Title: Burnt Offerings
Fandom/Pairing: Kindgom Hearts; Vincent/Yuffie
Rating: ESRB Rating of M for Mature < violence, plot complexity >
Summary: True heroes don't let petty things like death stop them... and a hero's memories more often return in nightmares than in sweet dreams. [Reincarnation fic.]
Notes: OMG DRUGS.
Chapter Eight: Marijuana Maenads
Into my graveyards
Found my ghosts there
They're with me still
—Bishop Allen, "Ghosts Are Good Company"
Take this sinking boat and point it home—
We've still got time
—The Frames, "Falling Slowly"
Beast's Castle: The Gates
Vincent could see it in Auron's posture: the Gummi ship was satisfactory. He said nothing on the matter. This was only the second ship he had ever seen. He did not pretend to have an opinion of it.
He watched as stolen Munny was exchanged for a portfolio containing the correct calibrations and passwords to launch the ship. He watched as the salesman beamed back to his tug ship.
Auron looked over at him and commented, flatly, "Hn."
Vincent stared at the thing. As far as Gummi ships went, he had no idea if it was worth whatever they'd paid. As far as transportation went, he knew he personally would never have considered boarding it unless he had no other choice.
"Too bright a yellow," he said, trying not to look directly at it for too long. The yellow, which was admittedly blinding, wasn't the only thing embarrassing about it.
For one, it had a moogle decal.
For another, the name emblazoned on the ship's sides was The Wyrdhare.
'Wyrd' was certainly apt.
"Hn..." The other man allowed an almost smug sort of scowl as he grunted agreement.
Vincent looked at the amazingly ridiculous little ship. He looked over at Auron. Auron looked back at him.
Through the silent communication lent them by similar personalities and months spent in each other's company, they agreed that the sheer obnoxiousness of the ship's apperance was never to be mentioned again. Any allusions to what an eyesore it was would be ignored.
The Land of Dragons: Imperial Palace
"So he's gone?" Rikku was giving her a concerned look. There was a faint shimmer in the air around her, a shimmer Yuffie had noticed from childhood and had never cared about.
Yuffie stretched, lifting one leg by gripping the ankle and bending so her head nearly touched the other ankle. "He's out of my head, anyway."
Summon me, she remembered and immediately unbent in order to shake her head. "Cissuh sa," she tried to intone, but she didn't have nearly the right vocal cords to imitate that deep voice.
Rikku stared at her as if she'd grown horns and batwings.
"That's what he kept asking. Cissuh sa. Summon me." She looked at the map of the Land of Dragons and then shook her head again. "I think it's time to go back to Radiant Garden."
Rikku looked around and then pumped her fist in the air several times. "This place has been getting kind of boring," she said.
Yuffie nodded. "I know. Just need to arrange a ride home early, and then we'll be able to go torment Squall again."
She stuck her hand in her pocket, fingering the stone, and fought to keep her expression calm. The cool, smooth stone felt less like a stone and more like a snake's scale. She dug it out immediately and stared.
Sure, it had turned blue when Leviathan had gone to live in it, but now it was an irridescent blue green. It was more hexagonal than round, with sharp-looking, serrated edges.
"That's a Charm," Rikku said, the shimmer intensifying in her surprise. "Yuffie, you made a Summon Charm!"
Yuffie stared at it in wonder. She could feel water, could feel ice and scales and a sinuous presence.
"Think I should give this to Sora?" She closed her fingers around the scale at the very thought.
Beast's Castle: The Wyrdhare
The radio emitted a crackling sound, startling Vincent more than he cared to admit. Consulting the manual with eyesight that, thankfully, was no longer grey around the edges, he pressed the button that would access the channel somebody was trying to open.
"This is Yuffie Kisaragi of Radiant Garden, currently in the Land of Dragons, to any Gummi Ships in the area," said a voice he knew all too well, though it sounded slightly older than he rememberedd from the Underworld.
Vincent bit his lip to keep from replying.
"Yuffie Kisaragi at Land of Dragons to any Gummi Ships in the area," she said again, and then muttered, "Come on, people, answer me. I know somebody's out there, I can see an open channel on the display!"
