Goodness! It's been nearly a year since I last updated this story, so I want to apologize for that. It might be because I didn't have a clear plot before, but I'm hoping I have one now. I also had this chapter nearly finished for months already, but the ending kept eluding me… I'm just hoping that it's not so dull. I promise things will begin to pick up, since I don't think this'll be a long story. Anyway, thank you so much for your reviews for the last chapter and also thanks to those who have waited patiently for this fic to get updated!

Playing with Fire

"How are you planning on hiding the wounds from your old man?"

Yuffie shrugged. "If that bitch Scarlet hadn't hit me in the face, it would've been easier. In any case, I can just say that Rude pushed me down a flight of stairs." She grinned at the disgruntled grunt from her bodyguard.

"Your father wasn't born yesterday," Rude said, tone dry.

"Well, I can just say that I ran into the door, as cliché as it sounds."

Cissnei snickered to herself and nodded. "I guess it could work."

Rude's features barely twitched, but Yuffie could tell that he looked skeptical.

"Your father is visiting the neighboring city for the next two days," he informed her.

Which meant that she would have a few days for the split lip and bruise to heal. "Thanks, Rude. See? I have my own personal planner right there," Yuffie said with a chuckle. "Come on and let's go grab something to eat!"

Once they were seated at a nice, little café, with Rude sitting at the next table sipping tea, Cissnei asked her. "I heard a rumor. What's going on with you and Valentine?"

Yuffie glared. No one knew that she visited Vincent, aside from Rude, Elena, and now Tseng… "Who told?"

"Elena. We both went to the same boarding school, and we stayed friends since," Cissnei explained.

"Is she going around spilling my business to anyone who will hear her out? Because if that's the case—"

"No. She's my best friend, Yuffie. We tell each other everything," Cissnei interrupted.

"Like the fact that she's drooling all over Tseng's shoes?" Yuffie asked snidely.

Cissnei looked surprised. "How did you know that?"

Yuffie smirked. "You might want to tell your friend to look a little less love struck whenever he comes out of his office."

The red head grinned and shrugged, but then glared pointedly. "Stop trying to distract me."

"I already went through this with Tifa," Yuffie muttered, annoyed.

Cissnei's eyes darkened at the mention of the other woman, but Yuffie ignored it. The two women couldn't be in the same room together because of a bitter rivalry that had centered on Zack. Yuffie imagined that it still burned the redhead that Zack had preferred Tifa in the end.

"And what did Tifa say to you?" asked Cissnei out of curiosity.

"She reminded me that he's a married man and that I have no business getting in the way."

"Ah, ever the little angel, right?"

"Ciss," Yuffie started, frowning.

"Well, if she's going to be the good guy in all of this, maybe I should be the bad guy and tell you to not give up?" Cissnei asked before taking a sip of her drink. "He's getting divorced, so that means that his marriage is already done. Might as well move in before someone else beats you to it."

Yuffie wondered if that's what Cissnei thought had happened between her and Zack. "I don't want to be the other woman."

The redhead shrugged. "How can you be the other woman if he doesn't even live with his wife anymore?"

Yuffie bit her lip and cursed her friend silently for appealing to her more devious side. She'd always been spoiled, especially because Godo had wanted to make up for the absence of her mother and himself, but she had never wanted to truly exploit that. Until now…

"No. I can't do that," Yuffie muttered, not meeting her friend's gaze.

"But you want to."

This time Yuffie did look up, but she realized that Cissnei wasn't looking at her, either. She frowned. "What are you really talking about?" Her friend didn't offer a reply and Yuffie growled. "Please don't tell me that you would do this if Zack gave you the chance!"

Cissnei just sipped her drink and looked anywhere but her friend.

"You'd be happy being the other woman, of not being the center of his world?"

"When you put it that way, no. I wouldn't be happy with that," Cissnei finally replied. "But sometimes love makes us do stupid things."

"Yeah…" Yuffie trailed off.

