Unnamed Story

BY : Roaming_Firefly
Category: Final Fantasy VII > Yaoi - Male/Male > Sephiroth/Vincent
Dragon prints: 2592
Disclaimer: see full disclaimer below

Author's Notes: Sorry for the long wait, work had been insane for the past few months. But since now that things have slowed down a bit and I seem to still have all my marbles (I think), here is the newest chapter~ ^^

Warnings: Violence, blood



Chapter 13 - Fast Cash



"I call it: The Duel and Screw." Tah'rh announced proudly.

Tseng and Fah'yn exchanged knowing, exasperated looks.

The Archdaemon sure could move fast when she had fast cash in her sights, mused Sephiroth. She somehow threw together a large spectator event, which involved advertising, ticket sales, planning for security and accommodation for the influx of thousands of visitors, utilities, condiments, equipment, staff, volunteers, etc etc., in just two day's time, and tossed her two slaves into a fully set-up, fully seated stadium, fully expecting them to...'Duel and Screw' right on the spot.

Well, almost. She did take them to the backstage first to explain what was expected of them. Though Sephiroth strongly suspected that she would have skipped this step altogether and just dropped the two hapless men straight into the arena if Tseng or Fah'yn weren't there to reminded her that perhaps the two stars of her show needed a little bit more preparation.

The former general looked over the assortment of weapons displayed before him. Dueling with Vincent wasn't something that Sephiroth entirely disagreed with. In fact, the warrior side of him was quite excited at the prospect of finally having a good fight after so long of being bound and caged. And Valentine looked to be a skilled opponent who won't disappoint. It was the second part, however...

"I won't do it." said Vincent simply, his crimson eyes flashing in a rare display of rage.

"Why not? Are you so certain that he will completely outmatch you and pound your pale ass into the ground? Pardon the pun." asked the Archdaemon slyly, "I don't think you have reason to worry so much. After all, you did quite well against him when you two were happily destroying my palace."

He and Vincent didn't really do that much damage in that...quarrel they had—a few chipped wooden furniture at most—but Sephiroth doubt that the Archdaemon will deign to hear the argument.

"But if you really don't want to do this with each other, that's fine. I guess I could get some of those lazy asses milling about in the dungeons to be your partners instead. Or maybe even some of those beasts in the back there. In fact, that might be a better idea, some of the chimeras are in heat and are a bit restless and destructive of late...and there is the certain risque, crowd-pleasing aspect of bestiali-"

"Fine." Vincent nearly spat from between his teeth, "Fine." He dramatically turned his back on the Archdaemon, seething. Sephiroth blinked, he was sure that there was a huge tattered cape that swirled and billowed around the ex-Turk at the dramatic turn, though Vincent was wearing only a simple ensemble of black buttoned shirt and black pants.

"How can you be so sure that we won't kill one another..." or someone else, thought Sephiroth to himself, "...while battling?" The...'swords'...that they were presented with were little more than heavy, toy-like cylinders with buttons on them. That is, until the buttons were pressed. Then blades of light shot out from the cylinders (which turned out to be the 'hilts' of the 'swords'), making quick work of the wood blocks they were provided with, and making strange humming noises when swung. The 'guns' that Vincent was looking over were strange and toy-like too, and they made odd 'pew pew' noises when they fired. The streaks of light that they fire out however, also prove that they were no mere toys.

"If you do manage that, then that's fine by me. One less mouth to feed."

Tseng aimed a pointed glare at his sovereign.

"...But, for now, we do need you to be in one piece to put on a good show before the other Archdaemons, so you'll each be shadowed by a referee," the Archdaemon gestured to two large spheres resting on the floor beside them. The spheres were about as wide as a person is tall. Inside they were hollow, and had room enough for one person, a comfortable-looking seat, and what looked like controls for an aircraft.

"The referees will cast a shielding spell on their respective charges. It will prevent most types of injuries from being lethal, but will not prevent the injuries themselves," explained the Archdaemon, "and if they judge it necessary, the referees can strengthen the spell into a hard shell. Has the added effect of encasing and immobilizing the person it's cast on. Quite neat, not to mention useful..."

So...that spell somehow prevents them from being able to kill each other, but not from inflicting damage upon each other? So he can go at the stubborn, thick-headed, impossible TURK without having to hold back? Sephiroth glanced at the long, thin, still-visible welts on his forearm left by a certain someone's demonic claws. He had to admit, he liked the idea.

