Wages of Sin

By Taran

Since a few were ever so kind to include a content warning (those who needed it the least) i will as well. Hell and damn are said many times over. Also, i once wrote God and, dare i say it... Jesus. Without further ado:


There. It is done. Atonement for a sin. Vincent Valentine blew the smoking end of his death penalty and twirled it into its holster. True, it was the materia contained within the weapon that had won the battle, but Vincent got off a good shot before Sephiroth and his "angel" form had been destroyed. And even if the gun had not been used, he would have twirled it anyway; it way his habitual victory 'dance,' and this certainly was a victory.

Everyone was rejoicing at the end of their enemy. Most everyone. Cloud and Tifa were talking down below and Vincent remained his usual self. With all the excitement, no one seemed to notice the ex-Turk's departure. As he walked through the underworld, he made a vow to himself. The sinner dies here.

Most of the monsters had either already been killed or had fled from something, so the ascent was quick. However, as he climbed North Cave, he was still assaulted by the remaining dark creatures. A fully-grown Slash-All materia allowed him to easily kill the small beasts, but they were becoming annoying nonetheless. When he was near the surface a more able challenger appeared: Master Tornberry.

Several blows were exchanged: knife, bullet, knife. Grudges grew, were released, anger swelled, and then Vincent became furious. Hate consumed him and he transformed. His skin hardened and darkened to a deep blue tone. Claws grew from his fingers and wings from his shoulder blades. Chaos slammed the black mole-like king and then took flight. It took him up, soaring vertical through the caverns. A rumbling was heard in its ears as it flew strait through the spiraling well that led down from the crater.

Just as the gargoyle escaped, a magnificent geyser of Lifestream erupted out of the Planet's depths, carrying with it the Highwind. It admired the spectacle for a time, but Chaos had an order. Winds swept up under an impressive wingspan and carried Vincent's spirit. Over the ocean, over mountains and rivers. Obsession drove it on faster than a jet until its destination was reached.

Under a waterfall, crouched in a crystal cave, Vincent's spirit was returned to his body. Lucrecia's body was not there, but her essence filled the place. Vincent howled at his loss. Thoughts began rushing through his head faster than light.

Lucrecia… why… why did it have to be you? If it weren't for my damned sins… then maybe you would still be alive. If it weren't for…


Young Vincent stood down in a small ditch looking around. Everything was desolate. But there was a child, a crying little boy. Despite being a Turk, he was not heartless. He had, after all, fallen in love with Lucrecia. So, he went to help the child. A coffin lid kept him in place. It was glass; he could see through it, could see his reflection in it, but could not pass through to the other side.

They grew. The child grew taller, stronger. In no longer than a moment or two he had steadily reached adulthood. His muscles had grown, his hair had grown long and silver, an evil scowl had grown over his young face, and a massive blade had grown along side him. Several more people appeared beside him, and Sephiroth quickly disposed of them. He set fire to their bodies, beginning a funeral pyre.

Vincent's vision went up in flames as smoke fogged the glass, forcing him to look upon himself. While Sephiroth had grown in strength and power, Vincent grew in wickedness. At first sleek black hair had fallen only to his ears, matching a new suit. His eyes had been full of youth and life. Then, his hair lengthened in torment and his expression fell dead. He transformed into a beast. From monster he descended to death and from death to hell.

A new body was shown in the glass, one formed from someone's nightmare. Along with it grew a face so twisted and vile that it must be covered with a mask. Even a weapon at the "man's" side was deformed. Glass shattered: he was free. Hell Masker charged at the swordsman. Chainsaw met Masamune. The mask with a strand of hair twisted around its tortured neck, instilling horrific fears and poisons within the challenger. Who dared challenge a warrior from hell? Yet in the midst of his burning massacre, Sephiroth did not appear too holy himself.

Quickly the blade attacked. Repeatedly Sephiroth drove his sword down upon the grotesque form. Spinning teeth on the form's saw attacked faster. Again the two weapons clashed. While the whirling saw desired to turn, the Masamune held firm in Sephiroth's grasp. Sephiroth arose triumphant and three teeth broke off the weapon. Again the blade flashed in and out of sight. Here, there, it was too fast to evade effectively. Wielding it was a larger target. When the man thrust forth his sword, Hell Masker thrust forth his drill. It cut and did so continuously, but it was not fatal.

Raising a green orb in his palm, Sephiroth was rejuvenated by a warm light that fell around him. As he looked at the spinning horror before him, it seemed to grow in size and power. Reality shifted and Sephiroth was facing a colossus. Still, he was unafraid. That boldness killed him. The warrior charged forth unarmed, too small to hold his proud blade. Not an honorable opponent, Hell Masker quickly finished him.

The glass coffin was gone, but now Vincent was in a wooden one. One from which he could not see. He could only hear the sobs of Lucrecia as she mourned over her son.

… Sephiroth. Yes, that child of sin. He… he and Hojo. They put me in there, made me what I become. Then I killed them. It was their own fault. It was their fault! … … … … Shutup. Even if it wasn't your fault… Who am I talking to? Even if it wasn't my fault, she's still dead. The sin was still committed. But… I atoned. I paid…

A young Turk stood before a lake. The waters were clear and reflected perfectly images that danced above. It was a mirror, showing the young man himself in an empty night. The display was nice, while it lasted, but as the tides turned, so did the pictures they showed. Instead of a reflection, his eye caught the right light of a full moon to see down below the waters. Under the surface, he saw Lucrecia. Vincent's mouth hung open with wonder as he admired the girl below. His eyes drifted to her naked skin, his hand reached out to touch. He stopped himself. Unworthy sinner. Stepping behind the nymph was Hojo.

Vincent was forced to watch while the other unworthy robbed her of innocence, and could do nothing. Finally, the waters were again clear. A growl: a roar in the night. Turning, Vincent saw a Garian Beast. It was huge, like a bear. Its fur was purple and had a scarlet mane. Razor teeth and claws made it even more menacing. From its jaws flew a mist of fire. Vincent backed away into the lake. Water reached up to his ankles, then he was submerged. Tackled to the muddy bank blood began to flow. He attempted to shoot it, but in a frenzy of gnashing teeth, claws, and splashing water, it was impossible. With a kick the Turk sent the beast far enough into the water to get in a good shot, and then another. The monster fell lifeless and sank.

After crawling back to shore, Vincent gazed again into the lake. With the beast's blood stirred with the water, images were not as clear. But he preferred it that way, for the images were not as nice as they had been. No longer was he the clean, vigorous Turk as his first glance, but now blood ran down from his nose, from tears in his suit, trickling ever faster with the mixture of water that had ruined his clothes and hair. Despite the shed blood (both his and the beast's) he could still see down below. He saw himself, failing to help as Hojo preformed his sinister experiments on Lucrecia and Sephiroth. First the man violated her body, and now what? Cords pumped Jenova cells down to her heart as well.

Down in the depths, a shadow formed. Slowly it grew larger as it rose. A gruesome head emerged from the waters, followed by a body: huge, hulking, the culmination of many deceased. As it walked up from its watery grave, it was apparently some kind of zombie. Dragging behind it were chains and wires that lashed out at Vincent like snakes. When they sank in their venomous teeth, volts of electricity poured through him. The Turk lay shaking on the ground. Three bullets fired, each of them took no effect, barely penetrating Death Gigas' tough skin. No more blood was spilt, but plenty of bones were broken as when the assembled goliath jumped into the air and came down with a fist.

Out of ammunition, Vincent quickly opened his gun… then took out two small, green orbs. Holding out one caused a flame to consume the giant. Holding out the other surrounded it in an ice glacier. Reloading, the victorious Turk fired several more shots that finally destroyed the zombie. Another scorching flame melted the ice and its rotted and sewn flesh until it had disappeared into the lake.

Third image: a coffin. Himself at sleep. How could he think that sleep was due payment for sin? Next horror to arise from the lake: a masculine man wearing white, black, a mask, and toting a chain saw. Throughout the battle Vincent held one goal, do not get hit with the chain saw. That would mean death. All goals, hopes, and dreams however, were destroyed: replaced by fears summoned up by one look at Hell Masker. Vincent felt sick, tired, and frightened. Whirling blades rushed towards him. The Turk pointed his gun with shaking hands. He fidgeted with the trigger. He closed his eyes and fired.

Pinned under the killer's foot, Vincent screamed. He had missed, and now he paid the price. He felt a million dagger brutally stabbed into his shoulder as the chainsaw tore through skin and muscle. Next was the bone and that sent vibrations through his entire skeleton. Screaming, squirming, crying in pain, Vincent kicked and punched at anything he could reach. The Hell Masker just laughed at its victim's torture, but then the Turk landed a blow. Hell Masker fell back, but returned to do the same with the next limb. Left handed, but no longer, Vincent reached over and picked up his gun from his severed arm and fired at the demon. He emptied the entire weapon and then got to his feet.

Vincent looked sadly down at his mutilated arm. Cure won't help that. He took out the materia anyway. Refreshing most of his body and cleansing himself of ailments, he boldly took another look into the waters. They were no longer clear. Dirt was thrown around under the current, muck and blood floated on the top. The Turk no longer resembled one. His fine suit was wrecked: wet, blood soaked, torn. Hair fell in his dreary eyes, behind his back, matted and filthy. An arm lay in the mud just above the water's edge. The next scene he saw disturbed him more than the poor image of himself. He saw Lucrecia, in all her perfection. Despite his state, she made him smile. And then he saw her killed. A cry of pain emitted from his throat. He fell to his knees; tears swarmed in his eyes and flowed freely.

Again the tides turned, bringing with them blood to sweep over her dead body. It began to rain. He continued to kneel there, tears of the sky joining his own. From the blood emerged a demon. Slowly it rose, its evil head coated in wet blood. As it floated higher, the blood dripped off, but its eyes remained the same color, the color of what it lusted. Wings that lifted it were the color of sin, its skin the shade of night. Tired, worn out, ready to give in, Vincent still pressed on. His gun unloaded all of its bullets at the creature. They all turned to flames and were absorbed. He cast an ice spell: no effect. Lightning had the same. Slowly the demon moved forward, what he did made Vincent realize it was the devil.

No arms or legs were severed, no organs were ripped out: that would take his mind off the pain. The devil easily wrapped its claws around the struggling Turk's head and brought him to the lake. There, Vincent's face was submerged. Mouth and nose were held under, but that did not matter. It was the eyes where the devil struck. The images repeated themselves: Lucrecia's rape, Hojo's experiments, her death. Lucrecia's rape, Hojo's experiments, her death. Try as he might to close his eyes, he could not. And they repeated. Vincent did not grow accustom to the sights, his heart did not grow cold to them. Each time they penetrated him down to the soul and he cried out.

Finally, when he was out of breath, a smile formed on his lips. He would die it was over at last. Then his captor ripped him away from the images, above the water, and forced him to breathe. Then, he went in again. Such was the nature of the devil, and was the nature of the vision until Vincent let it flash by.


… for my sins. But I suppose it was yet payment enough. What, after all, is worth her life? Hojo's? Sephiroth's? My own?


A young Turk looked himself over in a mirror. Sleek black hair, combed just how he liked it. A fine new three-piece suit. Youthful eyes, eager. A smile across his lips. Over his reflections shoulder, he saw two men approach. Each wore a matching black suit; one had matching black hair. He wore glasses that covered a wise gaze: professor Hojo. The others hair was silver, falling strait down his back. Although a wicked blade was in his hand, his face was innocent: Sephiroth. Hojo clicked off the safety on a small pistol. "Ready?"

The others nodded. Darkness loomed over the glass and the three turned to face their enemy. Its skin was the night. Small, but deadly daggers sprouted from its hands, which fell from massive arms. From the shoulders, two roaring flames burned in the shape of a bat's wings. Its lips were not parted in any way, emotionless, but its face was menacing. Two crimson slits were its eyes. Demonic was its presence.

A hand rested upon Vincent's shoulder. Although cloth prevented actual physical contact, it was the greatest, most perfect touch he had ever felt. Filled with awe, passion, and love, he turned to see the presenter of such a divine gift. Standing in place of the mirror was an angel. At one sight of her he, in his new suit, combed hair, and washed body, felt dirty as if he had fallen in the mud. Her robe was white, her hair brunette, and her lips scarlet. These were colors he could identify. The aura about her however, was indescribable. With lips broken in a smile her face was kind, gentle, and loving. The battle before him was clear: the demon versus the angel. He swore he would die defending her, and the other two men joined his side.

The demon descended upon its prey. Instantly Sephiroth leapt at it, slicing mercilessly with his long blade. The man was going so fast that at times it was hard to see him, but the demon moved faster. Each attack was dodged without effort. The gargoyle-like enemy never moved from its calm, superior pose, simply flashed from place to place in it. The side of the angel was clearly the underdog. Nevertheless, the fight continued. Vincent aimed a sniper rifle at a specific point, waited for a target to appear, and then fired. Two shots flew towards the back of its head, one between the wings, and four scattered shots fired by Hojo. Spinning towards them the beast let out a roar and the bullets vaporized in flames.

