a/n: disclaimer: I do not own any characters or settings portrayed in this story, Vincent Valentine and Edge belong to Square Enix, whilst Lilith belongs to a good friend of mine (.net/u/1492912/) who has an OC role-play character. The story was created between us both during a Tumblr r/p.
For the OC used in this story, Vincent will be slightly OOC because of their history, etc. I will however do my best to keep him as IC as I can. With each paragraph the pov will get slightly more confusing, it's not something I can sort out. D: Feedback would be appreciated. :D
Lilith sat in the corner of the small cafe, looking out the window as she sipped her tea. Shinra tower was just a looming shadow over the town now called Edge. The blonde sighed and shook her head, laughing internally at just how far her whole family had fallen when a patch of red caught her eye. She peered out the window again; she knew she recognized that man.
Vincent Valentine? she thought, rising from her chair and walking briskly to the door. It... can't be… he died… so long ago.
Lilith exited the cafe and pulled her hat down further as the man in question passed her. I don't believe it... It is Vincent. She waited for him to turn the corner before she followed after him. Look at me, stalking a Turk…this could be interesting.
- It wasn't often that Vincent was busy. But today was different. He sped-walked through Edge, frustrated on the inside but still with a calm exterior. He took a quick look into the window of each building he passed, only with a glance.
The woman in the cafe intrigued him, a flash of recognition in his mind. But never mind that. The gunner walked on hurriedly.
Lilith took into account that he didn't seem to notice her following him yet, but she still kept her distance. He was a Turk, or had been. But now…she wasn't really sure what he was.
You are Vincent Valentine, I know that, was the thought racing through her mind. Or, at least, you resemble my former guardian and friend. She sighed slightly as she maneuvered to make it look like she was interested in the newest paper, effectively walking past him and up to the news-stand. He looks frustrated, she thought to herself as she watched him out of the corner of her eye.
A text message caught Vincent's attention. Gaia be damned if he was used to this thing yet. He flipped his phone open, scowling. Upon scanning the text he lets out an exasperated growl, flinging his arm down with that much force that the mobile almost falls to the ground. Close call.
Not even bothering to look for a chair, or anything of the sort, Vincent sits on the floor, as much out of the way as possible. One hand pinching the bridge of his nose, he sends a brief message back. This didn't seem to be going well.
Okay, more than just frustrated, Lilith thought as sat down. Well, it made it easier to interact with right? Just go up and ask why. She pulled her hat down more, all but covering her eyes and smiled at the news-vender as she turned to talk to the now sitting gunman. She swallowed her probably harsh comment and tried to be nice.
For she doubted he actually remembered her.
"Hey, sir?" the blonde asked, coming to stand next to him, "is it common for people to just flop down in the middle of a sidewalk?"
Vincent lifted his head up, squinting at the woman above him, in a state of miniature shock. With a grunt, he replied.
"It's comfortable. And it's a lot harder to fall off of the ground." Vincent hit 'send' on the phone and knocks it shut. "You need something..?" he coughed out. His voice seemed to be rough today, and he was unsure why.
Using the wall for support, the gunman rose. He stood a good head taller than this woman, and felt sort of rude 'talking down' to her. Vincent pinched the bridge of his nose again, waiting patiently for an answer.
Yep, that's Vincent, Lilith thought. She held her tongue, submerging the crass comment that was welling in her. As much as she wanted to mock him about his comment as she had done so much in their past, she didn't want to give herself away yet. She shook her head and stepped back when he stood up, giving him polite space. He looked a bit different than the last time she had seen him, but not much.
Wow….you haven't aged a day…
He asked her a question and that brought her back to reality.
"Not really, just was curious why a man in a walking blanket decided to sit in the middle of the sidewalk is all," she said flatly. Inwardly, she scowled at her choice of words, but didn't really care. They used to banter like this once. She wondered what he remembered of her….if he remembered her at all. It was about this time that she was thankful for the disguise she was wearing for the day.
Walking… blanket? Huh. Vincent mused. That was amusing, if insulting. Wouldn't be the first time he'd heard a comment like that, to say the least.
"Because, ma'am, I guess I felt the urge to. The small pleasures, I suppose." Vincent brushed down his outfit, making a small 'chh' sound in the back of his throat. The sooner he got a text message back, the better, this was starting to go beyond irritating.
Lilith held back the laugh that began to grow, but smiled none-the-less.
"Would you care to walk with me? I have an errand or two to run. If you'd like to chat, that is." without waiting for a reply, Vincent brushed past the woman. He wasn't sure why he'd even asked her. But… Her voice stirred memories inside him, memories he'd buried deep away, even deeper than those with Lucrecia. This was more than that; a kin-ship, if anything. Vincent wondered if this woman would in fact accompany him.
He seemed preoccupied, but then he offered her to walk with him. And, just like the Turk she had known once, he didn't wait for an answer, but just started to walk away. She did laugh, resisting the urge to throw her shoe at him. Instead, she ran slightly to catch up with him.
"So, mister Serious, why are you so frustrated?" she questioned as she met his pace. A bit fast for her, but she was shorter than the gunman, so she expected this.
He doesn't look a day over 27. And he has been missing for so long! How did this happen?
Were….the rumors true? she wondered.
"Because I've heard rumours of dangers with the children in the area… A friend of mine seems rather worried. I promised I'd help." Vincent's mind drifted to Cait Sith. Hearing his usually happy voice down the phone subdued to a monotone lull had actually seriously scared him. "It's… Relatively important, to me at least." he cocks his head to the side to look at this woman, trying her best to keep up with his pace. "Mister… serious? Hn. The name's Vincent, ma'am." a lazy smile plays on the man's lips. "You seem mighty cheerful, yourself.."
Lilith snorted at his comment about her being 'cheerful.' She shook her head, inwardly smiling as he continued to call her 'ma'am.'
"Vincent, then," she said, trying to make it sound like the name wasn't familiar to her. She noticed the smile on his lips and smiled herself, though she did cover it with her hand. Habit.
"It's just the way I am, sarcastic and cruel," she said through her smile. She chuckled. "Though, you seem so very lively yourself."
"Hmph, I've been told I can be rather cruel, and that was by one I would class as a friend… Often makes me wonder how I appear to strangers." Vincent yawned, covering his mouth with a gloved hand. "My.. sincerest apologies."
"Do I bore you, Mr. Valentine?" Lilith inquired. She couldn't help it. She feigned annoyance as he covered his mouth, though she was laughing politely none the less.
"I wouldn't say so, no." a chuckle. "Lack of sleep rearing it's ugly head again." Vincent rolled his eyes. He actually had no idea where he was even meant to be heading, he was still waiting for a reply from his contact. He growled under his breath.
"You crazy people need to sleep more," she said, though her statement was highly hypocritical.
"Sleeping is easier in theory than it is in practice, I'm afraid. You don't seem to be that into sleep yourself…" After spending years living off of very little sleep he was able to tell. Vincent sighed. "I don't believe I ever asked your name… Pray tell?"
Lilith looked back at him, eye brow raised slightly, though she doubted he could see it due to her hat. Her name... He…doesn't remember me yet, does he? Well then…
"Helena," she lied, smiling to him again, "Helena Brendel."
Oh. He'd thought he would have known that name. But nothing. And yet…
"Are you sure about that?" a raised eyebrow. "It just seems as though it… Would not fit."
She saw his attitude change slightly at her name and smiled inwardly at his statement.
"I'm sorry, but did you just ask me if I was sure on my own name?" she asked sarcastically, "well, sir, I would hope so. Otherwise, I must go apologize to the real Helena Brendel for the mix up."
Clever, Vincent, she thought with a smile. You know something's up.
Evidently, this woman, whoever she was claiming to be… That was not who she was. Who she may be, Vincent was still discovering, but until then… He would just continue listening, for now.
"I guess we'll see." A stoney silence seemed to fill the air, broken then by a shrill ringing from Vincent's phone. He decided to ignore it, at least for now.
"Who are you to judge. You sound too stuck up."
You haven't changed at all….and it's been so long…
How…is that even possible?
She chuckled at his lack of 'interest' but heard his phone and cast him a sideways glance.
Just like old times? "Hey, Vince," she said with a wave of her hand, "phones ringing."
Choosing to ignore the first comment, Vincent fell deep into contemplation. Was this really so? Hm.
"Why yes, yes it is. I'm fully aware of this." pulling his phone out of his pocket to see 'Yuffie' flashing on-screen, Vincent frowned and clicked 'accept.' He paused mid-step and shut his eyes, trying to bare the sound of Yuffie's voice.
"Yes… Yes… Oh. Okay." silence. "… Goodbye, Yuffie."
Lilith chuckled at his frankness and tried to listen in on his conversation. It was only habit that she did so and she shook her head when she realized she was doing it, turning her attention to where they were walking. Which, she realized quickly, was no where in general.
Slamming his phone shut, Vincent looked down at 'Helena'. "So… Where were we?"
I wonder what he remembers of me? Never mind that…no….I wonder what he remembers at all. He seems like the man I knew years back, but so very different.
He slammed his phone shut and she looked back at him, drawn out of her internal thoughts. Lilith shrugged.
"No where, names exchanged, comments made, your phone rang."
"Oh so very helpful," he muttered sarcastically to himself, unsure if she would hear. So long as he received information from Reeve, nothing posed much relevance right now.
As he stared, he made sure to look directly into the other's eyes. Those eyes… There was something very familiar about those eyes. What, he was not sure of just yet.
"I feel… as though we've met before. Could I be wrong?"
Lilith chuckled inwardly at his frankness, despite the fact that he tried to hide his comment. She knew he was trying to be polite by the attempt, but she had heard it none the less. However, she kept to herself. She looked at Vincent and found him staring back at her, specifically, into her eyes themselves. They were the one feature she could not manipulate, one feature she could not hide.
Ice blue eyes…
"Met before? Possibly," she said simply, breaking the contact and pulling her hat down to cover her eyes slightly, "may I inquire why you would think that?"
"There's something about you. I can't quite place a finger on it." there was a pause. "…Hn." there was nothing more to say on the matter. In fact, there wasn't much for him to say at all.
A heavy sigh. "Well, I… So what's your story? Any.. altercations.. I should know about?" Vincent's cheek twitched as he bit back a smirk.
Lilith looked at him sideways when he murmured slightly and then cocked her head at the question.
"My story?" she inquired. The slight twitch did not go unnoticed, and it made her wonder just who was toying with who now. "Oh, it is terribly boring, my dear. Altercations? Certainly not. I am who I am." She smiled a bit.
"And who might that be, Ma'am?" Vincent smiled in return. "Pardon if I'm rude, but it seems to be that you're not being honest with me, L- Helena."
Whoops. If she was who Vincent thought she was… Guaranteed she'd have picked that up. If not, well, hopefully the lady would think nothing of it…
She started to formulate a reply to him when she heard the slip up. She stopped walking and barely managed to keep herself from slapping him in the back of the head. Just like old times…
"I think you know who I am, Vince," she said, laughing instead. She shook her head and took off the hat, massaging the back of her head to let the pony-tail down.
You really haven't changed.
"How have you been, my friend?"
"As I thought.. Something you're wishing to hide, Lilith? Or perhaps, a certain some-one you could be hiding from?" as unlikely as that was - Lilith had always been perfectly capable of looking after herself - he had to ask. Just to be sure.
"I've been alive. Which is strangely appeasing to say. How about you? There must have been a reason for this charade…"
"As of few months ago, all of the 'someones' I could have been hiding from were found as dead, so it's not that, not anymore," she said with a slight laugh. She was glad that she didn't have to act anymore.
Avoidance, the easiest method of talking.
"I guess I just had to be sure about a few things," she told, truthfully, "no worries, though, Vince. You passed." She laughed again. "Yes, I'm being a sneaky little witch, but what else is new.
I'm glad you are alive, Vince," she said offhandedly, "someone with some intelligence made it out."
"Huh, thanks for the compliment, I guess… Everyone who matters made it out of this mess alive. Heard from your son lately?" it was rarely he asked, but this reunion… This was different. "It's good to see you haven't changed."
"I only compliment the best," the blonde said, smirking, "you know that, Vince." Everyone who matters made it out? Really? Do you believe that? she almost asked, but her thoughts were cut off by the next words.
"Heard from your son lately?"
Lilith swallowed but managed to keep a smile on her face.
