Vincent Valentine x Reader
“Are you ready, _______?”
“Ready!” You tightened the grip around your Katana's hilt and charged toward Zack, while he started blocking your attacks using his Buster sword. You wouldn't save any effort in order to defeat this 1st class SOLDIER. “Take this!” You whipped your sword and threw some more strong blows at him; a smile crossed your lips upon seeing Zack retreating few steps backwards, but still, his large Buster sword was always in the way, giving him a greater possibility in winning this duel.
“Aren’t ya gonna give up yet?!” He asked.
You answered with a smirk: “In your dreams, Zack!” You kept hitting his sword with all your force, but now with a higher speed. “_______!” He exclaimed, while his eyes were widening with surprise, trying harder to avoid your attacks.
“Come on, Zack! Show me what you’ve got!” You said.
“You don’t wish to see the best of me! I’m telling ya!”
“I thought a SOLDIER is much stronger than this.” You said, sarcastically.
“I’m just… playing it easy with you. I don’t wanna hurt you or anything… you know, with my outstandingly unbeatable strength.” He answered with a wide grin traced on his face.
You arched an eyebrow in denial, doubting his overdone self-confidence, while you resumed your attack.
“Alright, alright! Easy!” He said, but with no response from your part. “Really, _______! Stop!”
You brought your attack to a halt. “What?! You’re givin’ up?!” You said, placing a hand over your hip, and shifting your body to one side. “Let… me… first… take… a… breath. Ah! Girl, you’re good!” He said, waving with his hand a sign for you to hold on. You lowered your sword and allowed yourself a resting mode, while waiting for that spiky-haired man to catch his breath.
Suddenly, a mischievous smirk arose over his lips, and before you were able to notice his fast movements, he brandished his sword and struck yours so robustly, and so quickly, that your Katana slipped from your hold, flipped twice in the air and fell to the floor; The next thing you knew was that you were standing there in awe, unarmed, in front of a 1st class SOLDIER!
“Gotcha!” He said, smirking devilishly.
“Not fair! You’re cheating, Zack!” You protested, pouting disapprovingly.
“Na-ah. Not really.” He continued, still grinning. “Fair is my last name… literally. So yeah, this is so fair. Besides, in fighting, anything can happen.”
“Yeah?! Well, this isn’t called fighting. We’re just practicing.”
“You call this ‘Practicing’?! You almost killed me there!” He said.
“That’s because I had a very good teacher.” You crossed your arms in front of your chest and arched an eyebrow.
“Aww! I’m blushing!” He said, scratching the back of his spiky head. “So, you think I’m a good teacher, huh?”
“Emm… yeah… but not the best.”
“Hey! That’s mean!” He exclaimed, and you couldn't keep yourself from chuckling. “But, seriously now… thank you Zack for teaching me.” You said, almost blushing.
“No problem at all.”
It was almost midnight, but the sleep had fled out from your eyes. You were sitting over the bed, taking the pillow in your arms and clasping it tightly, while you were looking somewhere in the dark ambiance of your room. You were recalling every single moment you have spent with Zack; you sure enjoyed being with him, that's exactly why you've asked him to be your instructor. You still remembered the first time you asked him to teach you the art of fighting. And why was that? Was it because you always wanted to become stronger, and you found those fighting lessons capable of enabling you to assure your own safety? Yes, that's one of the reasons. But then, why Zack in particular? Is it because you've always been stunned by his incredible ability in fighting and inspired by his merit to enter the top SOLDIER rows, a level that was impossible to be reached by someone of his age? That can be true as well.
However, the main reason never faded from your mind; you actually liked spending time with this special friend of yours, so you offered this "need of a tutor" as a pretext in order to remain close to him. Why, the thing you liked the most about him was… him. Yes, you liked him. How could you not like someone like Zack? He's a good looking young man, with his black spiky hair and dreamy blue eyes... he's funny, playful, brave and strong. But most of all, for you, he was one of a kind. He has absolutely everything a girl like you would wish for. Yet, despite of the mutual friendship that grew between the two of you, you never had the guts to tell him about the way you feel. 'Why is it so hard? Why can't I simply tell him? Why do I get so nervous and lost for words whenever I happen to be with him?'
It's so frustrating; it was true that your fighting techniques and your ability to use the Katana have improved since first you've started working with Zack, but that same fear and lack of self-confidence never quit engrossing your mind. How come something so simple, like confessing your feelings to Zack, has proven itself more than enough to leave you so confounded?! 'Hey Zack... I like you.' How hard could it be?! You shouldn't simply surrender to the oppression of your cowardice-inspiring emotions. You had to get over this and collect everything you've got of courage in order to admit your love to him, or else Zack will never be yours!
