Through the Looking Glass Chapter 23
By Lucrecia Marionette
He stood beside the window on the fifth floor of the Shinra HQ. He wasn't sure why; the view was a depressing one as it looked over the decaying plates of Midgar. Perhaps it was because a sense of power could be gained from standing and watching normal people scrape and try to keep their lives going no matter how futile it was.
We all die sometime. There is a beginning to our lives so there must be an end. Thats certain isnt it? We are all created with the realisation that we will one day be un-created. Perhaps there is a God. Perhaps there is a devil. One thing I knew for sure; this mockery of a human that took such delight in drawing and ending the lives of others would never go to heaven. Would never in such a celestial world feel peace as the innocent would. This demon would never see.
"How can you bear to look at it?"
He continued to look out of the window; perhaps to search for an answer, perhaps to avoid justifying himself. He wasn't entirely sure.
"It's... interesting." he answered lamely, irritation creeping into his soft voice at the interruption of his idle contemplation.
"Interesting? Watching those poor people trying to survive?"
He sniffed derisively. "I've seen worse. Below the plates it's not as pretty," he shrugged. "It's the way they've lived all of their lives... . They know no better."
"You speak of them as though they were dumb animals."
He shrugged again. "Most of them are. Some of them are worse than animals for the acts they do. Maybe this is what they deserve."
"That's very arrogant of you."
Vincent narrowed his eyes; he'd killed people for less in his time as a Turk. He opened his mouth and turned to face the person who had dared to interrupt his morose meditations but found whatever harsh words he was going to say stuck in his throat.
. an angel. Somewhere in the universe it was decided that I would be tortured. No I never could and never would pass through the Pearly Gates of a greater existence. Still, The Powers That Be wanted me to be different. Some force, some God was smiling upon me. I felt it. I knew it. What was an angel doing here in the pits of depravity? What was an angel doing here talking to this demon ? Who was I to have taken such a message? Was my life deemed so important by the universe that I should be made to see the error of my ways? Who was this divine apparition? Her name . She had to have a name. A heavenly, wonderful name .
A beautiful woman stood before him, more radiant than any he'd ever seen before. Light brown wavy hair sat in soft ripples around her shoulders, falling down to the middle of her back where it gleamed like a waterfall in the dim overhead lighting in the room. She stood considerably smaller than him but her appearance was delicate and fragile like an elegant china figure. Her skin was perfect and a soft white, smooth without a mark and her full lips sat beneath a perfect nose. Large, almond hazel eyes looked out from the precious face and met his deep brown ones.
She smiled slightly as though showing too much emotion would shatter her delicate body but his world crumbled at the slight gesture. He continued to stare into her eyes, his mouth open in stunned silence. Eventually, her pale cheeks flushed a light pink and she lowered her eyes and turned away, tearing a piece of his heart with her forever.
"Wh, What's your name?" he stuttered after remembering how to speak.
"Lucrecia," she said, turning back to meet his gaze. "Lucrecia Marionette."
. a perfect name . Lucrecia, that was who she was. That was what she had been named the second that she had been summoned from the stars to witness and melt the heart of this slowly decaying man. Rotting away because of the evil which was putrefying and corrupting my soul. She, in all her divinity and perfection had been sent to me, forcing me to cease my torture .
"That's a beautiful name." he muttered before he could stop himself. Blushing furiously he turned away and looked back out of the window.
"Thank you, Mr...?"
"Valentine. Vincent Valentine," he answered without turning from the view although his eyes kept on straying to her reflection in the blacked glass.
"That's a nice name too... ." she said and his heart leapt although whether it was from her compliment or the very sound of her voice, he couldn't be sure.
"I've never seen you around here before," he added conversationally after a few minutes elapsed without a word between them.
"Yes, I'm new here," she explained. "I worked with Dr. Gast and Hojo in Icicle for a year. I've just been transferred here."
"Oh, I see. You're a scientist?"
She nodded. "It's exciting work, we've just discovered what we believe to be a new life form, possibly alien. Isn't that fascinating?"
The stoic Turk had never expressed or found much interest in science or other complicated matters. To his own philosophy, it was best left to those types of people who enjoyed dominating and controlling things that others couldnt see or understand. However, the sound of her quiet voice lapping against his ears and soothing his tumultuous soul was enough for him to find reason to carry on listening. He reasoned that she could have spoken about the finer points of Mako mining in Correl or the average weather conditions in Costa del Sol and hed continue to hang upon every phrase. Her words would become his Bible and every syllable utter by her lips would become his heartbeat, his only way to grasp a-hold of and keep his life going.
"Alien?" Vincent repeated with genuine curiosity. "Are there more of them?"
She shook her head. "No, just one. We found her in the snowfields by the Northern Crater."
He seemed to mull over the brief snippets of information before continuing. "Her? How can you be so sure if it's sex if it's an alien?" he questioned.
There was another long pause, and Vincent turned to look directly at her.
"Well... it kinda looks female."
Lucrecia blushed furiously. "It has breasts."
Vincent fell silent. You walked into that one Valentine he mentally admonished himself, laughing harshly at his own awkwardness and stupidity. He coughed nervously and an embarrassed silence fell on them.
"So... umm... you're a Turk, huh?" said Lucrecia eventually.
"Yeah. Looks that way," Vincent responded, feeling as though he could happily shoot himself in the head. "I have been for seven years now."
"Seven years? Wow. So have you been on loads of dangerous missions and things like that?"
He shook his head. "I did at first but not recently. Because of the possibility of war breaking out between Midgar and Wutai, all of the Turks are under orders to stay in the HQ and keep our eyes and ears open for spies."
He let out a bark of laughter. "I stand here day after day and look for anyone who looks vaguely suspicious. You're the most interesting person I've seen in the past three months."
"Thanks... I think," Lucrecia replied pulling an awkward face.
"Oh, sorry," he said scratching the back of his head nervously. "I, I didn't mean it like that."
He began to blush again, willing the earth to open up beneath his feet and she smiled, only to further his angst. She laughed and it sounded like the ringing of glass bells on a clear morning.
Before he could stop himself, Vincent Valentine had fallen head over heels; completely and utterly in love.
. it prevented me from falling any deeper into the glacial hell I forced in enduring. If it had not been for her, I would have been swallowed up and spat out with a mere shadow of what had once been a human consciousness. She, Lucrecia, was the only one who had been able to melt away the ice and let me be whole. I knew that from the second our eyes met. It should have been that way forever. I think I always knew that deep down. Maybe just maybe I had realised. Maybe just maybe.
"Umm, I'm kinda lost," Lucrecia stated when he had ceased his humiliated squirming. "I, I don't suppose you could show me to my apartment could you?"
"Y, Your apartment? Sure. Which one is it?"
"16f." she answered as she read a number off a scrap of paper from inside one of her lab pockets. "Do you know where it is?"
He nodded curtly, perhaps in an effort to disguise the embarrassment which still invaded his thoughts. "Follow me."
Every corridor was the same; walls made of a cold, steely metal with a bold red stamp depicting the famous Shinra-brand logo. Fluorescent lights flickered and hummed above them, beating out the rhythm to an unheard song. They passed few people through the narrow and winding maze that appeared to have no end. But Vincent didnt let her lag or slip behind. His mind ran on auto-run while his eyes kept on flicking over to her slight frame. Every time, she met his gaze and the crimson mask of his humiliation once more flared up. If he had observed her closely enough he would have noticed the same self-conscious colouring touch her own cheeks.
It was strange. He had never had much more than apathy for any other living souls, but all of a sudden this had all changed. One second he had been standing beside a window looking over one of the most depressing views on the planet, known for turning some to tears. In the next heartbeat, he was willing to give his life for a woman who had had the audacity to question him. No one had dared to do that before. Maybe it was this bravery which had ignited such a spark. Maybe it was her heart-stopping beauty.
. somewhere deep inside I always knew she would be the one who would be there. Shed be the one who would take me by the heart and let me witness the wonders of a world undiscovered. An emotion had stirred in the very heart of my soul. It whispered sub-conscious thoughts to a murderers mind and let it know that this wasnt the way. It didnt have to be like this . It didnt have to be .
Within two minutes they stood together outside of her new home.
"Well... looks like this is where we say goodbye," she said with a smile although there was a hint of sadness on her face.
"It... doesn't have to be." he answered awkwardly. "We... could meet for dinner tonight. I know a few good restaurants around here. I mean I normally eat alone but... I always enjoy company." That was a lie. He hated the presence of other people but she was somehow different.
She looked down at her feet and bit her bottom lip worriedly. "I'm really sorry Mr. Valentine... but Hojo, he wouldn't like that." She lifted her left hand and a simple band of metal gleamed with a gaudily gold light back at him, taunting him and ripping him to pieces with every glimmer. He physically flinched at every painful blow.
"Hojo?" Vincent frowned. "Oh, I'm so sorry. I didn't realise that you were both-"
"Oh, its alright." she responded in an apologetic voice although Vincent frowned as he was certain he detected an odd undertone to it. "Weve been together since we met in Icicle. I wouldnt have expected you to know. After all weve just met. Many of the colleagues Ive worked with for almost a year probably dont even know about our relationship. He can be so cold and distant at times that its as though there is nothing between us ." She blushed lightly, her voice trailing off as she seemed to realise that she was explaining the finer points of her marriage to a complete stranger.
"Im sure that your request was innocent anyway," she continued after a brief, embarrassed silence had elapsed between the pair. "But I just have to be up early tomorrow so that we can continue our work in the labs. I'm not sure why but, he just has this weird look he gives me whenever he knows I've been out the night before. I know it sounds stupid, and I'm not trying to avoid you," she added hastily. "But I can't stand working with him when he's like that."
"I understand." Vincent lied curtly, attempting to hide the pain gripping his heart. "Some other time?"
"Yeah... maybe," she said with a forced smile. "Bye."
" Bye "
She closed the door and he rubbed his face.
You're going soft Valentine he reprimanded himself as he walked away after giving her door a final, longing glance.
. so lonely.
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic