Time

BY : cherrygirlprime
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male
Dragon prints: 2099
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy 7 nor do I make money from it. I am just happy that Square Enix allows for fanfiction from time to time.

They had both had been so tired for their respective ages before their demises.

Tseng was staring down the barrel that was 45 years of age in less than a week and Vincent, well poor Vincent was perpetually tired.

He was now looking at the firing range that was 70 years in less than a few months though he did not look or feel it and that bothered him more than anything did.

Neither had meant anything at the time to each other, other than the one had saved the other’s life from literally pieces of his son that still was under the control of that great evil and tragedy, Jenova. Everyone had moved on.  Too bad his mind and heart had not.

The world was safe, well safe enough.

Rufus had turned out to be the man that Tseng had hoped he’d be one day; he’d even settled down with the one-time bratty White Rose of Wutai, Yuffie Kisaragi and helped to rebuild Wutai to its glory, leaving all reparations and repairs in the very capable hands of Reeve Tuesti, while Rufus’s money continued to back him. 

There was nothing to fight for anymore, he did not want to sleep any more years away, never aging, watching and waiting for those he cared for to die, and even now, that camaraderie was all but gone due to the peace.  Vincent never thought he would pray for discord.  He had Shelke, but just like him, she never would age and it stunted her physically and emotionally.  That thought alone stirred more darkness in him, reminded him of things he did not want it to.  He was tired and knew he was near indestructible-but focal word was near.

 

Across the world it seemed like, Tseng walked into his Spartan condominium and slowly remove his tie, laying it on the couch and he passed by it.  He had been feeling more tired than normal and he had even noticed his normal olive toned skin looked more pallid and uneven.  The occasional chest pains he had no matter if he was sitting or exerting himself, he ignored though he knew with all his reasoning he should not.

  He simply did not care and was complacent at this point in life.

 He too, much like a certain Ex-TURK was tired and even though there was a tentative peace, what was to be done with those with warrior’s hearts from it all afterwards?  He had reared Rufus almost as if he were his own child, grooming him in the same detestable profession he been thrust into.

For a time after everything was calm, he even entertained the idea of living out a normal life with Elena.  He knew she had loved him since she had met him and would have made a good wife for him, someone to keep him grounded.  He too jaded, to harden to give her what she needed. With her personality and his inability at this time to change, she a beautiful lotus in looks and personality, would have wilted and died against the heated sun that was his complacency with life.   If this had been another time and place, she would have just been the light of his otherwise miserable life with all her chipper, bubbly spirit. 

He had gotten his coat and button down shirt off now, discarding weapons hidden on his person as he went like so much shrapnel falling from him.  Shirt off now, him stood in front of the vanity in his bathroom taking in his visage in mirror.  Several marks from his well-fought life marred his otherwise smooth skin.  The lovely parting gift that Sephiroth had given him right to the right and below his lung, a very thin scar that carried so much baggage with it from the Temple of Ancients.  He looked so washed out and honestly felt it.  Then there were the dark circles around his almond eyes, deep and ominous.  Did the others see this on him never say a word because they were too afraid to or simply they did not care as much as he had thought they did in their so-called band of brothers?  He flinched at another sharp pain but idly rubbed at the spot continuing his inner musings.  No, he knew that they knew that he was being stubborn.  In fact, he had not put it past them to have an intervention of sorts for him soon.  Pity that it was late, much too late for the course he had sought.

He felt so much older than 44 years old though truth is, he did not look it. He just looked unwell.  He maintained an aura of youth from his toned body and healthy eating.  Mentally he sarcastically laughed that he knew what was going on with his body and for all the care and attention, he had given it, this would be its weak downfall.  Of all the suicide missions he would run, this was to be it.  Somehow, this fitting of end made him feel the closest to normal he had been in a long time. He rubbed at his bare chest right along his breastbone, the throbbing pain persistent.

He knew what it was but he was ready to accept it.  He was so tired.  With that, he completely disrobed and stepped into the shower bathing in his favorite scents from head to toe.  Sometime after rinsing his long, silky hair, his right arm had started to display the same symptoms of his chest.  This ignored as he dried off and selects this silken nightwear, a nice dark green color.   About time, he had braided his hair and put on his sleepwear, his left arm had joined the fray as well in the now pulsating, persistent pain throughout his body making him nauseous and his head swim.  He placed one of his guns under his pillow, the other on the nightstand as he always did and settled down for the night.

During the early morning hours, the man that had saw entirely too much in his short life, name Tseng Xu, passed away in his sleep for a massive heart attack.

Across town, another who felt more monster than man did picked a fight with a den of Nibel wolves and a hoard of Dragons as well.   He welcomed the dance of destruction that rained around him as he took his wounds and they took their dead in droves.   Moreover, as he fought, he thought of the one he thought was his love eternal.    She was never nothing more but a tease.  They shared love on occasion in body, kisses, and whispers, only for him to taste betrayal later. He fought for the pain he felt but buried when his father died at the hands of his, what was she even to him?  In addition, he remembered, as he was tortured and terrorized, he had forsaken his father Grimoire.  So they never quite saw eye to eye, he was the reason he lived.   Then the ultimate in her betrayal had been Sephiroth.  If he could have DIED then when that infernal, battle won, when all the others were celebrating his son's death. By now Vincent was crying in earnest as he continued in his crusade against his hurt, his pain, and his want to exist.  He amassed cuts and bruises along him and with a swipe and an incinerating flame, Vincent knew no more.   His end was much sadder and abrupt.  Vincent would not have had it any other way. 

 

There was nothing and then there was the deep blue green of the Lifestream as both men had dropped into and submersed into it at the same time. 

Aerith, eternal flower girl and Cetra of the realm, greeted them both.

 

Once she saw them both, she could not help herself from throwing her arms around her friend Vincent, knowing how he had met his end. 

Though she knew that Vincent thought himself not missed, he did not know that she had sent Zach to Cloud in his dreams to let him know of Vincent’s passing.  Incidentally, Cloud did not take it well at all.

The small yet powerful man never talked much but always did treat Vincent closer than the others, probably because of the experiments and the lingering mental scars they both had and could empathize with each other on. He had actually been planning to come to see the recluse man, as he was the only one in the group that kept up with him in his own way via phone and here and there visits.  Cloud had actually cried because he knew, he just knew, Vincent had been reckless and not using all his power on purpose. 

He had committed suicide by monsters.

Both men were still dressed as they were at death, Aerith repairing Vincent’s clothing from his apparent evisceration and staining of blood from where Tseng had hemorrhaged from his mouth from his heart attack.

Aerith was so saddened and so upset to see both men under the circumstances they were that she began to think on that day on something to do.  She knew that with Vincent, it was all appearance as heart and soul were much older, battered, and bruised.  The pain and loneliness he had been representative of the red cape that he wore, all broken and tattered. She also knew of his greatest secret that pushed him over the edge as well.

Aerith made both men observe how their friends mourned them.

Cloud had indeed found Vincent from Zach’s advisement and when he did, he cried bitter tears.  Though Vincent did not want to show it, he had never known Cloud to show such emotion for anyone other than Aerith, Zach, and on rare occasions, Sephiroth.

To see him so undone by his death was humbling though he did not say and felt bad that he was doing more damage and causing more suffering to the boy.  He quickly found out he was not the only one he would truly hurt in his passing.  Cloud was just as tore up, as he was when Aerith died. 

It was as if… No. 

He loved Tifa after time passed and realized the thoughts of Aerith were latent ones of Zachary Fair. He could not have grown feelings for him, could he? 

This made Vincent squirm.  Not because Cloud was male, not because Cloud might have loved him, just that he was full of discomfort because he had hurt Cloud in a way that he never meant to, not like this. He did not know he meant that much to him.

Time seemed to skip some and both men looked on at Vincent’s proceedings.  Vincent watched Tifa and Cid bracing Cloud as they went to a prepared funeral pyre erected where Zach’s sword had been on the edge of Midgar.  Cid and Barrett looked solemn.  Reeve held Cait Sith as if he would break him, crying silent tears for his friend and co-worker.  What got him were the women though.

Tifa looked as if she had aged 10 years in a span of a week.  Her bright demeanor dampened not only with the knowledge that again she was not in Cloud’s heart but that also her closest friend next to Cloud was gone.  Vincent and Tifa would talk all the time, when Vincent was in a talking mood.  She had grown on him right out of the coffin when they rescued him.  Marlene stood between Tifa and Barrett crying her eyes out and Denzel, ever the small man, tried to be strong for her though his bottom lip shook with emotion. Nanaki was howling his tears to the sky.   It was not supposed to be! Vincent was to be there for Nanaki since he would age slowly as well.  He was supposed to be here, for all of them until they could not for him, not the opposite way around. 

They were so mournful. 

Nanaki was so certain that he would at least have Vincent around as he hit maturation and would be around to be his friend to the end of his time even.  Yuffie had come from Wutai dressed from head to toe in white as was traditional when mourning with Rufus, who also was down trodden; they had two funerals to attend.  Yuffie shook with silent fury as her brown eyes glistened with unshed tears.  Why did he not say he felt this way?  Vincent could read all of their emotions as if he were among them.  He had been so curt and cruel to Yuffie in the end, denying her calls, telling her not to call his device.  She never even has to say goodbye to him properly.  He had not as much as come to her wedding.  Then there was Shelke.  She was so confused and hurt, and now very much alone.  She saw the blonde man, Cid moving to light the pyre and she turned away, screaming dropping to her knees, holding her head and shaking it. She could not understand why he would leave her alone to this world to fend in it.  As soon as the pyre was aflame, Yuffie turned with tears streaking down her face and with a flutter of her kimono; they were off to Wutai again.

The scene changed and this time it was Tseng’s time to be embarrassed for his death as badly as Vincent was.  This time they were in Wutai, which was a questioning thing since he had known he was no child of home any longer, stripped of all honor for being what he had been in life.  There, at edge of the ocean was the completely TURK crew and Rufus and Yuffie and surprisingly Tifa holding a grief-stricken Elena up with Reno.  He had forgotten that Elena and Tifa had become something of friends and it meant a lot that she would have come for Elena since he knew that this would have broken her heart.  It had.  Elena looked downright wretched though she was also dressed in a beautiful mourner’s kimono with Tifa.  No one faulted her for her outright wailing.  It was the sound of a true broken heart.

 Rufus had his head hung low, tears making tracks on his uncustomary emotional  face as his wife held his hand through it all while she still cried for her own loss from earlier.  Reno had his hand over his eyes to try to conceal the tears and the frustration that he had felt.  This too was the oldest he had ever saw Reno and he did not like it.  Rude actually had his glasses off and maintained his calm dignity as manly tears tracked down his face.

When they lit his boat pyre, making his body an offering to Leviathan, it took both Rude and Reno to catch Elena as she angrily and foolishly tried to jump in after the pyre boat to get to the one that was forever leaving her.  Eventually she too crumpled down at both men’s feet as she hung onto Tifa with all the strength she had left in her petite body.

As quick as both scenes came, it ended with a frustrated and hurt Cetra in the middle of where both men had been just viewing.

“Why did neither of you say anything, something? Did it really have to come to this?” Aerith asked gesturing with her arms wide to encompass the two.

Vincent’s face sunk further into his cowl, he did not answer, and Tseng merely could not make eye contact.

Aerith became so mad at them she audibly huffed and stomped away, leaving both men in the clearing of flowers.

“So, you too then are here as well?”  Tseng tried and received no answer other than ruby eyes trained on him now.

An inelegant snort on Vincent’s end surprisingly was his answer.

“Do not think your situation even close to mine, Turk.  I chose this path because- “

Tseng interrupted him seeing that this was going to be some sort of holier than thou were speech and was not buying it, not after seeing all that emotion from his comrades.

“You chose the same path as me because you were tired and you were done with what life had to offer you.  I will give you that you’ve been alive a god awful time having to deal with it so kudos to you, but in the end it is the same reason Vincent Valentine, EX-TURK” Tseng said putting emphasis on his title.

Vincent was silent as he scowled a hole into the side of this upstart’s head.  Just before Vincent could either give him a true piece of his mind or literally see if he could beat up a dead man on a figment plane, Vincent chose to sulk.  He could not deny the other man's words rang true thought he wanted to and so he chose glaring and closed tempered silence as his confidant at that time while he contemplated the man.

