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      A hero.  Just what is a hero?  Is it a person admired for courage, fortitude, prowess, and nobility?  I am no hero.  
        I have saved countless number of lives, some from the brink of death.  Cloud, Tseng, Elena…Why do I exert myself to rescue them?  Why do I fight?
Sephiroth.  He sought to destroy the planet following the dictations of his mother, Jenova.  I did not want to be disturbed when Cloud and the others awoke me.  Thirty years of nightmare haunted slumber was preferable to the living nightmare that occurred outside.  Only the promise that I would encounter Hojo drew me away from the tiny village of Nibelheim: my resting place.  Why did I stay?  Was I really fighting for the planet?  Or did my motivation stem from my inability to save her?  I am no hero.
       She was swayed by her superiors’ arguments to become a part of the JENOVA project as a lab assistant to Professors Gast and Hojo.  I was assigned the duty of protecting all three of them.  There were those who objected to their experimentations.  I was one of the few who would ask no questions or be influenced by anyone.  Cold and impersonal was I.  In guarding them, I was closely associated with her.  Soon enough I became to care for that woman which eventually blossomed into a previously unknown emotion: Love.  
       I thought that she had come to care for me too.  The long walks and discussions we had thawed my icy heart, and only she could relight the fire.  Hojo’s power over her was stronger than first believed.  When the need for a vessel to carry the Ancient Reborn arose, she was chosen.  But life cannot be created from nothing.  She had to be with child before the experiments could begin.  In light of this knowledge, I took her aside and confessed my feelings for her.  If she was required to bear a child, I wanted to be its father.  I was too late.  If I had the courage to tell her of my love sooner, could I have saved her from her suffering?  Does a hero hesitate when something must be done?   
       Only a week before I spoke to her, she had consented to share Hojo’s bed.  The very thought enraged me.  The half-rate scientist was not worthy to lay his hands on her.  Am I any more deserving?  She fled from my arms to those of her lover, leaving my heart shattered.  I loved her too much to confine her against her wishes.  If she is happy, I am fine with it.  Her happiness meant more to me than my own.  Is that what a hero does, make selfless sacrifices?  Or was my decision a self-centered martyrdom?  I am no hero.
       The experiments began once she was conceived.  Jenova cells were injected into the fetus and its progress monitored.  She refused to sit around doing nothing until the baby was born.  She continued, tirelessly, to assist Gast and Hojo in their projects.  I avoided any contact with her, outside that of necessity.  As often as I could manage, I watched her just out of sight, longing to talk with her as we had done so many times before.  But I feared her rejection.  Can a hero fear his own heart?  
       It was only in the last stages of her pregnancy that Hojo forced her to rest.  Not out of any concern for her, but for the sake of the JENOVA project.  She eventually gave birth to a healthy baby boy.  All she was able to do before Hojo took him away was to name her son: Sephiroth.  The cries of the infant haunted the old rickety mansion; wails that spoke of pain, loneliness, and terror.  She did not recover from the birth, but continued to grow weaker.  She became a pale shadow of herself, almost like she straddled the worlds of life and death.  I continued to observe her from afar, watching as the Jenova cells sapped the strength from her body, and the screams of her baby tearing at her soul.  I finally gained the courage to speak with her, to offer her comfort, but again, I was too late.  She died only minutes before I arrived.  All these years I have berated myself for my cowardice, my hesitation cost me any chance of forgiveness I might have had.  Wouldn’t a hero been there by her side no matter what had occurred between them?
      The renewed howls of Sephiroth dragged me from my deep well of grief and I carefully laid her hand, damp with my tears, on her chest.  Then I stood up.  This had to stop.  I may not have been able to save her, but I would try to save her son.  I made my way down to the laboratories where the Professors worked.  Sephiroth had been attached to a variety of different machines monitoring something.  Hojo leaned over him, a large syringe in hand.  Held within was an opaque yellow-orange liquid.  The child shrieked when the scientist stabbed the long needle into his thigh and evacuated its contents.  How could Hojo do this to a child, especially his own?  My fingers curled about his wrist as it was reaching for another syringe, this time with a clear green-tinted fluid.  I quietly informed him that the mother of this baby had passed on just a few minutes ago.  Hojo struggled to regain the use of his arm, and I released him.  He waved his hand dismissively at the news saying that if she wasn’t strong enough to handle the work presented to her then the project was better off without her.  My left arm shot out to grab Hojo by the throat and slammed him against the wall.  Watching him gasp and choke for breath was strangely satisfying.  Then I remembered her gentle nature and I dropped the scientist in disgust.  She wouldn’t want the blood of Hojo on my hands, even in the act of avenging her.  Does a hero seek out revenge?  
