The Cry of the Planet Chapter 21
By Edyn Cross
Lucrecia woke up the next morning feeling better than she had in a long time.
The first thing she thought of when she woke up was the new specimens to
experiment on and the second thing was Vincent. She yawned and looked over
at the clock: 7:23am. Lucrecia always woke up early not wanting to sleep
the day away. There was work to be done.
After she showered and got herself decent, she stepped outside her door and looked around. Vincent's was still closed and not surprisingly, Hojo's was still opened and bed made exactly the way it was the night before.
"Gast was right," Lucrecia giggled softly to herself. "Hojo IS on a mission."
She made her way to the kitchen, which was empty and quiet and made herself some tea and toast for breakfast. Then she put it on a plate and excitedly made her way to the Shinra basement anxious to get the research started. When she entered the lab, the first thing she saw was Professor Gast reading the morning paper drinking his coffee and the second was the back room light on and Hojo's quiet mumbling echoing incoherently through the room.
Gast looked up from his paper and smiled, "Good morning."
She returned his smile, "Hello. Mind if I join you?"
"By all means," Gast said motioning to a chair next to him. "How was your evening last night? Did you have a good time?"
"Oh, yes," Lucrecia said sitting down. "We walked around town, he took me to dinner and we. talked. I've never really just talked with someone before and he was the perfect person to talk to. So quiet and polite."
"Yes, yes," Gast agreed sipping his coffee. "Men like that are very hard to come by, you should consider yourself blessed."
"What do you mean?" Lucrecia said nibbling her toast.
"Hah! Think of it this way," Gast laughed. "How many other men have you met in your life with a stable, very well-paying job, polite, smart, and you don't need me to tell you this: very handsome."
Lucrecia thought back to college and of all the geeky science nerds and cocky sports jocks and shook her head.
"There you have it," Gast said looking back to his paper. "Words of advice. Never ever pass up a good thing, those opportunities are very few and some may be your one and only chance."
"Besides," Gast said laughing and pointing with his coffee mug down the hall to the other laboratory room. "Consider the alternative."
Lucrecia listened to Hojo's incoherent mumbling and giggled.
The three scientists spent the entire morning researching, experimenting and documenting. Professor Gast and Lucrecia worked together on most experiments which Hojo spent time with his own studies. It was clear to the other two that Professor Hojo didn't want to be disturbed so they let him be alone in the back laboratory room, which also served as a large library. Lucrecia and Gast remained in the front room working so diligently; they didn't even hear Hojo's mumbling anymore.
It was five in the afternoon when the basement door finally opened and a tired, but excited looking Lucrecia stepped out to get something to eat for her and Professor Gast. She walked downstairs, eyes squinting from being cooped up in the dark basement laboratory for so long. She entered the kitchen to see Vincent Valentine digging through the fridge looking for something to eat for himself.
"Vincent," Lucrecia said with warmth.
Surprised by her voice, Vincent jerked his head up hitting the top of the fridge and then turned and looked at her.
"Lucrecia," He smiled at her. "I haven't seen you all day. How are things going down there?"
She went to the fridge looking for something for her and Gast, "Oh, very well. The new samples are working out very nicely. You wouldn't believe how much energy is in that Ancient."
Vincent raised an eyebrow, "Energy?"
"Yes, it's almost as if the Ancient has been soaked in Mako for a thousand years, it's so powerful," Lucrecia said. "You know, like the energy found in Materia? Gast said that he believes Ancients were able to use magic without the aid of Materia, so who knows what kind of knowledge is stored in that Ancient."
Vincent just listened thoughtfully.
"Well, I bet we'll find out sooner or later," Lucrecia said with a smile. "That's why we're here."
Lucrecia prepared sandwiches for her and retreated back to the basement and didn't come out until three in the morning.
Days like this went on like clockwork. The three scientists spent most of
their time in the basement laboratory while the Turk kept the mansion secured
from any outside threat: A few monsters wandering down from the mountain
path or maybe a local townsfolk who wanted a peek at Shinra's latest corporate
Hojo was one rarely seen. Gast had seen him a total of three times in two weeks and each time he looked even thinner than he was and could use three days of sleep. As far as Gast knew Hojo had been sleeping in the laboratory itself coming up only when desperately needing something to eat or drink. When Gast tried speaking with Professor Hojo, but his only response was a shooing gesture with his gangly hands.
Gast thought that maybe he should be more concerned about Hojo's state, but he learned long ago that there's no sense in trying to tell that man anything. Hojo was doing his work and that was good enough for him. Gast would walk to the back laboratory every now and read Hojo's lab reports. As usual they were sensible and flawless, but Gast never saw Hojo's personal research log he kept in his lab coat.
