CHAPTER 1

The sea breeze blew gently out of the ocean and over the land. The full moon illuminated everything in silver light. The seaside city of Junon was quiet. Not a soul stirred from their silent dreaming. The big clock in the center of the city tolled midnight. Not a creature awakened to hear it. Except for the tolls eerie, hollow sound, all was quite. Everything was peaceful.

The peace wasn't just over nature and its creatures. It was over the people as well. Except one.

He had taken a room in the city inn for the night. He lay on a small not-too-comfortable mattress, tossing and turning, soaking everything with sweat and tears. His old friends were back.

Nightmares.

He thought he'd alluded them after he'd been awakened for the first time in thirty years. Though he never aged, time had stopped for him, life had been no different. Only another mission in life. Killing the child of the woman he loved. They (the nightmares) had waited for the Crisis to be over before they re-showed themselves. Especially since he never showed the child to his mother. That was a sin he'd committed in ignorance.

The young man of twenty seven tossed violently in his sleep as his mind filled with the horror he knew so well.

He was running toward a beautiful woman with chestnut brown hair. He called out her name but she just kept on walking away from him, as if she hadn't heard his voice.

This is not like her. Is she mad at me? Does she know I lied to her?

He called her name again and ran faster. When he caught up with her he put a hand on her shoulder bringing her to a stop. He said her name again.

She didn't hear him, or she just wouldn't look at him.

He spoke her name once more in a question. He then realized he had no voice. I can't hear myself! That means she can't hear me either!

He touched her other shoulder with his right hand. She seemed to shudder at the sensation of his touch. Then slowly... very slowly, she turned to face him.

When he saw her face he wished she hadn't.

Her eyes were glaring a hateful red. Her face was extremely pale, as if she were dead, and it held a dark lustful look. Mischief twisted her mouth into a horrifying smile.

He said her name once more, out of habit, forgetting he had no voice and she couldn't hear him, and backed away from her.

Her smile grew bigger as she came at him. Her hands reached out. He saw long claws growing out of her fingers. What happened to her? Why does she look like that? Why is she looking at me like that!?

He kept on backing away and she kept advancing. Go away! He pulled out his gun and shot her.

The woman stopped. She looked at him with eyes that seemed to ask, Why are you trying to kill the one you love?

His body went numb. He couldn't kill her. He loved her!

Suddenly, before he could react, she came at him. She knocked him to the ground and sat on top of him. He tried to fight her off but she seemed to weigh a ton and her legs were holding his arms down. Leave me alone! What is wrong with you? Don't you love me anymore?

Of course I do, my darling. I want you to join me...

Join you?

She gave no answer. She brought her face close, as if to kiss him, but passed by his face and his mouth. She was going lower then that.

He felt her teeth sink into his neck.


The young man woke, breathing heavily. He was soaked with sweat and his blanket had fallen on the floor, as well as his shirt, which he'd thrown off in his thrashings.

When he finally figured out who he was and where he was, he fell back on the mattress, on his stomach, and sighed very slowly. "Only a nightmare," he told himself, crossing his arms under his chin. "Just like before. It's never real. Thank God!"

Suddenly he heard a knock. Now what? he thought.

He glanced slowly at the closed, locked door. "Who is it?" he asked, carefully, his voice raspy for some reason.

"Could you open the door, please?" the person on the other side of the door called.

What if I don't want to?

"HELLO? ARE YOU UP YET?" the voice yelled, beginning to pound on the wood.

Now that voice began to register in his mind. That sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?

"Hello?"

"Coming," he called.

The young man pushed himself up and tried to get out of bed. His one hand missed the mattress and he tumbled sideways onto the floor with a thud.

"Are you all right in there?" the person called.

"I am fine!"

"Are you sure?"

"Yes!"

He moaned softly and stood up. He stumbled over to the door, unlocked it, and opened it. That's when he realized, too late, that he still didn't have his shirt on and his hair was so messy it made him look like a maniac.

The woman on the other side of the door took a step back when she saw him, and stared at him uncertainly. "Vincent?" she asked in confusion.

Vincent Valentine looked up at her and instantly knew who she was. "Uh, hello, Tifa," he said, his voice betraying embarrassment.

"Are you all right?" she asked again.

"I am fine," he said. "I just woke up. I didn't have time to put my shirt on when you knocked. Um... what do you want?"

