Gunfire suddenly erupted from down the hallway and Lyria stood up. "No please oh god "
"Lyria wait!" Elena exclaimed as her friend ran down the hallway. "Oh dammit " Elena took off after her, darting down corridors. The gunfire suddenly stopped and Elena heard a cry of anguish from a passageway to her left. Reluctantly she un-holstered her gun and ran down the hallway. Lyria was kneeling on the ground cradling Vincent in her arms and crying quietly. Elena stopped, hesitant to interrupt the couple. Several ShinRa soldiers lay dead or dying at the end of the hallway, evidently having fallen prey to Vincents marksmanship. She could see blood starting to soak through his white shirt and decided one of the soldiers must have gotten in a lucky shot.
Lyria gently laid her hand on his, pressed against his side though blood already seeped between his fingers. "Lyria?"
"Shh " the young doctor murmured gently.
"What why get out of here "
"Dont be foolish," Lyria whispered.
"No, you dont understand please, for gods sake "
"Stop talking, youre making the bleeding worse."
"Am I the only thing holding you here?" Pulling his right hand away from the wound in his side with a grimace, he grasped his gun from where he had let it fall. Fingers slipping slightly with the blood that coated them, he pressed the weapon into her hand. "If its only my life kill me and leave."
"No!" Lyria gasped, refusing to take the gun. "Vincent, no "
"It would be better than what Lewis has planned "
"There is nothing in this world that would make me spill your blood. Well figure something out " Lyria promised, trying to sound reassuring.
"How touching," a voice remarked sarcastically from behind Elena. "Pity I have to break it up." Dr. Lewis came forward, flanked by Reno and Rude who had both drawn their weapons and were looking grim. "Oh joy, I get you both at once. I was worried Id have to hunt one of you down "
Lyria felt Vincent shift slightly and without warning he had pulled the gun from her hand and was a few seconds from firing when the doctor pulled out a small black box and twisted the dial on it viciously. Lyria gasped as she felt him tense and struggle for a few moments before going limp and dropping his head onto her shoulder. "Vincent!"
Reno looked startled and glanced at Rude. His partner was frowning and staring hard at Vincent. "Sir, what " Reno began.
"Silence!" Dr. Lewis barked. He strode forward and grabbed Lyrias arm. "Thought you could get away from me, eh, pet?"
"Let me go! What did you do to Vincent?" Lyria jerked her arm away and tenderly placed her hand on Vincents chest.
"Its simple really. You see this little black box?" Dr. Lewis held up the device. "This is the control that Hojo built to trigger Vincents transformations. Its genius the things that Hojo came up with. For example, he noticed that when ShinRa wanted to torture prisoners they were often too seriously injured to torment effectively and not kill them. So he created a way to simulate intense agony in a persons body, without actually causing them physical harm. This dial here," Lewis indicated a knob on the center of the gadget in his hand, "controls the level of pain you want that person to feel. A little twist to the right " Lewis spun the dial slightly and Lyria saw pain flicker for a second across Vincents features. "Or a large twist to the right." Lewis viscously turned the dial further and Lyria felt the body in her arms shudder violently and struggle for a moment with an unseen force before going limp again.
"How could you?"
"Oh please, Lyria," Lewis snorted. "Dont tell me you feel affection for this monster?"
"How could you ever understand?" Lyria demanded.
"Lyria, dont you know what he is?" Dr. Lewis said in that tone Lyria so hated. The fatherly, wise tone that older doctors always used when they spoke to her. "Hes scarcely fit to be called human."
"You youre the one whos inhuman how can you willingly inflict such torture on another human being? What has he ever done to deserve this?"
"You dont understand, do you? Hes not human. Youve never seen what he really is. Well, Ill show you." Lewis grabbed her arm a bit more forcefully and jerked her to her feet. "Come with me, pet, were going to do a little science experiment. You three," he turned to address the Turks. "Bring him up to my lab."
"Yes, sir " Reno answered distantly, still looking hard at Vincent. Lyria burst into tears as Lewis pulled her roughly down the hallway, but Reno didnt seem to notice. Instead, he knelt down by Vincent, still with an indecipherable expression on his face. "Rude, do you think its him?"
"Just thinking about it he looks almost exactly the same "
"An Avalanche member though "
"I dont remember him being in Avalanche unless he was that scary dark haired guy."
