deep breath.
"I make my own luck, anyway." She mumbled. And threw herself across the flames. And bit back the anguished cry of pain as her skin began to sizzle. After all, it wouldn't do for her to give away her position, even if it did feel like she'd just doused herself in gasoline and sat on a lit match.
Instead, Yuffie bit her tongue until she tasted copper and stopped, dropped and rolled for all she was worth. When she finally came to the conclusion that she wasn't going to die—at least not yet and at least not from being burned to a crisp—Yuffie stopped rolling around and sat up gingerly. She didn't want to look at her own body, didn't want to see the second-or-third-degree burns that she could achingly feel peppering her flesh. So she glanced around the cave to distract herself.
Yet all she could think was 'What the hell happened to my poor, poor Wutai?'
AN: Well? Would YOU like to find out what the hell happened to her poor, poor Wutai? Would YOU like to get to the awesomeness that will be the upcoming Yuffentiney-goodness in this story? Would YOU like me to tell you how awesome you are and how much I love you? Then send me a review! And add this story to your alerts of course! XD
Also, in the future, chapters will be longer than this... this is just a taster.