I'm just starting up this story as ironically, I wrote this one first then felt I wasn't too happy with it, wrote other ones and weren't too happy with those either and I now gone back to the original. I feel more in tune with this story and it closely resembles what I had in mind for the development of the characters!

After watching and playing FF7 I sort of realised that the Turks worked toegtehr, often in pairs such as Reno and Rude. It made me think logically that Vincent too wouldn't have worked without a partner as well. And this is her story.

I don't owe anything to do with FF7 and square enix…


Atonement

I knew him once upon a time. Back when we were young, living for our jobs. We were Turks; the job was our companion, teacher, friend, enemy, lover, and parent. It gave to us the dream of the whole world and what we could become whilst we ended other people's dreams in one cold aim.

We were given targets, we stalked them and when we got them where we want, we took them down.

No questions asked.

Never needed to, as they were always the bad guys, the ones who plotted to undermine us when in fact it was always the other way around.

They were innocents and for all those years I had blood on my hands and failed to spot it. I'm remorseful now for my acts of murder but back then, they were part and parcel of my job and that was that.

I thought I was free when in fact I was a puppet attached to the mighty hand that was Shinra.

In some funny way we leached off Shinra that supported the Turks 'maverick', infamous lifestyle. And Shinra leached off us, we were the guys that helped dealt out the power and force that was what the energy company needed to survive.

Him and I were the original Turks, the first ones that set the high level of standards that Turks nowadays aim for. We were employed back when Shinra was another small company fighting for market domination.

I remembered the first time I saw him, I was caught pilfering from some Shinra executive I bedded, I came from a poor background and used what I could to survive, even my body. Instead of being killed which was the most likely outcome of my arrest, I was given a choice by a Shinra officer who spotted potential in me, to work for them.

It's a no-brainer choice and needless to say, I accepted.

After being held in the Shinra cells for a day or so, as they still didn't trust me coming back, I was lead to a large room where sat several other candidates.

And he was one of them.

He sat back in the chair with ease; his black, floppy hair was long on a man yet suited him. His dark brown eyes watched me come in as he silently scrutinised me being escorted in by a guard.

It was always his eyes that drew me to him, you could never tell what he's thinking but he would regard you with those eyes and they would sear your soul. This made him a successful Turk.

One look could unravel a man's mind.

The induction revealed his name was Vincent Valentine, his father who was a Shinra scientist, recommended him for the job as he was an excellent marksman who practised often when he could.

He was quiet and would regard any situation silently, whenever he did speak, you could guarantee it was important. He became our unspoken leader amongst us students as he commanded a great deal of respect for he was the best.

He wasn't always the best at everything, when paired up for various exercises especially when it concerned intelligence gathering and technology, it inevitably ended up that he was with me.

We were supposed to swap partners but the trainers gave up on that, they could see we worked well together and we got the job done. I got his back covered and he got mine.

It was no surprise that when we completed the course and ended up as full trained Turks he was my partner.

Back then, each Turk as a symbol of honour got given a code name. No Turk goes by their real name for obvious security reasons, we got symbols that represented our namesakes.

I was Hades, which was the mythological Underworld and my tattoo was of a woman standing amongst the flames of eternity with a sword in each arm, one directed up to heaven and the other pointed down to Hell below. My tattoo saw on my left shoulder, I remember sitting across from Vincent in my bra and trousers, watching him occasionally wince when the tattooing needle hit bone. He had a tattoo on his left shoulder too; it was of a three-headed dog with wings that represented his codename. Cerberus.

The three-headed dog that guarded Hades, the underworld.

It was an internal joke amongst us, Vincent protected me as if I was a bitch in heat according to others. Not that we were anything more than friends. It was all strictly platonic, though it was all right for us to have relationships with each other.

Vincent was Cerberus because he was the man that took down anything that threatened me, it was my job to make sure he got the right target, accumulate the evidence, hack into computers, etc…the list is endless and yet our mission's success comes down to Vincent's accuracy with a bullet.

He had 100 accuracy rate. All targets we were given were always eliminated.

Our job was nasty, we were brutal and the pair of us used anything at our disposal.

If it was a woman, we would use Vincent as the lure, his good looks and smouldering personality could attract any woman, sometimes he would bring them back to his bed where in the heat of the night she would find herself suffocating, other times he would lead them to a quiet street corner when I would await to finish the job.

But more often than not, the target was a man and often I was used. I lured men in the strangest of places. I've killed men using stiletto blades whilst pole-dancing in seedy strip clubs. I romanced men in bed to have Vincent kill them when I left the room.

I've poisoned men over dinner and sometimes Vincent would work with me. On occasions we posed as lovers to get closer to someone, as dates to get into parties, as a married couple to not aroused suspicion.

We worked closely together; we've nothing to hide from each other. I knew him as intimately as any wife, lover or mother.

I knew he had a scar on his right hip where as a boy he fell and impaled himself on shrapnel of an old ruin.

He's ticklish under his arms and the back of his neck.

He thinks his feet are his worst features and his arms are his best.

He misses his mother who he rarely sees since his father's death in some failed experiment.

He makes mean cocktails and harbours a secret ambition to open his own bar.

I knew what song he wanted played at his funeral (Mozart), his first kiss (with a neighbour's daughter called Shelly), his underwear size (medium or a 32 waist), I knew a lot more than the average person and yet he was still a mystery to me.

What made him tick I didn't know.

I've seen the man naked, I seen him injured; I've seen him angry yet I still didn't know what kept him going.

Vincent was a mystery to anyone and that's part of his charm.

If he smiles at you, you knew it was a genuine smile for a genuine reason.

If he laughs…well that's something for the books.

Vincent was a good man who made one classical mistake.

Falling in love with a married woman.

And he paid for it…big time, as I eventually found out.

I can still remember the exact moment I realised something was up with Vincent for he was late.

Let me set the record straight so you know – Vincent is never late, he would grumble about my disregard for time keeping but he was never late, even when shot, maimed and beaten he still arrived on time.

I was stuck in an interview room with a man who frankly wasn't talking and we needed to get some information out of him.

Not my forte.

Vincent mainly handles interrogations, as he's more intimidating and frankly knew how to get you squealing like a girl without him breaking sweat.

Unless you do my job, trust me, it's hard work trying to keep a man scared with the threat of your partner coming to sort him out, when he was running late and making me look the fool.


The man's lips jerked back into a smile as he watched the female Turk idly tap the table she was seated at.

Her long blonde hair shone weakly in the yellow light that lit the simple cell where both captor and prisoner sat. The room was sparsely furnished, one steel table, three steel chairs and dried splattered blood on the grubby walls where previous occupants have ended up pummelled into the plaster.

She flashed her green eyes at the man in annoyance and defiantly stated, "He's coming."

"I'm sure he is." The man's throat rasped due to three days without water.

Anger made the woman raise the butt of her gun and slam it across the man's cheek with a snap. He groaned and shook his head, clearly stunned as he slumped further into his chair where he was restrained with his hands tied behind him by a cable.

Casting a look at her watch, she saw that Cerberus was nearly an hour late and she, Hades was beginning to look the fool.

She heard the click of the door opening and looked up, casting a look of annoyance at Cerberus who mouthed to her his apologies.

With a small toss of his head, he cleared his eyes of his black fringe that fell forward and shrugged out of his jacket and hung it on a hook on the back of the door.

"He's not talking." Hades stated simply.

"I figured he wouldn't. He's my fifth one today, I had to change shirts hence why I'm late." He spoke as he pulled from his pocket a silver knuckle-duster and wiggled it on his fist.

Hades could now see the man's eyes widen and his jaw set in the determination of not saying anything.

"Very well, you best get started." Hades gave a wave of her hand as she turned to face the man who seemed to retreat into himself.

With one punch, Cerberus managed to knock the man over, chair and all, where he landed with a yelp of pain.

Cerberus bent down and jerked the chair back upright where the man groggily swayed despite his bonds.

"Now Mr Jarvis, shall we start?"


An hour later, Mr Jarvis's tongue suddenly loosened and he was taken to the infirmary to be cleaned up, courtesy of Vincent.

"Sorry Mira…" Vincent spoke as he washed his hands free of blood and wiggled the knuckle-duster off.

"What kept you?" Mira Diablo interrupted, she loosened her tie as she grabbed her water bottle and took a swig.

"I was held up by…"

Mira interrupted once more, clearly annoyed. "Let me guess…Lucrecia."

Vincent, as she predicted said nothing except regarded her for a long moment before turning to grab a towel.

"Well I turned up didn't I?" he feebly retorted and she snorted with agitation.

"What did Lucrecia want this time?"

"We just got talking and forgot the time that's all." Vincent strode from the bathroom

into the unisex changing rooms followed by Mira.

"Vincent, you need to stop it, she's not interested."

"Oh really? Then why has she agreed to come out with me tonight?"

"But…she just got married…" Mira broke off as she watched Vincent shrug himself out of his shirt and his vest he wore beneath it.

"She doesn't love him." He muttered.

"Then why marry Hojo? Did she actually tell you this?" Mira watched her partner slump against the locker.

"Not in so many words." He grounded out and gave his hair an awkward swipe with his hand.

"Then she loves him and you must leave her alone and be more professional and stop showing me up."

"It was only the one time." Vincent reached into his locker and grabbed his towel and toiletry bag. And began to make his way to the showers but was obstructed by Mira.

"Vincent, be careful, this will all end in tears. You're messing with a married woman who doesn't love you."

"Well at least you're here to pick up the pieces." Vincent smiled and pushed past her.

Mira rolled her eyes and made her way to her locker opposite Vincent's own and proceeded to get changed into civilian clothing. It was her night off and she's got plans.


"So?"

"So what?"

"You're smiling."

"Can't I smile?"

"Vincent, you don't smile…period. So out with it."

"Nothing, it's nothing."

"…"

"What?"

"It's your 'date' last night wasn't it?"

"I don't kiss and tell."

"You kissed her?!" at that Mira stopped walking and watched Vincent stop in front of her, his smile fading from his lips.

"That has nothing to do with you."

"It does. I'm your partner, we watch out for each other and I need to know you're not going to do anything stupid." Mira snapped, she stared at Vincent but the man just helplessly shrugged as if he had nothing more to say.

"I'll see you at the mansion." She huffed and stalked past him, ignoring him calling out her name.

She drove to Shinra Mansion in silence, her mind racing with her turmoil and she nearly missed the turn off. Reversing the car back a few meters she drove up the gravelled driveway and pulled to a screeching halt.

Waving her ID at two SOLDIERS, she entered the hallway and instinctively turned right to the stairs that lead downwards to the laboratory where she could hear Hojo's voice and the whir of machinery operating already at seven in the morning.

She walked past Hojo who was leaning over a microscope to come to another lab room where it was quieter and filled with the eerie glow of many glowing substances-like materia in bell jars and test tubes.

"Morning Mira." Came a soft voice and Mira gave a polite smile as Lucrecia looked up from a book she was reading.

"Lucrecia." She acknowledged as she checked her gun's safety catch was on.

"If I may…can I speak to you?" Lucrecia asked, her voice sounding troubled as Mira looked up and frowned, "Sure, what's wrong?"

"Vincent's not here is he?"

"No, I made him walk up here. I thought he could do with a work out"

"I've made a mistake…I saw Vincent last night."

"I know, Vincent told me." Mira shifted awkwardly, keeping one eye on the door as Lucrecia stood uneasily with unshed tears in her eyes.

"I slept with him."

Silence.

Door forgotten, Mira watched Lucrecia pull out a tissue and wipe her eyes.

"You slept with Vincent?" she hissed, not believing how the whole situation spiralled out of control.

"It wasn't meant to happen…I couldn't resist him."

Mira shakily seated herself in a vacant chair as Lucrecia flapped her hands helplessly, "What shall I do…"

"Do you love him?"

"What?" Lucrecia stopped moving to regard the female Turk who repeated the question.

"I don't know…I'm with Hojo."

Mira simply groaned in response, her stomach sinking beyond the floor as she tried to see a good way out.

"Morning." Vincent breathed, his cheeks slightly red from the uphill walk Mira made him trek as she took their car.

"Vincent." Mira muttered as Lucrecia remained silent.

"Excuse me; I have some security checks to make." Mira slid off the chair and pushed past Vincent who remained in the doorway. She blindly headed over to the table where the post was piled up and began checking the post, to ensure there was no hate mail, suspicious contents or anything that could endanger the lives of Shinra's finest scientists.

Anger and disbelief pulsated through her, how could clever, strait-laced Vincent make such a stupid mistake?

