Title: Hovering on the Edge of Twilight

Rating: T

Pairing: Vincent/Reeve

Summary: A missing scene from DoC. Vincent's recovery reveals a few secrets.

Warnings: Contains mild game spoilers for chapter 3 of DoC

Disclaimer: I hold no rights to the game DoC. All characters used with affection, but without permission.

The thoughts flew through Vincent's mind as he fell. This Rosso was strong. Very strong. Perhaps it was only that Vincent had been caught off-guard. Perhaps not. But his normal skill had not been enough to survive the encounter. He considered all this as his body fell, lacking the strength to stop or even control his fall. So, he had been forced to call on Chaos to fend her off? Vincent was not ashamed of the fact. Rosso was a worthy opponent.

Vincent landed on his back, the rain still falling gently around him. Slowly a sound emerged from his throat. "Ha...ha...haha." Still, he was unbeaten. He would not be taken so easily! But the effort of controlling Chaos had drained all his reserves, and now he had nothing left to fend off the darkness flickering at the edges of his vision. The last thing visible was a pair of legs that he somehow knew belonged to a friend... or at least an ally. They were all he saw before he succumbed totally to unconsciousness.

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The first thing that registered in Vincent's mind was the sound of someone shouting. Vincent was unable to move, or open even his eyes, but the voice managed to pierce the wall of his unconsciousness. It sounded like someone was terribly upset... Slowly the sound resolved itself into Reeve's voice.

"What do you mean you found him collapsed?"

Another voice could be heard murmuring explanations about Edge, and something about an encounter with Rosso.

"Rosso the Crimson? The Tsvietts! Is he badly wounded? Will he be able to recover?"

With each question, Reeve's voice managed to get louder, until it could almost be considered shrill. The errant thought flitted through Vincent's semi-conscious mind - Strange for Reeve to get so worked up. Wonder who's got him so worried? But Vincent wasn't given time to consider the puzzle before he faded back into unconsciousness.

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Something was wrong. That was the first new thought Vincent had. A new sound had managed to work its way into his awareness. It sounded like... Someone was crying. Vincent strove to make sense of what was happening. He was still unable to move, but his mind had cleared somewhat. He remembered his recent battle, and realized he had been placed in a regen tank. But hadn't he just heard Reeve...? Yes, Reeve had been shouting...about someone being injured. Could he have been talking about me? Why would he care? But someone was weeping...and Vincent had no idea who. He fought with his body, cursing his weakness. How badly had he been injured? He could barely force his eyes open to slits...but it was enough to bring his surroundings into view. There was a figure kneeling outside his tank...and Vincent would recognize that figure anywhere. Head bowed, face hidden in his hands, shoulders shaking...Vincent watched as Reeve quietly sobbed. Reeve was obviously trying to regain control of himself, but he seemed to be overwhelmed by his grief. One hand reached up to press against the tank's surface, and Reeve finally brought his face upwards, though he clearly had no idea that Vincent could hear him.
"Vincent...please forgive me. I should never have involved you. You've been through so much, and had so much taken from you. I never thought this would happen!"

Vincent's mind whirled. His injury had brought Reeve to this? Vincent had never seen Reeve display this type of emotion. The man was normally calm and composed, thinking only of the overall goal. Why would the sight of Vincent injured pull such a strong reaction from Reeve?

The sound of an opening door pulled Vincent's attention back to the present, but Reeve didn't even shift. Of course, it was Cait Sith, come to report on some incident or another. Once he was finished, Vincent expected him to walk away, but to his mild surprise, the thing stayed. Of course, Vincent knew they contained a level of self awareness, but he had never considered how much they must know about Reeve, instead of the other way around.

"Still not awake then, is he?"

Reeve shook his head. "No. And I'm the one who brought him to this, after all he's done. All he's been through, and I had to drag him back into things, when all he wanted was to be left alone..."

Cait tilted his head to the side. "He's not the only one who would know something about being alone now, is he? You keep to yourself far too much."

