A cold rain fell outside the mansion of Nibelheim. It was the kind of rain that seeped through every part of one's body and into the bones, freezing all motions of life. The kind of rain Hojo hated. It meant the basement would be damp and frighteningly cold that night, but more importantly, it meant he'd have to pause his work until it warmed up. He found that the experiments he worked with didn't do too well when it was cool and damp as opposed to warm and dry. Those blasted heaters hadn't arrived from Midgar yet, which irked Hojo greatly. Nobody seemed to care, nor understand, his grand vision for science. Hojo knew they'd only care if they heard the two magical words they seemed to love so much: economical, and profitable.
God I hate ergonomics, he thought to himself as he cleaned up the lab a bit. The hell with money. Go with science! Sweet, beautiful, brilliant sciencethat's the way!
Hojo laughed bitterly as he closed up shop and climbed the stairs to the mansion's main floor. His bitter laughter echoed around the mansion and bounced around every which way, coming back from nooks and crannies Hojo didn't even know existed. It seemed this mansion was a bitter place in and of itself, and he fit perfectly in it.
He came to the top of the steps and realized he now had nothing to do. He couldn't really plan anything out; he'd left everything down in the lab and didn't feel like going back to get it. Perhaps he needed a breakmaybe it would do him some good. He walked slowly over to the piano room and sat down on a couch, stretching out on it as he slowly fell asleep for the first time in four days.
Lucrecia stood near the door of her room in the inn, doubled over in pain as she leaned against the wall. The cramps and contractions were growing ever worse as the hours wore on, and she knew she needed to get to the mansion because of them. Hojo. She had to get to him, tell him what was happening so they could deal with it, end this whole thing, or at least the part that concerned her. Maybe then she'd be able to get some peace; after all, she'd have a child of her own, and the three, Hojo, Lucrecia, and child could be a family of sorts.
The contractions eased off a little bit and she reached for the doorknob. Did she really want to be in a family with Hojo though? To have to play wife beside him? No, she didn't want to do that, but she really had no choice. She wished Vincent was there. After all, he was the only one who knew just how to hold her, to soothe her pain and make her feel better about everything.
She shook her head to clear her head of this idiocy. Vincent was gone, she knew that. Hojo said Vincent went back to Midgar on a permanent re-assignment and that he'd never be able to come back. Her eyes watered up and tears feel freely down her cheeks as she remembered the good times they'd had together. Her physical pain, of course, didn't help, and she was forced to turn her mind to what was most importantthe present.
That innkeeper downstairs. Maybe he could help her. She still needed to write all this down, to record it all. She looked back at the table in the room. It was about ten feet away, but it might as well have been ten miles away. Still, she had to record all that was happening, and then she could call Hojo and have him pick her up or something. Some notepaper and pens were on the table. Right. She could write it all down herself. She walked slowly over to the table, and after what felt like a million years, she finally stood next to it. As she reached for pen and paper, the worst contraction of her life came crashing into her senses. She cried out as she fell to the floor face-first, her last thoughts turning to Vincent as she blacked out.
Downstairs at the counter, Davis was doing what he felt only truly insane people do: count wood grains. Then again, perhaps he too was going insane, considering nothing was really happening right now and there hadn't been more than a few customers over the past year.
4536 4537 4538 he counted on. This wasn't too bad, he tried reasoning. Maybe he could set a world record for counting the most wood grains before his mind turned to mush. Just as he felt his grip on sanity begin to loosen, he heard a loud bang come from upstairs. At first it didn't register in his diminished mind, but after a second or two, he shook his head and ran up the steps, wondering what'd happened to the pretty lady who'd been staying in the room during the last few weeks. He got to the front of her door and resisted the urge to count the wood grains on it as well. He knocked once, twice, three times. No answer came from within the room, and it was due to this that he opened the door cautiously. He saw red on the floor and threw the door open the rest of the way, revealing Professor Lucrecia lying on the floor, blood flowing freely from a broken nose and unconscious. He rushed to her side and checked on her. Was she dead? No, he could see and hear that, considering the short, ragged breaths coming from her pained form. He gently placed her on her side so she could breathe a little easier, then grabbed the phone and dialed the number for that weird professor at the Shinra mansion. Hojo had said to call him if Lucrecia was having problems, and so he did. The phone rang once, twice, three times and finally it was picked up by a grumpy-sounding man on the other end
Hojo snored away on the couch, one arm hanging limply off the makeshift bed. His hair was, as usual, a wreck. His glasses were tilted on his face, and his lab coat was disheveled and wrinkled. In short, he looked like any other mad scientist. Usually, whenever he got the chance to sleep, he dreamt of nothing, but such was not the case this time around. He dreamt of that damned Turk, Vincent. He dreamt of pulling that trigger, of sealing Vincent's fate, first by sewing up his body, then by closing up his coffin six months before.
Hee hee hee just imagine how broken-hearted and hurt Lucrecia'll be when suddenly, you're not around anymore, he'd thought to himself, chuckling away with glee. She'll hate you and will HAVE to continue her work with this project. You said you disagreed with it all Valentine, and I pity you for that. You never were one to understand anything beyond your own wants and needs. Hee hee hee, that's right Valentine, your time is done! This is the new you now!
With that, he sewed in the last stitch and stood back from the table, admiring his work. The full effects of it wouldn't and couldn't be measured for a while, but for now, he evaluated what he'd done as a stunning success. The bronze claw he'd made glowed rather brightly in the dim lighting of the lab, and with this he smiled inwardly. He could feel JENOVA speaking to him in the depths of his dark mind, praising him for his genius. Hojo grinned wildly and suddenly...Vincent woke up. His red eyes were at first very dark and could barely be seen in the gloominess of the room, but they quickly lit up and he slid off the table. He stood there for a second or two, a look of total disbelief as he examined his new form. Rage took over his mind and he transformed into a bizarre, terrifying creature, a creature Hojo knew he had no control over. He rushed over to it and injected it with a good dose of a sedative he had with him. The creature howled in protest over the needle, but could not resist the drug's effects on its body and it soon fell into a tranquilizer-induced coma, transforming back into Vincent. Hojo, after much difficulty and effort, placed Vincent's frail-looking body onto a stretcher and wheeled him out to the crypt room, and managed to place him in the coffin rather easily. He put in a few nails, then walked out and replaced the look with a heavy-duty, stainless steel lock with two deadlocks. He went back and cleaned up the lab, a big sigh of relief going through him as he realized he was finished with Vincent for what would hopefully be a very, very long time...
Hojo would've kept dreaming if it weren't for the fact that he was awoken due to the ringing of a nearby phone. He groaned and sat up, though he really didn't want to. His arm was numb and he'd forgotten to take his glasses off before falling asleep. Foolish. No matter, though, it's not like he slept often anyway. He got up and managed to half stumble, half walk to the phone, picked it up, and snarled, "What?"
The fool at the inn breathed a sigh of relief over the phone as he realized the call had gone through.
"Yes, what is it?"
"Uhhh...Professor Lucrecia is over here, she's unconscious and I think her nose is broken too, sir."
"Well, get her over here then!"
Hojo hung up and growled a bit to himself. That stupid bitch, he thought, what'd she do now?
He stopped and thought for a second, evaluating his own rhetorical question. Could it be time for that? It was possible, he thought as he walked to the door, that it could be happening then.
The door emitted a loud, but deep tone as it was knocked. Hojo opened it and revealed Davis standing there, Lucrecia draped in his arms. Her long hair was nearly touching the ground and dripped with the cold rain that was falling. Indeed, the cold rain had picked up and fog moved in from the mountains, causing visibility to drop to virtually nil. Davis's short hair was matted against his head and drops of water rolled down his face like drops of sweat. A fightened, confused expression crossed his face as he looked in the mansion and saw mostly a dark, gloomy place. Who the hell would wanna work here? he wondered.
Hojo grabbed Davis by the collar and yanked him in, yelling, "Get in here you fool before she freezes!"
Lucrecia groaned and slowly awoke, and began quietly sobbing as the pain she'd felt so much before flooded her senses once again. She felt her womb contract once again and she grit her teeth, refusing to cry out. The contraction subsided and her breath came rushing out in short, tortured breathes. Good Lord, why did labor have to be like this? she thought. Hojo walked over to her and looked her in the eye.
"Has it started?" he questioned.
She could only nod her head, afraid of crying out if she opened her mouth.
Hojo acknowledged this with a curt nod of his own, then began walking to the secret entrance of the lab, calling out behind him, "Come with me."
Davis glanced around fearfully at the mansion's gloomy interior before following hurridly after Hojo. This place is huge, he thought. He'd only ever seen it once before on the inside, when it was first being built thirty years before. He was only nine then and was almost caught by one of the builders after sneaking in, but managed to avoid this. He'd been amazed at then-beauty of this place, as well as its sheer size. Now, thirty years later, the climate of the Nibel Mountain Region had not been kind to the old mansion.
"Hey, what the hell are you doing you moron?!" Hojo shouted, shaking Davis from his thoughts. Lucrecia let out a small groan at this. It seemed like everything in the world was out to cause her more pain, including the very people she worked with.
"Let's go," Hojo said as he walked through the entrance in the stone wall.
Davis followed and walked down the dark steps, each one creaking with every step. Davis gulped and took in a deep breath to calm himself. He could do this, sure he could. Hojo found the noise Davis made quite irritating. Fortunately for the workaholic Professor, Davis kept quiet from that point on.
The two arrived at the foot of the steps and began walking towards the fabled lab. They walked past the crypt where Vincent slept in his coffin, his mind being torn apart by nightmares of ever increasing ferocity. Eventually, they reached the lab and Hojo instructed Davis to lay Lucrecia on a table. Hojo stripped Lucrecia of everything below the waist and put her legs up in clamps at either side of the table. Hojo prepared a small amount of painkiller, which he injected into Lucrecia's lower body to erase the pain she felt, but more importantly, to shut her up for the time being. He prepared for the arrival of the child, his child, his specimen. Then he waited.
Contraction after contraction came to Lucrecia, but she now felt no pain. She was grateful for this, and was even more grateful for the presence of the nice man who whispered in her ear to keep pushing, to keep going. She wondered about the identity of this man, who he was. Her eyes were clamped shut as she pushed as much as she could and she had no energy to spare to open them with. She soon had no time to think of this though, as she felt the baby's head start to come through into the world. The man continued to tell her to push, and push she did, with all her might. She loved this child in many ways, but in other ways she hated it, and wanted it out of her body. She wanted it gone, oh yes, she wanted to be rid of it!
Hojo wished he had his assistants to help him deal with this, but there was no time for call them in. After another ten minutes of frenzied labor, a silver-haired baby slid from Lucrecia's womb and into his eager hands. The baby cried, clearing its lungs and making its presence known. Lucrecia heard the baby's cry, and felt...happy. She was so happy now, and so tired. It was over; her part in this whole project was done with. And as she lay on the table, she blocked out everything around her as she slowly went under and slide into the realm of unconsciousness.