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Empathy: Epilogue

A Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic by Hika-chan

Ralena and Vincent had taken in some of the refugees and children into the house they purchased in Kalm not long after the destruction of Meteor. The orphanage was alreay overflowing with kids. As it was beginning to turn out most of the children had just been separated from their parents during all the chaos. Yuffie and Reno were also staying with them to help with the effort.

Vincent could already see that this house would likely be too big for Ralena, Sephiroth and himself once everyone cleared out. There was a definite plus side to this though, Sephiroth had managed to make friends with most of the children though a few of the parents seemed wary of him and his apparent likeness to the attempted destroyer of the planet. When several of the refugee parents came to Ralena with this revalation she simply smiled with an explination he was sure she had thought of before hand. "Well you see, when he was born Sephiroth was still looked upon as a hero by most. So, given his likeness, his parents named him after the SOLDIER, when his parents died we agreed to take care of him as was his mother's wish." For the most part this story was true and believable. But when they had questioned about Vincent Ralena became rather adament about the fact that he had helped to save the planet as well. When he later asked her if she had anticipated the worries before hand or just felt it she had simply given him a knowing smile and gone about her business.

There was some teasing of the boy though, white hair did set one apart from the others and those children who weren't taught as much tolerance as others picked on him often. While sitting on the fence of the back yard that would later be used for Haretia, Vincent had heard another boys tauntings. Sephiroth had punched the boy in the gut and ran crying to Vincent about the mean things the boy had said. The boy, who was already being tended to by Ralena (as Yuffie refused to assit the nasty little brat), was now also crying.

For an instant he was worried that this violent outburst may be foreshadowing of his former incarnatin. As soon as the thought formed he had immediately scolded himself for thinking such a thing, it was a typical reaction of a child, one that he would have to remedy. "Why did you hit him Seph?"

"B..b..because he hurt my feeling..." the child sniffed.

"And what right does that give you to hit him?" The boy though a moment before he continued, "Now listen to me, when someone hurts your feelings, you can't just hit them back ok?"

Sephiroth nodded. "But what if they hit you?"

Vincent sighed and thought a moment, "You should try to defend yourself but... You shouldn't go around hitting people."

"But how do I defend myself?"

Vincent let a wry smile touch his lips. "We'll teach you when you're a little older."

Vincent lay in bed staring up at the cieling. Could he really be up to this challenge? Raising a child... He had never really considered it... not since, or even before, Hojo locked him away. But he had promised Lucretia to do his best to take care of both of them long long ago. Having failed her he had to do his best now.

And he was determined to not give up.

"Vincent...Vincent..." he opened his eyes just realizing that he had fallen asleep some time ago. "Vincent get up." He sat up and saw her. She was standing at the foot of the bed looking more beautiful than he could ever remember. Her curly black hair flowed freely around her shoulders and she donned a plain white dress as she almost seemed to glow.

"Lucrecia? H.. how?"

She smiled at him and his disbelief, eyes glowing happily. "A friend of yours showed me the way. A cute young flower girl."

"Aeris?" he whispered. She gave a quick nod. "I can't believe your here!" dispite the obvious excitement in his voice he did his best to remain quiet so as not to disturb anyone else in the house.

She leaned over to him and touched his hand, "There's no need to keep quiet, your not really awake you know." She pulled him up to stand next to her, "Walk with me."

Passing a mirror he noticed that once again he had his old Turk appearance. "Why do I always look like this during Lucid Dreams?"

"It's probably you're preferred self, you were still normal when you looked like this."

He grinned, "You thought I was normal?"

She walked out into the hall leaning against the banister looking out the small window in the ceiling. "I came to thank you Vincent."

"For what? I failed you."

She smiled, "No need to blame yourself for the past beloved. I'm thanking you for taking care of Sephiroth. Thanks to you I'm sure he will grow up to be a wonderful man."

"I haven't done much, I don't even know where to begin, Ralena saved him."

"She is a good woman, Vincent. And she is just as lost as you are. But you're trying, both of you. And for that I thank you." She led him into the room where Sephiroth was sleeping She sat beside him and stroked his cheek. A small smile slowly spread across his face. "I only wish I could truly be here with him, but this little time is all I have."

"Why are you spending this time talking to me?"

She smiled, "I have this night, I will talk to him later. I just can't believe I'll miss seeing him grow up... the right way."

Vincent put a hand on her shoulder, "I'm sure there's a way you can watch, If Aeris can bring you here, she can certainly teach you how to see what he does."

"True but I can't be here for him. And it would be torture just watching him without being here."

"Do not worry me and Ralena will be here for him."

She grinned, "You seem rather confidant all of a sudden don't you?"

"Now that I know you have faith in me, I know I can do it."

She shook her head, "You can be so silly sometimes. But I think I've said all to you all I need. If you don't mind Vincent, I'd like to spend the rest of the night with my son."

A steady rapping woke Vincent a second time. He sat up and walked to the door, Ralena stood there. "What's wrong?"

"There's something weird," She wispered, "I sense something."

"There is no need to worry, It is only Lucrecia."

"What?"

"Aeris showed her how to visit us in our dreams, but only for tonight. She's spending the rest of the night in Seph's dreams."

Ralena smiled, "Oh in that case, I guess I'll go back to mine." With a sly grin she turned back to her room, "Good night Vincent."



That's it there ain't no more!

Well… not yet anyway J

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YAY!! all done!! all done!!

THE SEQUEL IS UP! go read Beautiful Nightmare!!

R&R Please!!