'I cannot do this on my own!' Again, the same old fears. However, Zack must know. You cannot keep quiet about all these raging feelings within you, so somebody has to know about this, anybody! 'How about Aerith?! She's my best friend and she's a very good listener as well; she'd be of a great help to me; I know she would. She sure knows what to do.'
‘_______, I’ll always be by your side, and I will never ever leave you alone. I promise.’ These words that Aerith kept saying to you have always been encouraging and uplifting. They were always like sweet music to the ear. ‘Whatever problem you might have, I’ll be more than willing to help you get through it. This is my word for you, _______.’ Not forgetting to mention her beautiful serene smile that no one can display but her; it was more than capable of making the two of you become best friends, more, sisters so to say.
After finishing your part-time job in a quite late hour of that afternoon, you got on your motorcycle and strolled around the crowded streets of the city. Meanwhile, you were trying to put your thoughts together and think of the best way in which you’d tell Aerith about your crush. This can't wait much longer. After driving for few minutes across the jammed city, you arrived to the old archaic church where Aerith was found most of the time.
You parked your motorcycle somewhere around the block and started walking until reaching the large gate of the church. However, before being able to proceed further through the entrance, you heard a familiar voice - not Aerith's though - coming from inside the great building; a man’s voice, to be exact. Well, due to the vastness of the church’s structure and the altitude of its ceiling, that voice was able to echo against the elevated walls, so it became quite easy for you to hear it. You decided to take a sneaky look to see who's that talking with Aerith, so you hid yourself behind the great door of the entrance and you carefully craned your head to examine what was happening in there; it would have been better though, even the best, if you hadn't done so.
You recognized that tall stature with the typical black spiky hair; it was Zack! 'What is he doing here? He said he's going to be too busy, so practicing will be postponed for today. Why would he be here then, with Aerith?!'
Then, you heard the young woman’s voice speaking: “Zack… I’m so tired. I feel so… lonely. I can’t bear this feeling any longer.”
“Aerith… you know I’m always with you. Look, there’s no need for you to be afraid. I will never give up on you. You’ll forever be here, in my heart.” He responded, placing his right hand over his chest. You watched as Aerith took slow steps toward Zack and folded her arms around his waist. She clanged to him, while he, in return, held her close to his chest. “Oh, Zack… thank you.” She said softly.
You started feeling the blazing fire burning in your veins. You long knew that Zack and Aerith have always been very good friends, but you never had the slightest idea that they could be this close to each other; well, for someone who doesn't know them very well, and upon watching them hugging and all, he/she'd say that those two form a nice couple. But you were pretty much certain that they were just friends; unfortunately, the opposite fact was about to be manifested right before your eyes. The actions you were witnessing at that moment were sufficient to prove you wrong about that 'special' relationship that joined your two best and only friends.
She looked upwards into his eyes and, with her silky fingers, she started caressing his cheeks that were turning torridly red. He pulled her closer until her body was firmly pinned to his; she stood on her toes trying to reach his height and she let her lips interlock with his. 'Wha-?! What is happening?!' To your surprise, Zack never backed off. Instead, he gave himself into Aerith's hold and replied to her kiss with another. 'How did they-...?! Since when have they-...?!' You were completely shocked; you couldn't believe what you'd just seen, although it was impossible to disprove the witness of your own eyes. The man you love with your very best friend! How much worse could it turn to be?!
Without you noticing, hot tears started falling down your cheeks, blurring the scene that you've wished you never saw. 'Why?!'
You walked backwards slowly with unsure steps, and eyes drowned in shock, blinded, not by the burning tears you were shedding, but by the bitter reality that has stabbed you in your very heart and left you thunderstruck; if only I was blinded before I could see them together.
You turned away and started running to where you've parked your motorcycle, while the light drops of tears are thinly dispersing in the air. You rode your bike and drove away from the old structure of the church, hoping that the farther you broke away, the less it'd hurt. You aimlessly drove across the city, though no clear destination in mind, for you were still unable to divert your focus from the thrusting pain that was stiffly ripping your heart apart.
You unconsciously took the coast road and you drove alongside the rocky shore. Was it because of that place being your sanctuary for whenever you felt the need of crying your heart out? The yellow disc of the sun was not far from becoming moistened by the cold and wet horizon, yet the beautiful warm colors that usually embellish the sky at that hour of the day have turned to become dark and gloomy after the thick black clouds had spread their wings across the angry sky.
