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17 March 2007 @ 10:33 pm
FFVII Fic (2nd Chapter)  
Title: Say Goodnight and Go (chapter 2)
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII (Original Game Canon for the most part, but a lot of influence from back-story given in Dirge of Cerberus.)
Characters/Pairings: Gast, Hojo, Lucrecia, Ifalna, Vincent, Sephiroth (Hojo/Lucrecia, Lucrecia/Grimoire Valentine, Gast/Ifalna)
Rating: PG-13 (For mentions of sexual relations, human experimentation, ethics)
Words: 2,239
Summary: This story revolves around the past of the researchers of the ShinRa company, starting with the beginnings of the Sephiroth-Project and most likely ending with the death of Gast.
Status: 1st Draft
Comments requested: Any comments welcome from grammar to characterization.
Other: Chapter 1


---

“What is the meaning of this?”

Hojo paused, looking down into his tea cup. “The meaning of what, Mr. Valentine?”

The quiet sound of papers descending onto the table caused Hojo to glance to his side. “I was wondering where that file had disappeared to, thank you for returning it.” He raised the waiting cup to his lips and took a small sip. His eyes focused down at the floor, pretending not to notice the Turk which had begun huffing emotionally behind him.

“You can’t do this! She’s a human being!”

“Vincent, stop!” Lucrecia’s voice cried out painfully.

Hojo’s foot tapped gently against the stone floor. He was becoming irritated with these constant dramatics. If it wasn’t Lucrecia wandering about in near-hysterics, it was her paramour who evidently took his job of protecting her a little too seriously. It was starting to interfere in his time and his work. He would sacrifice neither to play third party to this daily theatre of tragedy.

“Lucrecia, you can’t do this to yourself. I read everything. Everything! Don’t you know what’s going to happen?” Vincent took a step closer to the table where Lucrecia and Hojo had been having their usual awkward and silent breakfast. Though these days, breakfast seemed to consist of tea with a healthy consumption of hateful stares.

“Why do you keep persistently haunting me about this?” she asked as she choked out a sob, burying her head in her hands in frustration.

Hojo let out an exasperated sigh and took another sip of his tea, letting the woman sob loudly for a few more moments before finding a break of silence. “Mr. Valentine, you seem to have the habit of forgetting that the sciences are not your area of expertise. The last time I took notice of your job description they were to merely insure that some rabid villager did not come storming in here during our time of operations. If you seem to have difficulty performing this task I will contact ShinRa headquarters and have them send another Turk here in your place. I’m sure one of them would be grateful to take on your position. I know the weight of the burden you carry is so great.”

He allowed the silence to hang in the room for a moment. Even Lucrecia’s sobs had ceased. Hojo couldn’t help but feel a twinge of satisfaction. “Furthermore, I believe you are aware that Dr. Crescent gave full consent for this operation. Otherwise she would not be here. I certainly wont stand to have you badgering my wife, Mr. Valentine.” He turned his face slightly to look at the Turk and he let a sly smirk tug at the corner of his mouth.

One could have dropped a pin and deafened them all, the silence was so palpable. Hojo took comfort in it and continued to sip his tea, pleased that he could get a moment of quiet to return to his thoughts. His eyes caught sight of the folder Vincent had thrown onto the table and reached out and opened it, reviewing the progressive charts. He could find much more suitable companionship in facts and figures. They never cried for attention or droned on about emotional states. They were simple, to the point, and showed real progress.

A soft sniffling came from Lucrecia and the Turk made another step towards the table. Hojo let the papers from the file fall back onto the table. He was growing so weary of this. He felt as though he should have seen this coming. The way she longingly looked at him, the way Valentine had followed her like a lost pup from the first day, it was inevitable. Hojo could only place the blame to the lack of suitable choices, and his lack of knowledge at the time of selecting the girl, that she had a past with Grimoire.

Grimoire’s theories on Chaos seemed to be more fairytale than scientific theory now that Gast had discovered Jenova. Hojo couldn’t help but find the man’s work laughable at best. Lucrecia had lapped it up as if it were pure lifestream. They had worked together side by side, looking for this Chaos and its source, until that tragic little accident. Hojo could only assume that this was when Lucrecia had begun to slip into her now ever-constant depression. As a scientist she should have calculated the risks, been a better friend with her figures.

The door to the dining hall opened and all three drew their attention to the newcomer that intruded upon their spectacle.

Gast stepped in, examining another file and hadn’t even taken notice of the three until he happened to look up while making a reach for cup from the china cabinet. He lowered the file from his face and gave them all a slight smile. He gave off the impression that he realized he had stepped into a volatile area and now had no escape. Looking to the papers beneath Hojo’s hands he suddenly perked up.

“Oh, you found the file Hojo? Where ever was it? I know we both spent the better part of last night trying to find it.” Gast took a cup down from the cabinet and brought it over to the table.

Hojo’s smile broadened slightly and as he started to speak he was interrupted by Lucrecia’s sudden leap up from her seat. She looked to Vincent with concern then gave a threatening gaze to Hojo. Upon letting her eyes fall back on Professor Gast she forced a tight smile and spoke up.

“It was me Professor Gast, I’m so sorry. I just wanted to look at the charts on my own in my room. I shouldn’t have taken it from the lab.” Her words spilled forth from her mouth, her hands wrung together in front of her.

Gast stared at her and lifted the tea pot from the table and poured himself a cup of tea. “It’s quite alright Lucrecia, you are a major part of this project and you have every right to look at the charts as you see fit. Was there something you had a question about?” he asked as he set the pot back down and sat at the table.

