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The Not-Quite-Seduction of Vincent Valentine

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 Ten days after her nineteenth birthday, Yuffie decides that now is the time to seduce Vincent Valentine.  She is legal by the laws of Wutai and she is wasting time.  (When you are the asskickingest ninja princess who ever lived, you learn to recognize these little windows of opportunity and stick a leg in posthaste.)

 

She is aware that there are traditions and methodologies to this, same as ninja-ing.  Sadly, lounging on a piano is right out as neither of them owns or plays one, and they don't sell sexy lingerie in her cup size, unless chocobos in three pastel colors and eyelet lace trim with tiny pink hearts counts as sexy.  This is Vincent Valentine and therefore Yuffie doubts it.

 

She would invite him out to dinner, but she's not sure what, or if, he likes to eat.  The very terrible thought of getting all dolled up just to hang upside down in a cave drinking pig's blood or something has occurred to her, and--Yuffie, Tifa would scold her, but--her appetite deserts her permanently.

 

Of course, you can't just rush into these things.  Seduction, Yuffie is well aware from years of consuming every dreadful romance novel she could get her hot little hands on, is something that must be planned carefully.  It is a war.  It is a struggle.  (It is especially a struggle when your opponent is Vincent "traffic cones make good shoes" Valentine.)

 

Yuffie knows about battle.  This is another of the perks that come with the asskicking and the ninjaness.

 

Her first plan is simple.  Deceptively simple.  After much research into the extensive library of reference materials that she found at Shinra Inc. in a shoebox in Reno's locker, she realizes that nothing snags a man like a girl in skimpy clothes, lounging around.  It is hard to get skimpier than what she usually wears, but Yuffie believes in points for effort, and anyway you cannot go wrong with a classic bikini top.

 

She gets lucky right off the bat.  Vincent is actually in Seventh Heaven for once, lurking very lurkishly in a corner and nursing a glass containing about a finger of something that looks downright dangerous, because this is as close as he gets to Being Social no matter how hard Tifa tries.  Clearly the gods of Wutai are smiling on her, because how else would she have been able to triangulate his cell phone signal?

 

Her luck runs out there, though.  She gets as far as strutting in like she owns the place (well, she does have a three-percent share) and lounging languorously on a part of the bar that he ought to be able to clearly see from his chosen lurkspace, but Vincent doesn't even look up from his drink.  Yuffie frowns, and lounges harder.  This is not as simple as it sounds.

 

"Yuffie, honey?"  It’s Tifa, looking concerned and leaning on the bar, a single artless action that displays more cleavage than every crease on Yuffie's body put together, dammit.  "Are you feeling all right?  You don't seem quite up to your usual energy level."

 

Barret guffaws and makes an unnecessarily rude comment about said energy level.  Tifa gives him a Mom Look, then, horribly, proceeds to tell Yuffie that she knows it has been awfully hot lately but if she's feeling lethargic she can get her an iced drink, honey, she doesn't have to resort to walking around dressed like that.

 

Apparently Cloud overhears the 'that', because he looks up from doing the accounting for the delivery service.  (Which is a total disappointment, by the way.  Seriously, Yuffie knew him when he spent all his spare time doing brooding serious man things with his sword and a polishing rag, but he is such a housewife these days, all he polishes is the silverware for the bar.  Laa-aame).  He gives her outfit a bewildered look and hesitantly asks if she's been to the Wallmarket lately, which makes Barret laugh so hard he nearly falls off his barstool.

 

Vincent chooses this beautiful moment to get up and take his empty glass to the bar, quite as if he is an ordinary customer who doesn't know those people making idiots of themselves ten feet away; he is, by now, the only person in the bar not staring at them.

 

Yuffie, fed up with everybody forever, storms off towards the door, but Cid is on his way in and gives her a look that breaks records for how far a human eyebrow can be independently lifted.  Is it Embarrassing Former Teammate Day today? Does Tifa have a special going?  "You tryin' to bounce outta that @#$% thing, kiddo?" he asks.  "Cause I hate to disappoint you, but you got nothin’ to bounce."

 

So of course Yuffie calls him a dirty old man and he shouts something to Tifa about not letting jailbait hang around the bar, which is totally unfair because she isn't jailbait anymore!  That’s the whole point!  It is at this point that she notices Vincent has left.  Not that she can blame him, but dammit anyway.

 

Take two is more carefully planned.  Subtlety is the word, this time--subtlety and catching Vincent alone, of course, which takes some doing.  At least the alone part isn't too hard.  Sometimes she wonders if Vincent is allergic to company.

