Hello and welcome! Now, you're probably shaking your heads at me and my inability to finish a story before starting another one, but I couldn't resist. This one just popped into my head and though I'm still trying to decide on where to go, I went ahead and posted the first chapter. I won't even try to and predict how long it will be, because my last two fics are turning into multi-chaptered ones, but we'll see. Think of this baby as an alternate to 'Princess of Thieves,' though I'm sure it will not follow the same plot as that one. Anyway, please enjoy and let me know if you'd like to see this one continued!
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or any of the characters used in this piece of fiction. I am making no money off of them.
Like the Wind
Standing at the bar, sipping a glass of his favorite red wine—which ran on the expensive side—he spied her. The tiny thing slipping between the crowd with nimble fingers, picking pockets and cheerfully chatting with her victims afterwards. His eyes trailed her as she danced from one side of the room to the other, avoiding the ones she had already taken from.
He recognized her as the daughter of one Godo Kisaragi, the man who was essentially running the whole continent of Wutai. He couldn't recall her name at the moment, but she was amusing him to no end, and he had no doubt that soon enough someone would catch onto her little game. He wondered where she was putting her spoils when she was dressed in a very formfitting piece.
Normally, he was as straight-laced as they could go, but he had to admit that even his own party had become completely dull; this was the last time he would allow his father complete control of such events. But at least his father had invited the right people, and now he had the pleasure of watching the diminutive princess picking pockets. This meant that he needed to find entertainment in something other than the party.
"How long do you think it'll be before someone catches her?" asked his partner at the firm, and longtime friend, as he came to stand by his side.
"Her father surely knows of this… pastime she has. He'll probably sense she is up to no good within the next hour," Vincent replied with a smirk. "How old is she?"
"Eighteen. Maybe nineteen," replied Zack, thanking the bartender for his mojito.
"She has a country at her feet and yet here she is, stealing from people," said Vincent.
Zack shrugged. "Are you going to stop her? After all, this is your party, and she's stealing from your guests."
Vincent set down his wineglass and shook his head. "I'll watch her and see if she's brash enough to attempt stealing from me."
Zack chuckled in amusement and nodded. "What will you do if she does?"
Vincent grunted. "I'll think about it." They watched those quick fingers dart into another pocket when she purposely ran into a man. "How are Tifa and the baby?"
"Cranky when I left them at home," Zack replied with a large grin. "I'll have baby-duty tonight because I was 'off partying without her.' But I guess it's only fair. The kid has a set of lungs on him that could burst some eardrums and Tifa hasn't slept a full night in a month, since we brought him home."
Vincent nodded. "I hope you enjoy your Christmas present," he said, handing Zack an envelope before walking away.
Zack stared down at it and opened it, quickly reading the contents in Vincent's handwriting. He smiled and tucked the paper into the inside of his coat. Vincent—the big ol' softy—had just given him a month off of paid paternity leave. He snickered to himself; Tifa would get tired of having him around the house for a whole month.
Her pockets were starting to get heavy and she knew that she would have to stop borrowing money from the rich and snobby soon. Besides, she had a feeling that she was being watched and she wondered why this person hadn't stepped in so far. Better to retire before someone called security on her.
She was standing in a room full of lawyers and she knew that they would all love to prosecute the shit out of her if they found out what she was doing. But she was honestly so very bored and old Godo had been trying to set her up with some real weirdoes.
First there had been the guy with the chochobo hair; he hadn't had much to say, and he had been kind of boring. Then she'd met the guy her age who'd loved replying to everything with a 'whatever'; honestly, how was he planning to pick up a hot girl that way? And finally there had been that creep with the tattoos on his face and the bright red hair; he'd started to get grabby. Honestly, her father knew nothing about playing matchmaker.
Her fingers had been automatically reaching for a new pocket when they were captured by a long, pale fingered hand that curled completely around hers. Yanking back hard, Yuffie felt herself pale as she looked up and into the crimson eyes of one of the hottest men she'd ever seen. Well, hottest and the owner of the frickin' firm they were standing in.
Damn it. Godo was going to kill her.
"Er… sorry about that. I tripped," she said quickly, yanking once more.
"You tripped and your hand fell into the inside of my coat?" asked Vincent smartly.
"Is there a problem here?"
Great, thought Yuffie in annoyance. "Get lost, will you baldy?"
The tall man straightened but did not move away. "It's my job to watch you."
"Have you been watching her pick pockets the entire night?" Vincent asked, cool.