Thus began their odd relationship of sorts built on their deaths and those it affected.

However, men had extremely strong senses of self-preservation even after death, unbeknownst to them.  Aerith has seen it for what it really was: lifetimes of abuse and the being able to come to grips with it finally after life was over. The loneliness was as palpable as well and it was apparent as both men began to engage in word play but also something of kinship as well.

They both watched as those they were close with slowly move on with life.

Cloud was so fragile, not even Tifa could bring him back from this precipice and pushed himself with the delivery service.  Through his exposure to Reno acting as the new Director, they found love in each other through their experience and pain.   Reno was much more somber Tseng observed and felt like his death killed a piece of Reno too. Cloud took Vincent’s death gravely, and now the man knew it. The young man did not eat or sleep at the start for a time.  Reno came to the bar and their kinship in hurt just changed that, for which Vincent was thankful though it was unorthodox.

Vincent and Tseng began talking more casually, the subject starting interestingly enough with the evils of the Shin-ra Corporation and how it had taken so much from the both of them, Vincent finally admitted that he got over Lucrecia Crescent but his bitterness would not leave.    Being used, rejected, and eventually denied struck a very strong and painful chord in him.    Not to mention what had come about from Sephiroth’s abandonment.  He whole-heartedly blamed himself for him.  Tseng could understand that.   Sephiroth had been a comrade in arms and to see how the company had taken a child and broken him at such an early age was heart breaking.  Vincent also for once finally opening up about the entities that had shared his body, mind, and soul for a large period of his life, that is until after the Omega Crisis. Tseng could only imagine holding on to one's identity while not losing your mind completely.  Likewise, Vincent could understand how Tseng felt that he had completely betrayed his homeland. He had felt strangely cut off from the Wutaian customs he held dear. Tseng had always felt that disconnect like a severed limb.  Being a hired gun was disparaging and a mockery to his true martial arts skills.  Vincent, also being Wutaian if only half could still understand how he felt.  He had grown up with his parents, his father a scientist and his mother a simple tailor of Wutai, producing several beautiful robes and kimono for the royal line.  It was not until they relocated to Midgar that he missed his culture, his way of life.  With schooling done, Shin-ra propositioned him when they realized he had a skill that was exploitable, much of Tseng’s life was echoing at this point; only in Tseng's instance, becoming a Turk was the only way to survive when his family perished before him in the War.

 They found a kinship in this regard that they could never be used in such a way again.  They were both toy soldiers.

They began to fall more and more into easy conversation and piqued interest abound as time weaved around them.  Vincent saw that Tseng was something of a wallflower though he came off as steely and had had very few lovers, the amount counted on three fingers.  Vincent himself came off as the shy, aloof type was actually was more of the wild child, his conquest was easily in double digits, and he could be downright snarky and had the best dry humor.  Then somewhere along their easy conversation of who had what personality, sexual preference came up.  Vincent had always pegged Tseng the obvious “don’t kiss and tell” type but had also assumed he was heterosexual by the way he’d seemed to love Aerith and later Elena. Likewise, Tseng assumed that Vincent had always just been the “love them and leave them” type with the women folk, with the exception of Lucrecia.

Both were wrong on each one’s assessment of each other.

Tseng had loved and still loved Aerith and Elena, but only as one would love their sisters, and nothing more.  Tseng had only ever been with and preferred men, one of which had been Rufus of course from puberty to his untimely demise.  Unbeknownst to Yuffie, Reno and Zachary Fair had been his other two conquests.  Tseng had fell in love with Zachary and it had hurt so much when the man simply never came back running and smiling to him due to the same company that they both worked for, that had systematically gunned him down like an animal. He had cried for months after and deep depression followed, only cleared up when Reno and Rufus began vying for his affections. He was sure Aerith did not know of Zachary’s duality in sexuality though it mattered little.

Vincent’s was also surprising.  Vincent was a pansexual and had no real issue in bedding any sex.  Goddess but he sounded like a straight whore.

Instead of looking appalled or even shocked, there was another look that Tseng gave Vincent and it actually sent shivers down Vincent's spine as if it was the realest feeling in the world.

Vincent also gave Tseng a look that if Tseng could, though his face was still serious, he was certain he would have blushed when those ruby eyes landed on him for a long period of time before moving to look away.

Therefore, the relationship changed yet again.  As both men watched as their respective friends moved on and began having families, they found they too had found something in each other they would have never found on the mortal plane.  There was now acceptance, a steady confidant, and a chance to start anew even in the Lifestream; and a rare love for each other neither had ever really had. 

On one of their many days that they’d made light conversation, they seem a touch closer than they would have in the past, brush hands on accident more often,   Vincent had become tired of waiting to show the man next to him just how large of storm of emotions he'd amassed for him.  The man had analytically worn him down.  He was to come here fully content to brood on into the next life.  Then this upset came along and though he had a personality of a steel safe himself in regards to talking, put himself out of his comfort zone repeatedly, just to hear him talk to him, and hear what he really thought on things.

Their life’s professions had damaged both of them.  Both were just as bitter and jaded.  It was as shame it had taken this man half the time in life to realize he was going to opt out of it on his own terms.  He had always been built just so, not much shorter than himself, maybe an inch or two.  He knew of his tight swimmer's body when he had saved him the Northern Continent while tending his child's bisected personality’s wounds from his body. It also did not help that he had always been a maddening beautiful man.  Tseng's stoicism in true form rivaled his own.  He knew this was Tseng's way of courting him all along. 

He would oblige him finally. As Tseng lightly commenting on how his Turks used to behave and was able to chuckle at Reno's antics now, Vincent turned grabbed him by the tie with his clawed hand, cupped the back of his head with his unarmed hand and tentatively kissed him so gently that Tseng initially tensed, laughter caught in his throat.  Vincent was very worried actually; he had made a grave error.  Tseng returned the kiss to Vincent in earnest to Vincent and they both melted into each other, there in Aerith’s flowers.

 Aerith appeared to the men, as they were still lip locked and blushed and giggled, catching their attention and causing them to jump away from each other as if they had been scalded by hot water and both men looking at her as if she had turned into a funnyface.

 

“I got it!  I am going to send you both back”, she said so proud of herself.

 What she heard in rebuttal was groans from both weary men and the beginnings of complaints.

“Shut up! I am going to send you back, but not as you are.  Tseng you are going back to the age in which you were when you first came to Midgar to become a TURK and Vincent you are going back to the age you were on your fourth mission as a TURK” Aerith clapped her hands happily. 

“Wait, that would make me 18, why?” Tseng asked somewhat wary and confused at this plan.

“And me 21, what game are you trying to play Aerith?  I did what I did because I wanted solace, not to do it all over again” Vincent stated hard pressed not to get upset with the girl but he had no want to go through any of his youth again, especially if it was going to experience Lucrecia, Hojo, and the eventual conception of Sephiroth to be used by Hojo.  They had always talked, Tseng and him, but never talked about his death, how very sad it truly was for such a wonderful person as he.

“You are forgetting something,” Aerith said like a cat that had the cream.

“What?” both men said worried.

“I am sending you back into the current timeframe at those ages together so that you can live best lives you can for yourselves.  What happened to you both shortly after these to pinnacle ages...it was a horrible travesty.  Do it all over again but without living as hard and downtrodden as you had to and without the influence, you had to.  You two had better become best of friends, but what I saw just now, you are already maybe more?  What am I talking about I know you will?  The Cetra tell me things.  Oh and by the way, Sephiroth and I have made peace here in the Lifestream and he deserves to have a second chance as well.   It was Jenova's control of him and what drove him to her, a lot of the reason you knuckle heads are here as well. Oh and Vincent if you’re worried about him being reborn, you might want to use protection for a time or something more permanent since you are his father, it really doesn’t matter who the mother is, he will come from you.  Whom would you think he got the looks?  His eye color was just a variant from the Mako, the cat eyes the now inert Jenovian genes, now a part of him forever even in his reincarnation.  It will be up to you both to deal with your memories as the flow back to you; unfortunately, all I can keep away is your complete deaths. All you will know is that you had died but not how.  

Oh and tell everyone I said hello!”  Aerith said excitedly as Sephiroth did appear at her side and waved once and Zach to her left laughed.

“Wait, what!?” both men cried out and panicked and the last thing they individually remembered before waking up in their homes in their beds, much, much younger and confused was “Aerith is truly evil!”

 

 

 

 Chapter 2

 

Vincent gasped awake, all wild eyes and tangled limbs in the velvety covers that draped from his old dark heavy wooden, four poster king size bed. Sprawled out across the bed like this was the most natural thing in the world to do.  Being reborn in a 21-year-old body and very much alive again, his fair but peaches and cream complexion along his arms and hands was a very different categoryEven his hand was restored to before Hojo had gotten a hold of him. He knew he'd died previously and lived again but didn't know what had ended him which while tried to drudge up but the thought ultimately just made him extremely sad. He sat there and looked around the sparse room taking in familiar surroundings and hypersensitive smells that would otherwise be minute and sounds so soft they would pass the average ear, if he had still been average, and his sharp eyes landed on a picture of people on a nearby desk.

There was a gathering of multicultural people of different backgrounds on the pictures of different ages and sexes.  His eyes moved over the faces of the female counterparts as that nudged parts of his mind but nothing concise came forward.  Next, he took on the non-humans, which seemed to be a large Moogle with a black and white cat riding it with a small crown on its head and a cap and a lion-like creature with a tail with a fire on the tip of it.  That too produced a flash of thoughts but no names and nothing concrete.  Then came the men in the picture.  There was a man that looked to be a captain of some sort holding his javelin in one hand, directly to the right of him was a mountain of a man with one cybernetic arm.  The man was as tall as he was wide it seemed.  There was another man, towards the front center; medium muscled with a largish sword on his back dressed in leather with piercing blue eyes.  Looking at this man caused a sadness he had not felt since Lucrecia to come into him starting into those equally unusual eyes.  Then there, in the background of all the others, there was a man with pallid skin tone, taller than the rest.  His hair long, dark hair bound with a swath of red, the rest hanging around his shoulders unkempt over what seemed to be a red cowl and…and was that a menacing golden claw as his arms crossed his chest?   

It…it was him!

The man that was he looked the same age as him but not the same age in the way his mouth was set and the eyes…they were practically piercing.  The rubies of his eyes were natural as that was from his father, Grimoire Valentine. 

With that rogue thought, thoughts ran through his mind almost as a fast forwarded movie.  He saw his father and another woman to which his mind supplied was Dr. Lucrecia Crescent, saw the young woman at the Shinra mansion in Nibelhiem, saw himself as a TURK.  The whole of the story of his attraction, his betrayal, him being shot by another doctor named Hojo, his captivity and subsequently being experimented on at the man’s hands, and eventually his being locked away for decades to match the man that was in that photo on the desk.  Each thought flowed with such fluidity and pace in his mind that he became overwhelmed, bounding from his bed to his bathroom to retch up nothing but stomach acid as he shook from head to toe in front of his vanity and mirror.

Vincent was afraid of what he would see if he looked up into that mirror, afraid that his own reflection might judge him.  After all, those thoughts flowing back at such a brutal pace, he knew exactly who he was and what had transpired.

Those people in that picture were his friends. He had been that man in that picture.  He had died and he had served as their friend that helped in their crusade to hunt down his ex-lover’s abomination of a child, Sephiroth.  Then it all flipped through his mind like so many Polaroid pictures thrown into the air landing precariously into place, painting the picture.

 Plans for Sephiroth's creation as a subject, a specimen, his frustration and abhorrence, refusing to go along with it and Professor Soji Hojo renouncing his say to anything, then later when he took a stand against the man, Hojo renouncing his very will to live with a bullet from a .45 caliber gun straight to his heart.

Hojo tinkered on him like so much flesh, bored of him, and finally left him to rot when tired of him, only after they had fused him with the creatures; then his body itself had done everything else but.

He had decades to mourn Lucrecia Crescent and her son, his son, the enigma that was Sephiroth after the damage was done, only laying eyes on his child across the embittered battlefield where too much had happened and was happening and he, he was there to serve as his estranged child's executioner. 

The substitution for a warm home for the cold labs, the multiple caretakers, his true mother banished and basically killed, nor Hojo acting as his father figure when he had been nothing to him, which was why it meant nothing to Hojo to hurt Sephiroth as he had and lock Vincent away as he did. He had wondered if Sephiroth had had his eye color before the extensive Mako treatments…Lucrecia had just been a causality of her own naivety. 

It was all so dizzying.  As pieces of his previous life came and fell into place, the last to come was his actual memories in the Lifestream.   There was also his other friend lost due to Sephiroth’s pain and insanity.  He had missed Aerith and her calm and collected ways missed dearly. 

She had been responsible for sending him back in his current form. He had recalled that Aerith was quite perturbed with him coming to her under the circumstances in which he arrived though he could not remember. He recalled that there had been another one there as a constant, someone in the end he would come to care for.

Vincent sat and wracked his brain to catch a glimpse of the person his heart seemed to yearn for. 

Slowly, dark hair and chocolate hued, almond shaped eyes filled his mindscape.

Tseng.

He recalled his fondness that had grown for the once cold and calculating Tseng Xu.

He also remembered that they had had also truly met in the Lifestream after their respective deaths.  The man, though precise, had set his mind to seducing him fully even after life and had succeeded.

He'd admit he was a recluse,  previous life making him mute  and if he didn't have to speak he didn't waste the energy , and cold as a winter's  breeze was the weight his glares carried when he felt bothered. 

Tseng had been different. He was persistent and Vincent was not all sure that for once, Tseng’s mental strain were not the blame for the unpremeditated conversations that followed.  Maybe the man truly felt lost not being in control anymore and sought companionship in this notion, though Vincent admitted he had never been a leader or a follower, more a lone wolf. Whatever it was, it eventually sparked Vincent's attention and he accommodated the man in dialogue.  He still was so much older than he was mentally though he did not look it and he found that Tseng loved history, specifically their homeland of Wutai and found Tseng was very versed. It started with simple prods and then became in immeasurable time, full discourses of conversation about things of history to things of their shared past.  Even now, though he still did not know the reason either, he had known the man had passed in his sleep from a massive heart attack, yet they always never spoke of how he passed.

This produced an odd emotion in him, something akin to embarrassment but also a type of relief. It made him worry for the day he just might find out what exactly had happened to himself.

Vincent was dismayed.  He prayed that Leviathan would had been so gracious to grant reprieve and returned to him as well but could not remember well, innate thoughts flittering through his mind and steadily fitting into place.  He did know that he needed to seek out his comrades to acclimate himself fully to what had transpired if he was to ever have help finding Tseng and his place in the world now as a 21 year-old man with the mind and heart much older soul.

 

 

 

Chapter 3

Tseng's waking was a lot less of a jerk but heavy on the confusion and fear. The last rouge though he'd had was brilliant red eyes, gentle caresses,  and soft kisses all amongst a field of Aerith's flower, only to be undone by a smiling and waving Sephiroth.

If that dream did not completely weird some Wutaian curses out of him, finding himself in what he knew was his old condominium, his own bed, alive and well, did.

He was up and moving to his bathroom and paused seeing the bath area appeared cluttered with miscellaneous male belongings.  A bathrobe hung from the back of the bathroom door in a pale blue with chocobos all over it and the main medicine cabinet  filled with everything but medication.  There was everything from antiseptic cream to condoms up in the cabinet.

Tseng saw in the corner of his old bathroom, a dark, zip-up suit nicely pressed hung and with a gasp crumpled to his knees pawing at his head.  His memories were assaulted of a different time, a different type of control of a city, a great and powerful man brought to his knees by the very place he had been sworn to protect and that he’d shackled to, causing his great mental break that almost cost all of humanity as well.

The latent memories just kept floating back to him like moths to a flame, the intensity easing up finally.  Tseng sat cross-legged on the floor allowing them to come: everything from how preferred his coffee to his first sexual conquest. It was surreal.  He had remembered now that he had passed on into the Lifestream, not taking care of himself because he did not want to prevent the catalyst that ended him.  He would felt so old, too old and jaded by all that he had seen. There had been so much death dealing well before Sephiroth's overall behavioral problems.  Shinra had thought to rule the whole planet with the planet's very lifeblood.

It was sickening yet he'd went along the trail to hell happily for them, never asking questions about the consequences for his and his people's actions.  When he ordered the plate dropped just to get to a radical terrorist team, he would though at the time made of literally six or so people, it did not matter the innocent civilians that were going to die for those six, in the thousands maybe even millions.

When the order to track Aerith was given, what they intended for her, and actually Sephiroth as he had always been treated like so much cattle, he followed, even striking her when she fought back against him.  Even at the Temple of the Ancients when he thought the ex-General had stabbed him fatally with his infamous Masamune, and he then laid there bleeding out only at last minute saved.  It was not until he saw just how insane his colleague had been did they then starts to think, think maybe just maybe they had been wrong all along.  This was the beginning of his true bitterness.

As Tseng sat there willing, the shocked shivering to subside as the thoughts, places, and faces took shape fully, one stuck out in great contrast against the others.

The brilliant and intense red eyes, wayward sable hair, and the menacing golden claw…

Vincent Valentine.

It was Vincent!

Tseng's heart jumped with a trill of excitement and an underlining emotion that had him embarrassingly whimper.

Oh he could see the man as clear as day. He had been his enemy, his savior from Sephiroth's bisected remains turned to live beings that had tortured him and Elena…his, his subordinate, and at his end in the Lifestream, he had been an enigma to crack and once he was his transformation had been so beautiful.   He was so incredibly intelligent and made more so by a long life, though it had not been a happy one much like his own.  He did wear his feelings on his sleeves as if they were the very vermilion cowl he wore to hide away his face from everyone. In time, that too changed, as Vincent would tentatively communicate with him.  He loved hearing the man talk, that rare of treat it was in the beginning. They talked about history of Wutai, his life, his own father's death, Sephiroth and his ultimate involvement in euthanizing the once great General.  It was sad he had never had a semblance of normality in his entire life. 

The one subject they never broached was Vincent's cause of death.

 If Sephiroth's overall life and death had been traumatic after finding out posthumously that Sephiroth was indeed his child by his lost love,  it was hard speaking of such a…a terrible way in which Vincent felt he needed to meet his end as he did as he was nearly indestructible. 

 

While he had been alive, much was done, all in the name of one or another person's ideal of good. Tseng, amongst the barrage of guilt and waves of memories bubbling forth, realized his own nudity for the first time and finally gathered enough of him to stand up and peer in the vanity mirror.

He could not quite process what he was seeing.

There, in front of him reflecting back was a younger version of himself.  He had to be no more than 18…

With that stray thought the full memories of the undefined passing of time flowed through him of the Lifestream, of himself, and of him and Vincent Valentine. He distinctly remembered Aerith now and what she had said, what she had done. Despite all that had and would happen, Tseng had the weirdest sensation in his chest and it was coming forth.

Laughter. 

Pure, unadulterated laughter poured out of Tseng's mouth though he tried muffling it with one hand.  He braced against the sink shaking badly with it, tears gathered at his eyes as his hair spilled down his back in raven wing black smoothness.

The door to his right was kicked open and a gun was cocked freezing the laughter and blood in his veins cold. That is until he heard a great sentence of swearing and all at once he was moving back into the main room, a blush suffused on his face in his hyperactive aware moment of his nudity.

 

Reno had came from the office today early to greet Cloud to start something to eat for later and to check if Cloud was back yet from his delivery run, but it seemed he was not alone. 

The air in the condominium on enter in had felt . . . off.

Then he had heard the minute sounds and now male laughter coming from Tseng's old room, he was just itching to shoot that fucker's head off.

Since Tseng had died, yes they had moved on, even kept his place in memory of him. The home was in Wutaian styling, so much of his homeland.  Even as the years passed and Cloud and he became a couple,  then husband and husband, both bonding over their loss of their comrades they had never changed his room besides freshening the sheets themselves and the bedding replaced with the same comforter set after his death.

It was like Tseng's shrine. Part of them hoped, prayed the man would be reincarnated as a happier, peaceful person.  The other selfish half prayed to Aerith that they would come and just find him as surly as he was in his bed and life would just resume. 

 It was no secret to anyone that Tseng was Elena's heart.

She had taken to the road to ease her broken heart.   Reno, on the other hand, had loved Tseng like an older brother and a cherished comrade.   With Rufus and Yuffie being married to each other, the hate and malice had been gone for years now. He knew that Rude and Tifa Lockhart had done the same thing him and Cloud did: create love where the love had to be forcibly rerouted due to death of someone so cherished. Reno in this instance was Tifa, as Cloud had wanted Vincent Valentine.

Imagine Reno's overwhelming surprise as he came into the rooming ready to dispatch this trash that dare squat in what was treated like a holy place, and his damned answer to his prayer had been answered as a very young, very cautious,  very  naked Tseng stood at his vanity mirror obviously taking in his visage. 

There Tseng stood, hair fanned out across his chest and shoulders, even down to the tilak in the middle of his forehead.

“Motherfucker…” Reno trailed off intelligently.

Tseng literally had the nerve to look at Reno with his borderline baby face, cross his arms and scowl, as he would have anytime, Reno would curse.

Reno could not help it.  He began to laugh. Damn it, if this was a mirage or trap of some sort, damn it was thorough. He grabbed one of the folded arms, pulled Tseng into the main room, and just hugged the man.

Tseng initially froze on contact, thinking this wildly inappropriate but then his mind caught up to what had happened, and what was happening, and he slowly but surely relaxed into the show emotion, even patting Reno's back awkwardly.

Sometime after the hug, Reno had given him a throw cover for his modesty until they could get him clothing.  They sat in silence on the edge of the bed for a moment before Reno began.

“I know it's you, yo. Yeah the packaging is slightly newer but I would know that scowl from anywhere. Maybe you'd like to start from the beginning, yeah?” Reno said with a truer smile than he would saw since the day he had died.

Therefore, while they sat there, that is exactly what Tseng did is regale what he had done and saw in the Lifestream.

 

 

Chapter 4

Vincent was concerned about his own nudity for he had no clothes in sight. He questioned though how his domicile would have looked this meticulous this much time later since they have been gone from the planet and into the Lifestream.  It seemed the day kept on surprising him.  With his sensitive hearing, he could hear someone entering the house with keys.

Women. There were women, plural, talking and getting closer to his vicinity. How in Leviathan's name was he going to explain his abrupt appearance, furthermore his nakedness in a home that used to be his when he was alive? The first voice was very familiar. He hid around the bed as it was coming straight for the room. He tried to roll under the bed but how childish was that? Moreover, he was in the buff!

The door came open and the voice turned towards the bedding, noticing that it was unmade and the bathroom light was still on.

Vincent knew that they would capture him but could only hope the young woman would not scream, faint, or began assaulting him with items.  He knew he maintained all the strength of his previous life, strangely enough without the demons.  It was as if they exercised them from his body but their power remained.

Vincent sat at the top left corner of the bed by a nightstand with his long legs bent up and arms around them with his head down just waiting for her to clear that corner.

 

Tifa had saw Elena to see how her ultrasound went and was excited to hear she was going to have a girl so they had decided to meet up and have lunch and catch up. On Elena's travels, away, she had met another love of Wutaian background, married, and now resided in Wutai, serving as Rufus's and Yuffie's main TURK, well, while she was not heavily pregnant.  Since Vincent's and Tseng's death's, they had more or less gravitated to each other. Tifa circumstances were like Reno's, the always second love. At first Tifa had been bitter that Cloud could not return her affections after all these years.  She could not deal with the fact that everyone else seemed to catch Cloud's eye. Vincent was her friend.  In fact, she would put herself out to talk to the reclusive and bleeding heart man when everyone else was seeing the monsters he transformed into occasionally.

It was not Vincent's fault.  He had no idea Cloud's attentions had been captured by the elusive beautiful male. Vincent was always so non-self-assuming just as Cloud was fair weather in his emotions.  It seemed that time had did them both some good because even though it looked as if Tifa had been waiting for Cloud, she'd simply focused on her new friends and her son Denzel while his father was playing the absentee. 

