Welcome to the Edge
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Tifa was humming a tune as she washed the dishes. It was early in the morning and the children had already left for school. She noticed that Denzel was still saddened by Cloud's absence, so she hoped that school would take his mind off of him. But she doubted hearing a lecture from his teacher would remedy the problem.
 
She placed the cleaned dishes in the upper cabinet and leaned against the sink. Thinking about the boy's troubles was stressful enough now that she had a guest to tend to. Speaking of Vergil the man had not come down for breakfast. She still had some leftover eggs and toast that they both could enjoy.
 
Deciding that eating together would be better than eating alone Tifa headed for his room.
 
As she walked upstairs the barmaid thought back before to when she found him. If she hadn't been there he would've drowned. But the big question was, why was he in the church to begin with? The people in Edge haven't been to the church since they were cured.
 
 
 
Tifa's thoughts then went to the previous night. The two of them seem to have started on the wrong foot. But thankfully they put that water under the bridge.
 
 
 
'Unless I hope we have.' She thought with uncertainty. Tifa didn't want any animosity between them because of a little misunderstanding.
 
Shrugging the barmaid reached the door of the spare room and gently knocked. "Vergil?" Tifa called but didn't receive an answer.
 
She knocked again louder this time. "Vergil are you hungry? I made some breakfast" She was only met with silence again.
 
Tifa slowly opened the door and saw that the room was empty. Stepping inside her attention landed on the neatly made bed. She expected to find the platinum-haired man sleeping quietly, only to discover that he was indeed awake somewhere.
 
"Well...at least he cleans up after himself." She said with a chuckle. "Unlike like you Cloud."
 
It was rare to see this room spick and span. Tifa wasn't a clean freak but it was nice to see that Cloud's room was furnished. Perhaps he could learn something from Vergil in the future. Tifa sighed and decided to search for her guest hoping that he was still somewhere around the bar.
 
Or so she thought when she couldn't find him in the other rooms. Tifa searched the in and outs of 7th Heaven but the search came up fruitless. The only obvious conclusion was that he was wandering around outside the city. Tifa ran her hands down her face. She didn't have time to worry about a missing guest. She had to pick up the kids and tend to the bar before customers showed up.
 
Her eyes then widened when she realized something. Rushing to the back room of the bar the barmaid soon discovered that the sword was gone. How he found out that she was keeping it Tifa will never know. Now Edge had a man walking around with a five-foot sword.
 
Tifa shook her head and rubbed her temple. "This is just great. Hopefully, people will stay out of his way until he comes back." Though Tifa wasn't sure if he was coming back at all.
 
The barmaid decided to stop thinking about Vergil for now. She just wasted the entire half of her day looking for the man. Preparing herself for another long daily routine at the 7th Heaven was what she needed to focus on. Still, Tifa couldn't help but worry about Vergil's safety. She hoped that he wouldn't run into any trouble.
 
Vergil kept a stoic expression as he walked along with the large crowd. But inside his mind was blazing with questions. Where in the world was he? Because as far as he remembered the human world's cities were not in ruin. Everything was practically a towering wall of debris. He had traveled to many locations in the world and had amassed a great deal of knowledge from them.
 
But never in his life had he seen anything like this. The people appeared as if they were struggling to survive this harsh way of life. Many of them kept their distance from him. The reason was obvious because he was carrying a sword in his hand. Vergil could care less about their discomfort, the only thing that concerned him was figuring out where he was.
 
 
 
'Could it be possible...' Vergil thought as a theory came to him. 'That I'm in another world?'
 
The idea seemed ludicrous but plausible. He expected to fall into the demon world surrounded by the creatures that inhabited it. But somehow he ended in a different plane of existence where humans were the dominant species. But their living standards were horrendous. The buildings appeared as if they were rebuilt not too long ago. Even the half-demon had to admit that it was a depressing sight to behold.
 