"...And if one person is deemed in need of the hardened shield, then the other is considered the winner of the match. You're quite lucky. For your first match, you'll have Fah'yn volunteering to be one of the referees. He probably knows more about how to keep humans alive than anyone in the Circle, so it's now less likely...err...more unlikely than usual that you'll be dying here."

"Sis..." Fah'yn sighed, "this idea of yours, its..."

But Tah'rh had already turned around to the heavy curtains to peer out at the rows upon rows of spectators in their seats outside, "Isn't this awesome? Just look at this crowd! Just think of how much we'll make on concession sales alone! Maybe we'll even get some decent largesse! ...And will you look at that, we even have some angels coming down from their high-horses and sneaking in here to watch."

Fah'yn sighed again and shrugged at Sephiroth and Vincent apologetically, "I'm truly sorry about this, it's really impossible to argue with her with this much money on the line. So many people..." Fah'yn's tail tapped steadily just above the ground as he paused in thought, "if every one of them just give one Yem of largesse then..." the young man cocked his head innocently as his dark blue eyes casually glanced at the sudden twitch in his sister's pointy ears, "and if they all give two Yem then that'll be..." Tah'rh's lips began to move in silent, mumbled calculations, "Ah, but not everyone's so generous with their largesse. You'll have my full understanding and sympathies if you two plan on doing just the minimum required and getting this ridiculousness over with as quickly as possible. Being forced to do this must already be very hard on you, and demon spectators can be so very demanding with their entertainment. And considering who your master is, you two will likely never see any of the profits anyways, what incentive could you possibly have to prolong your suffering. Ah, but I have heard that last year's production of "Kingdom Hearts" went over so well with the audiences that they earned over 1000 Jin in largesse alone."

Tah'rh whipped around to face her slaves with such an intense glint in her eyes that all the men in the room involuntarily took a step back, "You two, if you put on a good show and earn me some good largesse, then I might become so busy rolling in money that I'll forget to station guards around the Central Library, especially around the 6th floor, where Aether Current charts and Axis maps and other important documents are kept."

"Tah'rh!" protested Tseng, his eyes wide. Tah'rh promptly stuck a report in front of his face.

"If you can think of another way to make this kind of money in just one day, I'd love to hear it."

"This..." Tseng stared at the report, "if we can make...then we can start on the re-construction of the harbour right away..."

Vincent cast a long look at the serenely standing Fah'yn, then narrowed his crimson eyes at the excited Archdaemon, "...You will keep your word?"

"Of course," Tah'rh pushed her fists into her hips, striking a pose that once again resembled one of Yuffie's, and spoke in a tone that was a clear parody of Tseng's, "An Archdaemon's words are never spoken in jest."

One of Tseng's brows twitched from behind the report, the veins about his temples seeming to enlarge somewhat. Fah'yn coughed in a poor attempt to hide his amusement and then quickly found something very interesting to look at in the opposite direction of Tseng's vicious glare.

"And what exactly will you consider a 'good' largesse?" asked Sephiroth slowly.

"The equivalent of 5 Yem from every spectator in the stadium. You'll have to take my word that it's not an impossible sum." replied Tah'rh, and neither Fah'yn nor Tseng voiced any protest, "So, do we have an understanding?"

Vincent and Sephiroth glanced at each other more than a little uncomfortably, then gingerly...VERY gingerly...nodded. They'll be forced into this whether they like it or not, bargain or no. Whatever games the demons played, they will have to play along, for now.

"Great!" said Tah'rh as she peeked out one more time from the curtains, "The audience look like they're all settled too! Tseng, how are things going on Reno's end?"

"Reno reports that all outside traffic have settled and the premises are secure," said Tseng, PHS in hand, "shall we head to the box seats, Archdaemon?"

Tah'rh tossed a snort at her First Councilor at the small revenge, then turned to her slaves.

"May the Force be with you." Tah'rh waved at the two men with a wide, sly grin, then turned and followed Tseng out to the stairway.

...

Sephiroth watched in fascination as Fah'yn and the other referee cast the shielding spell upon their respective charges. Apparently the spell was quite complex by the amount of concentration it required from its caster, though the casting itself looked pretty simple. The silver haired young man's lips moved in a whispered incantation in time with his index finger as he traced an abstract pattern onto Vincent's chest. The touch from the referees' fingers were light and emotionless, strictly for the purpose of spell-casting. Still, a subtle air of tension settled over the ex-Turk at the contact—a tension that Sephiroth knew all too well. The former general doubted that either referee noticed though, so deep were they in concentration.

By Gaia, if it was this bad just with this simple, superficial touch, how were they supposed to carry out the level of intimacy that the Archdaemon demanded of them later on? Sephiroth's brows furrowed uneasily. Mako green eyes glanced over at the ex-Turk. Well, he will just have to make sure that the winner of this match will be none other than himself, the former general decided. Loosing, and having to lie still and allow someone else to touch him how ever they wished...it was unthinkable.

A strand of light followed in the referees' index fingers' wake. Once completed, the abstract pattern brightened momentarily, then settled to a dim, unobtrusive glow over the two fighters' hearts. Sephiroth felt a slight hum of power hovering over every inch of his skin, feeling very much like the faintest of breezes wafting over him and all around him. Fah'yn smiled at the two fighters reassuringly, then donned one of the large helmets that the other referee had already had over his head. The helmets looked a lot like the ones that ShinRa infantrymen wore. Sephiroth had always disliked those helmets, finding them to be large and cumbersome, and they covered too much of the wearer's face. It was almost an open invitation for ShinRa's enemies to disguise themselves under one of those helmets and infiltrate ShinRa's defenses. But the referees' helmets seemed to serve a viable function. When the referees entered the large spheres and powered them up, the spheres' surfaces wavered and disappeared from sight. Sephiroth guessed that this served the dual purpose of avoiding blocking the spectator's views, and preventing retaliation and escape from the combatants the referees watched over. The helmets must have allowed the referees to see each other's spheres while they remained invisible to everyone else.

Before the spheres fully disappeared however, pale blue lights shot out from them and formed into the shape of a cage around each fighter. The spheres then floated into the air and carried their charges through the large curtains, into the large open stadium.

The crowd roared in excitement and then chittered in appreciation as Vincent and Sephiroth were brought out. The spheres hovered around for a bit as if picking a good spot to drop their charges, and then they did exactly that. The pale blue cages suddenly disappeared, and their prisoners unceremoniously dropped into the arena below.

Both Vincent and Sephiroth landed gracefully onto the dirt ground, their backs to each other. Vincent wasted no time in whirling around, guns blazing from both hands as he fired in rapid succession, straight at the most vulnerable areas of the silver general's body. Sephiroth didn't miss a beat either. He too quickly turned around and blocked all of Vincent's shots with his blade of light. The 'bullets' of light hit the 'blade' hard and disintegrated into showers of sparks. The force of the impacts sent strong vibrations through the swordsman's arms and wrists. Vincent kept up his assault mercilessly, and the blade of light danced before the former general, blocking shot after shot.

Blocking the shots was taking more energy out of the former general than the ex-Turk firing the shots, and Sephiroth knew it wasn't wise to stay on the defensive like this. He tried evading Vincent's shots by swiftly dashing to the sides, but the agile gunman matched him step by step, not for a moment relinquishing his control over the spacing between them.

Breaking the ex-Turk's assault would require some careful maneuvering. Having an actual metal blade would be easier for what Sephiroth had in mind, but as luck would have it, the 'hilt' of the odd light-sword had a decent sized piece of metal on it. Carefully moving into position while blocking Vincent's shots, Sephiroth hissed quietly as several 'bullets' grazed his skin. But he had succeeded in getting both of them in the right place without Vincent noticing his plans. The former general blocked another one of Vincent's shots, reversed his blade and brought it up in impossible speed, angling the hilt so that the sun reflected off the metal piece and shone straight into the ex-Turk's crimson eyes. Vincent blinked and flinched in reflex, but recovered much quicker than the former general would have liked. The ex-Turk's guns stayed up, muzzles still aimed at their target, and only a slight pause interrupted their insistent barrage. Sephiroth knew better than to try to move away. Any sound he made would have had the temporarily blinded but far from disabled ex-Turk instantly honing in on his position. But the slight pause in Vincent's attacks gave the swordsman just enough time to adjust his swings to do more than defend. An arc of compressed air soared towards the ex-Turk and met the on coming 'bullets' head-on. Both forces disintegrated on impact, creating a mini-explosion of light and sound.

Vincent blinked as the dots in his vision cleared, all his senses sharp and alert as he scanned his surroundings, expecting the former general to use the cover of the mini-explosion to sneak up on him. But Sephiroth never moved. Instead he used the precious time bought to him to cast his signature Shadow Flare. Four spheres of dark energy materialized around Vincent, then converged on their target like hellhounds rushing to their prey. But they were too slow; Vincent easily dodged them by leaping into the air.

Sephiroth had expected as much; he was not planning on catching the nimble gunman with Shadow Flare. It was just a diversion to buy him time as he dashed towards his opponent. Seeing the ex-Turk leap into the air, the swordsman kicked his powerful legs into the ground and launched himself at his free-falling opponent, his blade poised to make a full, lethal swing. Twin guns however, instantly trained onto the swordsman even as both their wielder and their target travelled through the air, and bullets of light unerringly sped towards Sephiroth's heart.

Sephiroth always had been impressed with this ability of Vincent's to shoot down his targets even in the middle of leaps and somersaults—had always found the ex-Turk beautiful when he watched him sail through the air like a black-and-crimson spectre, raining death upon his opponents with the accuracy of a true grim reaper. But that did not mean being on the receiving end of it was fun. Sephiroth was forced to adjust his swing to a less powerful one in order to be fast enough to block the on-coming bullets, and he did not get nearly as close to the gunman as he wanted. But the time and opening he had earned for himself was good enough. Subsequent arcs of compressed air had the power to not only block Vincent's 'bullets', but to also continue onwards towards the ex-Turk. Vincent deftly dodged the arcs of compressed air and shot at the former general whenever he had the chance, but he was now clearly on the defensive. Sephiroth, now no longer hindered by an unending barrage of bullets, aggressively pressed forward in a bid to close the distance between him and the gunman. The former general knew that although his arcs of compressed air could reach opponents at a distance, they rapidly loose speed and power the further they traveled from their origin. Trying to best the ex-Turk in a contest of attack range would be a foolish effort. If he were able to close the distance between the two of them however, then the match would be his.

Vincent swiftly leapt backwards away from Sephiroth. The open, flat terrain truly wasn't favourable for the ex-Turk against the ex-SOLDIER. The silver general also had the advantage in stamina. Even if Vincent managed to evade Sephiroth all the while and lead him on a chase around the arena, it was likely that he would tire sooner than Sephiroth. His best chance in winning this fight lie with his ability to end it quickly. If he had some materia, then it might have been easier. His natural talent for magic had always been as important a part of his arsenal as his skill with guns, and that talent has only grown with his forced joining with the demons. But without materia, any magic will have to come from his transformations. But which one? Defeating Sephiroth was difficult, but defeating the Archdaemon and escaping from Hell was much, much harder. The only card he had to play against the powerful Archdaemon and the demons of her Circle was the element of surprise. The ex-Turk had long decided that he will not let out his most powerful demon, Chaos, unless either it was absolutely necessary, or when it came time to make his escape. He would rather not reveal Hellmasker either—the demon's potent curses will be invaluable against foes that would otherwise be impossible to defeat. That left Galian Beast and Death Gigas.

Death Gigas had stronger attacks, but was a bit slow...physically and otherwise... If the slow-moving demon was able to land a hit on Sephiroth, then the injury it caused might slow down the swordsman enough to give Death Gigas a chance to win the fight. But on the flip side, Death Gigas might not be fast enough to avoid Sephiroth's attacks. When the former general was under Jenova's control he could perform powerful magic attacks without needing to use materia, and judging by the Shadow Flare, Sephiroth had not lost the ability. And compared to Vincent himself and all his other demons, Death Gigas' defense against magic attacks was abysmal.

Galian Beast's attacks were less powerful, but the demon was fast and tough and had good defenses for both physical and magical attacks. However, Sephiroth might be able to better predict Galian's attack patterns since they had fought alongside each other when they first arrived in Hell. And the animal-like demon wasn't particularly cunning either...

Vincent gritted his teeth. Either choice would be a risk, and he really, really did not like the consequences of loosing this fight. But—crimson eyes darted towards the Archdaemon's box seat—he knew well the implications of being owned, of being completely under the power and whim of another, and this 'Duel and Screw' was NOT the worst that could possibly be forced upon him. Vincent took a silent breath. He had made his decision. Now, he just had to find a way to distract Sephiroth long enough for him to go through his transformation.

The lack of concealment from his usual crimson cloak or the specially tailored Turk uniform was yet another hindrance. If he had known that the Archdaemon was going to spring this on them, then he would have at least worn a long coat—Hell's summer heat be damned (though Sephiroth somehow still managed to be comfortable in his ever-present trench coat). But Vincent had never been foolish enough to allow himself to become wholly dependent on these things. The ex-Turk allowed one of Sephiroth's attacks to graze him and made it look as if it forced him into a roll. Discreetly turning his body slightly away from Sephiroth to hide his left hand, he reached into his holster and switched his handgun for another that he equipped. This one was heavier and slower than the guns he's been using up to this point, but it had the power that Vincent needed. When he came back up from his roll, the gun in his left hand was charged and ready, and aimed at the next coming arc.

A large bolt of light shot out and crashed into the wave of compressed air with a resounding boom. Sephiroth was forced to shield his eyes from the resulting flash of light and dust. The next thing he knew, large balls of flame came flying at him from behind the shimmering air and residue sparks. He barely dodged in time. The fireballs barreled into the walls behind him, singeing the edges of his black trench coat and billowing his silver hair wildly about him. A few of the fireballs flew into the audience, and shimmering magical shields of various shapes and sizes promptly went up. The walls around the arena were high enough, but the audience were unshielded and susceptible to stray bullets and other projectile attacks. Sephiroth had wondered about it, but it appeared that stray projectile attacks were also part of the entertainment. The audience cheered quite excitedly whenever a bullet or fireball or arc of compressed air came flying out. Sephiroth even caught from the corner of his eye, one of the demons showing off a hole on his arm from one of Vincent's stray 'bullets' to his neighbours.

But there was no time to muse on these things; Galian Beast's fireballs were pursuing the former general relentlessly. Ignoring singeing clothes and hair and the waves of heat and dust that assaulted him, Sephiroth narrowly dodge the first three fireballs, then was forced to roll to avoid the fourth. Coming up from his roll, he found himself cornered to the arena wall. An idea suddenly came to him. He swung his blade in a rapid succession of quick shallow strikes, and sent several small arcs of compressed air into the next coming wave of fireballs, making them fan out then roll inwards onto themselves. He then leapt backwards, bounced his momentum off of the arena wall, and sent himself flying over the screen of churning flame, sweeping his blade downwards as he landed almost right on top of Galian Beast. The beast's speed was also impressive; he easily leapt away from Sephiroth's attack. Seeing that the former general seemed to have over-rotated himself, exposing his back and vulnerable neck, the beast instinctively went in for the kill with bared teeth and savage claws.

Sephiroth however, was counting on just that: Vincent might have been able to see through his ploy—or at the very least, known better than to give up his advantage in attack range and foolishly engage the master swordsman in close combat—but it was clear that whenever the gunman transformed, it was not his mind, but a more feral, instinct-driven mind that controlled his actions. The former general aimed a hard slash at the ground, sending sand and grit spraying into Galian Beast's face. It worked just as he had hoped; the beast staggered backwards and was forced to turn his head and blink away the sand. Sephiroth used the opportunity to close in on the beast with a quick dash, then, planting his feet firmly into the ground, twisted his powerful torso to deal a brutal slash into the beast's vulnerable flank. Galian Beast roared in pain as his great form was sent flying into the air. Sephiroth jumped and followed him and mercilessly cut into the demon with a rapid succession of eight powerful slashes, then finished with a forward slash that sent the purple-black form flying across the arena and into the arena wall. The arena wall behind the beast crumbled onto the already bleeding body. With a feral roar and a valiant struggle, the great beast threw the broken remains of the wall off of his back, staggered a few steps towards the silver general, golden eyes savage with surprise and pain, before finally collapsing face-first onto the ground. Red light flashed around him, and soon it was once again the slender ex-Turk who lay unmoving among the swirling dust.

Sephiroth's brows furrowed. He hasn't been announced the winner yet. Was there something more he was supposed to do? He approached Vincent carefully. The ex-Turk was ominously still—he didn't even seem to be breathing. An uneasy feeling settled in Sephiroth's gut as he leaned over the pale gunman. Had the referee or the shielding spell failed? Was Vincent...

Without warning, demonic claws suddenly flashed into his vision. Sephiroth was barely able to dodge the surprise attack. Blood dripped from deep gashes across his jawbone. If his reflexes had been any less than what they were, then Sephiroth would have been missing half of his face right now. The former general almost smirked. He should have known that the stubborn ex-Turk wouldn't go down that easily.

Undeterred by the failed surprise attack, Vincent quickly rolled over and took out his gun with his right hand. But he was weakened by his injuries and was at a disadvantage against Sephiroth at close range. The shot went off but he was not fast enough. The bullet only grazed the silver tresses by Sephiroth's ear as his hand was caught by the former general, and soon he was forced onto his stomach with his right arm twisted against his back.

Straddling the pale ex-Turk, Sephiroth forced the gun from Vincent's grip and pressed its muzzle into the back of Vincent's skull. The shielding spell around the gunman flared to life and a gong-like sound rang through the arena from the tall tower that stood beside the Archdaemon's box seat. Sephiroth looked down at the slender man under him as healing spells washed over the both of them. Their weapons of light seemed to have been deactivated too, and were now silent and useless. The ex-Turk stayed still where he was. They both knew who had been announced the winner of the match. And now...the hard part.

 



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