        While he was still recovering, I strode the short distance over to where a whimpering Sephiroth lay.  Gently I removed the probes and wires before wrapping him in a blanket and cradling him in my arms.  Hojo had clambered to his feet by the time I turned around and I told him that I was putting a stop to this cruelty.  Nobody deserved to be treated as a human lab Mu.  He snarled something and whipped out a pistol from his white coat.  Thinking that he would kill Sephiroth before he would allow his “experiment” out into the world with someone who knew the child’s origins, I placed him behind me.  I misjudged him.  He was deliberately aiming at me the entire time.  Two bullets hit me, one in my left arm, just below the elbow joint, and one in my chest.  Wouldn’t a hero use his dying breath to cease the cause of all this suffering?  
       I don’t remember what happened next, until I woke up on a steel table underneath brightly glowing lights that dazzled my eyes.  I heard Hojo’s loathsome voice coming from just outside the room I was in, and by the sounds of it, he was arguing to Professor Gast.  Gast also opposed Hojo’s actions against Sephiroth and his mother.  I didn’t hear of Gast after that incident.  Hojo never spoke of him in my presence.  Sephiroth continued to grow, his howls gradually lessening in volume until they were silenced.  The boy had learned that nothing would cease the torture Hojo put him through.  As he became older, Sephiroth began to read Gast’s notes on various researches he had performed, knowledge that had saved lives as well as making life easier for the general masses.  Of Hojo he only knew cruelty and incompetence.  I too knew the brunt of Hojo’s brutality.  That scientist, when not working with me, kept me in a small basement room.  Though Sephiroth passed by many times, unaware of my presence, I made no effort to alert him.  Would a hero stand by watching a fellow prisoner undergo the same treatment has himself?  
         After he had wounded me, Hojo managed to preserve my life for his own purposes.  The first thing he did was to inject Jenova cells into my body.  The pain was horrendous but I would not give Hojo the satisfaction of screaming or even whimpering.  My left arm had been damaged beyond repair.  A brassy colored metal claw replaced the lower half.  Other parts of my body underwent alterations.  My blue eyes gradually turned blood red.  The lack of sunlight down in that basement paled my skin to a white pallor.  Unable to cut my own hair, it grew into a wild black mane, nearly impossible to tame.  I eventually gave up trying.  It was several years after I had first been imprisoned that the real shock came.  The age-defying face I had learned to abhor bore long bloody rakes from my claw, the ebony hair ragged and matted with the blood I had drawn from my scalp.  I was working to gain the strength of will needed to slit my own throat.  Then I could finally escape Hojo’s grasp.  Will a hero simply run away?
        I watched my blood drip to the floor to join the already large puddle at my feet.  I reached up and closed my claw around my neck, intending to tear my life away.  Just as the sharp edges sank into the skin, I felt the change.  My arm dropped to my side as I watched in horror as my feet transformed into talons.  Bat-like wings exploded from my shoulder blades, and a tail from my lower back.  Both hands extended into vicious claws.  I could feel my teeth growing larger and dagger sharp.  I know little what happened next.  The monster within me was a just reward for my sins.  I know longer cared what Hojo did.  It did not matter.  I deserved all this suffering.  Hojo soon tired of me once my spirit broke; there was no fun in tormenting my battered soul for I would not fight back as I once did.  Would a hero simply give up?  I am no hero.  
        Hojo was eventually called back to Midgar and Shinra’s headquarters.  He hesitated in killing me, calling me his work of art.  But he could not release me for I knew too much.  In my room, he sealed me within an empty coffin and put an enchanted sleep over me.  Images of her haunted my dreams for thirty long years…. until they came.  Why do I still fight for the good of others?  Is it because I think I can redeem myself?  Do I really deserve to be forgiven by her?  Am I only performing these deeds in a selfish desire to ease the ache in my soul?  I am no hero.
Vincent ponders the motivation behind his actions as well as the events that happened thirty-three years before FFVII: Advent Children.

All characters belong to SquareEnix

But apparently a disclaimer like this won't protect me legally should they ever chose to come after me....which makes me wonder why I bother....
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:iconblackmanaburning:
BlackManaBurning Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2008  Professional General Artist
Sweet!:D
In the beginning, I thought of Vincent immidiatly; especially since I played the Dirge of Cerberus game:love:
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:iconmidorii-kiri:
Midorii-kiri Featured By Owner Nov 6, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you! *hugs*
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:iconblackmanaburning:
BlackManaBurning Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2008  Professional General Artist
I also thought of the pic I made with him in it when I heard the claw description etc...:love:
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:iconmidorii-kiri:
Midorii-kiri Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh?
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:iconblackmanaburning:
BlackManaBurning Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2008  Professional General Artist
Yep:D
I thought your description was perfect♥
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:iconmidorii-kiri:
Midorii-kiri Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Yay! *parties*
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:iconblackmanaburning:
BlackManaBurning Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008  Professional General Artist
:iconglompsomethingplz::iconcakeplz:
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:iconmidorii-kiri:
Midorii-kiri Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2008  Hobbyist General Artist
Cake!
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