#197 – Be My Valentine

Sephiroth: “…All that wasted time…”

  OriginallyPublished: 11/14/06 . 66 pages

Synopsis
Vincent’s in the hospital and his prognosis isn’t good. Will Sephiroth ever get to say the things he’s been holding back?

Ramble Milestones
Nothing this time.

Today, on a very special ramble… Of all the serious rambles this one is my favorite. I had been planning this one for ages and was very glad to finally get Sephiroth and Vincent back together. And this ramble title is one of my favorites.

It was once said that it is better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all. This is not entirely true. It is neither better nor worse. Both hurt and both are, in their own separate ways, unbearable – Cristoph Lamarte

 Oh…My love, my darling,

I’ve hungered for your touch,

A long, Lonely time.

And time goes by, so slowly,

And time can do so much,

Are you still mine?

I need your love.

I need your love.

God, speed your love to me.

Lonely rivers flow to the sea, to the sea,

To the open arms of the sea, yeah.

Lonely rivers sigh, wait for me, wait for me,

I’ll be coming home, wait for me.

Oh… My love, my darling,

I’ve hungered, hungered, for your touch,

A long lonely time.

And time goes by, so slowly,

And time can do so much,

Are you still mine?

I need your love.

I, I need your love.

God speed your love to me.

–“Unchained Melody”, Righteous Brothers

 (the next morning after the fight, sephiroth is walking down the hallway. he looks awful. he looks like he hasn’t slept all night and his eyes are red. he walks past the ramble room and pauses for a moment. he sees vincent standing there with his back to him. sephiroth opens his mouth to speak but then he closes it again, shakes his head, and goes to move on. but then vincent just collapses to the floor. sephiroth pauses again, just staring in total shock. vincent is not moving)

Sephiroth: “…Vincent?”

(no reaction. sephiroth takes a few steps closer and stops again)

Sephiroth: “Vincent?”

(nothing. vincent has collapsed in a heap on the floor. his claw is leaking some kind of fluid and he is as pale as death. sephiroth’s eyes widen as large as they go. in an instant he kneels down next to vincent and is touching his face)

Sephiroth: *frantically* “Vincent! Vincent!! Can you hear me? Vincent?! Vincent?!”

Auron: *enters* “What’s going on in here?” *sees vincent* “What did you do to him?”

Sephiroth: *near tears* “Nothing! He just collapsed!”

Auron: *goes to speak*

Sephiroth: *screams* “GO GET HELP!”

(auron just nods and quickly runs out of the room. sephiroth grabs vincent’s hand and squeezes it hard, his eyes full of tears. moments later a team of paramedics enters the room and sephiroth can only step back and watch as they put vincent on a stretcher and carry him away.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(a short time later, sephiroth is sitting in one of the chairs in a small waiting room at the hospital.  he’s not the only one in there. auron is there as well, pacing around. sephiroth has his head in his hands and he is not looking at auron.)

Auron: “How long have we been here? And no news? This is ridiculous.”

Sephiroth: “………..”

Auron: “What happened exactly?”

Sephiroth: *doesn’t look up* “I *told* you. He just collapsed.”

Auron: “I saw the way his claw looked. And yesterday…Lark, Tseng and myself…we all heard what you said to him. How you yelled at him!”

Sephiroth: *looks up* “What are you trying to say?”

Auron: “…That this is *your* fault.”

(sephiroth is out of his chair in a flash and he advances on auron. at the same time lark and tseng are coming down the hallway)

Sephiroth: “How *dare* you say that to me!”

Auron: “You can’t stop me from speaking the truth!”

(lark and tseng hurry over)

Lark: “Hey! What’s going on here?!”

Tseng: *gently pushing sephiroth away from auron* “Hey, come on. Come have a seat.”

(auron and sephiroth are still glaring at each other as sephiroth sits back down)

Auron: “I’m going to get some coffee.”

(he leaves. lark comes over and she and tseng take a seat on either side of sephiroth.)

Sephiroth: “What brought you here?”

Tseng: “Auron called us.”

Lark: “We came as fast as we could. Poor Vincent. I hope he’s okay. He just collapsed?”

Sephiroth: “…Yeah.”

Tseng: “Have you heard anything?”

Sephiroth: “Not yet.”

Lark: “What happened between you and Auron?”

Sephiroth: “………He said…he said it was my fault.”

Lark: “What’s your fault?”

Sephiroth: “That I…that I did this to Vincent.”

Tseng: “What?”

Lark: “That’s crazy! You didn’t—“

Sephiroth: *softly* “….It’s true.”

Lark and Tseng: *look at him in shock*

Sephiroth: *softly* “His claw was damaged. Badly. Who did that to him? Me. I did it with my sword when I just *had* to fight Dante. And yesterday…yesterday…I said some things…you all heard me.”

Tseng: “What happened yesterday?”

Sephiroth: *shakes head* “You just can’t understand what I’ve been going through. Even if I tried to explain, my words would be meaningless. Alucard told me Koudelka could read the future. So I went to her. I thought it couldn’t be true. But it was. I saw myself… I saw myself twenty years from now. …I can’t even begin to tell you how awful I looked. A shadow of myself. Clearly I was miserable. All I did was cry. There was no mention or sign of Vincent at all. Except my ring. I was wearing it around my neck. Why would I wear it unless…”

Lark: “Sephiroth…the future—“

Sephiroth: “Let me finish. …After I left I tried to tell myself that that wouldn’t happen. That it was something she made up. But all the signs of everything else I saw…it all seemed like it could be true. What if I was miserable because I had let Vincent go and something horrible happened to him? What if I was miserable because I wasted my time with him and now he was gone? I couldn’t bear the thought of it. So, I went to him. And we…we made love. And I cannot even begin to describe to you how happy I was. Happy…and terrified. What if I wound up that way because I got back with Vincent and things ended badly? What if going back to Vincent was the source of all that pain I had been trying to avoid ever since I felt it for the first time? So…afterward…I told him it had been a mistake. We exchanged some words. I told him…I told him…he meant nothing to me. He told me…he told me we had promised to always love each other…but now…now even he was finding that promise hard to keep. That’s when you saw me. After he said that. My heart was breaking. But it felt easier to just walk away than to take the chance of losing him. I thought if I distanced myself…it wouldn’t hurt as much if…”

Tseng: “Stupid. It’s always going to hurt that much.”

Sephiroth: *bows his head* “It’s my fault. It’s all…it’s all my fault.”

(he puts his head in his hands again and is silent. lark and tseng exchange a look.)

Lark: “Look, Sephiroth. I’m sure Vincent will be okay. He—Oh. Hi, Cloud.”

(they look over to where cloud is coming over. sephiroth looks up. lark gets up and goes over to him)

Cloud: “Hi. I heard about Vincent.”

Sephiroth: “Do you have any news?”

Cloud: “Not really. I talked to a nurse and she said they’re doing emergency surgery on him right now.”

Sephiroth: *eyes get wide*

Tseng: “Emergency surgery?”

Lark: “Oh my god…”

Cloud: “Zack’s operating on him. So at least you know he’s in good hands.”

Sephiroth: *looks stunned*

Cloud: “I’m sorry I don’t have more information.”

Lark: “Any information is good at this point. If you hear anything else…”

Cloud: “Of course. I’ll go back to the nurses station and see if I can get some more information.”

(he leaves. lark turns back to sephiroth.)

Lark: “Sephiroth… Vincent will probably be fine. I’m sure it was something minor—“

Sephiroth: *puts his head in his hands again* “No. No. It’s all my fault.”

(lark and tseng exchange another look. auron returns with a cup of coffee in his hand. he takes a look at sephiroth and then looks at lark and tseng)

Auron: “Any news?”

Everyone: “…………………..”

Tseng: “I think you better take a seat. We’re going to be here for awhile.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(hours pass. everyone is sitting there looking solemn. sephiroth still has his head in his hands. this is when dr. zack, still in his hospital scrubs, comes walking over)

Zack: “Sorry to keep you waiting.”

Sephiroth: *jumps up* “Is he okay?”

Zack: “He’s out of surgery…but I’m afraid I don’t really have good news for you.”

Sephiroth: *pales*

Lark: “Oh my god…is he…?”

Zack: “Extensive blood tests show that his blood is saturated with poison, and is now infected as a result. I’m almost positive the source is that claw he has attached to his arm. It had been damaged and it was leaking some kind of unidentifiable liquid. I believe that’s probably what got into his bloodstream. The reason he was in surgery so long is because I was trying to remove the claw. However the way it’s attached to him is so complicated, I’m afraid I would only hurt him further if I tried to remove it.”

Sephiroth: “So…what are you saying?”

Zack: “The poison in his blood will kill him if that claw is not removed. And I don’t know if I can remove that on my own.”

Auron: “Well what do you suggest we do about it?”

(sephiroth starts heading for the exit)

Auron: “And where do you think you’re going? Abandoning Vincent again?!”

Sephiroth: “I’m going to get the one person who can save Vincent’s life!”

Zack: “And who is that?”

Sephiroth: *pauses in the doorway* “The twisted asshole who did this to him. Hojo. My father.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(in loser land, hojo is alone and puttering around in his lab doing his usual sick things. he hears a loud noise like something being knocked down)

Hojo: *sighs and mutters* “Heidegger better not have fallen through the floor again.”

(seconds later sephiroth appears in the doorway. and he looks pissed. hojo looks at him in shock)

Hojo: “How did you get in here?”

(sephiroth doesn’t answer at first. instead he just strides over to hojo, grabs him by the front of his lab coat and slams him into the wall)

Hojo: “Whatever you think I did I didn’t! I swear! I found a new porn site on the internet! I haven’t left the lab!”

Sephiroth: “Oh you did something all right. About twenty years ago. To Vincent.”

Hojo: “Vincent? What are you talking about?”

Sephiroth: “It means something on that awful claw you attached to him is leaking! It’s poisoning his blood! And if it’s not removed he’s going to die!”