"Just ignore what I said to you, okay? Sometimes I feel like my life would've been so much better if I hadn't ever met Zack," Cissnei murmured, staring down at her drink.

Yuffie frowned to herself. "Look, you'll eventually find that guy that will make you forget all about Zack. All you have to do is start dating again."

"I told you that it wasn't going to happen anytime soon," Cissnei said, sighing slowly.

"It's been nearly two years…" Yuffie trailed off.

"It's been even longer since you and—"

"I implore you to not use that name to my face," said Yuffie darkly.

Cissnei nodded. "Sorry."

"Why don't we go and see if we can get into some trouble?" asked Yuffie, setting down a nice tip and getting to her feet.

"I don't think so. The last time we had 'fun,' my stepdad said he wouldn't bail us out of jail again," Cissnei said as she followed.

Yuffie snickered. "But you have to admit that we had fun, right?"

The redhead glowered.

"Fine, but you're missing out. I was going to have Rude organize a 'casino night,' in my backyard," Yuffie said with a grin.

Rude cleared his throat as both girls broke into giggles.

"I'm kidding, but I did want to go and get some clothes shopping done. Dad always leaves me money when he disappears for a few days and he'll worry if I don't spend it," said Yuffie as they stopped in front of her car. "The last thing I need is for him to start poking his nose in my business."

"And you have no plans of visiting your friend?" Cissnei asked.

Yuffie shrugged. "Maybe I'll go see him after I get bored of shopping, which will probably happen quickly."

"Then I'll leave you to it," said the redhead. "I need to get some things done, too. Thanks for lunch and I'll see you later!"

"Bye, Ciss!" Yuffie waved cheerfully.

She waved before going her own way, and Yuffie turned to her guard. "What should we do now?"

"Adopt a cat."

Yuffie looked at Rude and wondered if he was joking; she never could tell with him. "You know, that sounds like a good idea! I'll adopt you a parrot so that you can teach it to talk," she chortled.

Rude rolled his eyes behind his shades and opened the door for her to get into the car. It seemed that the day would be a long one, as it always was with Yuffie.

"You know, we could save each other a lot of grief if you just called Vincent without complaint every time I show up here."

Elena gave her the stink-eye but picked up the phone to let her boss know the younger woman was there to see him; she really had a lot of work and no time to antagonize the Kisaragi girl. She spoke to Vincent quickly and then hung up. "He's on an important call right now and he needs you to wait out here until he's done."

"Fine. Thanks," Yuffie said, plopping down onto one of the comfortable chairs to wait. She has started to nod off in boredom when she felt a heavy weight settle down next to her.

"Hello, beautiful!"

Yuffie's eyes narrowed as she turned to look at the man who had boldly dropped himself next to her. "Do I know you?"

"Aww, did you forget me so soon?"

Honestly, how can I possibly forget that horrible drawl? She asked herself inwardly. "Ah, yeah. The guy who thought it would be appropriate to feel me up five minutes after we'd just met."

Reno rolled his eyes. "Believe it or not, my hand slipped."

Yuffie snorted and crossed her arms over her chest, signaling that he needed to keep his distance. "How can I help you?"

"Why are you being so formal? We're close in the age range, so I think we should be more familiar with each other," he said, faking a yawn and then placing his arm against her shoulders.

She wanted nothing more than to shove him off, but she didn't want to cause a scene when Vincent was close by. "Mind taking your hands off me?" she asked darkly.

"How about in exchange for me getting out of your hair, you accept to go out with me?" Reno started with a grin, waggling his eyebrows suggestively.

Yuffie sighed in annoyance and had begun to shake her head when the door to Vincent's office opened and he stepped out. His eyes immediately settled on her and narrowed a touch. Interesting, Yuffie whispered inwardly. She looked over at Reno and got up without a word, sauntering over to Vincent without addressing either man.

Once inside the office, Vincent closed the door and followed her, exuding a colder disposition as he took a seat at his desk. "How can I help you, Miss Kisaragi?"

