AN: Another update, and more verbal diahorrea from Vincent. Hope it's all to your liking. R&R if you can be bothered.

~J



Sitting in the waiting room at Brookhaven's Accident and Emergency department with the members of the Saint Ladies was a very disconcerting experience. His new colleagues seemed a little hostile, and certainly omitted to include him in their hourly run to the coffee machine, the frigid bastards. He supposed it was probably because he'd inadvertently gotten their leader killed.

Eventually one of them spoke, a woman in her thirties who cast a withering look in his direction. "If he lied about Claudia Wolf having the Sight, I'll kill him myself."

"Why not kill Leonard?" Vincent retorted hotly, "He's the one who stabbed your leader."

"Our leader," one of the men corrected. "You made a promise, remember?"

"Yeah, whatever." He'd have been lying if he said he felt anything resembling solidarity with this group of nutjobs at that moment in time.

"We should pray for her," someone said haughtily, and they began to do just that, intoning such dreadful and occult things that the tourist sitting in the corner looked as though she was considering driving her son to Brahms instead of having his skateboarding accident looked at in this dump full of mentalcases. Vincent pinched the bridge of his nose, and, feeling quite self conscious, decided there was nothing for it but to join in. It wasn't as though he could do anything else anyway, except sit and wait for news from the doctor about the two women. So, as he joined in the prayers for Rosalind, he made his own silent, private entreaty to God for the safety of Claudia, whose welfare had been all but forgotten by the Saint Ladies in the midst of the crisis surrounding their leader.

He was starting to grow sleepy from all the monotonous chanting when the door opened and a sympathetic looking young nurse entered, commanding instant silence as the whole room looked at her expectantly. Vincent recognised her as one of the rank and file faithful who frequented the lakeside church. He also realised, a split second before everyone else, that the look on her face betrayed anything but good news.

"I...I'm sorry..." she stammered, "Sister Kauffman is...is...well...she's with God now."

There was an instant uproar as the women began to sob and the men began to mutter angry words of vengeance. Vincent took advantage of the commotion to grab the nurse by her arm and pull her out of the room.

"Claudia Wolf." He stared at the nurse intently, still gripping her arm tightly, his voice little more than a growl. "How is she?"

She shook him off indignantly. "Miss Wolf was very badly injured. She sustained multiple fractures to..."

"Is she going to be alright?" he interrupted, in no mood for a medical lecture.

"She's stable, and should make a full recovery."

A wave of relief broke like a tidal wave, a desperate, euphoric sensation which overwhelmed him. He couldn't help it, really. He threw his arms around the bewildered nurse, who was taken aback, and evidently was of the impression that no one particularly cared if Leonard Wolf's daughter was alive or dead. He released her quickly and cleared his throat, his cheeks burning a little at his own sentimentality.

"Can I see her?"

She shrugged with a sort of "Sure, why the Hell not?" gesture, and he followed her down the whitewashed, cracked and peeling corridors of what was possibly the world's least hygienic looking hospital, until they reached a sideroom. "She's heavily sedated," she told him, before leaving him alone.

"Mother of God..." he whispered as he sat down in the rickety little plastic chair beside the bed. Lying there, in that grubby little bed, her right arm and leg in plaster, the pale and paper thin skin of her bony arms mottled with bruises and bandages and clotting wounds, her face grotesque and swollen, her lank hair stained with dirt and filth and dry brown blood, he thought that he had never seem a more repulsive portrait of her father's cruelty. Perhaps it was just because he was more emotionally involved, because this was actually partially his fault, but he thought that the sight of her then was almost worse than when he'd hid in the bushes and glimpsed Alessa's charred and blackened form in the arms of that redneck truck driver, the night of the fire at the Gillespie home.

"Vincent...?" she murmured.

He started, not having expected her to register his presence, in her current state. "Um...yeah. It's me." He choked out a weird little laugh, which was entirely mirthless. He never did seem to be able to react appropriately to something serious, his emotions betraying themselves in the most inopportune ways. How many times had he opened fire with a cutting remark, instead of just saying "Hey, I'm worried about you"? And he'd do it again, he had no doubt. He'd probably keep it up until the day he died. Vincent sighed to himself and put one thin, clammy hand on her swollen, broken one.

"So...your Dad stabbed Rosalind Kauffman to death." It seemed like as good a conversation opener as any.

"Oh..." she slurred. "S'a shame." Clearly she wasn't really in any fit state to take in what he was saying, but he pressed on, because, well, he wasn't really sure what else to say.

"Oh, and I sort of signed us both up for the Saint Ladies. Yay for us. It was the only way I could get the old bitch, God rest her soul, to help us out. Walter's still at large, but at least your Dad's in prison. Oh and I took the kids to Lakeside Amusement Park. And hey, here's an idea, when you're well, do you fancy, maybe...getting the Hell out of Silent Hill forever before one of us winds up dead?" He cleared his throat. "I mean, we could just skim some funds from the Church, God knows, they've got plenty, and get a cheap car, and just drive. I could shoot for an accountancy position somewhere, I've got enough college credits, or maybe take on secretarial work and well, I guess you could get a waitressing job or something. Ok, well, maybe you couldn't, because you've got no people skills...but hey, what about fortune telling? You could do that no problem. Or work in a library, those places are always full of freaks and weirdos. I mean, well, what I'm trying to say is, we've got options. Not great ones, sure, but we don't have to stick around waiting for the shit to hit the fan."

He cringed to himself. It sounded like he was asking her to elope with him. Maybe part of him was. But that was probably the sympathy talking. He always did have a thing for the damsels in distress. Regardless, he was babbling like an idiot.

It was, then, a blessed relief when he looked at Claudia and realised that, in her semi conscious state, she'd taken absolutely none of it in. Well thank God for small mercies, he thought. And for bigger ones, too. Claudia might be gravely injured, but she'd recover in time, and with a bit of luck, Leonard Wolf would never see the light of day after what he did to Rosalind. The world hadn't exactly suffered a great loss with her death, either. Although he suspected that, after this fiasco, he and Claudia, despite being members now, were probably not going to receive any invites to the next Saint Ladies summer barbecue. Not that Vincent had ever particularly cared for stray dog, anyway, as far as delicacies went.

He leaned back in his chair and sighed loudly.

"Where the Hell am I supposed to go from here...?" he murmured aloud, suddenly desperate for her to sit up and start talking some harsh sense into him. But his only reponse was the slow "drip, drip, drip" of Claudia's IV line.