The Cry of the Planet Chapter 13

Getting Settled

By Edyn Cross

Vincent picked Professor Gast's suitcase to bring into to town while Lucrecia got her own plus Professor Hojo's. They walked through the Chocobo fields towards Nibelheim, neither of them saying a word for a long time, although they didn't need to speak. Vincent and Lucrecia couldn't keep their eyes off each other and were exchanging looks while the other had their eyes turned. The bag that Lucrecia had hooked around her shoulder slipped off and fell to the grass.

"Hey," Vincent said. "Let me get that for you."

"No, I've got it," Lucrecia said picking up the bag. "It's just awkward, is all."

Vincent grinned, "Alright just let me know if it gets to heavy for you."

"Thanks," She said giving Vincent a smile. "It doesn't matter really, looks like we are getting close anyway. Look."

Vincent looked straight ahead and saw the field lead onto a dirt road, which gradually became a dusty grey brick path leading into town. As they passed under the town gates, Vincent looked around in disgust. Quaint was the only way to describe this town. It was about eight in the morning now and the few residents that were on the streets looked at the strangers uneasily as they entered town.

The whole village seemed to be centered around a large well, and of course, the Shinra Mansion loomed behind the town in shadows cast by the Nibel Mountains. Vincent looked around, seeing residents give him worried glances and peeking eyes trying to conceal themselves through drawn curtains.

"Guess this is it," Lucrecia said as they approached the Mansion. "Good thing, too. These suitcases are starting to get heavy. Phew!"

Vincent fumbled with latch on the gate and swung it open then stepped out of the way allowing Lucrecia pass before him. They walked up to the front porch and Vincent stood there dumbfounded as he realized he didn't have a key. Without even having to ask, Lucrecia produced a key from her lab coat with a Shinra Inc. key ring attached and unlocked and opened the door.

"Phoo!" She said laughing. "Man, this place is really stuffy."

Vincent walked in and immediately a chill ran up his spin. He felt as if he had been here before, but knowing that was impossible, quickly shoved the thought from his head. Lucrecia found a light switch and turned it on and a rich yellow light emanating from a large chandelier filled the lobby.

"Ooh," Lucrecia gawked. "This is MUCH better than my studio apartment in Midgar."

Vincent smiled at her, "Yeah, I bet. Now, let's find our room."

Lucrecia looked at him and raised one eyebrow.

"Our rooms," Vincent corrected accenting the 's' and laughed nervously.

They stood there looking at each other. The only sound was the wind blowing outside.

"Um, well I bet they are upstairs," Lucrecia began walking towards a large staircase.

Vincent followed behind her as they climbed the stairs, trying desperately not to look at what was currently eye level with him now and kept his eyes on her feet. Following her was like walking in a field of wildflowers. Her perfume, although so subtle, engulfed Vincent's senses to the point where he thought he might get aroused. He squeezed his eyes shut for a split second thinking of something to stop that from happening: Hojo naked. Blech. Yep, that did it.

He opened his eyes as they finally reached the top step.

"There," Lucrecia said turning left.

They walked across the balcony and passed a greenroom before coming to the bedrooms. Vincent picked the one the closest to the balcony and Lucrecia took the one next to his. They put the suitcases on their beds and put Hojo's and Gast's in their rooms as well and then met in the hallway.

"So what do you think?" Vincent asked.

"I love it!" Lucrecia pushed her glasses up her nose. "But, I bet this isn't much different from your place. You know, being a Turk and all."

Vincent laughed, "Yeah, actually, it is. I just have a small apartment where the most interesting item is a dead plant."

"Ah… Is your wife not much of a housekeeper?" She asked not looking at him.

"No, no wife." Vincent said surprised.

"Then your girlfriend doesn't visit often to clean?" Lucrecia said still looking at the floor.

"No girlfriend either." Vincent replied trying to meet Lucrecia's eyes.

"Are you gay?" She said finally meeting his eyes in time to see him burst out laughing.

"Nope," he said as they headed back to the balcony. "Why do you ask?"

"No reason really," Lucrecia lied. "I just find it hard to believe that you wouldn't have a woman, especially being a Turk and all. I know how the girls at work talk about them."

"What about you?" Vincent didn't like talking about himself. "You and Hojo seem to be quite the pair. He seems very, um, attached to you."

Lucrecia laughed as loud as Vincent did when she asked him if he was gay, "No, we aren't. Our relationship is strictly professional. We just share a common interest is all."

"Which is?" He asked.

"Science, of course," Lucrecia pushed a strand of hair out of her face. "It's hard for me to find people that I have things in common with. Being a girl and so into Science and reading and knowledge makes it tough sometimes to talk to people about things of common interest. See, listen to me now, I sound like a complete nerd. Most people think I just come off as weird."

"I don't think you're weird," Vincent smiled. "I think…"

You're beautiful.

"Hmm?" Lucrecia looked at him.

You're perfect.

"Nothing," Vincent said. "Let's find your laboratory."

"Okay," Lucrecia said a little uneasy. "It's supposed to be in the basement, but my notes said the staircase is located upstairs. That's weird."

They walked across the balcony and to the other side of the upstairs. They searched every room not finding one staircase. The last room they entered had a cobblestone corner wall where the stones didn't quite fit together. One of the rocks was a slightly darker shade than the rest.

"You don't suppose…?" Lucrecia said touching the rock.

Responding to her touch, the wall slid open revealing a circular room open from the basement to the ceiling. Lucrecia turned on the light revealing wooden boards attached to the walls connecting each other spiraled from the top all the way to the bottom. Lucrecia looked at the boards and noticed they were about three feet wide and had no handrail.