Hojo: *smirks* “Oh. Is that all?”

(sephiroth looks even more angry. he slams hojo back into the wall again)

Sephiroth: “This is a *game* to you?!”

Hojo: “I don’t know if you noticed but I’m not really a big fan of Vincent.”

Sephiroth: “Your jealousy is not my concern! Now you’re coming with me! And you’re going to save him!”

Hojo: “Why should I?”

Sephiroth: *eyes narrow* “Because I’ll kill you. Just like I should have done a long time ago.”

(hojo’s eyes widen a little. he knows sephiroth is serious)

Hojo: “It may be impossible to save him.”

Sephiroth: “Well then you better pray it isn’t.”

(hojo draws a deep breath, then he lets it out with a nod)

Hojo: “Very well. But I may need assistance.”

Sephiroth: “Dr. Zack is already at the hospital.”

Hojo: “Besides him. …I may need your mother.”

Sephiroth: “My mother? Why?”

Hojo: “We worked closely on the same projects. After twenty years, my mind isn’t what it used to be.”

(sephiroth drops hojo and steps away)

Sephiroth: “Fine. Get whatever you need. And hurry. We’re leaving in five minutes.”

(he starts to walk away)

Hojo: “I know you’re not the praying type, Sephiroth. But you should start.”

Sephiroth: *leaving* “So should you.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(so they return to the hospital. and zack takes hojo back immediately to see vincent. vincent is lying in a hospital bed, an iv in his arm. he’s hooked up to a heart monitor and has an oxygen mask on his face. his eyes are closed and he looks very pale. hojo walks over to the claw and looks at it)

Zack: “I wiped off most of the purple liquid. As you can see it’s still leaking. I couldn’t even tell from where.”

Hojo: *peering down at it*  “It’s hydraulic fluid. My own concoction. Not just anything will run a human-like appendage twenty-four hours a day, three hundred and sixty-five days a year.” *creepy smile* “Sometimes sixty-six.”

Zack: *looks creeped out* “Yes, well. That fluid is leaking into his bloodstream and poisoning him.”

Hojo: “That doesn’t surprise me. The claw is attached directly to his nerves. If it was damaged badly enough it could enter his veins.”

Zack: “I noticed.”

Hojo: “It’s a rather complicated system, really. I’m not surprised you were hesitant to remove it. One wrong piece is removed and Vincent would flat line in a moment.” *pokes vincent’s arm* “I’m surprised he’s still alive right now. But I suppose my other improvements are to thank for that.”

Zack: “Well we should waste no more time talking about it. We have to get him into the operating room and remove it right now.”

Hojo: *creepily smiling down at vincent*

Zack: “Right now means *right now*.”

Hojo: “I know. I was just thinking…”

Zack: *annoyed sigh* “About what?”

Hojo: “About how Vincent’s life is in my hands… He’d hate that.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(a few minutes later, zack goes out to talk to cloud, auron, lark, sephiroth and tseng, all who are waiting anxiously)

Sephiroth: “Well? What’s going on? Does he think he can fix it?”

Zack: “Lucretia has just arrived. Between the three of us we should be able to remove it.”

Auron: “Then what?”

Zack: “Then we have more tests to do. This is just the first step. This surgery will take hours. You might want to go home and wait. I can call you.”

Lark: “That might be—“

Sephiroth: *firmly* “I’m not going anywhere.”

Zack: *nods* “…I understand. You’re welcome to stay, of course.” *to sephiroth* “I’ll do everything I can for him.”

Sephiroth: *doesn’t look at him* “I know you will.”

(zack gets some sympathetic looks from the others and then he leaves to go into surgery. sephiroth plops himself back in a chair)

Lark: “Do you want us to wait with you?”

Sephiroth: “…No sense in you staying. Go home and get some rest.”

Tseng: “Are you sure?”

Sephiroth: “I’d rather be alone right now.”

(lark, tseng, cloud and auron all look at each other)

Cloud: “Zack will call when the surgery is over.”

Lark: *sigh* “We better tell everyone else what’s going on. They’ll find out anyway and it’s better that they know the truth.”

Tseng: *nods* “Right.”

Lark: “Auron? You wanna go back for now?”

Auron: *looks at seph* “There’s nothing else for us to do here. I guess it’s for the best.”

(cloud, auron and tseng all leave. lark goes over to sephiroth)

Lark: “We’re going back to the ramble room, but we’ll be back later, okay?”

Sephiroth: “Fine.”

Lark: *frowns* “Sephy…”

(he looks up at her. she gets down on her knees and hugs him tight. he buries his head in her shoulder and cries for a few minutes. she just holds him. eventually he breaks away from her, trying to stop his tears)

Lark: “You sure you’re okay by yourself?”

Sephiroth: “I’m fine…I…just needed a moment for that.”

Lark: “I’m surprised you could hold it in like that.”

Sephiroth: “Me? Cry in front of Auron? …I’d never give him the satisfaction.”

Lark: *uncertainly* “Look, I know you’re worried. But Vincent’s strong. He’ll be okay.”

Sephiroth: “You saw the look in Zack’s eyes, Lark. Vincent…he’ll be lucky to get through this surgery alive.” *hangs head* “And it’s all my fault.”

Lark: “You didn’t do it on purpose.”

Sephiroth: “…It doesn’t matter. …I love him, Lark.”

Lark: *small smile* “I know you do.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(so lark, tseng, cloud and auron return to the ramble room sadly. they open the door and are momentarily shocked. this is because there is a group of people standing in the hallway who are obviously awaiting their return. Brady, Ashley, seifer, shell, rude, reno, irvine, elena, rufus, twilight, opal, barret, cid, red, tifa, yuffie, reeve and zell are all there)

Lark: “…Oh.”

(and everyone starts talking at once)

Brady: “What’s going on?”

Ashley: “So Vincent collapsed?”

Shell: “Is he okay?”

Rude: “What happened?”

Reno: “He gonna be all right?”

Irvine: “You gonna tell us what happened?”

Elena: “How is he?”

Rufus: “Is there anything I can do?”

Twilight: “Where’s Sephiroth?”

Opal: “Is he doing okay?”

Barret: “Yo! Coffin boy gonna live?”

Cid: “@#$%&$$@^?”

Red: “Please tell me he’s all right.”

Tifa: “Poor Vincent…what’s going on with him?”

Yuffie: “Can I steal any materia to help?”

Reeve: “What did the doctor say?”

Zell: “They gonna let him outta the hospital?”

Auron: “My goodness.”

Cloud: “We can’t have everyone standing in the hallway like this…”

Lark: “Yeah.”

Tseng: “Everybody, let’s just go in the ramble room and we’ll fill you in.”

(and so everyone walks into the ramble room and grabs a seat. tseng, cloud and auron all look expectantly at lark)

Lark: “What?”

Tseng: “Tell them.”

Lark: “Me? Why does it have to be me?”

Auron: “That should be obvious.”

Lark: “…Okay.”

(so she stands up in front of everyone and takes a deep breath before speaking.)

Lark: “So. What happened was that Vincent collapsed this morning. An ambulance was called and they took him to the hospital. They had to do emergency surgery on him. Dr. Zack said that fluid from his damaged claw was leaking into his bloodstream and poisoning him. He couldn’t get it off himself because he was afraid he’d just hurt Vincent further.”

Barret: “Yo, Sephiroth damaged dat damn claw!”

Twilight: “He didn’t make Vincent shove his claw in front of the sword!”

Tseng: “No interruptions! Do you wanna know what’s going on or not?”

Lark: “…Thanks, Tseng. Guys, just wait till I’m done for comments, okay? So we had to get Hojo to come help. Since he put it on, he could probably take it off. Lucretia is there as well. So right now they’re doing surgery to remove the claw and then they’ll see how things go from there.”

Ashley: “So his blood is *poisoned*?”

Cloud: “And infected.”

Tifa: “Oh my goodness…”

Rufus: “But how is he otherwise?”

Lark: *gulp* “Not really that good…”

Auron: “Removing the claw is the first step. Without doing that…he’d have no chance at all.”

Reno: “Geez…”

Everyone: “……………………”

Tseng: “They said they’d call when the surgery was over…”

Lark: “Right. So I’m just gonna hang out here and wait. Anyone else is welcome to stay, of course.”

(no one moves)

Cid: “@#$^#^#%^*&.”

Lark: “…Yeah. That pretty much sums it up.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the hospital, it is several hours later and it’s nighttime. sephiroth is sitting back in the chair, staring at the ceiling. he hears footsteps and looks over to see hojo, zack and lucretia coming towards him and talking together. he jumps to his feet.)

Sephiroth: “…He’s okay? Can I see him?”

(lucretia gives him a sad smile and then comes over and hugs him quickly.)

Sephiroth: “He’s okay? Mom?”

Zack: “He’s alive. We were able to remove the claw.”

Hojo: “But it’s in a million pieces. My creation is ruined.”

Sephiroth: “F**k you. I don’t wanna talk to you. So how is he? Can I see him?”

Zack: “Not yet. He’s resting. He lost a lot of blood during the surgery. And speaking of blood, his immune system isn’t filtering the poison at all and as a result he’s unable to fight the infection.”

Lucretia: *eyes filling with tears*

Sephiroth: *watching her* “So what are you telling me?”

Zack: “He needs a blood transfusion. Now. Our supply at the hospital is low but we’ll get him what we can. But we need more. We can’t take any chances so we’re only using blood of his type, which is—“

Sephiroth: “A negative, I know. So you need blood? I’ve got blood. He can have my blood. Maybe it could help him.”

Hojo: “Don’t be ridiculous, Sephiroth. In his weakened state your blood would kill him in an instant. It would kill a healthy person.”

Sephiroth: *frowns*

Zack: “He has a lot of friends, maybe you can find a few people…”

Sephiroth: “Yes! Yes. I’ll do that. I’ll get him blood.”