After five years of not so much as a call, Cloud  came in and had admitted he'd missed her and that innermost thoughts helped him understand that Aerith was never his but Zachary Fair's, latent in his mixed memories due to Sephiroth's involvement.  Tifa wanted to be pissed to send him on his way and have him never ever darken her doorstep.  Then he had to go and admit some messed up crap. He had also admitted to a relationship he had had with Sephiroth when he was a young cadet and that he had projected onto Vincent as he had laid the truth bare.  The reason Cloud Strife was so screwed up was he had to watch his lover lose his mind, kill their parents, burn their town down, mind fuck him to the point he didn't know who he was, and he had to kill him three times with his bare hands.

That was a lot to take in and having it that spread out that, Tifa oddly felt like the fool. He had been dealing with this deep emotional damage.   Tifa knew this was more poignant since they would find out after Vincent's untimely demise that he was Sephiroth's father. They had moved on little by little and rekindled their childhood friendship. Cloud was able to admit he was homosexual and just did not feel that way, for any female and that, Reno had caught his eye and heart and they were now married.  Tifa could only laugh at the notion. Between the two, they made the team of TURKS.  During his absence, Rude had stepped in and been the man of the house, admitting to his long standing crush of Tifa and after sharing shy kisses and hugs,  it grew to a marriage proposal.  Now a year and a half and one rounded stomach kicked daily later, Tifa's ever-sharp senses from her martial arts training had her ready for whoever had entered Vincent's old room.

What she was not prepared for was for a very naked, very blushing, and awkwardly folded younger version of said man on the floor peering at her with his same ruby red eyes though his hair completely unarmed and undressed.

Tifa looked back at the sight and screamed- gasp in surprise, as the young man winced and covered his ears from the close up sound and started and fidget on the spot.

Elena was barreling into the room looking like she'd ate several cantaloupe whole with her gun out and was by Tifa's side, equally  pregnant. 

Elena actually whimpered at seeing Vincent not because he was nude or even because he was on the floor frozen under their pinned stares but that seeing him reminded Elena of the dual funerals a full five years prior.

If Tifa could have shown any appropriate response now, she would probably would have cried.  Cried because her best friend  back, cried because she was so uncertain how this would affect Reno's relationship with Cloud, or just cry for all the missed time in those last five years.

“Hello Tifa” came the deep, gravelly voice of one Vincent Valentine who sat on the floor looking even younger and healthier than he was when he had left them and there where his iconic claw had been…was a perfectly sculpted, long-fingered pianist hand. It had its audacity to be just as beautiful as the rest of him.

Gone was the leather and cumbersome red cape, here sat a peaches and cream complexion Vincent, still leggy and delicately muscled with short, choppy hair. You could see all his chin and crest of his cheekbones and the fact that that peaches and cream was more like a hot pink from ear tip to ear tip and dusting his face in embarrassment as Tifa and Elena openly appraised his 'wares'.   Both were startled when one of those hands had made a hollow fist and placed against his lips, gently cleared his throat to snap them from wherever their minds were or had been.

Tifa's thought were finishing a self deprecating thought about how inadequate she was and something along the lines of thank the Planet he couldn't make children himself.

“Tifa, Elena…it is me, Vincent Valentine. I know that my outside appearance is different but I assure you I have recovered my past life…” Vincent said trailing off unsure of what else to say not trigger the two young women.

“Oh. Oh. OH! Yes Vincent I knew it was you I…I was just shocked.  It has been so long and I…We have all missed you very much. Here let me see if any of Shion's spare clothes are here from when Elena and he visit.  He's lanky and it will fit, just maybe not lengthwise,” Tifa said with a surprisingly watery-eyed smile.  She had missed Vincent and it had hurt to know that he felt like he just could not go on even with his friends.

Once Vincent was dressed, he had followed both women into his old kitchen that was expanded.  It seemed to fit Tifa. She had asked about his time away from them and he had answered about his visit to the Lifestream.

Elena sat by nervously shuffling wanting the strength to ask her question but afraid of the answer.

As if Vincent had sensed her question, he had talked about spending his time with Tseng in the Lifestream. He was not sure if he had imagined that they had both been brought back but one could hope was his optimistic answer.

As they were talking, Elena’s PHS began to go off, showing Reno's number. Elena excused herself to speak with her friend, excited to share her double news.

On answer, Reno could be heard off the receiver as if on speakerphone.

“Lena sit down, yo. You will not believe who I am with right now!” Reno said excitedly.

Elena's heart slammed painfully in her chest. It could not be. It would be hope above hope.

Reno said the fateful sentence: “Lena, Tseng is alive again and at his old house” Elena was filled with so many incomplete emotions on the subject and her current relationship with Shion. She saw the  darkness creeping into her vision and could not stop it.

Vincent heard the thump before Tifa recognized what he was doing.

Elena has slipped into unconsciousness while Reno's call continued on her PHS.

 

 

Chapter 5

Elena had been laid in one of the guest rooms as news spread like wild fire that both Vincent Valentine and Tseng Xu were back among the living.  This stopped business ideas at the WRO between Rufus Shinra and Reeve Tuesti and Wutai also in a whirlwind as  the Empress swept out of her country with her children in tow to meet her husband there in Edge.  Cid, Shera, and their beginning brood had graciously offered to gather any missing from the group like Barrett and Marlene in Corel, Nanaki in Cosmo Canyon, and Shion in Wutai where he still waited at home.  Cloud rolled like the wind on Fenrir since he had to see him, any remaining part of him, though Vincent was and would always be his comrade.

The evening came with a bustling of people from all lifestyles but with common goals: to see those they would lost be alive again.

Yuffie sat reverently by her husband Rufus Shinra with their twin heirs, a boy and a girl Kimi and Ayo.   Cid and Shera brought in their two children Bracken and Gwen and settled down in some of the seats in the overly large living room. Nanaki had padded in and greeted everyone laying down by Yuffie's feet and receiving unsolicited scratches but not uncomfortable, scratches to his mane by the small children and Yuffie herself.

Barrett came in with a sixteen year-old Marlene.  The difference five years made in children was unbelievable.  The same could be said for Denzel when he came out and settled with the group.  He looked like a copy of Cloud.  It seems Cloud had finally returned and truly did right by the boy, now young man even if Tifa and Cloud were apart.  Rude was definitely in the boy as well.

Rude sat by Tifa observing the whole gathering in perfect silence.  Reno had found some of Tseng's clothing from before. They did not fit as they both gathered that they may not since he was the age that he would have started SOILDER as a grunt as per protocol for his first exposure to Mako treatments and the continued on until he was officially accepted into the TURKS under Veld.  He had just sighed softly and pulled his hair back into a typical tail.  The only thing unusual was his hair was longer than his was at this age the first time.   Reno drove him to what he recognized had been Shinra Mansion in Nibelhiem; this had become Vincent's home based on what the man told him.

Vincent.  He wondered if the man was here and . . . . If he felt the same way he would did beforehand.  He felt like a female worrying about feelings for the aloof man. They had been very real and seeing himself back like this, he was not afraid to say that he needed his support, as they were all newly alive and apparently regenerated.

Tifa likewise had found some good choices for clothing for Vincent.  While he was still broad shouldered, he was lithe and that helped. With a pair of carefully placed boots, high water pants would not be an issue. Tifa looked at Vincent as Vincent observed himself in the mirror. 

It was still somewhat sad, Vincent coming back to them. The youngest of the overall group was Yuffie and Nanaki, Nanaki having a much longer lifespan left Yuffie at 30… She had been barely 25 years old when he passed away. The oldest of the group was Cid and Rude, respectively 45 years old and 40 year old.  Vincent based on what he was told and what he looked like, was 21 years old making him the youngest of the group.

Reno with Shion went to check on Elena as soon as he had arrived leaving Tseng in the foyer.  Tseng slightly bristled, as he did not know where to go.  Yuffie had just come from the kitchen with Reeve speaking when they ran into him.

“Hello. Could you direct me to where the TURKS are, maybe Rufus Shinra perhaps?” Tseng said trying to keep his game face strong.

“Are you someone from town perhaps that has questions?” Yuffie inquired the youth. She knew Vincent and Tseng would be there any moment so while this was not a good time, she would see to it that whatever the concern was saw to. Well, that was the idea until she started taking in too many obvious details that apparently Reeve had already caught going stone still. 

“We are having a meeting and we can take your message for…you” Yuffie's brows furrowed and she moved closer to the individual who first instinct was to step back but he held his ground.

Yuffie looked stricken and awed at the same time.

T-Tseng, is it you?” Yuffie said in shocked Wutaian, her brain given up the fight with common language.

Tseng just let out a little self-deprecating laugh and answered.

“Yes princess, or rather Empress, it's me. I am 18 years old,” Tseng, said more so to enjoy the shocked horror she was not the young one anymore.

Yuffie made an about face scrambling away as Reeve asked her to clarify as he could only make out his name and some words.

Tseng literally followed them; sure, they would lead him where he needed to go.

Once back at the main room everyone had gathered, besides Tifa, Vincent, and Cloud on his way. Elena allowed Shion to fuss over her after she had told him the news of their daughter. Yuffie, Reeve, and a trailing Tseng had chosen to enter the room at that time.

All eyes were on Tseng Xu and it was uncomfortable.  Reno got up and began defusing the tension by apologizing for leaving him alone knowing that he had not been to Vincent's old home. Tseng's eyes scanned the crowd taking in the level of shock from each of his one-time subordinates.  With Rude, there was a cool acceptance that he was back in any form.  Elena was bursting at the seams to be by him. Then there was Rufus. Rufus Shinra was known for his poker face but the fantastic storm in his eyes beckoned attention. What Tseng saw was sadness, acceptance, and solace. Rufus also was not one for big talking either so when he spoke it was to be heard.

“So you've been revived, ‘old man', but you're not quite aged are you?”, Rufus asked after using his pet moniker for him aloud.  Those storms in Rufus's eyes intense.  “Why so late and yet why so early Tseng?”  He knew Rufus was asking what took him such a long time to come back to him, to make him feel the pain that he now knows that this man had felt, or maybe even cried for him.

He also knows the second part of the question is simply why so young when everyone else is marching steadily to death's march. Here he was before them at the zenith of youth, barely a man again. He answers and answers truthfully so they know why he let his health slip, why ignored the signs, and ultimately gave up.

As he was finishing his tale, Vincent and Tifa had walked into the room.

It was as if he could feel Vincent as he entered into the room.

Tseng turned towards the newcomers and took in the sight. There stood forever stoic Vincent Valentine looking just as beautiful and young as he was.

He could see Vincent beginning to blush all over again, at Tseng's perusing and Tseng's own personal beauty. 

Elena had stopped her shuffling around to take in what was transpiring between the two men. The look the men gave was one of finding solace, finding their way back together, and of have found love for each other.

Elena slumped a little at the meaningful look the men shared. She was married and had a child on the way.  She all of a sudden felt very exposed and ashamed at her behavior. What had she'd expected,  Shion to be a warm body,  a surrogate until if and when Tseng's returned upon which he was supposed to profess his undying love for her? Really, he had not even talked a full paragraph in the time she had known him about anything else that was not work related to her.

He had never felt the same way about her as she had for him.

Elena excused herself from the room again dealing with old emotions and new and brutally honest feelings about Tseng. He glanced her way as she shuffled away, obviously desperate. Tseng had always known that Elena had loved him. That was not his frame of mind and he was remorseful about her but she had a husband and a child on the way.

Shion took care of her and he loved her truly, not the 18 year-old man-child he was now.  He hoped that Vincent felt the same way he had about him before revival. He was tense he did not like tense.

Just before Vincent could answer that question in Tseng's eyes, there was a quick opening and closing of the main door, the trundling of metal gear and leather, and the steady gait of boots walking towards in living area.

There, in the doorway stood one Cloud Strife, electric blue eyes imbibing in Vincent's new look like he never saw him before.  Those eyes landed on his would be, should be clawed hand.  Something conceded across those eyes.

He stared at Vincent again, at Vincent as if he were trying to put the pieces of an elaborate puzzle back together again.  His face a soft somber then registered Tseng.  The brows lowered in an unasked question.  The air was pulsating with the tension.  Cloud's breakdown after Vincent's demise was very public and very notorious.  Just as with Elena,  though much more erratic,  there was no way to know  how Cloud would take Vincent being back and being so different from how he'd been before.  Without the anguish and constant agony of his previous life weighing him down, though they were the same, Vincent Valentine from this life and Vincent Valentine from his previous life were like day and night.

Cloud came up to Vincent and simply just hugged him.

Reno tried to steal himself away from any jealousy about the situation because he knew what drove Cloud to want to be close to the gunman and he never faulted him, just would pity him when he would cry at night occasionally from his loss of his lover he had had to end.  Reno stood by Tifa trying not to fidget due to his own fears for a time and Tifa discreetly took his hand even though the normally prideful TURK would not have had it any other time, both of them praying for something, anything to go as things should.    The peace that Cloud had found had been hard won when his would be love died before he could even see where life would take them, whether it was all him seeing Sephiroth in the man or not, it had hurt. Eventually, it took him back to Tifa and a love blossoming with Reno; he was fine with it.

Slowly, Vincent relaxed into the touch and patted Cloud's back.

Tseng's eyes were roaming the room again to keep him from coming off as a jealous lover.

With that one hug, the room was alive with speech and greetings. 

Vincent was able to meet his friend's children as well as catch up roughly what he had missed. He was able to compliment Marlene on how pretty she had gotten and Denzel on how rugged. It was humorous to know that he was now only 6 years older than they were, Tseng literally only two.

Tseng.  Where had he disappeared?

As a way to calm down and to not make the situation about him, Tseng had went outside on the verandah with Shion and Elena whom had been somewhat mollified but still shaken and in a dreamlike state looking on at Tseng.

Tseng had asked for a smoke from Shion, who gave it freely as he continued to fuss over the woman and become frustrated because he knew that it was a matter of the heart, the subject sitting right in their midst.

Tseng watched out of the corner of his eye as Shion finally gave up for the moment, roughly running his fingers through his smooth dark hair in hopeless frustration, going  further on the grounds of the mansion to get much needed space; to get away from the crushing truth that Elena wasn't playing fair with his emotions. Elena was using Shion as a way station when clearly his emotions were real for her all along. Hell, Tseng idly noticed the way they looked like they could be brothers was even unnerving.

Tseng would fix that and this cluster fuck that was Elena's problem finally out of respect for her husband and for himself.  Slowly he put out his cigarette storing the remaining in a pocket and the pushed from the banister to look fully at Elena.

Vincent had noticed that Tseng was gone almost immediately after he would left and deduced he was on the verandah.  He saw Tseng smoking and slowly putting out his cigarette, pushing away from the banister, and approaching Elena.  Vincent's heart gave a terrible jump in his chest.  He would not jump to conclusions.  Elena was a married woman and he knew Shion thought the world of her from what Tifa said. For Goddess sakes, she was expecting a child!  Vincent decided to stick to the shadows and watch the scene play out.

Elena's face lit up as if hit with the brilliant rays of the Sun. She just knew that Tseng finally returned to her and actually felt the same way for her. Sure he had never shown an inch of interest that just meant he was hard to get, right? When Tseng came and spoke to her, she knew that she'd been wrong, so heartbreakingly wrong yet again, her brilliant smile crumbling to tears faster than when he'd died, more so for the validity of his statements.

“What are you doing Elena?  Are you looking to be a single mother? Do you have any idea how rare of husband you have you selfish cunt?” Tseng said barely above a whisper almost all hiss.

Shion had resumed walking back again, when he came upon the scene and Shion and Vincent thought to intervene but Tseng did something of old to let them know he knew they or someone was there: he lifted his hand to stay their movement.  This was so eerie and seeing Tseng using his previous life honed skills, that Vincent ceased moving, staying Shion in the process.  They allowed him to continue in his 18-year-old form.

“Do you know the actual gem you have in Shion being your husband instead of barking up the wrong tree for the whole of your career? Have you EVER thought that I actually could not be interested or better yet, homosexual?  Because, there you have your two that is why I never looked at you. Think I am being tough on you or cruel, no I am not.   I should have done this from the beginning so there was no guesswork. Nevertheless, that is fine, I am saying it now so there is no misunderstandings, no hidden agendas and you can go home to your true husband that does love you and does cherish you. For Leviathan's sakes, you do not even know our language and you even went and got a doppelganger of me...pft. ” Tseng continued cool as a cucumber in his thoughts as they rolled off his tongue.

 “Think I don't know your husband, think again.  His situation was VERY similar to mine.  Do you know the kind of life Shion lived?  Do you know how his mother had to live in the red light district of Wutai? He had no father.   What he had wash multiple suitors for his mother and they all were abusive, his mother raped in front of him, her acting as courtesan.   It puts perspective on the people who want to want to and do marry.  They are offering their forever with you and that is truly special.  I want to experience that as well one day.  Even his flawed childhood he suffered did not affect him marrying you; that is a treasure. So stop what you doing go back to your husband and enjoy your child that is coming. Shion Chou loves you. Know that Vincent loves me and I am truly cared about. “Tseng finished less brisk and moved to gently hug the openly weeping woman because she now knew and understood that she'd never had a chance. Shion did move to comfort his wife and they headed home for the night.

Tseng took back up his post that he was standing up before the conversation. Vincent joined him on the veranda looking out into the expanse into the dark at the starlit sky.

“Somehow I knew you were there. I just could feel it. Do you still feel the same way about me as I felt about you in the Lifestream? I know that I am a much younger man but I still feel the way that I do about you and I don’t know if I could handle if you said that you were not still interested in me,  especially not at this time since I'm all alone having to basically live my  younger years all over again. I do not have my discipline as much as I do as was with the Turks. Pity for you. So, what is your answer?” Tseng asked with a smirk on his face, as he would resume lighting up his cigarette and watching the smoke twirl on the air currents.

Vincent grab the cigarette from Tseng and took a drag from the cigarette and blew it out into the air, making lazy air circles then allowing his lips on Tseng's to be his answer.

Sharing a searing kiss while holding the back of Tseng's head, hand deeply buried in that dark jet-black hair, weighted and flowing around Tseng's beautiful face, all the while Vincent drank of Tseng’s own natural taste through their kiss that was very heady.

Vincent found that he really like this new mouthy, non-straight laced version of Tseng. He was everything he had sacrificed the first time around at this age: young and willful, stubborn as he was beautiful, and naive and unwilling to show it though he still carried his knowledge from before. He was a perfect balance between his duality of his past and present and it was intoxicating.   He was not trying to change him nor was he looking to change him anyway.

 He wanted him wild, unyielding, and bucking for what he had in mind also.

 

 

Chapter 6

Vincent had grabbed onto the railing with his other hand, forgetting his strength without the physical reminders on his body, leaving it a twisted looking thing, letting carnal thoughts slip into his mind. 

 Both Vincent and Tseng smiled probably the most genuine that they'd both had in a long time, if ever after that simple show of affection that ignited so much more.

Once all the guest rooms prepared and filled for the night in Vincent's old mansion, those staying retired to their rooms.  No one noticed Vincent Valentine headed to his master suite with Tseng Xu in tow.

Once the two men were alone, it was just like their time in the Lifestream. It started with simple kisses and touches lending to braver gropes and heavy kisses all over Tseng's eyes, face, and neck.

Tseng moaned at the stimulus, thinking about how his hormones were in overdrive.  It was quite an unfair advantage Vincent had over him, or so it seemed like initially.

Vincent was shaking with his want to kiss, grope, bite, and claim this little upstart.  In fact, Vincent mused that Tseng's smart mouth was going the right way to have things shoved into its small warm depths with the taunts that now were spilling over Tseng's lips.

Vincent continued to push Tseng back towards the bed.  Just as the back of his thighs net the bed, Vincent confirmed Tseng's with a handful of fully erected penis and heavy balls, teasing them through Tseng's choice attire of a kimono.

Tseng tensed eyes wide when Vincent laid hands on his shaft and heavy scrotum and fought off a bit off scream.  He had no idea why this seemed so much rawer, so intense.

Vincent gently pushed Tseng back, not before his fast magically moving hands had undid the obi, the material parting and beginning to separate immediately off the slender form as a gentle push sent Tseng sprawling backwards.

Tseng painted a decadent picture on his bed: kimono askew, black hair flowing around him freely, olive skin bared where the chest and one lone dark brown nipple showed along with  one long leg slid out almost up to the groin area.  Tseng's kiss swollen lips pursed and smirked as fully dilated chocolate, almond shaped eyes focused on Vincent, making his dick throb so hard.

Tseng thought about how alive Vincent Valentine was. He was not some amalgam of odd creatures nor was he a host for Chaos anymore, though the strength and who knew what else remained. He was happy, fun loving, and had a killer personality.  His dry humor was the driest and was amazing. He was so handsome that he was beautiful. . .he reminded him of someone who had been a friend, a colleague in his previous life but it seems like the more thought about it,  the more he forgot,  only being left with the strangest vision of Lifestream colored eyes, vertically slit pupils,  and a shock of long silvery hair.

Before Tseng  could ponder the odd vision more, give it deeper meaning, he gasped out as Vincent has made himself at home, in front of him quite nude,  and during his musings he'd found himself disrobed and now with a black head of hair moving along his shaft in earnest.

Tseng literally cried out at not only the feeling but overall tenacity and skill it took for Vincent to get into his bubble and he not know it,  younger or not. He had training in martial arts since birth and had his memories of being a Commander and…and Vincent was doing something AMAZING with his tongue under the underside of his penis.

He was so hot, terribly so and took the rest of his layers off, laying himself truly bare now.

Vincent had lubricated his fingers lightly at some point during this excursion and was now prodding him as he continued to suck him.

Vincent breeched him with a lone, long finger thrusting and sucking as he pleased, driving Tseng crazy in this virginal body.

Sure, he could remember that he had been romantically involved with others before death; it was never this intense, this wanted. 

Before Tseng had really known it, Vincent had another finger in him. He knew when it brushed that bundle of nerves inside him causing him to curse uncustomary, gasp, and writhe trying to get more of that powerful feeling to which Vincent plunged another finger into him, chuckling darkly and thrusting with wild abandon in and out of him while nursing him for all he was worth.

Tseng knew he was coming and there was nothing he could do to stop it.  He arched off the bed with a shout and came down Vincent's throat, all the while quivering around his fingers still embedded in him.

Vincent removed his hand, rubbing the juices along his arousal with more lubricant and placed himself at Tseng's entry. He asked with his ruby eyes locked with Tseng's if this was what he wanted, a “them”, an “us”.

Tseng moved up on his elbows and kissed Vincent with the same passion he would experience the very first time they decided that there was more there back in the Lifestream. As they kissed, Vincent melded their bodies slowly.

Tseng painted against Vincent's mouth as his entered into him. Vincent was not a small man so he was very considerate.  Once seated in Tseng, He waited for the sign to begin moving, all the while caressing and kissing Tseng.

Tseng lifted back up onto his elbows, more or less sitting in Vincent's lap, and slowly bent towards his ear and whispered to him “Teach me, you’re the older one” and bit Vincent's shoulder.

A comment like that before would have triggered Vincent in a negative way.  Now that he was no more than 3 years older than his lover, it just went straight to his dick he grabbed a handful of Tseng's hair at the base of his head and kissed him until there was no more air left in either's lungs as he began fucking himself under Tseng's skin. He literally wanted to just live and breathe Tseng.  Vincent had remembered his first true love, whatshe looked like that had came to him after he was a few years older than he was now, about 6 years or so, and brilliant Lifestream colored eyes with vertical pupils surrounded by silvery hair entered his vision.

Vincent's brow furrowed as the name of that powerful person and feeling that went with it.  The thought remained repressed the more he thought about it.  He felt Tseng scratching at his back, wailing as he took him with no mercy.

Vincent suddenly stopped and with inhuman strength he still possessed, flipped Tseng on his hands and knees, Vincent's one arm bracing Tseng while the other hand found purchase on his hip as he slammed back home with Tseng's depths driving the man over his second orgasm.

Tseng shook all over as Vincent continued onward towards his own orgasm, Tseng's penis attempting to twitch soon after with the direct stimulation to Tseng's prostate.  He was out and out crying out, head thrown back so his lips would be captured in a messy kiss.

Vincent’s rhythm began breaking with his building orgasm.  Tseng again had hardened and though he was tender, he was enjoying every moment of it. The smell of Vincent's cinnamon and cloves on his skin mingling with his own sandalwood and musk was short-circuiting him.

Vincent his peak with a shout and ground deep inside of Tseng, causing Tseng's eyes to widen and him to scream at the ceiling as his eyes rolled back and he collapsed forward.

