Snowbound and trapped, they sit in silent companionship. [short piece]
--before snatching it up again, curling slender fingers around the object loosely. Across the room, eyes dyed a deep red watched her movements with the trained awareness of a killer; no borrowed light touched those orbs with anything but more darkness. Most people would feel uneasy about being within ten metres of the unsettling man, but Yuffie Kisaragi had grown up with killers, never mind that they called themselves ninjas and claimed kills in the name of honour.
There was something soothing in the metronomic ticking, a kind of thoughtless concentration in letting the marble fall and bounce exactly twice before catching it. In the oppressive cold of the Great Glacier, in the chill of the blizzard swirling outside and the isolation of the little cave they'd holed up in, the clear tap of glass hitting stone was a welcome sort of sound, almost defiant against the howl of the wind.
--and miss, the marble rolling across her palm with surprising speed before she could close fingers upon it, hitting the ground and bouncing again, rolling with unwonted accuracy straight towards the black-and-red-garbed figure resting against the other wall of the cave. Vincent's eyes tracked the movement, his gloved right hand darting out quick as the fish in the koi pond back at home to pick the rolling marble off the floor and hold it out towards the light.
"Vincent," Yuffie demanded across the fire, "gimme my marble back." The chill seemed to rob her words of heat, or perhaps it was the porcelain coolness of Vincent's face. The gunman turned the marble, looking through it at the fire; Yuffie glared at him through the same gold-tinted smoothness, lazy and tense at the same time as only Yuffie and cats could be, sprawled on stone that though cold was preferable to the wind-cut air.
"Not materia?" the dark-haired man questioned, eyes fixed on something within the golden depths. Ink-black hair rippled as he moved, circling the fire without looking at it, and calmly dropped the orb right in front of Yuffie's face.
Yuffie caught the marble on the rebound and sat in a single fluid motion, shivering as her movement dispelled the shroud of warm air that her body had managed to create around her. "Materia don't come in breeds this small, Valentine." She imitated his pose, freezing a heart-shaped face into a cold expression that did not come close to matching the ex-Turk's frosty countenance.
"I doubt they come in breeds at all," he murmured, beginning to move back to his position.
"Yeah they do." Her stillness broke, face flowing back into its usual animated expression scarce seconds after she had stilled it. "Green and yellow and purple and red which is so my favourite because red owns all your asses."
"Those are not breeds," Vincent stated, turning to look at her. Vincent, Yuffie noticed, tended not to speak unless directly spoken to, but he never ignored people. It was, in her opinion, a rather good thing since she was able to draw the man into a large number of pointless little conversations from which she sometimes actually learnt something. Sometimes she wondered if he really humoured her, or if Turks were selected for the ability to carry on conversations without actually thinking about what they said.
But it was freezing out there, and Yuffie was suddenly homesick for Wutai, which was lively and brilliant and most importantly warm.
"Fine, whatever," she mumbled, flopping back down. The stone had chilled in the absence of her body, and Yuffie loosed a few potent curses. The fire flickered, as if in protest of the profanity. "Shut up," Yuffie told it, "and just be glad it wasn't Cid who lit you."
The warmth of soft cloth setting around her shoulders was unexpected, as was the sudden fall of black hair that formed a tattered curtain between her and the fire. Vincent tucked crimson cloth under her chin, nodding to himself as Yuffie clutched instinctively at the cloak.
"Forgive me," the tall man murmured apologetically. "I wasn't brought up to be discourteous to women."
Yuffie, half-stunned, thought that she knew now why he never ignored her.
As Vincent settled back down in his position against the wall, Yuffie opened her hand and let the marble fall--
--and catch, again and again through the long cold night.