Vincent lay alone in the dark, staring up at the ceiling.  Cloud and Aeris had gone out on a little date, and he was by himself in the room at the inn.  It was too early to sleep, but there was nothing better to do than lie there and think, and slowly fall back into the black memories.

Lucrecia,” he sighed.  “I thought that I could come to you…how foolish.  He wouldn’t let me off so easily, would he?  By his hand I must stay here until…until when?  When will Jenova stop supporting my body?  It’s very hard for me to die!… And I don’t want to do it myself…not yet.  Not until I find Sephiroth, at least…  And the dreamer, the dreamer who tiptoed through my sleep. As time goes on, I feel as if I must find her...

“That dreamer…I wonder if seeing my nightmares drove her mad.  I’m curious…”

He sighed again and rolled onto his side, pulling trailing locks of his black hair out of his face.  “Isn’t it enough that I have to suffer my torments again in my sleep?  Do I have to inflict them on others?” he muttered.  There was a ripple of screaming laughter in his mind, but he absently pushed Jenova back into her corner, ignoring her as a matter of habit.  He had no time to be distracted by her siren songs and banshee wails.  He didn’t even understand what she wanted anymore, only that she loved to see him hurt.  “Damned monstrous bitch…”

He clenched his clawed hand, making a terrible sound like rusty scissors closing.  “This, at least, I accept as payment…payment for Joshu.  Odd, how I can think of it that way now.  It took thirty years of sleep to make me realize that this is a kind of atonement…  Since I couldn’t stop you, Lucrecia, I had to be around to stop your son.  Isn’t that how it has worked out?  Perhaps Hojo did his work too well…or perhaps he didn’t, and I’m just delusional.  I can never decide if I’ve gone mad yet…”

His monologue trailed off into silence.  He listened to the cicadas for a long moment, remembering summer nights in the past.  “How can thirty years have passed?” he demanded of the air.  “I remember everything so clearly…  But whenever I look around, nothing’s the same…  If I wasn’t already half-mad, I think all of these changes would have put me there.”  He looked at the PHS sitting on the nightstand, its LCD face glowing faintly green.  “Strange little machines…so many new gadgets, but the spirit of the people has stayed the same…  The good are still good, the bad are still bad.  Shinra is still corrupt.  Hojo’s still mad.  I suppose it’s true, some things never change…”

“Do you really believe that?” a baritone voice came from the darkness on the other side of the room.

Vincent sat bolt-upright and reached for his gun under his pillow.  “Who’s there?!”

There was a low laugh, and the speaker stepped a little closer, into the edge of the moonlight from the window.  He was attired in black leather, his silver hair glinting in an almost metallic way and his blue eyes startlingly bright.  Vincent’s hand wavered as he pointed the gun at the intruder.

“Sephiroth,” he breathed, staring at the child of Lucrecia, grown into a strong, dangerous man.

“Correct,” the other said with a smirk.  “Why do you stare so?”

Caught off-guard by the question, Vincent floundered for an answer.  “You…you look like your mother…and your father.”  It was true; he could see the shadows of both of them in Sephiroth’s face and graceful build, his angel and his devil, his love and his hate.

He had been staring blankly into space, considering the irony of it; Sephiroth had used his distraction to move closer.  “Put away your toy, Vincent, and speak with me.”  He pushed Vincent’s gun down and crouched by the bedside.  “Do you think I look like Mother?  She is laughing.”

Vincent looked sharply at Sephiroth, a child born so long ago that he looked the same age as Vincent himself, a child he had seen delivered.  For the first time since waking up to Cloud’s startled face, he felt…afraid.  “She…is laughing?  Your mother…?”  His fingers slowly uncurled and let the gun fall to the bed with a soft bounce.

“Indeed.”  Sephiroth smiled, but his eyes were narrowed.  “She told me to stay away from you, because you were too dangerous, but I know…” he chuckled softly, “I know you wouldn’t harm me out of turn.”

“I – I’m not – “  Vincent felt dismayed.  She thought him dangerous?  She was laughing at him?  Cruel, cruel…

“Oh, I know.”  His grin was little more than a baring of teeth; Vincent stifled a shiver.  “Mother says she talks to you too, but you won’t listen to her.”

“What?!”  The thought of her trying to speak to him, and unable to make herself heard to him, made him suddenly want to weep.   He closed his eyes against the wave of anguish.

“Don’t you know?” Sephiroth said in an amused tone.  “She wants to love you…as she loves me.”  His voice sounded too close.

Vincent’s eyes flew open and met the brilliant blue gaze; Sephiroth was only inches away from him, standing and leaning over him slightly.

“She says you could have been my father, but you didn’t love her enough.”  Silver hair cascaded on either side of Vincent’s view, but he couldn’t move back, couldn’t push the other man away.  He was more beautiful than any man should have been, yet underneath it all was a coldness, the coldness of someone who had never really loved anything.  He really was the child of Lucrecia and Hojo: lovely to a fault, but as cold as hard science.  It was…entrancing.