And the pedestrians looked just as sad, like the city itself was reflecting the very mood of everyone around Vergil. Not that these people's current predicament was of any importance to him. The only thing that mattered was finding a way out of this world.
 
"But...then what?" He asked himself. What was his purpose? It was clear that he failed in his mission to obtain power.
 
Vergil wondered if his father was looking down at him with disappointment. It shamed him that he will never live up to his father's name. It was an emotion he wasn't accustomed to and he didn't know how to deal with it. Emotions were something he wasn't used, to begin with.
 
For years he saw them as nothing but a weakness. And besides...he was a demon, which meant he was incapable of feeling anything.
 
"Just give us the doll girl!"
 
An aggressive voice stopped Vergil in his tracks. He looked down the opening of an alleyway where three men were bothering a little girl. From what he could see they were trying to take a doll from her hands. The half-demon just shook his head at the sight. Even in this world, humans are still foolish enough to destroy each other. He was about to leave when he saw one of the cretins slap the young girl across her cheek making her fall to the grimy ground. In the process, she was forced to release the doll.
 
Something inside Vergil snapped. Whatever it was made him walk forward towards the three men. Despite the rage, he was feeling the half-demon managed to keep his fast-paced steps silent.
 
"Next time listen to your elders. It'll save you a lot of trouble down the road." One of the three thugs mocked while the others just laughed.
 
The girl was crumpled on the ground sobbing. Despite the stinging tears in her eyes, she was able to see a tall platinum-haired man in a blue coat standing behind the three men. They were so caught in their pathetic act that they didn't notice the girl looking past them. They all turned and saw him glaring coldly at them.
 
One of them had the nerve to speak. "What the hell do you want?"
 
Vergil remained still and quiet examining these three fools. From how they carried they didn't appear to be that much of a threat. Just a bunch of ignorant men who believed they were strong but in reality weren't.
 
"Look buddy move or be moved. Those are your choices." One of them spoke again as they all walked forward while pounding their fists in the palm of their hands.
 
Their threats however fell on deaf ears. Vergil was wondering if they noticed the sword he was carrying. The half-demon guessed that their overconfidence was blinding them from seeing it. He had to prevent himself from flicking his thumb on the blades of tsuba and killing them quickly. These fools didn't deserve an honorable end so he kept it sheathed.
 
The three men just looked at each other and back at the blue-coated man. Was he insane? He was outnumbered and even if he did take one of them out had he to deal with the other two. Shrugging the man in the center threw a hook. He was surprised however when the blue-coated man casually caught his wrist.
 
Vergil took a step forward and thrust Yamato's hilt into his gut. The thug felt the air leave his lungs as his back hit the ground. His eyes widened at what happened as he sat himself up and breathed. That proved to be a mistake as he coughed out blood. Looking up at his attacker he saw that he was staring down at him emotionlessly waiting for him to attack again.
 
The way he looked sent a chill through the punk's spine. He was so terrified he couldn't get up from the ground. He looked at his cohorts, they standing there with their jaws hanging low.
 
 
 
"Why the hell are you standing like a bunch of idiots?!" He asked glaring at them. "Get him!"
 
 
 
Vergil's attention shifted to the two men who were now rushing toward him. One of them managed to reach him and tried to tackle the half-demon. Vergil easily stepped aside and struck the base of the punk's neck with a hand chop. The thug fell face-first unconscious.
 
Vergil managed to see the other man throwing two sloppy haymakers at him. He dodged both of them effortlessly in time to see a third one coming his way. He quickly crouched and swung his sheathed sword sweeping the attacker off his feet. He was knocked out the moment his head hit the ground. Standing Vergil examined his handiwork, the two men were disposed of with much difficulty.
 
"WATCH OUT!" Vergil quickly turned and saw the man who he had first knocked down was bolting towards him. The half-demon eyes landed on the led pipe that was coming at his head fast.
 
