No Longer A Memory! – Chapter 1: Typical Morning

Chapter Summary: Vincent and Sephiroth… introduction.

Author: Illusor Meaneld

Rated T: for Descriptive violence and injuries, No Adult Situations, No Cussing.

Disclaimer: I did not create, and do not own the characters from Final Fantasy 7. They are owned by Square-Enix, and I am simply borrowing them for my own (and hopefully your) amusements.

I DO however own, the revised conceptual designs for some clothing, demons, and monsters, and "Namir" completely belongs to me so no stealing…

A decent amount of time had passed since the fateful Fiasco in the mountains north-west of the 'Chocobo Farm'. Vincent and Sephiroth had settled comfortably into a two-bedroom Apartment. Originally their plan was simply to rent, but this decision was quickly revised when Sephiroth became a veritable tourist attraction, and Vincent's volatile demons were not easy on the walls and upholstery. And so to halt irate landlords Sephiroth and Vincent had pooled to purchase the entire Apartment Complex. Things had settled down after that. Sephiroth's presence was still intriguing, but those few who had opted to rent out one of his apartments learned very quickly he was not a landlord to cross. Eventually only the stalwart people remained and Sephiroth and Vincent were left in peace.

This was a typical morning. No matter how early Sephiroth's conciousness returned from the depths of sleep, Vincent always awoke shortly before him. By the time Sephiroth had fully awoken and risen to start his morning exercise and sword-practice, Vincent would have claimed the shower. Just as Sephiroth finished his regime he would wordlessly pass a fully-clothed, freshy showered Vincent into the still steamy and cinnamon scented bathroom for his own washing up. As the Ex-General emerged from the now vaguely Vanilla-scented room, Vincent would have finished his careful preparation of morning breakfast. The gunman preferred a full standard breakfast: orange juice, bacon, eggs, toast, and sometimes "egg-in-the-hole-of-the-toast", which always made Sephiroth smirk. Vincent would have quietly prepared his own meal, and have started his leisurely way through it when the silver-haired swordsman emerged from the shower. Sephiroth, on the other hand, preferred a much simpler breakfast. A quick raid through the well-stocked cupboards would provide him with his odd-combination of sugary-cereal and wheaty flakes, both in one bowl, add milk, and he would join the silent gunman at their table contentedly munching away. No conversation was needed, aside from the occasional 'pass the milk' or salt or other such table-talk. they said nothing. Their silence was interrupted once by the telephone. Sephiroth calmly picked it up, answering questions from the other end in politely terse replies, and in a few moments the comfortable quiet resumed. However this was a typical morning, and as such the peace never lasted. In a fairly predictable manner the front door slammed open half-way through the two figure's meal

"Mornin' Guys!" Zack bellowed enthusiastically, half-dancing through the living room to stand in the kitchen. "How are ya doin' today? Been having some nice father-son chats and all?" He paused for the briefest of moments, and was greeted only by the soft 'chink' of silver-ware on dishes, and the quiet munching of food. "So how goes the job hunt? You're like a busboy or something right?" He leaned over an empty chair to better gaze into Vincent's face.

"Mercenary." Vincent answered without looking up,

"Bodyguard." Sephiroth added, Mimicking Vincent's response.

"Whoa! So you guys like… kill people for a living now?" Zack cried in feigned horror.

"Don't have to… people take one look at me and run away." Sephiroth explained with a smirk. Then he gestured to Vincent, "With him it's more like eating people anyways." His turquoise gaze stayed on Zack even as he spoke.

"That's not funny." Zack frowned,

"Hey Vince… it's been a while since your last change right?" Sephiroth continued,

"hmm…" was the gunman's noncommittal agreement.

"Hey! That's not funny!" Zack growled,

"You only met Galian Beast… Chaos has so much more… skill." Sephiroth informed him with only the barest of smirks. Zackary paled, "No worries Zack… Just so long as you don't wash your hair… you have nothing to fear right?" Sephiroth added quickly, his eyes dancing with humor.

Zack fidgeted uncomfortably, "I… uh… I gotta use the restroom!" He snapped abruptly, whirling in place and striding down the hallway, slamming yet another door. The comfortable quiet descended once more, both Vincent and Sephiroth unhurriedly going through their food.

"I wonder when he'll figure out Cloud has a restroom at his place." Vincent muttered softly, a smile playing about his lips.

"I wouldn't bet on it… he's pretty dense about those things…" Sephiroth returned, chuckling under his breath.

Yes, it was quite the typical morning…

The rest of the day was never quite so predictable; Warriors for hire weren't exactly paid on a salary or hourly basis. And Vincent and Sephiroth made an unparalleled mercenary team. Occasionally Zack or Cloud or one of the others would come along as well, but more often than not it was just the two of them. As Sephiroth had told Zack, he usually played 'bodyguard' when such a situation was available. And true to his word his reputation was as useful as his skills. Few wanted to tangle with the Legendary General Sephiroth. Vincent, on the other hand, made an absolutely impeccable sniper and scout. His silent and almost surreal passage through any terrain made him invaluable. Today they had accepted the task of 'Monster Extermination'. Neither Zack nor Cloud preferred to join the two of them on these sorts of missions, both had painful memories of another very similar Venture. To Sephiroth and Vincent… these were the best kinds.

