Disclaimer: This fic is entirely fictional…all characters are property of Square, but this fic is mine! Blah, blah, blah….
OK, This is my first fanfic, so don't expect too much…it's a serious fic so if it seems boring, well, you just have to get beyond the first few screens…author's notes are at the very end after the epilogue, for those of you who could care less about what I have to say… J   So…here goes…
Vincent sat by himself in the large living room. In his favorite chair, he gazed into the roaring fire, and thought about the past year.
"It was snowing outside when I brought her home to this mansion, just like it is doing now," Vincent thought. After the defeat of Sephiroth, Vincent had gone back to Nibelheim in search of his love. Though he’d seen her briefly before the final battle, he still wasn’t sure if who he saw was a ghost or Lucrecia. Wishing for the best, Vincent returned to Lucrecia’s cave, longfully hoping that it was she that he saw and not her departed soul.
"Lucrecia!" he cried throughout his search; a cry that received no reply. Dreading that he must’ve only seen her spirit, Vincent downheartedly trudged towards the mouth of the cave. As he turned around to look one last time at the place where she had stood, he couldn’t help but feel drawn back in, towards the very back of the cave. The cave wall shone with a blinding radiance and Vincent tried hard not to squint as he progressed further and further in. Suddenly, he reached the back wall of the cave.
"What am I doing here?" he thought out loud. "I can barely withstand this light, and yet, I’m compelled to stay here."
At that instant, it was as though the cave knew it was too bright for its visitor, and it dimmed.
"What the heck is going on?!" he wondered. "Why am I at this dead end?!"
Almost as if the cave was answering his question, a crack in the wall made itself obvious to Vincent, and at that instant, he knew.
"She must still be alive," he realized. "This cave is supposed to be magically connected to its resident."
Numerous myths and wives tales about this cave suddenly flooded back into Vincent’s mind. Many people supposed the cave to be a magical sanctuary. Hidden behind a waterfall, the cave was endowed with abundant amounts of Mako energy from the reservoir in the mountain. If a person knew how to control that energy, the cave, in a sense, was connected to that person. It was like living in a gigantic piece of Materia. The fact that the cave responded to Vincent’s comments meant that there had to be someone hiding behind the crack in the wall, controlling the cave.
With as much strength as he could muster, Vincent pushed on the wall. Much to his surprise, it swung open to reveal another cave; only this time, it had two tunnels at its back wall.
"Shit! This is just the beginning!" Vincent thought to himself. "It’s going to take forever to search through this maze of tunnels! Lucrecia! Help me! I know you’re still alive! I can feel your presence!" Closing his eyes, he tried to sense where she was, but to no avail. He finally decided that he would have to search the tunnels by himself.
"I will not give up until I find you, Lucrecia, no matter how long it takes."
After what seemed like a day, Vincent wandered into a small, warm cavern. What greeted his eyes was an area no bigger than a small shack with nothing in it but a quaint, little bed, neatly squared away in the darkest section of the cavern, and a few scattered objects. He saw a balled up creature on the bed, although he could not tell what it really was from where he was standing. The creature just lay there, unmoving. Vincent walked toward it, Death Penalty in hand, just in case it should turn out to be some unwanted foe.
As he stepped closer to the bed, Vincent began to discern its shape and he gasped with horror and joy when he realized that the creature curled upon the bed was a very sick woman.
Her name echoed throughout the cavern, and although Vincent said it loudly, the woman did not move. Feeling her forehead, Vincent realized that this was no ordinary illness. Her head felt icy cold, and yet she was still breathing. Without a second thought, Vincent picked up his love, and the few belongings she had, and ran for the entrance of the cave. He had lost his way in the network of tunnels earlier, but he vowed not to lose his way. "Not right now. Not when Lucrecia needs me the most."
Finally reaching the entrance, Vincent paused to catch his breath and figure out how to get her off this mountain and down to the town below. It had been a rough climb just to reach the cave, and it would be doubly as hard with another person.
"Maybe I can fly us both down," Vincent thought, but then thought the better of it. After all, he really didn’t know the extent of his flying capabilities. It’s true he could float in air, but just how long he could do that had never been tested.
"If I can transform at will, I could change into Chaos and get us down there in no time." But try as he might, the leathery wings never sprouted out his back.
"Damn that Hojo," he cursed. "These transformations must be based on blood and wounds. He made sure I couldn’t just change at will and kill him. Damn!"
After racking his brain some more, Vincent decided that the only way he was going to get Lucrecia off of the mountain was to go back down the way he came and return with help.
"Don’t worry, beautiful, I’ll be back to take you home," Vincent whispered into her ear. Lucrecia must have heard him, and the cave lit up with the same brilliance as before. He gently placed her back into the room behind the wall, gave her a soft kiss, and descended the mountain.
Upon reaching Nibelheim, Vincent gave Cid a call.
"Yeah, this is Cid. What do you want?"