Trained instinct did its thing as Vergil drew out Yamato. With a single swing, he sliced the man's hand from his wrist. The thug was left speechless at what just happened. The sword was fast he didn't even see it. Blood skeeted out as he wailed in agonizing pain. The thug desperately grabbed his wound to the blood from flowing out.
 
He suddenly felt the blade's tip just mere inches from his throat. Vergil glared coldly at the assaulter making him instantly raise his hands in surrender.
 
"Please don't kill me! " He pathetically pleaded. His face already showed fear of having that sharp weapon pierce him. And the pain from having his hand severed.
 
Vergil's glare didn't relent. "Get out of my sight."
 
The thug quickly turned his heel and ran. Thankfully the alleyway's opening was right behind him. Vergil didn't know if he could contain himself from cutting him down if he circled him. Swiping his to clean it the half-demon sheathed his sword, he then glanced at the little girl who had just witnessed everything he did. She just stared at him with an expression of awe and amazement. She was at a loss for what she just witnessed, one minute he was surrounded by those three goons but he took them all out without breaking a sweat.
 
Feeling uncomfortable by her stare Vergil picks up the doll and offers it to her. The girl was snapped out of her stupor when she saw the tall man returning her doll to her. She took the stuffed animal and held it close, happy that it was back in her hands. She looked to see the mysterious man walking towards the alleyway's entrance.
 
"Thank you." She whispered.
 
Vergil stopped mid-step. Not expecting those words from the girl. Turning his head slightly the half-demon quietly nodded and continued on his way. The little girl smiled joyfully as she watched her savior walk with such strength and pride. Perhaps hope had finally come to this depressing city.
 
Tifa is outside the door of the bar with Marlene and Denzel. She had just picked them up from school not too long ago and had to prepare the bar before customers arrived. Sadly Vergil was out somewhere in the city when she left. Tifa was still concerned for his well-being and for others considering he was walking around with a weapon.
 
She had long ago figured that he was not coming back. If that was the case it's a shame that she didn't get to know him better. There was something mysterious about him that she couldn't put her finger on. He didn't look like a Midgar local due to his attire. And the biggest question was what was how did he end up unconscious at the sector 5 church. The questions kept piling up and she wondered if she'll ever get the answers to them.
 
"Are you okay Tifa?"
 
The woman blinked as she heard Denzel's voice. She realized that she was spacing out at the front door. Tifa saw that both children were giving her confused and concerned looks. The barmaid shook her head and gave them an assuring smile.
 
"I'm fine just...thinking," Tifa responded vaguely much to Marlene's and Denzel's confusion.
 
She finally opened the door and entered the bar. Only to find a certain someone was sitting at the counter table drinking a glass of water.
 
"You've returned," Vergil stated keeping his back turned to the woman and children while taking a sip from his cup.
 
Tifa's face expressed surprise as she closed and locked the door. Since this morning she didn't expect him to come back. She just nodded slowly. "Uh...well I do live here. Of course, I was going to return."
 
Vergil just grunted in acknowledgment as he took another gulp of his water. Sighing Tifa decided it was now time to ask those questions that have been bugging her all day.
 
"Marlene and Denzel. Why don't you two go upstairs and do your homework while I get the bar sorted."
 
The two children headed to their room though made sure to keep the door slightly open. Tifa walked towards the counter taking cups and plates out of the cabinets and setting them on each table. The room was silent with no one saying a single word. The only sound being heard was the ticking clock.
 
It was only two minutes and she couldn't bear the silence any longer. It was hard enough when Cloud wouldn't say anything but this guy was purposefully being quiet. It was obvious Vergil wasn't talking if anything how she was the first to strike up the conversation last night was a clear indicator of that. So it was up to her again to try and break the ice.
 
"So I see you've forgotten my rule about keeping weapons out of the bar," Tifa muttered while putting the last two cups and plates down. She glanced at the sword that propped up to the table beside his right leg.
 
"I didn't forget it. I just ignored it." The half-demon casually replied as he drank the last of his water.
 
