Chapter 6

"Donít worry, Cloud. I won't hurt you, just now," she said anticipation each word, rising with delight at every syllable. It felt good to be in charge.

Through his eyes shone fear and anger. He dare not say anything else that could upset her in the slightest. He concentrated on also not thinking anything that could offend her, like he had been doing.

"As I said, our dreams are quite different. When one's thoughts are the same as another, dreams can become a gateway." She said continuing with the story.

Tifa lie next to Vincent in his coffin, trying to get back to sleep when she thought of something she never had before. Vincent was a caring man. He gave a tough outlook and often said the wrong things and the wrong time, but nevertheless, he could feel emotions and act on them. She wondered if he had ever really truly loved someone. Her eyes became heavy and she too was now asleep.

This dream of hers was not at all like the one before. At once she was standing back in Nibelheim, but something was extremely different, though she couldn't pinpoint it. She continued walked past the townspeople when she stopped abruptly and stared in awe. Her mother stood there, talking to her father. No ring on either of their fingers. "The past.." she whispered and continued to walk, having no feeling in her legs as she did like she was being taken somewhere by some mysterious force.

Soon she was standing inside the foyer of the Shinra mansion. It was full of life. People walking around this way in that all dressed in long white coats. They smiled and greeted each other, thanking one another on "a job well done", or some such like that.

Her body next brought her to the upstairs, where they had discovered the secret doorway. She pushed past it and went down the stairs very slowly hearing voices below. A girl ran up the stairs, a tear streaking down her face that she quickly brushed away not even noticing Tifa and walked right through her. Tifa felt that girls emotions when she passed! The anguish inside of her and the deep fear or something, but then it was gone. It struck Tifa suddenly. "This is not my dream" she said aloud. And rushed down the stairs.

A shot was heard, and a loud thump. She hesitated to move on, but again that force was pressing her to go. She got to a door and found her arms already turning the knob when it wouldnít budge. She tried numerous amounts of times to open it but still, nothing. She signed and put her elbow on the door to rest her head when she fell right through it. She passed through the door.

"Ok, this is just a little-" she turned around to see Vincent lying on an operating table with a man hovering over him, chuckling to himself.

"-weird. What are you doing to him?" she called out, but obviously the man didn't hear her, "What are you doing to, Vincent! Stop it!" she ran over to them to see this man's face.

"Hojo.." she whispered. With all her might she threw a punch to back him away, but her fist when right through him. She felt something else in this man. The only word was,

"Evil. That's all you are, Hojo, is evil." She shook her head feeling herself sit down and watch his procedure.

It seemed to go on for hours. A few times Tifa had to turn her head in disgust at what he was doing. Lifting a saw and cutting off his hands. She cried so many times imagining Vincent's pain even though he seemed to be asleep. She walked over to him lying listless on the operating table and looked at his face.

"Such a handsome man," she thought. She touched his face, again going right through him. She waited for a feeling of his when nothing came up. She placed her hands on his chest and waited for his thoughts when again there was nothing there but darkness. She looked down at him again and saw the bullet hole. She jumped back in fright and looked how he was shot directly in the heart.

"Hojo what are you doing! He's dead!" she contradicted herself. "No, no wait. He can't be. This isnít real. He's not dead. How else could we have met?"

Something in the background caught her eye. The shadow. She showed no fear this time to it although she wondered why. It did not give off a presence that it would hurt her, more like it was beckoning her to come to it. She slowly approached it keeping her hands up need she have to fight it. It melted onto the floor infront of her, then rose up before her taking on another form She stepped back waiting for it to take shape.

"Vincent?" she yelled. "You can't be!"

He pointed at the operation table and she refused to turn. When she wouldn't, he walked to the table still keeping his eyes on her as she did to him. She glanced at the table he stood next to, and no one was there. A blood trail led out the door that he followed. She was alone in the room and knew this was not good. He was trying to show her something.

The trail led out to the corridor near the stairs, making a sudden turn to the right into another room, adjacent to the room they were just in. Hojo was standing there laughing ingeniously and sealed the door with a large key. He took the key and put it in his pocket, patting it gently and walked in the stairs. The shadow in Vincent's form look at him pass and followed behind him to the stairs. Hojo turned suddenly and looked as though he was about to say something, but just laughed instead. Then whispered on his way up, "Sweet dreams."

The shadow stopped at the foot of the stairs and watched Hojo get to the top, closing the hidden door. It sat down and motioned for Tifa to go on following the trail. She continued walking bringing her to the locked door. She took a deep breath preparing her for what was beyond that door, and stepped through it. Vincent lie there, cold and pale it seemed, next to a coffin. Blood was stained into the ground around him and he was lying on his side. He stood finally trying to brush the hair out of his eyes when he caught site of his left hand. His face was one Tifa would never forget. His eyes were bright and shining with the hope every youth has somewhere in them, that look drained away at that moment. He screamed and pleaded with god how this could happen. He ran to the door trying to bust through it only giving up when he grabbed his shoulder in pain. Limping over to a corner in the room he cried and screamed for help. Tifa could bare no more and ran out the room and cried herself. She cried for him, and what he had endured. The shadow was facing her on the steps but stared at the ground. His face was hard and cold. Solid and manly, but those eyes. They gave it all away.

