Before I Wake To Find You Gone
By: General Quistis (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Zhakeena (email@example.com)
Disclaimer: I don't own anything but the story plot. Gyah! Any resemblance to any other plots is purely coincidental…
Author's note: Setting is Neo-ShinRa… yadda yadda yadda….. nyaks nyaks nyaks. I'm not in the right mood. The title comes from one of the songs that I heard from the radio… don't know the title… and yeah, I don't own the song. -.-'
He opened his eyes and saw darkness surrounding him. He had another nightmare… though he thought that it'd be better if he did not wake up from it…
"Maybe that nightmare could kill me… I'm better off dead anyway…" he thought miserably.
Now why did he wake up?
There it was again… that sound.
He had been hearing it in his sleep. Someone was walking upstairs and he could hear the footsteps. "Someone's in this place?" he thought as he opened the lid of his coffin and got out from it. He quickly made his way upstairs, remembering that Cloud, Barret and Tifa would be visiting.
But when he got upstairs, no one was there.
"Cloud?" he called out.
Clack, clack, clack…
Those footsteps again.
"Barret, is that you?" he called out.
He shrugged and began to search around the ShinRa Mansion to see if someone was really there. When he found that there was no one else in the house but himself, he just decided to sit on one of the steps of the old staircase and wait for his visitors while fighting the urge to fall asleep again.
He just sat there, staring miserably at the front door while thinking, "Maybe those are just ghosts…"
His thoughts were interrupted when the front door just swung open. Expecting it to be Cloud or Tifa or Barret, his fight somewhat lit up in delight upon seeing his friends again, but he froze and his expression returned to sulking again when he realized that it wasn't any of his friends.
It was Rufus ShinRa.
"What the hell is he doing here?" he thought silently as he stared at the young President of ShinRa.
"I knew I'd find you here." Rufus began as he approached him.
He just looked up at Rufus as he remained seated on the step.
Rufus stopped right before the stairs, staring down at the seated man in front of him. "Vincent Valentine, correct?" he asked.
"Yes," Vincent replied.
Rufus shoved his hands inside his trouser pockets as he smiled awkwardly at Vincent. "Let me get this straight… you were once a Turk, right?" he asked.
Rufus stared at him for a few seconds before speaking up again. "I found your I.D. picture and your old files… because I also located it in one of our prisoners in Junon." He said.
"What prisoner?" Vincent asked.
Vincent raised his eyebrows as he stood up and went down, approaching Rufus. "What woman?" he asked.
"We don't know her name, unfortunately. But maybe you could help us…" Rufus explained.
Vincent thought for a while before nodding his head. "I don't understand what you are talking about, President Rufus, but I will come with you." He said.
Rufus nodded his head and flipped his hair before leading the way outside to the chopper.
During the flight to Junon, Vincent accidentally mentioned, "Oh no…"
Rufus turned to him. "What's the matter?" he asked with a frown.
"I…I forgot to leave a note in the ShinRa Mansion to Cloud, Tifa and Barret… they're… supposed to be coming over…" Vincent stammered, not really knowing whether to reveal to Rufus about AVALANCHE coming over to visit him.
Rufus flipped his hair again and just looked outside the window.
"Right… like you care about Cloud, Tifa or Barret…" Vincent thought with a relieved look on his face.
The moment they arrived in Junon, the Turks welcomed them.
"Welcome back, President Rufus," Elena greeted.
Rufus nodded in greeting. "Where's the woman?" he asked.
"She's in one of the isolation rooms." Reno replied.
Rufus turned to Vincent. "Follow me," and led the way.
As they were walking, Rude handed Vincent a picture of a man wearing the Turk uniform.
Vincent got the picture and recognized his young self. "Wh… where did you get this?" he asked.
"From the woman." Reno replied.
"We figured you might know her because she's holding your picture but we asked if she knows you and she said she couldn't remember anything," Elena explained.
Vincent frowned slightly as he continued to walk.
The moment they reached the isolation room where the woman is, they thought that she had escaped; however, she was only seated in one corner of the room, gazing up at them in awe.
Vincent stepped inside, his heart beating faster as he approached her.
Her eyes were wide in curiosity as she stared up at his red eyes.
Vincent stared unbelievably at her long brown hair draped loosely on her shoulders.
"Do you know her?" Rufus asked.
Vincent smiled happily, wanting to fight back the tears from his eyes. He nodded to Rufus's question, but he did not turn away from her.
He did not stop himself anymore; he just ran to her, knelt down before her and embraced her tightly, surprising all the others in the room, including the girl.
As he rested his head on her shoulder, he let his tears fall. "Lucrecia," he whispered softly.
Rufus raised an eyebrow as he observed them.
"What the… are they lovers?" Reno asked in surprise.
"Maybe… why is he hugging her?" Elena asked in disbelief.