Tifa frowned at the smug comment. She held herself back from retorting her own by biting her tongue. Tifa decided it was time to ask the questions that she was eager to know the answers to.
 
"So..." The barmaid started, leaning on the table with her hands propped against it. Vergil just glanced at her from where he sat. "I've been meaning to ask. How did you end up in the sector 5 church?"
 
Stopping mid-sip Vergil was unprepared for that question. He didn't know how to respond without giving her the impression that he was insane. Coming from a different world would raise some alarms for him, alarms he didn't want to go off. It would be best to keep his place of origins a secret.
 
"I don't remember." He answered vaguely.
 
Tifa just sighed at his short response. She wasn't getting anywhere with this. So the barmaid decided to ask him a more simple question.
 
"Where are you from?"
 
"Nowhere that would interest you." He answered while continuing his drink.
 
The barmaid shook her head feeling mentally exhausted from asking unanswered questions. All it did was add more mystery to this man that needed to be solved. However for now Tifa decided to stop pressing her inquires. She respected his need for privacy if he decides to answer her questions in time. Though something told her that she wouldn't get the answers she wanted anytime soon.
 
 
 
With that in mind, Tifa was curious as to what Vergil was doing all day when she picked the kids. He had left this morning without her knowledge and it was time to know where he had been all morning. Though she was positive he wouldn't respond to anything she would ask.
 
"Where did you go early this morning?"
 
"I was exploring the city," Vergil responded as he gently placed the empty glass cup on the counter table.
 
Tifa arched an eyebrow in confusion. "So now you're answering my questions?"
 
"You've stopped delving into my matters. Which I might remind you is none of your concern."
 
Tifa glared hotly at the platinum-haired man for once again showing his rudeness. She took another deep breath to calm herself down, she didn't want another incident like yesterday. However, she was glad that he was willing to answer her questions regarding what he's been doing all day.
 
"So how was your little exploration?" Tifa asked putting on a polite smile. Even if she was still a little annoyed by his comment earlier.
 
"It was interesting, to say the least," Vergil muttered as he absentmindedly twirled his empty cup. "I, unfortunately, had a run-in with three fools who were attacking a child."
 
Hearing that made Tifa gasp in shock. She looked him over trying to find any traces of bruises or scratches on him but thankfully nothing was there. Tifa didn't want to have to patch him up again after a scuffle he had with three punks. From what she could see it was obvious that those men didn't walk away unscathed.
 
It was strange but Vergil didn't seem like the savior type. Even though she had known him for a day the man just gave off that vibe. Tifa didn't usually judge others without knowing them fully, but she was glad that she was wrong about him.
 
"Certain parts of Edge can be dangerous if you're not careful. I hope that girl you saved managed to get home safe and sound." Tifa mused.
 
Vergil raised an eyebrow. "Edge? A peculiar name for a city."
 
"It was recently built after Midgar was destroyed," Tifa explained making Vergil almost curious. Whatever destroyed this city had to have been on a cataclysmic scale.
 
But whatever happened to this city was of no concern to him.
 
"You didn't...kill those guys did you?"
 
Vergil's emotionless gaze worried the barmaid. A part of her mind believed that he killed those men. Of course, they deserved a beatdown and if she were here she would've given those punks a beatdown they wouldn't forget. But considering how Vergil was carrying a sword out in public while fighting three men would make anyone believe that he had cut them down.
 
Tifa was anticipating a 'yes' from him but he just stayed silent. She was thinking that maybe having Vergil in her bar was a mistake. She was extremely uncomfortable with having a cold-hearted killer in her home. A part of her was afraid to even think of what would if he was the children.
 
"No," Vergil responded making the barmaid breathe an air of relief.
 
Tifa was glad to hear that he chose the alternate route of handling the situation. Despite the act of those men Tifa never wished death upon anyone. It was what Zangan instilled in her when she was under his tutelage. She remembered his words as if they were stapled to her brain.
 
'Despite the evils of our world, we must not allow ourselves to embrace it.'
 
It was a simple saying that a child could probably come up with. But they were wise words that Tifa lived by since she and her friends saved the planet. Realizing she was spacing out Tifa shook her head and saw that Vergil was looking off in the distance to his right. From where she stood the barmaid could tell that he was deep in thought.
 
Whatever was on his mind made must've been troubling him, judging by his furrowed brow and heavy frown. Her intuition told her that it probably had to do with how he ended up in the Sector 5 church. Tifa wanted to ask him again but caught herself from opening her mouth. After all, Vergil told that it was none of her business and in many ways he was right. And she wouldn't pry into any of his personal affairs.
 
However, there was something else that she was curious about. Did he have a place to stay? Considering how she found him nearly drowning, she was too busy nursing him back to health and giving him a room. She hadn't bothered to ask if he had a place to call home.
 
'Well...better ask him now. Hope he doesn't think I'm overstepping my boundaries.'
 
"Vergil, something just occurred to me." Tifa openly wondered. Vergil glanced at the raven-haired woman giving her the cue to continue. "Do you have anywhere you can stay? If you don't you can stay here if you want." She offered with a smile.
 
The half-demon felt a sense of annoyance in his chest. He once again had to accept the aid of this woman who was sheltering him. His pride had taken a huge blow when she spoke those words. It made him feel like he was weak, having to accept the help of a human. He had never felt so small in his life.
 
For so long he had relied on his independence and strength to survive. But now it seemed that meant very little now. It was as if he was regressing into something lesser than what he was before.
 
Vergil begrudgingly swallowed his pride and spoke. "I would...gladly accept your offer Tifa."
 
Tifa's smile grew wider. "Think nothing of it, Vergil. The bars not a mansion but I do manage to keep it spick-and-span."
 
Tifa was happy that the platinum-haired man agreed to live with her, the children, and Cloud. Speaking of him she wondered how he would take the news of their guest living with them now. Tifa decided that it would be best to tell him when he got back from his delivery. She knew that it was wrong for her to do this without his consent but she couldn't just dump him out in the street.
 
Tifa then looked at the clock which read four-thirty. Vergil followed what her eyes were glued to, he immediately got the message.
 
"I'll situate myself in the guest room so you can work." He told as he stood from his stool snd headed for the stairs.
 
 
The sound of a throat clearing made Vergil stop and turn towards the barmaid. He raised an eyebrow at her as she had her hands on her hips while giving him a look that he couldn't decipher. She then pointed at the object he was carrying and made a gesture to give it to her. Vergil rolled his eyes at the woman's constant rule of not being able to have his sword at his side.
 
He wasn't in the mood for arguing so he tried to defend his position as best he could. "Don't worry, no I won't let the children get within arm's length of my weapon. Will that suffice with you?"
 
Tifa hummed debating with herself whether or not to agree with that. After a second she reluctantly nodded. With that Vergil walked towards his now permanent room.
 
"By the way Vergil..." Vergil groaned when the barmaid called him. He slightly turned his head showing that she had his attention. "I like what you did with your hair. You look good!"
 
The half-demon blinked from the unexpected compliment. He strode himself up the stairs keeping his thoughts to himself. Tifa could've sworn that she saw the man's cheeks flushed from her words. She giggled congratulating herself for managing to see that the man had a sense of innocence.
 
Vergil sat in the middle of his room in a meditative pose in his black undervest. His eyes were closed in deep concentration and his breathing was even. It had been three hours since Tifa had opened the bar and the half-demon could hear the sound of people mingling coming through the door. Of course, he was able to drown them out and focused on clearing his mind.
 
However every time he tried his thoughts would always go back to that battle. The fight practically determined who was the true son of Sparda. Vergil rubbed his forehead as he felt a headache coming. Not only was he trying to come to grips that he was in another world. He had to accept that Dante was a superior warrior. Not to mention the son that his father would've wanted to continue his legacy. Vergil felt a surge of anger bubbling in his chest. Crackles of lightning began to form around his body. A dark aura surrounded also him as he shook with rage.
 