Zack: “All right. I’m going to go check his monitors.”

(hojo and zack leave. lucretia goes to follow)

Sephiroth: “Mom!”

(lucretia stops and turns back with a shaky smile)

Sephiroth: “Tell me the truth, mom. Does he have a chance?”

Lucretia: “Oh, honey, I—“

Sephiroth: “The truth.”

Lucretia: “Sephiroth…I don’t know. The toxin level of his blood is so high… But Vincent is strong. There’s always a chance. Always. We have to keep fighting for him.”

Sephiroth: “…Well. Thanks for fighting.”

Lucretia: “Of course. Vincent is dear to me. But I also know he’s dear to you.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(a short time later at the ramble room, everyone is sitting around waiting. no one is talking. some people are nodding off to sleep. squall, rinoa, zidane, algus, laguna, ward, kiros, edgar and setzer have joined the group. then suddenly the phone rings. everyone jumps up. lark grabs it)

Lark: “Hello? Oh, hi, Sephy. …………Okay. …………………………..Okay. …………………..Okay, I can do that. ……………………..Who? ……………………..Oh, right, right, of course. …………..Yes, I will call him right now. No worries. Okay, bye.” *hangs up*

Auron: “What did he say?”

Lark: “Vincent is out of surgery. The claw is off but his blood is still messed up. He needs a blood transfusion. Anyone here know for sure if they have A negative blood?”

Irvine: “I do!”

Ward: *frantically points to himself*

Kiros: “Ward says he does too. Really. He does.”

Lark: “Great. You guys mind going to the hospital and donating some blood?”

Irvine: “’Course not!”

Rufus: “You can take my limo.”

Ashley: “I hope you didn’t drink today, Irvine. The last thing Vincent needs is blood soaked with booze.”

Irvine: “No worries! I’ve been sober all day!”

Rufus: “Let’s go.”

Laguna: “Hey, hey! Good luck, Ward!”

Kiros: “I should go too. To translate for Ward.”

(irvine, rufus, kiros and ward leave.)

Auron: “I hardly think the blood of two people will do it.”

Lark: *picks up the phone* “I know. But who else do we know that needs tons of blood?”

Brady: “Vampires.”

Lark: “Exactly.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, over at the condos, alucard is sitting down with a nice tall glass of blood. dante is eating some pizza. lloyd shuffles in looking surly. he notices alucard)

Lloyd: “Ugh! Is that blood you’re drinking?”

Alucard: “You know I drink blood, Lloyd.”

Lloyd: “VERGIL! And yeah, but who said you could keep a pitcher of it in the fridge?”

Dante: “I did.”

Lloyd: “You did?”

Dante: “Yeah.”

Lloyd: “Ew! I drank some of that the other day by accident, you know!”

Alucard: “I clearly marked the pitcher. I wrote ‘BLOOD’ across it in huge letters. Can you read?”

Dante: “Yeah, Lloyd. Can you read?”

Lloyd: “Yeah, I can read! Shut up, Dante! You can’t read! And you can’t even say my name right!”

(the phone rings. dante picks it up)

Dante: “You’ve got Dante. …..Oh, hey there. ………….Sure, hold on a sec.” *holds phone out* “It’s for you, Al. It’s Lark. Says it’s an emergency.”

Alucard: *frowns* “Emergency?” *takes the phone* “Hello?”

Lark’s voice: “Hi, Alucard. Sorry to bother you, but we have an emergency and we really need to get some A negative blood.”

Alucard: “Blood? What happened?”

Lark’s voice: “Long story short Vincent’s in the hospital and needs a blood transfusion. We need A negative and only A negative. Sephiroth said a bunch of your relatives run blood banks. I thought you could help.”

Alucard: “Of course. A negative you said?”

Lark’s voice: “Yes, and *please* hurry. He’s really in bad shape, I don’t really have time to fill you in on the details now.”

Alucard: “I understand. I will have the blood at the hospital as soon as possible.”

Lark’s voice: “Thank you. I’ll meet you there.”

Alucard: “All right, good-bye.”

Lark’s voice: “Bye.”

(alucard hangs up the phone and jumps out of his seat. he then starts dialing the phone again)

Dante: *standing with a frown* “Babe, what’s wrong? Something happen? Who needs blood?”

Alucard: “Vincent. And he’s in bad condition according to Lark. I have to call my Uncle Herb.”

Dante: “Holy sh*t. What happened?”

Alucard: “I didn’t get all the details. …But I can’t even imagine what Sephiroth is going through right now. –Hello? Uncle Herb? It’s Alucard. …Yeah, I guess it has been awhile…”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the hospital a short time later, rufus, irvine, ward and kiros all arrive. sephiroth jumps up when he sees them coming)

Sephiroth: “You all donating blood?”

Rufus: “Not all of us. Just Irvine and Ward. We came in my limo. And Kiros came to translate.”

Sephiroth: “Well did Lark call Alucard like I told her to?”

Irvine: “Don’t know. We just kinda ran out the door.”

(lucretia comes over)

Lucretia: “Are you here to donate blood?”

Irvine: “Yes, ma’am.”

Ward: *nods*

Lucretia: “Excellent. Thank you so much. Please follow me.”

Kiros: “Ward says he’s kinda scared of needles!”

(ward, kiros and irvine follow lucretia. rufus stays behind with sephiroth)

Rufus: “How are you?”

Sephiroth: “Me?” *plops back in the chair* “Barely functional.”

Rufus: *sits* “Have you seen him yet?”

Sephiroth: *shakes head* “No. From what I understand…he…he’s in pretty bad shape.”

Rufus: “I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Sephiroth: “I really need people to stop telling me that.”

Rufus: “Sorry. …Is there anything else I can do?”

Sephiroth: *shakes head* “Unless you’re a doctor or have A negative blood. There isn’t even anything *I* can do. …They said my blood would kill him. And part of my faith in saving Vincent is in the man that ruined our lives.” *mutters* “I’ve never…”

Rufus: “……………You know, Sephiroth—“

(but before he can finish the doors open and lark rushes in with alucard, dante and uncle herb)

Uncle Herb: “I have blood! Tons of blood! Just tell me where to put it!”

Lark: “Let me get Zack…” *rushes off*

Sephiroth: “That was quick.”

Alucard: “Lark said he was in bad shape.”

Sephiroth: “Thank you.”

Alucard: “Not a problem.”

Sephiroth: “How much do I owe you?”

Alucard: “Don’t worry about it.”

Sephiroth: “But—“

Alucard: “I said don’t worry about it.”

(lark returns with zack)

Zack: “You have blood?”

Uncle Herb: “Tons of it! Just show me where to put it!”

Zack: “Why don’t you park it around the back? I’ll get some help transporting it to our facilities.”

Lark: “I’ll help.”

Rufus: “Me too.”

Alucard: “I will as well.”

Dante: “Count me in.”

Zack: “All right, I’ll meet you at the back doors.”

(everyone scurries off leaving sephiroth alone again. with a sigh he slumps back into his seat. irvine comes around the corner, a band-aid covering the crook of his elbow. he also has a cookie)

Irvine: “Your mom gave me a cowboy band-aid and a cookie. Pretty sweet lady.” *sits down*

Sephiroth: “…Yeah she is.”

Irvine: “You seen Vincent yet?”

Sephiroth: *shakes head no*

Irvine: “Your ma said he really needed this blood.”

Sephiroth: “…Yeah. He does.”

Irvine: “Well I was glad to give up some of mine. Vincent’s always been so nice to everybody. Don’t wanna see him suffer.”

Sephiroth: “…………”

Kiros: *pokes his head around the corner* “Ward says let’s go, Irvine. They don’t want so many people hanging around so we gotta leave.”

Irvine: “I gotcha.”

(he stands up and kiros disappears back around the corner)

Irvine: “Hang in there. If you see Vincent, tell him I hope he gets better soon.”

(he starts to walk away. sephiroth stands up)

Sephiroth: “Irvine.”

Irvine: *turns around* “Yeah?”

Sephiroth: *extends his hand* “……I know we’ve never really gotten along. But thank you.”

Irvine: *shakes it* “Just ‘cause you don’t get along with someone doesn’t mean you’re not friends.”

(Irvine leaves and sephiroth sits back in the chair once again and waits. he’s sitting there for about ten minutes before lark comes back. he stands up when he sees her)

Sephiroth: “Hey.”

Lark: “Hey. So Zack’s getting ready to start giving him the blood. He’s also giving him intravenous antibiotics to help fight the infection.”

Sephiroth: *nods* “Okay, then what?”

Lark: “Then they wait. Hopefully there’ll be some improvement in the morning.”

Sephiroth: “Where’s everyone else?”

Lark: “They left. Zack didn’t want so many people hanging around.”

Sephiroth: “What about you?”

Lark: “I’m leaving. I have to get some sleep. You should do the same, but I know you’re not leaving.”

Sephiroth: “Not until Vincent does.”

(she reaches up and gives him a kiss on the cheek)

Lark: *softly* “I know it’s hard, but try to relax.”

(she gives him a little wave and is gone. sephiroth plops down in his chair again. with a sigh he stares up at the ceiling)

Sephiroth: *mutters* “You were right, Tseng. It’s always going to hurt this much.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(lark, irvine, kiros, ward and rufus arrive back at the ramble room. alucard and dante are with them. everyone’s waiting in the room for news)

Shell: “So what happened?”

Lark: “Well, Irvine and Ward donated their blood, and Alucard was able to get a lot from his uncle’s blood bank. They’re giving that to him along with some antibiotics. Now they have to wait and see if there’s any improvement.”

Twilight: “Where’s Sephiroth?”

Lark: “He’s still at the hospital. He said he’s not coming home until Vincent does.”

Twilight: “Yeah, but what if Vincent doesn’t—“

Opal: “Twilight…please don’t finish that sentence.”