Yuffie flushed and realized that it had been his gaze that had been following her for a while now. "He was too busy arguing with tattoo-face about who's got the best rack here," she said with a smirk. "So, who won?"
There was a muted pink color on the bald man's face. "We were discussing sports."
"Yeah, because Tifa's not here and she's obviously your choice."
There was an awkward silence and Yuffie tried to pull her hand, but the man's grip was like iron.
Vincent felt irritation stir. "Tifa is a married woman."
"And she's married to Zack, who's equally hot. What's wrong with looking?" Yuffie snarked.
"Maybe we should take up your activity with your father," said Vincent.
She had the gall to shrug. "He'll ground me and cut me off. I don't see how he hasn't realized that I…" she trailed off and stopped talking, not about to disclose more dirty tactics to a lawyer.
Vincent swallowed back a smirk of amusement and finally let her pull herself free when she yanked once more. She rubbed her chafed skin and glared at him. She was something else, alright. "Stop stealing from my guests, or I will be forced to take action," he warned her before walking away.
Yuffie growled softly to herself and glared up at Rude. "Let's go. This party sucks, and we've been to all of Godo's to know," she muttered.
Rude sighed and followed after her as she made for the door.
Vincent watched them go from afar and it only took him a moment to decide to follow. He was curious about her and of the fact that she was unafraid of any authority figures, including her father. From the parking lot he followed in his own sleek car and found a small part of him hoped that she wasn't a shallow, spoiled girl who would run off to a nightclub to spend her money on alcohol and/or drugs.
He'd seen some of his employees defend a few of their clients' spoiled children in court because they had been stupid enough to get behind the car while under the influence. Many times he had found himself reconsidering who it was that they defended.
His surprise mounted when he saw the girl's car stop in front of a toy store, and she jumped out of the car before her guardian could open it for her. He parked his own vehicle and waited for nearly twenty minutes before she nearly bounced her way out of the store, his guard and many employees of the place carrying bags behind her. They stuffed the toys into the trunk and the back seats of the luxury SUV, and then Yuffie raced into the driver's seat while her guard took up the passenger's.
Another drive sent them to a nearby orphanage, where she and a few of the adults from there carried the bags into the building.
Vincent stepped out of his car and locked it before making his way over and stepping into the modest place. It looked like it could use some renovation and he had to wonder how many children were housed there. Hmm… maybe they would receive an anonymous donation the following day as well.
In the time he had lived in Edge, he hadn't given himself the chance to look this closely into the city, but he couldn't believe that the little thief had provided him such an eye opener. There were probably close to sixty orphaned children in this building and he was sure that there were plenty other orphanages in the city with countless more.
Edge was on the outskirts of Midgar, and though he was a respectable lawyer from Midgar, it was good to be able to see those who needed some help. He could be ruthless in court, but he wasn't an evil man, and bringing happiness to children who had been either abandoned or had lost their families was something he was willing to do.
At least his money wasn't of the illegal variety like Kisaragi's, he mused. The children had all been ushered into the lunchroom, where they would all fit, and Vincent watched as Yuffie began to pass the unwrapped gifts with some help. Pretty soon there were little girls and boys had new toys to play with and were all gathered around Yuffie with near adoration in their eyes.
The director and guardians of the orphanage couldn't stop thanking her, but Yuffie just smiled and informed them that she had wanted as many children to feel happy with Christmas so close. Rude was like a statue as children clung to his legs, or asked him why he was bald, and Vincent found himself wondering how much torture the man had to put up with Yuffie by herself.
Feeling lighter than he had in a very long time, he stepped out of the building without getting spotted by anyone and waited right outside the gates. Luckily the weather hadn't yet turned freezing, but he knew snow would be coming any day now.
"Spying on me, are you?" her cheerful voice asked about five minutes later.
"I was just curious as to what you would do with all of the money you acquired. Do you generally steal from the rich and give to the poor?" Vincent questioned.
"That's a secret," she said, moving from his side to stand in front of him. "I always have too much time on my hands so my old man rarely knows what I'm up to. Unless I get caught."
"Why don't you do things the legitimate way? Why not raise the money for their toys?"
She rolled her eyes and slipped her hands into a pair of warm gloves. "Where's the fun in that?"
A small chuckle left his lips as he looked at the rosy hue on her cheeks from the cold. "You're unlike anyone I've ever met."
"Well, I'll take that as a compliment. It means that I'm unique and unforgettable," said Yuffie brightly. Her cheeks flushed a deeper red when he continued to look at her. "Why are you still here?"
He raised an eyebrow at her and shrugged one shoulder elegantly. "Committing this moment to memory," he said in a low tone. "Despite the fact that you started this the wrong way, you made a lot of children happy today."
Yuffie shrugged and began to walk back to her car, Vincent a step behind her. "I rarely do things the right way." She turned to look at him, a mischievous glint in her eyes. "If I killed someone, would you defend me?"
"Are you going to go out and deliberately kill someone?" Vincent asked.
"Hypothetical situation," said Yuffie, rolling her eyes.
"It still depends on whether or not you deliberately did it."
Vincent almost smiled. "Then yes, I would defend you in court."
Yuffie nodded and winked. "That's good to know. Though maybe you should get back to your party now."
"It was… a very boring one."
"Yeah," Yuffie giggled.
"It was nice meeting you, Miss Kisaragi," he said, holding his hand out to her.
Yuffie took it, her smile softening and nodded. "You can call me Yuffie. And it was also great meeting you."
"You can call me Vincent if you wish," he said, opening the door of the car for her, even as Rude shifted behind her.
"We'll probably see each other again, since my dad said we'll be here for about a month," said Yuffie, getting into her seat and buckling her seatbelt.
"Just as long as you refrain from attempting to pick my pocket, I think we will both be okay," Vincent said, tone calm.
Yuffie's eyes narrowed playfully as she shrugged. "Make sure you don't keep too much cash on you. Then we'll be okay."
Instead of replying to her jab, Vincent bowed slightly before closing her door.
Yuffie smiled to herself as Rude settled in to drive her back to their hotel. "What do you think, Rude? He's hot and smart."
"He'll also be able to defend you if you get caught stealing from people," said Rude smoothly.
"You're no fun," she muttered. "Besides, it's your fault that I've gotten so good."
"And I have regretted showing you every single day since I've been watching over you," he said dryly.
Yuffie burst into laughter and shrugged. "Stop trying to deny the fact that you love me."
Silence was his answer and Yuffie punched him in the back of his shoulder. "You'll never get rid of me now," she said in a sing-song.
"Woe is me."
Yuffie snickered and said nothing more, her mind focusing back on the handsome man who had taken to following her on that night. The glint of his crimson eyes remained with her and she felt herself looking forward to meeting him again. She'd have to break into Godo's planner and check when their next meeting was; she'd cling to her father like glue on that day.
Despite the fact that the Christmas party had been a week early, Vincent was glad that he had given his partners and employees, at the very least, some good drinks even if the party had been boring. Grimoire and his old cronies hadn't thought so, and Vincent hadn't said anything; he was trying to keep his relationship with his father civil.
Vincent had been up to his eyeballs in research the last few days, and had been forced to cancel a few meetings, but he was relieved at least, that his most important cases would be in the New Year. Unless some emergency came up. But he had learned to be patient, and so he was not worried about that now.
"M-miss! You can't just barge into Mr. Valentine's office—"
Vincent looked up in time to see Yuffie race in, deftly avoiding his assistant's hands.
Yuffie narrowed her eyes. "Maybe you should call off your friend here if she doesn't want me to break every bone in her hands. Then you'll end up defending me for assault and not murder."
Strangely, he found that he believed her. Vincent turned to Elena and gave her a nod. "That will be all, Elena. I will talk to the young lady."
Elena gave Yuffie a blistering glare, which the shorter woman returned, and closed the door behind her. When Yuffie turned back to him, the grin didn't even wilt under his own glare. She shrugged. "She said I needed an appointment, and I honestly don't have time for that."
"Right, since you have such a busy day," Vincent returned, deadpan.
"I do, actually. But I wanted to stop by and say hello," Yuffie said, plopping down onto the seat in front of him. "My dad is off doing political stuff and I'm bored. I've found that when I'm bored, I tend to do things that are… frowned upon."
"Stealing is punishable by law," Vincent agreed. He didn't know what it was about her that put him so at ease. He, Vincent Valentine, one of the most respected and sought out lawyers, only twenty-seven in age, and usually a no-nonsense man, was being rendered speechless and amused by a nineteen year old thief. "What will you do for New Year's? Steal a bank?"
Her bright eyes seemed to glitter. "Don't give me any ideas."
Vincent sighed quietly and shook his head once. "What's really on your mind, Yuffie?"