 

Finally, fate smiles on her and she nearly trips over him sitting in a dimly-lit back room of the bar, with Death Penalty disassembled all over a table for cleaning.  Clearly he cannot just get up and leave this time.  Heaven knows how many bullets and other personal belongings of his might end up in her sticky paws, or what she might do with them.  Yuffie saunters over and sits on the table, swinging her legs for a while, whistling in a casual manner, before making her first move.

 

"Vince," she says, "have you ever kissed anybody?"

 

Because a little birdie, by which she means a magazine, told her that making coquettish dialogue is a good way to gauge a boy's attraction to you.  Vincent is not a boy, but she thinks there must be a large remnant of the boy he was, somewhere inside him, because she can think of no other reason he would do stupid showoff backflips while shooting somebody when he could just stand there and be practical like Barret.

 

"Yes," he says, calmly.  He hasn't looked up from cleaning his gun, but Yuffie's jaw has dropped.

 

"What, really?  Seriously?"  She was not expecting that.

 

His gaze flickers up for a second--is she way off base, here, or does he look a little insulted?  "Yes," he repeats, and then--hah, she isn't imagining this part at least--suspicious as hell, "Why?"

 

"Wait, wait, wait," she says, deftly ignoring his question.  "Who did you kiss?  'Cause you can't just say 'yes' and not give juicy details, Mister."  He has put the patented don't-care face back on, and regards her coolly.  "Well?" she insists, arms crossed and wondering why she is doing this to herself.

 

He does the too-cool-for-you jag for another moment, then volunteers, "Violet Swick, in the seventh grade."

 

Yuffie is so bizarrely relieved that she starts to laugh.  It's so easy to forget that Vincent used to be a relatively normal guy.  "The seventh grade?  Oh, that is so cute!  Did you get her an ice cream soda?  Did you ask her to prom?  Did--"

 

"That was my first kiss," Vincent interrupts, still icy calm.  Yuffie stops laughing.  A laundry list of sexy Turks and swooning clients spools out in her head, blasting the laugh away into a sort of negative-laughspace where it may never have existed in the first place.

 

"Oh," she says.  "Oh.  Um.  Well, as...as much as I'd like to hear the whole sordid history, I...I have to...um."

 

To what?  To iron her cats?  To sharpen her shuriken?  Yuffie takes a third option, cartwheels nimbly out the window without saying another word, and sneaks off somewhere to lick her wounds and regroup.  Leave 'em wondering, that's the Wutai way.

 

The next morning, after a double serving of bacon on toast to settle her nerves and power her undoubtedly formidable brainsoup, Yuffie takes stock.  Subtlety is clearly wasted on Vincent, but then again, so were all the best poses from Reno’s girly mags.  Yuffie's already nineteen years, six months, three weeks and four days old, and she is running out of time and patience.  In a few more short months, she'll be an old woman of twenty.  Desperate measures are required.

 

She follows his cell phone signal into the woods, one warm May night.  She is a ninja, after all.  She can do these things.  She could follow a black cat on a dark night.  She could find a materia in a tub full of marbles.  She could march up to Vincent Valentine in a fit of pique and pull her shirt off, and that, to her own surprise, is exactly what she ends up doing.

 

At the very least, she thinks, a little dizzy with her own daring, he cannot, cannot, ignore this.

 

Vincent stops short, and gives her a blank look, slowly, head to toe, as she stands there with her hands on her hips and her ribs--for lack of breasts--thrust out, feeling more and more awkward.  She’s already half forgotten why she thought this was a good idea.

 

His eyes travel over the tense lines of her neck, the sharp bars of her collarbones with soft hollows cupped above them, the small defiant peaks of her breasts with their flat nipples tucked in dark areolas.  Her awful flat stomach with its incongruous tight muscles like a gymnast's, bracketed by the bones of her hips where they tuck into her low-slung khaki shorts.

 

Yuffie is slowly going hollow under his calm stare.  She feels like the sad loaf that resulted the time Tifa tried to teach her to make bread and she accidentally doubled the yeast, swollen up to nothing but a few thin shells of dough inside, empty like a bubble and about to pop and collapse flat any second.

 

Finally, finally, Vincent blinks, and turns and walks silently away.  Yuffie sags, leans against the nearest tree and wishes she'd never heard of Junon Girls Gone Wild, or sex, or breasts (a foreign concept indeed).

 

It’s sort of a pity, really.  If she'd followed him, she might have seen the tiny smile beginning to play across his lips.  It wouldn't have been hard, seeing as how it stays there for hours.