Gast also noticed with content that Lucrecia was growing tiresome with her work and taking more and more trips out of the basement for whatever errands were needed. Some afternoons, Lucrecia would retire early around four or five and spend that time undoubtedly with Vincent Valentine. She would also talk about the Vincent while they were doing their research and it was quite clear to Gast that she was falling for the Turk.
Over a month had gone by since the four had returned from the Mako Reactor on Mt. Nibel and Lucrecia found herself enjoying her nights of just spending time with Vincent more than her studies of the Ancient down in the lab. The two still haven't done anything more since the first night on the balcony, but Lucrecia still loved having her talks with Vincent. She loved it more than anything when she could actually get him to open up about what he thought about things or something from his childhood. Side by side they would sit on the couch in front of the large stone fireplace. Most of the time talking, but some if it was just spent in silence, both enjoying each other's presence.
While either researching in the lab or spending time with Vincent, there was always a small nagging in the back of Lucrecia's mind worrying a bit about Professor Hojo. She had seen him maybe a total of three or four times and each time he didn't even seem to notice she was there. So obsessed with his work, Lucrecia bet that Hojo had lost at least fifteen pounds in the past few weeks. He had shut himself out of everything that was trivial to him and focused on what was important: Jenova. It was clear to Lucrecia now that there was no winning Hojo's affection. Similar scientific minds or not, Lucrecia was learning that it takes more than just a common interest to be able to have a relationship with someone.
She was also beginning to think that she didn't want to be a part of Professor Hojo's Experiment anymore. If it was to jeopardize anything between her and Vincent, she didn't want to have anything to do with it, but she had no idea how to tell Hojo this. She feared his reaction would be harsh, maybe even dangerous
Like every other night for the past few weeks, Vincent and Lucrecia said
their goodnights before each going to their own room to retire for the evening.
As they stood outside their doors Vincent leaned in and gave Lucrecia a shy,
soft kiss on the lips before offering her a faint smile and entered his bedroom
closing the door behind him.
Lucrecia entered her own room, changed into her nighty, and crawled into her bed. No matter how hard she tried, she couldn't fall asleep. She lay staring at the ceiling listening to the approaching storm and thinking of what to do about her situation. Experiment or Vincent is what it all boiled down to in her mind. She tried to imagine what life would be like living it in a laboratory as a part of Hojo's Experiment and then she imagined her life as it had been with Vincent the past few weeks. She thought and her eyes sagged as sleep washed over her and just before she dozed off, she shot her eyes open and jerked up in bed.
For the first time, Lucrecia realized something that she should have known weeks ago. She had fallen in love with Vincent Valentine. She knew she felt strongly for him, but right now at this moment, it hit her like a bolt of lightning. She turned and looked at the clock, which read 2:13am. Vincent would be asleep by now, but would that matter? She knew he would want her to come to him, he had been so patient, but his wanting was so obvious.
A thick blue light filled her bedroom and Lucrecia quietly slipped out of bed as the massive crack of thunder followed rattling the windowpanes. Just then she wondered if Vincent would be awake after all. She grabbed her nightgown from the closet and tiptoed across the hard wood floor and out into the hallway. Lucrecia stood outside Vincent's bedroom door staring at the doorknob. She reached out with her hand to grasp the doorknob and just before she put her hand on it she heard something shift behind her.
Lucrecia quickly turned around and saw nothing behind her but the house and shadows. She narrowed her eyes trying to see in the darkness, but couldn't make out anything. She considered asking if anyone was there, but her question was answered a split second later. Another bright flash of blue lightning filled the Mansion revealing a heavily breathing Hojo standing less than five feet from her, then all was dark and Hojo was nowhere to be seen. Before Lucrecia could even begin to yell, Hojo stepped from the shadow and grabbed her by the arm and threw her into his bedroom shutting the door behind him. The thunder following the lightning covered any noise that Vincent might have heard from inside his room.
"Hojo!" Lucrecia yelled. "What are you doing?"
Hojo threw Lucrecia into his room while he stood between her and the door.
"It's time," Hojo whispered seeming out of breath and locked the door.
"For what...?" And then it stuck her. "No! I don't want to be in the Experiment anymore. I don't want to!"
"It's to late, my dear," Hojo hissed advancing towards Lucrecia. "Too late..."
"No!" Lucrecia yelled and tried to run to the door.
Hojo caught her by the arm and flung her onto the bed. He positioned himself on top of her pinning her down. He held one hand over her mouth keeping her quiet and with the other he fumbled with his pants. Lucrecia tried freeing herself, but for as skinny as Hojo was he, was strong... too strong.
As soon as Hojo was finish with his pants, he shoved them off with his free hand revealing his erection. He then ripped open Lucrecia's nightgown and pushed up her nighty revealing her white panties. With one try, he ripped them off leaving Lucrecia ashamed and defenseless.
"Too late..." Hojo said chuckling to himself ignoring Lucrecia's weak struggle. "Jenova."
Lucrecia just closed her eyes wanting it to be all over.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic