Disclaimer: I don't own any of these characters or places. Square Enix does.

A/N: Edited and re–uploaded on 12/13/06. (Thank you to pied flycatcher for pointing out mistypes and clichés! I love critiques!)

Bright summer light danced across the wall near the foot of the bed, casting patterns on the heavy armoire's oak doors, the breeze pushing back the curtains just enough to let the sunshine through. Cool air swept into the room, and Lucrecia could hear the chirp of birds outside. She imagined them, hopping from branch to branch among the blossoms in the tree at the top of the hill overlooking Nibelheim, and smiled to herself. Her body sang from her recent exertion and the bite of the chilly wind. She loved it when the mansion was absolutely and perfectly quiet. It was only days like this that they could get away, drop the pretense of professional friends, and hide away in the bedroom on the top floor. So very few times.

They lay on the smallest bed she's ever seen, covered only by a thin blanket. She was pressed up against his side, one leg over the top of his, right hand laying lazily across his ribcage. Lucrecia turned her head to look up at him, her hair sliding against his chest. She smiled when she saw that Vincent's eyes were nothing more than slits as he tried valiantly to stay awake. His dark hair obscured his right eye, bangs brushing the very top of his cheekbone, lips parted slightly. His arm twitched against her back as he slowly began to descend to sleep. She loved watching him in these moments, when he was so exhausted yet still struggling to stay awake with her. In these moments she could see Vincent Valentine, the man who fell asleep on hillsides and held her far more gently than she ever could've imagined, not the hardened Turk who did Shin–Ra's dirty work. These moments were when she loved him the most.

The arm that wasn't holding her against his side was tucked behind his head, and Lucrecia rested her head against his shoulder, knowing that if she waited any longer to say what she needed to stay, she would be talking to an unconscious lover. She had waited until the mansion was empty to tell him the news, nervous about the response, and trying so hard to give herself time to work it out. How do I tell him I'm…? Do I tell him at all?

She hated that little part of her, the scientist in her. Ever so cold and infuriatingly rational, always reminding her of the realities she didn't want to face. The part of her that told her to run screaming from this man, that constantly told her she was foolish for giving in to her heart's desire. And what are you going to do? Get married and move back to Midgar? That part of her scoffed. Vincent would be instantly fired, she knew, once their relationship was found out. They had been so careful, but not careful enough when finally, blessedly by themselves. He would never be able to find another decent job, and she'd never finish her thesis, never move on with her scientific research. Isn't that what you always wanted? More than this man? To show those fools at Shin–ra that you are indeed a scientist of merit? She shut her eyes, pressing her forehead into his side. She could tell by his breathing that he'd slipped off to sleep, arm still holding her tightly. Would they end up living in the slums? Probably. And he'd resent her for the rest of his life, taking his dream away, and she would likely do the same.

She clenched the fist that rested on the other side of him, trying not to cry. He'd become a mercenary, she suspected. They were the skills he had, the skills he prided himself on. And he's good at it too, The voice told her. How else could he be promoted to the Turks? And she could easily see herself raising the child, alone, wondering every day if he'd come home. Far too easily. And their child? Vincent was a thoughtful, sensitive soul, she knew. But a trained killer, it reminded her. That deep apathetic streak frightened her. What would the child become, raised knowing his father did things that made people cringe and beg?

A tear spilled out, running down her nose and dropping onto his chest, were it stayed still for just a moment, long enough for her to see it glisten, before sliding into the blanket. I've known Vincent for two months, the most blissful months of my life. He is so much like his father. She nearly choked on her own guilt. Encouraging, intelligent, always thinking of her before himself. I killed his father. Can I live with that? Can I look at my own child and know I robbed him of that because of my own disregard? Can I tell him I am the reason why your father has that deep ache that will never go away? What was she to do?

Lucrecia had no idea how Vincent would react. Not anger, she knew, but maybe that cold, dark stare she'd seen so few times. When he realized the life and career he'd worked all his 27 years for was over. The same stare she feared she'd receive once he found out she caused the accident that killed Grimoire. He was still aching over that loss; he'd told her once that Shin–Ra hadn't notified him until after the funeral, since he'd been in the middle of the intensive training to become a Turk. Some part of her hoped he'd happily surprised, willing to do anything to keep her and the unborn child happy, even if it meant giving up being a Turk. Could she ask him to do that? To bear her burden as well as his? She knew her feelings for Vincent ran deep, but did she love him so much that she'd…?

For as soon as she realized she was with child, that cold, rational part of her had formulated a plan. Hojo already suspected something between her and Vincent, but had no proof to back it up, since Vincent was assigned to protect her, after all. He watched her, thinking she didn't know. The man had such an ego, one she wasn't sure he deserved, and her heart went out to him when she realized how fragile he was. Before she'd met Vincent, she had considered going to Hojo, being with him out of an instinctive pity and desire to protect him. She knew he'd take her now, with his jealousy and obvious rivalry with Vincent for her attention. She could continue her life as a scientist, she could have the baby, and Vincent could stay with the Turks, never knowing the difference. She'd break his heart, but he was so strong. He'd move on, and in time, maybe could she. Besides, she would know the truth, know that she still held a little part of him through their child. That might be enough for her, having had at least this short period of foolish happiness. Please, please let him have Vincent's eyes.

Vincent stirred, rolling onto his side, wrapping both his limber arms around her. Arms that had held her fewer times than she could count on one hand, arms that she knew now would never hold their baby. She tried to hide her sob. Was she making the right decision, or another mistake?

She felt Vincent's breath in her hair. "Lucrecia, I…"

Her throat closed. "Vincent, don't, please."

He pulled back just enough to see her face, see the tears on her cheeks. "Lucrecia, what's wrong…?"

She shook her head, lowering her face. "Just, please, don't. We both know how we feel… do we need to say it aloud?"

One thumb wiped the tears off her right cheek. "Why are you crying?"

"Because… Vincent…" She swallowed against the lump in her throat, at a loss for words. "Just, please, forget it?"

He gazed at her for a few moments, hand in her hair, before nodding, his trust in her so thorough. He pulled her in close again, and after another few minutes, was asleep once more, snoring slightly.

Lucrecia took a deep breath. Please, don't let the grief drive me mad, she prayed to whoever would listen. She looked up at him, once last time, peaceful, blissful look on his face, never to know the truth about the child she carried.

Pressing her forehead into his chest, she whispered to him.

"Vincent… I'm… so sorry…"

A/N: I know what official info says. I'm not trying to deny it. I just like Lucrecia and I wonder about why she made some of the choices she did. Come on, people… Wouldn't that be the irony to end all ironies?