Their first meeting. There is no such thing like a love at first sight. Vincent/Yuffie
Disclaimer: FF VII and related characters, places, settings etc. do not belong to me but to SquarEnix
It was official. Yuffie Kisaragi was bored. She looked at the people seated around the small fire in their camp at the base of Mt. Nibel. Cloud's group had been gone for soooo long. Almost half an hour. And she was left behind like she was useless. She was Great Ninja Yuffie. She could do in battle almost as well as Cloud. She would do even better but the jerk kept all the best Materia for himself and his group - Tifa and Barret, occasionally Aeris. Yuffie sighed and stirred the flames with a stick. He should have taken her. She wanted to see the mansion again. It was old and spooky, meaning there must have been treasures hidden all throughout the place.
" 'We won't be gone for long,' " she mimicked. " 'I'll be fine with Tifa and Aeris.' Hmph. Sure he will. Like we didn't know why he took the two of them. They'll end up eaten by some huge monster because Cloud will pay more attention to Tifa's boobs and Aeris' ass than his surroundings."
Red flicked his tail closer to the fire. Yuffie had been complaining nonstop for last thirty minutes, probably to mask her worries.
"They'll be all right, Yuffie. Don't worry about them."
"I'm not worried 'bout them. But if they get eaten, the Materia will be gone too."
"Shoulda 'now you be concerned 'bout da magic balls more 'an 'bout dem," Barret contributed to the conversation from where he was cleaning his gun arm.
"Aw, shut up, you. But I... erm... we have a quest and we'll need Materia to make it."
"Yuffie is right," Cait Sith piped up. "Finding Sephiroth should be our priority and we have to be prepared for when that happens."
"Cloud knows wat he's doing. He's got good head on 'is shoulders."
"But when will he come back?" Yuffie insisted. "I'm bored."
"Then find something to amuse yourself with," Red suggested, curling next to the fire. "I'm going to take a nap. Will you watch over the camp, Barret?"
The dark-skinned man nodded and adjusted his position so he could watch the forest better. Cait Sith laid down on his moogle and with a click shut down. Yuffie stood up.
"I'm going to take a walk."
"Ain't dat dangerous?"
"I can take care about myself," she twirled her shuriken and struck a pose. "Great Ninja Yuffie is in action again. Monsters beware!"
Barret shook his head, mumbling something about crazy teenagers. Yuffie paid him no heed, walking quickly into the forest, in the direction of mountain. She wanted to try and climb it up. Not far away but enough to have some time alone which, in last few weeks, was impossible to find. She listened to the sounds of the forest around her, hoping to avoid any monsters that might wonder by. The sun was still up and Yuffie felt quite safe. She had lived in a forest like this for some time and was sure nothing could happen to her.
After some climbing and occasional cutting of the branches that were too stubborn to get out of her way, she emerged in a small clearing that offered a view of Nibelheim. On the other side, Mt. Nibel stood proudly and challenging. They'd have to cross it next day and then - Rocket Plains. And after that, the sea (Yuffie grimaced as she realized the sickness that was bound to come over her once they sat sail) and finally Wutai. There she would ditch this group and leave them high and dry without their Materia.
Yuffie swallowed. It was the original plan and she was going to carry it out but... No buts. She could and would do it. After all, she was the one who mastered some of their most powerful Materia. She deserved a reward. A reward she could offer to Wutai, to restore it.
Yuffie sat down and hugged her knees, looking up at the mountain. Only a week, maybe not even that and then she could say good bye to them all. She closed her eyes to stop the tears that wanted to leak and leaned backwards to rest upon the grass, her weapon clutched firmly in her hand and her mouth whispering a prayer to Leviathan to give her strength to do what she had to do.
They had not spoken a word to him ever since leaving the coffin room. The women, Tifa Lockhart and Aeris Gainsborough, his mind supplied to him, were keeping their distance. Not that he blamed them. He must have looked intimidating to them, especially after his entrance and subsequent introduction down in the basement. Cloud Strife, the leader of their group, /AVALANCHE/, spoke only when necessary. Mostly in combat. He saw their awed looks at the precision he shot monsters with. Did not they know that Turks were required to have an impeccable aim? They were obviously familiar with the names of Shinra lapdogs. On the other hand, he had been locked away for years. It was possible the quality had deteriorated. Shame, but not his business anymore. He pledged his skills to this group. Hopefully, they would encounter Hojo soon and he could avenge Lucrecia. After that, he did not know.
