Final Fantasy VII, Life Ever After; Chapter 2 Loathing

Inspirations for this chapter: Playing Games and this one by Wyna Hiros (she seems to have removed them from her gallery, or I found them somewhere else) and Roulette If anyone knows who the artist is, let me know. Please.

Oh, and I know that the gun in that pic isn't the Death Penalty... and I know it's difficult to do what Vincent intends with it but the name is perfect so... poetic license? *angelic grin*

Vincent's having morbid thoughts (when isn't he?) and really just wants to be left alone. Hah! Like Highwind will ever let that happen!




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“Get off, yah bastard!”

“Get off? You’re the one cheating!” Vincent grinned, brown eyes shining with glee as he wrestled Cid’s face away from the vid screen, the pilot's gloved hand pushing down on his own head. How either of them expected to control the pixilated figures on the screen was a mystery.

“You fuckin’ started it all; pickin’ the goddamn character with guns. That ain't fair!” Cid’s arm moved from the younger man’s head to grab his tie; he was wearing his work suite. Cid yanked hard on the material and brought Vincent forward onto his face. The Turk only laughed, grabbing the controller now with both hands to finish off Cid’s on screen avatar.

Bouncy but tinny victory music played as Cid tossed his control across the room. “Stupid fuckin’ game anyway.”

Vincent laughed again; “It’s your game!”

Cid looked at him, taking a crumpled cigarette from a just as crumpled packet held beneath the strap of his goggles. He smiled; “Yeah, well, as yer only friend I had to get somethin' you could beat me at.”

Vincent opened his eyes, one in darkness as he lay on the ground. The other looked out onto a brightly lit grey and brown landscape of broken metal, concrete slabs and bodies. He had dreamt the gaming encounter with Cid. He had not known Cid when he had been a Turk; Cid would have been only a child then.

He groaned as he tried to raise himself off the cold, damp ground. His wounds were almost healed thanks to the experiments done on his immune system thirty years previous. His body was cold though, his muscles angry at the sudden movement after sleeping on rough ground. His
clothes were sodden and heavy; his cloak, usually appearing almost alive and wispy, hung limp down his back with the weight of the water.

His clothes would dry. His body would heal. His guilt and the emptiness he always felt after summoning Chaos would remain intact.

What now? The sound of silence echoed amongst the rubble. Everyone had escaped, or at least no one was still within the city. It was over; Sephiroth and Shin-Ra were defeated. His vow of vengeance had been fulfilled; so what now?

His friends? What were they but begrudging battle buddies? Return to the mansion? He shuddered at the thought of returning. There was only one place left... he looked up at the bright, clear sky before setting off towards the western coast.

***********

Vincent opened his eyes, hearing Lucrecia's voice die away with his dreams.

"And how are you supposed to be my bodyguard if you're up here sleeping..."

He lay on the floor of a place he had come to call Lucrecia's Cave. An image of her, frozen in time, stood before him, shimmering in the blue-white light of the crystalline walls.

He sat up, pulling the tattered red cloak around his cold limbs. How long had he been sleeping? He pushed his hand beneath the cloak, finding his phone inside the folds of his clothes. He flicked it open; four weeks. He had slept for four weeks and received several messages.

Vincent groaned as he opened the first. It was from Cid.

"Hey, Valentine! Where the Hell are yah? Kisaragi says yah went off on yer own. Now I know you ain't dead, no use hidin'! C'mon, boy, we won. Time to celebrate!"

Vincent closed the phone. He did not need to hear anymore. What had he to celebrate? Hojo was dead, he had taken his vengeance against the mad scientist; it was over. So what could he do now but return to his slumber; his existence was meaningless. Vincent lifted his Death Penalty from its holster, staring down at it in his un-gauntletted hand. It seemed the right thing to do now; finally let himself rest, truly rest.

"I finished it, Lucrecia. He paid."

A flicker of light danced across the crystals that held the image of the scientist he still loved. Vincent stared at them, at her. His imagination... He let the gun rest in his lap, watching the light bounce off its silvery surface. The shimmering of something in a shadowy dip caught his attention. He reached for it; a small packet of cigarettes and a lighter. Did Cid drop them? That damn man had no respect for anyone or anything.

Vincent opened the packet as he leaned against the wall. Breathing slowly he picked up the Death Penalty, smiling grimly as he thought of its name. He raised the packet in his gloved hand, lips resting on one little white stick. The barrel of the gun touched his forehead, jittering on his brow.

Why am I shaking? This is what I want... this is what I need.

His fist crunched the packet of cigarettes within it, metal screeching with the force. His other hand slammed the gun against the ground.

Chaos.

Vincent growled, his own body fighting him, refusing to obey him.

Not here, not near her. Not! Here!

Vincent could hear breathing in his own ears, whisperings of silent pain. He fled from the cave; he could not transform into that vile beast in Lucrecia's Cave. He stumbled, pain ripping through his limbs as Chaos attempted to take control.

No! It is my body!

He felt hands on his sides, lifting him. Someone was here? He pushed them away, stumbling further and out of the cave. His name drifted through the pain.

"Valentine! What's wrong with ya?"

It was Cid Highwind. Had they come looking for him? Why, why could they not have left him alone!? If Chaos took over now, if he lost control of it... His thoughts ended as Vincent felt Chaos' triumph. It tore out of his mind, infecting his body with its form. Helpless, Vincent was a prisoner, forced to sit by and allow Chaos to rule. The ground left his feet, wings beating at the air as Chaos turned around.

Cid called out to him, a crumpled, un-lit cigarette falling from his lips. Chaos rushed forwards, a silent dash on jagged wings. It threw Cid to the ground, claws ripping at the Captain's chest. Vincent was powerless to stop his body, he could only watch as the WEAPON tore at his friend, feel his own hands killing Cid Highwind. Trapped in the form of Chaos, Vincent prayed.

His prayers were answered.

Crunching pain hit his shoulder, tearing deep into his chest and bursting from his ribs. Chaos screamed, pinned to the ground by Cloud's Buster Sword. Fiery pain melted into cool darkness.
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