Sephiroth returned to the defensive line panting for breath. The demon simply laughed. Its eyes lit up with fire and two torches on the ground set ablaze. The earth shook and rose up. All looked down and saw they were standing on a giant, deathly, skill. Its flesh torn mouth opened and out flew spirits of the damned. This was enough to convince that they were not facing a demon at all, but the devil. Circling, then closing in, Hojo and Sephiroth became possessed by the ghosts, under the command of the devil.

Hojo approached and Vincent backed away. Clasping his hand was the angel. As he guided her backwards, he was torn by his desires to save and to savor the precious life behind his own. The skull's mouth again exposed its depths and another tortured soul emerged. It flew strait at Vincent; there was no time to escape. He felt a pang in his heart, stumbled back, and fell into a gaping abyss of the skull's mouth. The angel would have cried for him, but there was no time. Hojo's advance pressed on.

Suit torn, Hojo now walked with a haunch in his back and a cackle from his throat. Leaping before him was a monster: fur of indigo and a mane of fire, claws just as ferocious. It attacked the scientist, scarred his chest, but the spirit within him would not let the mad man die. Biologically engineered limbs sprouted from the wound and began to attack. Cut them off as the beast may, they kept growing back. One massive tentacle wrapped around it and held it vulnerable to attack.

The beast growled. Fur was shed, revealing hard skin underneath. It grew in size, too massive for the tentacle to hold. It then attacked with a live wire of its own. Electricity streamed into the biological ensemble. A tough pound stopped it from shaking and it lay dead on the skull. The spirit rose out of him, shriveled, and died as well.

Hope. There was hope. If the demon possessed were destroyed, the demon died as well. Standing before Death Gigas was Sephiroth, Masamune ready and able. He no longer donned the suit of a Turk, but a black flowing cloak. His gaze was no longer innocent; it matched the blood of his blade. And the blade drew much blood. Slashing at every stitch and daring wire, Sephiroth cut the lug to pieces, but it only grew.

Its face twisted, a mask covered it. Its arms deformed, a chain saw accompanied them. Hell Masker now stood before the swordsman. This time, the swordsman rose champion. One cut disarmed the saw; another had it falling to the ground. Sephiroth stood bold despite the nightmare and finished it with a few more blows.

Still, all it did was blOom. From beast to death, from death to hell, and from hell to the master of it, Sephiroth now challenged the devil. This metamorphosis had been a stronger one. Sword struck… the gargoyle grabbed it in its hand and flew up. Sephiroth was dangling from the hilt, then fell to the ground. With its claws the hell spawn twirled the blade until the hilt came in reach. Using both hands it grabbed the famed blade and pointed it at its chest. Slowly it drove the Masamune towards its heart. Bit by bit jaggedly broke off as it was crushed between an impenetrable night and the force of massive arms. Soon shattered pieces were all that remained.

Sephiroth shot up blast after blast of magic, but it was all reflected. Lightning bolts, sleet, and a storm of rock rushed back at the materia holder. Even the green onslaught of Ultima was halted by the devil like a wave against a jetting rock on the shore. Following suite of the amateur magician, it raised its hands. Two hands of flame raised from the skull. They pressed against the earth and pulled from below a colossal demon of fire, in exact likeness (except size) to the original gargoyle shaped devil.

The burning beast grabbed hold of Sephiroth and flew into the air. It then turned down and dove to the ground. Upon impact bones were broken. Then it continued downward, passing all its demonic flames through the man. If that was not enough to kill, or even if it was, the devil shot out one of its claws and the blade struck through the warrior's heart.

Vincent faced the mirror. All others were dead, he had seen the devil dispose of them. Through the glass he saw its menacing stare. Whirling around he saw nothing. Back to the mirror he saw the devil. There were no others. He was the devil. With a thought he wore a disguise of a Turk, but in his heart he was still evil. Seeing him the angel's face lit up. Even as darkness he enjoyed the angel's embrace, took pleasure in the angel's kiss. While his lips and tongue lied to those of the angel, his hand formed a pistol. Finding no reason to put business before pleasure, he prolonged the lovelock. It filled him with such a warmth that his outer appearance began to melt away. Then he shot her.


Yes… it was my sins that killed her, so I must be the one to pay. I have sinned.