"I wanted to let you know that me, Cloud, and everyone else are having a little get together," Tifa answered. "Cloud insisted we invite everyone, even you." Her face became sad for a moment. "Too bad Aerith had to die... So, um, do you want to come?"

"I guess," he said.

"Good," she said.

"Just let me get presentable," he said. "Unless you want me to go like this?"

Tifa said nothing. She could just imagine the looks on everyone's faces if she showed up with him, his hair wild and his top bare-chested.

"I...Uh... I'll let you get ready," she said, holding back her giggles with her hand as she imagined the scene.

Vincent gave her a funny look then closed the door. He quickly dressed. He put on his shirt, boots, gloves, and cape. He tied a red cloth around his forehead, this would keep his hair in check. He grabbed his gun off the night stand and clipped it to his belt.

When he finished he opened the door. Tifa stared at him, red faced, her hand over her mouth and her eyes watery.

"Is there something wrong?" he asked, cocking his head. "Do you have hay fever?"

"Oh, no, no. No!" she said, taking a few deep breaths. "It's nothing! Nothing at all!"

Why don't I believe that?

Before he could say anything, though, she started walking down the hall. "Come on," she turned around and beckoned. "The others are waiting."

Vincent hesitated a moment. Did he really want to see them all again? Did they still think he didn't like them? Didn't they consider him a friend yet? He looked over at Tifa. She was waiting. She said everyone was here. That includes Yuffie. I wonder how she was able to get here. Did she ride the Highwind even though it makes her sick? Am I sure I want to see her again? She always acts so strangely around me.

"Vincent," Tifa said, annoyance growing in her voice. "You said you were coming. Don't chicken out now!"

He sighed and gave in. "All right."

He followed her. "What's this all about?" he asked her, as they walked down the stairs and outside into the crowded street.

"Cloud wanted to go to Gongaga and see how Zack's parents are doing," she explained, looking sad. "It's been four months since we've last been there. Cloud finally decided to break the news to them about their son's death."

Vincent thought that over. "A death can be hard on parents. Especially when they only have one child," he said softly. That is very true. I wonder if I shouldn't have lied to Lucrecia about her son's death.

"Vincent?" Tifa said.

"Hmm?"

"You're right about that."

"But why is he taking everyone?" the dark haired man wanted to know. "Did you lie to me so I would come with and keep you two company or something?"

Tifa shook her head. "He doesn't want me to come with. He wants to do this alone. He isn't my boyfriend. I don't have to follow him around."

"So... what about this so called "get together"?" he asked, changing the subject.

"He said that, since he was going to be in the Corel area, he'd go to the Gold Saucer and take us all with," she answered, shrugging. "Kinda like a treat."

"Treat?" he said uncertainly. "I don't know."

Tifa came to an abrupt stop. Vincent, who was walking behind her, nearly bowled her over but her body prevented him from doing so. "Call your stops!" he said in annoyance.

Tifa gave no apologies. She turned around, got right in front of him, and got into his face, which was hard to do since he was eight inches taller than her. "Don't tell me you've changed your mind again!" she said. "I know you don't really like that place, but you need to give it a chance. Like Yuffie told me awhile ago. "Vincent needs to put a little fun in his life". Why don't you give it a chance?"

Vincent said nothing for a second. Why doesn't Yuffie mind her own business? But... She is right... Maybe I should learn to have fun once in awhile...

"Fine," he gave in. "Whatever."

"Good," she said satisfied. "And to make sure you do..."

The twenty year old spun around, grabbed the gun man's hand, and trooped toward the elevator, constantly keeping him off balance all the way.

"Cut that out!" he ordered, wrenching his arm free, once they were on the elevator. "You had no reason to do that."

"Yes, I did," she argued back, giving him a look. "I was making sure you couldn't change your mind again." She pushed the DOWN button. "And it worked."

"I wasn't going to run away," he said, feeling offended. "I am not a child. I do not need to be led by hand."

Tifa rolled her eyes. Why can't he just talk normal? "How could I be sure?" she asked.

"Try learning to trust me for once."

"Okay. Tell me how to do it."

The twenty seven year old didn't answer. He folded his arms and stared into space. Another thing they will never understand.

You have no answer do you, Vincent Valentine?

"Let's just get this over with," he finally said.

Subtle as usual, she thought with a sniff, and with a total lack of emotion.

"What was that sniff all about?" he demanded.

