Princess Yuffie and the Demon, a Fractured Fairytale

Yuffie chuckled softly as Marlene curled up against her side and yawned. In front of them, the television was still going, but the little girl seemed much more concerned with using her as a pillow than with actually watching.

"You're looking a little sleepy there, squirt," Yuffie said as she ran one hand through Marlene's hair. "Maybe it's time you headed off to bed."

Marlene looked up at her and pouted. "But I'm not sleepy yet. I'm –" A great, drawn out yawn interrupted her.

"Really?" Yuffie smiled and reached down to tweak Marlene's nose. The girl let out an indignant little squeak and tried to squirm away but Yuffie just grinned and held her still. "Because you sound pretty sleepy to me. Now, come on, get up and I'll tuck you in."

Marlene scowled cutely. "But I don't want to go to sleep yet. I want to stay up and watch TV with you."

"No deal, squirt, I've already let you stay up past your bedtime and if Tifa comes home tomorrow and you're all tired and irritable, it'll be my head on the chopping block," Yuffie replied and before Marlene could come up with any other excuses, she scooped the little girl up into her arms and headed for the stairs.

It was at times like this that Yuffie was really quite glad that Marlene hadn't started to shoot up in height like Denzel had. Sure, she could still lift him, but it was getting a bit awkward and it wouldn't be long now before the days where she could just sling him over her shoulder like a sack of potatoes and leap from roof to roof came to an end. In fact, it probably wouldn't be more than a few years before he was taller than her, which was actually pretty depressing now that she thought about it. Oh well, kids these days. They grew up so fast.

Marlene complained all the way to her bedroom, but luckily for both of them she was too tired to squirm around much. Somehow, Yuffie got the feeling that Tifa wouldn't take too kindly to her dropping Marlene down the stairs. No, she'd probably pull those damn gloves of hers on and start throwing punches. Not that Yuffie didn't think she could take the other woman – she had kept herself in tip-top ninja shape, whereas the bartender didn't do all that much fighting these days. Still, Cloud had been limping for days the last time he'd messed up, so Tifa couldn't have let herself get that rusty.

It was funny how things worked out though. When Cloud and Tifa had asked her to watch the kids for the weekend, she'd thought that Denzel would be the troublemaker. She'd been wrong. Sure, Denzel had tried to pull a few pranks, but that was just fine with her. Pranks and gags were her bread and butter and he'd learned pretty quickly that getting into a prank war with Yuffie Kisaragi was just one step short of suicide. Marlene, on the other hand, was a bit trickier to deal with. It wasn't that the girl had done anything wrong. In fact, she'd behaved very well. The problem was that she'd trailed after Yuffie everywhere and while that had been cute for the first day or so, it had started to get just a little bit creepy. Honestly, the girl could be as quiet as a ninja when she wanted to be and Yuffie had almost jumped off the couch when Marlene had just appeared from nowhere while she was watching television.

They reached Marlene's bedroom and in a feat of multi-tasking and dexterity that any ninja would have been proud of, Yuffie managed to open the door without putting Marlene down. Inside, she was confronted by an abundance of pink, which didn't surprise her all that much. Marlene was going through that phase that so many girls seemed to go through, the one involving fairies and princesses and all that kind of stuff. Yuffie, of course, had never gone through that phase. She grinned. No, at Marlene's age she'd been trying to work out how to become the most awesome ninja in the history of forever, which, it was safe to say, she'd managed to accomplish.

Sliding Marlene into bed, Yuffie started to tuck her in, but Marlene stopped her with a gentle tug on her sleeve.

"Can you read me a story?" Marlene asked.

"A story, huh?" Yuffie took a quick look around. Although she didn't have any problems with reading Marlene a story, she did have a certain image to uphold. She'd worked pretty hard to become as awesome a ninja as she was, and reading stories to little girls didn't quite fit that image. Still, it was Marlene and she did look really adorable, so she supposed it couldn't hurt to read a story or two. Knowing her luck though, Vincent would show up at just the right time to make fun of her. For a guy who didn't talk all that much he could be pretty good when it came to words. Plus he was really good at the whole 'arch one eyebrow in question' thing, which Yuffie just plain sucked at – despite hours of practice in front of the mirror. "Okay, I guess I could read you a story, squirt. So, where's your storybook?"

Marlene reached under her pillow and handed a book to Yuffie. "Here."

Yuffie took the book gently from Marlene's hands. It was a ragged, dog-eared thing that had clearly seen better days. Marlene had to love it a lot if she'd kept it for so long. A soft smile crossed Yuffie's face. She knew all about hanging onto things just because you loved them. She'd kept her first shuriken until it had been too blunt to serve as anything more than a paperweight. "Which story do you want me to read?"

"Read me one with a princess in it," Marlene said. "I like those." She reached down, lifted her blanket up and patted the bed beside her. "You have to lie down beside me when you read the story. Tifa always does."

"She does, does she?" Yuffie climbed into the bed beside Marlene and pulled the blankets back into place. Hardly a second had passed before, Marlene latched back onto her. It would be tough prying her off later, especially if she fell asleep, but right now it was just too adorable to bother with. "Now, let me see if I can find something with princesses in it…"

As she flipped through the pages, Yuffie smiled faintly. She'd never understood why little girls always wanted to hear about princess. She actually was one and in her opinion it was way too much of a hassle. Her father was always calling her and asking her to come back to Wutai, but she figured that she had at least a couple more years before she was really needed back. Besides, he was probably just trying to hook her up with another one of those poncy nobles. The last guy, in particular, had been a real jerk and he was just lucky she'd been feeling too lazy to stab him with her shuriken when he got a little too touchy feel with her. She hadn't let him get away with it though – a knee to the gut and a kick to the crotch had folded him up like a paper bag. Really, when would her father learn? If she was going to get married it would be on her terms, to the man of her choice on the day of her choice. If he didn't like that, well, he could go take a hike or get himself another heir. She grimaced. Gross… she did not just think about her father producing another heir.

Noticing that Marlene was starting to get a little bit impatient – the frown on her face wasn't intimidating so much as cute – Yuffie turned her attention back to the storybook. Yep, just like she'd expected, all the princesses in the book were lame, always relying on their prince to come and save them. It made her want to puke. A princess should be able to look after herself, not just sit back and hope some prince would come riding in on a white horse to save her. An idea came to mind and she grinned. If the storybook didn't have the right sort of princesses in it, maybe she'd just have to come up with a story of her own.

"You've already heard all of these stories before, right?" Yuffie asked. Marlene nodded slowly. "Well, how about I tell you a brand new story, one that no one else has ever heard before? It'll be a special story, just between the two of us."

Marlene's eyes widened and she smiled broadly. "Really?"

Yuffie grinned confidently. "Really." She gently put the storybook down on Marlene's bedside table. "And don't worry, I promise it'll still have a princess in it – an awesome princess."

"Okay!" Marlene said, resting her head on Yuffie chest. "How does it start?"

Yuffie ran her fingers through Marlene's hair. Her mother had done this for her too, back when she'd been little and still liked listening to stories. "This story happened a long, long time ago," Yuffie began, her voice appropriately mysterious. "In fact, it happened so long ago, that no one is really sure just when it happened. But I do know that it happened in Wutai, because the story is about a princess of Wutai."

"Was the princess pretty?" Marlene murmured.

Yuffie laughed. "Of course she was. In fact the princess was so pretty that everywhere she went, the people called her the White Rose of Wutai, because she was every bit as pretty as a white rose in full bloom."

"Wow," Marlene said.

"Yeah, wow." Yuffie smirked. "The princess really was that pretty."

"What was her name?" Marlene asked.

"Her name?" Yuffie blinked. Did princesses in these stories even have names? Usually they were just called 'the princess' or something lame like that. Damn, she really should have thought this through a little better. "Well… uh… her name… it was… it was… Yuffie!"

Marlene looked up at her suspiciously. "Isn't that your name?"

Yuffie grinned nervously and scratched the back of her head. Talk about sharp. "Well, yes, but…" She smirked. "But that's only because I was named after her. Yeah, that's it! I was named after her because my father wanted me to be just as pretty and awesome as the original Princess Yuffie."

"Oh."

Seeing that Marlene looked fairly satisfied and suitably awed, Yuffie continued, "So, anyway, Princess Yuffie was really pretty, but unlike most other princesses, she was also a great and powerful warrior and even though she was a princess, what she wanted most in the world was not to live in her big, shiny castle. No, what Princess Yuffie wanted more than anything else in the world was to get away from her castle and have adventures. She didn't want to spend the whole of her life locked up in the castle where it was always boring." Yuffie sighed dramatically. "But unfortunately for Princess Yuffie, her father wanted her to marry, so he introduced her to many noblemen and even to the princes of other lands. However, most of them were no good and only wanted to marry Princess Yuffie for her kingdom. None of them loved her for who she was. In fact, all of them wanted her to stay in the castle for ever and ever and to never leave and have adventures."

"Poor Princess Yuffie," Marlene whispered. "What did she do?"

"Well, Princess Yuffie was clever," Yuffie replied. "So when the day came that her father was about to marry her off, she escaped from the castle and ran far, far away."

"She ran away?" Marlene asked. "Wasn't she scared?"

"Only a little bit," Yuffie said. "Because Princess Yuffie was very brave." She grinned. "Besides, even if she was a little bit scared, Princess Yuffie still got her wish – she was free to travel the world and have adventures, to do the rescuing instead of waiting to be rescued." She paused for a moment. "And so for several years, Princess Yuffie wandered the land doing good deeds and defeating all kinds of evil monsters. She even helped save the world, not once, but twice, and even though her father tried many times to bring her back to the castle, she was always able to get away." She frowned. "But then one day, something really bad happened."

"Something really bad?" Marlene's lip quivered and she curled up closer to Yuffie. "Like something scary?"

Yuffie nodded. "Yes, something very bad and very scary." She lowered her voice. "An evil demon appeared and each night he would wander the land attacking anyone that he ran into. Many heroes tried to fight the demon, but the demon was so strong that none of them could beat him. Luckily though, the demon only ever came out at night, which gave people the chance to try and run away before her could get them."

"What did the demon look like?" Marlene asked.

Hmmm… Yuffie smiled softly. She knew just what to make the demon look like. "Well, the demon had black skin and big, bat-like wings that were red on the underside. What really made the demon stand out though were his eyes, which were a deep crimson, and the golden claw he had in place of his left hand." She patted Marlene on the back. "So, for many nights, the demon wandered the land and because he was so strong, even the heroes who had helped saved the world became too afraid to fight him. Only one person was brave enough to go and try to fight the demon. Can you guess who it was?"

"Princess Yuffie!" Marlene said.

Yuffie nodded sagely. "Yes, that's right. Only Princess Yuffie was awesome enough to go and fight the demon. But because the demon was so strong, she knew she couldn't just run up to him and try to fight him, no, Princess Yuffie had to be clever. So instead of fighting the demon, she came up with a plan. Because the demon only ever came out at night, Princess Yuffie guessed that he had to be weak during the day. Her plan was to follow him back to where he lived and then ambush him during the day.

"So, Princess Yuffie waited for the demon to reappear and then she followed him back to where he lived, which was in a gloomy, broken down castle. But when day came, Princess Yuffie couldn't find the demon. Instead, when she looked around the castle, she only found one man."

"What happened to the demon?" Marlene asked.

Yuffie smiled. "Don't worry, I'm getting to that. Anyway, Princess Yuffie asked the man who lived in the broken down castle if he'd seen the demon, but the man didn't want to talk to her at all. Instead, he just glared and told her to go away. However, Princess Yuffie wouldn't be discouraged so easily because she could see that even though the man was very angry, he was also very sad, and for some reason that made her sad too."

Marlene yawned. "Why was he sad?"

"My, you're impatient aren't you, squirt?" Yuffie chuckled. "The man was sad because he was all alone, which was weird because he was very handsome. He had crimson eyes and long black hair and he wore a golden glove on his left hand. It turned out that he was a prince and his name was… uh… Prince Valentine. Princess Yuffie warned him about the demon and told him that if he was lonely, he should come with her. After all, he looked pretty strong and maybe together they could beat the demon and then go off and have adventures, but Prince Valentine just said no and then sent her away."

"Did Princess Yuffie really just go away?" Marlene frowned. "That seems really sad."

"Of course not!" Yuffie smirked. "Like I told you, Princess Yuffie was clever, so she only pretended to go away. When night came, she went back to the castle and sure enough, the demon was there." Marlene gasped. "And even though Prince Valentine had been mean to her, Princess Yuffie could see that he was a good person – even if he was a little gloomy – and so she didn't want him to be killed by the demon. Gathering her courage, Princess Yuffie leapt out from where she was hiding and attacked the demon!" Marlene gasped again. "But the demon was really strong and so even though Princess Yuffie was totally awesome, she couldn't beat him. In fact, just as the sun began to rise, the demon beat her, but just before he could kill her, he began to change..." Yuffie paused dramatically. "He changed into Prince Valentine!"

"He did?" Marlene clutched at Yuffie's arm. "He really changed back into Prince Valentine?"

"Yes, he did," Yuffie said. "And so Princess Yuffie asked Prince Valentine why he changed into the demon. It turned out that when he was younger, Prince Valentine was cursed by an evil wizard named Hojo so that every night he would turn into an evil demon and do bad things. That was why Prince Valentine lived all alone in a gloomy, broken down castle. He didn't want to hurt anyone when he changed into a demon, but like I told you earlier, even that didn't work, because when he changed into a demon he lost control of himself and wandered the land, attacking whoever he ran into."

"What happened then?" Marlene whispered.

"When Princess Yuffie heard what had happened, she promised Prince Valentine that she would go and find the evil wizard Hojo and put a stop to the curse. Prince Valentine wanted to go with her, but it wouldn't be easy, because if he turned into a demon each time night fell, it would be too dangerous for them to go together. So, Princess Yuffie brought Prince Valentine to a wise and kind sorceress who used her magic to try and help Prince Valentine. The sorceress couldn't break the curse, but she could make it so that for at least a little while, Prince Valentine would not turn into the demon. Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine would just have to defeat the evil wizard Hojo before the sorceress' spell lost its power." Yuffie grinned. "And before you ask, squirt, I don't know what the sorceress' name was. However, people often called her the Flower Lady, because she really loved flowers.

"Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine searched far and wide for the evil wizard Hojo, but they couldn't find him. Finally, just before the Flower Lady's spell would have lost its power, they found him. Hojo had hidden deep underground in a cave full of all sorts of evil monsters, which was why it had been so hard to find him. Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine fought their very hardest, defeating hundreds of monsters, until finally they reached the evil wizard Hojo.

"Hojo laughed at Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine and used his magical powers to attack them." Yuffie tugged Marlene closer. "And because Hojo was such a powerful wizard, even together, Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine couldn't beat him. But then something amazing happened!"

"What?" Marlene asked. "What happened?"

"The Flower Lady's spell wore off and Prince Valentine turned into the demon, but instead of attacking Princess Yuffie, he attacked the evil wizard Hojo!" Yuffie smiled. "The demon defeated Hojo, which was only right because it was Hojo's evil magic that had turned Prince Valentine into the demon in the first place. With the evil wizard Hojo defeated, the curse was broken and the demon turned back into Prince Valentine, who would never again turn into the demon!"

Marlene cheered. "Yay!"

"After that, Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine left the cave. Prince Valentine, being a very gloomy sort of person, wanted to go back to his broken down castle, but Princess Yuffie made him promise to go with her instead." Yuffie smiled. "And so, Princess Yuffie and Prince Valentine wandered the land together, having all kinds of adventures and saving heaps of people."

Marlene looked up at Yuffie. "And then what?"

"What do you mean?" Yuffie asked.

"Is that how it ends?" Marlene asked. "Prince Valentine should have asked Princess Yuffie to marry him. She did save him and everything, and she was really awesome." Marlene sniffled. "It would just be sad if they never got married or anything, or if Princess Yuffie had to go back home one day to her boring castle."

"Ah." Yuffie looked down at Marlene. The little girl looked like she was about to cry, which was definitely not what she wanted. "Well… after a few years of wandering the land having adventures together, Prince Valentine did ask Princess Yuffie to marry him." Marlene smiled. "And it was only after she was married to Prince Valentine that Princess Yuffie went back home to her boring castle." Marlene's smile dropped. "But that was okay, because when Princess Yuffie became queen and Prince Valentine became king, they changed things at the castle so that it wouldn't be boring anymore, after all, Prince Valentine had only met Princess Yuffie because of her adventuring. So you see, in the end, everything worked out just fine." Yuffie grinned pulled the blankets a little closer. "Now there, squirt, you got your story. It's time for you to go to sleep."

"Will you stay with me until I fall asleep?" Marlene whispered.

Yuffie nodded. "Sure." A few minutes passed and Yuffie was about to leave, when Marlene's hold on her tightened just a fraction.

"That was a good story," Marlene murmured, barely awake. "But I think you made the ending up."

Yuffie chuckled. "Well, maybe that's how it sounded, but that's how it really ended. After all, I'm named after Princess Yuffie, aren't I?" Marlene nodded. "And I do wander around having lots of adventures just like her, don't I?" Marlene nodded again. "Besides, if Princess Yuffie hadn't married Prince Valentine, I wouldn't be around now would I?" She patted Marlene's head. "Now enough questions, squirt, it's time to go to sleep."

"Okay," Marlene whispered. "But Prince Valentine sounds a lot like Uncle Vincent."

"That so?" Yuffie chuckled. "That's just a coincidence. Now go to sleep."

Yuffie waited until she was absolutely sure that Marlene was asleep before she disentangled herself from the little girl and headed back downstairs. There was a show coming up on television that she didn't want to miss. However, she stopped and stared when she caught sight of a certain somebody sitting on the couch.

"Good evening, Yuffie." Vincent inclined his head toward her.

"Uh… hi, Vincent." Yuffie sat down on the couch and turned the television on. Careful to keep her voice neutral, she asked, "When did you get here?"

"A while ago, actually." Vincent smiled faintly and Yuffie felt her heart stop. "You have quite the gift for storytelling."

"How much did you hear?" Yuffie felt a blush creep onto her cheeks and did her best not to crush the television remote in her hand.

Vincent brushed her question aside. "It was a good story, Yuffie, although your names weren't exactly original. Princess Yuffie? Prince Valentine? The Flower Lady?" His lips curled. "The evil wizard Hojo?"

"It was just a story," Yuffie mumbled. "You know, to help Marlene get to sleep." She scowled. "Besides, where were you earlier when those two were making a mess of the place?"

Again, Vincent brushed her question aside. "I liked the whole story, Yuffie, but I thought the ending was the best, although I can't help but wonder if Prince Valentine deserved Princess Yuffie. He did a lot of bad things."

Yuffie smiled gently. So that was what was bothering him. She scooted over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "You say you listened to the story, Vincent, but I think you're missing something very important." She grinned and pulled him down into a very satisfying kiss. "It wasn't Prince Valentine's fault that he ended up the way he did. Besides," she smirked and then pulled him in for another kiss, "What Princess Yuffie wants, Princess Yuffie gets."

X X X

Author's Notes

As always, I neither own Final Fantasy, nor am I making any money off this.

So, where did this come from? In the midst of working on my other stories, I was watching Tangled (the Disney movie) and wondered how different Final Fantasy characters would handle themselves if they were put into different fairytales. Given that I've already got three stories in progress (my apologies to those waiting for an update to one of those stories who instead go this), I thought that starting another longer story probably wouldn't be a good idea (although one has already begun to plot itself out in my mind), so instead I decided to go with this. This story has several things that I like, such as some Marlene, some Yuffie, some Vincent, and of course, some Yuffie and Vincent.

For those of you curious about the format of the story (i.e., the set up), in which Yuffie is the one telling the story, it probably won't surprise you to hear that one of my favourite movies of all time is The Princess Bride. Also, in case you missed it, Princess Yuffie was modelled on Yuffie, Prince Valentine on Vincent (I mean, come on, he turned into a demon and had a golden claw/glove), the Flower Lady was modelled on Aerith (magical powers, check, likes flowers, check) and the evil wizard Hojo was… the evil scientist Hojo. As a sidenote, the original idea for this story had Yuffie riding a magical wolf-lion named Nanaki. I eventually ruled that out, because I ended up laughing every time I tried to write anything down, which really wasn't conducive for getting the story finished.

Finally, I'm curious to know what you think about the possibility of doing something similar with other pairings. As someone who has written stuff for Naruto, FF XIII and Sailor Moon, I can already envision a few. I can already see Tifa telling Marlene another story in which the brave Lady Lockhart accompanies the somewhat antisocial Sir Strife to defeat an evil sorceress named Jenova.

As always, I appreciate your feedback. Reviews and comments are welcome.