"You've got to be joking," Lucrecia said taking a step back.

"This is probably it," Vincent said amused. "In no time, you'll be making this trip twenty times a day up and down these boards."

"No way," She said. "I don't like heights, Vincent."

He felt a hot rush inside him as he heard her say his name, "Here," Vincent said holding out his hand. "I'll make sure you don't fall."

She hesitated a few seconds before taking it. His touch was so strong. So comforting. "Promise you won't let me go?"

Vincent smiled at her, "Promise. Now let's go see your laboratory."

They made their way down the wooden path with the boards creaking and whining under the weight. Lucrecia tried to pretend to be nervous, losing her balance every so often and Vincent would squeeze her hand every now and then just to reassure her.

Good thing Gast and Hojo aren't here, Lucrecia thought. They know for a fact that she isn't afraid of heights.

When they got to the bottom, Vincent was surprised to see that it was all dirt that they were standing on.

"I hope there aren't any rats down here," Lucrecia said still holding Vincent's hand. Even though she wasn't afraid of heights, she hated rats with a passion.

"No, I don't think there are any rats down…"

Vincent was cut short when a bat flew by scraping Vincent's shoulder. He moved with almost unnatural speed that Lucrecia could barely tell what happened. He reached in his suit, pulled out his gun, and with one shot the bullet split the bat in half before it could even get six feet away. He then holstered his gun before what was left of the bat could even hit the ground.

"I told you there weren't any rats here," Vincent said looking over at the terrified Lucrecia.

She only stared at him still holding his hand. They began to move on again shortly after and saw a door to the left. Lucrecia took a step, letting go of Vincent's and then stopped.

"Um, you open it." Lucrecia laughed nervously.

Vincent tried the doorknob, "It's locked."

Vincent was kind of relieved at that as he got an uneasy feeling about that room. They walked through the dimly lit earthen tunnel a little bit more and found a large door. Vincent opened it, felt inside the wall and turned on the light. Only a desk lamp and a few low watt bulbs hanging from the ceiling lit up revealing a large library containing endless books , a few pieces of lab equipment and what appeared to be an operating table.

"Finally!" Lucrecia said happily.

They walked through the library then through a small doorway full of books leading to an even bigger library with a large study desk.

"Professor Gast with absolutely love this, "Lucrecia said putting her hand on the study desk. "That is if he can make it without getting dive-bombed by a bat."

Lucrecia walked up to Vincent and inspected his shoulder. "Does it hurt at all?"

"No," Vincent said looking into Lucrecia's eyes. "It just grazed my suit."

Lucrecia looked up and caught Vincent staring at her.

"I think you hurt my hand though," Vincent said jokingly. "That bat must have really scared you."

Lucrecia looked down at this hand and took it with both of hers then pulled it up to her face and gave it a soft kiss.

"There," She said sweetly. "Feel better?"

Vincent's heart was beating so hard in his chest; he thought it was going to explode. Feeling her touch, her kiss on his hand was too much for him. He leaned in closer, his hand still in hers and pulled it to his chest bringing her with it. She looked up at him with a bothered expression, but made no attempt to pull away.

"Now isn't this friendly?" a familiar voice hissed.

"Professor Hojo!" Lucrecia said pulling her hands away from Vincent. "What are you guys doing here?"

"We are meeting for lunch, don't you remember?" Hojo said glaring at Lucrecia from across the library. "Seems that you are forgetting a lot of things lately."

"No… I uh, just must have lost track of time," Lucrecia said apologetically.

"That's quite alright, dear," Gast said. "Are you two ready to grab something to eat?"

"Yeah," She said walking towards the two scientists.

"Well, let's go then," Gast smiled at Lucrecia. "Hojo and I found a bar in town that doesn't look too shabby."

Gast nodded to Vincent before heading out of the basement with Lucrecia. Vincent too began to leave, but his trip was cut short when Hojo stepped directly in his path. Vincent just crossed his arms and gave Hojo a look of utter boredom.

"You'd do good to stay away from her," Hojo said sharply after Lucrecia and Gast left.

Vincent rolled his eyes, "And who are you, her father?"

"Don't get smart, Turk," Hojo hissed. "Lucrecia belongs to me. And in more ways than you think."

Vincent grabbed the collar of Hojo's lab coat, "Lucrecia doesn't belong to ANYONE and if you think so, I have certain things that I can do to change your mind."

Vincent pushed Hojo away causing him to stumble over a stack of books.

"Don't you threaten me, Valentine," Hojo was furious. "You ARE going to stay away from her and do you know why?"

"Oh, do tell," Truth was Vincent couldn't give a damn.

"Because there are also certain things I can do as well," Hojo smiled. "Maybe not in the same in the same ways as you, but they too get the point across."

"Idle threats," Vincent replied.

Before Hojo could respond, he heard Lucrecia call from the doorway. "Are you guys coming or what? What's going on here?"

Vincent and Hojo exchanged looks of hostility.

"Nothing," Vincent said coolly. "Right, Professor?"

"That's right," Hojo managed to stop gritting his teeth. "Nothing at all."

"Well, alright," Lucrecia said knowing they were both lying. "Let's grab something to eat, okay?"

"Sure," Vincent managed to give her a smile.

The three walked towards the earthen hallway to meet Professor Gast. Lucrecia walked directly the middle not closer to either of the two men looking straight ahead the entire time.

Chapter 14

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic