Rating: ESRB Rating of T for Teen < plot complexity, some violence >
Summary: Yuffie, the night, and the stars in her palm. Her early days in AVALANCHE.
Notes: I do not write jointed fiction, do I?
Stars She Could Hold
A forest at night.
Every colour is muted. Awash in dark green and black. It all looks grey to her.
Except the stars. They glow and glitter, like the diamonds in Ashura's crown. Like the treasures that lie at the bottom of the ocean. In the distance, she sees the lights of a city, but the city is a forbidden place. It shimmers with all the tempting, destructive beauty of a deathtrap.
In her palm, materia shines. A beautiful, vivid green.
She rolls it around in her hand. Watches the sparkle. Some part of her connects with it. When she opens her eyes, she sees the world through a red lens.
This one is fire.
The world will burn, it whispers, and she smiles.
Fire sounds nice.
This is how Vincent Valentine remembers Yuffie Kisaragi: a dirty, dark-skinned bundle of twigs. Gangly and angular but tiny. One of those long legs dangling from a treelimb while she perches with her back against a treetrunk and watches the night.
In his mind, that picture of her is forever a study in chiaroscuro. He knows the details, could fill in the picture now. Grey eyes, green shirt, kakhi shorts.
But he finds he likes that image of her. An unknown quantity. Something enigmatic but non-threatening.
A fey, silent creature that doesn't throw up all over him, or spend hours needling him, or make fun of everything he does.
A forest clearing, mid-afternoon.
Everything is hazy. There's a shimmer to the air from the way light slants through the leaves.
The girl perches in a tree, eyes scrunched up as she silently observes a group of people. Two men and a woman, with the shorter man in the lead.
She takes stock of them.
The leader carries a huge sword, wears navy blue. A fighter, probably has materia, too.
The woman behind him wears black and white, doesn't appear to be carrying any weapons. Probably relies primarily on magic.
The last one in the line, the rear guard, is wearing a vivid red cloak. It's so bright it almost distracts her from the rifle slung along his shoulder. She can see other holsters at his waist. She wouldn't be surprised if he had even more guns she couldn't see.
He looks familiar, a little.
A campground at night.
She sits with her back to the fire and stares at the darkness.
She rolls a green materia around in her palm. Its dim glow doesn't blind her.
(A quick swipe, that's all it takes. Just one small gesture and there's a sudden roundness in her palm, roundness and warmth and it feels good.)
This one comes from the brunette with the braid.
The connexion brings that cold feeling to her fingertips. EVerything seems to glow blue and silver. She sees hints of frost everywhere she turns.
It's an Ice materia.
I will freeze you out, it explains, patiently, to the child that holds it.
She believes it.
The girl throws the Four-Point and immediately slips from her tree branch, landing soundlessly on the forest floor.
The rear-guard is the first to turn. The gun is unslung from its strap instantly.
She doesn't even feel the first bullet.
After that, it's a mess.
Gunshots and swordstrokes and vicious kicks and punches. The Four-Point lashes out in shiny arcs. Every now and then, somebody grunts. Sometimes it's her. Sometimes it's one of them.
Even after she casts Fire, she loses.
A desert at night.
The sounds and smells of Wutai surround her. She remembers the crazed quest, that horrible flight from Rocket Town, and feels guilty.
But the materia is in her pocket. All of it. Over the past few weeks, she has painstakingly acquired the entire group's materia. First she started on the Magic. Then the Command. Summon, Independent, Support.
It's all here.
It's all hers.
She reaches into a mako-laden pocket and pulls out AVALANCHE's Enemy Skill.
It sparkles and glitters, shines yellow in the firelight.
They shouldn't be resting at night. It will be too hot to travel far during the day, but they didn't listen to her when she told them that.
Even the red one, Vincent (and they're still all "the red one" or "the martial artist" or "cigar man" to her), they ignored when he suggested traveling at night. And they don't seem to ignore him much.
At last, the Enemy Skill makes the connexion. For a few brief moments, her body isn't hers anymore. Trine tingles in her fingertips; Frog Song wells in her throat.
She wants to cast Trine on the burnt desert landscape, watch the scorched earth blacken more.
Instead, she slips silently from her post as sentry, grabs only the supplies she brought with her when she joined AVALANCHE, and is gone from the campsite.
The desert welcomes her with open arms.
She tries not to hear the materia whispering, I will make you into a monster.