But he had heard Sephiroth’s words.  “I didn’t…love her?  But I didn’t want to make…  You…are…  You can’t be happy, can you?” he said haltingly, trying to find his voice while looking into those eyes.  “I didn’t want to bring a child into that kind of…misery.”  Such cruelty!  How could she think that he didn’t love her?

“Ah, but I know my purpose now, and everything I’ve endured so far has fallen away.  I will return the planet to glory…!  But won’t you help me, Vincent?  Mother would be so pleased…”

Vincent was taken aback by the question; hadn’t he joined Cloud’s little band to stop Sephiroth?  But…  “Would she…would she speak to me then?” he asked in a whisper.

”Of course,” Sephiroth purred.  “I’ll show you how to hear her.”  There was a subtle note of triumph in his voice as he leaned down.

Vincent was too startled to even close his eyes as the other man kissed him.  Untouched for so long, he felt a sudden heat flush his face, and a corresponding burning shame.  Only Lucrecia could arouse such feelings, and only Hojo could make him feel so dirty, and so helpless, for having them.  Could their son do both?  He tasted blood, and suddenly the voice of Jenova flooded into his brain, laughing mockingly and seemingly singing a paean of unexpected victory.  With a violent shudder, he shoved Sephiroth away.

“You poor fool,” he moaned, feeling the self-loathing rising again.  “Sephiroth, Jenova is not your mother!”

Sephiroth was licking his lower lip where he had bitten himself.  He smiled nastily at Vincent.  You are the fool, ‘Father’.  She loves me…”

“She speaks nothing but self-serving lies!”

“Ah…”  The blue eyes blazed in sudden anger.  “Ah, but you are the liar, Vincent!”  He seized a handful of Vincent’s hair in his hand and pulled his head back sharply.  “Mother says…Mother says…”  A sudden smile crossed his face and he bit the middle finger of his glove, pulling it off with his teeth.  “Mother says you love to feel pain…”

 He had rather long nails for a man, long enough to dig into the skin, but Vincent had true claws.  He held Sephiroth’s hand away from him with his hateful left hand, trying to keep his metal talons out of play.   He was strangely reluctant to hurt the man, even though he had broken out of the spell cast by those eyes.  “She lies again,” he hissed.  “I hate the pain, and I hate her, and I hate your father, and I hate myself!”

“But you do not hate me?” Sephiroth asked, sounding truly curious.  He did not push back against Vincent’s clawed grip, but Vincent got the impression that the SOLDIER could overpower his wiry strength easily.

“I can’t hate you…I don’t even know you,” Vincent murmured.  “And you’ve played no part in my torture…”  He closed his eyes.  “Until now.”  He smiled bitterly.  “You carry on the work of your father.  He stole your mother from me, and you mock her memory.”

“Jenova is my mother, you fool,” Sephiroth snarled.  “You know nothing.”  He easily overpowered Vincent’s grip and grasped the man’s throat, his nails digging in slightly but not drawing blood.  “I could tear out your throat.  Mother is right; you are too dangerous.  But…”

Vincent wondered why Sephiroth had paused, but then his mind was assaulted by such an attack as he had never experienced before.  He realized that Sephiroth was trying to batter down the walls of his mind, to get inside and insinuate himself into his psyche.  But he could not force his will on Vincent; Hojo’s tinkering had ensured that.  He smiled against the agony; the irony was delicious.

“She was right,” Sephiroth muttered, sounding disappointed.  “Ah, well.  It might have been nice, to have a father…or a brother.”  He laughed mockingly and began to dig his nails into Vincent’s neck.

There was a sound of a key turning in the lock of the door; with a curse, Sephiroth released Vincent from his grasp.  “Our business is not finished, ‘Father’,” he said darkly, fading away like a specter.

Vincent pulled his hair forward to hide the five half-moon cuts on his neck as the door swung open.  “Vincent?  Are you still awake?”  Cloud and Aeris stood in the doorway, silhouetted by the light in the hall.

“No…I just had a bad dream,” he said softly, lying back down.


Well...that was fun.  ^.^  I rather wish it was a longer story, but I can't really make things longer than the first time I write them without sounding like I'm stretching.  As it is, it conveys the story I want it to convey.  What do you think?

If you've seen the manga, you may recognize some of the imagery, at least, from "Satan Impact".  The story's a bit different, though. ^.^; What can I say -- the image of Seph kissing Vin-sama kind a chord?

Doufuku is translated as "born of the same mother" or "kindred spirits".  I was looking for a bit of a pun. ^^;

This takes place in the same "universe", so to speak, as "Zokumei no Fuhon'i", so if you're curious about what Hojo did to Vincent, you can read the Henkei there. ^.^