Ashley: “Poor Vincent…we should do something for him.”

Tifa: “Like what?”

Ashley: “I don’t know. Like send him flowers and get well soon cards or something. I know it can’t really help him, but maybe if he can just open his eyes and see it’ll lift his spirits.”

Yuffie: “That’s a great idea!”

Lark: “Yeah. We should get everybody to send something. It would be nice.”

Auron: “For now sleep is best. We must put our faith in the doctors.”

(everyone seems to agree with this. the room clears out except for lark and tseng)

Tseng: “How was he when you went back?”

Lark: “I don’t know…I really think he’s in shock. He hasn’t seen Vincent yet, so I don’t know if it’s really sunk in.”

Tseng: “I remember when Reeve was in the hospital that time. They almost lost him, and I nearly died inside. I can only imagine what he’s going through right now…he’s probably dying by the second.”

Lark: “…I think parts of him are already dead.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next morning at the hospital, it seems sephiroth has made himself a little bed out of the chairs in the waiting room. he’s asleep. lucretia comes over and brushes some hair out of his face. his eyes blink open and he looks dazed for a moment)

Sephiroth: “…Mom?”

Lucretia: “Good morning. You should have gone home and gotten some rest.”

Sephiroth *sits up* “I hardly got any rest. How’s Vincent?”

Lucretia: “Well, I’ll have Zack talk to you about that. But you can come see him if you like.”

Sephiroth: *jumps up* “Yes, please!”

Lucretia: “He’s hooked up to a lot of machines—“

Sephiroth: “That’s fine! I need to see him!”

(lucretia nods and then she leads him to vincent’s room. sephiroth enters and then just stares in sad shock at the scene before him. vincent is still totally pale and breathing shallowly. he still has an oxygen mask on his face and is hooked up to all kinds of equipment. the claw is gone, so from the elbow down on his former claw arm there is nothing there, and it’s just wrapped in gauze. sephiroth’s chin trembles)

Sephiroth: *whispers* “…Vincent…”

Lucretia: *puts a hand on his shoulder* “Are you okay? I tried to warn you.”

Sephiroth: *softly* “…I knew it was bad, but…”

Lucretia: “Just have a seat.”

(she leads sephiroth over to a chair next to vincent’s bed and sits him down. sephiroth just stares at vincent’s closed eyes looking like he’s going to cry. she goes over to the machines and starts writing stuff down in a chart)

Lucretia: “I’m really a scientist, not really in the medical field, but we did do a lot of medical research. Plus because of Vincent’s altered biochemical make-up, Zack really didn’t want any of the normal hospital staff treating him. So I guess you can say I’m his private nurse.”

Sephiroth: *softly* “…Nothing is helping, is it.”

Lucretia: “…The doctor’s really going to have to talk to you about that.”

(then zack enters. he nods at lucretia)

Lucretia: “And here he is now. I’ll be right back.”

(she leaves. sephiroth gets out of the chair and goes over to zack)

Sephiroth: “Zack….please…please tell me he’s improving.”

Zack: “…I wish it was that simple.”

Sephiroth: “So there’s no improvement? Nothing at all?”

Zack: “Well, the transfusion helped. The poison level in his blood is lower. But the infection…I’m doing all I can. There’s only so much medicine can do on it’s own.”

Sephiroth: “Can’t you use anything stronger?”

Zack: “In his weakened state? I don’t know if his body can handle it. He could get overloaded and go into shock. That’s not a chance I want to take.”

(sephiroth is floundering. he looks at vincent who is lying all peaceful in the bed, the steady noises of the machines beeping in the background.)

Sephiroth: “Well certainly his immune system is doing something! Isn’t it fighting? Wouldn’t that help?”

Zack: “I’m afraid his white blood cell count isn’t very high. I don’t know if that’s because of the poison or…”

Sephiroth: “Or what?!”

Zack: “…Or because he just doesn’t want to fight.”

Sephiroth: “What do you mean?! It’s an immune system! It’s an automatic bodily function!”

Zack: “The human mind is a powerful tool, Sephiroth. If Vincent doesn’t have the will to fight it, there’s nothing more medicine can do for him.”

(sephiroth is stunned by this. he just stares at vincent in shock)

Zack: “Recovery isn’t impossible, but…at this point it’s really up to Vincent.”

Sephiroth: “…You can’t tell me that the reason he is like this is because he doesn’t want to live.”

Zack: “I’m sorry. But that’s what I’m telling you.”

(sephiroth’s eyes immediately fill with tears. he leaves the room. zack calls after him but he doesn’t stop. he goes into the bathroom and puts both hands on the sink, just leaning forward and crying, his tears rolling off his face and falling into the sink below.)

Sephiroth: “This can’t be happening! Vincent… how could this be happening to you?! Live, Vincent! You have to live! You have to live! I wouldn’t be able to live with myself…”

(he just trails off sobbing hysterically. outside the bathroom, zack and lucretia are standing there listening to him cry. they look at one another and shake their heads sadly.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(some time later, sephiroth is sitting in the waiting room again, hunched over in his chair. lucretia comes over)

Lucretia: “How are you?”

Sephiroth: *shakes head*

Lucretia: “I want you to see something.”

Sephiroth: “What?”

Lucretia: “Come on, I’ll show you.”

(he gets up and follows her to vincent’s room. he stops in the doorway and looks shocked for a moment. that is because the room is filled with flowers and other gifts.)

Sephiroth: “Where did all this come from?”

Lucretia: “Your friends. They’ve been arriving all morning.”

(he walks around the room and looks at all the cards. there are cards from everyone in the ramble room, most have sent flowers but some have sent stuffed animals. there’s a bag of skittles from zidane. there are also flowers from kuja and seymour, dante and alucard, dracula (who calls himself kyle), the gundam wing guys, irvine’s brothers, bria, sunshine and koudelka and yuri. sephiroth has a bit of a smile on his face)

Sephiroth: “I don’t think Vincent ever thought he was this popular. I wish he could see it.”

Lucretia: “Vincent means a lot to many people. He may not say much but he never gave anyone a reason to dislike him.”

Sephiroth: “True…except for one man.”

Lucretia: “Well…he doesn’t really count.”

Sephiroth: “Where is he anyway?”

Lucretia: “He’s running some additional tests.”

Sephiroth: “You know I had to threaten his life to get him to come here.”

Lucretia: “That doesn’t surprise me.”

Sephiroth: “He’s just so jealous…it just sickens me.”

Lucretia: “I know. But no one else could have removed that claw. I don’t think you have any idea of just how complicated that device was. It was because of him Vincent even has a chance.”

Sephiroth: “That sickens me even more.”

Lucretia: “Anyway, I’m sorry to tell you you can’t sit in here with him. We’re still running tests.”

Sephiroth: “But—“

Lucretia: “I’m sorry, sweetheart, but you’ll just be in the way. And you want Vincent to get the best care, right?”

Sephiroth: “Of course.”

Lucretia: “I promise I will let you come in here and sit with him as soon as possible.”

Sephiroth: *looks around at the flowers and sighs* “I just wish Vincent could see all of this.”

Lucretia: “I know. So do I.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, back at the ramble room, lark is talking to Ashley, shell and tseng)

Lark: “So all the flowers got delivered. Lucretia said they look really nice in the room.”

Shell: “Of course they do!”

Ashley: “Poor Vincent. Did she say if he can have visitors yet?”

Lark: “Not yet.”

Tseng: “Has Sephiroth seen him?”

Lark: “I don’t know. I didn’t ask.”

Shell: “So is Vincent doing any better?”

Lark: “Not really… But removing the claw and the blood transfusions did seem to help.”

Ashley: “Well at least he’s in good hands. Zack’s a great doctor, right? And Lucretia will take good care of him.”

Tseng: “And I really, really hate to say this, but it’s a good thing Hojo’s there. I mean Vincent…isn’t normal anymore. He needs the demented freak who destroyed him to save his life.”

Lark: “I know, creepy… Anyway, Lucretia said it would be best if we just stayed away today and let Vincent rest. Hopefully we’ll be able to go visit him tomorrow.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, at the condos, dante is playing a video game. alucard is sitting down doing something financial related. dante puts the controller down and looks over at alucard)

Dante: “Hey, Al?”

Alucard: *looks up* “Yes?”

Dante: “How much did you have to pay your uncle for that blood?”

Alucard: “A lot. That was his food source for like a month. And you would have thought I’d get some kind of family discount. But no.”

Dante: “You got cheap ass relatives I guess.”

Alucard: “That I do.”

Dante: “So how come you’re not gonna make Sephiroth pay for it?”

Alucard: “Huh?”

Dante: “Yesterday when you brought the blood by the hospital. He asked how much and you said not to worry about it.”

Alucard: “Does that upset you?”

Dante: “Nah, I don’t care. Your money is your money. Not like we’re married. I was just kinda shocked.”

Alucard: “Well…he is my friend. And he has enough on his mind right now. It was the least I could do.”

(dante leans over with a grin and kisses alucard)

Dante: “That’s why I love ya, Al.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(later that night back at the hospital, zack, lucretia, and hojo are all standing around poor vincent. lucretia is watering the flowers. zack is writing something in a chart)

Zack: “His blood pressure is still low, which isn’t very good, but at least the amount of poison in his blood keeps dropping. This infection, though… I can’t even identify precisely where it came from.”

Hojo: “That’s quite simple really. Part of the fluid in the claw was made from the altered cells of other creatures.  They could have been infected with some kind of bacteria that’s been multiplying over all these years.”

Zack and Lucretia: *both pause and give him a disgusted look*

Hojo: “I’m not the one who broke the claw.”

Zack: *sigh* “He’s been holding pretty steady all day, so I guess that’s better than making a turn for the worse. Hopefully we’ll see an improvement in the morning.”

Hojo: “I suppose you’re going to need me back here tomorrow.”

Zack: “You’re the only one with a full understanding of Vincent’s…enhancements.”