"Aw, and here I thought we'd moved past the formalities," she said with a grin, walking around the desk so that she could take a seat next on the edge of the glass. She was fully aware of her short skirt riding up as she swung her legs, and she found that this had become her favorite way of teasing him.

Vincent opened his computer and began to type, nearly groaning to himself. He was acting like some jealous teen…

"Aw, you're giving me the silent treatment now?" Yuffie asked, pouting slightly. A thought occurred to her. "Was it… because Reno had his arm around me?"

"No. I'm busy but didn't wish to be rude with you by turning you away," Vincent replied a little too quickly.

Yuffie sighed and slid off of the desk. "I can come back some other time if you want," she replied, dejected.

Vincent noticed the change in her tone and nearly kicked himself. The last thing he wanted was for her to be upset because of his own foolish behavior. "That's not necessary, but if you are willing to wait a half-hour, we can go get that lunch we talked about a few days ago."

Yuffie grinned and nodded. "That sounds great. I'll be waiting in my car for you, okay?"

He glanced at her and nodded. "I will meet you soon then."

"Okay!" she said cheerfully, pivoting on her heel. But before she could step away, she quickly turned around and pressed an impulsive kiss against his cheek.

Vincent stared in surprise as she winked and walked off with a little wave.

He stared after her and leaned back in his big, comfortable chair, wondering what that had been about. It wasn't like it had been unpleasant…

What was he doing with this girl? Was he leading her on? He didn't want to, but he found that her company was pleasant and that something about her softened something in his chest. He liked her. His father had advised him to get a divorce first and Vincent was very tempted to rush the process a little more. Lucrecia wanted the divorce, too, and now he had found a reason to want to get out of the marriage. He was just confused as to what he was actually doing. Having fun? Did he need adventure? …Danger? He had no answers but was now willing to find them if he could.

With alarming speed, Vincent finished the report he had been working on and grabbed his coat and phone before he was out the door.

Elena watched from her desk in hidden aggravation and agreed to hold his calls unless they were emergencies as he instructed her from the elevator doors.

When he walked out of the building, the window to the black SUV parked right in front of the building rolled down and Yuffie's smile greeted him. "How much time do you have free?" she asked. When he raised his eyebrow at her question she shrugged. "So that we can hang out at the park. The snow finally melted and I want to get some sun before another snow storm comes along!"

"I thought we were having lunch together," said Vincent.

"We are, but we can just relax in the park. Something like a picnic," she offered.

Vincent wondered whether he should decline her offer and go back to his office. After all, wasn't that what people did on dates…? He sighed and found himself nodding. "I need to be back in one hour at the most," he replied.

Yuffie grinned and opened the door, scooting to the other side so that he could sit with her. As soon as he was in and the door closed, Rude began to drive, eyes on the road and music on loud enough to drown their conversation out.

"Why do you let me do this?" Yuffie asked turning to look at him curiously.

Vincent looked at her. "Do what?"

"Drag you out of your office… steal your time," she said, thoughtful.

Vincent didn't know what to reply to her questions. Why indeed? "I don't know," he replied honestly. "But you are interesting, and it's been a while since someone went out of their way to get me out of the office."

"You mean that your sunny assistant doesn't try to stop you from overworking yourself?" Yuffie asked.

"Elena is very respectful, and her job is to help keep me and my schedule organized. She does her work expertly and she does not question my decisions unless she truly has to."

No wonder she was such a stick in the mud: she was a perfectionist. "Well, at least you have me now to cheer up your days," Yuffie said, winking.

Vincent grunted and smirked at her words. If he was honest, he could admit that this did make him feel better. "And you?"

Yuffie grinned playfully. "What about me?"

"Why do you continue to come to my office? Why do you want to be my friend?" Vincent questioned, watching her fingers twitch in her lap, as if she needed something to occupy them.

"Well, it's fun getting under your skin. You're a really controlled type of person, especially given that you're a lawyer, so it's fun for me to see you let loose and have some fun. I like it when people around me are happy," she replied, a touch of pink coming to her cheeks.

"Would this be a bad time to ask about your split lip?"

