Author's Beginning Note Thingy: So this is a drabble sort of thing... I call it that not because it's short, but because it was randomly conceived, and very quickly written. Not the best of my abilities by a longshot. Oh well, I thought it was cool. It's kinda-sorta-maybe-notreally a prequel to my other Vincent-centric fic: A Valentine Story. Check it out!

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It was the first day of the rest of his life.

Vincent looked around at who would be his companions for the years ahead, none particularly caught his eye... they were a mix of who looked like gawky just-out-of-highschool types, looking for a free ride through the college-equivalent that was Turk-training, people who were maybe a little older, and more educated, looking for a career for the future, and then the occasional person or two who appeared to be from the wrong sector of Midgar, those people who, he thought, would look better in gang regalia than a Turk uniform.

He idly wondered how many of them would be left by the end, wondered if even he would be among those to make it through. He so hoped he would... after all, this was the only choice he had. The boy, tender age of 19, proceeded through the doors, desperately clutching to his very few belongings.

Orientation was a long boring speech by some retired member, and then the current leader barking instructions... 'Your rooms will be here', 'You will get up at this time', 'Your studies will consist of...' At this point, the young boy wasn't even sure he'd survive until dinner, let alone through the next four years of his life.

When the rows of three-dozen-or-so Turks-to-be sitting in the auditorium all looked as if they were about to die of boredom, mercy intervened, and the orientation ended. Halfhearted applause echoed briefly off the tall ceiling, before they were instructed to proceed to the room's they'd been assigned. They would find everything they'd need for the rest of their year already awaiting them, and were granted two hours of spare time, before they were expected to arrive in the mess hall, wearing their best attire, for a formal dinner, where they'd be seated in groups at a table, and meet a current elite member of the Turks.

So he went to where he was expected to go, boredly lying down on the bottom bunk of his bed. He soon met his roommate, a punky sort of kid, who came crashing in through the door, dragging, what Vincent was sure was unnecessary luggage behind, among which was included a case to what was almost undoubtedly an electric guitar. Despite appearances, he ended up being a fairly friendly, if not slightly scattered kind of guy.

Two hours, a lot of unpacking, and a little dull conversation later, the two were headed down toward the mess hall. Damion, Vincent's roommate, was in a mostly-buttoned black silk shirt and somewhat dressy slacks, and boots. Vincent was a little fancier, with a red shirt beneath a nice black jacket, and matching pants, as well as dress shoes. His short hair was slicked back, only a few stubborn threads falling into burgundy eyes.

The dinner went relatively well, they had a very accomadating guest at their table, who told them of the excitement of being a Turk, of course selling the career like any advertiser would, regaling them with various adventures, no doubt slightly exaggerated, and sparing the gory details. To Vincent, it all felt nice, but fake. Turks weren't this... cozy. No way.

Starting the next morning, he slipped into the Turk routine fairly well. Getting up early, into the uniforms provided for him, breakfast, academic studies, extra curricular studies (which mainly included handy skills no other college would teach, like lockpicking, and target shooting), dinner, time for finishing homework, then bed.

It was the first day of the rest of his life.

---

Freshman year was tough. Being a freshman in general was always tough, even back in highschool. Especially when you're one of those extra-focused, or prodigy students... just like Vincent Valentine. Whenever he was particularly praised for his almost natural skill with a gun, or for a good grade in science classes (with his dad as a scientist, how could he not get them?), the older students would just glower at him... he got used to it, though.

Those students who were not completely intent on being Turks were soon discarded. Vincent's roommate was gone by midsemester, and not replaced.

He was rarely given trouble, though, probably because he was rarely in such a position that he was made vulnerable. Didn't have many friends to doublecross him (he wouldn't put it past friends made in training for the Turks), didn't go out alone after hours (as some had been known to do), didn't go anywhere but through the not-so-crowded hallways between classes. For this, the teachers loved him, and for that, the students resented him.

It was on the one journey he'd taken, such a lovely summer night the day before graduation, he was done studying for end-of-year tests, that he just couldn't resist going outside. He was caught, almost literally right out of his dorm room door. He'd left, and turned a corner, when a group of half-drunk, celebrating seniors came upon him.

"Hey look..." one of them chided, pointing over the other's shoulder, "It's little Valentine..."

"Yeah." the other gurgled, dark brown liquid in a cup he held sloshing around dangerously close to the rim as he staggered a bit, "Out so late, V?"

Vincent didn't answer, just stared blankly past unkempt bangs.

They laughed.

"We've already made it into the Turks..." said the first one, "You'll never get that far, no matter how hard you try. It's only an uphill struggle on a steeper and steeper slope from day one, and you're not so great..." He'd leaned over, close to the boy's face, the alcohol-stench saturating his breath. Vincent made a face at it, and the senior recoiled.

"Somethin' wrong with me, Valentine?" he asked, offended.