Reeve snorted gently. "What would you know of that?"

"For shame, master. You're the one who created us. We see more than you might think. Its what we were made for! Have you not considered telling Vincent about your feelings? Why should you keep hiding them away?"

"Because he would never in a million years appreciate hearing them!" Reeve shot to his feet and started pacing, as if he couldn't contain everything anymore. "For God's sake, I was an executive of Shinra! I'm sure its only because of the help I provided in bringing them down that he even tolerates my existence. He could never understand. He would never believe that just the sight of him, helpless like this..."

Cait watched his master closely. "It hurts you, doesn't it?"

The most hopeless laugh Vincent had ever heard escaped from Reeve's throat. "It hurts like nothing I've ever felt. I would give anything to take his place, even if it would mean my death. I'm sure the thought would not bother him, but I would give my life to protect him."

"Ah, but it might bother him!"

Reeve watched as his creation stepped closer. "What do you mean by that?"

"Remember, when I contacted him in Kalm, I met him in your form. Now your form got shot, but he didn't know it was me! And the look on his face was not one I've ever seen before. It shocked him, it did! Oh, he took revenge on the one to 'kill' you, quick enough. And when he had, he rushed to gather you up before you were gone. I know that he cares for you, master. Perhaps you should have a chat, when he gets out?"

Whatever Reeve was going to say was lost when another person entered the room. While Reeve turned to deal with the business at hand, Vincent's mind drifted over all he had heard.

Reeve harbored feelings for him? The very idea shocked Vincent. When was the last time someone had felt such things for him? Not since...the beginning. I never thought anyone would feel that way about me, not after what I've become. But there was no denying the pain that Reeve was obviously feeling. Incredible. Someone felt, for him. The very idea was a gift beyond price. And how do I feel about him?

One thing Cait Sith was good at, Vincent reflected sardonically, was seeing things no one else knew was there. The Cait had been all too accurate with his description of the events in Kalm. When Reeve's 'body' had been shot, when Vincent had believed his friend to be dead, it was like a part of him had also been shot. He had rushed to gather Reeve up from the floor, as if he could bring Reeve back if he moved fast enough. And when the body had fallen apart, and Cait Sith had come tumbling out, it had been all he could do to keep from reaching out and shaking the thing. He had never been more relieved than when the real Reeve had come rushing out of the WRO transport. He knew he had startled Reeve when he simply ran around the truck, Cerberus blazing, but all he could see in his mind was Reeve being shot again, and knowing that this time it would be no trick, no Cait Sith in disguise.

But I've always resisted getting close to anyone. I never thought it would even be possible. Why should Reeve be any different? Vincent considered the man in question. Certainly he trusted him. Which was odd, considering the things he had done in the past. But Vincent trusted him with his life, and always had. And if he was killed? The very idea left Vincent aching, as if his heart was being squeezed. Vincent thought of Reeve being injured, and felt an immense wave of protectiveness sweep through him. Could I really be attracted to him? Vincent pictured Reeve. He had always acknowledged that Reeve was an attractive man. And Vincent knew the man was anything but weak; Vincent need have no fear of having to hold his strength in check. Reeve knew what Vincent was capable of, and respected his power, but he didn't fear it. But could Vincent make him happy?

That would remain to be seen. But after considering what might be involved in such an undertaking Vincent was surprised by a surge of longing. He wanted to see what would happen! He was tired of always being alone, of living in darkness, only relying on himself. Reeve cared for him, cared enough to feel pain when Vincent was hurt, and Vincent was beginning to realize that he felt the same for Reeve.

Getting out of this damned tank would take some time. Already Vincent could feel his body attempting to shut down again, clamoring for the rest that would speed his healing. But before giving in, Vincent resolved to have a long talk with Reeve as soon as he was released. Reeve would be shocked at being approached by his normally withdrawn friend, Vincent thought with some amusement. He allowed that thought to carry him into slumber, hoping that he would be recovered enough to seek out Reeve when he woke up.