Huzzah! I finally started! Actually...I had this written a while ago, but couldn't think of a title. I know, sad, isn't it? Well, I might change the title later on, but that all depends on if I can think of a better one. But, you should enjoy this! It's meant to be enjoyed. Like cake, or ice cream...yum...
Summary: What happens in the past, usually stays in the past. But what happens if the past resurfaces? Vincent, on a search for atonement, is going to find out...the hard way.
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy VII or it's characters. Sucks, I know.
The desert heat radiated from the ground. Scorpions and lizards scurried around, trying to get out of the way of a lone figure. Hooded and cloaked in scarlet cloth for protection from the blazing sun, the figure's tired, crimson eyes scanned the horizon, seeming to search for something as the figure's pointed boots continued moving the person over the sand.
Passing the bleached bones of a desert hare, one that happened to have met the fate of being the meal of another desert dweller, the figure continued on as a speck appeared in the distance. Walking closer, the figure's ruby eyes stared at it, the figure never wavering from it's seemingly destined path.
The closer the person came to the speck, the louder the sound of clucking chickens became. The speck seemed to grow from the horizon, becoming a large town, filled with tents and houses. Children ran around, playing with a ball and laughing. Chickens clucked and pecked at the ground from behind a fence. An oasis sat at the center of the town, the clear water sparkling in the light of the sun, as a large antenna stood beside it.
As the cloaked figure stepped through the town's main gate, it's eyes fluttered, and slowly the person fell to their knees, then face first into the ground, unconscious.
Crimson eyes slowly opened, staring into a ceiling. Blinking away the sleep, the figure slowly sat up, and realized that his hood was down. His hair, long and the color of a raven's feathers, seemed to flow behind him. His face, smooth and pale like porcelain, was partially hidden by the high collar of the cloak.
Swinging his long legs over the side of the bed, the man looked at his surroundings. He saw a wooden dresser over in the corner of the room, and a desk with a matching chair near the door.
Standing up to his full height of six feet, the man walked about halfway to the door, stopping as it started to open. A little girl of about six stepped into the room, and the girl and the man looked at each other for a second. Finally, the girl ran out of the room, calling out "Tifa!"
The man seemed unfazed by this, and continued to walk out of the room, his cloak billowing around him. Outside the room was a short hallway, with two more doors besides the one the man came from. Noises of people talking and glasses being set on wood seemed to permeate from beyond one of the doors. Grabbing the handle to that door, using his right hand, he twisted it and opened the door.
His eyes instantly scanned the room. From the smoky atmosphere, to the slightly 'happy' patrons, to the large wooden counter with many bottles behind it, the man quickly assumed it was a bar.
"Oh! I just heard from Marlene that you woke up." A brunette woman stood behind the bar, a warm smile on her face as her ample bosom seemed to threaten to tear open her t-shirt to escape from it's confinement. The little girl from before, whom the man assumed to be Marlene, clung to the woman's leg as she looked up at the man. Returning his gaze to the woman, she gestured towards a stool at the bar. "Have a seat and I'll get you something to drink."
The man shook his head. "I don't have any money."
The brunette smiled. "Then how about this: As payment, you tell some things about yourself. Deal?"
Normally, the man wouldn't agree to a deal like this. The less people knew about him, the better off he was. However, he was extremely thirsty now, and without any gil...
Silently cursing the desert and his thirst, he sat down, saying "Water."
The bartender looked down at Marlene, who ran off to get the man his man his drink. Leaning against the bar, the woman started her questions. "So, what's your name?"
The man calmly looked back, his face unemotional. "Vincent Valentine."
A clink of glass on wood told Vincent that his water was ready. As he grabbed the glass, the woman said, "Ah. I'm Tifa, and this-" she gestured to the girl "-is Marlene. So, why are you traveling?"
Finishing the water, he placed the empty glass down on the bar, a flicker of sadness crossing his eyes before disappearing as quickly as it had appeared. "I'm...searching for something."
Tifa's smile seemed to falter a little. "Searching? For what?"
Vincent stared into space. "An apology...No, that's too simple...Atonement."
The bartender frowned a little, but her smile soon returned as she said "Well, I'm sure you'll find it."
Getting no response from the encouragement, Tifa continued her questions as Marlene went to refill Vincent's empty glass. "So, have you traveled with anyone?"
The crimson-eyed man shook his head. Frowning, Tifa asked "Do you have anything to protect yourself? Any martial arts training or a weapon?"
Shrugging, Vincent said, "A little...enough to get by."
Tifa threw up her hands in defeat as she sighed. "I've seen some foolhardy travelers before, but you're the first I've seen that doesn't carry some form of protection."
Getting only a shrug, Tifa grew quiet as she tended to her other customers as Marlene brought back Vincent's glass, now refilled. Closing his eyes, Vincent quietly drank his water in peace.
