Disclaimer: I own nothing. The Final Fantasy franchise is owned by Square Enix. Not me.

A/N: This is a different take on the scene with Nero when he swallows Yuffie and Vincent in his darkness. And…

This is fanfiction. I am stating this because I've taken some creative license with one of the scenes from Dirge of Cerberus (I just finished it recently—best thing ever! OMG! So cool…) and I don't wanna hear anything to the effect of, "That's not how the scene went," because I know. With that being said…

Enjoy the read!


Purgatory

By Miranda Panda-chan


"You don't look too roughed up."

"Neither do you."


It had been so dark, the silence had been crushing, and I didn't have any hope. It seemed like ages, looking around and seeing nothing, hearing nothing, feeling nothing except a never ending cycle of despairing and wallowing in my own self-pity. I knew I wasn't the best fighter in the WRO, perhaps the dumbest (which was often mistaken for bravery), but not the best. All of those men and women that weren't afraid of death, that knew that what they were doing is what they wanted—and they were willing to give up whatever it took to reach their goals.

I didn't even know why I was doing this anymore…

I'd joined Cloud and his group in the beginning to find all the materia known to mankind and then some all in the name of Wutai as well as for my own selfish gain. I stuck with them to gain the glory of saving the planet. And now I'm with Reeve and his gang…and I don't have a damn idea as to why I haven't up and left them yet.

I finally notice sound. At first it's soft, quiet. I turn trying to find the source, only to see Wutai—watch it as it burns to the ground. I scream in horror with the chorus of agonized yells from my people. I look down as I feel a hand on my ankle, jumping in surprise and terror. I stop screaming only because my voice has left me, and I feel as if the air has been knocked out of me as I stare into my father's eyes…or rather, one of them. The other is hanging from the socket. He's something of a zombie. And the logical side of my head knows that this couldn't be happening. The total destruction of Wutai had happened several years ago. Godo had survived, and so had several of the villagers…there had been few fatalities of civilians compared to what could have been, what most had assumed the death toll would be. Part of his face was missing; blood was running in rivulets everywhere. His legs were missing and as he opened his mouth, and nothing except a never ending darkened pit stared back at me I couldn't help but try to tell myself that this wasn't real.

"No…no," I shook my head in denial, not bothering to wipe the hysterical tears from my face as I tried to pull my leg back as I noticed that his hand was now searing my flesh, "No! No! No!" I screamed, murdering my last shreds of dignity mercilessly. Claws was digging into my flesh, and I felt several more hands on me, all with burning intensity, searing whatever flesh they touched with hellfire. The screams of people wailing in my ears as they drug to me to hell with them—because I hadn't been able to save them. I hadn't even been able to save my own mother—all I did was sit and watch like the coward that I am. I shut my eyes, afraid to look into the fire that now lit the empty eye sockets of my people. Even as I tried to block out their own groans of agony with my screams I still felt them ripping me apart, killing me as atonement for my cowardice.

I don't want to die…

I'm afraid…

Please, please! I don't wanna die yet!

And then there was light, bright light—light that I could see even through closed eyes. I dared to look, maybe this was the light at the end of the tunnel—maybe Leviathan was here for my soul to pass on to the either Paradise or Hell, maybe what I'd just experienced had been purgatory.

And then I felt warmth as familiar arms encircled me, and he snatched me away from my dead kinsmen, and despite feeling like my limbs were still on fire, I realized that I was still whole. Whole and in his arms. I whimpered pathetically, the fear of death, the images of Wutai and my father and my people striking me to my soul. I hadn't realized that I was shaking until I met Vincent's worried gaze. I shut my eyes again, wanting, now more than anything, for this entire mess to be over. I leaned my head against his chest, listening to his racing heartbeat, and reveling in the warmth that was his body heat. I had no energy left, I felt like cold, dead weight. The image of my father, bloodied and dead and reaching for me would be forever burned in my brain…I was definitely going to be visiting Wutai once we'd saved the world again. I had been worried about him before due to his age and deteriorating health…but now I had an even more, slightly less rational, reason to go and see him.

Norman or Nerhoe, or Nero or whatever the hell his name was, was gone now. Damn Tsviet…tears were falling freely as we finally reached the real world—the one without zombies and burning homes. He'd been carrying me bridle-style, I realized. The thought made me smile a little on the inside as I brushed away the tears that were the product of my own hysteria.

"Are you alright?" his voice was monotone, but the look in his crimson eyes was not. That was normally the case, though. I shook my head, and he continued to stare at me with almost worried eyes.

"I'm…I'm sorry about that." I whispered, trying to steady my voice enough to make it sound believable. In reality, I wanted to stay, I wanted him to tell me it would be alright—that nothing I saw in that nightmarish place was real. But I knew he wouldn't even if he did stay. And I also knew we needed to be quick—Weiss had to be stopped now-ish. I was ashamed of my frailty, and as I stared at the floor, I kind of figured he knew it.

I motioned with my head, trying to ignore the urge to vomit, for him to go on. I doubted I'd be much good in a confrontation. I was a ninja, I was built for stealth and cheap shots, not fair fights involving more brawn and bullets. He stared at me, unsure if it was really okay for him to leave me alone.

"Just go, you idiot. I'll be fine," It was at that precise moment when I'd almost had him convinced, that I vomited in the corner and proceeded to dry heave. I clenched my eyes shut as I wrapped my arms around my self to try and control the shaking.

I was still just as weak as ever. So much for being the 'Conqueror of Evil' as I'd put it earlier while riding over to the WRO's HQ.

"You're not alright." He said, voice as smooth as silk.

"I think it's safe to say we already noticed that, Vince." I said hoarsely, wiping my hand across my mouth, spitting in disgust and trying not to look in the direction of the corner.

"I'll be fine in a little while. You need to go find Weiss and kick his ass." It was a weak attempt to make him stop his useless worrying so I wouldn't feel guilty for being a burden. He nodded hesitantly, my words and reasons connecting in his mind until it all dawned on him.

"Be careful, Yuffie."

"I'm not the one off to slay the terrifying monster, Vince." I laughed dryly as he nodded, and even without seeing his mouth, I knew I'd gotten an amused smirk out of him at least. I smiled, despite still feeling god-awful.

And he ran off in the direction where Weiss and Nero waited.

And as I peered down the hall, moving so I could watch him go, I remembered my own questioning thoughts.

Why am I even doing this anymore?

What's the point?

What do I gain from it?

I couldn't help but smile at my own sardonic humor as I realized my answer was slowly running away from me into what could possibly be oblivion.

'Cept he was stronger, and he didn't have stupid weaknesses like her.

Little did she know…he was always in something of a purgatory…but it was absolute hell without her.


A/N: As always, the ending sucks (I'm never good with ending it…-sigh- ) So this is my first Final Fantasy fanfic, or at least the first one I've posted. So, on that note—Love it? Hate it? Tell me in a review!

The one and only-

Miranda Panda