A/N: Oh, Yuffentine, it's been a while.

There are just some things you don't say to friends. Things like, 'yeah that's a great colour on you, but the shirt still makes you look fat,' or, 'hey, don't take this the wrong way, but I think you should go shower.'

I've recently discovered that 'I think I'm in love with you' is another (probably the best) example.

Vincent's sitting behind me, his back pressed against mine, and he's quiet as the grave. I twiddle my thumbs, hoping it's just him being him and not him planning his fastest escape.

I had received some very stupid advice from a girl I used to call my best friend up until about three minutes ago when, due to her idea that just telling him would make me feel better, I blurted out my feelings to an emotionally stinted gunslinger who is over twice my age and still patching up a heart broken from his past romantic fiasco.

Guess what, Tifa? I definitely do not feel better. I will be taking my advice asking business elsewhere from now on, thank you very much. I've heard Cait Sith can predict the future.

"Seriously, Vinnie, use your words."

So I'm impatient. He's never been particularly adept at conversation, and a little encouragement never hurt anyone.

He's quiet for a moment longer, and just as I'm drawing a breath to ask him if he's died over there, he speaks up.

"I'm not sure what it is you would like me to say, Yuffie."

'I love you too' would have been optimal, but I am in no way a dreamer. No, this level headed ninja certainly wasn't hoping for that.

"Anything that isn't nothing."

He pauses for a second. "Well."

I suppose that wasn't nothing.

"Do you hate me?"

"Why would I hate you?"

"Dunno." I play with a toggle on my boot. I really didn't know, but it was my biggest fear and since I was apparently trying the 'spew your hearts contents all over him like some sick kind of emotional projectile vomit' approach, I figured it was better to clear it up right from the get-go. "But you don't love me," I say.

He sighs; I can feel his torso heave where his back still presses against mine.

"I don't not love you either."

I'm usually not one to scoff. I'll usually laugh or make some smartass comment, but I had nothing witty to say nor any reason to laugh. I could have asked him what he meant, but to be honest, I didn't think he had an answer.

"It can't be both," I say flatly.

"It can't be love, and it can't be hate, so it's got to be something in the middle," he snaps, and I'm surprised. I didn't expect so much of a passionate response from him.

For the first time, I wish we weren't facing away from each other so I could see him.

"Is it because you're messed up? Because I get it if that's the case."

"Sure," he sighs. It seems a good enough excuse for both of us for a moment, but I can't help but press further.

"Is it me?"

He's not sure how to answer. Can I blame him? Sure, I can, but it would be unfounded and unfair. "You make things complicated, Yuffie."

It's a good answer. It's a humbling answer. It's a: 'Yes, it's you. How could it not be you? You are making things difficult. You are the one changing the playing field. You are making me feel things that aren't not love and aren't love love.' I frown and utter a lame apology.

"Can we pretend this never happened?" I ask after a long silence. We've both been collecting ourselves, gathering up all of the stray bits of our insides we accidentally threw at the other as our words sliced the darkness.

He didn't say anything, but I knew his answer was no.

"Can we at least stay friends without this making everything all weird?"

Still no reply.

"Vinnie, c'mon, it's just a crush, probably a passing fancy. After all, what do I know, I'm only nineteen; still a kid, right?"

"You know your heart, Yuffie."

I couldn't argue that. It was the one thing I was proud of. I wasn't one of those two-part personalities where one half kept its secret desires hidden from the other. I'm glad he knew that about me too.

Things were already so very complicated, and spitting out random confessions de amour was probably the only thing that could have made it worse. Smooth, I know, but there was a chance I'd never get another opportunity to tell him, and it was worth a shot.

"You have any life-altering things you want to tell me?" I offer. I'm only half joking.

His breath left him in a rush, and I wondered if it was him trying to cover up a laugh. I like to believe it was, but that also confirmed my greatest concern.

The world was ending.

Well, ours was at least. Sooner or later the air supply in our swanky little caved in love-nest was going to run out, and we'd be facing a rather unpleasant death by suffocation.

Ironic, considering we just killed some pretty foul beastly things that would have gladly used our carcasses to decorate their dens. But now everyone has to die, so I guess that's karma for you.

"Yuffie," he said at length, his voice is dark and serious, like it always is. "I love you too."

A silence stretched out in the close darkness, and I smirked.

If I knew we'd see the sunrise again, I would have slapped him for getting my hopes up; for saying something so serious without meaning it at all. I would have ripped into him for treating me like some fragile girl who needed to be coddled with a false feeling of acceptance. I would have cried, because it was just cruel to point out that all of these things were true.

As it was, I started to laugh, because there wasn't much air left to breathe anyway, and this conservation bullshit was getting us nowhere; and in that moment- one of what could have been a handful we had left- Vincent Valentine loved me enough to tell me he loved me.