The Story of Vincent Valentine Chapter 6
When Acid Meets Alkaline
Planetary Year- 1904 --- 2/11 Nibelheim
When she was tired, she couldn't sleep. When she was hungry, she couldn't eat. When she was bored, she knew what to do. When she was working, she made no progress. She could only think of the long kisses, and the embrace that had lasted forever and no time at all. Vincent.
It wasn't love. Not like that. There was something... Different about it. It fit so perfectly, yet didn't feel comfortable to her. Lucrecia didn't think she was in love, but didn't know why. All she knew was that if her mind had a moment to itself, it gave it all to Vincent. She also knew, deep inside, that whether it was love or not, she'd be giving a great deal more of her time to him. True or false, blessed or forbidden, something was wrong... Yet... Something was so right.
Why had he done that? It had felt good... No, great! But... She hadn't looked at him since then. Words were hard pressed between them. It wasn't animosity, it was just awkward. He just didn't know anymore. Confusion reigned. If that wasn't bad enough, he had a very bad feeling when he was around Hojo. Hatred so strong that it wasn't even realized by Hojo, much less disguised. Vincent knew he'd done something wrong... Yet... Something was so right about it.
"I can't stand it! Since the Turk fixed up that damned room, Lucrecia has been working like a two year old! It's like her brains got sucked out of her head!"
"At least Vincent hasn't caused you any problems."
"Like I care about that! And you're wrong, he is causing me problems! With Lucrecia! Damn him! Damn him a million times!"
"What is, Gast? What the hell could be funny?"
"Nothing, Hojo... It's just that since that night, they both seem to be... Neutralized."
"What? Make some sense, Gast!"
"It's like when you mix an acid with an equal alkaline. Both agents become nil."
Hojo stopped talking. He paused in thought for a moment. The room was quieter than usual, since Lucrecia wasn't subconsciously humming some tune Hojo couldn't care about. Other than that, as a partner, she had no flaws... until today. She was late, worked less than half of her usual pace, and never seemed to be interested in anything. Her hypothesis, which often were exactly what Hojo needed to realize the answer to his latest problem, were nonexistent. It was Valentine's fault, of course. Valentine's fault...
"Hmmm... Well now, in that case, I think I'll give Valentine a little to much acid to handle. I'll get Lucrecia back in no time. We need to get to work!"
"Hojo... I didn't mean it like-"
"It doesn't matter what you meant it to be! Do me a favor. Finish making the notes on the third sequence, and run the second battery of tests on subjects A through G. I've got other work to do."
Vincent sighed. Hojo wanted more test subjects. That wasn't a problem. The problem was how many he wanted. Too many. If that wasn't enough, there were too many... Human sized ones. As far as Vincent was concerned, that meant more than zero, but Hojo wanted twenty. Worse, he wanted a few of them to still be alive. Vincent had work to do. Work even he, with all his emotions shattered by the Shinra, hated. He loaded his Quicksilver, and left the mansion with a heavy heart, a lost heart. Lost to the love, and the hate of Lucrecia and Hojo.
Hojo was a scientist. He was a man of facts, of logic. He knew a great deal about most everything. The one thing he knew little about was love. As far as he was concerned, it was simply the chemical reaction of pheromones, which attracted two members of the same species to each other. Of the same species. This couldn't be love. He stared longingly into the specimen jar, his mind overflowing with his... Appreciation? No. Perhaps... Yes, his adoration of Jenova. It had so many secrets to tell him. He stroked the jar. It would tell him them in good time. When he could make it safe to bond with Jenova, he would. Then they would be together.
Jenova was laughing, he imagined. Laughing with joy. Hojo had other things to do. He said good bye to his other part, and got to work. Lucrecia. He had it figured out. Valentine was gone for at least a few days. Hojo would get Lucrecia back to work. When Valentine came back, he would be so depressed from his job well done, that he would put both himself and Lucrecia in a bad mood. Hojo would give Lucrecia a way to escape that depression in sweet, sensible, science. Now Hojo was laughing alongside Jenova. And Jenova was laughing. Laughing at the madness of love. The love of Jenova, the madness of Hojo.
Lucrecia was depressed. Vincent had left yesterday. He'd had an enormous bag slung around his shoulder, and his gun was in it's open holster at his hip. The dark suited man had left quietly, with only a tiny wave to her, his brown eyes dark not with a lack of emotion, but an unspeakable sorrow. Lucrecia had wished she could go with him. Over dinner, Hojo had accidentally dropped hints. Apparently, Vincent had gone out hunting, as he sometimes did. From Hojo's slips, it sounded like it was his own choice. But... Why was Vincent sad then? Perhaps he wasn't sad, just guilty; she'd thought. Guilty about what? Her mind had whirled a million paranoid explanations. Lucrecia was feeling nauseous with guilt, stupid hatred, loss, confusion. She needed some order. She sighed, and went off to the lab. Maybe some work would help her clear her mind. Maybe Hojo could help her out. She went to the lab, to get back to work. She already felt better, as the comfortable weight of the many possibilities and projects before her settled about her. She sighed.
The exact instant the sigh left Lucrecia's lips, Gast was sighing. His mind had trailed off to his love, Ifalna. The explosion woke him from his reverie, and made him jump a foot in the air. Gast cursed under his breath, and began to clean up the mess. He suddenly realized why the beaker had exploded. It's contents were too volatile. 'Too much acid...' Gast mused to himself.
Those who aren't scientific call this an omen. Damn those scientists...
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