You parked your motorcycle, dismounted it and walked with slow steps closer to the cold water. You stood over the rocks that were continuously throbbed by the vigorous waves, and you felt the fresh ocean spray being blown at your face, exerting some cooling effects over your warm skin that has kept so many burning tears inside; Oh, how much you needed a friend right now but, alas, there was no one there but the blowing wind, the surging ocean and the almost crying sky. You reached for your eyes with your hands and you wiped your tears that have never stopped falling. 'Why did this happen to me?! Why Zack?! Why… her?'
You never could imagine that the strong friendship that had joined Zack and Aerith together could develop into a bond of mutual love. But, Aerith?! Your most trusted friend?! Okay, she's lovely, beautiful and has an attractive friendly spirit... well, true. So, is this why? Did Zack find in her something that was not found in you? Something you lacked in particular?
You were sure though that you had one special thing that no one else had, not even the pretty and beautiful Aerith - one single thing that no one could possess, no one but you: 'I love Zack. Aerith doesn't love him as much as I do... she can't! I... I love him the most!' You burst out crying and sobbing so bitterly. You embedded your face into your hands and gave free rein to your silent sobs.
O, you have never felt such a pressing need for a true friend who would, at least, listen to your cries, someone who would catch your tears before being shed; someone who cared.
"Are you alright?" a dim voice spoke to you from behind, causing you to be startled. You turned round and found a man standing there, dressed in clothes made of black leather with a red cloak around his neck and shoulders, and he was fixing his deep crimson eyes on you. His appearance and his sharp looks could scare anybody, anywhere... nevertheless, his looks were not of something new to you; you've met these distinct features before, many times as well. But still, his presence there made you freeze in shock, not expecting to see him there. It took you a while before you were able to utter: "Vincent Valentine?!"
"Did I frighten you? I apologize then." He said.
"No... I'm fine, I guess." You answered.
"Is there something going wrong?" He asked again. He could tell that something was absolutely bothering you upon noticing the tears that were falling from your eyes. You quickly turned your face away from him, not wishing him to see your misty eyes, but it was a little bit too late. "I'm... I'm fine." you sniffled. "What are you doing here anyways?"
"I was walking by when I happened to see you standing here… alone." He said. "So I wanted to make sure you're..."
"I said I'm fine! I'm totally okay. You can go now." You said in a fairly bold tone that was supposed to make you look strong, but it failed at neglecting the obvious tremor that has overwhelmed your throat.
"I just... I wish I can do anything to help you." He said in his usual monotone voice.
"There's nothing you can do to help me. Just, leave me alone." You said, still looking away, refusing to meet his eyes.
"Let me try to-..."
"No! I don't need your help!" You yelled, now looking at him with eyes filled with heavy tears. "Why do you care anyways?!"
"Because, we're friends; and I can't watch my friend suffer while I'm standing arms crossed."
"Friends?!" You exclaimed, releasing a nervous chuckle, a belligerent chuckle so to say, one that was not meant to come out of joy. "You think we're friends?! We barely know each other, Valentine! Do you think that the few times we've met at Tifa's, are enough to make ‘friends’ out of us?!"
"They were not few..."
"Whatever! But we're not friends!" You snapped back. That was, so far, the truth. It was true that whenever you happened to hang out with the friends, particularly at Tifa's bar, he was always present. As time passed by, you were able to get to know each one of the group, but for you, Vincent was always a red line that you wouldn't cross. You never wished to even converse with him, not even for a concise moment. Why? Perhaps, it was the way he looked that has fed this sort of “aversion” in you. Truth must be told; he always kept himself distant from others – for unknown personal reasons, you thought – and he barely even spoke to anyone, occasionally that is, only when Yuffie nagged him with her unending whines. He clearly was not the kind of people that you could feel relatively comfortable with. It was not hatred of course, but that didn't mean that you liked him. The general idea of him being around made you feel so nervous - rather scared - knowing though that he had never gotten closer to you; he never bothered you either, never even tried to. Unlike Zack, who had always appealed to you, thanks to his charismatic nature, Vincent's quiet and taciturn character has moved you to build invulnerable walls between the two of you in order to keep him away, that’s in case he ever tried to get closer to you. You never meant to make that gap grow wider, but you were afraid -that is, still afraid - that someone could break into your life and somehow hurt you in a way or another. It was not about Vincent though; in general, you found it hard to trust the people around you. You've trusted in some, mainly Zack and Aerith... but look! This what trusting others can do; it makes you doubt everybody, even yourself. Now, Vincent was no difference: you shall not trust him. "Not even my closest friends could understand what I've been through." You hissed.