Hojo: “Very well. But I’m taking the broken claw parts home with me.”

(he leaves the room. zack shakes his head)

Zack: “If I didn’t really need his help, I’d tell him to shove it.”

Lucretia: “Alexander is definitely not the most pleasant person to deal with.”

Zack: *snort* “You’re telling me.”

(lucretia puts down the watering can and moves towards the door)

Lucretia: “Sephiroth is still out there, isn’t he.”

Zack: *writing in the chart* “Oh yeah.”

Lucretia: *sigh* “I don’t suppose I could convince him to go home and get some rest.”

Zack: “At least convince him to eat something.” *heads for the door* “He hasn’t moved all day. I’ll be back in the morning.”

(he leaves. with a sigh, lucretia leaves as well. sure enough sephiroth is sitting in the same chair with his head in his hands. she walks over to him)

Lucretia: “Hi, sweetie.”

Sephiroth: *looks up* “Any change?”

Lucretia: “No, not really.”

Sephiroth: “Will I be able to sit with him tomorrow?”

Lucretia: “I’ll see. I don’t see why not.”

Sephiroth: “Just…not being able to see him…” *hangs head* “…You know this is all my fault, don’t you?”

Lucretia: “Sweetie, why don’t you let me get you something to eat?”

Sephiroth: “I’m really not hungry.”

Lucretia: “I know. But you need to eat. Vincent wouldn’t want you to jeopardize your own health over him.”

Sephiroth: “……………”

Lucretia: “I’ll go get some soup for you.”

(she leaves. sephiroth shakes his head and mutters)

Sephiroth: “…Right now I don’t know what Vincent would want.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(hojo returns to loser land with a box. he comes inside and dumps it on his lab table. everyone’s staring at him)

Hojo: “What?”

Kuja: “How is Vincent?”

Hojo: “Alive.”

Kuja: “Seymour and I sent flowers. Roses, of course. The only flower close to being as pretty as I am.”

Nida: “What’s in the box?”

Hojo: “We had to remove his claw, so I took the parts home with me.”

Nida: “Ew! Gross!”

Hojo: “I used a lot of good parts on that claw!”

Scarlet: “You’re sick.”

Hojo: “I can probably use the parts for something else.”

Heidegger: “Gya haa haa! I’m glad your weirdness is distracting them from my loud farting!”

Hojo: *holds up metal finger* “Look. This is a perfectly good finger. I can use this on a robot or something. I’ve always wanted my own robot.”

Everyone: “Ew!!”

Seymour: “Is Vincent going to be okay or what?”

Hojo: *shrugs* “Your guess is as good as mine.”

Nida: “You’re a crappy doctor! Remember when I had that cold? You gave me a shot you said would make me feel better, and it turned me purple!”

Hojo: “That was a new experiment. I just needed somebody to test it on.”

Scarlet: “If he dies it’s your fault! You made the claw!”

Hojo: “I didn’t damage it! You can blame Sephiroth for that!”

Kuja: “Oh yeah… I bet he’s not taking this too well, is he.”

Hojo: “I wouldn’t call constant crying and pouting as taking something well, no.”

Nida: “Why did this have to happen to Vincent?! He doesn’t bother anybody! Why couldn’t it happen to Squall? Can you give Squall a claw?”

Hojo: “Well if I had the right materials…”

Scarlet: “Are you going back to the hospital tomorrow?”

Hojo: *sigh* “Yes. I’m afraid so.”

Kuja: *filing nails* “You better pray Vincent pulls through. Sephiroth will probably kill you otherwise.”

Hojo: *mutters* “Yes. Definitely.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next day. sephiroth is just waking up from his bed made of chairs when he sees hojo passing by. he quickly sits up, rubs at his eyes, and gets to his feet)

Sephiroth: “Hojo.”

Hojo: *stops* “What?”

Sephiroth: “Have you seen Vincent yet?”

Hojo: “I just got here.” *keeps walking*

Sephiroth: “I’m still talking to you!”

Hojo: *pauses* “What is it then? Do you want me to help Vincent or not?”

Sephiroth: “Zack…Zack said that Vincent didn’t want to live anymore. That’s why he isn’t doing any better.”

Hojo: *snort*

Sephiroth: *frowns* “Is that true? Is that how you see it?”

Hojo: “I would hardly use such an unscientific explanation.”

Sephiroth: “Typical. What kind of explanation would you use then?”

Hojo: “That the infection in his blood is simply more than his body can handle right now. That other explanation is just an excuse. Pure rubbish.”

Sephiroth: “I don’t think Zack would lie to me.”

Hojo: “Then why did you ask me for my opinion? If I remember correctly you haven’t trusted anything I’ve said for a long time now.”

Sephiroth: “And why should I? You’re a sorry excuse for a scientist.”

Hojo: *creepy smile* “Funny…Vincent once said the same thing.”

(he goes into the room. zack comes out of it.)

Sephiroth: “Zack – is there any improvement?”

Zack: *frowns* “No… His white blood cell count’s a little bit lower I’m afraid.”

Sephiroth: “*Lower*?” *frowns* “I really need to talk to him. Do you think he can hear me? Maybe if I…” *shakes head* “I don’t know what I’m trying to say.”

Zack: “I don’t know if he can hear you, but even if he can’t just sensing someone there with him might lift his spirits. Anything is worth a try.”

(sephiroth says nothing else. he just quickly goes into the room. there are still flowers everywhere. lucretia is watering them, humming softly under her breath. hojo is checking out the machines and writing stuff down. sephiroth just stands near the doorway)

Hojo: “Lucretia, stop that racket. I am trying to think.”

Lucretia: *frowns* “Sorry, Alexander.”

(hojo then leaves the room, shaking his head in annoyance. lucretia smiles at sephiroth)

Lucretia: “Good morning. I hope you got some sleep last night.”

Sephiroth: “Not really.” *looks at vincent* “Zack said his white blood cell count is low.”

Lucretia: “I know… Well, most people get worse before they get better.”

Sephiroth: “…You don’t have to put on your fake optimism for me, mother.”

Lucretia: “….Well, at least the doctor said you could stay with him.”

Sephiroth: “He says if Vincent senses someone there with him it might help.”

Lucretia: “Of course it might! You just have a seat. I’ll leave you two alone.”

(she leaves, shutting the door behind her. sephiroth hesitates a moment before going over and taking a seat next to him. he reaches out and touches vincent’s hand, covering it with his own. it’s very hot. with a shaky sigh, sephiroth holds his hand tightly and bows his head)

Sephiroth: “…I don’t think saying I’m sorry even scratches the surface. I did this to you. I never should have said any of those things. I just…I was *scared*, Vincent. Scared of losing you again. …I never really told you…when Hojo took you away from me…I was a wreck. I couldn’t function. Through all those years I just secretly pined away for you. It’s probably stupid and cliché to say that part of me felt like it was missing, but that really is how I felt. At times…the pain was just unbearable. Even years later, the loneliness…I missed you every second. I wasn’t prepared to have you back. I was shocked. Happy – more than happy. But scared at the same time. All I could think about was reliving all that pain over again. Even after I had prayed so often to have you back in my life…all I could think about was losing you again. Those thoughts…they consumed me. They consumed me to the point where I had to force myself not to get attached. So I strayed. And I treated you badly. Because I wanted you to just give up on me. Save the pain for both of us. But you never gave up on me, Vincent.” *squeezes his hand* “And I’m not gonna give up on you!”

(the door then opens and lark peeks her head in.)

Lark: “Hey…can we come in? Lucretia said it was okay to visit.”

(sephiroth puts down vincent’s hand and stands up with a shaky smile.)

Sephiroth: “Sure.”

(lark comes in, and shell, Ashley, twilight and opal are with her. they all pause near the doorway and stare at vincent, looking shocked)

Opal: *softly* “Oh my goodness…”

Ashley: “He looks so…”

Shell: “Poor Vincent.”

Lark: “How is he doing?”

Sephiroth: “…Not really good. Doctor said his white blood cell count is lower.”

Lark: “Lower?”

Twilight: “White blood cells?”

Opal: “They’re part of your immune system, Twilight. They help to fight off infection. So it’s not good when they’re low. That means there’s less of them to fight the infection.”

Twilight: “So they’re kinda like an army?”

Opal: “Sure, I guess you could put it that way.”

Twilight: “Cool. There’s an army in my blood.”

Lark: “What else did the doctor say?”

Sephiroth: “Not much…I don’t know if there’s really anything else they can do for him.”

Twilight: “There must be some kind of blood drill sergeant that can whip those white blood cells back into shape!”

Sephiroth: “I wish there was, Twilight.”

Ashley: “Well the flowers certainly brighten the room up.”

Shell: “It’s still pretty depressing in here.”

Lark: *goes over and looks down at vincent* “Oh, Vincent. I really hate to see you like this.”

Ashley: “Maybe his body is still just recovering. I’m sure he’ll get stronger, right?”

Shell: “Yeah, the poison’s outta his blood. So that must help.”

Opal: “The poison was probably the worst of it.”

Twilight: “Once this chick I know poisoned some people and—“ *gets a look from opal* “…Uh…probably not the best time for this story.”

Sephiroth: “…Zack said Vincent doesn’t want to live.”

Everyone: *stares at him in shock*

Lark: “…What?”

Sephiroth: “He said… He said Vincent’s body isn’t fighting back. And he doesn’t see any other reason for it.”

Ashley: “Oh no…”

Lark: “But why? Why would he—“

Sephiroth: “I think that’s pretty obvious, Lark.”

(the door opens and zack, lucretia and hojo enter.)

Zack: “Sorry to interrupt your visit, but we’re going to give Vincent another transfusion.”

Opal: “Is it true, doctor?”

Shell: “Vincent’s body isn’t fighting it?”

Lark: “Why would he not want to live? There must be another explanation.”

