((Author's Notes: This story is part of my Irony of Fate AU series. It can be read alone if you accept the alternate facts as they are introduced, but if you are following my chapter fics in order it occurs after Life After Death and On My Honor (beginning 2 months later). I've done my best to explain what's been going on in my world and with the characters as much as possible to welcome new readers into my AU. Thank you for checking out my story, and I would very much appreciate any and all feedback! ~ JenesisX, 2013 ))
~ Prologue ~
It was still dark when Lucrecia awoke, though with only one small window in the basement-level bedroom it was often difficult to tell. She shivered, realizing she had been drawn from a sound sleep because she was cold. She frowned as she sat up in bed, immediately realizing that Vincent was gone. His place beside her had long gone cool, and there was no sign of him in the room.
That was odd, she thought, reaching out to absently touch his pillow. Vincent never left her side while she was asleep at night, even though he himself almost always remained awake. He slept only every few days, and usually during daylight hours. Yet he always came to bed with her when she retired for the night, content to hold her in his arms and watch as she rested. He was her protector, her security blanket in a new place… a new life. She had become accustomed to awakening with her limbs tangled up in his and her head resting upon him, drawing a security from the closeness she had never known in her previous existence.
She squinted in the darkness, barely able to see the time on the alarm clock. Three thirty-four a.m. Where could he have gone at such an hour? She was certain she would have heard his PHS ring if he'd been called out due to work. As it was, she was surprised she hadn't felt him get out of bed. She knew she'd been curled up tightly with him when she fell asleep hours before. Vincent had always been quiet, however, now more so than ever. It was one more change she was still struggling to adapt to.
Filled with worry and an unexplainable sense of dread, Lucrecia pulled back the quilt and slipped out of bed, her bare feet cold on the cement floor of the basement. For some reason, she was drawn to the nightstand, and not only to retrieve her glasses so she could see properly. Once she had set them upon her face, she found herself staring down at the drawer, one she never opened because she knew it was where Vincent kept his gun when he was in bed. Lucrecia had never liked guns, a fact he knew well, and out of respect for her he had stopped keeping it between the wall and mattress once she'd come to live with him. Any other time, however, the gun was always on his person, and he went nowhere without it. But Lucrecia had a feeling she knew what she was about to discover…
Sure enough, when she slowly opened the drawer, feeling somewhat guilty, she found his weapon exactly where he'd put it before joining her in bed. His PHS was beside it, left on but set to silent, and she quickly noted that there were no unread messages blinking for attention. After staring at the frightening instrument of death for long moments, she pushed the drawer closed with a heavy sigh. If Vincent was gone, why was his gun still there? As head of Junon Harbor security, it would be extremely out of place for him to leave his gun and PHS behind… not to mention out of character. Maybe he was still in the apartment.
Lucrecia stepped into her slippers and retrieved her robe from the back of the armchair tucked into the far corner of the room, wrapping it tightly around herself against the chill. The basement always remained on the cold side, but she had to admit her nerves were getting the best of her as well. She didn't know why, but she could feel that something was not as it should be. She'd awakened so suddenly for seemingly no reason, and finding Vincent gone had only amplified her feelings of dread. She quietly pushed open the bedroom door and stepped out into the main living area, quickly scanning the long, narrow room and finding it empty. The bathroom door was open, and as she passed she peered inside and found it unoccupied as well. He really was gone…
Her frown only deepened when she spotted his long red cloak still hanging by the door, his boots resting beneath. There was no way he had left on business barefoot and without his cloak, even if he'd left his gun behind for some reason. But if he wasn't in the house, where could he have gone at such an hour? If there was something seriously wrong, surely he would have awakened her…
Lucrecia stood and stared at ragged ends of his cloak for long moments, biting her lower lip with worry. There was so much about Vincent she was still learning, so many changes she was trying to adapt to and accept as part of the man she loved. For the most part, they were very happy together, though there were moments of awkwardness and tension she couldn't quite explain and didn't yet know how to handle. He was the same man she had loved thirty years before, yet he was so different… It was a topic they largely avoided discussing, and Lucrecia felt herself wishing she understood her lover better as she stood wondering what he could possibly be up to in the middle of the night.
Chilled and a bit frightened, she reluctantly turned and headed back into their bedroom, though she knew she would never be able to fall back to sleep while Vincent remained missing. She climbed into bed and crawled beneath the covers, hugging his pillow to her chest for comfort. Wherever he was, she could only hope that he would return to her soon.
A dark figure stumbled along the rocky beach of Junon Harbor, dropping to his knees beneath the pale moonlight. He barely noticed the pain as the jagged rocks tore into his flesh, too overcome by the agony that ripped through his entire body. He fell forward onto his palms, breathing hard and hanging his head nearly to the ground. Wild black hair fell across his face as he grit his teeth, graceful fingers curling into the ground and slowly twisting into demonic claws.
Two months… He had held out for two entire months, longer then he'd ever been able to before. But now, after awakening from a particularly vivid nightmare in which Hojo had returned from the dead and lured Lucrecia away from him, Vincent was being rapidly overcome by the demon he called Chaos.
He had tried so hard to fight it, but by the time he'd woken from his torment the transformation was already in progress. He'd fought so desperately to keep Chaos contained since Lucrecia had returned to his life that it hit him with a force he could not combat. After everything that had happened lately, it was no wonder the stress had finally gotten the best of him. It seemed the demon had been kept caged for far too long and was angry, determined to break free again at last. And it was about to succeed…
Thankfully, Vincent was able to get out of bed without awakening his lover, determined to get as far away from her as he could before he completely lost control. She had yet to witness one of his battles with the demon that lived inside of him, and he was not about to let that to change. He was terrified of what she might think of him, as well as of what Chaos might do if it emerged in her presence. That could never be permitted… Vincent would sooner die.
He squeezed his glowing red eyes closed, feeling as if his insides were being shredded and his body slowly torn apart. It became harder and harder to breathe as he started to tremble, giving in to a moan of pure agony as a violent shudder passed through him. He briefly lifted his head and looked to the sky as if pleading for mercy or seeking some kind of assistance he knew in his heart would never come. His vision began to turn red as he doubled over again, long fangs tear into his bottom lip as he tried to bite down on the pain.
I'm so sorry, my love…
It was his last coherent thought before he lowered his head and screamed in pain as two leathery wings burst forth from his back. The white hot agony drowned out anything that remained of Vincent Valentine as another powerful shudder ran through his body, a body that was no longer his own as Chaos violently emerged. Before long, his intense cries of pain had mutated into a roar of triumph and rage. Free from the prison of his human host's body at last, the demon immediately took to the air. It flapped its wings and growled deep in its chest, scanning the ground with alert red eyes as it began to hunt for prey. This night, Chaos would again taste blood.
~ To be continued… ~
((Author's Note: This story will involve Vincent's ongoing struggles with Chaos, he and Lucrecia's attempts to adapt to their renewed relationship despite it, Vincent and Sephiroth working on getting to know each other a bit better… and some other issues for Avalanche in Junon Harbor. But it is Vincent's story, part romance and part learning to live again and to adjust to all the alterations that were done to him… and finally confronting his past. Meanwhile Lucrecia is still dealing with her own guilt, trying to get to know the 'new' Vincent and her grown son, and find her place in the world thirty years later. Vincent and Lucrecia love each other deeply, but can they really reconnect after so long? We shall see.
- A brief catch-up for those new to my AU: Hojo had cloned Lucrecia hoping to repeat the Jenova Project with her body and a blank memory, but somehow when she came out of stasis her memories had returned (due to her wandering spirit/ghost who appeared to Sephiroth in Irony of Fate) A kind lab technician took pity on her and helped her escape, and she tracked down Vincent in Avalanche-controlled Junon Harbor (see Battlegrounds). They reconciled and Vincent proposed to her in Life After Death, and they have been living together for about two months. Just recently, the Turks arrived seeking protection from Shin-ra during On My Honor. Tseng and Elena had been carrying on a secret romance, but Elena accidentally became pregnant. Hojo found out and wanted to experiment on her unborn child (with Rufus' blessing), and when she refused she was captured and held in the lab. Tseng, Reno and Rude rescued her and left Midgar after Tseng shot and killed Hojo. The four Turks are now living in Junon Harbor as refugees under house arrest conditions. The only other thing you want to know is that Sephiroth changed his ways a long time back in Irony of Fate and has been working with Avalanche ever since, and is married to Aeris. It was also proven that Vincent is his biological father. I hope this was helpful rather than scaring anyone off… lol.
- Anyway, thank you so much for checking this out! Please take a moment to leave a review if you don't mind. They mean the world to me and I greatly appreciate each and every one of them. Thank you so much! ~ JenesisX ))