Caught out. As usual. Vincent closed his eyes and took a deep breath, formulating a response.
"Miss Kisaragi, this is Vincent Valentine, currently located at Beast's Castle." And then, because he couldn't stop himself, because he had to know, he asked, "Is something the matter?"
Her voice, when she asked, was sly. "Vincent! I thought you were stuck in the Underworld!"
"I escaped," he told her dryly, suddenly remembering You are an ex-ninja and aching at the memory.
"And you found a Gummi Ship along the way, huh," her voice was dry. "Somebody's resourceful. So, tell me, you think this makes you a Space Pirate?"
Everybody knows ninjas don't get along too well with pirates, Vincent remembered from a lecture she'd given him far too many years ago. He almost wanted to add that, just to see how she would react. But she would think he was 'creepy' if he knew too much too soon. Instead, he replied, "Unlikely."
"Good," she said, voice bright and cheerful. "Hey, you seen Sora around recently?"
"Sixteen days ago, he helped Auron and me escape from the Underworld. Then he left. Why do you ask?"
"Call it curiosity," she replied. After a pause, she added, "I got something he may want to see. Oh well, he'll probably show back up at Radiant Garden, anyway. You, uh, got any room for a passenger on your Gummi Ship?"
Ah, Yuffie. She never changed, did she? He wanted to tell her yes, because he'd watched her die twice, but he thought of what Auron would say on the matter. "For the right price, it can be arranged."
An explosive, teenaged sigh. "All right, all right. How much Munny are we talking, here?"
He wasn't exactly informed on just what the right price would be. The Yuffie he remembered wasn't exactly a generous soul, but AVALANCHE had broken her of her tendency to cheat others. Mostly. Did this Yuffie steal? There was no way of telling. Yet.
"What would you consider a fair price?"
"How 'bout a flat rate? Two hundred Munny?"
It seemed reasonable. Commercial airship rides, before his world had ended, had run between a hundred to a hundred and fifty gil. Why wouldn't a ride on a Gummi Ship be slightly more expensive?
"You have a deal." They needed to leave Beast's Castle, anyway. Even after his recent discussion with Auron, Belle and the Beast had seemed... very hesitant and over-curious. The religious fast and meditation idea weren't going to keep the peace much longer.
"Great," she said. "So you'll take me back to Radiant Garden?"
Was he ready to come face-to-face with Yuffie? Vincent wasn't sure. But he would have to face AVALANCHE sooner or later. He was still constantly hungry--Geez, Vince, maybe you should drink somebody's blood, offered the mental construct of Yuffie he'd created to stay sane--but the thirst had gone away and he was beginning to look more like an actual three-dimensional person and less like a collection of skin and bones.
"When can I expect you guys?"
Vincent consulted the owner's manual again and then checked the ship's navigation systems. The maps informed him that the Land of Dragons was perhaps a day's travel away, by the Disney Castle's reckoning.
"Sundown tomorrow, Disney reckoning," he told her.
"I'll watch for you." The words were naive, hopeful, but her tone was anything but.
He knew exactly what she would say if she had a chance to see the Wyrdhare. No, that wasn't true. Nobody could actually predict what Yuffie would say. The only accurate forecast he could make was an eighty percent chance of mockery, partly joking, with intermittent showers of laughter.
He really, really did not need Yuffie Kisaragi laughing at his Gummi Ship. "No need. I'll beam down."
"I'm in the Palace."
Fitting, he thought. It hurt. "I'll find you."
"Then I'll be waiting," she told him and he fought the urge to scoff.
Yuffie Kisaragi didn't wait for anything.
The Land of Dragons: The Palace
"A ride? Really?" Rikku was flitting through the garden, doing loop-de-loops in midair.
Yuffie nodded. "We don't have to wait on Sora and Riku."
The fairy made a beeline for the ninja's shoulder, landing lightly. Her tiny feet dug into the bones of her shoulder.
"You don't like Riku all that much, do you?" Yuffie raised an eyebrow.