Zack: *goes to speak*

Hojo: “Of course there is. That explanation is nothing more than words from a man who does not know any better.”

Zack: *glares at hojo* “If you have another explanation for it, I would love to hear it.”

Lucretia: “I’m sorry, but I’m going to have to ask all of you to leave.”

Hojo: “It’s simple, really. Any decent mind would have come to the same conclusion.”

Zack: “I would watch your words while you’re in *my* hospital, Hojo!”

(lucretia quickly ushers sephiroth, lark, twilight, opal, Ashley and shell out the door and closes it. sephiroth sighs sadly and hangs his head)

Lark: “Hojo…I don’t believe a word that comes out of his mouth anyway.”

Ashley: “Me neither. He’s not even a real doctor.”

Shell: “He’s just a creep who uses people for his science experiments.”

Opal: “I don’t think they’re going to let us see Mr. Valentine again…are they?”

Sephiroth: “…No. I don’t think so. You can all go back home. I’m going to keep waiting.”

Twilight: “You’re still not gonna come back to the ramble room?”

Sephiroth: “No…” *goes back and sits in his chair* “I have to stay here.”

Twilight: “But—“

Opal: “Leave him alone, Twilight.”

Lark: *gives him a hug* “Keep me informed, okay? We’ll be back to visit again soon.”

Sephiroth: “Of course.”

(they all leave. sephiroth slumps down in his seat.)

Sephiroth: *mutters* “I can’t leave when I have so much more to tell him.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(back at the ramble room some time later that day, all the mafia members, except for sephiroth, are gathered around in their usual meeting place. they all look somber.)

Algus: “It’s rather sad to have a meeting with one of our honored members missing.”

Shell: “I saw Vincent today. He really doesn’t look good.”

Laguna: “It’s so sad! I sent the best flowers at the store. Even Ward liked them!”

Setzer: “And Sephiroth…geez…I can’t even imagine what he’s going through. I know I’d be a wreck if anything happened to Edgar.”

Edgar: *glares and nudges him*

Setzer: “Uh…because we’re such good friends.”

Rufus: “I called this meeting about that actually. I’m sure most of us have been thinking about other ways we could  help. Well, I thought of something. Vincent doesn’t have any health insurance. And I know Sephiroth is anything but poor, but I thought it would take some of the weight off his shoulders if we all pitched in and paid the medical bills for him.”

Laguna: “Hey hey! That’s a great idea!”

Shell: “I can’t even believe you thought of it, Rufus.”

Edgar: “I would be happy to help.”

Setzer: “Me too.”

Algus: “I will be glad to help as well. Because a rich person in need is the saddest thing of all.”

Rufus: “Great. Well I’ll be going by the hospital tomorrow to tell him the news. Unless he comes back to the ramble room first.”

Shell: “I wouldn’t bet on that. When he said he wouldn’t come home until Vincent did, I think he really, really meant it.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(sephiroth gets up out of his chair and walks over to vincent’s room. it’s dark outside, and vincent’s appearance is unchanged. he goes and kneels next to the bed, whispering into vincent’s ear)

Sephiroth: *softly* “Vincent… They can’t keep me away from you any more. I’ve made so many mistakes. You have to forgive me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry.”

(vincent’s heart rate drops. sephiroth looks up in alarm)

Sephiroth: “Vincent? Vincent, can you hear me? You can’t leave me like this, Vincent! I love you! You can’t leave me! I’m sorry! I’m sorry! Won’t you forgive me? Won’t you forgive me, Vincent?”

(vincent flat lines. suddenly the doors open and a bunch of medical personnels swarm into the room going over to him and pushing sephiroth back towards the door. sephiroth reaches his hand toward the bed)

Sephiroth: “VINCENT!!!!”

(sephiroth wakes up with a start. he has fallen asleep sitting up in his chair. he looks very uneasy. it is now nighttime at the hospital. he gets up and goes to vincent’s room. it’s quiet and there’s no one around.)

Sephiroth: “Vincent?”

(he goes inside to see that vincent’s condition is unchanged. he goes and kneels next to the bed.)

Sephiroth: “I just had the worst dream. I’m so sor—“

(he cuts himself off as he hears footsteps enter behind him. sephiroth stands up and turns around to face hojo)

Hojo: “Talking to him? I wouldn’t waste your breath. You’re not supposed to be in here anyway.”

Sephiroth: “What are you doing here?”

Hojo: “What you told me to do. Don’t you remember, when you threatened my life?”

Sephiroth: “I just needed to tell him something.”

Hojo: “Well it’s too late for that. Between the drugs and the shock to his body Vincent is practically in a coma. He can’t hear you. So it’s too late to tell him anything now.”

Sephiroth: “Zack said he might—“

Hojo: “Zack! If it wasn’t for me, Vincent would have died. And yet you’re still believing every little word that Zack says.” *snaps* “Vincent can’t hear you anymore, Sephiroth. Believe it. Now get out. I’m trying to do my job.”

(sephiroth doesn’t look too happy, but he leaves and goes back to his chair. he plops down looking like his last shred of hope has been shattered. he puts his head in his hands and starts to cry.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(the next day, sephiroth is sitting in his chair when rufus comes in. he is carrying lily and he also has max with him.)

Rufus: “Max, can you just sit down and color for a few minutes while daddy talks to somebody?”

Max: “Yup!”

(sephiroth looks up to see max sitting down with a coloring book and some crayons and rufus coming over to him. he stands up)

Rufus: “Hey.”

Sephiroth: “Hello.”

Rufus: “Sorry I had to bring the kids with me.”

Sephiroth: “You can’t see him. The doctors are in there right now.”

Rufus: “Oh…well how is he?”

Sephiroth: “I haven’t talked to the doctor yet.”

Lily: *reaches for seph’s hair* “Ma la ka!”

Rufus: “No, Lily. Anyway, Sephiroth, I also came here to see you.”

Sephiroth: “Me?”

Rufus: “I wanted to let you know not to worry about Vincent’s medical bills. Your friends in the MAFIA will take care of that for you.”

Sephiroth: *stunned* “Really?”

Rufus: “Yup! You won’t have to pay a penny. It was my idea. Not that I’m bragging. I just thought you could use something else off your mind.”

Sephiroth: *still stunned* “…Thank you, Rufus.”

Rufus: “No need to thank me. We take care of our own.”

Max: “Daddy I colored a dinosaur!”

Rufus: “That’s great! I’ll see it in a minute!” *back to sephiroth* “Sorry. I’ll go. Give Vincent my best.” *goes to leave*

Sephiroth: “Hey, Rufus.”

Rufus: *turns* “Yeah?”

Sephiroth: “…You’ve really changed.”

Rufus: *smiles* “I’ll take that as a compliment from you. Anyway, I’ll be back again to visit Vincent. If you need anything, don’t hesitate to give me a call.” *walks over to max* “So let me see this picture!”

Max: *holds it up* “Look!”

Rufus: “That looks great! We’ll put it on the fridge when we get home, okay? Now get your crayons and stuff, mommy’s waiting back home for us.”

(he collects max and sephiroth watches them leave. zack then comes over)

Zack: “Sephiroth.”

Sephiroth: “Oh, Zack. Just the man I wanted to see. Have you checked on Vincent this morning?”

Zack: “Of course.”

Sephiroth: “Is there any improvement?”

Zack: “No… No, his white blood count keeps fading. I thought if I could get some more healthy blood in him it would revitalize him. But it’s not working. I now have him on the most powerful drugs available and it’s not working. He’s…fading. And if things don’t reverse themselves soon…I’m not sure how much longer he can last.”

Sephiroth: *stunned*

Zack: “I’m sorry. You know I’m still going to do everything I can.”

Lucretia: “Dr. Zack? There are some test results you need to look at.”

Zack: *walking away* “I’m not going to give up on him, Sephiroth. There’s always hope. But I just wanted you to know the truth.”

(he goes over to lucretia and they leave. sephiroth stands there stunned for another moment. these lyrics are from the song ‘hear you me’, by jimmy eat world.)

There’s no one in town I know

You gave us some place to go

(sephiroth walks into vincent’s room, which is the same. he goes over and pulls the chair over to vincent’s side and just holds his hand)

I never said thank you for that

Thought I might get one more chance

(he kisses vincent’s hand and just sits there with him silently.)

What would you think of me now?

So lucky, so strong, so proud

(later that day, lark, tseng, reeve and auron are talking to lucretia, who is talking and holding back tears. they all look solemn.)

I never said thank you for that

Now I’ll never have a chance

(later, the four are leaving the hospital. lark, tseng and reeve all give sephiroth hugs, but auron just walks past him with a glare. sephiroth returns the glare, but when they’re gone he just plops back down in his seat looking very upset.)

May angels lead you in

Hear you me my friends

(the next day. zack is looking at the results of some tests he ran, shaking his head with a frown. he rubs at his forehead looking very frustrated.)

On sleepless roads, the sleepless go

May angels lead you in

(zell, franswa, reno, irvine and rude have come to visit vincent. sephiroth is standing there talking to them but he looks like he’s far away and not really paying attention to them. he keeps looking sadly at vincent.)

So what would you think of me now?

So lucky, so strong, so proud

(zack is talking to all of them and nobody looks happy. sephiroth just keeps shaking his head and looking down.)

I never said thank you for that

Now I’ll never have a chance

(alone with vincent, sephiroth sits there and is about to open his mouth to speak when hojo enters. he gives sephiroth is a disapproving look, and sephiroth just shuts his mouth and is silent.)

May angels lead you in

Hear you me my friends

(the next day lark returns with twilight, shell, Ashley, rufus and elena. they stand off a bit and watch as lucretia and zack are talking to sephiroth. he looks increasingly upset as the conversation progresses. finally he just goes off, obviously in tears. lucretia has tears in her eyes too. zack looks very upset and is shaking his head. the others all look at each other sadly.)