"Yeah, but its not him, so lets just get him up to Lewiss lab." Rude bent down and carefully hauled Vincent off the floor.
"I bet you five hundred Gil it is him."
"Sure. Why dont you give it to me now because a.) Vincent is dead, b.) Even if he werent hed be like sixty years old, and c.) If it is him and hes not dead and he just looks really good for sixty, the Vincent we knew would never have joined Avalanche."
"Rude, shut up."
"Whatre you two talking about?" Elena asked.
"Its a long story, Elena " Reno sighed. "Too long."
"Are you gonna tell me?"
"Like my laboratory, angel?" Lewis asked, forcing Lyria to sit down in a chair behind his desk. The laboratory was cluttered with several surgical tables and a wall of drawers that reminded Lyria of those at a morgue. There was a table of shiny metal instruments and tools, and along the far wall were pairs of manacles.
"Howd you manage to land a job like this?" Lyria asked, looking with revulsion around the lab.
"It was simple, darling," Lewis answered happily. "I used to be the assistant to Dr. Hojo, the old head of ShinRa Sciences. Brilliant man, Hojo was "
"Hojo he was the one who " Lyria remembered Tifa telling her about Hojo and what he had done to Cloud and Vincent and tried to do with Aeris and Red XIII.
"I helped!" Lewis protested. "He couldnt have done it without me. In fact, your boyfriend was the one who popped my eye out I never did properly repay him for that "
Lyria shuddered and bit her lip to keep from crying. She felt bad for being so weak. She felt bad for not being able to help Vincent when he needed her. She felt bad for getting them all into this big, stupid mess. Lyria bit her lip so hard it started to bleed, but it wasnt stopping the tears any more. She buried her face in her hands and wept, feeling a comforting hand on her shoulder and, for a fleeting second, wishing it were Vincent. Angrily she pushed his hand away and stood up, facing Dr. Lewis with a look of pure hatred. "I admired you. I admired what an incredible physician you were."
Lewis laughed. "I dont let morals and ethics cloud my sight. So what if its wrong to experiment on humans? Who cares if people need to get killed in order for me to reach my goals?"
Lyria sank down on the floor in despair, when the Turks suddenly entered the room. "Oh!" Lyria cried and held out her arms. Rude looked almost apologetic as he gently lowered Vincent into Lyrias arms. As he turned to leave the room, Lyria caught the sleeve of his jacket. "Thank you for not hurting him "
"Very good. You three can leave now," Lewis instructed with a wave of his hand.
Reno looked a little offended at being dismissed so abruptly, but complied anyway. He turned to follow Elena and Rude out the door, but managed to catch Lewiss last words.
"Oh come now, Lyria. Hes fine; he used to be a Turk " The door swung shut after Reno with a loud bang, but he didnt notice.
"Rude!" Reno yelled down the hallway. "Get your ass back here!"
"What is it?"
"Its him, Rude, I swear to god. Lewis just said he used to be a Turk "
"Maybe its a coincidence."
Reno glared at his partner. "Same name, same mannerisms, and hes a dead ringer for our old boss. And he used to be a Turk. And Hojos old lab assistant knows who he is. And Hojo was the one who told us he was dead."
"I guess it makes sense if the same thing happened to him " Rude said slowly. "Maybe its possible "
"Its very possible!" Reno shouted. "Come on, I have an idea." Reno ran down the hallway and ducked into a room adjacent the lab. It was a cluttered looking storage room full of various specimen jars.
"Reno can we get outta here?" Elena whined. "Its creepy "
Reno jumped when he heard Elenas voice. "Elena? Are you still here?"
"Uh huh. Whatre you guys talking about?"
"None of your business."
"Aww cmon, you guys. Dont be mean "
"Well tell you later, Elena, but you have to be quiet," Reno said firmly. "Rude, help me move some of these jars away from the door."
"Ok." Rude started shifting various boxes and bottles away from the door connecting the storage room and Lewiss lab. When the door was clear, Reno slowly pulled it open a crack and peered into the laboratory.
"Well?" Elena whispered.
"I dunno, just be quiet and listen."
"Ok." Elena fell silent and looked through the door above Reno as he started to catch snatches of the dialogue in the other room.
"Do you understand why youre still here, Lyria? Why I havent killed you yet?"
"I dont want to know," Lyria answered sadly. "I just want you to leave us alone."
"Why do you speak as though you two are a couple? You arent, you know, and you never can be."
Lyria didnt answer and held Vincent closely. Reno felt something wet drop onto his nose and looked up to see Elena crying silently. He rolled his eyes, but had to admit there was a certain tragedy about the situation.
"Well? Do you know why I havent killed you yet?"
"Because you want to rape me first?" Lyria asked bitterly, causing Lewis to laugh again.
"Id thought about it, but I dont have the time. If I were to rape you Id want to have as much fun as I could, but time is money and I can easily find some street whore to amuse me. But then I came up with something better. I thought to myself, Is simple death really enough? And is there no way I could make it painful for Valentine as well? Then it came to me. I was thinking of merely making him watch your death, but why not have him kill you himself?"
"Vincent wouldnt hurt me " Lyria declared, tenderly kissing Vincents forehead. "He might not love me, but he would never cause me harm. Ive learned that much about him."
"Really?" Dr. Lewis said dryly. "What makes you think I couldnt force him to?"
"H-he wouldnt " Lyria persisted, though it seemed she was a little less sure of herself.
"Lets test that theory." Lewis grabbed Lyrias wrist and pulled her away from Vincent. He led her to the far wall and locked her wrists into the shackles that were bolted to the wall. "Now, if your theory holds true, when I make our friend here transform, he wont hurt you. If, however, you were wrong, hell tear you to pieces."
Lyria pulled at the chains holding her hands above her head. They didnt give and she hadnt expected them to. "Let me go!"
"Nope. Nothing doing, precious. Im sorry it had to come to this, me killing you and all, but you know how it is " Lewis turned around and strode to the middle of the floor where Vincent still lay, unmoving. He reached into his pocket and pulled out the small black device. "Up and at em, wretch." Lewis spun the dial and Vincent suddenly groaned and tried to break away from whatever the strange force was that put him in so much agony.
"Vincent!" Lyria cried as he opened his eyes.
"Lyria?" Vincent blinked a couple more times and started to sit up, but Lewis firmly planted a foot on his chest.
"Now, where do you think youre going? Were going to have a little fun. Stand up," Lewis ordered, shifting his foot.
"Wheres Lyria?" Vincent half pulled himself into a sitting position.
"Right there." Lewis pointed to where the young doctor was chained, tearful eyes watching Vincent.
"Let her go."
Lewis laughed and turned the dial on the controller again. Vincent flinched visibly and pressed a hand against his already wounded chest. "Why should I?"
"She has no part in this, let her go "
Lewis looked at Vincent with an air of bemusement. "Are you trying to say you dont want her hurt? That you care enough for a human being to reduce yourself to this outright pleading?"
Vincent lowered his eyes and nodded silently. Lyria gasped, unsure whether to cry for joy or for sorrow.
"You can never have her, you know. All your devotion would do is curse an innocent woman because of the beast you are. Already she is caught up in the belief that she loves you. Would you like to show her exactly what the price of her infatuation will be?"
"Lets see if she still holds her feelings when she gets a look at what you really are. When she understands how you tear people to pieces and savor in the anguish of humanity. Lets see if shell still love you as you spill the life from her body."
"Oh, yes. I was going to do it myself, but I decided Id allow you the pleasure." Lewis pressed down on the dial and Vincent cried out and dropped to his knees.
"No I I wont hurt her "
Lewis frowned. "Stop fighting it. I have a deadline, you know "
In the closet, Elena kicked Reno hard in the ribs. "Do something!"
"Like what?" Reno asked, racking his mind for ideas.
"We cant just Lyrias going to die if "
"Never mind. Its too late," Rude sighed as he watched Vincent slump forward and saw his body flicker and fade. In his place a winged demon, nearly seven feet tall, rose and spread his blood red wings.
Lyria screamed and Lewis grinned manically. Chaos turned to face the scientist, pointed teeth gleaming, and reared back to tear out his throat with dagger sharp claws. Before Chaos could complete the stroke, Lewis had pointed the controller at him and spun the dial. The demon howled and backed away from the scientist. Lewis relaxed and pointed at Lyria. "Go on, kill her."
The demons glowing eyes narrowed as they focused on Lyria.
