I'm in Love with the Man Downstairs, Chapter 1:
When Opportunity Knocks
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Final Fantasy VII. Not Vincent, not the world map, not any of the names of people, places or things that appear in here. And the idea of the name Winchester is kind of coincidental, but yeah, I'm going to tie it in with the rifle. However, the ideas in this new, futuristic, made-over world, I take credit for, and the original characters are mine. The rest belong to Squaresoft.
Explanation: This story takes place a few millennia after the events of Meteor. Some of the areas of FFVII will be implied, others will be clearly stated. The only character from the game that will make an actual appearance in the story is Vincent, because well…he's one of the leading characters. Sadly, he does not appear in this chapter. I don't plan on posting any more of this until I've finished my main project, "Flirting with Death," which I hope to finish very soon. I may post chapters on this here and there if I have extra time. This primarily, is a preview chapter, and I want to have all of you tell me what you think of it, and if it will be a good story.
Summary: Kira is bored with her current life, bogged down by the weight her family puts on her of "Getting her head out of the clouds," and, "Knowing her role as a woman." A new job opportunity for her father takes her family from their aristocratic life and lands them in a mansion in the middle of nowhere. Eager for an adventure and something to do, Kira goes exploring.
Shall we begin?
The morning sky was simply beautiful; a light, yellow-white glow crept over the horizon, with shades of a rosy pink surrounding it, holding it. The sun was a timid ball of fire, cradled by its own soft glow. A new day approached, filled with new life and new opportunities.
For Kira Winchester, life had become mundane and limited. She could no longer enjoy the sunrise as she had when she was a child; she was already downstairs, taking lessons from her instructor- lessons on manners, posture, and other such things that she saw no point in whatsoever. Her father was intent on ridding her of that "skip in her step" that she always carried, a testament to her natural ability to stand out in a crowd.
But Kira was not supposed to stand out, oh no. Her mother always told her that if she were going to attract a husband one day, then she would have to learn how to behave like a lady, instead of an unruly little girl. And if she were unable to fulfill that duty, then she would be a failure as a woman.
"A Winchester woman always knows her place in society," her mother would say. "You should want to make your father proud, dear."
But unlike her mother, Kira lived up to her name in a most literal sense; she was a fiery explosion, not unlike those that came from her father's rifles when he was on a hunt. Kira wasn't interested at all in the things her wealth offered her: fancy clothes, expensive dinners, social gatherings, a five-story plantation on the outskirts of the city, a family membership at the yacht club, courtship by the richest young men in the area, and the finest lessons in being a woman that ever existed, given by the snootiest woman there ever was.
Kira had never had much success with her wardrobe. Somehow, her dresses always got ripped, and she held a bitter fury against the man who had invented the corset- at least she assumed it was a man, for she could never understand the reason why any woman would want to make her kindred suffer like that. Most of the food offered at her family's socials she could barely tell what it was, much less stomach it. The house was a complete bore, because she could never lay her hands on anything in it, for her mother's fear that something might be broken. She cared nothing for the yacht, because the only people who ever rode in it were her father and his business partners, who she doubted understood the full concept of leisure activities.
The men were almost the worst part of her new adult life, save for the lessons she was forced to endure. They would go on and on about politics, and when they did that, she was supposed to nod her head and agree with everything that they said, even though she didn't understand it- women weren't supposed to have an active role in politics, so why should she learn about them? They would talk about their father's money, and how they were going to inherit the family business…
And how they would need a wife to provide a son, who would then go on to inherit the family business years later…
And the lessons, oh the lessons! Madame Kroisse, most probably the meanest woman alive, drilled her day after day on how to be "dignified" and "genteel" and all of many other words that Kira knew all to well, but no one would have guessed belonged in her vocabulary. She walked to and fro in the sitting room, balancing three books on her head, and looking like a complete jester as she did.
She couldn't help thinking to herself how much she would rather strip down to her petticoat and go 'borrow' one of the horses from the stables. She was beginning to believe that if she had managed to do that one day, then she would ride out, never looking back. She wanted an adventure. She wanted a hideout, not a plantation home; a feast, not a banquet; something she could tear up on the road, not a fancy gown; a ride with some buccaneers, not a view of some yacht. More than all of those at the moment, was a dying itch to grab one of the books from the top of her head and begin to read it. But she could not do that, either, because she did not know how.
For a brief moment, she almost wished she were a man, because men never had to deal with such irritations. Then she thought better of it, realizing that if she were a man, she might have turned out just as bland as the rest of them. She found herself in front of Madame Kroisse when she came to this conclusion, and she snatched the books from her head and held them out to her teacher, a big smile on her face.
"So, how did I do?" she asked hopefully. She was told that she would not get out of this lesson until she had completed it perfectly.
Madame Kroisse looked down her pointy nose at the girl with a scowl on her face. She berated Kira with her shrill, clipped voice. "Interesting that you've managed to retain the balance of the books while looking like a fool."
Kira wasn't sure whether or not she should be hurt or happy with that. She knew she would never get the posture right, but she also knew she would have to want to drop the books in order to do it. Years of balancing on fallen logs and crossing ravines as a child had left her with an amazing sense of balance.
Kira groaned inwardly. This was going to be a long day.
That night, Carter Winchester walked into the den and addressed his sister. "Kira…"
She looked up at him from her spot on the recliner couch where she had been crocheting a scarf. If she had to crochet another useless piece of fabric, she was going to scream.
"Yes, Carter?" she said sweetly.
"Father has returned home. He has something important to tell us. If you would follow me to the dining room…" he turned, with his hands clasped behind his back, and Kira got up to follow him.