For the wages…


Hojo stood at his controls for the Sister Ray. A slash cut across his chest. Blood slowly dripped out. He let loose a scream and fell to the ground. Then he rose up, deformed, twisted. Evil had set in, warping his body to a reflection of his tormented soul. Tentacles slithered around. His black heart, exposed between clumps of distorted flesh and cords of discolored muscle, slowly stopped beating. Tentacles withered and squirmed, fighting to stay alive, but they could not. Blood leaked out from cracks in his body until his entire form was dry. Hojo died.

…of sin…


Sephiroth floated above Holy, guarding Aeris' prayer. The man threw off his cloak and drew his sword. The blade caught the dark and shined it everywhere. Masamune shattered. The man was broken. Blood dripped down his face and chest. Coughing it up he still managed to snarl with contempt. Eyes flickering hater, echoing past sin. In the midst of darkness a white light shone. It pierced through Sephiroth's wound. Then it pierced another. It was consuming him, eating the darkness, eating the sin. When nothing more was left, Sephiroth was dead.

… is death…


Vincent knelt down on glass floor. Below was calm water of Lucrecia's cave. Around were the crystal formations that water formed. The Turk's matted hair, his robotic arm: symbols of the darkness he held within. And the gun in his hand: the tool by which he sinned. After removing all materia save for a mastered Dispel and an Added Effect, he aimed the Death Penalty to under his chin. It had killed many, with would be the final. Saying one last prayer he pulled the trigger and fell dead on the floor.


… So… that is how it is to end. But… in such a matter, it does not seem right. Yet it is fitting, a sin to end all sins. That is the punishment, and I have committed the crime. It is due. I deserve the death penalty. My sin, my death. A coward, that is what I have been, unable to stand against my sin, but I hide no more. Here I take the stand… but I shall take it on my knees.

Vincent knelt down on the glass floor. Taking his weapon, he emptied it of all materia (save two) and placed them at the cave's entrance as a final offering to Cloud and the others. Now he was ready to end it all, with one shot. "Forgive me Lucrecia. They say that a rich man was able to look up to Lazarus in Heaven from… …Perhaps we will see each other again after all." He felt cold steel against his chin. Not steady, it was shaking. With nervousness? No, he was ready. Eyes squeezed shut, head bowed in his final declaration to his love. All went black.




Dark gray.


Lightness added.


A bright haze.

Now clear.

Impossible? Yes. But white nonetheless.


When vision came to Lucrecia she was standing on an old, cobblestone platform floating on a sea of green Lifestream. How she was alive was never explained to her. But, as she had known it was Jenova's death that let her die, she knew it was the Lifestream that made her live. Made her live. She resented it. For years she had longed to end her miserable life, and now… Further exploration of her surroundings caused her to accept with gratitude this second chance. All around were places: some familiar, others not, some places she would rather not go. A black silhouette of a man drawn out like a target, several bullet holes punched through areas of high score. The Shinra mansion at Nibelhiem, not as she had seen it last, but with finely polished wood, lit windows, and a well-kept garden. A flight of stairs ran up from the platform to a large wooden coffin and stone grave ornament. The same stairs led down, slowly loosing form to rock and magma as they descended into blue fire. In the center of the overwhelming seen was Vincent.

Vincent, but not the Vincent of her ideals and dreams, but the Vincent who had visited her in the nightmares of her cave. His hair was tattered, tossed down and held, and his arm replaced by a machine. A crimson cloth covered his mouth, but she was sure the smile was gone. It was unnecessary though, his eyes told of all the pain she could endure. A tear ran from her own eye as she embraced him. Cold was all she received; he was like a statue standing through several cool nights, skipping ver any daylight between. Taking her by the hand, the stone figure walked slowly over towards the shooting range. "Here." Vincent's voice was cold as well. "This is where they taught me to sin. I thought… that I could use it for good, harness the power. But… as it grew, so did my burden. Soon, the power held he in its harness."

"Vincent…" She was at a loss of words. What could she say to the one that she loved, when she could not do anything to ease his suffering? Any words would be lies, and Vincent had tasted enough of those.

"It is good that you have come. Maybe you can help." Most statues are still, but Vincent began to shake. He was there, and not. In his place was a violet beast, but it was gone. They flashed together, they flashed apart, until they were separate beings. "Come. Let us leave it." The two walked in the opposite direction with the beast following close behind. They came to front the green brick wall of the Shinra Mansion. Once past the gate they were looked down upon by its height. "This… this is where they overpowered me. This is where Vincent's days were numbered." Again the change. He split in two, the second a vicious zombie. He did not stop there. Breaking continued until a third stood individually, a masked killer.