“Oh! No Professor, I was just doing some personal study. It was nothing.” Lucrecia sat back down and lowered her head, pretending to become interested with her hands as if looking for some invisible imperfection.

Gast looked over to Vincent and noticed him staring at Lucrecia as if he were looking at a ghost. Gast took a sip of his tea and attempted to gain his attention for a moment. “Vincent! It’s so good to know you’ve come into check with us this morning. I know there isn’t much for you to do around here. I’m sure this place seems like a vacation compared to what Turks usually are assigned to,” he gave a slight chuckle. “You don’t have to stand over us while we eat though Vincent, I don’t think a little tea will take us all down.”

Gast’s attempts to lighten the mood were making Hojo nauseated. Gast always had a way of trying to keep some sort optimism going. Hojo couldn’t stand it. His smile had faded slightly, but at the mention of criticizing the Turk’s smothering actions, Hojo felt the need to speak up. “Yes, I was just telling Mr. Valentine that if he wished,” he started, but was cut off once again as Vincent stepped forward.

“I’m sorry Professor Gast. I’ll go and take a watch outside for now.” Vincent stepped away swiftly and made his way out of the room, not bothering to cast a backward glance at any of them.

Lucrecia watched him leave and started to get up to follow him, but something seemed to press her back into her seat. Gast looked back at Vincent as he left and shook his head. “That boy tends to take things far too seriously sometimes.” He looked to Hojo and gave a soft sigh. “It seems these past months have been tough on us all. This is just the beginning though.” Gast stared into his teacup for a moment, giving heavy thought to the plans ahead.

Hojo closed his eyes for a moment to hide an annoyed gesture. These little notes of concern always made him want to choke the life out of Gast. They were all adults and needed no coddling or emotional support. He certainly had not gotten as far as he had by being a shoulder to cry on. Gast was a fool for putting so much effort into making sure every comfort was attended to. No human was ever truly pleased; it was a waste of time.

“That reminds me, have either of you heard from ShinRa as of late?” Gast asked as he looked at both of them with a grave expression. “I have not received any word from them in a few weeks now. Regardless I am still sending updates.” Gast gave a frustrated sigh and rubbed the side of his face.

Lucrecia continued to look down and shook her head timidly. Hojo opened his eyes and did his best to keep a straight face. “No Gast, I have not heard one word from them. I suppose the war with the WuTai has taken their focus away from our little project. We should be so thankful we are being kept in this little backwater town.”

Every word was a total lie. Hojo had been receiving the ShinRa bulletins for the past few weeks. He had been sending them his own personal studies of the project, making sure his name was being seen far more than Gast’s. Anything had to be done to catch the edge on ShinRa’s beloved scientist, Professor Gast.

Gast nodded sagely. “You’re right Hojo. I shouldn’t take the silence as bad news. We have not produced solid proof our project has come to full fruition, but the numbers so far are very promising,” he leaned towards Lucrecia and spoke softly as if she were a child “you should be proud of that Dr. Crescent.”

Lucrecia looked up and smiled softly, placing a hand on her abdomen. “I think the whole department should be proud of this accomplishment Professor Gast. We’ve all put so many hours in, just get to this point.”

“You are as modest as always, Lucrecia.” Gast gave a slight chuckle and looked to Hojo who had returned to his papers. “Well I suppose it’s time for your morning check up anyways. We’re going to start with the third series of injections this week. Correct, Hojo?”

Hojo had decided to retreat back into his own private thoughts. If anyone should be proud of the project, it should be him. He was the only one that had sacrificed every moment of his life to this project. Lucrecia was merely the container and Gast, well Gast was simply in the way. Hojo could feel his anger seething at the very thoughts of being under Gast’s thumb every moment. It was far worse than even being lectured by his father. He knew every aspect of the project by heart, he was far more efficient in communicating with ShinRa and letting them hear what they wanted to, and he was clearly more devoted to the evolution that would proceed after he was completed with this project. He sometimes felt he was the only one that saw the future this project held, the others, treated it as a child’s botany project. Yet there he was, under Gast’s supervision. It was enough to drive him mad.

“Hojo, did you hear me?”

He glanced up to see Gast and Lucrecia looking down at him. He briefly imagined choking the life out of them, before giving a soft smile. “Sorry, I was doing a calculation on the new injections. I will be with you both shortly.”

Gast gave a gentle smile and waved Lucrecia along after him. As Hojo watched them leave the room he took a moment to glance at the readings from the last injections. Everything seemed normal with the numbers as far as the fetus was concerned, but there seemed to be a bit more activity from Lucrecia’s personal figures. He could not determine yet whether it was on her part biologically, or if in fact the Jenova cells were beginning to merge with Lucrecia’s.

While Hojo played the blind man, he made himself aware of aspect of Lucrecia’s behavior. She had begun to eat less, stop keeping up appearances, and sleeping later into the day. He had reason to believe though that what sleep she was getting, was short and plagued with various hallucinations. When he had had the time, he often found himself standing outside her door, listing to her speaking.

Her voice did not carry in whispers as if speaking to a lover, but in frantic tones. It seemed to fluctuate between panic and dispair. He had made several notes on this behavior as the treatments progressed, yet at times the frequency in which these night terrors consumed her was inconsistent. He would simply need more time to observe.

He had six more months to gather further information. If only he could freeze time with each interval, he could study her behavior more closely. He feared her mental state may contaminate the child, but he had hope for the better.

After all, it was his child.