Vergil collapsed to one knee his whole being exhausted from his battle with his younger twin.
"Am I...being defeated?" He asked himself. Was this his limit? He was the son of one of the legendary beings in the demon world. It was practically an embarrassment that a son of Sparda was losing in this particular fashion.
"What's wrong? Is that all got?" Dante taunted. "Come on get up, you can do better than that."
Vergil growled and rose to his feet. He would not allow himself to fall here. He would take the amulet and the power of his father will be his. Vergil had waited long for this day. He would not allow his years of searching for Sparda's power to be in vain. Suddenly both half-demons felt the ground beneath them tremble heavily.
Vergil knew that he was running out of time. "The portal to the human world is closing, Dante..." He said while trying to maintain his footing from the earthquake. "Because the amulets have been separated."
Dante's expression set itself in the rare sight of determination. "Let's finish this Vergil. I have to stop you, even if that means killing you."
Vergil heard the resolution in Dante's voice. Only one of them was walking here alive. Readying his sword the blue-coated man charged forth and Dante followed suit. This would be their final moment, all the battles that led up to this point. As Vergil ran he could've sworn that Dante had morphed into an image of Sparda himself shocking him in the process.
This allowed Dante to capitalize as he swung his rebellion sword across Vergil's torso spraying his blood over the water stream. The half-demon tried to keep his stance but the pain was too great forcing him to drop his father's sword. He knew that blow was the deciding factor in his defeat. He was about to drop fully until he noticed something else that he possessed had fallen.
It was his mother's precious amulet. The very object that unlocked his father's hidden power.
Seeing it made the half-demon regain enough willpower to not collapse. He reached for the golden trinket and eyed it. His expression turned slightly sorrowful as he remembered that fateful night when he wasn't strong enough to protect the one person he cared for.
Grunting Vergil stood albeit with some effort. "No can have this Dante." He declared while stumbling backward.
The younger twin looked at him from over his shoulder as he holstered his blade.
"It's mine. It belongs to a son of Sparda!" Vergil kept walking back causing Dante to grow confused. His eyes then widened when he saw his brother heading towards the end of the cliff.
Dante immediately turned and rushed to Vergil. Trying to stop his brother from doing something suicidal. He only managed to get a few feet as Vergil drew out his Yamato, pointing the tip of the sharp blade at Dante's throat.
"Leave me and go. If you don't want to be trapped in the demon world." He told his younger twin. "I'm staying.
Dante's just looked at him like he had lost his mind.
"This place...was our father's home."
And with that, the half-demon took one more step back towards the edge leading to his fall. Dante reached out to grab him but he was too late. Giving him something to remember him Vergil ran his sword across Dante's open palm. As he descended closed his eyes and smiled, a part of him was happy that he was able to see his brother for one final time.
Now all that awaited him was the madness of the demon world below. But unbeknownst to Vergil was the bright green light he was falling towards and what awaited him beyond it.
Tifa and Marlene entered the Sector 5 church. It was a beautiful day as the sun was shining brightly over the Midgar slums. A week had passed since the Geostigma outbreak and everyone within the city went back to rebuilding their lives as best they could. The church was still damaged from Cloud and Kadaj's scuffle but in time it would be repaired. Despite that it didn't prevent the flowers from growing, even in its damaged state Aerith's church still kept its purity.
"Be careful around the pond Marlene," Tifa said as she smiled down at the little girl.
Marlene grinned brightly up at the raven-haired woman. "Okay, Tifa!"
The little girl skipped to the bed of flowers that managed to survive leaving the barmaid behind. Tifa smiled at how joyous Marlene was, it was good to her in such high spirits. Flowers always seem to bring out the girls' already positive mood.
Tifa cast her attention up at the ceiling where a leaning support beam was leading to a hole in the roof. Her thoughts then drifted to Cloud. The man had been living with a tremendous amount of guilt over Aerith's death. He began distancing himself from her, Marlene, and Denzel not to mention ignoring everyone else's calls.
But since Cloud had defeated Kadaj she had seen him smile again. It brought Tifa relief that he wasn't beating himself up anymore. It was good to know that he was able to move forward with his life and not be burdened by his past failures. Realizing that wasn't alone was the first step now all he had to do was forgive himself.
"Tifa!" Marlene's cry broke the barmaid out of her thoughts. She rushed over to the girl's side who was thankfully only meters away from the pond's edge.