"Nope," she said, giving no other details, "and I haven't changed? Really? I'm an old hag, Vince! And you. You don't look a day over twenty-seven!"
"No..? Fair enough." a shrug. An answer he'd expected, but it surprised him nonetheless. "And I'd have said you're as beautiful as always, ma'am. I may have remained young physically, but that doesn't stop my mind from aging… And along with that, thinking. Has there been anything important on-going that I've missed?"
The woman at his side noticed his surprise and debated internally telling him. She made the comment sound like an afterthought, making it so it 'wasn't important.' "He doesn't know I'm alive, Vince," Lilith said simply before slapping him gently in the arm.
"Gods, men and the people they look at," she laughed, looking down at herself, "if you still think I'm 'beautiful,' you need to get your eyes checked." Lilith chuckled, looking at him. "I could tell something was different; you're not as air-headed as you used to be," she joked, smiling at him. He asked about importance and she just shrugged.
"I actually wouldn't know; I've been behind on the times myself," she told, leaving out the necessary details. They were good at that, Shinras and Turks.
Vincent smiled. "You always will be, Ma'am. Is that supposed to be a compliment?" Vincent barked out a laugh. To the comment about being behind on the times; "I… see. Just as well. So you've not been busy then."
"Yes, it's the finest compliment you can ever receive," she joked as he laughed. "Not busy, just wandering around," she said in all honesty. Lilith hadn't realized just how introverted she had been in the last ten years until she spoke to him.
"If you've not been busy, you've had no excuse to not come and see me." Vincent laughed, trying to show Lilith he wasn't being serious. "It's not as though I've had much to do, if I'm honest."
"Come find you? How?" she joked back, "I couldn't find you if my life depended on it. Where were you? Under a rock?" Lilith chuckled and sighed. "It's been a while, hasn't it, Vince? Since we both laughed?"
"Huh… I guess you could say that." Vincent takes a moment to contemplate, chewing on his bottom lip- a habit that he still couldn't seem to kick. "It has… Although I wouldn't really say we've had a lot to laugh about around here."
Lilith looked away and around. He was right; there wasn't anything funny about the way they were now. She sighed, rubbing her face.
"What have you been up to?" she asked, trying to think back to the days when they had been younger, the conversations they had had. She remembered that most of her interactions with him had ended with one throwing something at the other in mock disgust.
"And somehow it feels…" Vincent stared down at the floor. "… inappropriate… to be laughing. I'm unsure why."
Lilith nodded, her blonde hair falling around her face. "Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, doesn't it?" she said, rubbing her throat.
"On the matter of what I've been up to, if I was sure, I guess I could tell you. I seem to have become, for want of a better word, a run-around for Reeve and that Jenova-damned WRO he still insists on running. It hasn't been pleasant.
Anything where you've come from?"
She watched him as he spoke, nodding again. "Reeve Tuesti, I presume? I've heard bits and pieces about him in my travels; he seems like a better man than most," she said, closing her eyes. 'Travels'…that's a good word for it."Don't like playing body guard and errand boy? And nothing interesting, no," she said, avoiding the question. Her hesitation was unwarranted, and she knew it, yet she did it anyway. She mentally chastised herself for restricting her conversation with her friend.
"And I guess from here on in, it'll only get worse. That's the way of life." Vincent added as an after-thought. "He is, yes, but severely… Irritating. But that's only my opinion. He's done the best he can with the little we have.
And no. There are a few exceptions. However, only a few."
It wasn't often he used so many words. This was one of the small amount of people he could talk to without worrying about whether he might slip up, let out some valuable information- this was one of the amount that he could trust with anything, as had been the way for years.
"Well… Anything interesting?"
"Everyone is irritating sometimes, Vince," she said, "I'm surprised you didn't kill me or try to kill me on multiple occasions." She closed her eyes again and leaned her head back, savoring the small wind. She had started to appreciate the small things in live. All the things she took for granted while living in the glass tower.
"Interesting? Well…we're both alive, that's interesting to me," she said.
"I agree with you there, Ma'am. We never had the most… amicable… relationship, did we?" he smiles. "Those were the good times, before everything else. The blonde laughed as he smiled; they had been quite a strange pair. She had lost count of the amount of times they had pranked each other in the past.
