"Good morning, Mr. Valentine."
He smirked. It was the voice - the tone of it was incredibly silly and on purpose, too. Why was she calling him 'Mr. Valentine' all of a sudden? He could tell she was joking, but he always thought it made him sound so damned old. If she started looking for grey hairs... Lord, if she started looking for that.
But it wasn't as if he was ever going to have any grey hairs. It was the thought of it, he supposed, that made him so testy. 'Mr. Valentine'. It reminded him of his Turk days. Always... unpleasant.
"Don't call me that," he grumbled. Vincent rolled over onto his side, away from the doorway. He had meant for himself to sound as casual as always, nice and calm and like he didn't care that she had called him that, but it was so damned early and it was getting harder not to care around her. And it was early... He slit an eye and saw no light coming in from the window. Too early.
"Cloud wants us up and out as soon as possible."
Cloud Strife up earlier than him? Now he knew something was... incorrect. Vincent was usually always the first to wake, up before the crack of dawn. Way before. He groaned. Whatever happened to sleeping in - one of those simple, normal pleasures of mankind? Vincent buried his head in an assortment of pillows and limbs. Why did his head hurt so much? He blinked and couldn't pinpoint what exactly it was that he had done last night.
"I'm letting myself slip..." He couldn't prove it, and his memory was faulty at the moment, but he was nearly certain that last night involved alcohol and Cid Highwind. Hopefully not with any awkward outcomes.
He felt her body as she positioned herself on the edge of his inn bed. She was invading his personal space, he knew, and he wasn't going to take it lying down. Making him sound old? Fine. Checking for grey hairs? A bit overboard, but still allowable. Invading his space? No way in hell. Vincent opened his eyes to the darkness of his pillow-covered head and realized that he was taking this lying down. Literally and figuratively. What was he going to do? Tell her to buzz off? If it was anyone else, he would have done so a long time ago.
"Slip? You? Mr. I'm-so-damned-serious?" He could actually hear her smile.
And there she went with that 'Mr.' business again.
He smiled, too. But thankfully the pillows and his arms hid the small tug at the corner of his lips. "Miss Lockheart, this is the third time this week that you have taken it upon yourself to wake me." Or at least try to. She hadn't successfully done so until today, obviously, since he was usually awake before everyone else. Vincent almost expected to hear Cloud down the inn's hallway then, being his typical impudent self and demanding that the world couldn't wait, that they had to wake up now before the sky came crashing down.
Screw the world and the sky. He was going back to sleep.
"Yuffie managed to convince Cloud that we girls needed an extra ten minutes. He asked me to wake you before he left. I think you scare him."
And what about the other times you barged in here to wake me up? Strife ask you then, too? Vincent closed his eyes tightly. No spiky-headed, sword-happy boy was going to make him wake up. No pretty girl, either. Maybe if I ignore her, she'll go away...
No such luck.
He sniffed, feigning indifference. "Yes, Tifa?"
There was a slight pause, then a heavy sigh. "Forget it..."
She moved on the bed and Vincent felt a pillow leave his once warm head, then the invasion of the hallway's cool air as it pricked his skin. Why couldn't she shut the door? It was almost like she was afraid something would happen if she did. Or perhaps she wanted Cloud to pop in and instantly become jealous. Vincent moaned and covered his now exposed head with his arms.
"Tifa, if you're bored..." He let the words hang with a weary undertone. He didn't really care that she'd been intruding on his personal space as of late - in fact, he nearly welcomed it - but it was the way she went about it. She may have known him for some time now, but she really didn't know him.
"I'm not bored... Not really." He felt her weight on the bed shift, then leave the mattress entirely. When he heard the door close, he was somewhat disappointed that she had given up so quickly and left. Tifa usually didn't leave him until she made him smile, was there to see it and gloated over it later in the day. There was a small sigh and he realized then that she hadn't left at all.
Couldn't leave without your smile for the day? Vincent reached blindly for the pillow that she had taken from his head, but all he found were his bed sheets. Apparently, she had taken the pillow with her to the door.
"I'm... restless. You know?"
Yes, I know. So am I.
"I think I'm scared."
"Not of something. For something." She sat on the edge of his bed once more and squeezed the pillow in her arms. "Not something at all, actually."
This isn't the Strife debate again, is it? Obsession is not a healthy thing, Lockheart. Believe me.
He felt her lay down next to him, her upper body supported by the headrest, his pillow on her stomach. "Not that I'm not afraid of what will happen."
You're bothered with global warming? Poverty? War? Please, give me anything but Cloud Strife. ANYTHING.
"Vincent?" A muffled voice from beneath the pillow mumbled something she assumed was a 'yes?', so she continued without waiting for an intelligible verbal response. "Are you afraid that you'll never find what you're looking for?"
Turning the conversation back on me?
Slowly, he poked his head up from beneath arms and pillows. Two red eyes met with her, sobering whatever was still lighthearted about the conversation. "Tifa, I believe that you will find what you are looking for one day, and I believe that it will be the most annoying, confusing mess you'll ever encounter and you will wish that you never went looking for it in the first place. Good night." His head disappeared between two pillows.
Now that would surely make her angry.
It didn't, however. Apparently, Tifa didn't mind the truth, at least not from him. And that was what he liked about her. She could take it. "I wasn't talking about me. I was talking about you." He felt her lean closer to him. "And it's morning."
Morning? Could have fooled me, Lockheart.
"Don't be ridiculous. I'm not looking for anything."
Another pillow left his head, followed by another and another, until his head and arms were completely exposed. Tifa twisted a thick, black strand of his hair around her index finger, knowing it would be enough to irk him into conversation. How did she always know how to make him talk? "I'm looking for something, too, Vincent." The humor was back in her voice and he almost feared the consequences.
He rolled over towards her, lazily. His eyes were half open and his long hair was everywhere. Vincent raised an eyebrow. "And what is it that you are searching so tirelessly for?"
More of her fingers came and brushed his hair away - it almost reminded him of the wind, the way he barely felt her there, touching him gently. A broad smile spread across her face and she laughed as she said, "You, Mr. Valentine." She firmly planted a kiss on his forehead.
He tried not to smile, he really did. Mainly because if he had smiled, she would find victory in that and leave. He didn't want her to win, not today, and he most certainly didn't want her to leave. But it couldn't be helped and he smiled like an idiot.
She won, in that moment. She had both succeeded in making him smile and in waking him up.
"Good," she gloated. She left his side an instant later, before he could answer with 'You're insane, Tifa' or something to that effect, and practically skipped to the door in victory. Once she reached the door, however, she turned around and said, almost as an afterthought, "You should smile more often, Vincent-"
The last thing Tifa Lockheart saw was a pillow as it hurtled toward her face. However, she did hear Vincent and the smile that slyly crept into his voice.
"How very unbecoming of a victor, Lockheart."