Step 41: Past
Step 41: Past
The man in the picture inside mother's locket has black hair and from what I can make out on the diminutive image, he looks very similar to Vincent. Yet if this picture is old, then that man must have aged by now, he can't be Vincent. Yet I feel their resemblance is more than just a coincidence.
I can somehow sense that the man in the picture, whoever he may be, and the man sitting next to me, who said he was called Vincent Valentine, both hold links to my past; memories that were probably not recorded in the Shinra archives. "Who are you?" This time, I want more than just a name.
He looks at me strangely, he already answered that, but repeats his name anyway, "Vincent Va-" he stops, having caught sight of the picture in the locket.
"Do you know him? You do know him!" I draw a conclusion from his expression before he can reply. "Is he, could he be?" A theory forms in my mind. "Is the man in the picture your father?"
Vincent remains silent for a long moment before closing his eyes and breathing deeply, whispering, "why?"
"You look like him," I insist, "do you know him?" I press further, I need to find out what he knows, he must know something important, otherwise Tseng wouldn't have tried to find out.
"The man in the picture loved Lucrecia," he pauses as if letting a rush of emotion sink in, "even so, he couldn't save her..."
"From Hojo? He stole her away from that man? Who is that man, what's his name?" I feel that my life has become a soup opera of hidden origins. In my desire to have a father other than Hojo, I imagine the man in the picture to be my father. My mother would have been expecting me before Hojo stole her away, but no one knew. "Is this my father too?" Are we brothers, even if we don't look alike? I know I must owe my silver hair to the experiments; it might have been darker otherwise.
Vincent remains quiet for a long moment, almost as if it's painful to speak, "my father's name was Grimoire," he makes a long pause as if debating what he should do, "he is not the man in that picture."
"Who is he then, your uncle? Are we cousins?" I'm convinced that the man in the picture has a direct link with Vincent.
"It's complicated," it's clear that Vincent is having a hard time talking about this, and here I am pressuring him. "We're not blood relatives, I can at least tell you that, but..." He stops, unable to go on, powerless to find the right words, maybe because there are no right words for certain things.
I shouldn't be so selfish, I'm not the only one with a harsh past; maybe he has a complicated origin as well, or if not, a complicated history. "I don't mean to pressure you into talking about something that's hard for you. I just want to know more about my past. You know who I am, don't you?"
"Lucrecia's son..." he breathes, "you're Lucrecia's son."
"Yes..." It's almost as if that detail is more important than all my past deeds, but he does know who I am, I'm sure of it.
"Hey Vincent, when did you get here?" Tifa emerges from the kitchen and greets him.
"A few minutes ago..." Vincent is still a bit shaken from our conversation.
"Are you alright?" Tifa inquires, noticing his discomfort.
Vincent glances at me, then looks at Tifa, "yes," I suppose he expects her to hold a grudge.
Tifa shakes her head, interpreting Vincent's concern in her own way, "he's not Sephiroth, he's Seph of the Turks; you can relax."
Vincent looks as if an unknown irony has slapped him in the face. "Seph of the Turks..." He appears to be remembering something, if he would only speak of it. "Another Turk, a distant dream that never was," what is he talking about?
"I am a Turk..." I feel the need to emphasize.
Vincent nods, "I know, I believe you." Why does he look so pained? It's almost as if he had a dream and the dream came true, except he wasn't a part of it, even if it had been his dream.
I'm just shooting in the dark with these random guesses, but the fact still stands that I'm sure he knows about my past, he knows about mother, my real mother.
"Can I get you anything?" Tifa still looks concerned by Vincent's behavior, but not too much, as if mourning and speaking in metaphors isn't all that strange.
"I'm sorry, I must cut my visit short, I came here to meet Seph, we have a job to do," Vincent's explanation surprised me. I wasn't sure he was willing to continue our conversation, but this must mean he's willing to tell me what he knows.
"Shinra and the WRO are working together again? Well I'm glad Seph was assigned for the job this time, I think Reno was messing up on purpose," Tifa looks relaxed now, attributing any change in Vincent's behavior as being a side effect of the prospect of working with a stranger and one who resembles Sephiroth no less.
"I will do everything I can," Vincent assured before turning to leave.
"Me too," I blurted out in a rush, "see you later, tell the Turks I went somewhere with Vincent if they ask," I sound like a boy running out to hang out with a friend, and asking his mother to inform any other friends that might come looking for him of his whereabouts. I rushed out after Vincent, only to find he was standing at the door, "what is it?"
"We need transportation, aerial transportation."
xoxox xox xoxox
"I still don't understand why I can't do with you guys," Reno's complaint is followed by a chirp. "What is it Blaze, do you want to look out?" He holds the chicobo near the glass window, "we're really high up aren't we? Who ever said redheads can't fly? Blacky back there doesn't know how to pilot, that's why we're here."
"This is a private matter," Vincent insists, "if you follow us, I'll shoot you."
"That will just make him more curious," I point out truthfully. "Look Reno, I don't know where we're going," Vincent only provided Reno with some coordinates, "or why we're going there, but it will help me understand my past so please try to behave."
"Alright, alright... you're no fun!" Reno grumbled.
Vincent sighed in exasperation, "we should have called Cid."
xoxox xox xoxox
After more complaining from Reno and some threats from Vincent, who is clearly sensitive about whatever it is we're going to see, we finally land in... well... it's pretty much the middle of no where.
There's a water fall and Vincent is heading towards it, I follow him and Reno follows me, "stay."
He whimpers, stumps his feet and remains motionless. I know he'll keep following me as soon as I turn my back, but I hope that doesn't interfere with whatever Vincent is planning.
I rush past the waterfall and enter the cave behind it after Vincent; then I stare in shock, "mother!"
Reno arrives, shielding Blaze from the falling water, "what? Jenova?"
"Silence!" Vincent aims his gun at the redhead, who wisely decides to remain quiet, at least for a while. As for Blaze, he is silently looking at the cave scenery in curiosity, awed by the glow of the crystal encasing mother.
"Lucrecia," I correct, "her name is Lucrecia. Is this a statue? No, she's real, I feel it, but how? Is she... different?"
Sensing my worry, Vincent assures, "she is a human being," he still holds Reno at gunpoint.
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Reno's quote about redheads flying and blacky (Vincent) not knowing how to pilot is a reference to black chocobos being the flying type.