On sleepless roads the sleepless go

May angels lead you in

(later that day cloud, tifa, barret, cid, red and yuffie all come to visit vincent. they are standing around talking. sephiroth just sits there in his chair with his head down looking half dead. they all leave. before cloud leaves he puts a hand on sephiroth’s shoulder and says something, but sephiroth doesn’t even look up.)

And if you were with me tonight

I’d sing to you just one more time

(it’s very late at night and sephiroth is just sitting there silently with vincent. all the flowers in the room are drooping. he just holds vincent’s hand and looks up like he’s pleading with fate, a tear running down his cheek.)

A song for a heart so big

God wouldn’t let it live

(zack and hojo are fighting about something. zack looks extremely annoyed and very tired. lucretia comes over with some soup for sephiroth, but he just shakes his head no and won’t take it.)

May angels lead you in

Hear you me my friends

(lark, alucard, laguna, squall, rinoa, zidane, algus, edgar and setzer come by. they are visiting with vincent while sephiroth and zack stand outside talking. they are watching that more than anything else. they are yelling at each other, but it sounds more like they’re just generally upset more than upset at each other.)

Upon sleepless roads the sleepless go

May angels lead you in

(much later that evening, sephiroth is sitting by vincent’s bed when zack enters. they both look exhausted. he says something to sephiroth and leaves. as soon as he’s gone, sephiroth dissolves into tears and lies his head on vincent’s bed, sobbing.)

May angels lead you in

Hear you me my friends

(very late that night lucretia walks into the room to find sephiroth asleep with his head on vincent’s bed. there are dried tears on his face. she sighs sadly and shakes her head, gently draping a blanket over his shoulders.)

On sleepless roads the sleepless—

May angels lead you in…

(the next day, sephiroth is still sitting in vincent’s room. he looks like crap. his hair is all dull and flat. the flowers in the room are all drooping, despite lucretia’s best efforts. the door to the room is open a crack, and suddenly he can hear zack and cloud’s voices. he turns and he can see them standing outside the room.)

Cloud: “Zack, you really need to come home and get some rest.”

Zack: “I can’t right now.”

Cloud: “Bria and I are both worried about you. You’ve been working non-stop.”

Zack: “I’m fine. I can’t leave him like this.”

Cloud: “If you get sick you’re no good to Vincent. You need food and rest.”

Zack: “There has to be a way… Something else I can do to help him.”

Cloud: “Zack, I want to see Vincent get well just as much as you do. But you’ve given him everything you’ve got.” *softly* “Sometimes you just can’t save everyone.”

Zack: *puts a hand to his head obviously very upset* “…At this rate I don’t even think he’ll live through the night.”

(sephiroth’s eyes widen upon hearing this. he quickly gets up and walks over to open the door. both cloud and zack are surprised to see him standing there.)

Sephiroth: *sharply* “What do you mean?”

Zack: “I’m sorry. I didn’t know you were in there.” *to cloud* “I’m sorry, do you mind?”

Cloud: “…Of course not.”

(cloud leaves. zack heaves a sigh)

Zack: “…I didn’t want you to know.”

Sephiroth: “What?! Why?! How could you keep something like that from me?”

Zack: “Because I didn’t want you to worry any more. And I can’t say anything for sure. But he’s still not responding to the drugs and his white blood cells are almost non-existent. If he was a normal person he’d already be gone.”

Sephiroth: *shakes head* “How could this be happening… You’re his doctor.. What have you been doing?!”

Zack: “I’ve been doing all that I can! I don’t know what else I can do for him! If I did, I would have done it already! I know you’re in pain! So am I! I’ve failed! I’ve failed as his doctor! I’ve done all I could do and nothing has helped!” *puts a hand to his head* “Maybe Hojo was right.”

Sephiroth: “…I’m sorry. I know you’ve done everything. I just… …Hojo’s never right. Don’t put yourself down like that, Zack. You’re a great doctor. I think anyone else would have given up on him.”

Zack: “I still haven’t given up on him.”

Sephiroth: “…Neither have I.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(a short time later, alucard and dante arrive at the hospital.)

Dante: “This is the first time I’m at a hospital for someone other than Lloyd.”

Alucard: “He really looks awful. I had to come speak with him.”

(they head towards the room. dr. zack passes by and sees them.)

Zack: “Alucard.”

Alucard: “Yes?”

Zack: “Can I talk to you for a moment?”

Alucard: “Certainly.” *to dante* “You go ahead. I’ll be right back.”

(he follows zack off. dante opens the door and sees sephiroth sitting next to the bed looking more depressed than ever)

Dante: “…Hey.”

Sephiroth: *looks up in surprise* “You?”

Dante: “The one and only.” *looks at vincent* “How’s he holding up?”

Sephiroth: “Not well. What are you doing here anyway?”

Dante: “I came with Alucard. He’s talking to the doctor.” *sits down*

(sephiroth looks pretty uncomfortable that dante’s there.)

Sephiroth: “Alucard force you to come along?”

Dante: “Alucard doesn’t force me to do anything.”

Sephiroth: “Then why did you come?”

Dante: “Thought you could use a sympathetic ear.”

Sephiroth: “I don’t want sympathy from you.”

Dante: “You really don’t like me, do you. And here I am trying to be nice.”

Sephiroth: “…I don’t deserve any sympathy.”

Dante: *blink blink* “What?”

Sephiroth: “…I said I don’t deserve any sympathy. From anyone. …I did this to myself.”

(dante looks shocked at these words.)

Dante: “…I can understand how you must feel.”

Sephiroth: *shakes head* “…No. You can’t. You’re immortal, and so is Alucard. You will never know what it’s like to lose someone you love. If I were you, Dante, I’d count myself lucky. Lucky that you can’t understand. Because it’s a worse feeling than anything you can imagine.”

(he then gets up and goes to the door just as alucard is coming in.)

Alucard: “Sephiroth? Everything all right?”

Sephiroth: *looks at him* “Next time you curse your immortality, think twice about it.”

(he leaves. alucard stands there looking stunned. dante stands up and looks at him)

Alucard: “…What was that about?”

Dante: “You were right, Al. He does look awful.”

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(later, hojo is washing his hands at the sink when lucretia comes over)

Lucretia: “Alexander… I need to talk to you about something.”

Hojo: “What is it?” *dries his hands*

Lucretia: “I’m worried about our son.”

Hojo: “What do you want me to do about it?”

Lucretia: “He’s hardly been eating…he hasn’t gone home in a week. He’s a shadow of himself. Last night I found him passed out in Vincent’s room.”

Hojo: “What of it?”

Lucretia: “It’s not good for *his* health. I know he’s worried about Vincent, but he’s only hurting himself.”

Hojo: “What do you want me to do? He never listens to me.” *pause* “Although he did stop talking to Vincent.”

Lucretia: “What?”

Hojo: “I caught him talking to Vincent and told him to stop. He hasn’t done so since.”

Lucretia: “Why did you tell him that?”

Hojo: “Because Vincent can’t hear him. What good is it?”

(lucretia looks shocked to hear this. then she looks angry. she reaches out and slaps hojo across the face)

Lucretia: “You monster! Even if Vincent can’t hear him, you think it does him any good to have all his emotions bottled up inside? All you know anything about is your sick experiments! You don’t know anything about people!”

(and with that she stalks away)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(meanwhile, sephiroth is pacing in front of vincent’s room. lark and tseng come over to him.)

Lark: “Hi.”

Tseng: “How are you?”

Sephiroth: “It doesn’t matter how I am.”

Lark: “…How’s Vincent?”

Sephiroth: *just shakes his head*

(lucretia then comes over, all prepared like she’s going to say something. but then she sees lark and tseng standing there and she pauses a moment.)

Lucretia: “Oh. I didn’t realize you had visitors.”

Sephiroth: “What is it?”

Lucretia: “It can wait. You talk with your friends.”

(she leaves. sephiroth goes and plops in a chair with a sigh, hanging his head again. lark and tseng sit next to him.)

Sephiroth: “…All that wasted time…”

Lark: “…Sephy? Is Vincent…?”

Sephiroth: “…Zack says he probably won’t make it through the night.”

(lark gasps in shock, tears coming to her eyes. tseng also looks shocked.)

Tseng: “Oh my god… Sephiroth, I—“

Sephiroth: “Please. I don’t want any more sympathy. I don’t deserve it. Not any of it.”

Lark: “What are you talking about?”

Sephiroth: “Everything that happened… I did it to myself. You were right about me, Tseng. I am a phony. I pretended not to love Vincent because I loved him too much. I was too scared of what would happen if… And now look what I’ve created.”

Lark: “…Well…everyone makes mistakes…”

Sephiroth: “Mistakes? My *life* is a mistake. I don’t even care how I feel. Now Vincent has to suffer for my actions. That was the last thing I ever wanted!”

(he buries his head in his hands again. lark and tseng look at each other frowning. then tseng reaches into his pocket and holds out something.)

Tseng: “I brought something for you. I thought you could use it.”

(sephiroth looks up to see tseng has in his hand the ring that vincent gave to sephiroth. sephiroth takes it and holds it tightly in his hand)

Sephiroth: “Thank you.”

(then zack comes out of vincent’s room, frowning. sephiroth looks up at him)

Sephiroth: “…Well?”

Zack: *sadly shakes his head* “…I’m sorry. It’s only a matter of time now. There…there’s nothing more I can do.”

(sephiroth bows his head again. lark and tseng just look stunned)

Lark: “So…you don’t think…”

Zack: *with difficulty* “…I don’t expect Vincent to make it through the night.”

(sephiroth starts to cry. lark and tseng just look stunned at first. then tears come to lark’s eyes. zack can’t look at any of them)

Zack: “…I’m sorry. I just…there’s nothing more I can do.”

Tseng: “It’s not your fault.”

(then hojo comes out of the room. he sees everyone’s expressions and pauses besides zack)

Hojo: “I see you broke the news.” *to sephiroth* “No one could have saved him.”