"Did you check outside yet?" she asked.
Vincent shook his head and turned towards the large clear window behind him. His eyes widened slightly in surprise when he saw that soft snow clumps had started to fall over the city. "I hadn't even noticed."
"I figured. Lawyers are workaholics with no personal lives," she said, matter-of-fact.
"That's not entirely true," Vincent replied.
"It's not?" she asked, getting to her feet. "Then come on and prove it." She walked over to his side of the desk and pulled at his arm, attempting rather unsuccessfully to get him to his feet.
"I have work to do," he said flatly.
"And it'll still be here in an hour. Come on," she said, finally getting him to stand.
"Where are we going?" he asked as they walked out the door. He turned to Elena before Yuffie could say something rude. "I will return in an hour. Hold my calls, please, Elena."
"Of course, sir," she said, a confused frown on her face.
Vincent ignored the tongue Yuffie stuck out at her and they both boarded the elevator. "You are used to getting your way in everything, aren't you?"
Yuffie shrugged. "Comes with being a sort-of-princess. My dad would try to substitute his time with material things. But, I guess I can cut him some slack since my mom died when I was really young and he had no one to turn to for advice on how to raise a rebellious little kid."
Vincent stared at her for a moment and nodded in understanding. After all, he had gone through almost the same exact thing with Grimoire, except that… his mother had walked out on them. "Is that why you give toys to the orphans? Because you can relate to them on some level?"
Yuffie smiled secretively. "Why I do it is a personal reason that I don't want to share with anyone."
"That's perfectly understandable," Vincent replied, holding the elevator door for Yuffie to exit. "Though it seems to me like you have to find yourself a less dangerous hobby," he said with meaning.
"I only steal when I'm bored, so in the meantime, I try to keep myself as entertained as possible," she assured him as they stepped out onto the lightly falling snow.
They walked a few blocks down and stopped at a bakery, where Yuffie ushered him in and pointed to the delicious looking sweets. "First, we need to find something sweet."
Vincent wasn't at all surprised to see her pick a cupcake with a large twirl of green whipped topping, and sprinkled with tiny Christmas trees. She picked a matching one for him, but made of dark chocolate. Then she ordered them a tall cup of coffee and paid off the cashier before he could even grab his wallet.
"My treat. But you'll have to ask me out to dinner some time," Yuffie said with a wink.
Vincent was still annoyed at the fact that she had paid, when he realized that his wallet was suspiciously missing. "Miss Kisaragi."
She handed over the expensive leather with a flourish. "Well, what do you know? You did treat me!"
He wondered at what point she had picked his pocket and came to the conclusion that it had probably been when they had been exiting the elevator or entering the bakery… It shocked him that he had been able to tell back at the party, but had not this time. "What honestly gave you the impression that I will not retaliate?"
"You would've done it already instead of warning me," Yuffie replied, walking off towards a small table at the corner of the bakery store.
Vincent took the seat across from her and his eyebrows furrowed slightly. "I may have to steal something of yours in order to get you to stop."
Her youthful face brightened as she nodded. "I haven't met my match just yet, so it would be fun to see you try."
"You don't think I would be able to?" Vincent asked, sipping his coffee carefully.
Yuffie shrugged her narrow shoulders. "I was trained by a master from age five," she said, hitching a thumb towards the other side of the room.
Vincent turned to look and spotted the bald head in his pristine black suit. "He's good at blending in," he commented.
"That's his job," said Yuffie.
"Why do you need a bodyguard to watch over you?" he questioned. Maybe if he hadn't been a lawyer, someone trained in reading other people for their reactions to give them away, he would've missed the way her hand tightened around her own cup of coffee.
"I tend to get into a lot of trouble, so my dad hired him to keep me safe," Yuffie replied easily.
He also knew when someone was lying to him. "Despite your impressive skill in thievery, Miss Kisaragi, you're not as skilled in lying," Vincent informed her.
"Hmm… why should I tell you? We just met," Yuffie said, a note of steel entering her voice.
And it shocked him, because up until now she had been pleasant and cheerful; bubbly. For an almost princess, it surprised him that she didn't have an entire security detail, which either meant that the man watching her was a professional—one of the best—or that Yuffie herself was much more dangerous than she looked. "I was under the impression that we were on our way to becoming friends."
"Does a lawyer ever have any true friends?" she asked him, eyes sharp.
Vincent focused his own cutting gaze on her. "I suppose we don't. We have associates, and contacts, but very rarely a true friend." With the exception of Zack, of course, but since Yuffie was giving him nothing, then she would receive nothing.
"What are we doing here, then?" Yuffie asked, leaning forward over the table, eyes intent on his.
Vincent mirrored her, but left considerable space between them. "From the moment I saw you at that party, I found you curiously unafraid of anything."
She smiled at his words. "Is that an evasive way of you telling me that you like me?" Yuffie asked with a grin.
Vincent's lips twitched, but he didn't reply to her little jab. "You are very interesting."
"So you watch me like some sort of bug under a microscope?" Yuffie asked, annoyed. "I don't think I like you anymore." With that, she waltzed out of the bakery and away from him, Rude at her back.
Vincent took his treat and coffee with him as he followed. By the time he spotted her, she was getting into the back of her SUV. He stopped her before she could close the door. "You put words in my mouth."
Yuffie glared lightly at him. "You watch me the way I like to watch things I'm not supposed to steal. Like jewelry behind a glass box. We have no business even trying to get our hands in there."
She was also defensive when she was nervous, he noted. There had to be something behind all of that cheerfulness, but maybe now was not the time to ask her about it. They were still practically strangers. But despite this fact, there was something about her drawing him in. It was unlike any reaction he had ever had towards a woman.
"Nothing to say?" Yuffie asked.
Vincent let out a rough chuckle and wondered at how observant she truly was. "Why don't you meet me for a real lunch in a few days?"
She grinned and snatched the cupcake from his hand. "Fine. But I get to pick the food and the place we'll go to."
"Of course," Vincent said with a nod.
"Stay out of trouble, Vince," she said before winking and closing the door to the car herself.
Vincent chuckled to himself and watched her go before turning to walk back to his office, carrying nothing but his coffee since Yuffie had taken his treat. When he arrived, Elena was taking another message and she looked exasperated.
"Sir, I just got a call from your wife and she would like to know if you will be joining her for dinner tonight," Elena said, handing him various slips of paper.
He paused at his door, a dark look on his face before he nodded. "Thank you, Elena. I'm going to call her right now to confirm with her myself."
Elena watched him go with narrowed eyes and wondered what her boss was playing at with that annoying little girl who had dragged him away less than an hour ago. The man was married… and this was the first time in two years she had seen him drop his work for anyone.
Sighing to herself, she let her eyes trail after the man exiting his office down the hall.
He passed by her desk and offered her a very small smile. "Hello, Elena."
"Good afternoon, Mr. Tseng," she forced out without blushing. He stopped in front of the elevator and his eyes moved over to her right before the doors opened. Inclining his head once, Elena waved and practically melted over her desk.
She needed to get her head out of the clouds and get some work done before Vincent gave her that annoyed twitch of his eyebrow when he was angry. She just hoped that the girl bothering her boss didn't decide to show up again to make him fall behind in his work. That would mean working through the holiday for the both of them and she just wasn't in the mood to waste her vacation time, she thought with a huff.
Vincent glared at his phone and hesitated in calling Lucrecia. It was inevitable, he knew, but he wasn't in a rush. His situation with her needed to be resolved sometime soon, as well. Opening his desk drawer, he took up the ring he had stopped wearing long ago and stared at it for a long moment.
His life had revolved around his wife and his job once, but now… the only refuge he had was his job. He didn't know if he wanted to try to salvage what was left of his marriage anymore. If there was anything left.
Placing the ring back where he had left it, he picked up his next file and tried not to acknowledge the fact that he was now thinking of a girl nearly ten years his junior. His head really had no place going there, and he wouldn't cause himself any more grief. Despite that fact, he found his hand reaching for the phone.
Instead of dialing Lucrecia's number, his fingers began to punch in completely different buttons.
I actually looked up the paternity leave stuff, and even when wiki isn't the most reliable place, it said that parents can get twelve weeks and unpaid leave, but I changed that for this fic, obviously.:) Now, I'm trying not to make Vince to OOC, but he just came out that way… This story will be on the lighter side, I think, though you all know how much I love my drama, so expect some of it here, too. Also, the title of the fic was inspired by the actual song, "She's Like the Wind," sung by Patrick Swayze, and the more modern version sung by Lumidee. Both are great, though the second one is more of a hip-hop one.
Still, hopefully you all enjoyed this first chapter, and justt know that I'm working on the next one now. Take care everyone and I really hope this year is better for all of us than last year!:D