Sequel to Letter and Rain. Conclusion, Vincent/Yuffie
Disclaimer/claimer: They belong to Squarenix and to each other. I'm merely writing about them and playing with their emotions.
Tifa Lockhart was known to be a very determined person. She was also known to care for her friends a great deal and always willing to help them, sometimes even against their wishes. And this brought her to ruins of Midgar in search of one man - Vincent Valentine. It took her some time to pinpoint his location as it had been three years since he had disappeared but there were rumours about a strange man who was helping unfortunate travellers who became lost in the ruins of a once great city and whose description matched Vincent's. She was accompanied by Cid who insisted that when we manage to beat some #$%@ sense into that dumbskull of his, they would need a quick transport back to Wutai. So here they were, wandering through the ruins and trying to find some clue to Vincent's whereabouts. Tifa stretched her arms above her head.
"You think we'll find him today?"
Cid looked around and moved his cigarette to other corner of his mouth.
"I hope Teefs. I don't want to camp out in this #$%@ wasteland."
"Neither do I," she agreed wholeheartedly when they heard a scream. Without looking at each other they broke into a run in the direction the scream came from. They rounded a corner of a collapsed building and could see a group of three people huddling together. They couldn't see what had them so frightened when a shot (an achingly familiar sound) rang out. Something screeched, there was another shot and then only silence. A tall man walked out from behind another corner, red cape billowing behind him. He spoke softly with the people he had saved and showed them a path which they quickly took. He then looked up, catching sight of Cid and Tifa. Both parties froze.
"I guess," Tifa started, "that we found him," she took few steps towards Vincent who was still standing in the same spot. "Hello, Vincent. Long time no see, huh?"
"Tifa," he acknowledged her. "Cid. What are you doing here?"
"We came to found you."
He interrupted her with a quick move of his hand.
"Did she send you?"
Tifa cursed his long hair. They obscured his eyes even more than before and his voice... it was... she couldn't properly described it, just knew it frightened her. It was too hollow, too emotionless.
"No. In fact, she told me not to do it."
"You are going against her wishes?"
"Hey," Cid, who until then had kept silent, stepped in. "Someone has to, for her own good. Brat's not thinking clearly since you left her. #$%@er," he added for good measure. It didn't phase Vincent in the slightest.
"I explained my reasons to her. I realize she might have been a little upset-"
He never finished as Tifa snapped. She swung her right arm and hit him hard. The power of the blow send him flying backwards and even Cid took a step back from the enraged woman.
"You bastard!" she screeched. "Little upset? I'll show you upset! I thought you cared for her! Your departure's killing her! She doesn't laugh anymore. She is always this serious and empty shell of her previous self. But you don't care, do you?"
Vincent slowly sat up, gingerly touching his jaw. Had he been a normal man, he would have a nice fracture to nurse. This way, he'd have only a painful bruise. But her words hurt him more than the strike. He cared too much and that's why he left. She didn't understand.
"You don't understand," he spoke in a low voice. "I do care about her and I can't risk that she'll be tainted by my presence."
Tifa actually rolled her eyes at his stupidity. He thought he was noble and self-sacrifying in staying away from Yuffie. Damn, his jaw is like a steel, she rubbed her stinging knuckles.
"Have you ever thought about what was her opinion on the matter?"
Cid stood a little to the side. Tifa had calmed down but better to be safe than sorry. And besides, this talking stuff wasn't his strong side.
"She was blinded by her feelings for me. She didn't realize the dangers I possess. I don't want her to end up like-"
"Like Lucrecia?" Tifa finished with a sneer. "Funny, how it's the exact same thing you're doing to her. Vincent, look at me."
He did and Tifa almost recoiled from what she saw. His red eyes were dull and empty, just like Yuffie's. Oh, god. This is as hard for him as for Yuffie. He's hurting, too.
"I know you think what you did was for best but you haven't seen her. Yuffie has changed. For worse. She is slowly withering away. She doesn't care about who or what you are or think you are. She loves you. It's not fair that you both are miserable when all you have to do is come back to her."
"I can't endanger her," he whispered but there was no real conviction behind his words. If what Tifa had said had been true, Yuffie had been suffering for three years. Because of him. His intentions were to spare her pain but he succeded in doing the exact opposite. Both Cid and Tifa heard the tremor in his voice. Cid coughed and stomped on the burn out cigarette.
"Save the noble crap Valentine and get your ass back to the brat!" he offered his piece of advice. "I've got an airship outside. You can be with her in few hours."
"We all know you want to. #$%@, it's what she wants, too. So stop being a jerk and for once in your #$%@ life forget about that atonement shit and do something for yourself."
Vincent stood up without a word and turned his back on them. When he started to walk away, Tifa grabbed his arm.
"Where do you think you're going?"
He leveled his gaze on her until she released him and only after that he replied.
"To get my things."
They landed near Wutai at Vincent's request. It was already late in the night and he didn't want the noisy airship to wake up people there. He kept silent for most of the ride and both Tifa and Cid gave him his space. There was a lot on his mind. He hadn't thought he would ever set a foot upon Wutainese ground again just as he hadn't thought he would see Yuffie again. He still didn't know why he was coming back. He just knew that when Tifa had told him Yuffie had been hurting, he had been filled with a desire to rush to her and make it stop. He loved her, there was no denying it and gods damn him, he wasn't going to leave her again. He had barely managed to find the strength the first time and three years without her had undermined his will.
He didn't look back as the Highwind ascended into sky. Instead he quickly set off towards what used to be their house. He was walking swiftly and yet it seemed to him that he was so slow. It had been three years. Three years of mutual pain that could have been avoided if only he had believed in himself like she had believed in him.
The house was quiet and dark but he heard noises coming from their - her - bedroom. He recognized them as a sobbing. He silently slid the door aside, painfully reminded of his departure three years ago. He stopped there like he was struck by Bolt3 when he took in the room and its occupant. A small figure of the woman he never forgot laid on the bed, her shoulders heaving as she cried. He dropped his bag and without thinking he went to the bed, kneeling on it and gathering Yuffie into his arms.
Yuffie startled as someone she hadn't heard enter the room pulled her close. Her first instinct was to strike out but there was something so very familiar about the way this unknown person held her and she felt so weak and tired, that she pressed herself closer, letting an illusion take hold of her mind.
"I miss you so much, Vincent," she whispered into the chest of the one who was holding her, not caring who it was as long as they kept reminding her of Vincent. The arms tightened around her and she felt something brush her face. She opened her eyes to see a strand of black hair dangling close to her cheek. She slowly reached out to touch it.
"I'm sorry, Yuffie. I am so very sorry," the words were soft against her ear and she stiffened, recognizing the voice immediately, yet still not daring to hope, thinking it some cruel stunt her subconsciousness pulled on her. She lifted her eyes to meet his red ones and simply gazed into them. They were tired and sad, full of remorse and glistening with tears.
"Vincent? Are you real?"
"Yes, I am."
She cried out and threw her arms around him, her mouth clumsily searching his. And when she found it, it was like those three years had never happened. His lips were just like she remembered them, soft and warm and his and hers. They crashed together, desperately trying to confirm the other was there, not just a dream conjured up by hopeless wishes. Vincent shifted so Yuffie was sitting in his lap, her legs wrapped around his waist, arms looped around his neck, hands tangled in his hair. She was thinner than he had remembered and a sense of guilt washed over him as he guessed the reason so he kissed her more firmly, trying to drown out the voices that kept telling him he didn't deserve her. He knew he didn't but she still wanted him and he was going to keep her from suffering more.
"Vincent," she was out of breath and crying but she was smiling, as well. Smiling at him. "You're really here. I kept hoping but I didn't want to hang up on it and I missed you so much and I dreamt about this but this isn't dream, is it?"
"No, Yuffie," he caressed her cheek. "This is real. I'm with you and I am going to stay."
"How could you even leave?" she was back to tears.
"I was an idiot who thought he was doing it for your good," he replied as she buried her head in his chest. A half-sob, half-giggle escaped from her.
"You were, weren't you?"
"I regretted it every moment I was gone but I didn't know how badly you took it."
"How did you find out?" she looked back at him.
"Tifa," Vincent unconsciously rubbed his jaw. It was still somewhat tender. "She was very... persuasive."
Yuffie eyed him for a moment and then touched his face. He tried not to wince.
"She beat the crap out of you, hmm?"
"She knocked me down so I would listen to her."
"That's why you returned?" she turned away from him. If he came back only because Tifa made him to...
"No," he grasped her chin and brought her face closer to his. "I came back because I realized how much my decision hurt both of us. I missed you, Yuffie. I missed you so much it was like a wound that didn't want to heal."
"Like a part of you was ripped away," she said silently. "Like there was no reason to smile anymore, no reason to get up in the morning, no reason to live. Like the life has become a habit you want to get rid of but you don't know how. You eat and breathe and sleep and continue to function but deep inside you're already dead because the thing that kept you alive is gone and you have this horrible suspicion it will never come back."
"I never meant to hurt you."
"I know that. I've known it all that time, known your reasons even though I never understood them," Yuffie reached behind to take something from the bed. It was a sheet of paper. "I memorized it long ago but I kept it nonetheless. It was a reminder that you still loved me," she held his letter up and then methodically started to tear it into pieces. "But you won't leave me again so I don't need it anymore."
"You never should need it in the first place," he took her hands. "Can you forgive me for hurting you?"
"Do you promise to never leave me again?"
"Yes, I do."
She leaned up and kissed him again, slowly melting against him as he laid her back on the bed and they proceeded to rediscover each other, slowly and carefully, desperately and quickly, lovingly and gently. They knew they had a long way ahead, that the wounds they had suffered wouldn't heal overnight but this night was a start. And as long as they woke up with each other, they were going to make it.
AN: There you are. They are together again. When I think back to how Letter was supposed to be only one-shot, well, self-preservation comes first:). And I really like how this last fic turned out. It was probably mushy but who cares? I've got a new obsession called Aurikku. It's frightening how much Auron and Rikku remind me of Vincent and Yuffie :shudder: and I'm writing a short drabble with both these couples, not to mention a really long AU fic about Turks and AVALANCHE. So watch out for them.