"Yes, thats it " Lewis encouraged as Chaos advanced.
"Vincent, dont " Lyria pleaded, eyes filled with fear. "Please "
Chaos almost seemed to hesitate, but shook off whatever confusion he had felt.
"Go on " Lewis breathed.
The demon extended a claw, slowly, hand almost trembling as though he struggled with an inner power. The tips of Chaoss claws touched Lyrias neck, just below her jaw line, lightly, not even enough to draw blood.
"I love you, Vincent," Lyria whispered softly, closing her eyes and trying to prepare herself for the end. But the end didnt come.
"What are you waiting for? Go! Tear her throat out! Kill her!" Lewis shouted, turning the controller on Chaos and wrenching it as far as it would go. The demon roared and whirled towards Lewis, poised to attack. "Oh no, you dont." Lewis frowned and found he couldnt force the knob on the controller any farther. Chaos could obviously take a lot more punishment than Vincent could. "Stubborn, eh? Well, well fix that " Holding the handle as far as it would go, he pushed down on the button. Chaos howled in rage and pain, clutching his head while his wings folded and he collapsed heavily to the ground. The demons now inert form wavered and faded away, Vincent reappearing in its place.
"You! Worthless creature!" Lewis shouted, striding forward and kicking Vincent as hard as he could. "Damn you!" He whirled around to face Lyria. "Well, now, pet "
The glint in Lewiss eyes frightened Lyria, even more than Chaos had. "W-what do you want?"
"If he wont kill you, Ill do it myself hell pay for his defiance later " Lewis picked up a scalpel from the table. "How would you like to die, angel? Actually, now that hes going to be down for a while, we might as well have a little fun you remember the promise you mentioned earlier? You owe me, Caddy, and Im calling in your debt."
"Ok, Reno, now you do something!" Elena whispered urgently.
"I dont know what to do!" Reno exclaimed. "We cant exactly go barging out there wait Elena; give me your gun "
"Reno, you cant hit the broad side of a barn," Elena groaned, grudgingly handing Reno her handgun.
"I cant. Vincent can." Reno opened the door a bit wider and slid the gun across the floor. It spun slightly as it crossed the hard linoleum floor and stopped when it hit Vincents hand.
"Cmon " Rude muttered, hopes rapidly fading, as Vincent didnt move.
"You dont think maybe hes dead?" Elena whispered.
"Shit " Reno sighed, giving up.
"Wait!" Rude said softly, pointing at Vincent. His fingers curled around the handle of the gun and his eyes flickered open, coming into focus sharply. Slowly he pulled himself off the ground.
"Yes!" Reno and Elena exalted in simultaneous whispers and Rude just smiled.
"Now, Caddy, Ive been waiting for this for a long time so dont disappoint me," Lewis said softly to Lyria, slowly lifting the knife he held to cut away the strap of Lyrias dress.
"Hey, Lewis," Vincents voice was cold and intense with an immeasurable hatred. Lyria looked up, undisguised hope in her eyes. Lewis whirled around to face Vincent who had his handgun leveled at the scientists forehead. "I hear Hells quite nice this time of year. Give Hojo my regards." One shot, point blank, and before Lewis had even changed expression from shock to anger he was dead.
There was silence in the lab as Lewis slowly sank to the floor, blood running down his face from the bullet hole between his eyes. Vincent strode forward calmly and nudged the body with his foot, picking up a pair of keys from his pocket and looking strangely detached.
Lyrias eyes shone with tears of relief and happiness. "Vincent!"
He didnt answer as he unlocked the chains that bound her hands.
Lyria felt the hold on her wrists relax and threw her arms around Vincents neck. "Oh, Vincent "
"Im sorry, Lyria. I cant believe I put you through all this " Lyria felt his hold tighten as he whispered his apology.
"No, it wasnt your fault "
"Yes, it was. I shouldnt have let any of this happen. I shouldnt have been stupid enough to let you come " Lyria sighed as he let her go and turned away.
"What you mean is you shouldnt have been stupid enough to let me so close."
Vincent flinched and Lyria could tell he was frightened that she could read him so easily. "Fine. Thats what I meant. I shouldnt have let it happen."
"But you did."