"Professor?" she turned and walked up to Hojo who as usual was in his own world until she broke him free of his mutterings long enough to hand him the opened post.

He took them, muttering a thanks and resumed his work, undeterred.

She stared at his hunched back, his shoulder bones poking through the white material of his lab coat, the grey hair tied back in a pony tail and his long, gnarled fingers fiddling with the dials on some contraception.

It didn't take an expert to see why Lucrecia slept with Vincent.

And that stung her deep inside, making her almost sick to the stomach.


I can admit to this maturely. I had at this point a thing for Vincent.

I was in love with my work partner, who slept with our client's wife.

Couldn't get any more Shakespeare than that.

I did the only professional thing I could do, ignore it and bury my head in the sands.

Oh, and regularly have a go at Vincent for his stupidity.

By this point Lucrecia told Vincent it was a mistake and the guy taken to moping around and acting depressed which in turn made my working life hell and I no longer enjoyed working with him. He made slip ups that he should not have made, targets were missed and for the first time his 100 accuracy was now down at 97, still the highest but at the mistakes he made – not good enough.

I was still angry with him, Vincent should have known better but like he stated, I was there to pick up the pieces.

I made sure his fridge had food in it, cleared away the beer bottles he drank the night before, shooed away strange women who slept with him in his drunken haze and basically made sure he came to work.

I found out what tipped him over the edge was that Lucrecia was pregnant and she wasn't sure who the father was.

She told Vincent that she was staying with Hojo and if he told her husband of what happened she wouldn't let him have anything to do with the child if it was his.

I could see the full picture now and it was ugly.

Gone was the respect for Lucrecia, only to be replaced with the slimy trails of hate and anger.

Vincent seemed to slowly pull himself from his depression, enforced by the determination of making her see sense. He still broke down once in a while, and as usual I was there to provide a proverbial shoulder to cry on…not that he cried.

We still worked at the mansion watching over Hojo and Lucrecia but the job was made more uncomfortable for obvious reasons. Lucrecia, sensing my disapproval, kept her mouth shut and stayed away from me. I think she caught wind that when I'm angered, no one messes with me and that suited me fine. Hojo remained oblivious to the underlying tension between the four of us. He never detected the hostility from me, the nervousness from his wife nor the anger from Vincent, who still tried to talk to Lucrecia but to no avail.

It went from bad to worst one night. Impulses were given into and things changed between Vincent and myself. Stupidly, I should never have succumbed to a man on the rebound.


"Happy Birthday!" Mira cheered as she handed over a small present to her friend Saren, a petite red haired girl who birthday celebrations have lured the Turks out that night to a popular club.

Over the din of the nightclub, Mira heard her friend thank her for the present that was a small silver charm.

After offering to buy Saren a drink, she made her way to the bar where she tried to flag down a bartender by waving around her money in the air.

"Hey." A voice broke her thoughts as she wheeled around to see Vincent standing beside her, arms leaning on the bar counter with a careless air.

"Hey yourself. So you finally decided to get yourself out of bed and come tonight." Mira flashed him a smile to show she was joking as she return back to her job of flagging a bartender who now smiled at her ready for her order.

"Sex on the beach please and a vodka and coke. Vincent?"

"Scotch on the rocks please."

"You're not planning on getting hammered are you?" Mira raised one eyebrow as Vincent raised one of his own in response.

"Not tonight."

He scanned the lively bar when his heart jumped in one sickly lurch.

"Lucrecia." He breathed as his eyes took in the sight of the woman he loved standing by Saren laughing at some unheard joke.

Mira made some sarcastic noise he couldn't decipher and pushed his cold drink into limp hand.

"Stay away from her Valentine. Just try and forget her." Mira warned. She cast a dark look over to the scientist and began making her way over to Saren to hand her drink to her.

Vincent knew enough about women to know that the smile on Mira's face was a false one, and her eyes held that familiar deathly glint in them that made even Vincent feel a little nervous.

Still, it was nice to know his partner was supporting him.

He spotted Lucrecia looking over at him and he shifted uneasily as she made her way to him.

"Dance."

A voice commanded and Vincent found himself being pushed to the dance floor by a pair of hands.

"Mira!"

