To Ashes

Sephiroth/Vincent. PG. 500 words.
The first time he sees Sephiroth’s face stripped of the youth that not even Hojo’s meddling could prevent, he thinks it’s Lucrecia.

Vincent dreams of clawing his way free, of the harsh scrape of nails on the coffin lid and the pain of splintered wood driven under his nails. Gradually, the clawing is replaced by the creak and groan of rusted hinges.

He opens his eyes, sucks in a breath heavy with the old dust and dank mould of the basement. Light thick with shadows creeps under the lid. The first time he sees Sephiroth’s face stripped of the youth that not even Hojo’s meddling could prevent, he thinks it’s Lucrecia, and the tight clench of his stomach is accompanied by a cold trickle of fear down his spine.

“All of Hojo’s dirty secrets are buried in the basement,” Sephiroth says. He steps into the coffin, bringing a short dagger to Vincent’s throat. A sword is in his other hand, useless in such a confined space. “Why haven’t you killed him?”

Gripping the edge of the coffin, Vincent pulls himself halfway to sitting, as far as Sephiroth will let him. The gun is a heavy weight in his hand, hidden by the tattered ends of his cloak. “He’ll die on his own soon enough.”

Sephiroth smiles, turning the blade to lightly scrape Vincent’s cheek. In spite of himself, Vincent feels his heart twist in his chest as Sephiroth settles above him, knees jammed in tight on either side of his hips. It’s been a long, long time since he’s heard the sound of another’s voice, let alone the heat of someone else’s body pressed close to his.

“You know what he’s done, what he’s capable of,” Sephiroth says, the glow of his eyes brighter than a cat’s in the dark. Vincent’s seen the look in them before, stark on the faces of men about to break.

“Are you here seeking an ally?” Vincent asks. He has no interest in revenge, simply wanting to be left alone. Still, he doesn’t draw the gun or push Sephiroth away. “Against Hojo, ShinRa?”

“The world.” Sephiroth leans closer, cool steel biting into Vincent’s flesh. A hot trickle of blood follows. Vincent swallows, his breath gone short and skin flushed. He understands his body’s craving for sensation. Understands it, and yet tries to convince himself he doesn’t want it. “Starting here, with this filthy mansion.”

“Burn it to the ground if that’s what you desire,” Vincent says. He eases back, away from the temptation to simply feel, and shakes his head. “I don’t care enough to help you, but I won’t stop you, either.”

Sephiroth doesn’t look disappointed, or surprised. “You don’t care if I kill you,” he says.

“Why should I? Do as you please.”

Sephiroth flips the knife in his hand, drives it to the hilt through the wood by Vincent’s head. Vincent feels the slight tug on his hair and jerks his head away to free the sheared ends only after Sephiroth draws back.

Without another word, Sephiroth leaves. For the remainder of the night, Vincent listens to the restless rhythm of his footsteps.


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