Half finished with his second water, Vincent could hear a loud, gruff laughter from outside. A groan escaped Tifa, as her hand went to her head to rub her eyes. "Marlene? Get the tea started."
As the young girl placed a kettle on the stove, the doors to the bar banged open. Vincent paid it no heed as heavy footsteps made their way through the bar. A bulky figure sat next to the raven-haired man, making a grunt as he pulled out a cigarette and a lighter.
After lighting up and sucking in some of the nicotine, the man proceeded to blow smoke rings into the air above himself. Vincent continued to drink his water, his eyes closed.
"Yo, Tifa! Who the fuck's this guy?" Vincent figured it was the man sitting next to him who spoke, noting the natural gruffness to it. He mentally shrugged off the comment, but opened his eyes as Tifa responded with "Him? That's Vincent."
"So, Vincent, eh? Not much to ya, is there?" Vincent, a little annoyed by the man, looked over at him. He was a little shorter than Vincent, but definitely more muscular. Tan and covered with grease from a machine, the man smirked around his lit cigarette, his bright blue eyes shining. His blonde hair seemed to stick up, and seemed to be held back by the goggles that were on his forehead. Vincent blinked at the man, who didn't seem to actually notice that Vincent was staring at him and was scratching his stubble.
Keeping quiet, Vincent watched as Marlene poured the man his tea, then pulled out a bottle filled with an amber colored liquid. As the girl quickly unscrewed the top, the crimson-eyed man could immediately smell the scent of whiskey in the air. Marlene then poured the liquor into the tea, and pushed the teacup towards the blonde man.
Taking a large gulp, the man smacked his lips. "Ah! Just what I needed."
Tifa now came over, and a sudden spark came into her eyes, like someone turned on a light bulb. "Hey, Cid?"
Looking up from his tea, he blew out a cloud of noxious smoke. "What do ya want?"
A smile traveled it's way onto Tifa's face, with a sort of puppy dog quality to her eyes. "Vincent here is traveling. Alone. Weaponless."
Cid cocked an eyebrow, giving a look to the cloaked man and then to the busty barmaid. "So? What the hell does that have to do with me?"
Tifa's eyes got a little bigger, and she said "You should go with him."
Cid's eyebrow went a little higher. "Excuse me? Why the fuck should I?"
"Because, you're...strong, and...kind." Tifa seemed to strain this out, but Cid apparently didn't notice that, only that he was getting praised.
He chest puffed out a little, Cid said "Well, as much as that is true...I still can't. Cloud made me the leader of Amaaria while he's gone."
Tifa just shrugged. "That's okay. I can take over."
Cid seemed to get a little frustrated. "Dammit, woman. Can't you tell I don't want to go?"
Tifa's eyes glinted, and she stood up straight. She then proceeded to crack her knuckles.
This is where Cid started to panic. "Uh...that's not healthy for ya. You really um...shouldn't...I..I...I don't have any extra money!"
The bartender smirked. "Then, if you go, I'll clear your bar tab."
The blonde seemed intrigued. "...How much is my tab?"
Blinking a little, the smoker turned towards Vincent, extending his hand. "Well, I guess I'm going with ya. I'm Cid Highwind."
Vincent looked down at the hand, then back into the sky blue orbs of the other man. When had he agreed to this? Well, arguing now wouldn't solve anything. "Vincent Valentine."
"Tch...cold mother fucker." Cid mumbled, before finishing his tea and getting up. "You'll stay at my place tonight, and we'll leave tomorrow." Leaving, Vincent quietly got up, nodded to Tifa as a form of goodbye, and followed after the man, heading out into the darkened town.
The house was filled with three things. Ashtrays, the smell of cigarettes, and many tiny machines and mechanisms. Vincent carefully avoided touching anything while walking through the house.
"Yo! Shera! You here?!" Cid yelled this through the house, and after five seconds of no response, turned back to Vincent. "Looks like she's not back. Listen, I'll sleep on the couch, and you'll take my room. Otherwise, Shera will bitch my ears off about not being hospitable. It's down the hall, the last room on the right."
Vincent quickly found the room, and closed the door behind himself. The room had a desk in one of the corners, and a queen-size bed beside the window. Taking off his boots and letting his toes wiggle a little, he went over to the bed, and started to undo the buckles that held his cloak on.
Dropping the cloak on the floor, Vincent sat on the bed, looking out the window and into the night. Bringing up his left knee, Vince leaned back on his right hand and let his left arm rest on his knee, the gauntlet and claws that adorned the arm shining in the moonlight. Sighing, he stared harder into the night.
/So...will tonight be filled with nightmares? ...Of course, there isn't a night that doesn't...\
To be continued...
Huzzah! Now, to just finish ch. 2 and every other chapter after it...well, I better get to work then, huh?