"Dance damn you, I'm not having Lucrecia speak to you tonight. She'll only make you end up sulking."

His mouth opened but he couldn't think of anything to retort to Mira's icy words and so he drained his drink in one gulp and placed the glass on a nearby table.

Mira's hand pulled his to the dance floor where several of their jubilant colleagues were enjoying themselves and he waved them a greeting

"You ok?" Mira's voice broke through the din of the throbbing noise and Vincent found himself having to place an arm around her waist to draw her closer for him to hear.

He nodded and let Mira's enthusiastic dancing move his body as his eyes strayed back to Lucrecia who regarded them safely from a distance.

"Plenty more fish in the sea, you just happen to reel in the wrong one." Mira smiled.

Sensing he wasn't into the conversation or the music, she looked up and frowned.

"We will find out if the child's yours Vincent. I promise you."

"I've never known you to back out on a promise and I appreciate it." Vincent gave her a squeeze with the arm round her waist. "Thank you Mira."

"Why are you thanking me? You've no need."

Vincent couldn't reply to that but instead gave her a smile and pulled his arms away from her, "I'm going to wish Saren happy birthday."

He walked to where the birthday stood with her cluster of friends but he was intercepted by the one woman he didn't want to see.

"Vincent." Lucrecia breathed, her hand reached out and rested on his arm.

He shrugged her grasp off him and turned to her with a frown. "What?"

The professor licked her lips nervously. "Vincent, I didn't mean…"

"Why did you do it? You knew how I feel about you." Vincent scowled, Lucrecia shook her head, "I didn't mean for it to go this far, I wasn't thinking clearly."

"Pity you weren't thinking that that night when we slept together. You told me you thought your marriage to Hojo was a mistake."

"I decided to give it another go, my marriage is worth it!" Lucrecia cried, ignoring the few surrounding people who watched them in interest.

"And I wasn't? You said you loved me…"

"I was mistaken…"

Vincent looked as if he was punched, he bit his lip from yelling something stupid back at her and stared over her head trying not to look at her beautiful face, eyes hardened as Lucrecia tried to reach out for him only to be shot a glare that made her pull her stray hand back to rest against her slightly swollen belly.

He saw this, "Well? Is the child mine?"

"I don't know…" Lucrecia closed her eyes, her lips trembled as he crossed his arms, his patience has already run out and he was on dangerous ground with this woman.

And yet, he couldn't ignore how much he loved her and he sighed, "Lucrecia, please. Leave Hojo and come with me? I can provide for both you and the baby, even if it isn't mine."

"No Vincent, I can't. I'm so sorry…" with that, she turned and fled the party, leaving behind Vincent who stared after her with a horrid mixture of emotions that left him feeling physically sick.

There was only one cure…

He pulled out his wallet and selected several Gils before heading to the bar where he bought the biggest shot he could and gulped it down in one.

"Vincent! There you are! Coming to dance?" Mira waved at him from the dance floor where all his friends boogied away.

He felt a smile rise on his lips and he rose to his feet, ignoring the slight throb of the alcohol pulsating through his body.

'Like Mira said, plenty of fish in the sea…' was his last logical thought before allowing the crowd to engulf him as the music washed over his senses.

He could see Mira grinning at some joke she was being told and headed to her, pulling her into his arms as he lowered his lips to her ear.

"Dance with me…"

She nodded and allowed him to pull her into his embrace, swaying to the music.

It was hard to say when the encounter became more intimate.

Perhaps it was when Vincent's lips grazed her neck which made her gasp and look at him.

Perhaps it was how her fingers buried themselves in his hair as she pressed her body tighter against him.

Maybe it was the teasing knowledge that both of them knew she could feel his hard arousal as he held her to his hips, grinding into her as if they were two beings fusing into one.

Whatever logic went put the proverbial window when their lips came together, teeth nipping and tongues battling as they made out in the sea of humans dancing away on the dance floor, where Vincent in that moment never felt so alive.


We left the night club that night and ended up at Vincent's flat, where we didn't make it as far as the bed before he had me against the front door as soon as it closed.

I'd had always guessed he was a passionate lover from what little rumours went around about him and that night he proved it was true.

It sometimes even now still haunts me in the dead of the night, where I recall the taste of sweat upon his skin and the way his hard muscles flex and grind as he moved.

