The holidays. A time for ones you love to gather and celebrate their time together. Vincent reached out to the window he sat beside, opening it and letting in the cold with the songs, laughter, and smell of feasts for families large and small.
It was the closest he would come to the festivities.
“Lucrecia,” he broke the silence of his latest retreat. Somehow, Cloud convinced him to move closer to the others after the geostigma was cured. Maybe a sign of the blond’s close call with the disease which lead him to be closer to those he cared for… In theory, that was Vincent too.
But Vincent had a memory to keep safe. Of her. “I’m sorry.” She was the reason he lived at all. If she couldn’t be there, smiling, laughing, accepting a dance… Vincent couldn’t go. The hand-drawn invite from Marlene laid flat on the table next to an empty wine glass.
Hours passed that way, the cold pervading the room. He never felt it that much, not after what he’d become.
“–cent!” He sat up slightly at the woman’s voice, looking just over his cloak’s collar and the sill to a blond bundled up with some sort of gift in her hands. It’s not as though he shoveled a path, so it was a feat in itself that she was even there. “Vincent!”
He watched, waiting for Elena to leave. She lifted the metal knocker, banging it down a few times.
“I know you’re there, Vincent!” She shifted from foot to foot, presumably for warmth. The wind was probably harsh for her. “Stop brooding long enough to let me in, it’s for–” She looked over the lumpy package in her hands, poorly wrapped even at this distance. “Turk business. You are still a Turk on record, you know.”
He sighed, resigning himself that she wouldn’t give up. It was part of what made her who she was, that much he knew for certain. When he went down and opened the door, she came inside with it– the knocker in hand as she stumbled in.
“Oh, hey,” she greeted him. Perhaps this was normal for her.
“I’m not accepting guests,” he deadpanned. She may very well accept that command. Outside of helping her and Tseng after Kadaj and his crew tortured and left them, Vincent had limited knowledge of the new Turks… Although she seemed the type to follow orders. As much as a Turk could be expected to.
“But you’re accepting gifts?” She held out the box, or what was probably a box under the uneven wrapping paper. Some of which was different from the rest. “Reno and Rude found out I got you something and… Helped,” she explained.
He stared at it in silence and blinked. A gift. He wasn’t expecting even one. “Is this what passes for Turk business now?”
“Oh, just take it,” she teased, pushing the box against him and he reflexively held it once she let go. “Should be easy for you to open with that gauntlet hand.”
Vincent glanced up to her scratching gesture that he supposed was a reference the ‘gauntlet hand’. Peeling back the wrapping, he saw the dull outline of several wine bottle corks and he almost smiled.
“I’ve still got contacts on Wall Market, from my bartending days, so these are the best red wines– you’ve got your smooth, toasty flavors, a bold blackberry and dark apple wine,” she counted out on her fingers, continuing, “A polished spice wine, you name it. There’s a wine here for every sulk.”
Vincent only watched her ramble, her breath still showing even though she was inside now. “So it’s saying something that they got here at all.”
“I’m way too disciplined to even think of sampling a gift!” She stood tall at that, brushing her longer bangs aside for emphasis. “But if you were going to share, I, well, I wouldn’t… It’s not polite to refuse.”
He chuckled drily, turning away and leading upstairs. She only stopped to close the door behind her and followed him up.
…she did bring wine.