They have a relationship only they can understand... Another Yuffentine from me...
Disclaimer: They belong to SquareSoft/Enix no matter how much I want it to be otherwise.
It all started few weeks before their final confrontation with Sephiroth. Meteor loomed in the sky, silent and always there, no matter where you were on the face of the Planet, his presence dominating minds of all living beings, a constant clock of death as precious seconds ticked away. It was all anyone could focus on. Meteor and the destruction it was to bring. The only spark of hope people had lied in AVALANCHE. They had defeated WEAPONs and were intent on stopping Sephiroth, the one who had summoned the space rock. If anyone could manage it, it was them and they were well aware of the responsibility they had. Although, not all of them dealt with the fact well.
Yuffie Kisaragi was the only one keeping a well of optimism in her. She kept joking around, nicking materia and then giving it back with a laughter, making bad jokes and all around be a nuisance and a brat. Something everyone needed. She didn't seem to be phased by Meteor in the slightest and somehow it helped the others to deal. What nobody knew was that it all was just a facade, carefully constructed to hide how scared and hopeless Yuffie felt. At first it was a defense mechanism - pretend it isn't there and it might go away - but once she realized how everyone came to depend on her to be a distraction, she immersed herself in the pretension. It helped a little, she was able to fool even herself, if only during the day.
At night she was dreaming. Ugly dreams, bad dreams, nightmares. In those frighteningly real images, AVALANCHE was too late to get to Sephiroth and all they could do was to watch the Meteor as it plummeted towards them, wiping them out like an insignificant insects, Sephiroth's laughter echoing in the background like a nightmarish soundtrack to their deaths. She always woke up in cold sweat, her sheets tangled around her legs and her eyes stinging with tears of shame at their failure. And the closer the date of their confrontation, the more intense her dreams.
One night she woke up to see a concerned face of Vincent Valentine hovering above her. As he explained, he had heard her cries while walking by and so he checked on her. She spilled the beans to him. Everything about her bad dreams, her fears, her pretense of being unafraid to make others feel better. And being in an emotional stress - or so she said to herself later on - was the reason why she asked him to stay and hold her hand while she went back to sleep. It was an innocent request, she needed someone to be there for her, to feel that she was not alone. And he complied and sat with her through the course of the night and she had no nightmares.
He knew why he abided to her. She stroke a familiar chord within him. Nightmares were old friends of his, haunting his sleep, dragging up images of his past he'd rather forget. He was used to face them alone in the night for who would be willing to spend time with him? So he took that night as a gift and drifted off to dreamless sleep, awkwardly bent in a chair next to her bed, not once releasing her hand. And he thought it would end there.
He was caught off-guard when she came to him next night, stammering out her plea to stay with him again. She didn't want nightmares to come back and he was once again struck by her eyes, well-known fear of being left alone at mercy of one's deepest worries mirroring in them. He silently stepped aside, letting her in. They curled on the bed together and she settled into his embrace, falling asleep almost immediately.
It started their routine for the rest of the journey. She always sneaked into his room in the evening, leaving again in the morning. The secrecy seemed unnecessary as they weren't doing anything inapropriate, yet they both knew others wouldn't understand because only the two of them could. They were alike in that regard. Unlike others, who let their fears show during the day, Vincent and Yuffie locked their pains away and the suppressed emotions reaped their revenge when the two people were at their most vulnerable in the embrace of sleep. However, they found a way to stop the nightmares and it was to share them. That was why they continued to spend every night holding each other. It kept bad dreams at bay and gave them some peace because if one of them was to wake up with a cry, the other would be there to soothe the fears with his or her mere presence and knowledge someone understood. In the end it was all about understanding for both of them.
And it was this need to hold on to that feeling of contentment, the feeling of having someone close who knew your most inner thoughts and who could chase away your bad dreams, that led Yuffie to ask Vincent to come with her to Wutai. She reasoned that she still had nightmares and it was true. Instead of being late to stop Sephiroth, she now dreamed of watching him slaughter her friends before turning on her and slicing her with his sword. As for Vincent, he still had his past which was source of too many painful memories turned nightmares. Their symbiotic relationship of guarding each other's sleep, which was formed during those long nights aboard Highwind, thrived. They became best friends and Vincent followed her to Wutai.
Godo, of course, threw a fit once he found out his barely seventeen years old daughter planned on living with a man eleven years her senior (Yuffie conveniently left out the thirty-years-in-a-coffin fact when she informed her dear ol' dad about her decision) in one house but Yuffie stood her ground. She didn't scream, she didn't rage, she just calmly announced her intentions and then weathered out the consequent storm. Maybe her way of dealing with it convinced Godo. Maybe not. But he relented, though grudgingly and with many complaints. All that mattered was that he did give his, for lack of better word, blessing and didn't kick her out of her country.
And so Vincent Valentine and Yuffie Kisaragi started to live together. They talk, they train, they eat and at night, they sleep together, in the literal sense of the word, sharing a bed and an embrace but never crossing the line to lovers. They don't want to lose what they have found with each other because in a way, the spiritual union of understanding is more precious to them than physical bond of a man and a woman.
They never talk about changes that occured without them noticing. When she wakes up with tears streaming down her face, he just pulls her close and holds her, assuming she had to witness a death of a friend as a helpless observer. That's her greatest fear, he thinks. Not to be able to help the people she cares about. The truth, of course, is elsewhere. Nowadays, she dreams about him. In those dreams he leaves her behind, alone and frightened. He decides he doesn't need her anymore to help him ease his pains. That's what she is afraid of the most. That one day, he tells her their time together came to an end.
Other nights, it is her who holds his trembling body. He doesn't cry, not Vincent Valentine. He just opens his eyes, trying to calm the tremors that seized him as an aftereffect of his dream. She lets him bury his head under her chin, both of his arms tightly wound around her, she is his anchor in the world, while she runs her hand through his hair in slow, soothing motions. She thinks she knows what haunts his sleep. Memories of underground labs and sick and twisted scientists doing horrible things to him just because he wanted to help a woman he had once loved. And the four alien entities living in him might have their claws in the mess as well.
Just like him, she is wrong. He has come to terms with what happened to him thirty years ago, mostly thanks to the small girl laying next to him. No, the thing he fears most is almost identical to the one she worries about. It always starts the same. She comes and announces she met someone and Vincent, I'm so happy and I love him but you and me can't live together any longer, you know? It would look strange now that I'm with him. And he nods and agrees/Of course, Yuffie. You are right/ and inside he is screaming and raging and wants to kill that person but he doesn't and he disappears from her life, the life he no longer has a place in.
They think they understand each other better than anyone. Maybe they do. Their strange relationship still works despite of what the others may think about it. However, it stopped being about an understanding a long time ago. Because understanding is often just the first step on a long journey and without knowing, they have already travelled the path, leaving that first step far behind.
Understanding leads to friendship in hundreds of steps.
Friendship leads to love in thousands of them.
Vincent and Yuffie have taken millions.