A Reno x Vincent oneshot that was spur of the moment about three months ago and I forgot it was sitting on my USB waiting to be published so here it is.

Summary: Reno is still distraught over his failure of his mission to find Zack before the army did. Even after Cloud has gotten over his own, Reno still sinks deeper into despair. Only one can pull him out, but all Reno needs to do is to stop struggling.
Pairings: Reno/Vincent, hinted Cloud/Tifa


Guilt

I stand outside the glass doors as Tseng and Rufus discuss their next move. I expect Tseng to be the one but instead, Rufus steps out to give me the verdict. "Tell me how it is boss."

"I and the rest of the staff are concerned for your health Reno. Tseng and I have decided to give you a much vacation so you can relax."

I quirk a slim crimson eyebrow, "You mean until I stop screwing up and get off this atonement crisis." I spin on my heel and begin down the hallway. "Thanks boss but if that's the case, I might not come back."

My ebony suit jacket whips back away from my white buttoned up shirt as I pick my way through the street towards the rental service that Shinra owns. Sliding the money across the counter, I take up the keys and hop on the motorcycle so that I can begin my ride to the outskirts to clear my head.

Once someone is in the Turks, it is not like they can leave. We have all been raised inside Shinra, generally. I wish I knew someone who has atoned already because I don't know if I can...I hurt the planet, I could not save Aerith, and I could not get to Zack before those infantrymen. I failed.

I stare at the patch of flowers that have grown over his grave. Nausea burns in the pit of my stomach at the fact that he is indeed dead.

After it was over, I had learned from Tseng that the helicopter I had been piloting had been over him while he traveled in a man's truck. He left his legacy behind in a blonde infantryman. His life had been changed I'm sure. We found Zack's bloody body and could only stare. But I felt horrible from the first instant.

Wait, that's it! He might not be there or happy to see me, but I need to know...to know if his sins had been forgiven. Since I heard from Tifa that his are nearly identical to mine...almost.

After returning the bulk of a cycle, I began my walk to find myself staring at their front door. Pitch black clouds loom overhead, foreboding the possible outcome of my visit.

I walk into the building and flash a dull smile at Tifa, "Is Cloud in?"

She sets down the glass she had been drying clean, "Last time you wanted Cloud, Kadaj showed up." She catches my forlorn expression in response to the joke that had hit me like bricks. "Oh Reno I'm sorry! Are you okay?" Tifa hurries around the bar and ushers me to the couch. "Cloud won't be back for a little bit longer. He's on a delivery, so spill it."

"I..."

Can I explain it to her? Or am I worried that she will pity me? I'm always the graceful klutz or cocky Turk...vulnerability is new...too fresh a cut to begin to prod at with antiseptic.

"I wanted to know if Cloud happened to know any used-to-be Turks."

"Is that all?" I nod and she smiles, "Actually yes, but if you want to recruit him, I would not suggest it."

"No I-"

"Reno what are you doing here?" says the blonde that had entered unnoticed.

Turning away from Tifa, I half-grin at Cloud. "You're my friend aren't you Cloud?"

It is almost as if he can sense my urgent need to talk to him alone. "Tifa, go check on Marlene and Denzel. I want to talk to Reno."

"Alright but no fighting," she demands as she climbs the stairs.

Setting his sword against the bar, the blonde half-sits on a table. "Why are you so shaken? Are you here on your own time?"

"You have certainly become the talkative one." The soft glare I receive for being a smart-ass causes me to try again. "Were you ever forgiven...did you ever forgive?"

"I believe I have. But it is a work in progress. Why do you ask?"

"Because I want to be forgiven. No I need it and not just because Rufus refuses o permit me back into work until I fix myself. I have done good but it does not erase all the evil that came in its wake or that I tried to pave over. I...sometimes I think about leaving Shinra and the Turks behind in the past."

Cloud straightens up and takes the seat next to me, "You can stay here for as long as you like. Tifa and I bought a real house now. Just don't let any strangers in. We don't need anything to go missing. Not even you." As if on a timer, his family begins toward the door from the stairwell. Cloud stands and gently smiles at me, "There's a key on the doorframe if you want to keep it for now it will be fine."

With a fleeting glance they shut the door and leave me all alone once more. Even after all I did to them, they have given me this.

Taking a deep breath I move to the threshold and pull a stray light frock coat over my clothes. I lock the door behind me with the determination to get to the Forgotten City.

I had not anticipated the length of how far away it actually is until my walk had begun. But nonetheless I enjoyed it. The now drenched jacket hangs from my fingers in a desperate attempt to dry and kept ahold of.