"Good times never seem to last," she said, looking down.
"I guess it is interesting, considering all that has happened. And pleasant, in a way. Although it's not much of a life around here, if we're honest."
"Pleasant is good, though, yes, you are right. Not much of anything, actually."
"Although… I suppose we're different people, now." too much had happened for Vincent to go back to the man he used to be. He was doubtful there would be even a glimpse of the 'old' him, and if there was it was likely to be fleeting.
"We'd be lucky for a glance at the Gaia we once had."
"The Gaia we knew can rot," Lilith said bitterly, rubbing her neck, "what did it do besides bring forth our near destruction? The Gaia we once had was corrupted by filth and greed. It deserved to die." She shook her head, looking over at the ruins of Midgar that were visible. "The people didn't deserve to die, though," she said, thinking about the close few that she had lost.
"It was the people who were the core of our destruction. As Reeve likes to tell us, constantly. You think he'd shut up about ShinRa, just because he used to work there doesn't give him automatic right to insult it so… Nonetheless, I guess we did the best we could.
I once resented the world we lived in. But now, I'm not sure." Vincent casts his gaze up to the sky, slow breeze moving through his hair. "Maybe, just maybe, we can build it again, from scratch- and make it better."
Lilith stopped walking this time and stepped away from him. She shook her head.
"There is no 'make it better," she said, rubbing her face, "I tried that already, Vince. The company tried that. It doesn't work. You can't just start over and pretend it will be better than the first time. To err is human; we are doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past." She dropped her hands. It was the reason I ran away, because I knew I couldn't change anything.
"And so, what? We give up trying and continue to live in constant madness for eternity?" if he was doomed to be stuck around for years to come, never a day aging, he'd prefer to live somewhere slightly less battered by Gaia's sad excuse for humans.
"Unless, of course, we just commit ourselves to the mass destruction of humanity. Wipe out the problem at it's source."
"Not me, no," the woman said, shaking her head, "I will never give up trying something. I will keep on trying and making mistakes. Human nature to survive." She laughed. "Mass destruction of humanity has been tried multiple times now, in the distant and not so distant past. That will never work. We are like roaches; can't kill us all off."
"One day, we'll find a way to live with the planet. As opposed to against it. Who knows how many generations we'll get to see go by and fail? See… The disadvantage of my 'never-aging' body. I get to sit back and see the joys of humanity, over and over and over again." A sigh, as he pulled a hand through his hair, pulling a knot out of the straggled strand.
Well that was something she didn't know. "You…are immortal?" Lilith said, looking at him, "since when?"
Since those rumors started. Since Lucrecia died. Since Hojo started acting stranger. Since everything became hush hush with the Turks…
"Ma'am… I'm into my sixties. Can you see any way in which I've changed other than in mind?" he seemed amused, but this was a whole grim affair. "Not the most delightful of subjects."
She sighed and shook her head. That was all it took, his eyes told her. All the rumors had been true. Damn it…
"Well then," she said, trying to steer the conversation to a lighter mood, "for a man in his sixties, you look fantastic." She chuckled at her own comment. "What have you been doing all these years to stay in such great shape? Well, of course besides the not aging fact?"
"I would say so myself, if not for the worry of sounding vain." Vincent shoots a wink at Lilith, a completely different side of him showing around this one person. A glimpse of the younger Vincent. "I don't do much, as amazing as that may sound…"
"Really? Because it looks like you exercise or something," she joked, laughing again as he winked to her, "Goddess know I've done enough running to never gain weight again! And thank gods too, I don't want to look like my former husband!" It was just like old times. Almost. A few people are missing…
She shook her head, looking up at the sky again, smiling.
"There is something I thought I'd never see again. Pure blue sky."
"I think if I did, the cape would look like bed linen on a washing line. And that wouldn't be appealing." Vincent chuckles. "I can imagine not, if you suddenly started to look like a man, I would be mighty confused." Vincent's mood grew sombre as he joined Lilith, gazing at the sky. "It's pleasant, certainly."
She choked on her laughter as he spoke but it died quickly as they stared at the sky. The perfect sky. She cast a glance to him an smiled again, looping her arm with his non-metal one. She smiled at him and held his good hand up in the air, fingers entwined with hers.
"Remember, remember, the bright blue sky, the way we used to dream it would be," she recited, "because it was a secret paradise between just you and me…" She sighed and dropped her hand, turning to him.
"Promise me something, Vince," she started, looking up into his eyes. Promise me something, Brother.
The dark-haired man hums along with the blonde, memories flooding back, gushing into his mind like a waterfall into the river.
Red eyes gazed into hers, unnaturally filled with emotion- a mixture of sadness and fondness for the times they shared, once upon a time. Vincent continues to stare, eyes moving quickly to assess the other's.
"Promise me that, as long as I'm alive, you will visit me at least once a year so I can try and make you smile again. So I can make you laugh. So we can be the fools we used to be," she started, closing her eyes.
Just one day.
"And…when I die…" she said, hesitating. She opened her eyes and smiled to him, one of the first sincere smiles she had given is such a long while. "Remember me."
"I will visit you as often as I can. That I will promise with everything I have. There is a lot I would surrender to regain the past, if not everything.."
Vincent's breath jarred in his throat as he inhaled before answering the next request.
"Do not talk… of such occurences." his tone had become snappy, clipped.
"Each breath you take will become an isolated memory of it's own. You are forever alive inside my head, and you always will be. Not a moment we've shared has gone by without becoming embedded into my brain, nor a single touch of your hand that hasn't been committed to eternal storage."
Vincent again drew breath, confused by this speech he had bested himself with- had it really been that long since he had spoken more than a sentence or two?
"You showed me kindness when all hope seemed lost. We shared laughter, joy, sorrow, secrets. You became my eternity it's-self." and besides Lucrecia, this was true. Every word.
Lilith looked at him with sad eyes before she embraced her dear friend and brother of sorts. He was much to tall for her, always had been, so she just rested her head on his chest.
She sighed and closed her eyes, listening to his soft heartbeat, as though it would change everything, take them back to the days where everything was better. Back when Lucrecia was still around and they would all just joke about the bright, bright future. She had always been the youngest of the group, but they were equals, they were friends.
They were family.
"You became my eternity…" She squeezed her eyes shut at these words, tightening the hug just a bit.
She didn't know why she said her words, but she said them anyways.
"Then just promise me that," she said, finally looking him back in the eyes, "promise me you won't forget your humanity."
Balling his hand into a fist so as not to rip Lilith's arm out with his claw, Vincent held on to the hug for as long as it seemed possible. He felt he could hold on forever; it was all he wanted to do.
But of course he couldn't. And so he released Lilith unwillingly, resisting the urge to reach out and stroke her hair, bright under the sun.
"I will promise you anything.."
The embrace ended too soon for her, too soon for him perhaps, too. She knew they had images to withhold, people they had to be for everyone else.
The heartless gunman and the devil in white clothes.
The woman looked up at him, keeping her face calm. She sighed, closing her eyes one last time as she thought about her own words and his.
I will promise you anything… "Don't let this be goodbye," she said, opening her eyes to meet his gaze, "if you can only fulfill one promise to me, let it be that one."
"This cannot- will not- be the end. I lay my life, sordid affair that is is, upon that promise.
And until then, we both have our own lives to attend to- yours probably more important than mine. Goodbye, Ma'am." with a last smile, Vincent turned and walked away, red cape fluttering in the wind. From his pocket fell a red rose, a gift he had hoped to present Lilith with every day since they had last parted. As a last reminder to her that she was always in his heart.
He smiled. It was fleeting, but she saw it. But, then, he was gone, just like when he had vanished in past. She blinked and gripped her necklace, sighing.
"Goodbye my friend, goodbye my brother," Lilith whispered, turning to go. However, a glimpse of red stopped her once more. She picked up the object gingerly, as though her touch would ruin it. She held the rose in her hand, smiling.
She turned away from where he had walked away, and righted her hat, kissing the rose bud, and holding it up like she was toasting him.
"Until we meet again."
a/n: nyah! I'll be honest, I cried during the ending, especially during the r/p. I'd just like to take this opportunity to thank Lilith again, and to beg for reviews for both me and her. :3
ja ne! 3