The dark road ahead of them looked endless to the night scenery. It seemed to extend over the hills having a shine of it's own off the moonbeams. Vincent couldn't help but wonder what Tifa was thinking. Such information delivered to her in only a few short moments could do a number on someone. The way she reacted was perfectly normal, though he wished there were something he could do to ease her suffering. The fact that people would forget about her one-day bothered her the most. Tifa was a delicate person, thinking of everyone but herself. He eyed her carefully from behind. The way she walked, slowly with tiny footsteps trailing behind him. He could tell how badly her mind was racing for all the answers he himself wasn't even sure he knew.
He stopped walking and turned to her, which she stopped still not raising her head from the ground.
"Donít blame yourself, or him for what happened."
Tifa then looked at him, square in the eyes.
"What do you mean by him?"
"Cloud. I overheard him talking to you. I was trying to get back to town from my walk when I heard people talking in the shadows. I decided I best wait there since I didnít want to disturb anything. You ran passed me in a flood of tears out into the open. Cloud just stood there looking after you, not bothering to think it was dangerous to be out there along this time of night." He said pacing back and forth.
"I wanted to watch over you and make sure you were alright, so I followed."
Tifa felt her cheeks blush slightly and hated herself for that. What was she feeling just then?
"You cried yourself to sleep in the fields and I wanted to carry you back to shelter. But, I was too late, you were a goner. The people, who are the same as I, as we, took you out of your world. They were going to kill you, but I couldnít bare to see that. I made you one of us, now and forever. You may hate me if you wish, but to see you die would be on my conscience for eternity." Vincent began to walk away from her when he felt her gentle hand on his shoulder.
"How can I hate someone who has a heart of pure goodness? You watched over me. You tried to protect me, though you failed, but not in vain. This doesn't mean anything. For you gave me another chance at something I will have to make the best of. And thatís what it all comes down to I guess."
He hated himself more than ever at this moment.
"You remind me of someone else. You share her love and passion for life, her courage." And he walked on further.
"What is happening here?" she thought.
Vincent looked back at her from time to time. He knew her thoughts, as she knew his. A dark gift, as some call it. Psychic abilities. He did not want to explore her thoughts, but they kept pouring in. From her times spent with Cloud, to her long and twisted past. Shutting it out was impossible, but he wanted to learn about her. Know her more. It was going to be his duty now to be her protector until she could stand alone.
"It is very easy, sadly enough to say, to get your 'dinner'. You must push out the fact that what your doing is taking another persons life to survive. To start, you should pick people who won't put up much of a fight. And forgive me for saying this, but with your looks, getting people alone in a room won't be such a hard thing."
"If that's supposed to be some kind of compliment, I find it in poor taste."
He gave way to a little laugh, but would have died to let her hear it. "Use your beauty to your advantage. It will come in handy."
Back in the present time where Tifa is telling her story, Cloud shifted uncomfortably.
"I'll spare you the gruesome details of how I took my first victim. But-"
He cut her off, "You? So the stories are true then?"
"This is ridiculous," he stood up, "You expect me to believe such nonsense?"
"Cloud, I suggest you sit down and not say another word." She said not even raising her voice.
"Oh yeah? What are you gonna do? Suck my blood?"
Tifa put on a queer little smile. For a second it seemed as though her eyes flashed a translucent red. Cloud sat down fearfully not taking his eyes off of hers, feeling for the chair behind him.
"Good. Now, as I was saying. One learns easily the things they must do to survive. Vincent showed me exactly how I should act around my prey, exactly what I must do to capture them, and exactly how to feed from them." She said this, traveling back into her past.
The two were walking again along the roadside in the stillness of the night. Like always, Vincent was ahead of Tifa keeping a steady pace, as if they had a specific destination in mind.
"You all right?" he asked cautiously.
Tifa felt as though her heart was falling out of her chest. She, the kind and good-natured spirit, had taken away someone's life. She was nauseous and trembling all over.
"I think I'm going to be sick.." she said running to the side.
Vincent came to her aid but refused to look at her. He didn't want her to feel embarrassed. He merely stood there until she could stand again. It was then he noticed she was crying.
"What have I become, Vincent?"
"Something none of us had a choice to be. All we know is that this has been happening since the beginning of mankind. It is a plague on man and a legacy that must be carried out. We are only the protectors of the legacy ensuring its rightful place in history."
Tifa felt hatred suddenly for this man in front of her. He seemed so calm all the time and composed. He made her feel inadequate and childish.
"You enjoy what you do, don't you? Taking the innocence away from others and depriving them of everything waiting for them in the future!"
"I in no way enjoy what I do. I have only accepted what I am because there is no escape from it as you must learn! There is no way out, Tifa! Accept it!" he shouted back to her. He was angry with her while at the same time he sympathized. This was the first time in a long while that he gave into his feelings. He gained back his composure and walked on.
She couldnít do anything but curse in her mind. Curse this man for being so right and proving her to be so wrong. The tears kept pouring out of her eyes against her will. She commanded herself to stop it but the tears still kept squeezing their way out against her efforts. Then came the sobs. She hurried along to catch up with him ignoring her constant sniffling and self-pity.
It was nearing dawn when the two reached the house again. Vincent burst through the door and walked into one of the bedrooms. Tifa came in after him and slammed the door behind her also making her way to one of the other bedrooms.
Vincent opened the coffin lying out on the floor and began to crawl in. Something then struck him. Tifa was without a coffin, and the sun was just beginning to rise over the mountains.
He got up in a rush and went to Tifa, who was nervously sitting on the bed. He again grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back to his room.
"Where are you taking me?" she yelled feeling the jolts of pain as he yanked her arm into the other room.
"Donít ask, just get in" And he faced her in front of the coffin. She took in a gulp of air. "You can't be serious. Where will you go then?"
"With you. It's not like I carry another spare coffin wherever I go. Now get it."
The sunlight was pouring its way through the windows and Vincent felt sudden urgency. "Oh god.." she whispered.
He pushed her in the coffin and climbed in beside her, pulling the lid over them. Tifa and Vincent lay side by side in very little space, making them both uncomfortable. She was taking short and quick breaths that could have led to her hyperventilating and eventually causing her to panic. He didn't want her to jump out of the coffin at any moment and expose herself to the sunlight, ending her second life.
"Tifa, just be calm. Go to sleep." He whispered to her as if talking to a child. Sincerity was something not often found in his voice.
She could feel his warm breath going against her slender neck and made the tiny hairs stand up. She suddenly felt secure and safe near him, although she continued with her breathing sporadically.
He lifted his hand and placed a finger on her mouth silencing her. His very touch made her shiver.
"Shh.." he whispered again.
Her eyelids suddenly felt heavy and fought off sleep the best she could. But the sleep got the best of her. Her breath slowed down until it was though she was hardly breathing at all.
"Dream beautiful dreams tonight." He said feeling himself drift off also.
He rested his head on top of hers, the last thing entering his mind how she smelled faintly of wild flowers. He instantly adored that smell and before he knew it, sleep drifted its way into that tiny little coffin taking over the minds of both lost souls. And their only escape was their dreams, where vampires can pretend they live a life without that constant guilt following them and their untold fantasies could come true. Sleep was every vampire's salvation.Chapter 5