I woke that following morning on his bed, his body warmth long gone as I heard his raised voice on the phone to Lucrecia.

When we did face each other the morning after, it was with silence and awkwardness.

He told me that night was a mistake and that he hadn't meant it to happen.

I never felt so used in life as I ignored him whilst grabbing my clothes that lay strewn around his apartment and pulled them on, collecting myself and bits of my broken heart in the process.

"Sorry." He whispered as I looked at him, aware tears gathered in my eyes as he watched me pick up my heels by their straps and slam the door behind me as I left.

I would love to have said I was fine and carried on with life, but I cried behind closed doors.

What friendship we had was close to being completely ruined.

I ignored him when we worked together at the mansion, I rarely replied to anything he said to me and our missions were few and far between as Vincent was either 'sick' (drunk was more like it or he was exhausted from trying to talk sense into Lucrecia) or I asked to be assigned to another partner.

Until one morning I realised, that my monthly period was three days late and I went to the pharmacy to buy a pregnancy test.

In short, I fucked up my life in one night and was now pregnant with Vincent's baby and we weren't exactly on speaking terms.


"Hi, you reached Vincent Valentine, I'm not in at the moment so please leave your message and I'll get back to you…"

Mira sighed impatiently and waited until after the beep, "Hi Vincent, It's Mira…listen, I really need to see you, I got something important to tell you. Please Vinny, just ring me or come around…I can't keep leaving messages and notes…I hope you're alright, I haven't heard much from you…obviously. No one has seen you much of late. I hope you're eating and not drinking yourself away…get back to me as soon as you get this message right?"

Mira wiped the tears that fell down her cheeks as she placed the received down with a click. She curled up on the sofa, knees cradling the tiny life that was growing in her stomach. She been sighed off sick after she failed her physical and her urine test revealed her current state. It's been over two months and every attempt of trying to speak to Vincent was met with some obstacle. The last time she physically saw him was over two weeks ago when he visited her apartment only to pretty much leave the moment he stepped in, phone ringing as he said he would see her later as he had more important things to deal with.

Nothing as important as the child that is certainly yours Vincent?

Mira wiped away several more hot tears and glanced at the clock.

Vincent should be working his shift up at the Shin-ra Mansion, therefore she could talk to him.

Grabbing her purse with contained her first ultrasound of the unborn baby; she flung her door open and headed to her car.

The journey passed by in a matter of minutes, her mind strangely empty as she pulled up and waved her pass at the guards. She entered the mansion's foyer, immediately hearing some argument occurring down in the mansion's laboratory.

Mira heading down the circular staircase, her Turk training meant she was unheard as she picked up Vincent's voice yelling in response to Hojo as somewhere nearby Lucrecia wept.

She saw them, Hojo standing before Vincent who had his back to her and in a motion too fast for her to react, Hojo had pulled a gun fro his lab coat pocket and shot Vincent, the loud bang echoed around the stone chamber as Vincent looked down at his bloody stomach in shock and crumpled to the floor.

"Vincent!" Mira screamed, jerking forward from her place beside the door as she ran over to Vincent, aware that somewhere Lucrecia has stopped crying and was now screaming.

Before she could crouch down beside Vincent who lay on his front in a pool of his own blood, Hojo angrily swiped his arm which caught Mira across the chest, sending her flying back into the rows of jars and vials of chemicals.

Her back collided with the metal shelving edges, causing them to collapse, toppling the variety of chemicals that was kept there over her as she fell to the floor.

Hisses of chemicals reacting and the crunch of broken glass echoed in Mira's ears as unbelievable pain surged through her body as she wailed and screamed in agony.

More shelves fell and yet more chemicals rained down on her, reacting with her flesh and burning her when she passed out, her eyes catching the last glance of Vincent's unblinking wide eyes as he lay dead on the laboratory floor.


Despite the manner of my passing, death itself was peaceful.

The life stream engulfed me, flowing and ebbing over my body as I heard all those that died and all those to be born, talk to me. I felt those emotions as the pain in my body faded away and my eyes closed.

It was in that moment that all the answers I seek in life came to me in death and I saw the awesome power of the planet and yet saw how fine a thread it balanced on and how delicate it really was. I felt it hum to me saying 'I had lived and I had died.'

'And I will rise again…'