Kira's brother led her to a chair, and he stood beside her. Her mother lifted her head slightly, glancing at her eyes, then letting her gaze fall down to her daughter's feet and then rise back up with a disapproving look on her face. Kira quickly uncrossed her legs and held them together, tucking one foot behind the other.
Glancing around the room, Kira noticed that the entire household was present; the cooks, the maids, the gardener, even the stable boy was there. They were probably the closest thing she had to friends; she took no interest in the young women that spent all their time primping themselves like show horses. She wondered what her father had to say that was so important. As if on cue, her father began telling the small crowd just that.
"You all must be wondering why I've called you here. I am happy to announce that I have been offered a generous position in the company. As of today, I am no longer upper management and a member of the board, but I am now the Vice President."
Mrs. Winchester was obviously thrilled for her husband, and pretended to grow faint, waving her handkerchief about her visage. Carter told his father how wonderful the news was, and the hired hands applauded. Kira couldn't care much either way; nothing new would come of it, and life would be as it always was, give or take a few social events. But then, Mr. Winchester had more to say.
"There is one catch, however. If I am to take this position, we will be moving. And I have already confirmed my acceptance of this gracious offer, therefore, the rest of you must prepare for the relocation." Bewildered eyes moved about the room. Once again, Kira didn't care. She had no social life that she wished to keep, and she wouldn't miss the current crowds at the events, or her teacher. "We will be relocating," he continued, "to a large mansion in the country. This place is extremely nice, it has been refurnished and everything we will need has been provided for us. We will have plenty of space, as the structure is shorter, but much, much wider than the house we are residing in now. I have been assigned the project of urbanizing the area, so there will be a few people around to help us if there is anything we need, and there is a thriving metropolis on the other side of the mountains."
The residents looked around at each other nervously. All Kira heard was, "…mansion…barely any people…"
"Workers will commute to the site through the mountains. Eventually there will be hospital stations set up in the area, and a fire station will be set up as well, but for a while, we will be on our own. We will rely on the help of the city on the other side of the mountains. That area is heavily industrialized, and they have a hold on some of the lost technology that our own city was without. And they have been able to build on that; we are hoping that we will be able to form a lasting civilization on that land with their help. Think of it! No longer will Red Square City be the only advanced place on the map! This is going to be so exciting!"
Kira was excited. Not quite an adventure, but maybe she could find something new to do out there. Even though her father was going to receive a significant pay increase, she imagined that it would still be much harder for him to order all of the expensive frivolities from the west, which meant she could possibly relax in her clothing, and there certainly would be no more attempts to eat anything she couldn't recognize. She couldn't fathom how a nation like Wutai could have survived for as long as it had, living off of food like that. But because they had been so centralized in their values, and held on to tradition, they had been strong and had survived the technological freeze-over that had crippled the rest of civilization eighteen centuries ago.
Once again, she could be a survivor, like she had been when she was a kid, taking long "journeys" into the "wilderness" of her own backyard- which happened to be hundreds of acres wide. Having a large city like Red Square just over the mountainside may have brought the others a sense of security in their endeavor, but it disappointed her a bit. She was hoping that her father would not hire anyone from over there to teach her again…
But civilization was picking up again, and their whole reason for going where they were was in order to spread that civilization. Red Square was the model of that civilization; after discovering old schematics of an old city in an old chest buried near the square, they had begun to rebuild their city to withstand the elements better, and had learned of the value of certain materials to their building. The "Red Square," as they called it, was just a giant red square that rose slightly out of the ground in the center of the capital. The city had been named after the square, and no one was quite sure where it had come from or what purpose it had served, but it was an obvious sign of a past civilization, and so the city had gathered slowly over time around it.
Kira was jumping inside, though any physical outburst would have sent her mother reeling. She was finally going to have an adventure.
"Kira! You should get down from there. If Father sees you, he will have a heart attack!"
Kira looked back down at her brother, who was standing beside the coffee table she was currently on top of. She stood high above him, brandishing an imaginary sword. "Maybe we'll meet thieves along the way," she dreamed.
"Or maybe pirates will hijack our ship, and we'll never make it to the other continent!" She swung the false sword wildly. She imagined herself at the head of a fray, taking down pirates left and right with one of her father's expensive fencing blades, a look of shock on his face. She'd then take control of the lot of them, and they'd sail the high seas and go wherever she wanted to go.
"Kira, I doubt that will happen. You don't need to worry…"
"Who's worried?" She smiled at him and her eyes lit up with a mischievous glow. "Maybe the mansion will be haunted!" She jumped down to Carter and began to pace around the room excitedly, making motions with her hands to show exactly how she envisioned it. "We will come to the gates, and when we stop to open them, they will open on their own! And the doors will stretch on forever! And the first night…"
"Kira, you're such a dreamer." Carter had hoped for her sake that she would grow out of her stage, but he still admired her livelihood. It was something other women lacked, and sometimes he wished the women he was courting had minds of their own like his sister.
"You say that like it's a bad thing." She pouted.
"It…makes things interesting."
She smiled back at her brother and ran out of the room and upstairs, ready to grab her bags and head towards their new home.
(A/N): So there it is. The "demo" chapter. If I get a lot of reviews, I'll continue it right away, and not even worry about how much time I have. I'll still do a good job though, don't get me wrong…
I'd like to know if I should keep going with this, since I have a lot of good ideas I'd like to bring together. Most people dislike the Vincent vampire thing, and even though I don't think he is one, I had to do a supernatural fic. It just comes with the territory. How could I not? It's just a really cool thing to write about.