Vincent paused a long time, just beginning to open his mouth with a response, when he felt a stiff boot-toe in his stomach. The breath escaped from between his opened lips then, as he almost doubled over, and shuffled quickly back.

A hand on the wall to steady himself, he quickly gasped in, and stood back up, silent.

"What, not gonna say anything?" said the first senior's accomplice, shoving the liquid-filled glass in his partner's hands, "Mute again, you almost never talk..." he rounded in on the boy, towering over him, hands clenching into loose fists.

Vincent eyed the hands a moment, knowing they were well-experienced in the art of defeating those smaller, weaker than them. He simply turned his glare to the man's face, mouth squeezed into a thin line, and chin tilted upwards haughtily.

This made the senior snarl, and put his fist to use. A shot to his already aching stomach. Vincent winced, and doubled over, desperately trying to get himself readied to fight back... all his hand-to-hand knowledge that he'd studied over the months and months leaving as the next shot was dealt to the side of his head, then the back of his neck. He was kicked at the ankles, and his feet fell from under him, sending the boy facedown on the metal floor, his lip throbbing where he'd bitten it, and salty blood filling his mouth.

They laughed.

He did not show up at the graduation the next day.

---

Summers were spent at the school after that year. Near Halloween of his sophomore year, he'd gotten a letter announcing his father's premature death. The amount to which it upset him was small, and he wondered if that was a bad thing. He had a new roommate, as silent as he, and apparently as cold and unfeeling. Months after months with this man, and he wondered, did he really want to be like that?

Silence, indifference... that was hard, that was... not him. But the opposite was weak. After graduation last year, he'd sworn never again to be weak.

---

He graduated with full honors, willingly taken immediately into the Turk Elite program, a year or two extra study, often abroad, as a partner to current Turk members already on assignments. His first partner was senior number one from that end-of-freshman-year night.

Luckily, the Turk didn't recognize him. He had kept up that nasty habit of drinking... and was passed out on the floor the night Vincent carried out the job. He also, of course, took all the credit for it in the end. Vincent was left with nothing but blood on his hands.

---

"Here's your next job." said his superior, slapping down a large folder on Vincent's desk. The Turk looked up from polishing his gun, the only inheritance he'd gotten from the death of his father. It's name was Quicksilver.

He idly flipped through the very, very few pages of notes on the inside, looking up with confusion. Usually it was unlike the Turks to not give painfully long, descriptive reports. He glanced back down at two pictures in the very back, a man and a woman in lab coats.

"You're not allowed to know much, this is some ShinRa run, top secret kinda thing..." his boss explained, while lighting up a cigarette. He pulled the box out of his pocket, and held it out to Vincent, "You want one?"

He shook his head, staring pointedly, "You know I don't."

The man shrugged, and put away the pack, puffing at his own, before sighing the smoke out. "They specifically requested you, because of your expertise... I don't know what you're supposed to do there, exactly, but that's kinda the point of top secret... you don't ask any questions, ya got it?"

He sighed, "I got it..." and closed the folder, standing up. "When do I leave?"

"Tomorrow morning."

He turned to go toward his room, conjoined to the back of his new private office.

"Where are you going?" the man asked.

"I have to pack."

"You can pack after the new recruits' first dinner." he said, "We're not letting you off the hook."

"Vincent sighed, and once again turned around, dropping the folder carelessly back on the desk, "I'm not staying longer than I have to." he muttered angrily as he walked out.

He was seated with two of the quiet indifferent type, and one other... the other was strange, enthusiastic, and well-learned already. Vincent immediately saw something in him that the other two didn't have. Sure, they would grow up to be fine, upstanding Turks, who would be decent at what they did, take a few jobs, and then get killed in action... but this other guy... he really had potential.

"What's your name, kid?" he asked him after having gotten quite friendly during the meal.

The boy looked up at him, tossing those long black locks over his shoulder, and smiling, not only on his lips, but in the sparkle in those mystic brown eyes. The child reminded Vincent of a much more outgoing, and talented version of him.

"Tseng." said the kid.

"Nice meeting you." Vincent said, extending a hand to shake.

"You too." Tseng said, taking it.

It was the first day of the rest of his life.

---

Vincent went on to his next assignment. Tseng idly wondered, for a little while, where the Turk was stationed, and when he'd be back. He never came back. But that never bothered the boy... it wasn't long before he forgot him. He graduated full honors as well, and was made a counselor to new Turks. The three that were assigned to him immediately caught his attentions, and he was determined not to let them fail.

There would be no failure for advisees of Tseng. Yes, Rude, Reno, and Elena would all make good Turks, he decided this they day he graduated, the day he saw them as perspective students, the day he knew they'd be in his charge for the next four years, and maybe beyond.

It was the first day of the rest of his life.

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Author's Ending Note Thingy: This has a bit of a wacky timeline... but we'll deal, won't we? - Yeah... erm, review? Please?