Cloud led them out of the town and Vincent cast one last look at the mansion that had been his prison for so long. Its shape was a testament to the years that had gone by. It was almost in ruins, looming and casting a dark shadow over the land that surrounded it. Had Shinra left it immediately after his disappearance? It was possible, seeing as Hojo had finished what he had been trying to do and Sephiroth had been born.
Vincent turned away and looked forward to Mt. Nibel. The sun was setting down but he could see the smoke in the distance. It must have been the camp fire where they were heading and where he would meet the rest of his new team.
"Vincent?" it was Aeris and Tifa stood right next to her.
"Yes, Miss Gainsborough?"
She seemed taken aback at the formality of his answer but quickly recovered, giving him the sweet smile she seemed to be bestowing upon everyone.
"I just wanted to ask why you were so silent. Don't you want to know more about us?"
"That is not the case," he said, carefully choosing his words to avoid offending her. "I prefer to keep to myself. I do not talk only for the sake of talking. I hope you understand."
"Oh, of course," Aeris nodded and then Tifa giggled as a thought occured to her.
"Just wait 'til you meet Yuffie."
Aeris put a hand to her mouth to muffle her own laughter. Vincent looked from one girl to the other, hoping for explanation but the girls kept giggling and he gave up on getting an answer. He slowed down to bring up the rear, still on the lookout for a danger. He could already smell the heavy scent of burning wood and knew they were close to the others. And really. Only a couple more steps and they entered a small camp with three tents and a blazing fire. Their arrival was noted by a tall and muscled black man who had a gun prosthetic in the place of his right arm. There were two other... beings in the camp. One of them was a large feline, comfortably nestled next to the fire. It appeared to be sleeping but Vincent noted the quick flicker of its one good eye as it took in the newcomers and deeming them safe returned to the sleep. Its tail had a flame on the end and Vincent remembered the supposedly extinct species from Cosmo Canyon. Interesting. The last one in the camp was a large mechanical toy in the shape of a cat that was resting upon a moogle. It seemed this time his fate brought him together with a very strange group of... individuals.
"Guys, this is Vincent Valentine," Cloud started introduction and the feline and the toy sat up, paying attention. "We met him in the mansion and he agreed to help us."
"Whatcha were doin' in that place?" the black-skinned man asked.
"Sleeping," came the unexpected reply. Cloud interrupted before it could continue.
"That's not important. Vincent is very skilled marksman. He used to be in Turks-"
"Turks? Why da hell did ya bring 'im 'ere-"
"Used to be, Barret," Cloud stopped his protests. "He no longer is one, right?"
Vincent nodded, seeing the man, /Barret/, calm down a little.
"Anyway, this is Barret Wallace, Red XIII or Nanaki," the feline flicked its tail, "and Cait Sith," the cat took a bow and almost lost its footing. "And this is... Guys, where is Yuffie?"
"She went for a walk shortly after you left. She said something about you getting eaten because you didn't take her with you and she was bored," Cait Sith explained.
"Is someone missing?" Vincent inquired. Cloud sighed and rubbed his eyes.
"Yes. Her name is Yuffie Kisaragi. She is very... lively and doesn't stand not being in action. How long has she been gone?"
"Almost three hours."
"Great, just great. We need to go looking for her. Barret, you and Cait stay in camp. The rest of us will look for her. What direction has she gone in?"
"Towards the mountain."
"Cloud," Vincent stopped their leader. "What does she look like?" not that it was very likely that the forest was full of missing girls but Vincent was used to work with as many leads as possible.
"I forgot that you haven't seen her yet. Well, she's about five feet, she's dressed in green shirt-"
"Turtleneck," Tifa corrected him and took over an explanation. "She's dressed in green turtleneck, beige shorts, white and green headband, orange sneakers. Trust me, she's unique. And she has a shuriken with her."
"Very well," Vincent stored away this information and without another word left the camp.
Yuffie woke up with a start.
'Damn, I've fallen asleep.'
One look at the sky told her the sun had almost set. The others were probably back and looking for her.
'Damn, damn, damn.'
The worst thing was, that inspite of the light in the clearing, the forest was already dark. The shadows of the trees reminded her of menacing figures reaching their clawed arms to grab her and never let go. Yuffie shivered.
'What a time to get overactive imagination,' she scolded herself. She had passed through the same forest only a couple of hours ago. The fact that it got darker was no reason to get scared like a little girl.