Lucrecia noticed that with each split, the original Vincent changed. Not much at first, but even more so with each time. His hair grew straighter and shorter, he grew younger, and his eyes became for her to gaze into. His pace also increased as he led her and a following parade of monsters up the stairs. At the coffin, they stopped. "Vincent lies here. I… he was killed by his sins." Vincent gestured to his transformations. "This is where I arose, to meet my master. I am his slave. Come, I want you to meet… it."

The demonic crowd broke as they passed. With each step towards the fire it grew colder. There is no such thing as cold: it is simply the lack of heat. Thus, there is nothing that creates cold as the sun heat. That statement was proven false as they marched. Those flames seemed to be the origin of cold itself. They did not drain heat, but sent out a chill like an arctic wind, but they also created the cold that it carried. Lucrecia's skin turned numb as she drew closer. From the fire rose a creature that seemed to be for what the flame burned. It was not hideous as she expected; it was angelic, but dark. Sinful wings rode icy shards and claws sliced through the cold. Its skin was night, its eyes oblivion. It beckoned them and the two were surrounded by three nightmares and their master.

"Vincent… I…" Sobs fell from her cheek and froze as they hit the ground. "I can't help with this… I…"

"Perhaps your love can bring warmth to this soul."

It all began to shake: the air rumbled; the ground trembled. A white light appeared and fell as rain upon the green sea. Off behind the devil a wave formed. Now a brilliant white, a tsunami leapt over the flames and then fell upon them. As the water soaked Lucrecia's skin it filled her with a long sought for warmth and extinguished the cold flames. Floor beneath the four hell spawns began to crumble. White light shot up from the sea like pillars to encircle them, followed by geysers of bright Lifestream, pushing them up then pulling them under.

The entire lower platform broke apart and was submerged as high tide does a beach. Vincent and Lucrecia hurried to the stairs but the stone rose up just out of reach. They jumped high. Vincent, without the weight of the beasts, could nearly fly and grabbed the ledge of the bottom step. He grabbed Lucrecia as well. As he pulled up the step broke and they fell onto a raft of floating rock. No. You will not escape. A dark voice projected, from no origin, across all horizons of the ocean. The waters parted and the black angel soared into the air. It spun on ascent then faced the couple as it steadied its position. No mouth opened, but the voice rang like a lion's roar. Vincent, you sinned. You are mine.

No. The new voice was of the waves, it cried out from the sea. It was not sinister like the devil's, but spoke with an even greater force. Yet, at the same time, it was almost gentle. I am Lifestream. I am Holy. I am merciful. A whirlpool swirled under Chaos. White lightning shot up into its heart. Sparks ran around its body, soon joined by Lifestream. Lifestream crushed, internal Holy erupted, and the devil shattered.

Its death let out such a roaring explosion that Vincent and Lucrecia were knocked off in its wake. Lucrecia screamed, "Vincent!" She stretched out her hand and he grabbed it. They fell into the Lifestream. They fought its current, but to no avail. As they drowned, before all turned white, Lucrecia noticed a smile on Vincent's face and was assured by a strange sense of peace.


"Hey, he's awake!" Eyes shot open and stared at a crystal sword pointed at them. More stalactites soon jumped into vision. A glass floor. On one side… it was cracked, dropped to a lake tossed by violent winds and joined by a waterfall that fell from the sky. On the other side: Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Red XIII, Reeve, Cid, and Yuffie. Vincent stood up in what was left of Lucrecia's cave. Lying next to him was Lucrecia herself.

"What happened?" he was surprised by his own voice.

"We should ask you the same thing." Tifa began.

When no reply was given, Cloud continued. "At first we thought you two were… uhm…" He scratched the back of his blonde head. "But when you didn't move for a while we decided to give you some clothes."

"Speaking of which," Cid interrupted, "you may want to put them on."

Indeed, Vincent noticed that both he and Lucrecia were naked save for a white robe draped over her and one laying at his feet. "Anyway," Cloud went on, "Aeris' prayer flowed through the Lifestream and defeated meteor. It must have swept you away too. What happened?"

Vincent looked down at Lucrecia. He caught his reflection in the glass. His hair was strait, his skin was free of dirt and no scars adorned his body. His gun was gone and no blood was on his hands. To his surprise, there was a smile on his lips, and to his shock, there was joy in his heart. "I…" his words were disrupted by a slight laugh that escaped. "I…" another. Soon, the new peace within was flowing out. "I was made clean."


"For the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord"
Romans 6:23

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