"Vincent." She called to him through her tears. "I'm so sorry this happened to you." The shadow stood and walked up the stairs. She followed it at a stead pace, stopping for one last look at that door. A scream and cry came from it, "Help me" he screamed into the basement, where he would never be heard. She couldnít take it and ran up the stairs. Back in the mansion, everything was quite. Moonlight came through the windows and the white coats were all hung up in a room near the door downstairs. She walked straight ahead of her following the shadow into the other room. Meanwhile, the shadow still kept on the form as Vincent.

In this next room, a woman sat on a bed holding her stomach like she was in pain. Hojo stood looking out the window holding a glass of wine to his lips.

"I had to do it, Lucrecia, if I hadn't he would have ruined everything. Do you know how much trouble we would get in if he told people what we were doing."

The woman gave no reply but closed her eyes letting the tears fall. She still rubbed her stomach shaking her head. Hojo looked at her and turned away, shaking his head. Disgust was clearly on his face. He then turned again to her replacing his face with a look as though he cared. He kneeled beside her taking her hands into his. "You must understand my dear, this was the only way. You will forget about him in time, he is locked up down there forever. And you said you loved me, not that fool."

She cried openly this time and dropped to the floor grabbing his legs.

"You didnít have to kill him, Hojo! You didn't have to kill him! He's not one of your experiments to play with!"

He stared at her a long moment giving her a cold look at last. He slapped her across the face sending her back hitting her head hard on the bed post. She cried even more and jumped back from him when he went to touch her. "You should fear me, silly girl. And you will fear your child, too. For he will be just like me. And together we will-" She slapped him hard across the face and went to run out the door when he grabbed her neck and pulled her back to the bed.

"How foolish of you!" he slapped her again and leaned in close to her like he was going to kiss her, "and if you do anything to our child I'll make sure you suffer something far worse than he did."

Tifa turned away and walked straight out of the room. This was sick. The shadow was waiting for her outside and walked right to her. He lifted his hands and put them over her eyes. She was no longer afraid, she knew what was going on.

She opened them to a surrounding of blackness. It was just the two of them.

"Vincent, I'm sorry." She said feeling the shakyness in her voice.

The shadow looked away from her staring into the space around them. Giving way he let out a sigh. "She loved you, and you loved her didn't you?" she said feeling strange discussing this.

He nodded, "She was brainwashed by the science part of it all. Hojo promised her a successful experiment, something they would be remembered and honored for. But he lied. He led her into it just as he led his colleagues to thinking he was sane. I was only one of the great number of people affected by his mental illness. And there is nothing I can do now to change it. Yes, I love her."

It dawned upon her then that this was his dream. She somehow got into his dream and saw this nightmare of his he kept a secret for so long.

"This is the thing I see every night," he said "I see this no matter what I do to stop it, it always comes in my sleep."

She was hearing what he was saying, but not understanding. She still heard the words, 'I love her', in her mind. He loves someone. Why did it bother her so much? She shook herself out of it.

"You were in my dream, were you not?"

"Yes. I didn't mean to intrude. It just happened. I wanted to know what you were thinking in a way. I'm sorry if I-" "Don't be. It's all right. Don't worry about it." And she made her famous smile. The smile that cheered even the saddest of all people, but it didn't do anything to him.

"I looked my entire life for her, for Lucrecia," he said after a long silence. "And when I found her, she was a goner. She was done for. She thought nothing of herself, only for her son who she never even got to hold on her arms. Not even once. I tried to tell her it was ok, we could be together now, no one could stop us." He stopped talking. Tifa placed a hand on his face feeling the smooth surface of it. She stared into his eyes and knew something more about herself. She felt whatever feelings someone else had. She felt the hurt he had inside, and the love he had for this woman.

He looked at her trying to show he felt awkward this way, but couldn't move. He knew it would be a lie if he did, because he liked her this close.

"You have suffered so long, Vincent. And if I could take away even a fraction of it, I would. In an instant." She removed her hand from him and felt embarrassed. She was showing just how weak she could be at moments like this. But then again, there was never a moment like this.

"Your eyes." He said again without face expression. "Are the same as mine. How is that?"

Tifa looked up at him wishing she weren't so transparent. "I guess we are the same." She said smiling, laughing softly, with a hint or something else in there.

"I told her I would love her forever, but she was so gone she didn't even recognize me. I was nothing but a nuisance and a reminder of her wasted life. So I left her alone. It was the best thing for her and thatís what I wanted for her. Nothing but the best."

The two stood there in the darkness, so tranquil and quiet.

"Cloud was," she said barely audible, "happy to never see me again. When you said people will forget about you, you were right. He plainly forgot, and I'm sure the others did too. But I don't want to be forgotten. It makes me feel like I was nothing. All my life was nothing to anyone. And I only realized that when it was taken from me. The saddest part of it all is if I had the chance to have it all back-" she paused.

"You wouldn't take it.." he finished.

"Thatís right." She choked back a sob.

"What would be the use? There was no future for me. It was all a, a..I donít even know! I don't know my purpose!"

He walked in closer to her and tilter her head up to look at him. He was so much taller than she.

"No one knows their purpose in life, or in this I guess we can call death. I don't know mine, either. We truly are the same."

They stood there a long moment. With his face so close to hers, neither knowing what to do. Tifa backed away from his touch and wished she had been better at knowing what to say.

"Regrets are the things that keep people from living. Regrets are the only things that can destroy one's future. But no one knows that until it's too late." He said walked away.

"I don't understand, Vincent."

"You will. Maybe then It'll be too late for the both of us." And he walked away.

She stood there alone in the darkness looking after him. Confused by his words she didnít want to think of it just then.

"Now wake up." She heard someone say.

Chapter 7