Yuffie narrowed her eyes darkly at the reminded. "Last night's fight."

"Did you win?"

Her smirk was answer enough.

"You know, there are much better ways to raise funds for a good cause," Vincent said, matter-of-fact.

"But they're not nearly as fun as the way I do it," Yuffie said, grinning.

Vincent shook his head and kept quiet as he considered her way of thinking. She was such a strange girl; contradictory and stubborn. She enjoyed doing things the wrong way and while it amused him, it also told him that having her around would surely cause him all kinds of trouble. Why, then, was he against pushing her out of his life? Vincent couldn't recall ever feeling as confused as he did then.

The drive continued on quietly, but before reaching the park, they made a quick stop at a restaurant that had packed their lunch to go. When they arrived at the park in the heart of the city, Rude made himself scarce, and Vincent and Yuffie found a nice secluded spot where they wouldn't be bothered but offered a stunning view of the rest of the greenery and the city.

Spreading out a thick black blanket she had found in the back of her car, Yuffie straightened it out while Vincent set down the picnic basket and waited for her to take a seat first. For a moment she cursed her short skirt, but she figured that all she had to do was stay sitting next to Vincent in order to avoid giving him an eyeful.

"What do you want to start with?" Yuffie asked, pulling out various cartons and containers. "Soup or sandwiches?"

"I will… try the soup," said Vincent, sniffing lightly at a few of the boxes. "What are the sandwiches made of?"

"Some are roast beef and others are ham, I think," Yuffie said, opening one up.

After eating their delicious lunch in relative silence, they moved on to dessert, which were a variety of tartlets and small slices of cake. Yuffie had no qualms about indulging in sweets, which seemed to suit her personality, Vincent noted. She appeared to have the same appetite for food as she did for life, even though her father was distant with her. Her happiness was contagious.

He watched her savor the raspberry tart in her hand, her bright eyes staring up at the blue sky filled with clouds. He let out a light sigh when a bit of the jelly remained at the corner of her mouth and on some of her fingers. Vincent handed over a napkin and watched in amusement as her cheeks flushed with color and she wiped her hand, completely missing her lips.

He didn't know what it was that he wanted to do in that moment, but he knew that he had no place thinking anything remotely suggestive where concerning Yuffie. She was… young; he needed to keep reminding himself of that important fact.

"Here," he murmured, reaching up and wiping the sweet away with his thumb.

Yuffie paused and stared at him in surprise, blinking long lashes at him. "Thanks," she said softly, watching as he almost reluctantly wiped his finger on a napkin. "Vince, do you like me?"

Vincent looked up in surprise at her question and then inclined his head. "I wouldn't be here if I didn't."

She grinned and nodded. "Do you… still like your wife?"

His good mood seemed to vanish at her question. "I don't see what the point of that question is."

Yuffie narrowed her eyes and sniffed. "It's to help me see whether or not I should stick around."

He took a sip out of his coffee and sighed. "Lucrecia and I had our time together. We were together for so long that I am beginning to think that we were just comfortable with each other."

"You mean that there was no longer love?" Yuffie asked, confused, taking note that he hadn't answered her question.

"There was love, but it seemed to have cooled down. There was no longer passion or… heat," he murmured, faint pink coming over his cheeks.

Yuffie grinned at his words and sucked the remaining jelly off of her index finger. She looked up and nearly froze when she caught his gaze on her again, but this time… this time there was a distant echo of that heat he had mentioned. It made her throat run dry and her fingers twitch.

Vincent cleared his throat and knew that he needed to control himself better. It was surprising really, because he was the epitome of control and coldness when it came to being in the courtroom, why couldn't he do that in real life? With this girl?

"I adopted a kitten today from a shelter," Yuffie said, her easy grin returning as she laid on her back over the picnic blanket, making sure that she wouldn't inadvertently flash Vincent.

"Really," said Vincent, bemused. He honestly had never been a big fan of cats, but he wisely kept that to himself.