"I may not know everything about you," he said, but instead of becoming agitated as you were when you were speaking, he managed to keep his voice monotonous, "but I know you better than anyone else."
"Yeah, right!" You said, cynically, and you turned your face away from him, clearly annoyed. "Alright! Start bragging! What do you know?"
"You like Zack Fair." He finally spoke. The blood in your veins suddenly froze upon hearing his words and you looked back at him with an extreme shock in your eyes, for you haven't expected him - or anyone - to be aware of this very matter. "Wh- who... who told you?!" You asked.
"I'm not sure whether you have told anyone about this or not... but I assure you, I have heard it from no one; I just know it." He answered.
"Right.” You paused for few seconds, not diverting your eyes from looking at his pale figure. “Then... how did you know about this?"
"I figured it out." He replied.
"What do you mean?" You asked, irritation apparent in your motions.
"It was clear." He resumed. "The way you look at him...” his ruby-colored eyes trailed off from you to stare at the ground, blinked once, but slowly, and then turned to settle back on you. “It's clear, from the look of your eyes, that you like him."
"Was it always that obvious?!" Your cheeks started growing warm.
"For me to notice, maybe, yes. If others were able to notice, especially Yuffie, or even Tifa, they'd be jumping all around you like fools." He replied. "Basically, it seems like I'm the only one who really knows." You couldn't simply imagine that this guy, whom you thought never cared about others or anything else in this worldly life, could somehow be considerate of the many feelings that had dwelt within you for a fair long time. Call it Irony, call it Disbelief; this very person could be the one to offer you the help and solace you needed; but again, this was not the right time to share out your trust with whoever you bump into along the way. You could not trust him and you could not accept his help; no, not him! In your eyes, Vincent was nothing but a stone-hearted person, while you were desperately looking for someone who's at least sympathetic.
"So, you’re saying, you are mister ‘I know everything’. Is that what you are trying to prove?” You could see now his eyes narrowing after your saying the previous words, but that didn’t stop you from bringing your thought to the light: “How annoying! Can you leave me alone now?" You said.
"I can't leave you alone in such a state." He declined, while worry was starting to prevail in his tone. "I know it hurts now, but… you cannot overcome this pain if you isolate yourself like this, with no one by your side. You need help to get over this..."
"I don't need your help!" You finally yelled at him, feeling the strong will of biting this guy’s head off. "You can't help me! I don't want to find you near me… I don’t even want to see your face! You know why? Because you think you know everything; you know so much and you want to brag about it, like it's a big deal! Well, you know what? You know nothing! Nothing, at all! How can you give me a hand while you simply know nothing about love?!"
"No!" You cut his words as you proceeded, while pure and unstoppable tears were flowing down from your eyes. "You don't even know how it feels to love someone so much, that you'd give the whole world up just to be with that person! You have no idea how much it hurts to watch your loved one leave, and to know that he will never come back to you! You don't know the bitter taste of losing someone you love! Tell me now:…” you halted for a short moment, took a breath in and vaguely shook your head: “Tell me: what do you know, Vincent?! What do you know?!"
Although your eyes were heavily weighed by the genuine tears you were still shedding, you could take notice of the slight change in Vincent's face. The words you've spoken have broken the intangible figure of his face, revealing a rare expression that you have never seen him showing. He was completely shocked by your words, to the point that he had no further words to add. You noticed the hurt and grief faintly drowning his eyes, and you discerned the despondency that was circling with the blood in his clenched fists. He was looking downwards at the rocky ground, clearly hiding a wound that he didn't wish you to see, a wound that – the factor of time was not enough to turn it into a fading scar – but you were able to, unknowingly, put a finger on. You have never intended to let your own pain and suffering become a weapon, a sharp one, which could easily strike others’ raw nerve – but, after all, you have done just so.
You then realized that you have been a bit harsh when you had rained all this torrent of anger over Vincent, but you still pitied your awful condition. "Just... stay out of this." You said with a low breaking voice, then you walked past him toward your motorcycle. You mounted it and, before you have started the engine, you looked back at Vincent who was still facing the clouded dark horizon, while his crimson cloak was gliding with the storm-forewarning wind. You bit your lower lip upon feeling a slight hint of regret being awakened deep inside your chest. 'I shouldn't have spoken to him that way.' You forced yourself to look straight in front of you, ignoring the man that you have left speechless, then you started you motorcycle and drove to God knows where.
*To Be Continued*