"It’s me, Vincent. I have a favor to ask of you."
"Oh, it’s you. Thought it was a customer. So what the $%!# do ya want?" Cid had decided to start a shipping company using his Highwind once it was completely rebuilt, although he still tinkered with the idea of building another rocket on the side...
"I would like to know if I may borrow the Highwind..."
"You wanna do what?!?! Nobody %@&#-in' touches my baby, let alone borrow it!!!"
"Cid, I know you wouldn’t normally let anyone borrow the Highwind under any circumstances, but I desperately need it for a personal matter."
"I don’t care what the @%#^ you say!! &@%$-in' nobody pilots my ship 'less I say so. You’re not usin' my beauty unless I’m piloting it!!"
So, a few hours later, Vincent found himself on the bridge of the Highwind and talking to a rather peeved Cid.
"So, ya gonna tell me why the !%#@ ya called me all the @$%!-in' way out here for?!"
"It’s personal. Just take me to the peak of Mt. Nibel. There is a cave there behind a waterfall."
"Wait a second. You want me to go to that @^*#-in' messed up cave?! I can’t even land this thing there!"
"I’m going down there alone. I just need you to be nearby."
"Damn it, Vincent, you'd better tell me why I’m riskin' my ^@$#-in' @$$ flyin' up there or you might as well forget the whole damn thing!!!"
"Alright! Fine! I found Lucrecia there. Satisfied?!"
After that, Cid shut his mouth, too stunned to say anything. Puffing on his cigarette, he piloted the Highwind towards Lucrecia’s Cave.
When they reached the cave, Vincent descended alone. Cid decided to give Vincent some privacy since this concerned Lucrecia, but had initially wanted to help. He looked on from the bridge as Vincent disappeared behind the waterfall. Vincent immediately went to the back cave. "See, I told you I would be back, my love," he whispered. He then carefully picked Lucrecia up and carried her outside. She was still very ill, and she looked a little paler than before. When he reached the Highwind, Vincent gently slung her over one shoulder and started the slow climb up the ladder and onto the Highwind deck. Cid was waiting there to help him with the last part of the climb.
Within minutes, the Highwind was outside Nibelheim. Neither had said anything to each other on the way home, and Vincent just kept looking at Lucrecia. His eyes displayed that he was half amazed that Lucrecia was still alive and half-scared to death because of her condition. When the ship touched down, Cid walked over to the corner where Vincent sat.
"I can’t believe this…" Vincent just kept his head bowed, looking at Lucrecia’s pale face.
"Vince, we’ve landed…"
"I am well aware, thank you." Vincent shot a look at Cid. Coldness and indifference for his friend covered his face.
"Oh, stop it, will you!! !*&#, Vince, quit actin' like you’re so %&$#-in' indifferent!!! I can see behind that stare!! I’ve known you too long not to know!!"
Vincent dropped his head as Cid lectured him. Inwardly, Vincent knew that Cid was right. He had to stop hiding from his friends behind that mask of indifference. And slowly, tears began to form in his eyes.
After Cid stopped talking, silence covered the ship like a blanket of snow. After a while, Cid thought he heard something he would never hear; soft sobs of grief from the man sitting on the floor in front of him.
"Vince?" Cid gently asked, as he knelt down beside Vincent. "You alright?"
"How could I have let this have happened…? Huh, Cid?…" Vincent started to raise his head. He gazed into Cid’s eyes. "Tell, me, Cid…How could I have let this happened to such an angel…?" And a few tears splattered onto the floor.
"Aw, come on, Vince. You know it wasn’t your fault. You tried everythin' ya could to stop Hojo. Ya couldn’t have done anythin' more."
"But I could have tried harder. I could have fought to get out of that basement when I had the chance. Instead, I just slept thirty years of my life away," Vincent spat. Anger tore at his heart; fierce anger at himself.
"Vince, ya gotta stop blamin' yourself for what was inevitable. Hojo woulda killed ya if you'd gone after him, and what good to Lucrecia would that've been?"
"Better than what I did do. At least then I would have died trying."
"Now you're just talkin' shit. At least ya got one another now."
"Yeah…" Vincent sighed. How he wished it was that simple. Vincent had a bad feeling that if Lucrecia survived whatever she was affected with, she still wouldn’t be alive for much long after.
"Say, ya need any help? I mean, I could call up a few people and see if they can help," Cid volunteered.
"No, Cid. I want to keep this as private as possible. There’s no need for anyone else to know."
"Well, then, at least let me help ya home."
The two of them walked off the ship, Vincent carrying Lucrecia in his arms. As they neared ShinRa Mansion, Vincent stopped and turned to Cid.
"Thank you, Cid, for all you’ve done. I owe you one."
"Ah, don’t mention it. Just make sure you invite me to the weddin'," Cid said with wink.
"I will," Vincent said with sincerity.
And after some parting words with Cid, Vincent carried the sick woman into his house.
"Lucrecia, you’re finally home."