Vincent was still inside Tseng when he faded away. Another fully realized vision came to him and he realized that to be what it was:

A tall, silvery longhaired male with vertical pupil eyes of the Lifestream next to a woman that he had known…a lover? No a friend.

Aerith. That was her name. 

The larger male smiled at the young woman and shook his head still laughing and faced forward again arms crossed an impossibly wide chest bare besides a leather trench with pauldrons, a sword harness, leather pants and knee length boots. He waved a gloved hand then turned away walking into a blinding light…

 

 

Chapter 7

Vincent jerked up to the right of an asleep Tseng.  He was wonderfully tussled and bitten upon, hair spread around him like a dark halo.

Vincent looked at the sleeping Tseng thinking about how his previous version had tried and tried to break the ice around Vincent's heart, even in the Lifestream.   He had remembered more about how jaded he had been about. . .

Again, Vincent grabbed the sides of his head the rest of his previously sad tale unwound in his mind, right up to his choice to have taken his abnormally long and sad life. 

No wonder Tseng had never talked to him about the subject and what he knew now was his true friends had been so hurt; he had not even tried to let them help him through it all.  Then there was that man from his dream.   He knew now that had been his lost and damaged son, set free by death much like him.

Vincent quickly covered his mouth with one of his hands as he threatened to cry audibly in despair on the heels of discovering his love of Tseng.

Tseng felt more than heard the vibrations of Vincent's crying to himself next to him, causing him to roll over and look at the beautiful man very concerned about him being so distraught.  It too took Tseng by surprise as he remembered chipping away at Vincent's walls around his personality and how he'd found himself interested in the older man, knowing full well that Vincent was indestructible nearly so for him to be in the Lifestream, it had been by force and by Vincent's hand.  They never broached the subject even as they got closer and talked with each other. Tseng just felt like it was just a waste, thinking Vincent the most beautiful person he ever has to know that had been a challenge. He also thought about the beautiful silvery hair man again that neared a striking resemblance to Vincent Valentine and that old professor woman Lucrecia Crescent…it clicked. 

Sephiroth.

The man's name was Sephiroth Crescent-Valentine.

He had been a colleague in arms, he the Commander of the elusive TURKS, this man the General to SOLIDER and Vincent Valentine's son…turned tragic.

He had tried to end him more than in life and actually his lingering damage had ultimately caused his downfall. When the proud and just man, broken from an alien entity seized control of him to rule, struck him down with his 7ft katana Masamune, from that day forward after great healing via Cures and the like, he would still be down with a cancerous tumor that would eventually take his heart. He knew it was curable but when the second coming of the non-man came in Kadaj and many more died, him helpless to do anything,  including almost losing his precious President in the process to Geostigma, it was a heavy blow. He had lived too fast on a knife's edge so when he chose not to seek treatment, he knew what he was doing. Then he was gone and so was the constant draw to lead, to be in control of things, and the knowledge you were emotionally and mentally damaged all along.  Everything was anew again, or would be should he be reborn.

Then he met Vincent. Vincent was an enigma that he felt compelled to crack.  He himself was not a talker but he knew that he would have to be because Vincent could out silence death itself. And so for what they know now to be five years, Tseng's influence poked,  prodded, and made him obvious to Vincent Valentine amongst the man's constant in-depth thought.  He knew he was much older than he looked but he was so beautiful and definitely just as broken as he was. Once Vincent was talking to him, the more things began to unfurl. They talked about everything from his service in the TURKS to their shared Wutaian customs, with Vincent being half Wutaian but very fluent in the language he would found.  They used each other as a self-help to rebuild themselves after death, speaking of all the things that had hurt them but at the time, they had never allowed to show or to feel in life. They deconstructed walls in both of them and built a trust. Tseng shared his hatred of his treatment of Aerith, how he had had actually loved her but duty ruled that out by Shinra Sr.'s reign.  Vincent lamented that he was too cowardly and mentally damaged to save Lucrecia and Sephiroth from what he knew would be the child's ruining.  They continued gaining headway in healing and began to be a true source of comfort for each other, with Vincent even seeking conversation from Tseng now, even as Aerith showed them the fallout of them being gone from their friend’s lives.  Then there was an emotion neither would admit to for fear of ultimate rejection and being in the void of loneliness again.  It was Tseng again that put himself out there,  knowing that based on Vincent's history with matters of the heart,  he'd be super guarded and neverallow himself to blurt his feelings like some teenager over his crush. He had had true heartbreak and had put his only child that he even known down not once but twice like some rabid Nibel Wolf.  So imagine his surprise as his stilled heart almost restarted on the spot as Vincent did take the first step. . . In kissing him so sensual, he had lost all motor functions other than melding his lips back to Vincent's and nothing more. He could absently feel his human hand pull him out of his jacket and his claw carefully, oh so carefully, comb through his now freed hair that he tied back.  The sheer volume of emotions broadcasting in that kiss was dizzying and they were now chest-to-chest. They only broke away after a time as their human minds provided they should need a breath though really they did not have to.  Pulling back, Tseng could see the faint tinge of blushing on Vincent's cheeks and bridge of his nose. Oh, oh the cape was gone as well. When? Vincent looked down at his hands beginning to stiffen and prepare for the worse in the silence that followed. Tseng would not allow him to close up again.  He had never talked so much in his natural life in either common or Wutaian and fought so hard for something that he wanted. Vincent made to get his cloak and get up and Tseng grabbed his hands, both of them, making the man still and look up with darkened Garnett eyes from excitement and…love, and was that hurt he saw? Tseng quickly bent forward and kissed Vincent with all the things that he was going to say and more. When they finally drew away, Tseng's eyes begged that Vincent understood what was happening, what he was conveying.  Vincent looked back at the man with adoration and simply just smiled and hugged him tightly in full accord in feelings.

Vincent Valentine's smile was a thing of beauty to behold though such a small gesture. In addition, this is how they were until being sent back to the current timeframe. The one in which Vincent was stricken with tears of memories, most likely negative.

Tseng gathered the visibly upset Vincent to him, hugged, and kissed him though his body try to protest from his first magnificent time with the man he would come to love. Vincent startled but once it registered it was Tseng, he relaxed into his embrace.

Vincent Valentine knew everything about his previous life now.   From the wayward love affair, to his would-be demise, to be experimented on by one jealous, insane suitor of his lover turned her husband.  The pregnancy that followed their tryst…Lucrecia Crescent's and his child, the failure and guilt,  the left and shackled child that remained after both natural parents were removed, something so beautiful twisted into something so horrible.   Him becoming that man he would see in that photograph weeks ago. The subsequent manhunt for his broken minded silvery haired, Lifestream colored eyed son with a dark Angel's wing…

All the battles that followed because the alien entity that held him would not stop desecrating his mind, his body and let him rest. The original villain, Hojo, reviving through technology and so much Mako in the form of Weiss…only for the climax of his victory to end…at his very tired and mutilated hands. He felt like that he was hyperventilating but suddenly he began to settle as something caused him to close his eyes and fade back to sleep. He slumped in Tseng's now worried grasp but he too calmed noticing a whisper of Aerith's shade.

Vincent woke within the familiar field of lilies that had housed Tseng and himself for the last five years and he began to worry something had happened to him and he'd left Tseng alone but Aerith came up to him to quickly assuage that fear.

She spoke to him of many things and that though Tseng and he were younger, they would age slower, not unlike how he was before.  She also stated there were some left over quirks to the Mako treatments and that he would need to be there for Tseng as he would really need help.

Vincent began to focus on what she was not saying.  She knew more than what she was giving to him. He was quickly derailed and back to thinking about Sephiroth.  He had asked to see his son if he could and Aerith simply had said with a smile “All in time”.

Vincent chose to believe that he had been reborn by her terminology. If he had thought about what she had said more heavily, he would had solved the mystery. She threw off his train of thought with a firm arm around his waist.

“You'll be great and very happy Vincent, just let it happen, okay? I gave you Tseng for a reason instead of torturing him for being a butt,” she said laughing and settling into a smile.

“Goodbye Vincent; let bygones be bygones as they can't hurt you anymore” and with that she was unlatching from him and she pushed against his chest with one finger and that familiar feeling of falling assaulted him and he woke up to stare at a dozing Tseng still propped up against the headboard,  all while holding him in his lap.

Vincent stretched lightly and Tseng was up instantly. Vincent turned and buried his head in Tseng's chest while hugging him. Vincent relayed all the information that Aerith had said.  Tseng listen carefully but obviously tensed a little.

Tseng remembered that conversation about sex with Vincent Valentine and Sephiroth's being reborn…

Surely because he was a young man, it was not possible.  He would deny Vincent nothing but…THAT.

Vincent felt Tseng tense and lifted off him with concerned eyes.

Tseng played it off, as first-time discomfort twinge to with Vincent looked sympathetic and kissed Tseng's tilak on his forehead.

Only time would tell for Tseng he mused.

They went and bathed, well more like enthusiastically rut against the shower wall.  Tseng's hair in onyx strands, sharply contrasting against Vincent's shoulder and chest as he took him with no mercy on the marble wall of the shower,  Tseng flushing and crying out loud as his abdomen tensed tighter and tighter, with his impending release as his legs crossed across Vincent's pelvis,  arms and hands holding on for dear life.

Sephiroth watched from the Lifestream from the flow itself, eyes closed, long silvery hair flowing around him freely, and as nude as the day he was born. He looked into his biological father's life and memory imprint left from his visit here. He had seen the man's childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood and camaraderie in the TURKS before the assignment to his biological mother and the evil one, Hojo.  He would saw how the man fought for him before he had even known that he was his that the experiments on him in the womb would be a death sentence for his mother and actually for his father too.

Hojo, like so many things, had snuffed out Vincent's life with a large bullet to the heart but instead of letting the man go to the Lifestream, he had tortured, experimented, and even raped the man in a form control and power trip.

Sephiroth was saddened by the way the one person who had fought so hard for his equality, had been treated.  He saw how Hojo tired of Vincent Valentine, after mutilating him and mind fucking him with creatures that had no right to be there, locked him away for some 30 years, Cloud Strife and his companions finding him in the Shinra Mansion basement.   He saw the dreams those monsters gave Vincent while locked away and he did not blame him for not coming for him one bit.

The man, coupled with the physical and mental abuse, had been barely sane, especially with the other entities pressing on his mind.  The pain of giving up his body to transform was excruciating.  It was all sad. The last thought Sephiroth saw was Vincent sitting in front of a beautiful woman encased in crystallized Mako, him with his legs pulled up and his arms around his legs, his face buried in his knees as sable hair flowed over his shoulders and back while the man cried for the two lives taken from him in this cave: his grandfather Grimoire Valentine . . .and his mother Lucrecia Crescent.

A lone tear makes a path down Sephiroth's cheek as he frowns at his father's history, understanding why he had done something so dishonorable like take his own life.   He had blamed himself for Sephiroth's creation, upbringing, and ultimately down fall.

Sephiroth knew that it was no one's fault but his own but was so relieved that he'd felt so strongly about him.

His thoughts tapped into the cool Commander Tseng Xu history.  His, much like his father's was sad, if sadder since he had been a direct proponent of his sadness.  Wutai had been in ruins in Tseng's pre-teens. His family murdered for being insurgents when in actuality they were just trying to survive which sadly they did not.  Sephiroth saw through Tseng's eyes as they killed his father and brother, beat and raped his mother and sister.  Him being so beautiful in the face and prepubescent, they too thought him a girl at aged 14. He being a natural gifted martial artist saved him from being raped and murdered as well. An unknown TURK had monitored his performance and honestly, that is what had killed him.  They take him as Sephiroth, also aged 14 years old and General of the very army leveling Tseng's life and homeland to the ground.

Tseng had all but died that same day he did not disappear and meld with the Lifestream like his massacred family.

The then commander had taken him in, Veld.

He saw as the beautiful boy turned into a beautiful man but the years passed, he was able to draw so many comparisons between him and his own personal experience with Shinra.

The title “Commander” and “General” simply meant more responsibility and definitely more guilt at the end of the day for the decisions made.

He played through the whole saga that was Jenova's insanity through Tseng's eyes as Shinra Sr. called himself “property of Shinra” that needed it to be brought down.  He could feel the emotions that swirled with that memory: anger and outrage.

Again, Sephiroth was taken aback.  Why would his victim feel this way about a statement made about him?

He shuffled through more memories and landed on the fateful one as he looking through Tseng's eyes saw himself skewer him.

Sephiroth’s response was immediate and intense. There was fear, there was insurmountable pain, and there was a very real acceptance that his one-time friend had just ended his life but it was okay, because he'd be with his family and he'd could stop wearing these heartless foreigners skin and maybe, just maybe Sephiroth would be ended as well so that he'd know none of it was true. That his father was alive and not Hojo, but just as haunted by his deeds.  That his mother had long abandoned what they were doing to him in utero and that she had tried and lost her life because of it. That this was not his fault and that there ones that believed in him even if they lay broken from a katana piercing from that said person.

The tears flowed in earnest now from Sephiroth as he floated in the Lifestream.  He still had his eyes closed as he communed with the Planet's lifeblood with its permission.

The last thought that he saw was of Tseng's memories was of him looking in the mirror, pallid and eyes sunken yet there was so much joy in those dulling brown irises.  He'd laid a hand on the fateful scar from years ago, tracing its wayward path and knowing what it hid under the surface, offering a prayer up for his once friend Sephiroth and turned away from the mirror, the image fading.

Sephiroth could not handle this amount of emotions from the men's previous lives and at some point had curled up into the fetal position, both hands covering his face as he wept openly for his father and mother.  He also did so for his victim turned comrade and friend turned casualty, Tseng, and finally again for himself for all life had done to all of them.

“Sephiroth, it is time to be born anew“Aerith’s voice had said to him calmly knowing what he'd done.

He did need to know but she felt it was like opening up a old wound much like when he'd done this and recounted back to before Zachary Fair had died…all the way to his final death and purification of Geostigma and of the pieces of himself: Kadaj, Loz, and Yazoo, or his heart, brute strength, and intellect and beauty.

Sephiroth materialized his clothing for her modest sensibilities but he was still raw emotionally.

“Sephiroth, I have disabled your Jenovian cells but you will still carry your trademark looks no matter how you are reincarnated. Male or female, it will be obviously be you,” she said sarcastically with some mirth. “Fortunately for you I do know who your parents will be.  Unlike others, from roughly your sixth month of life or so you will know who you were, you will have to just wait and grow and now pick your path as you never did before” she said as she was right before him, his head bowed low, face hidden from her.

As she laid her hands on him to send him forth, removing his clothing once more she said with a chuckle and a smile, “Thank goodness you know what you've done to your parents in the past.  Do better okay? When you’re older say 'hello' to Vincent and Tseng for me and tell them in time I will see them soon as well!” Aerith said ever cryptically as Sephiroth's head shot up and the look he gave her was one of shock, horror, and even a little fear of this small woman's sense of humor as Sephiroth fought it with all his strength he had, the pull of rebirth from the Lifestream.

 He fought long and hard but the Planet’s will was on her side and provided stronger than he provide and he lost his fight. He last trailing thought of Aerith was “She is a terror for this, they will never accept me?” as the bright light eventually consumed him and he knew no more.

 

Tseng moaned out his orgasm as it snapped,  his strength going, Vincent,  with a startled yelp, came right on the  heels of Tseng's release.  Both slid down the shower wall breathing heavily and exhausted. After recouping, the two officially bathed and went to see to their guest.

It seems they had been rather vocal and had taken their sweet time coming from their room.

Different faces blushed different shades of red at seeing the men, Yuffie's nose was bleeding copiously and Rufus swore that she would be quiet.  He knew that was her kink.  Not that both men were not beautiful and would not have been beautiful together. 

Eventually everyone had breakfast together and conversation fell back into comfort.   Even Elena was present with Shion and actually looked happier for it.

As time went along, Rufus and Reeve Tuesti talked to both men about working.  Tseng remembered all that had made him excellent martial artists was gave a position to teach just that under the guise of being the late Tseng Xu's son, a junior.  Vincent was gave a position in  something similar only with teaching gun control and aim since Vincent Valentine did and always would hold the record for sharp shooting. Only those close to them of course knew their secret.

In Wutai, the men were offer a place to present themselves for nuptials since it was right up the Empresses alley.  Therefore, in an intimate setting in the Pagoda of the Five Mighty Gods, Vincent Valentine and Tseng Xu became husband and husband in front of all of their old friends and their children feeling nothing but love and contentment.  Since transportation for their group of friends was expedient, the reception and after party was held back way at Seventh Heaven.  After all, you had Rufus’s private jet for Yuffie, Reeve Tuesti oddly, and himself that today hosted the lucky couple.  Yuffie clearly had invested in Shinra pharmaceuticals for motion sickness and airsickness because she had none.  Coming up last be not least was the Sierra with the rest of the gang Cid of course with Shera, Cloud, Reno, Tifa, Rude, Elena, Shion, Shelke, and Barrett and Denzel and Marlene.  Assistants in Wutai were keeping the children, as they often were if there was a business trip or the like.

 

 

They were gave a condominium similar to Tseng's previous one in Edge. Their personal belongings from their previous lives and homes inculcated into the new home together.   Four months into Tseng's new position at the WRO while teaching Aikido, he fainted flat with no warning. He had been on edge all day but no one really could tell, as Tseng and Vincent naturally were as expressive as a painted mask.  He had been sweating more than the exertion called for but all figured he had maybe was a little under the weather and of course would not make a fuss.  His students had went to get help and he took to the medical bay at the WRO and his now husband, Vincent Valentine, notified immediately.

Vincent had been on the shooting range with his students when he had received a call on his PHS from the WRO laboratory, confusing the ex-TURK. Tseng was took there and test revealed some…strange findings.

Vincent worried about those findings. His mind was firing off all reasons; none very positive and it scared Vincent within an inch of his life.

 

***Three months prior***

One cell became two. Two quickly into three, four and quickly separating and multiplying at a frightening speed. Before long, a tightly controlled cluster of cells attached to what would be its life source for an unknown amount of time. Those controlled cells changed quickly, faster than any other of its kind taking on what its prime directive was to be moving forward. Those cells took on familiar features all the while it gently siphoned off its host.  The growth was aggressive, making it much larger, much more advanced, which was to be expected, based on what it was made of.  The Goddess initially abhorred it but learned to tolerate and love it, and science made it possible in this instance.  It kept on continuing to grow, more and more definitive features coming in and on the fourth month, second week of its existence, it wanted to make its presence known. From the time nerves connected here and there and senses were tied into its development, it knew exactly what it was doing. When its host jolted about too much for its taste, nausea was the key to slow that down. Now that there was constant moving as it tried to reach it's main objective, it was time to make itself obvious.

The growth, or rather the child, that had been growing in Tseng since the night he'd given his body freely and many times thereafter was irritated with the amount of activity its host did and with one great energy pull on purpose, Tseng was out.

***Present Time***

“Thank you for coming so quickly” the assistant said.

“Not that I would not have, where is Tseng?” Vincent asked a bit abrupt, but not meaning to be. He was just worried.

“I am taking you to him and the doctor that checked him out. You may want to sit down as he speaks with you,” the assistant says with a soft, sympathetic smile that had Vincent almost stopping in his stride, his mind going into overdrive.  How dare the man smile at him if Tseng was indeed sick or hurt?  He would swipe that sympathetic smile right off his face, with his bullet, from his gun.

The assistant saw the darkness as it entered into Vincent's eyes quickly went to explain as that shiver down his back was NOT from a cold draft coming through.

“Ah! Vincent its good to see you again!” the doctor interjected saving the bumbling assistant as Vincent's red and glaring eyes were still locked on him but slowly turned towards the older doctor who had just joined them.

The doctor had been taking care of Vincent and Tseng for and concerns they had since he knew their true history.  He had known each man in his lives before. In fact, he had been Vincent's true age in his first life. . .

Tseng's eyes moved back and forth lightening quick under his lids. He stood in a field of Aerith's flowers, perceiving that the flower girl came to speak with him.  What surprised him was who had actually shown up.  It was no other than Sephiroth himself.

At first glance, Tseng filled with fear and confusion but noted that the man stood in the flowers across from him and had lifted both his hands palm out up in a sign of peace. They stood for a moment before Sephiroth actually spoke.

“I don't have a lot of time nor energy but I thought that I should prepare you for what is to become on the horizon.  I would want that because it is atypical what you will be experiencing,” he said lowering his arms.

Tseng was more on alert at this point, the words seeming to trigger him, no place him at ease for the appearance of Sephiroth.

Sephiroth saw his body language and huffed, crossing his arms over his chest and rolling his eyes at Tseng's behavior.  Yes, they had history but was without Masamune and well… sane?

“Look. You’re your married to my biological father, yes?” Sephiroth began as if speaking to a slow child.

“I am but what does that have to do with this impromptu appearance General? “ Tseng finally spoke in return.

“You have had dalliances with a Mako treated man and continue to do so,” Sephiroth continued.

Tseng blushed a bright pink.

“Yes, that is part of loving an individual, what we do is not your or anyone's concern” Tseng stated just as coolly as Tseng of old.

“Ah that's where you are incorrect.  Do you not remember what the flower girl, Aerith, about my reincarnation? That the carrier didn't matter because I was Vincent Valentine's?” Sephiroth said with a chuckle in his voice as all color drained from Tseng's face as he remembered that conversation after the fact.

Sephiroth turned around and waved a hand in the air as he spoke before Tseng began to wake up.

Being absorbed by the bright light he said to Tseng while laughing “I guess I shall see you soon…mother” and Tseng ran after the disappearing man frantically yelling.

“That's not true!  You are just joking around! Sephiroth come back here!” and with that last desperate yell, Tseng bolted straight up from the bed looking like a wild eyed animal searching for the man he knew was not there but was now inside him.

Tseng lifted his hospital gown and with one hand traced a small domed area on his stomach that either he'd not noticed or contributed to still honing his body to what it would become with age as he'd held his baby fat longer than most. As he ran his hand long the domed skin, he cautiously prodded an area, and the response was immediate. 

Tseng felt himself kicked from the inside! He did it again and the kick pinpointed to the prod. Tseng quickly pulled his gown down quickly mumbling a string of swears in Wutaian as nausea built up from being overwhelmed. Tseng laid down, covered his face with one hand, and rubbed his stomach to calm it and the child, obviously Sephiroth, began oddly enough to soothe him, no longer making him nauseous.

 

Vincent plopped down hard on a nearby chair face comical at the news.

“He's…he's pregnant?  How is that even possible? “Vincent asked face screwed up rubbing both hands down his face.  Stupid Mako adding bits that not needed.

The doctor quickly gave him generalized information about the side effects of Mako.

Then the doctor got down to the very nitty gritty.

“He's about six months along, it is a boy and…and well there is more” the doctor said more serious.

Six months?  Tseng had been a virgin that was when he had taken him four months ago.

Vincent peeked between his fingers at the worried doctors then completely cleared his face of his hands, his face going stone still, and waiting for the other figurative shoe to drop.

“Please look at his ultrasounds,” the doctor said handing over the scans.

There was a facial profile on one, clearly defined hands and feet been captured.  The child's sex was also clearly defined as one hand complete with thumb was being sucked. The last scan is what had caught Vincent's attention besides the fact that the child was so well formed,  it looked like it was ready for birth and they'd just found out about it.

“Is that...that's a wing isn't it?” Vincent asked face in awe and confusion.  The only person who would had a wing like that, black as night, and was Sephiroth.

“That's what we believe that this is.  Furthermore, because the child was so well developed, we did an amniocentesis and compared the DNA sequence of you and Tseng to the child.  You are there, and to a small extension, so is Tseng's DNA.  Here's the deal though, we found more coding in the genes not from either of you.” The doctor said as Vincent's eyes met his.  “We found inert Jenova cells, in this infant.  We believe that this child may be one of the Commanders reincarnated as they had wings-“.

Vincent interrupted with one singular name “Sephiroth”.

The doctor slightly bristled in fear but Vincent held out a hand palm out to still him.

“Doctor.  You know exactly who I am, who Tseng is . . ., and who we were.  What you do not know is that Sephiroth was indeed my son. Someone told me that the carrier did not matter because he was my child. He had been my single strongest regret. Not getting to him and saving him from what he had to go through.  I failed his original mother and my lover, I refuse to fail my husband and my son again no matter how or what the world may think of him. Tell me, doctor have you ever had to kill your son because . . . because you failed, not once but twice? “Vincent asked the doctor as cold and calculating as his old incarnation.