The downpour had begun just a few blocks away from the bar and the second I crossed into the holy ground of the Forgotten City...it ceased. Despite the darkness itching to shroud the land, the bluish white glow of the trees keep it away.

My vision sways as I near the shimmering lake. The jacket falls away from my numbing fingers and my legs give out on me just at the shore's edge. The pads of my fingers drag over the ground as the still water gets closer before finally engulfing me entirely.

Can I only be forgiven if I make things luxurious for these people whose lives I have ruined? Can my atonement simply be that of my own death in return for those I have killed? Do I deserve to die? If i do...should I submit to it? Or should I continue to fight my agony?

Sweet air expands my lungs, indicating that I have yet to perish. I force my eyes open to see shadows dance across the ceilings as the light warms me beneath the multiple sheets.

Pushing myself into a sitting position, the covers fall away to reveal my bare skin. But it does not strike me at all as odd. I clamp my hand to my forehead as dizziness overcomes me. Bile tries to rise up the back of my throat but I force it down. My skull collapses back into the plus pillow and my untied hair falls over and around me.

Okay I just will not sit up.

Lolling my head to the right I see the window with thin gossamer drapes allowing the sun's rays to enter. A small bedside table holds a petite old fashioned oil lamp and my cell phone. Directly across from me is a desk with pictures of Cloud and the gang, from recent to the time of Avalanche. On the left is a wardrobe with the carved doors shut tight. The room adorns scarce furnishings other than that but the feeling is still just as homely.

A blissful sigh slips past my lips but I catch it as the door opens soundlessly. A tall, about my height maybe taller, man shuts the door behind him with his boot. A tray is set on the bureau and he hooks the curtains carefully to the side of the window.

Short dark brown, almost black, hair sweeps around the sides of his face but cannot conceal the gleaming crimson eyes that seem tortured yet oddly peaceful. The man that I assume saved me crosses back to stand at the door. "You will want to eat if you want to get your strength up. Do you want me to inform Tseng that you're here."

"How do you know Tseng?"

"I have connections."

Puffing, I glare at him, "Who are you and why did you save me?"

The man stands straight but his hand rests lightly on the gun that is holstered to the thigh of his black pants. That familiar deep red cape falls around the rest of his jet-black attire. My mind slowly puts it together and I know why I did not recognize him right away...its because he looks human without the claws and lengthy hair. "You're Vincent Valentine."

A nod is barely visible as he leans against the door. "Cloud called me and asked if I would keep an eye on you. I did not expect to find you drowning." Vincent turns to leave, "Clothes are available for you. I will be in the next room so don't leave."

I lay there, too stunned to speak. I drag myself to my feet and begin getting ready.

Vincent...He does not strike me as someone who would save a Turk. Everyone knows that he's not to fond of us. More importantly, I wonder why he changed his look.

With the tray empty, I smooth my hands over my new clothes; jeans, gray shirt, and scoffed boots. None of it is mine but I am close to his size.

I stride out of the room and towards the door. Just as my fingers graze the cool metal, warm fingers wrap around my wrist. "I thought I told you not to leave."

I turn around to see his specialized gun, Cerberus, pointed at my chest. "Sorry slick, but I'm out of here."

I jerk out of his grasp. "Reno wait."

"Why?"

I stand glaring daggers at him as he lowers his barrel and back into its holster. Vincent takes one step forward and the almost nonexistent space between us makes my stomach somersault.

"Because I was a Turk once and...I believe I have atoned for what I let happen. Let me help you Reno. I have made sure that I was ready for you to show up here...Reno."

He keeps saying my name...And I can't get enough of it. It just sounds so sweet when it rolls off of his tongue. Ugh! I can't feel this way...can I?

Driving myself from my thoughts, I find that he's led me over to the worn-out couch. Surprisingly smooth fingers brush over my forehead and trail down my chin to begin twirling around my crimson tresses.

"Please Reno, I know all about you, and you about me. I don't ask for much because I believe that I do not truly deserve it. But I want to help you because I already know that I love you."

I seem to fall forward into his arms, "Can you help take this guilt away?"

"I will do the best that I can."

Vincent tips my chin up and grants me a chaste kiss. As he pulls away, soft maroon orbs glow in the dim lighting. I wind my arms around his neck and up into his short locks as I push myself forward, against him.

Take away my pain...shoulder it with me. Help me carry on and walk this road with me...together.

Strong limbs encircle my waist as he submits to the passion just as I do. Nothing sexual arouses either of us that I can tell...it's just...like the water that cleanses one from a ceremony to get rid of all impurities.

It feels so right...so pure and innocent. This is where I belong. This is how I get through this. I cannot do this alone. But I know Vincent will help me because I can believe that I love him too.