"Yeah. She's a Ragamuffin with white fur. The lady at the shelter said that she'll develop her color as she grows older, so she's all white now."

He hummed in reply. "Have you named her yet?"

"I was thinking on naming her 'Cupcake.'"

Vincent made a face that brought giggles from her.

"I was just kidding!" Yuffie let out a sigh. "She likes to pounce a lot, so I might just name her Ninja."

"Ah, well that sounds like a more appropriate name," Vincent replied, trying to stop his fingers from moving, since some of Yuffie's soft locks of hair had fallen over his knuckles. "Is this the only pet you own?"

Yuffie nodded. "I used to have one when I was a little girl, but she belonged more to my mom than me. When… when my mom died, the cat missed her so much that it died of loneliness later on, too," she said quietly.

Vincent stared down at her and took in the smooth roundness of Yuffie's sweet face, and how her eyes seemed to have dimmed with sorrow. He finally shifted his fingers, but only enough to tug lightly on her hair. "Sadness doesn't suit you."

She smiled slightly and shrugged. "Can't help it. I miss my mom."

He could relate to that. "As much as I have enjoyed this outing, I need to return to my office."

Yuffie sat up and leaned back on her hands so that she could look at him. "Do you mean that or are you just being polite?"

Vincent gave her a small smile. "I really mean that, Yuffie."

"Good!" she exclaimed, leaning forward and planting a soft kiss on his cheek. She blushed and inwardly tried to stifle a giddy laugh when Vincent reached up to touch the spot she had kissed. "It's too bad we can't go on a real date."

Why can't we? he wanted to ask her, but he already knew the answer. His situation with Lucrecia wouldn't be resolved for another month or two… He got to his feet and then offered her a hand, which she took gratefully. "It is… only a matter of time before we can."

Yuffie's giddiness returned tenfold at his words. Was he saying that he did want to date her? "You know… I'm not a very patient person."

"Ah, but for this you will need every ounce of patience possible," he warned. "A divorce is a difficult process, even if both parties are in favor of it. I… might not be the man that you are looking to have in your life."

Yuffie shrugged and stepped back from him, her fingers still holding his. "Well, I like you as you are so far," she said with a wink. "All that's left for me to do is watch you defend someone in court."

Vincent was surprised that this was something she was interested in doing. "This is a positive sign for me."

"Why?" Yuffie asked curiously, inspecting his long, pale fingers and rubbing her own thumb across his knuckles.

"Lucrecia never gave herself time to come see me in court. She was not interested in what I did for a living," Vincent admitted.

Yuffie smiled and shrugged. "I figure that I should at least know what your work entails if we're going to be friends." And maybe more, she added inwardly.

"I'd like that," Vincent replied. "I had a wonderful time with you. Thank you."

Yuffie nodded and let out a small quick breath as her heart began to pound in her chest. "I did, too." She paused to look around. "I should probably find Rude…"

Vincent tilted his head towards the right. "He might be a little busy."

"Doing what? Chasing after squirrels and butterflies?" Yuffie asked with a laugh.

"Actually, it seems to me as if he is talking to a lady."

"What?" And sure enough, when Yuffie turned to look, there he was sitting at the fountain and talking to a pretty brunette. "Wow," she breathed.

Vincent raised an eyebrow in curiosity. "What's wrong?"

"…I've never seen Rude talk to a girl before. As in really talk to her," Yuffie said with a slow grin. "I might have to follow him on his day off to see what it is that he'll do!"

Vincent gave her a stern look and shook his head at her antics. "Yuffie—"

"What? He's like my big brother and I have a right to know what he's getting into!" Yuffie exclaimed, already thinking up a way to learn the name of Rude's girl. Because really, knowing her name would be a good way to start on a background check, Yuffie thought evilly.

Vincent watched on in amusement at the expressions crossing Yuffie's face. She'd gone from suspicious, to awed, and straight to devious; he wondered what that mind of hers was conjuring up. "As long as you don't conduct illegal activities…"

"Pfft… illegal? Me?" she asked, giving him her best innocent look, which left her looking even more mischievous than usual.

"I've seen the case file on you, Miss Kisaragi," said Vincent dryly; she'd done some very outrageous things.

"Hey! That's cheating!" Yuffie said, pouting angrily. "You know my secrets but I don't know any of yours!"

Vincent reached up to place his hands on her shoulders, his thumbs rubbing her collarbone in subtle movements. "It's best that you don't know any of my secrets," he said in a low, rumbling voice. "They might scare you away."

Yuffie was not deterred, but she merely watched him in curiosity, knowing that she was getting past that point where she could still turn back and walk away from this married man. A married man that she found she liked very much. Damn.

"Do you have that many?" she asked in a low voice.

"You're welcome to find out. Eventually."

Well, that was an invitation… and she wanted to accept it now. Instead, she smiled and moved back to begin packing the things they had used that could be washed, and Vincent began to gather the trash.

From there they began their small trek back towards the car, with Rude secretly exchanging numbers with the girl by the fountain right before he began to follow after Yuffie.

"So… are we going to be doing this often?" Yuffie asked Vincent, glancing up at him to gauge his reaction to her question.

"It all really depends on you," he replied. Because she'd been the one to take the first step towards their friendship.

"Is that because I'm the one who invades your space and forces you out of hiding out in your office?" Yuffie asked, cheeky.

"That's an important reason, yes, but… we both know that we need to address the fact that I'm married. I… enjoy spending time with you, even when we've just met recently."

Yuffie wondered if this was his way of saying that he liked her. "I hear a 'but' coming."

He gave her a half-smile. "…But, I don't think this is fair to you."

"What isn't fair to me?" Yuffie asked softly.

"The fact that I cannot give you the attention you seek. I am not free to do so, yet…" he trailed off meaningfully.

Yuffie glanced at him with a grin. "Are you saying that you like me enough to date me?"

Vincent glanced away from her and hoped that he wasn't blushing. Really, he wasn't a teen anymore! "I might."

The young woman giggled and glued herself to his side, hugging his arm to her. "Aww, Vince! You're such a sweetheart. Who knew that you weren't as tough as your reputation says you are!"

"…What about my reputation?" Vincent asked with a frown, narrowing his eyes.

Yuffie shrugged and let go of his elbow. "I asked around about you and your reputation as a lawyer. There are a lot of people who respect you and some even fear your crazy skills in the courtroom. It's good to know that I'll have a good lawyer to defend me next time that I get into some trouble."

"I should hope that you don't. After all, how would that speak of my reputation if I'm dating a troublemaker after my divorce?" he asked her smartly.

She stuck her tongue out at his profile and skipped ahead, making a flock of birds, which had been pecking at some leftover crumbs, take off into flight. Up ahead she stopped to admire roses of various colors and waited in front of the white hued ones for Vincent to catch up with her. "My mother used to call me her 'white rose of Wutai,'" Yuffie murmured, smiling ruefully.

"She must've been an exceptional woman, for you to remember something that happened so long ago," said in Vincent in a low tone.

Yuffie caressed the petals of the rose gently and nodded. "I just hope that someday I can become even a fraction of the woman that she was."

Vincent reached over to touch her chin, slowly turning her face so that he could look her in the eyes. "Yuffie… you're already half-way there."

His words, coupled with the shine of his crimson eyes, eyes that stood out with the paleness of his skin and inky darkness of his hair, made her catch her breath. Hadn't they been over this already? His thumb rubbed across her lower lip, softly dragging and sending a tingle down her spine as she stepped closer to him.

"All you have to do is stop stealing," he said with a smirk, staring down into her eyes.

Her eyes seemed to shine even more with his words. "I don't think I can do that."

"Not even for me?"

Her lips quirked at the side as she looked away from him. "I already learned not to give up parts of myself to any man," she whispered.

And with her words, the spell was broken. Vincent's brows furrowed slightly as they continued to walk, with Yuffie's eyes taking in the roses in silence. What had happened to her at such a young age? When she'd spoken, she'd sounded as if she'd had plenty of years of romantic experience. And he wanted to know why.

"I don't think we'll be able to picnic for a while. There's more snow coming our way," Yuffie commented, her authentic smile returning.

"There are other places we can visit," offered Vincent.

"I thought we weren't going to do this."

Vincent stared down at her. "We will be meeting as friends. Unless… you're not interested. In that case I will not continue to bother you."

Yuffie moved over to his side and grinned as she bumped his side purposely. "I don't think you'll be able to live without my friendship now."

For some reason, he believed her… "Of course. Most of my partners at the firm are rather dull; with the exception of Zack."

"Oh, now that's perfect black mail material!" Yuffie crowed, hanging onto his arm and cheering.

Vincent rolled his eyes, but he wasn't angered. "It's your word against a respected lawyer, Miss Kisaragi."

Yuffie laughed and nodded. "Touché. But I do happen to be the daughter of a well-respected man. And my record is practically nonexistent."

"Yes, I wonder how that has been made possible," said Vincent dryly.

"I don't question my father's methods, Vince," Yuffie said, avoiding his gaze. "I learned that I'm better off not knowing."

Vincent wondered what she meant by that and what exactly it was that she knew or suspected. "As long as his work does not put you in any danger," he said, opening the door to the car for her.

Yuffie stepped up so that she stood a few inches above him. "Would you be worried about me, Vincent?"

He looked away from her knowing eyes, lips slanted in mild embarrassment. "I do worry about my friends," he replied.

She giggled, covering her lips with the tips of her fingers. "You mean your one and only friend, right?"

Vincent was not amused. "I need to get back to work," he said, a hand gripping the door while the other moved to her hip to push her back. In doing so, her foot slipped from her precarious perch on the car and she dove forward, out of balance. Vincent caught her with both hands on her waist, and her two hands pressed to his shoulders. "My apologies. I didn't mean to treat you so roughly."

Yuffie grinned and felt the dreaded blush start. "Ah, don't worry about it. But you know, your hands are still pretty firmly settled on my waist."

He realized that she was right, and that he still wasn't letting her go. His body was ignoring his brain's pleas to not take their friendship any further. It wasn't fair to either of them… But her lips looked pink and inviting, her eyes were clear and unblinking, and his fingers had accidentally slipped just under the edge of her shirt to feel her soft skin…


Yuffie almost growled at Rude's interruption, but she moved away from Vincent and slipped the rest of the way into the car. Vincent followed her and sat silently next to her. Letting out a little sigh, Yuffie wondered if they had crossed that invisible line yet… What if their growing friendship had been ruined?

As Rude started the car and began to drive, Yuffie sighed to herself and stared ahead, thoughts jumbled around in her head.

As the car hit a particularly bumpy section of road, she lowered her hand to the space between her and Vincent, feeling nothing but warm skin instead of cool leather. She glanced up quickly at him and smiled when he turned his palm up and gripped her slim fingers gently.

He was warm, and his hand was so much bigger than her own, and… damn it, this wasn't supposed to be happening.

He held her hand until they arrived back at his office building. "Should we do this again?" he asked her in a low voice.

She didn't know if he meant their date or holding her hand. Yuffie shrugged and grinned. "Yeah, I'd want to do this again."

Vincent nodded and then pulled her fingers toward his lips. "Then we will see each other again soon. Stay out of trouble, Miss Kisaragi."

"Yeah well, you know me," she murmured with a little sigh as he let go.

Vincent chuckled lightly and stepped out of the car, glancing at her once before closing the door and walking away.

Blowing out a long breath, Yuffie leaned her head back against her seat and closed her eyes. "Rude, I think I might be in love."

Rude grunted and began to drive once more. "He's a married man."

"I know."

"And it's my duty to keep you out of trouble."

"…so? Does that mean that you'll rat me out to my dad?"

"I might."

Yuffie snickered and knew that he wouldn't unless she was in some kind of physical danger. No, the only danger present now was losing her heart…