Sharing a tent with Cid was onerous. He reeked of nicotine, cursed in his sleep, and had a terrible habit of jutting his elbows into his neighbor's side, his neighbor being Vincent Valentine. As they all finished up supper, Vincent was unable to refrain from casting a weary glance in Cid's direction. Cid sat across the bonfire, in one hand the remains of his dinner, and in the other a half-spent cigarette. Yuffie suddenly plopped down beside him, grinning. Vincent was not familiar with Yuffie's grins; he, therefore, assumed they were all of the sinister variety. She made a flippant remark that was lost to Vincent's ears beneath the crackle of the fire. Cid muttered a gruff reply, stamping out his cigarette beneath his boot. Vincent stood, but stopped short of walking into the tent when Yuffie leaned precariously over into Cid's ear, then pointed subtly—but not subtly enough—in Vincent's direction.
Perplexed, Vincent halted where he stood, eyes narrowing. As far as he knew, the self-proclaimed Great Ninja Yuffie had a penchant for juvenile devilry and tended to express her affections accordingly. Having joined the group not very along ago, and bearing so foreboding a manner, he had been able to thwart her irrational attempts at soliciting his rapport, and had, as a consequence, been able to elude her childish pranks.
Cid nodded, but his next words were lost in the distance. Vincent remained rooted to the spot, determined to prevent, or at the very least foil, whatever the impish adolescent had in mind. Yuffie brightened at his response, bouncing out of her seat and slapping Cid, in what perhaps was a jovial manner, across the back. He swore loudly enough to reach Vincent's much-abused ears. Yuffie trounced away with a peal of laughter, disappearing into the tent she shared with both Tifa and Barret. Having deduced nothing from the exchange, Vincent returned to his tent. He found Red already curled trimly at the other end. Vincent took the other end and prepared himself for another long-suffering, sleepless evening.
The flap of the tent snapped open behind him. "Hiya, Vince!" Vincent felt himself flinch. He wasn't sure where she had begotten atrocious moniker.
Vincent turned his gaze to the diminutive newcomer, whose gaze came in a cheerful brown twinkle. "Yuffie."
"What're you just sitting there for? Move over!" she exclaimed, tossing her bag over her head without warning. It connected with the bottom of the tent with a rattling thud.
Vincent did not stare, but he did regard her with a measure of confusion. "Cid will be here any moment." Red peeled open his eye at the commotion, watching Yuffie with bemusement.
"No, he won't!" piped Yuffie as she kicked open her sleeping bag. "We switched spots! Lucky you!"
Red tucked his paws beneath him and raised his head. "What brought about this change, little thief?"
Yuffie poked a finger into Vincent's side, eliciting a dangerous look from the humorless gunman which she gleefully ignored. "More leg room, of course!" Vincent took up about as much space as her humble home collection of bamboo bo staffs, and she really couldn't handle being stuck between Tifa's enormous boobs and Barret's hand-gun for another night. She jammed her legs into the chocobo-patterned sleeping bag and flopped down with bright smile in Vincent's direction. He felt the tension in his muscles ease at the unexpected gesture. "You don't mind, right?"
Red chuckled. Yuffie turned her head to smile at him, too. She liked Red. He reminded her of the oversized, semi-dangerous pet she was never allowed to have back in Wutai—but with the added plus of possessing a sense of humor. "You certainly smell better."
Yuffie broke into a grin. "I do, huh?" She snuggled deeper into her sleeping bag. "But between you and me, I bet anyone smells better than that old fart!" Yuffie caught Vincent's eye, and without missing a beat, said, "You're wondering how I convinced him, right? I didn't really have to! All it took was your death glare, Vince! Remember how you were looking straight at us? Cid totally bought my story about how you were planning to shoot him in the foot tonight for all those nights you had to put up with his cigarette stink!" Vincent's lips dipped into a frown. "Oh, don't give me that! I know you were thinking it! Saw it on your face last night, too."
Vincent regarded her steadily. "You planned this."
"Sure did!" she replied smugly. "Never underestimate the Great Ninja Yuffie!" She abruptly broke into a yawn, much to Vincent's relief. Her loquaciousness often tired him. "It's like trading in the keys to a dumpy closet for a five-star hotel," she sighed contentedly, stretching her arms out and subsequently striking him in the face with one. She patted Red with her other hand. "'Night, you two."
She drew the flap of her sleeping bag up to her nose and shut her eyes, smoothing away the laugh lines on her expressive, young face. Red exchanged glances with Vincent over her mercifully silent form.
Sharing a tent with Yuffie was onerous. She mindlessly flung her limbs every which way with utter disregard for personal space, had a tendency to drool on his mantle, and occasionally mistook his arm for a pillow of some sort by snuggling her face right up against it. It took nearly all of his self-control to keep from instinctively reaching for his gun every time he was jolted away by an unfamiliar touch.
Vincent awoke for the fifth night in a row to the sensation of something moist seeping through the collar of his cloak and the distinct rhythmic fan of breath against his arm. His fingers flexed, but did not pull the weapon from his holster. With a soft grunt, he dislodged her hold on his arm and shifted her drool-laden face away from his own. Yuffie mumbled something incoherently and turned over. Sometimes, it was almost enough to make him request that Yuffie and Cid switch back.
But she was right about one thing. She certainly did smell better.
A/N: I am admittedly a little rusty in the writing department. It's been a tough few weeks, so I really took advantage of this weekend to unwind with my other hobbies. This was just an exercise at first to force something out, but it ended up turning out okay enough to post. Think it might be my first foray into pre-Meteor Yuffentine, although it can definitely can be perceived as platonic. I seriously love the idea of Vincent, Yuffie, and Nanaki sharing a tent together.
Any feedback is greatly appreciated. Thank you for reading!