AN: Well this is my last chapter, and I have really enjoyed writing this! I hope you've enjoyed reading it, I adore any reviews, and thank you for all your support. Took me a while to decide what to do with this chapter, but I hope you like it! If anyone has any idea of what I should write next, please drop me a note or review.
Reno headed straight to Tifa's bar, whilst Vincent kept Fausta pressed to him, murmuring to her and trying to keep her quiet. He did what he could to remain out of sight, but there was little he could do. They were practically defenceless.
"Vincent, stay low in the car. I'll ask Tifa if we can stay." He ran into the bar and grabbed Tifa's arm, eyes wide and panicked, looking almost possessed. Vincent slid into the foot well with the child, hoping that no one would spot them there. Fausta had stopped crying now, and was gurgling happily, and Vincent entertained her by waving his golden claws in front of her face.
Tifa was startled by the other's frightened expression, and took his hand, pulling him into a side room and sitting him down. When she spoke, her voice made it clear that she wouldn't tolerate any nonsense, but still showed that she wanted to care about him.
"Reno, what is going on?" She knew the man had lied to her to stop Vincent seeing them, and after Vincent had snuck out to see her and the children, he hadn't heard from him again. She'd been frightened, concerned that Reno had hurt her friend. Now it felt like all her worst fears were being confirmed.
"You've got to help us." Reno begged, clinging to her arm, staring up at her from his position in the chair. "ShinRa's after me, after our baby." Tifa frowned slightly, wondering if Reno had lost his mind. That worried her, she didn't want him in this house if he had.
"Reno, where's Vincent?"
"The car…" He muttered, panicking. She paused, then nodded.
"Reno, you stay there, I'll be back in a minute." She left the room, locking the door behind her. If her friend was injured, she didn't want to give Reno any chance of escape. She found his car outside of her bar.
Reno looked up at the sound of the key clicking in the lock, and started trying to break the door open. He couldn't leave Vincent alone to be found and punished by ShinRa, he'd promised him he wasn't going to go back to the lab.
Initially it looked empty, but as she approached it she was able to make out the trembling figure of her friend. She knocked on the window, and he stared up with frightened red eyes, recognizing her after a minute. She opened the door and slipped inside, frowning and reaching out to stroke her friend's hair.
"Hello Vincent. It's been a while."
Vincent nodded, not meeting her eyes. He had wanted to see her, but he'd agreed with Reno, it was too dangerous for him to head outside whilst pregnant. He paused.
"I know Tifa, I'm sorry. I've been busy."
"Are you alright? Reno seems hysterical…" Tifa replied, a little confused. Vincent certainly didn't seem injured, but he looked extremely frightened.
Vincent paused, then lifted his arms, revealing a tiny baby with bright blue eyes and messy black hair like his own. Tifa gasped, taking her in her arms and cuddling her.
"Oh they're beautiful Vincent…" She smiled. "Is this Reno's baby?" The eyes were like Reno's. That would explain his strange behavior, if he had had an affair. Vincent nodded.
"Oh Vincent, I'm sorry…" She cuddled him, helping him from the foot well. He shook his head.
"She's called Fausta. It's my baby…" he whispered.
"You said it was Ren- Vincent, you can't mean, it can't be…" Vincent nodded and she gasped.
"She is Tifa. She's mine and Reno's, and ShinRa want to experiment on her." Tifa paused, glancing around, relieved to see no sign of any of ShinRa's troops. She couldn't believe this, but she didn't know why Vincent would lie. He looked like he was telling the truth. She remembered the comment Marlene had made about him being fat.
"You'd better come in." She muttered, walking into the house with the child. Once inside the house, she handed Fausta back to Vincent, and ran to free Reno. Reno glared at her, but calmed when he saw Vincent. Tifa thought quickly then spoke.
"Reno, get rid of the car. Vincent will hide in the attic, and you can hide with him when you get back."
Reno nodded and ran out of the bar, as Tifa ushered Vincent up through the house and into the attic. She knew that the children would want to know their uncle Vincent was here, but until the fuss died down, she couldn't put them at risk.
"Here Vincent." She opened the door, letting him into the attic. It was filled with boxes and junk. "Past the first two rows of boxes there's a bed and some books, we kept this room in case we ever had to hide someone from ShinRa. In some of the boxes are Barrett's old things, which he used for Marlene. Try and rest and keep her quiet, you won't have to stay here long."
Vincent nodded and mumbled his thanks, awkwardly climbing over the boxes to find the hidden space in which they could rest. Tifa left and he was plunged into darkness, only just able to make out shapes because of his demons. After an hour or so, Reno joined them, ushered up by Tifa. He sat beside Vincent on the bed, cradling their child.
"I'm sorry Vince, I never meant for all this…Her room was so nice…"
"Reno, it's alright. I think I understand now. We'll survive somehow."
The two of them talked in hushed voices in the dark for the rest of the evening, interrupted only when Tifa brought them up two plates of food and a bottle of milk. Fausta seemed to understand the situation was dangerous, and had stayed almost silent.
Seeing the three of them were safely hidden, she headed downstairs, only to be disturbed a few minutes later by loud knocking on the door. She ushered the children into another room, then opened the door. She found herself faced with Rude, Elena and Tseng, and could see other Turks around the building. Tseng looked regretful, but spoke sternly.
"Miss Lockheart, we are here to search the building. Do not try to resist, you will be shot. You may go inside, fetch the children, and then wait out here. All the exits are guarded. Neither you nor your children will be injured as long as you comply. Don't try any heroics."
Tifa nodded, heading inside and then leading the two children out, making as much noise as possible in an attempt to warn Reno and Vincent, but there was nothing else she could do. She took her children outside, and stood, each hand on a child's shoulder. She watched, and waited, trying to keep the children calm. The Turks filed in.
Vincent could hear the commotion from downstairs, but was powerless. Reno searched, and found a silence materia, casting it over the three of them, but this meant that sound not only could not get out, but also couldn't get in, and they were left without a warning of when they would be discovered. Vincent pulled a blanket around the three of them, and they huddled together, Reno peeking over the boxes to try and see if they were discovered. He found the silence unbearable and lifted it from himself, still sheltering the other two.
Downstairs, the house was in turmoil, drawers and cupboards riffled through, wardrobes emptied to check for hidden passages. Though two such rooms were revealed, one in the wine cellar and the other under the kitchen floor, both were empty. The Turks split up, and one headed towards the ladder up to the loft.
Rude climbed up the stairs and into the loft, and moved some of the boxes aside. He was shocked at what he saw there, the three of them huddled so closely together, trembling. The baby blinked up at him in wide eyed silence, and he saw how much she looked like Reno, her father reflected in those baby-blue eyes. He caught Reno's eye, and raised a finger to his lips. Reno nodded, clinging to the other two and praying that his friend wouldn't betray him. Rude continued looking around, then shouted down the steps.
"All clear up here!"
The search continued, but the attic wasn't checked again. Eventually, Tseng decided enough had been done, and he bowed to Tifa.
"I am sorry Miss Lockheart for the intrusion." If he was her, he would have hidden them in the attic, and Rude had been the one ordered to check there, confirming it was clean. Reno needed to forget about the Turks, find a life for himself. He turned to his men.
"We have to return to the HQ and find other possible destinations for Reno and Valentine." He nodded at Rude, and left the house.
Tifa headed inside to find her house turned upside down, all her precious belongings spilt over the floor. Marlene and Denzel were quite upset, and it would take days to tidy up the mess. But in the attic, the three of them were still sitting in silence, safe from the investigators which had tried to trap them.
It took a week for the house to become tidy again, but during that time it became clear that ShinRa had abandoned the idea of the Lockheart house hold being the runaway's hiding place. Though they had to be careful with Fausta for the first few years of her life, ensuring she wasn't seen by the outside world, Rufus moved on to searching for other things, and eventually Vincent and Reno were able to resume a more normal life. Five years after the birth of Fausta came a son, who was named Rude after the man who risked his life to protect their little girl.