The doctor took this to heart. He had remembered now what exactly had befallen Sephiroth. The boy indeed had never seen freedom. Not even death had initially been enough.

“I understand Mr. Valentine-Xu, actually more than I should. I am sorry for my initial response.  The driving force behind your son was a cruel and twisted creature. It looks like her cells are completely benign though. Shall we go and see the 'mother' then?” the doctor said with a smile knowing Tseng of old would have shot him where he stood.  Tseng of now was nothing to trifle with either.

Vincent shook his head and rose to greet the man, carrier of his son.

Tseng laid in peace as the child continued to play with the probing item from the outside, gently kicking, punching, or otherwise rubbing against the intruding appendages in his sanctum.

Tseng was of course shocked but since his life had always been…eventful, could not muster horror, confusion, or any other emotional response to that extent. 

Now if anyone had told him that he would carry a child, and not just any child,  his lost comrade and friend turned enemy and now child to bebecause he'd had did something as silly as simply communicate more than normal with a man known to be notoriously difficult and cold, get him to fall in love with him so that he'd find himself married and loved daily,  and now obviously pregnant with the man's child that he'd failed to save, well, he would have shot them.

Said man of Tseng's thoughts stepped through the door into his room looking perfectly sheepish, his messy black locks falling this way and that.

Tseng squinted his eyes and pursed his lips in mock upset.

Vincent came over, grabbed Tseng’s hands with his fingerless gloves, kissed his cheeks, and laid his head on Tseng's forehead.

Tseng's face changed to one of mischief. 

“So we are to have a small General of our own. Did you know before that before today?” Tseng asked.

Vincent looked surprised that Tseng already knew exactly what and whom he carried. Vincent gave him another grateful kiss.

“No. Initially I did not know that you were even pregnant.  The thought definitely never crossed my mind, as you and I are male.  Mako treatments are an odd thing though . . . and can give you strange gifts. How did you know that it was him?” Vincent asked Tseng with a curious and questioning look in his eyes.

“Because your son chose to come to me in my dream to prepare me for the shock of him, as I lay here presumably passed out from his body hijacking” Tseng chuckled at what he was saying.

It was so surreal.

“Ah, I saw him the old fashioned way: all over the ultrasound with his chickcabo wing of black flapping even within you.  He . . . he even sucked upon his thumb” Vincent said wistfully.

“Ah, an oral fetish, and at such a young age. Like father like son, ne?” Tseng stated as serious as he could muster but broke down chuckling only for Vincent to gather that laughter into his own heartfelt kiss.

They knew that it would be wildly unusual and immediately Rufus and Reeve was notified of the delivery and who the “bundle of joy” exactly was.

Rufus Shinra took it head on, Reeve Tuesti just a hair less controlled.  When Reeve told the rest of Avalanche, Cloud Strife flipped his lid, stating that Tseng should be man enough to 'abort that abomination’. 

What Cloud Strife got was a face full of Cerberus from a beyond livid Vincent Valentine that had gotten to Seventh Heaven with frightening speed and precision as he remained staring at Cloud with highly pissed off, internally lit up ruby eyes.  Cloud quickly recanted his statement for the sake of life and friendship because no matter how old Vincent Valentine was, he was still Vincent Valentine.  Tifa calmed down the situation and after sitting down and speaking of everything,  they then awkwardly looked over the obvious fetus Sephiroth in Tseng's womb,  pulling on his umbilical cord.

After tensions calmed, they managed actually to laugh at the sheer ridiculousness of all that had happened and was happening that is until Tifa observed about the ultrasound photos.

“There are too many limbs,” she said.

Sure enough, counting the folded wing, there were at least four unaccounted for limbs around Sephiroth.  There was no additional head or torso though so while they were very certain that there most likely was another child they could not confirm it.

They all sit in silence.

Could the man, now fetus, had a development issue that not caught by the technical staff on the ultrasound?  Had Sephiroth simply multiplied by himself and it was multiples?

They seriously wondered and Vincent set another appointment out a month from the date.

It seems during that time, Tseng more than doubled in size while waiting for the appointment to figure out what exactly he was carrying. During this period, his body had made a birthing canal of sorts naturally between the base of his scrotum and his sphincter.

His perineum had turned into a vaginal canal.

He encumbered back and forth extremely hot and tired, as it was the beginning summer months, the month of May.  Tseng cursed Vincent's eyes, beauty, and body, anything that had gotten him here. He wasn't one for foolishness and though he was the first male to take maternity leave, it had now started cropping up among SOLDIER and the TURKS because the Planet was replenishing, it didn't care where the new life came from, whether it was Elena’s and Tifa's children girl and boy born to them, or Rufus Shinra and Reeve Tuesti now expecting a child from a relationship that NO ONE had saw there, especially since Rufus was Yuffie Kisaragi. For her part, Yuffie had severe blood lose from the announcement, DID NOT break her engagement to Rufus Shinra strangely,  and stated that the world simply needed to know that , yes, the main world power had been living in a functioning threesome for quite some time.  Of course, this was met with outrage and worldwide acceptance as well too, which was all so ludicrous, Tseng found himself laughing out loud harder than he ever had. 

The child within had strangely enough calmed moving.

Tseng idly thought he heard the sound of spilling water or fluid as he sit at the table, his mind not really connecting the possible implication.  Vincent walked into the kitchen, Tseng's laughter in the air, drying his lengthening hair from an afternoon shower, his hands freezing in the motion taking in Tseng's visage.

There Tseng sat, hands on his large stomach looking like he was closer to eight or nine months along. What got his attention was the…fluid under Tseng's chair. It was tinged pinkish and quite significant.

 

“Tseng, have you spilled something?  Are you well?” Vincent asked taking cautious steps up to the man.

Tseng had turned his smiling face towards him opening his mouth to form words, and instead answered with a bit off gasp/scream, his face quickly morphing into one of pain.

Ah, yes he had spilled something, his waters.  Tseng was in labor, from laughing.

Vincent quickly grabbed his PHS and made the appropriate calls to the WRO Maternity ward and to Reeve, Cloud, Cid, and Barrett Wallace, his closest friends.  Reno and Rude were called as Tseng's comrades.

All families and friends converged into the waiting room while Vincent was rushed into the back with scrubs all the while his spouse was threatening everyone and everything equally with his gun in common and in Wutaian.  He even took a closed handed swipe at Vincent before that was aborted and angry wail was cut loose. Tifa had left Mycroft with Elena and Shion as they handled Madison, the three-month-old miniature copy of her father, her laughing and cooing at everything and everyone.

Rufus Shinra took Reeve's hand and Yuffie's in his other. He was trying to ground himself because he knew that if that was his best stoic man in there, he was terrified though Yuffie's massaging of his stomach helped.

Vincent was by Tseng's side the whole time no matter how the man wanted to kill him by word of mouth.

 

The being knew that he was being expelled from his place of solace. It was . . . an odd but good feeling.  Then again, not many could say they were aware of self from the womb. From the time he had been conceived, he had just been.  He was afraid of the outside world, how it would be all over again this time small and defenseless.  He felt his sibling move free from his back. Their conception was strange all the way around.  They were fraternal twins. They felt the pressure of the birthing muscles and Sephiroth naturally a leader followed the path to the outside light.

 

With one great push and an anguished cry, Tseng gave birth to a small son weighing no more than five pounds.  The babe was placed on the checking table.  Its little midnight wing fluttering from itself as the silvery haired, wrinkled pink baby blob more or less rooted about and grunted.

Vincent was offered the soon swaddled child and it named after whom they knew it to be Sephiroth.

Tseng soon found himself in the throes of pain trying to birth again cussing out Vincent with great malice only for the last word to hang as he pushed out the apparent last freeloader in his body on a cry.

Oh, if Sephiroth was a beautiful child, the second one was like his living negative. It too was small, a bit smaller than Sephiroth himself, and it was a boy.  Where Sephiroth had a black wing coming from the opulence skin his left shoulder, this child had a white wing on his right from his wrinkled, olive tinged skin. His little head covered in dark brown black hair.  Much like Sephiroth, this twin began to root about and squeak and the like. Once they were laid by each other, it became apparent why they had not seen the others head or torso before. The second child moved along Sephiroth's back that they overlapped with each other, even while laying on their sides.

Both twins in time opened up their eyes, Sephiroth confirming that he was indeed here with his Lifestream colored eyes with vertical pupils and the other twin finally opened up his eyes as well confirming Vincent's beautiful eyes in the child's face earning him his grandfather's name, Grimoire.

Therefore, it was. Tseng and Vincent raised Sephiroth and Grimoire Valentine-Xu to be most honorable men.   It seemed that the Planet was in forgiving mood and many that had died were found being reborn much like Sephiroth and Grimoire Valentine had been.

Rufus Shinra and Reeve Tuesti welcomed back Lazard as their firstborn son too which slightly shook Rufus realizing all that Lazard had did in his life for SOLDIER, Rufus  realized it was the best thing for his brother and there’s the best thing he could ever have offered to him from his body was his life anew. Yuffie Kisaragi finally married Rufus Shinra and they moved to Wutai to cement their forces, Reeve Tuesti still in tow.

Rude and Tifa's second child had not looked unusual based on Tifa's dark hair.   As the child's face began to take more shape, they had realized that they had been blessed with Cloud's best friend Zachary Fair in infant form. Rude raised his son, Cloud helped with his past friend, and mentor with the same skills he would instilled in the first place so many years ago.

As for Sephiroth, he was just enjoying all he had missed so many times before. He and his brother proved to be precocious even in infancy.  By his third month of life, Sephiroth was fully aware of who he was but also who he wanted to be.  He just had to grow.

He found that he loved Vincent Valentine as his father and always gave baby laughs at Tseng, his life giver, toothless mouth and all.

The true first time that Cloud, Tifa, Rufus Shinra, and Reeve Tuesti with Yuffie Kisaragi in tow came to see him, he was still attempting to waddle away from them, fearing their ire.

Two strange things happened: no one sought to take him from his parents while spewing death and anger. In addition, suddenly an obvious Zachary Fair and Lazard Deusericus joined his brother and him.

Sephiroth could only just enjoy toddlerhood and was looking forward to life ahead with his friends and his true brother. He would experience his first steps again, first words which he would be bilingual naturally because of his parents.  He would experience schooling outside of the cold walls of a lab. He would be a child, not a child forced into a man's role. First crushes, awkward growth spurts.  Learning how to drive.  Finding a loved one. These were all things that he had never experienced before.

Therefore, it was. Time as it does, passed quickly and smoothly, seeing Grimoire and Sephiroth growing into sturdy boys.  Grim took after his father in marksmanship with keen eyesight obviously inherited from Vincent and Sephiroth after his dad in the ways of an assassin.  Tseng's skills were no laughing matter and he honed Sephiroth in them well, along with Sephiroth admission of his own memories and muscle memory of the katana. Masamune apparently had been kept by Cloud Strife this whole time in memory of Sephiroth much like the Buster Sword had for Tifa's son Zach.  On Sephiroth's 18th birthday, Cloud Strife personally gave it to him. He had grown into a fine man and followed his father's footsteps at the WRO. He would found himself interested in Lazard, Rufus Shinra and Reeve Tuesti's son. His life was how it had always should have been.  Sephiroth was able to be his brother's best man at his wedding to Madison, Shion’s and Elena's daughter.

Moreover, when he himself decided to elope with Lazard against everyone's wishes, purely because they wanted to throw a wedding for them, they figured if that was the singular worst thing he had did in life, so be it because he was happy.

When Vincent and Tseng sat at home perfectly content to have empty nest syndrome while they now were approaching their 50s, they looked at their accomplishments and felt content.  No longer stuck in the shadow of their former lives that haunt them. It had started with tragedy and ended with blessings and nothing but time. They sat down on their porch swing, Tseng gently rocking a four-year-old Aerith in his lap, his first granddaughter from Grimoire and Madison.  Sephiroth could only laugh when he found himself the proud father of his previous friends Angeal and Genesis. The gifts of the Goddess indeed.

One thing was having time and being blessed.  Another was the love that Vincent Valentine and Tseng Xu had for each other.  It never moved too fast or too slow but just right.

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