They both arrived at the small farm-like house at the same time, in a certain form of irony that amused Sephiroth to no end, they rode elegant black motorcycles. Nothing quite like the elaborate 'Fenrir' Cloud preferred, but sleek, maneuverable machines. Both vehicles settled to a quiet rumble as they parked, each sliding from their 'mount' in almost exactly the same movement. Sephiroth had always been fond of making an entrance, and while Vincent was quieter he seemed to have a similar sense of drama. Very early in their acquaintance they had made a deal. Both of them had hung their favored outfits in the back of the closets. And to identify themselves easily to one another even in the fields they had adopted matching ensembles. Long silver-grey coats completely open in the front, with elegant black long-sleeve shirts underneath. Dusky almost-black pants tucked into knee-high black leather boots, Cuffed with silver buckles and guards. The only difference between the two was the silver clawed-gauntlet Vincent wore over his demonic left hand. Black doe-skin gloves completed the attire for both. Vincent touched a hand to both of his guns as he walked, Death Penalty on his left hip, and Cerberus on his right. Sephiroth casually laid a hand on Masamune's sheath. The retrieval of his weapon had been rather interesting. He and Zack had both been shocked to discover what had befallen their precious blades. Zack was bemoaning the rusted and now useless 'grave-marker', and Sephiroth wondering if it would be possible to retrieve his famous sword from the depths of the Northern Crater. Vincent had then surprised everyone when he stated that the Masamune was not, in fact, lost somewhere in the Life-Stream, but that he had been keeping it in the Shinra Mansion. To this day he refused to explain why or how he'd managed that. Zack had insisted it was more proof of a paternal relationship.

Sephiroth stepped forward to knock on the door. He was usually the one to make all the arrangements for these jobs, which suited the quiet gunman just fine. The door was opened; instructions and information passed hands, as well as an estimate price for the task in question. It was all handled in a very calm business-like manner. They rarely had problems with people trying to short-change them anymore. After the first few had the misfortune to discover Sephiroth's personal policy towards that, the rest were more than content to pay whatever price had been agreed upon. In a matter of moments they were on their way, apparently there was a rather large nest of Adamantoises taking up residence in the nearby wilderness. The Duo's job was to either convince the beasts to move elsewhere, or dispose of them.

"Breed like rabbits these monsters…" Sephiroth commented as they hiked into the woods. The motorbikes were left behind at the farmhouse, no use running the risk of needing to replace them when both warriors were perfectly capable of walking.

"Keeps us in business." Vincent calmly stated. Sephiroth shrugged, smiling.

The trudge into the woods didn't last very long. Both warriors had keen instincts and good tracking skills. They hadn't gotten the reputations they'd had by being lightweights. In no time they'd managed to spot the tell-tale scrapes and broken branches on the nearby trees. It was a good-sized nest, two massive adults and four smaller beasts just leaving adolescence. As anticipated, they weren't particularly keen on relocating. Monsters usually weren't. But this didn't much trouble the two mercenaries. Not many people could carry a sword sharp enough to slice through adamantoise shell, nor gun shells which could penetrate the thick armor.

Even with their expertise Vincent found it prudent to use his famed 'limit-break', Choosing Galian Beast for the task. When the battle was finished and corpses steamed on the ground Sephiroth found himself facing the massive purple demon. It was not his first encounter with either Galian or the other demons Vincent housed, in fact he found these instances quite entertaining himself. With a smile he eyed the red-maned creature, who sized him up in return. But before the massive demon could make a move Sephiroth drew a small round object from a pouch hidden in his massive coat, Chucking the sphere through the trees with Mako-enhanced strength. In a blur of color Galian whirled giving chase to the ball, moments later returning with it between his massive fangs. He paused before Sephiroth his muzzle twisting into a smirk before crunching the object in his teeth. Unperturbed Sephiroth removed a dried bone with slivers of meat still on it and tossed that. The scene repeated for the next half-hour until Galian Beast tiredly surrendered the body to Vincent. Standing there the Gunman raised one raven eyebrow at his partner.

"What was that?"

Sephiroth shrugged, "I got the idea when Galian took off after that Deer… remember that?" Vincent nodded mutely, Sephiroth continued, "I had a theory that Galian isn't … hungry per-se,.. I think he's just Bored!" Vincent's other brow raised,

"Bored?"

"Wouldn't you be?" the ex-general countered, Vincent delved into thought. It seemed to make some sense. "Speaking of demons and voices…" Sephiroth continued, as they made their way back to the farm. "JENOVA has been a real pest of late… I mean, I've always been able to hear her a little… but either she really doesn't like Chaos, or she's getting desperate…" Vincent tilted his head slightly as he gazed at the younger man.

"desperate?"

"Well, from what I understand… she's running out of options… No more clones and all that, No one to make them… But that's not the point, her voice is getting annoying!" Vincent had to chuckle,

"I've found that when my voices get particularly persistant… a little meditation helps."

"Meditation?" Sephiroth queeried, "I've never seen you do that!" Vincent coughed lightly,

"What do you think I did in that Coffin all those years?"

"I figured you slept…" Sephiroth shrugged,

"I …. Don't sleep anymore…"

Sephiroth gawked, "Well then what do you do at night?"

"Meditate."

"ALL night?"

"Sleeping makes Them harder to control."

"Yeah but… ALL NIGHT?"

Vincent shrugged, "It can be really close to actual sleep if you do it right… the only times I truly sleep are right after I've shifted, or when I'm actually unconscious." Sephiroth continued to stare, finally opting to just shake his head in disbelief,

"all night…"

"Would you like to try it?" Vincent countered in an effort to shift the conversation away from his sleeping habits or lack thereof. Sephiroth fiddled with the ends of his bangs unconsciously, a motion that indicated he was deep in thought.

"Sure… why not… what could it hurt right?" He smiled at his partner, who gave a ghost of a smile back.