He could see the image of his younger twin mocking him for being so weak. Vergil was about to let out a strong scream when he heard a soft knock at his door. His eyes snapped open at the oak frame. Taking a deep breath Vergil dissipated the energy around his body calming his inner demon in the process.
 
"Enter." He said in a monotone voice. He expected to see Tifa but was surprised to see the two children slowly step into his room.
 
Vergil blinked as both of the entered his room with apprehension. He didn't move from his spot as he watched the two walk closer to him. The boy seemed shy but the girl appeared to be a little braver than him. She had proven him right when she had taken her seat first in front of him and spoke.
 
"Hi!" She said chipperly while waving at him.
 
Vergil slowly and awkwardly waved back at the girl who smiled brightly which made him uncomfortable. He didn't have any experience in dealing with children. Thankfully he didn't let his anxiety show when the girl grinned at him.
 
She then looked at the shy boy still keeping a large smile on her face. "It's ok Denzel! He may look tall and scary but he's nice!"
 
Vergil cocked an eyebrow at the little girl's claim of him being 'tall and scary'. The boy grew a little confident and settled himself next to the girl. Now the half-demon was becoming even more uncomfortable as they were staring at him with an enormous amount of curiosity. Vergil darted his eyes to the sides and then back at the children who were still looking at him in silence.
 
He cleared his throat as he began to speak. The situation was beginning to get weird and Vergil didn't know how long he endures it. "So...is there something you two wanted?" He asked, managing to keep his voice leveled despite his nerves.
 
The girl shook her head. "Nope! We just wanted to meet you!"
 
"I...see." Vergil wished they would leave. He didn't know how long he could take being in the room.
 
"So what's your name?" The boy this time asked as he decided on some words.
 
"...Vergil."
 
The boy smiled. "I'm Denzel!"
 
"And I'm Marlene!"
 
Vergil nodded as he still felt nervous not to mention out of his element. He was not a conversationalist and the two children were not making it easy for him. Deciding to just keep his mouth shut Vergil closed his eyes and resumed his meditation. He hoped that Marlene and Denzel would get the hint and leave him in peace.
 
"Are you sleeping?" Vergil heard the girl ask. His jaw clenched in irritation.
 
"No, I'm meditating."
 
"Why?"
 
Vergil sighed at the girl's persistence to unintentionally annoy him. "Because I had a stressful day. And I need to clear my head."
 
Both Marlene and Denzel looked at each other with confused looks before shrugging. However, that's when something caught Denzel's eye. It was a sheathed sword from what he could tell that was lying beside Vergil. Swords were something he had grown to love. He would always watch Cloud practice whenever he was home. Curiously he leaned forward and slowly reached for it.
 
His hand was inches away from it until he felt something firm grip his wrist. Gasping from the sudden contact Denzel saw Vergil giving him an emotionless stare which made him turn pale.
 
"I would strongly advise you to not touch my sword," Vergil stated strongly making the boy move back to his previous position.
 
"Sorry." Denzel apologized as shame crossed his face.
 
Vergil was about to respond but a voice from outside his room stopped him. "Marlene, Denzel. Dinner!"
 
In an instant, Denzel's face lit up. "Alright! " The boy quickly raced out of the room to the bar.
 
Vergil blinked at the boy's sudden actions. Whatever Tifa was cooking must be worth eating. He then felt someone tugging on his arm. Shockingly the young girl the half-demon to his feet.
 
"Come on! Tifa makes the best meals!" She excitedly stated as she pulled on his arm nearly making him stumble and leading him to the kitchen.
 
Vergil didn't have the energy to resist her so he just went along with it. After all, he had to admit what the girl said was true...Tifa was a good cook.
 
(To Be Continued)
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