"I know I did! I wish I hadnt "
"Do you really? There was absolutely no conviction in those words. Cant you admit it? That maybe letting someone close to you wasnt such a terrible mistake?"
"But it is Im not "
"Look at me, Vincent," Lyria commanded gently, sitting down on the ground. He didnt answer and she could sense him struggling with something inside. "Come on, sit down." She reached up and grabbed his hand, pulling him gently.
"Stop it " Vincent reluctantly sat down anyway, but wouldnt meet Lyrias eyes.
"I cant. And even if I could, I wouldnt."
"You dont understand "
"No, I dont. I dont understand why you wont accept one of the most joyful aspects of life."
"I dont deserve it."
"Everybody deserves love; some people just need it more than others. You for example, need it very badly, but for some reason refuse to accept it."
"Im not you saw what I am "
Lyria heard the sheer depth of sorrow and shame in his voice. "Oh, Vincent " Lyria smiled gently and touched his hand. "I see what you are. I always have. From the first moment I saw you, I could tell you needed someone. Im might not be quite who you have in mind, but wont I do?"
"Please stop "
"There you go again, absolutely no conviction. I love you Vincent, Im getting sick of having to keep telling you. Dont you care about me? Even the tiniest little bit?"
"I know you must. Thats why you didnt let Chaos hurt me. You even admitted you do." Lyria moved over and wrapped her arms around Vincents neck. "Come on, let me close again."
"I cant I dont understand why you insist on doing this "
"Stop trying to understand. You cant understand love because its not tangible. Its not even perceptible enough to be called a concept. It just is. Stop thinking, just for a minute, and let it happen."
"You honestly believe this could work?"
"Of course I do." Lyria hugged him tighter, feeling his defenses starting to crumble. "Ill believe in anything."
"We can be together?"
"Were together already."
"That was fast."
Lyria laughed and let Vincent hold her tightly. "You do love me, right? You arent just playing along?"
"Of course, I love you. Im just sorry it took me so long to realize it."
"Oh yeah!" Elena exalted, jumping in the air "Im so happy!" Reno quietly pulled the door shut and grinned.
"That was damn lucky," Rude commented. "It is him, isnt it?"
"Yes, it is my friend!" Reno punched Rudes shoulder then pulled his hand back, swearing and rubbing his knuckles. "You owe me five hundred Gil!"
"Yeah. And you just broke your hand, didnt you?"
"You guys " Elena said, halting her celebration and biting her lip. "Umm we just witnessed the murder of the head of Sciences if we dont arrest the both of them, were all gonna get shot."
Renos eyes widened. "Oh shit. Elena, for once in your life youre right about something and its going to get us all killed."
"Whatre we gonna do Reno?" Elena asked.
"I dunno " Reno scratched his head. "Umm shit, you guys, I really dont know "
"I think we should go let Vincent know were here " Rude commented.
"Ok, thats a start then what do we do?"
"Lets take this one step at a time, ok Reno?" Rude said, opening the door. "Are we interrupting something?"
"Yes," Lyria answered, glaring at Rude over Vincents shoulder. "Take a hike, baldy."
"That wasnt nice " Reno remarked, following his partner. "Hiya, Vincent."
"Long time no see, eh?"
"Well, long time without knowing who each other were was whatever "
"Umm so howve you been?" Reno asked congenially. Rude sighed and smacked his partner in the back of the head, just as Elena kicked him in the shins.
"What the hell was that for?" Reno whined, rubbing the back of his head. "I was just being friendly!"
"Being friendly is that what they call idiocy nowadays?" Rude asked sarcastically. "What the moron meant to ask was, What in the hell happened to you that you can be dead for thirty years and all of a sudden be back, in perfect health and looking only twenty seven?"
"Not quite in perfect health " Lyria said, looking at Vincent with a slightly concerned expression and gently touching the blood-soaked fabric of his shirt, feeling for a bullet hole, but finding nothing. "Hey! I thought you were injured "
"It got better. Dont worry Lyria, Im fine."
"Excuse me? My question?" Rude looked at Vincent over his sunglasses. "Answers please."
"Rude, be nice," Elena scolded. "I dont mean to butt in, but could I have my gun back?"
"Of course." Vincent handed Elena her weapon and she tucked into its holster.
"Ahem. Sometime tonight, Id like to find out why you arent dead," Rude commented.
"Fine. Ill tell you what happened to me and you can tell me what happened to you. Is that fair?"
"I think that sounds reasonable," Reno agreed. "Start talking."
"Hojo! You bastard! What did you do to Lucrecia!"
The scientist turned from his work with an enormous smile on his face. "Oh. You found out."
"How could you?"
"How could I what? If you'd just be patient, Valentine, I'll explain."
"I don't need explanations! You drugged Lucrecia, and raped her! How could you?"
"I hardly raped her, for one thing. She was more than willing." He laughed, making Vincent's blood boil. "And it isn't her child. It's Jenova's."
"Jenova is in Lucrecia, you see. She took the girl over. Lucrecia will have child, and that child will be a vessel for Jenova. All will be well."
"You aren't making sense!"
"No, you aren't listening. Oh well, I have work to do. Go away now."
Vincent's eyes blazed. He ripped his gun from its holster. "YOU DARE TELL ME WHAT TO DO!?"
Hojo grinned. "Yes."
The shot fired. A blaze of light leapt from the gun's barrel. As though moving at a snail's pace, Vincent heard and felt every part of the shot. The magazine unloading the bullet, the hammer striking the shot, the recoil of the gun, moving deliciously in degrees upward, more and more every instant.
The bullet stopped in midair, just in front of Hojo's glasses. With a small breath, Hojo "blew" the bullet to the ground.
"How? What?" Vincent stuttered.
"Blessed be Jenova, who cares for her own." Hojo sniggered. "Since you can't kill me, I'll... Just have to kill you!" Hojo produced a handgun. Vincent took off like a shot. He ran not through the mansion, Hojo in close pursuit. Vincent had no doubt that Hojo was a good shot.
He remembered, one night, a loud, heavy sound from his room. He could of sworn that he'd seen motion against one wall of the room. He'd found the entrance, and Gast downstairs. He'd told Gast the chamber was his, no sneaking around was necessary, as long as Gast didn't mind having another occupant in the room. Gast had agreed. Vincent prayed that he'd be safe. He leapt through the door frame, and slid the passage open the slightest crack, which he slid through. He closed the door, and leapt down the space between the stairs, rather than risking a creaky board alerting Hojo to his presence. He entered the library, and sighed with relief. He was safe.
That's when he saw the table, covered with medical equipment that hadn't been there before. That's when he saw Hojo, his handgun pointed dead at Vincent's chest.
"You lose, Turk." Hojo sneered.
"Jenova does amazing things, Vincent. You'll see that for yourself. You're next."
The shot fired. Vincent blacked out.
"NO! I won't do it!"
"You must. Without you, he will die."
"He tried to kill himself, Lucrecia. Thank god, somehow, he's still alive- though barely."
"Vincent did! If you want him to live, help me!"
"My god! Look what it did!"
"Damnit! That was the wrong sample! That is pure Jenova! His hand is all but ripped clean off!"
"We'll need to transplant."
"No. Biological material will be eaten away. He'll need a mechanical graft."
When Vincent awoke, he wasn't the same. He had gone through a delirium. He was no longer sure of the facts, the happenings, of the blame.
His anger manifested. He changed. His inner demons were exorcised... By becoming his reality. "This body...It is my punishment...I wasn't able to stop them... Professor Hojo and Gast...and...Lucrecia...I could only watch...This...Is my sin."
Lyria snuggled closer to Vincent, laying her head on his shoulder, glad to be able to get so close.
"Now, you tell, Reno."
"Umm well, lemme see about a week after you got umm "
"Shot," Rude supplied helpfully.
"Umm yeah. Well, me and Rude got sent to investigate. Hojo said youd killed yourself. But we didnt believe him."
"I believe Renos exact words were along the lines of that aint the truth you goddamn %$# ass bastard!" Rude added.
"Uh huh anyway, all I remember are shots being fired and then I blacked out. Next thing I knew it was thirty years later and Im being hauled out of storage in the basement."
"Yup," Rude agreed.
"It was like a time warp, you know? Not that Ive ever been in a time warp, but you get what I mean. It didnt feel like any time had passed and neither of us were any older. All our friends were dead or in their late fifties and we were stuck being bossed around by kids whose parents we used to work with."
Rude nodded, acknowledging Renos story.
"Can we go home?" Lyria asked. "Well, not home, but can we go back to our hotel?"
Reno scuffed his shoes on the floor. "Umm you see, this is where we have a bit of a problem now, whether it was for the good of humanity or not and despite that fact that we did sorta supply you with the weapon, you did kinda shoot the head of Sciences and umm "
"ShinRa Charter says that the punishment for not reporting a crime is death? Vincent finished.
"Yeah " Reno sighed. "Is Icicle Inn a good place to hide out while ShinRa hunts you down? Or maybe Gaea Mountain Range "
"If ShinRa wants to hunt you down, who will they hunt with? The three of you are the best, correct? And who else has Palmer got to send, if he even has the guts to send anybody?" Vincent asked.
Renos face lit up. "Hey, yeah! Hot damn, were in the clear!" He was still grinning as he answered his PHS. "Reno here. What? Oh thats terrible well, no, it isnt really is it? Closer to excellent than terrible really well be right up thank you sir no, its no problem weve got the situation under control, sir my congratulations by the way. Oh umm we sorta ended up witnessing the shooting of Dr. Lewis oh good. I didnt like him either, sir. Well be awaiting orders, sir and, by the way, weve sort of run across Vincent Valentine, I know how you were sorta allies during that whole Sephiroth thing so would you be adverse to letting him go? No? Oh good sir, thank you sir. Bye."
"Who was that?" Elena asked.
"Mr. Alexander Reeve, new president of ShinRa Corporation," Reno said proudly. "Palmers just died of a heart attack and weve just been promoted."
"Really? Yeah!" Elena clapped her hands delightedly.
"Can we leave yet?" Vincent asked.
"Sure, get the hell outta here. Well be in touch, Vincent," Reno said with a wave of his hand.
"Bye!" Lyria called, waving as she followed Vincent out of the lab and to the elevator. "Thank you all so much!"
"No problem Lyr! Call me sometime!" Elena shouted.
"Of course, Elena." Lyria smiled and laid her head on Vincents shoulder. "I love you "
"I love you too." Vincent fell silent as the couple entered the elevator and began the descent to the bottom floors. "Lyria?"
"Why did Lewis call you Caddy?"
Lyria giggled. "Its from when I was in school. Back in university all my friends used to joke that I had a caduceus for a birthmark, because I was so good at the whole medical thing. Anyway, one night we were in a bar downtown and someone dared me to get a real caduceus tattoo. Of course, wed all had a couple drinks and I thought it was a great idea. So we headed for this little tattoo parlor on ShinRa and Third and I earned my nickname."
"Precisely where is this tattoo?"
Lyria smiled archly. "Its right above my heart. Ill show it to you some time "
"All right "
Lyria didnt answer and looked up as the elevator doors slid open. "Lets go home."
"Ok." Vincent led the way to the car they had rented for the evening and sat down behind the wheel. Lyria joined him sitting down in the passenger seat and relaxing a bit as he pulled out of the parkade and up the ramp. Lyria closed her eyes and tilted her head back, trying to take in the events of the evening.
"Lyria?" Vincent said quietly.
"Yes?" Lyria opened her eyes and looked at Vincent.
"Did we forget Cid?"
Lyria opened her mouth to answer, then closed it again and looked in the backseat. It was empty. "You know, I think we did " Lyria smiled and then burst into a fit of giggling.
"Should we go back and get him?" Vincent asked, smiling as Lyria wiped tears of laughter from her eyes.
"Nah, hes probably drunk out of his mind right now, so we can pick him up tomorrow."
Lyria giggled again as Vincent pulled up in front of the ShinRa hotel. She climbed out of the car and felt Vincent slip an arm around her waist as they headed up the stairs and into the hotel.
"You two are late " Red XIII commented, stepping out of the shadows of the lobby. "Are you all right, Vincent? Youre almost covered in blood "
"Hi, Red. You didnt have to wait up, were fine," Lyria smiled. "We forgot Cid."
"I see. I guess we can get him tomorrow how did things go?
"Can we talk about this later? Ive got a terrible headache " Vincent answered.
"Of course, of course Lyria, I believe Yuffies already asleep in your room so you might want to be quiet heading up."
"Im not going to my room," Lyria answered, glancing at Vincent. "Good night, Red."
Red chuckled. "Good night Lyria, good night Vincent."