"Nothing," she lied.

Silence again but Tifa could still sense the friction between them. I am not good at getting past him. I'll let Yuffie handle it. She always seems to know just the right words to open him up.

Nothing else was said between the two the rest of the way down. Tifa could sense he preferred it that way. I won't bother him anymore.

When they exited the elevator, in the small rundown part of the city, Tifa again grabbed his arm. Before he could protest or free it, Tifa was running out of the city shouted at the top of her lungs. "Cloud, Barret, Nanaki, Cid, Caith Sith, Yuffie! I GOT VINCENT!"

Just great! Everyone is here!

Yuffie, who had been leaning against the front wall of the weapon shop at the city entrance, had to jump out of the way to avoid being plowed over. When they past, she ran after them, shouting and flapping her arms like a demented bird. "HEY, VINNIE, IT'S GREAT TO SEE YOU AGAIN!"

All of a sudden Tifa came to a stop. Vincent had to act quickly to avoid falling over. As his body went forward he grabbed the first thing his hands landed on, which happened to be Cloud, who was standing right in front of them.

He nearly knocked the kid over.

Caith Sith started laughing. "Ya got perfect balance, bro," he giggled, then added foolishly. "It looks like Vincent got over Lucrecia. Now he's throwing himself at Cloud."

Vincent, embarrassed, regained his balance and moved as far away from Cloud as possible, muttering a quick apology. His face said more than anything, though.

Cait Sith went crazy with laughter. "What's wrong, Vinnie? Are you in denial?" the cat laughed so hard he fell off the giant stuffed Mog he always rode.

Cid frowned and cursed at the cat. "You've got a sick mind, you know that?"

"I know," the inconsiderate feline said, grinning broadly. "Isn't it great!"

"Damn, Reeve, shut your asshole!" Barret yelled.

"When I'm talking through this toy I am Cait Sith."

Tifa shook her head. Yuffie put her hand over her mouth. Either she was laughing, Cait Sith's remarks were making her sick, or she was already feeling horrible because she knew they'd be getting on the Highwind soon.

Cloud stepped in before the situation got worse. "We didn't come here to discuss whether Vincent is gay or not-"

"I'm not," Vincent interjected defensively.

"-we only came here to see if he wanted to come with us," the ex-SOLDIER finished. "Now that we know his answer and he's here we can get going."

"Thank you, Cloud," Yuffie said. "Now where's the Materia I was promised?"

"What!" Barret exclaimed, as if he couldn't believe his ears. "Are you still obsessing over that!"

Yuffie gave him an annoyed look. "Cloud promised me Materia if I agreed to come," the ninja/Materia thief defended herself. "Or at least that's the impression Tifa gave me. I hope I'm not being duped!"

"You're not," Tifa said quickly.

"Then why did you say that so fast?"

"Because-"

"I am being duped I knew it! You weren't going to give me any Materia! You just told me that so I'd come!"

"I-"

"Don't you lie to me, Tifa Lockheart!"

Barret swore.

Vincent looked away. He didn't want to get involved

Cloud pushed past the two women before an argument broke out. "Let's go," he said.

Cid nodded. He wanted the squabbling to end just as much as the younger man did. "I agree. It's about time we get going."

"I don't want them hurt anymore," Cloud said, referring to Zack's parents. "They've waited long enough for news of their son.

"Now is a good time for them to finally know the truth."

Cloud faced everyone. "Let's get going."

Everyone followed the SOLDIER and the pilot. All problems were forgotten. Vincent was relieved. He didn't want anymore haggling from that cat.

Without a word he too followed Cloud and Cid to the Highwind.

Authors note: Just a few things I need to get off my chest:

1: I had no idea how I was going to make everyone get together so I came with the thing with Cloud.

2: I do not support CloudXTifa. I still think that, even though Aerith/Aeris is dead he should be with her.

3: No, Vincent is not going to be gay in the story. He is straight through and through.

4: I like Yuffie. Even before I got her and Vincent of Final Fantasy 7 I thought for some stupid reason they would like each other. So this is kinda a VincentXYuffie story.

Excuse me. I hope I didn't offend anyone. That's just how I think.

Anyway I hope you enjoyed the chapter. When I wrote it on paper it was a lot shorter. Wayyyyy too short. So I added stuff as I wrote and it got better. Well I hope you enjoyed it. (I already said that didn't I?)