Secret Santa: FFVII Edition

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.

VVCapture

“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!”

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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“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.

Analysis: Sephiroth in Crisis Core

This post was originally inspired by the #IHaveaTheory challenge on Square Enix Amino.

To that end, I’ve set my sights on Sephiroth. You know, the man we all first knew from Final Fantasy VII as the guy you’d never invite to a fireside chat.

WARNING: FINAL FANTASY VII AND CRISIS CORE SPOILERS AHEAD

But before that in game canon, there was Crisis Core. Where Sephiroth was young and had friends and absolutely no desire to crush us all with a meteor (probably). We start at the beginning: Sephiroth was raised and trained as an intellectually and physically exceptional child with no immediate family.

While there’s no canon information on his childhood, some of his behavior in Crisis Core reflects what his mentality likely was.

Unlike many real life students with exceptional skills, Sephiroth had all of the special instruction and resources he needed to prosper. By the time we see him in Crisis Core, Sephiroth was entirely confident in abilities he’d been building on his entire life.

Yet when Genesis expressed jealousy over Sephiroth’s fame, he told Genesis he could have it. This is an indication that his confidence was self-contained rather than something he got from or held over other people. In short, fame or the lack of would not affect him at all.

This connects to another issue that exceptional people face in their upbringing. According to a guide by the Education Resources Information Center (ERIC), “specific provisions for [gifted and talented students] stir heated controversy regarding whether or not they need special attention”.

Zack himself displayed this skepticism just before his mission with the Turks that Sephiroth was originally assigned to. Upon hearing that he refused to go, Zack asked if they were being too soft with him or babying him (depending on language/translation).

You can see the scene here at about 6:40.

For Sephiroth, this kind of controversy led to his abilities defining him to others in one of two ways. His status as the best First Class SOLDIER led people to believe he was either a hero beyond their standing or he was entitled more than he deserved.

Let’s consider that in conjunction with the immense value he placed on his friendship with Angeal and Genesis.

To have two friends who treated him as someone on their level, whether positively or negatively, meant a great deal to Sephiroth. There were few people who wouldn’t judge him based on his reputation since he had no family.

The bottom line is that Angeal and Genesis (and later Zack) gave him something his reputation could not: a sense of belonging.

And that feeling overpowered everything else Sephiroth held as important. He refused the mission that Zack went on because it was an act directly against his friends. When he was on his way to Modeoheim, he put his current mission off to go out of his way and talk to Zack – even though Zack was upset with him at the time.

Full clip here.

Sadly, this value Sephiroth placed on belonging was his undoing in the end.

To be human and exceptional separated him from nearly everyone, even others who were First Class. But at least he had that in common with people – humanity.

His discovery of the truth took that last bastion of hope away along with two of his closest friends. (The below video shows Sephiroth’s struggle as he tried to hold onto his humanity and the particularly painful way he found out he wasn’t human after all.)

Full clip here.

Failing that, Sephiroth had utterly nothing in common with anyone insofar as he knew. What meant most to him in life was inaccessible to him forever (or so he felt).

All that remained to fill the void was his greatness. In his mind, that had defined him to everyone else throughout his life, and he only thought he’d been defined by something more to those he cared for.

With his feeling of belonging gone, Sephiroth had to face that he would never truly belong among humans.

That combined with inevitable rage at the deception and horror at the truth of his origin… Sephiroth turned to godhood to embrace what he had originally tried to reject.

He was exceptional and he did not belong among these people; he never would. Grieving it in solitude could drive him mad or…

Sephiroth could choose not to grieve, instead empowering himself by believing he never really needed to belong. The feeling was simply another deception by the lesser beings of humanity.

And so, he rationalized godhood as his destiny.

and I’m still sad about it after all these years
#BlameHojo

Thank you for reading!