Sephiroth: “…………”

Hojo: “I’m surprised he’s held on to his pathetic life so long.”

(sephiroth’s eyes flash at hojo. in the next second he’s on his feet, hands wrapped around hojo’s throat, choking him. lark and tseng jump to their feet.)

Lark: “Sephiroth, no!”

Tseng: “Sephiroth, he’s not worth it!”

Zack: “Just put him down!”

(but sephiroth doesn’t. then lucretia comes over. her eyes immediately widen.)

Lucretia: “Sephiroth! Stop this!”

(sephiroth finally drops hojo, but he still glares at him. hojo collapses to the floor, gasping for air.)

Sephiroth: “Your life is the most pathetic of them all! And the most useless!”

(he goes into vincent’s room and shuts the door. lucretia tries to open it, but he’s blocking it.)

Lucretia: “Sephiroth? Sephiroth, please…”

Zack: “Just leave him alone.”

Lucretia: *sigh*

Lark: “I guess… I guess we’ll go back to the ramble room.”

Tseng: “Yeah…we’ve got some bad news to spread.”

(they leave. hojo is still trying to get his breath back. zack looks at lucretia.)

Zack: “Vincent’s life is in fate’s hands right now. There’s nothing more science can do for him.”

Lucretia: *looks at hojo* “Science can’t solve everything. Sometimes you just have to believe in something else.”

Hojo: *chokes out* “Believe in whatever you want. Your wishes can’t save Vincent.”

(and with that they just walk away, leaving hojo still on the floor.)

……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………

(hours pass. sephiroth sits alone in the dark by vincent’s side. all is quiet. then all of the sudden he hears a commotion from down the hall.)

Lucretia: “Sir! You can’t go in there!”

?????: “I need to talk to him!”

(the door is shoved open and it’s auron. sephiroth stands and auron strides over to him. lucretia stands helpless in the doorway)

Auron: “I can’t stay silent about this any more! Your feelings are no concern of mine! Vincent is going to die because of you! He loved you with all he had and what did he get for it!? Nothing but pain! You don’t deserve him! How could you be so cold?!”

(auron is fuming, but sephiroth stands there calmly.)

Sephiroth: “…It wasn’t easy.”

Auron: *blink blink* “…What?”

Sephiroth: “Pretending not to care. It wasn’t easy. I thought I could spare us both the pain if he just gave up on me. I didn’t want to lose the person I loved again.”

Auron: “…You can’t just wish love away.”

Sephiroth: “I know that now… Now…I don’t even know why I ever wanted to. Like that would have done anything. I guess…I became so controlled by my pain it seemed like the only sane thing to do.” *softly* “It goes to show you what type of man I let myself become.”

(auron stands there in shock a moment.)

Auron: “…I can never forgive you for what you’ve done to Vincent.”

Sephiroth: “I understand, Auron. I’ll never forgive myself.”

(auron opens his mouth to speak, but then he closes it again. he walks over to vincent and looks down at him)

Auron: “…Angels watch over you, Vincent. We’re all praying for you.”

Sephiroth: *softly* “He can’t hear you.”

Lucretia: “You don’t know that.”

Sephiroth: *confused* “Mother? But…Hojo—“

Lucretia: “Him! Since when have you ever listened to him? Now is not the time to start! If you have something to say to Vincent, Sephiroth. Say it!”

Auron: “Yours is the one voice I know he wants to hear.”

(sephiroth turns back and looks at vincent. lucretia leaves. auron walks to the door and then stops. he looks back at sephiroth)

Auron: “…You called me Auron. That’s not something I thought I’d ever hear.”

(and then he leaves, closing the door behind him. sephiroth kneels next to vincent’s bed once more, takes his hand.)

Sephiroth: “…Vincent. I don’t know if you can hear me. I hope you can. Because I really need you to hear this. …I made a mistake. A lot of mistakes. I love you…you…you know I love you. All this time…I’ve never truly loved anyone but you. Lark…I made her my distraction and I obsessed over it. Any love I had for her was nothing next to what I felt for you. The whole time I was with her I only wanted you back. Everyone thought I was jealous of her with you…but…in reality, I was jealous of *you* with her.” *shakes head* “I was stupid, Vincent. I was so stupid. I wasted all this time with you…and for what? Avoiding pain? If there is pain in the world worse than what I’m feeling right now…I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. I did this to you. I’m to blame. I’ll never forgive myself. If I could trade my life for yours, Vincent, I would. Because you deserve it. I’ve done nothing but waste mine. I’ve ruined the best thing that’s ever happened to me. It all seems so stupid now! How could I let my fear of losing you ruin everything?!”

(vincent’s heart rate drops. sephiroth looks up in alarm. then he moves closer to vincent and starts talking faster)

Sephiroth: “Vincent…I went and saw the future. I saw myself. I looked awful. All I did was cry, wearing your ring around my neck. I got one for you too. Right before you were taken from me, I got one for you. But I never gave it to you… I never gave it to you because I was scared. Every choice I made was because I was scared. And in that future I saw…you wouldn’t have even recognized me. I destroyed myself because of it. After I saw it I thought I ended up that way because I gave in and showed my love for you again. But now I see just made another mistake!” *starts crying* “You have to forgive me, Vincent! I’m so sorry! I never meant for any of this to happen!! I never meant to hurt you! I wish I could take all of it back! Everything I’ve brought on myself I deserve! But you don’t deserve this!”

(vincent’s heart rate drops again. sephiroth bends his head and starts to sob.)

Sephiroth: “Don’t leave me, Vincent! You can’t leave me! I need you!! Please! I’m sorry! You have to live!  Vincent!! Vincent…”

(he just trails off sobbing, his head down. he just totally loses it. he’s crying and crying. and then, eventually, he falls asleep. he’s asleep for a long time. hours later, he opens his eyes and looks pretty out of it. he then notices that vincent has flat lined. he bows his head, looking like he has no more tears to shed. he puts his head down next to him.)

Sephiroth: *sigh* “I hope you’re in a better place.”

(suddenly, he feels a hand touch his head.)

???????: *weakly* “I’m with you. Of course I am.”

(sephiroth looks up, tears running down his face. vincent has his face turned, his red eyes half open. he has pulled the oxygen mask off his face. sephiroth stares at him in shock)

Sephiroth: “….Vincent?! You’re alive?”

Vincent: “…Seems that way.”

Sephiroth: “But…but…” *points to the flat lining heart rate monitor*

Vincent: “Oh, I removed that. It was bothering me.”

Sephiroth: *stunned*

Vincent: “I’m glad you’re awake now, angel. Because I needed to tell you that it’s all right. I believed in you all along.”

Sephiroth: “ Y-you heard what I said last night?”

Vincent: “Of course I did. Every word.”

Sephiroth: *grabs his hand and holds it tight* “I *meant* every word.”

Vincent: “I know you did.”

Sephiroth: “Do…do you forgive me, Vincent?”

Vincent: “Of course I do, angel. I love you.”

Sephiroth: “I…I thought I was going to lose you.”

Vincent: “You’ll never lose me. Even when I die, my spirit will be with you. There’s no where in the world I’d rather be than wherever you are.”

(the door opens and lucretia, zack and hojo all rush in)

Lucretia: “Sephiroth, I—“ *sees vincent* “Vincent?!”

Zack: *rushes over* “Vincent! You’re conscious! I thought you were dead! The heart monitor–”

Vincent: “Sorry to worry you. I took it off.”

Lucretia: *looks at a machine* “His blood pressure’s improved!”

Zack: *checks his temperature* “His fever’s gone way down.”

Lucretia: “It’s a miracle!” *looks at hojo* “Not everything can be easily explained. I’d like to see science explain *this*, Alexander.”

Hojo: *scowls*

Zack: “How do you feel, Vincent?”

Vincent: *looking at sephiroth* “I feel simply wonderful.”

Lucretia: “Do you see the beautiful flowers? Well, they’re a bit wilted now. But you had lots of visitors!” *looks at sephiroth* “Of course one visitor never left. He said he wasn’t leaving the hospital until you did.”

Vincent: *smiles at sephiroth* “That doesn’t surprise me.”

Zack: “Well, Vincent. These new figures are certainly encouraging. It looks as though you’ll make a full recovery. I guess the next thing to do is look into getting you a new prosthetic hand.”

Vincent: “Anything beats what was there before.”

Hojo: *mutters something and leaves*

Zack: “I’m going to go talk to some people. I think we’ll find you something you like a lot better.” *leaves*

Lucretia: “I’ll go tell everyone the good news!” *leaves*

(sephiroth is now alone again with vincent)

Vincent: “And you, angel – where are you going?”

Sephiroth: “I’m not going anywhere.” *he sits on the bed and smiles at him* “I hate that this had to happen to you…to make me come to my senses.”

Vincent: “This is hardly suffering…next to what I’ve already been through. I wasn’t alone this time. I knew I had someone always waiting at my side.”

Sephiroth: *hangs head* “…I thought you were going to die. Zack…Zack told me it was like you didn’t want to live any more.”

Vincent: “I was a lost soul who needed some encouragement. But I got that from you.”

Sephiroth: “I’m so sorry, Vin.”

Vincent: “Stop apologizing. You’ve suffered enough. I think we both have.”

(sephiroth then leans down and kisses him. he then keeps his face close to vincents)

Sephiroth: “I thought I’d never get to do that again.”

Vincent: “I too had the same fear.”

Sephiroth: *reaches into pocket* “I need to do something… I have something for you, Vincent. …Something I meant to give you a long time ago.”

(he holds out his hand. he’s wearing the old worn ring vincent gave him all those years ago. and in his hand is another identical looking ring.)

Sephiroth: “Vincent…will you wear the ring of a big, stupid jerk who promises to never leave your side ever again?”

Vincent: *weak smile* “Till the end of time, my angel.”

THE END

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