Marlene quickly pointed at the pond which allowed Tifa to follow the direction of her trembling finger. What they both saw made the raven-haired woman gasp in shock.
A man was floating face first in the small reservoir. How he ended up there was a mystery but what mattered was figuring out if he was alive.
Tifa knelt to Marlene's level and placed her hands on her quaking shoulders. "Stay here Marlene." The little girl could only nod and heed her order.
The barmaid immediately sprung into action and dove into the water. She swam as fast as she could her clothing was hindering her speed but she was determined to save the man from drowning. Finally reaching him Tifa wrapped her arm around his waist and swam back to Marlene. It wasn't easy but she managed to succeed in getting him out.
Tifa put the man on the wooden floor in front of Marlene who appeared heavily worried.
"Is he...?" The young girl inquired shortly not quite sure of the man's state.
Tifa turned him over on his back and placed her ear on his chest. There was a heartbeat but it was faint. She continuously applied pressure on his chest with both hands and gave him mouth to mouth. Repeating the process over again she tried to get some air into the man's lungs but nothing seemed to be working. However she refused to give up, this man didn't deserve to die.
However, as she was about press her lips against his again he suddenly coughed out the water from his throat. Tifa supported the man with her hand placed behind his head as released the last speck of liquid. His eyes opened slowly revealing two pairs of crystal blue irises from what Tifa could see.
"Dante..." His voice came out in a quiet mutter. He then fell back into unconsciousness.
Tifa and Marlene blinked at what the man had said. It sounded like the name of a person but what mattered to the barmaid was getting the man some help. She stood and got out her portable phone and dialed the one person who could help her right now. Thankfully he wasn't busy at this time. Putting the device to her ear she waited patiently as it rang. She heard the other end finally answer the call.
"Cloud!" Tifa's voice was filled with urgency. "Please come to the Aerith's church! This is an emergency!"
"Tifa what are you talking about?!"
"No time for questions just get here as fast as you can!"
Tifa ended the call and pocketed her phone waiting for Cloud to arrive. She sighed and looked at the man laying on the ground beneath her. From what she could describe he had short platinum hair that was completely soaked from the water. He wore a long three-tailed blue coat with a black vest underneath. Brown fingerless gloves and boots were also worn on his hands and legs. It was then she saw the gash on his torso. The wound seemed new because the blood was wet. Tifa was amazed that the man was still alive from a wound like that.
However, the most noticeable thing about him was the sheathed sword held in his right hand. Despite being unconscious Tifa could tell that he had a firm grip on it.
Marlene knelt down and gently grabbed his left hand. "Don't worry, when Cloud gets here we're going to take care of you." She smiled at Tifa knowing that she would agree.
The barmaid mimicked her grin and nodded. "Your right Marlene." She gazed down at the sleeping man her smile still present. "Just hang on a little longer, helps on the way."
Seven minutes had passed as Tifa and Marlene heard the familiar engine of Fenrir outside the church. The doors were forced open as Cloud Strife approached the two females at a brisk walking pace. The way Tifa spoke on the phone immediately made Cloud run out of the 7th heaven bar telling Denzel to stay put and message him if anything happens.
"What's the problem?" He asked to hope that the two weren't in any sense of trouble.
Tifa gestured for Cloud to follow her to one of the remaining rows of pews. Cloud saw an unknown tall platinum-haired man lying on the wooden bench who seemed to be knocked out. The weapon he was holding didn't go unnoticed by him.
"Who's this?' Cloud inquired getting the obvious question out of the way. He stepped closer but kept some distance not sure if this guy was a threat.
"I don't know," Tifa responded briefly glancing at the spiky blonde and then back at the sleeping individual. "I found him almost drowning in the spring."
Cloud blinked at what his childhood friend said, he turned to gaze at the reservoir. This very water was fused with the power of the lifestream and cured every one of the Geostigma diseases. What could this mean? Was this man infected and found the spring by mere luck?
"Cloud." The mako-eyed man brought his attention to Marlene who was looking at him pleading look in her eyes. "Can we help him?"
Cloud smiled putting his hand on the little girl's head trying to ease her worries. "Of course, we can."
Marlene returned the smile happy that Cloud was willing to aid the stranger.
"We can take him to the bar." Tifa brought up seeing how many hospitals were still being rebuilt. "He can rest in the spare room."
Cloud nodded agreeing with that plan. He lifted the man over his shoulder and headed outside to his motorbike with Tifa and Marlene in tow. Setting him carefully in the backseat Cloud revved the motor placing himself in the front.
"I'll meet you both at the bar, until then I'll put this guy in a bed."
"Okay see you soon," Tifa said looking at the man resting silently on Cloud's shoulder.
The spiky-haired blonde nodded and placed his goggles over his eyes.
With that, he rode for Edge leaving behind both Marlene and Tifa.
"He'll be okay right Tifa?" Marlene looked up at Tifa, a hopeful expression adorning her features.
Tifa placed her hand on the girl's shoulder and smiled reassuringly. "He'll be fine. He's in our care now.
Marlene was glad to hear those words.
Tifa lightly laughed. "Then we better get back inside." With that two headed back to the church.
The morning sun shined brightly through the window lighting the small room. Vergil groaned as he opened his eyes, he then squinted them when the sun's rays blinded him slightly from the window. But as suddenly when he the sun the half-demon quickly sat up from the bed he just discovered he was laying on.
He glared at the glass window trying to figure out where in the world he ended up. Because as far as he knew the demon world did not possess a sun. Did he fall somewhere in the human world? If so how? Throwing the covers off Vergil stood up and examined himself. His upper body and feet were exposed and he was wearing bandages over his chest which covered up the wound he received from his brother.
The half-demon ripped it off casually, his cut gone thanks to his healing factor. Tossing the useless bandages on the bed beside him Vergil scanned the room with an emotionless gaze. it was average from what he could tell a dresser, a desk, closest, and of the course the bed. His mind started racing as to how he got here but he would worry about that later.
He soon found his missing clothes which were neatly folded on the desk. Grabbing them Vergil noticed the fragrant smell coming off of them as if they'd just been cleaned. Putting them on Vergil saw a picture frame that was leaning on the desk. The photo showed four individuals smiling at the camera. One was a man with blonde UUUUUUUUYYYXXthat seemed to defy gravity, the other was a tall woman, and the last were two children. One was a brown-haired boy and the other was a girl wearing a small white dress.
Were these the people who brought him here? If so why?
He then spotted his mother's amulet next to the photo frame. He picked up the jewel and just stared at it. For some reason, he could the very object judging him as if his mother's spirit was scolding him for misusing her most prized possession.
He then heard the sound of muffled footsteps coming towards the room along with voices. Snapping him back to the reality of his predicament. He quickly tucked his amulet underneath his vest and walked closer to the door listening to voices heading his way.
"Do you think he'll wake up today?"
"I don't know Denzel. But we'll see eventually."
Vergil's instincts instantly told him to grab his sword and be ready for who might walk through that door. He reached for his hip where his sword was strapped only to find that it wasn't. Gritting his teeth the half-demon took a few steps back preparing himself for whoever was about to step through that door.
The door craned open and Vergil acted quickly lunging his arm forward and grasping someone's throat. He slammed the unknown person against the nearby wall from what he could see was the woman in the photo. Despite him being in a state of attacking.
He glared coldly at her. "Who are you?!" He demanded in a very slow deadly tone.
His grip tightened around her throat cutting off her need for air. She acted fast as she kicked him back with both of her feet which pushed back the silvered-haired man into the opposite wall. The woman quickly straddled him preventing the man from getting up. She placed her left arm at the base of his chin while raising the other in a fist as it was cocked back ready to strike. Vergil internally cursed as he realized that despite being healed he was still not at full strength. If a human was easily able to dispatch him with very little effort.
Vergil stared up at the woman's eyes which were now filled with fire. The half-demon felt his heart quicken for a split second at the sight of those brown that was staring directly into his own. He soon regained his composure and glared back silently daring to throw her punch as if it would be her last one. The woman's eyes didn't even so much as twitch though he tried her best to ignore the chill that ran down her spine when the man's eyes narrowed at her. It was like he gazing deeply into her soul.
"Tifa." A small voice that was heard from the corner wall of the hallway caused the woman to blink and snap her head in its direction.
Marlene and Denzel were standing next to each other both trembling from what they just witnessed. Sighing Tifa stood from her position knowing that both she and the man were scaring the children.
She then offered her hand and smiled, trying to ease the tension in the air. She didn't blame him for being hostile, after all, waking in an unknown area with strangers would make anyone on guard.
Vergil just stared at the woman's open hand and then back to her smiling face. He casually rose to his feet brushing his shoulder and adjusting his ascot. Tifa frowned at the rude action of the platinum-haired man, she was internally debating whether to chastise him or punch him this time. The man just gazed at her without so much as blinking. Tifa returned the man's stare as the tension between them came back.
It was good that she heard the front door open from downstairs indicating that customers were entering the bar.
Realizing that she now had work to do Tifa sighed and placed her hands on her hips looking at the man square in the eyes. "Look I have a job I have to do. If you want to take a shower the bathroom is to your right." And with that, the woman headed downstairs to begin her long day of bartending.
He kept his eyes on her as descended the steps along with the two children who followed after her. Strangely he found the offer of taking a shower a good idea. He wondered if the reason he considered the offer was because he was still feeling the exhaustion from his and Dante's battle. He clenched his fists trying to ignore the feeling of humiliation.
The half-demon never would've believed that his quest for power would be thwarted by his childish brother. The very thought of it made him want to punch the nearby wall. Vergil closed his eyes and took a calming breath, regaining his composure. Now that shower suddenly sounded refreshing maybe it could distract him from his depressing thoughts.
With his decision made the half-demon walked toward the bathroom.
Tifa was humming a melodic tune as she wiped the counter of any food that fell off the customer's plate. She smiled at Marlene and Denzel who were stacking the chairs on the tables. Tonight was just like any other night at the 7th Heaven bar. Customers came and went as they usually did without any issues. She was a little disappointed that their guest didn't come down to join the patrons. She assumed it was because he was trying to get himself settled upstairs.
As she cleaned the counter she frowned when she noticed the solemn look on Denzel's face. Tifa sighed as she knew the reason for the boy's mood. A certain spiky-haired man had to leave for work without so much as saying goodbye.
Because of Cloud's delivery duties, Denzel barely got any chances to spend time with him. And when he was home he would be in the garage all day fixing his bike. His absence was affecting Denzel greatly. The barmaid wished she could lift his spirits but she could only do so much from her end.
Tifa then glanced at the clock which read ten o clock which meant that both children had to turn in because they had school in the morning.
"Alright you two, time for bed." She announced.
Both Marlene and Denzel ceased what they were doing. They rounded around the counter as the little girl wrapped her arms around the woman's hips in a goodnight hug. The barmaid smiled as she knelt and returned the gesture. Tifa watched Marlene run upstairs to her room leaving Denzel alone with her. The sad look was still look plastered on his face from earlier which made her heartache. She didn't like seeing Denzel in this state, it reminded her of how she met him. Tifa did not want to see that lonely boy again.
"Denzel." She whispered trying to get the boy's attention as his head was slightly bowed with his eyes staring at the floor.
She took a deep breath and spoke more clearly. "Denzel." He looked up at her but his eyes still held sadness.
Tifa placed both of her hands on the boy's sagged shoulders. "Cloud hasn't left us. Keep in mind that he'll always come back to us."
The brown-haired boy smiled faintly as Tifa's words sunk in. He nodded knowing that the man would return home soon. Tifa pulled him into a tight embrace hoping that it would sway his feelings if only a little about Cloud. Denzel exited the hug and ran upstairs to his room for bed.
Tifa watched his retreating form until he was out of her sight. She sighed and leaned back against the counter with her arms crossed. Her mind drifted to her childhood friend. Cloud's work schedule had been taking its toll on Denzel. Ever since he cured every one of the Geostigma epidemics and defeated Sephiroth's second coming he went back to his seclusive work life. She knew he wasn't avoiding them before Tifa understood how he had to be off somewhere but it wouldn't hurt to call every once in a while.
Whether it was an internal habit of his or not it needed to stop. She would make sure to tell him when he stepped through that door. Which would perhaps be days or weeks when that happened. She rubbed her forehead as she felt the exhaustion that had flooded her body from working all night. Not to mention just thinking about Cloud's typical ways.
Her thoughts were interrupted when she heard slow-moving footsteps coming downstairs. "Did you need something Denz-
She stopped herself when the person came into view. The man that she had saved from drowning in the sector 5 church was walking towards the bar counter. His blue coat was missing which meant he left it in the spare room leaving him in his vest. The man's platinum hair was completely wet. Which meant that he followed her advice of taking a shower.
Tifa tensed as her mind went back to their previous encounter which wasn't a pleasant one. She relaxed herself a little as she stared at him when he stood in front of the bar counter. She wanted the both of them to get a better start, so Tifa decided to steel her nerves.
"How are you feeling?" She asked with a polite smile. It would be the right thing to ask since he had been recovering all day.
He looked at her with a casual stare. "Where is my sword?" He demanded in a steely tone.
Tifa blinked at his blunt question, caught off guard by the rude way he voiced it. She firmly placed her hands on the counter and gave him a serious look. "It's kept somewhere safe so no one can get their hands on it. And I'll have you know I won't have someone running around in my bar with a weapon!"
The half-demon glared at the woman. He didn't appreciate being scolded like an impetuous child. Tifa turned around ignoring his hardened glare. She then placed something on the counter in front of the platinum-haired man. He glanced down and saw a plate that had a large steak and pieces of broccoli. He looked up at the woman with an eyebrow who proceeded to wash the dirty dishes. Feeling his eyes on her back the barmaid turned her head slightly seeing him staring at her with a look of suspicion.
She sighed at the man's paranoia as she rinsed out a fork. "I figured you were hungry since you haven't eaten anything all day."
Her words rang true as he just realized how hungry he was. So he sat himself down on the stool, grabbed a fork, and dug into his meal. Vergil had to resist a moan as he put a small piece of steak in his mouth. The woman was indeed a good cook. The food was so delicious that he had devoured every spec of food on his plate in a matter of seconds. The barmaid saw this and lightly giggled, he was so engrossed in his food to the point that he didn't even notice.
That's when she realized that she still didn't know the strangers' names. But of course, he didn't know hers either, so the barmaid decided to get that little problem out of the way.
"My name Tifa Lockhart." She introduced herself as she wiped the counter. "And yours?"
All she got from him was a blank look that either told her that he wasn't going to tell her his name or he simply didn't trust her. She hung her head low and sighed annoyed at the man's constant silence. Tifa turned and decided to head for her room to get some sleep since she wasn't going to get anything out of the man.
Tifa stopped mid-step. She wasn't sure she heard the word. "Excuse me?" She inquired while turning towards him.
He glanced at her from his position. "My name... it's Vergil."
Tifa smiled happily to finally break that barrier between them. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Vergil."
She looked up at the clock on the wall. It was getting late and she needed all the sleep she was going to get for tomorrow.
"I'm going to bed." She told him while still looking up at the clock. Tifa looked back at Vergil who was staring intently at the shelf of stacked beer bottles. He appeared deep in thought as if something was on his mind. Tifa wondered what he was thinking about but she knew it wasn't any of her business. "You can use the guest room or Cloud's but make sure you turn off the lights before you head upstairs ."
"I will...thank you."
Tifa blinked not expecting a 'thank you from him. Considering the aloof attitude he had displayed towards her.
However, she decided to stop thinking about it. All she wanted right now was to be under a set of covers and her head resting on a soft pillow.
"Goodnight Vergil." She said getting a small silent nod from him.
And with that Tifa Lockhart left Vergil alone in the bar. The platinum-haired man finally released all of the pent-up anger he had been holding all morning by slamming his fist on the counter. The thud was loud enough to wake up the bar's occupants but thankfully it didn't. Vergil gritted his teeth as his mind kept drifting to his younger twin and how he had failed to defeat him and obtain the power he so long desired. It was all that kept him going and now there was nothing for him to achieve.
Nothing for him to live for.
He closed his eyes and thought about the words that Dante had said to him.
'No matter how hard you try your never going to be like father.'
Vergil had to begrudgingly agree and accept those words now. They rang with truth. He will never live up to his father's name, not in this or any other lifetime. He reached into the collar of his vest and pulled out the golden amulet. This very jewel that contained such power beyond anyone one's imagination was now nothing but neck narrowed his eyes at the trinket debating with himself if she just toss the useless thing in the nearby trash bin.
But he knew his mother wouldn't want him to toss away one of the gifts she gave him. Vergil sighed at his sudden weakness, he just didn't have it in him to dispose of something that was given to him by the only person he cared for. He still wondered if his mother would judge him for what he tried to do at the Temi-ni-gru tower. Would she be disappointed in him for releasing all of that demonic evil into the world by trying to unlock his father's power?
The half-demon rubbed his eyes as he was beginning to exhaust. He stared up at the clock which now read twelve o clock. He didn't realize how long he had been deep in his thoughts. Standing Vergil headed for the guest room to get much-needed sleep.
(To be Continued)