"I'm Great Ninja Yuffie. I'm not afraid," and with this declaration she headed back into the forest. Her first plan - to run through as fast as possible, after all, she didn't want to have the others worried - was abandoned when she realized that she'd sooner get herself impaled on a branch than get to the camp. After that, she focused on getting through the darkness under the trees in one piece. It wasn't easy, as the protruding branches seemed intent on poking out her eyes and she kept mumbling curses.
It was all Cloud's fault. If he had taken her with him, she wouldn't have gotten bored and left and then she wouldn't have had to go through this damn forest that was determined to kill her. She glared at the trees around her. It was their fault too, for being tall and thick, not letting last sun rays in.
Yuffie was so deep in thought she didn't heard snapping of the twig, nor did she notice the tall man that approached her from behind. Therefore, she was partly to blame for what happened when the man put a hand on her shoulder. Her reaction was automatic. She spinned, bringing her shuriken up and sliced down, aiming for man's chest. He threw up his left hand and with a metalic 'clang', the shuriken hit the man's forearm, sliding against the metal uselessly. Yuffie gulped and started backing away slowly when the man stopped her.
"Miss Yuffie Kisaragi?"
How did he know her name?
"Yeah, that's me. What do you want from me? I warn you, I'm armed."
"I assure you I do not intend to bring you harm. Your friends are looking for you."
Yuffie stepped closer. She could see only his silhouette. He was taller than Cloud and seemed to have long hair. She couldn't see his face clearly as it was in a shadow.
"You mean Cloud and the others?" he nodded. "And who are you? It's not fair you know my name and I don't know yours."
"I am Vincent Valentine."
"Well, pleased to meet you Vincent. I guess we should go now or Cloud'll have chocobos. He knows how important I am to the group. Without me, they'd be lost. Did they tell you I am Great Ninja Yuffie? No? You know now. How did you meet them? Are you in AVALANCHE now?" she paused to give him time to answer.
"We met in the mansion and I joined their quest."
"Cool. Finally a new face. I was getting tired of seeing only Barret and Cloud. Well, I guess Cloud isn't that bad to look at otherwise he wouldn't have both Tifa and Aeris after him. How do you look like?"
"Excuse me?" Vincent started to understand Tifa's merriment when she imagined Yuffie and him meeting. The girl seemed to have a special ability to talk about anything at will.
"I mean, are you good-looking, handsome or hot?"
"I'll wait and see, what do ya say, Vinnie? Oh," Yuffie remembered something and stopped. When Vincent turned to her to find out what was wrong, she grabbed his left hand. "Have you this gauntlet custom made? It's awesome. It stopped my deadly attack so it must be of some special alloy. Where could I get something similar?"
Vincent yanked his left arm free. 'She doesn't know its origins,' he reminded himself. 'She is just curious.'
"I do not wish to discuss it now, Miss Kisaragi."
Yuffie frowned at him. She just asked, for Leviathan's sake. He didn't have to be so mean about it.
"Fine," she huffed. She was about to storm off when he pulled her back.
"The camp lies in this direction," he turned her around. Yuffie looked up at him, ready to yell when she finally caught sight of his eyes and froze. They were red. Red as blood or as summon materia or... She stopped thinking about it at all and simply stared into them. She had sworn once that Cloud's mako eyes had had a hypnotic effect on her and that was why she had joined AVALANCHE but Cloud's eyes were nothing compared to Vincent's. She swallowed hard. She didn't need to see the rest of him. His eyes alone were enough to make her weak in knees and she suddenly forgotten all about being angry with him.
Vincent himself was finding it hard to concentrate. She had turned around, opened her mouth and then simply stopped, her grey eyes locked onto his. They seemed so clear and open and there was no fear or disgust in them. It was as if a spell was weaved around them. The rest of the world just faded away and Vincent felt he could stay like that forever.
"Vincent? Yuffie? Is that you?"
Tifa's voice broke the spell. Yuffie looked quickly away, hiding her face in the shadows of the night forest.
"We're here Tifa," she called out. "Vinnie found me. Sorry to get you all worried."
Tifa approached them and smiled.
"So you and Vincent have met."
"Yeah," Yuffie stretched her arms. "He isn't very talkative but I'm going to work on that. Okay, Vinnie?"
Vincent marched past the two of them without another word, hoping to find his equilibrium again. Yuffie looked after him and then turned to Tifa.
"See what I meant? Hey, wait for me!" she chased after him. Tifa smiled to herself. She would wish Vincent luck later. He was going to need it.