Vincent faced Lucrecia, not ashamed to show her his tears falling uncontrollably from his eyes. "Lucrecia… why… how… oh never mind! I'm just glad that you're here!" he said before hugging her again.
Lucrecia blinked, her eyes were still wide in surprise. "Lucrecia?" she asked.
Vincent sensed the curiosity in her voice so he stopped and just faced her in awe. She blinked. "Is that my name?" she asked with a look of wonder on her face.
Vincent's eyes grew wide. "Wh…why, yes… you mean…you don't know your name?" he asked.
Lucrecia shrugged. "Well… but you said that my name is Lucrecia, right?" she asked.
Her tone sounded like she was an innocent child…
Vincent turned to Rufus. "Where did you find her?" he asked with a serious but hurtful look on his face.
"She was in the Junon Harbor… when some of the Soldiers attempted to help her, she just smacked their faces in defense… maybe she thought they're going to harm her or something… so they had to bring her here to imprison her. They called President Rufus afterwards in Midgar and he came here immediately to check on her," Elena explained.
Rufus looked away and waved to the Turks to catch their attention, "Get this woman out of here." He commanded before turning back to Vincent. "What's her name again?" he asked.
"L…Lucrecia…" Vincent replied with a weak smile as he helped her up.
Rufus nodded before proceeding to the door. "I want you both to come with me to Midgar. I have more things that I wish to discuss to you about her," he said before exiting.
Lucrecia was staring at Vincent in awe. "Is Lucrecia really my name?" she asked.
"Well… yes…" he replied weakly.
"Hah! Don't tell me that girl's got amnesia?" Reno asked in disbelief.
"How can you be sure that that girl is Lucrecia?" Elena pointed out.
Vincent looked at Lucrecia's green eyes… resembling someone else's. He smiled gently and then turned back to Elena. "Yes, this is Lucrecia. I know her… she…" he trailed off and looked at the floor, realizing that the situation could be complicated. "…she knew me," he continued with an unsure tone.
"What is your name?" Lucrecia cut in as she looked up at him with a sweet but innocent smile on her face.
He turned back to her again and he couldn't help but smile back at her. "I'm Vincent Valentine… Do…do you remember me?" he asked with a hopeful look on his face.
She stared up at him for a while and shook her head slowly. "N…no. I don't. I'm not even positive if I've known you before," she said.
Vincent exchanged confused looks with Reno, Rude and Elena.
Elena approached them and led them to the hallway outside. "But Mister Valentine, you said that you know her. How come she doesn't know you?" she asked.
"Maybe that girl's got some kind of amnesia or something." Reno pointed out.
"How so?" Vincent asked.
"Maybe she's riding a boat or a ship and it sank… and she got washed ashore… but she hit her head before… oh whatever… I'm not sure…" Reno shrugged.
"I wonder what President Rufus is up to now. How come he wants you and Lucrecia to come with him to Midgar?" Elena asked as she joined Vincent and Lucrecia again, moving away from Reno.
"You heard Rufus; he's gonna be asking them questions." Reno told Elena.
"I'm not talking to you," She snapped at him.
Vincent ignored them and just stared at Lucrecia. He had to admit, he really missed her very much. Then, he just remembered something and it made his heart suddenly jump.
Elena had mentioned earlier that Lucrecia was holding his picture when they found her.
"But how am I going to ask her about that picture… oh well… give it a shot…" he thought before smiling at her. "Lucrecia," he began.
"Yes?" she turned to him.
"Elena mentioned that you were holding… a picture… uh…" he stammered, realizing that the Turks were watching them closely.
Lucrecia blinked. "That picture? Where is it?" she asked.
She stopped walking and faced him with a worried look on her face. "Please give it back to me… I am looking for him." She explained.
"Looking for him?" Reno asked.
Vincent was trying to fight the urge to say, "Are you sure it's not Hojo that you're looking for?" but he just shrugged off his thoughts and turned to Reno, not really knowing what to say to Lucrecia.
Rude spoke up, "Do you know the man in that picture?" he asked.
"N…no." she replied sadly.
Vincent scratched his head and he felt his hair against his hands and touched it, looking at it with wide eyes.
"No, don't cut it, Mister Valentine." Elena said with a reassuring smile.
"Are you sure you cannot remember anything?" Rude asked Lucrecia.
Lucrecia stared at Vincent, examining his features from head to toe… seeing the claw and his red eyes. She narrowed her eyes as she focused her gaze into his eyes. She could see faint images from the back of her mind, but they were so unclear that she couldn't quite understand any of those.
She just turned back to Rude and shook her head. "I can't remember anything… I don't even know who I am and where I came from!" she explained.
She turned back to Vincent when she felt his right hand touch her shoulder.
He smiled gently at her. "I will help you," he told her reassuringly.