Fandom/Pairing: FINAL FANTASY VII; VINCENT/LUCRECIA
Rating: ESRB Rating of T for TEEN < COMPLEXITY, DISTURBING ELEMENTS >
Summary: He haunts Shinra's halls with music, just as Shinra's orders haunt his mind. [And Lucrecia sometimes laments that her greatest crime was the destruction of an artist.]
Notes: Disjointed, odd, odd, connects a little with Caveat Canus.
m e t r o n o m e
This is the foyer at two AM: dust, darkness, dully gleaming hardwood floors. Stained glass making whimsical, meaningless patterns of whatever is visible. Beautiful South Wutaian carpets.
In the corner, a piano. It inhabits one of the deeper shadowed corners, hidden partially by placement and mostly by lack of light. The woman trapped forever in the stained glass does not see it; hers is a hell devoid of music.
A single note breaks the silence. It is a tentative lower C, in the minor scale. It hovers in the air, shivering a little.
Then a second note. A higher note. Then a third, a fourth. Rest. Five, six, rest.
And then the notes come faster, become a melody. Strains of song seep from the piano.
A summer afternoon. Sunlight streams in through the stained glass windows. The team of scientists has, briefly, given up on the specimen in the hidden levels of the Manor. The doctor--the only medical doctor on the team--has given up on coaxing the TURKS to allow her outside.
Too many security risks, the team leader tells her, keeping his eyes narrow. With only one team assigned to the Project, plugging all the security holes would be too difficult.
So she stays inside, sits on the grand staircase she's always wanted, a little, to slide down. Reads a book.
After a few minutes of this, the youngest TURK--"her" TURK, everybody thinks he is--cracks his knuckles and strides over to the piano sitting in the corner. He slides the casing up. The thud as the case rears back and the piano keys come into the TURK's view reverberates throughout the open room.
The TURK stares at the keys.
Gently, almost shyly, he taps an ivory key. The piano responds with a quiet note.
And then he flings his fingers along the keyboard, striking every note in what is probably a major chord. Only his arms seem to move as the piano trills. His gaze is fixed on the keys.
The notes echo in the air, spinning breathlessly. He tilts his chin, listens to the ricocheting sounds. And then he shakes his head, 'no.'
"Out of tune," he says.
The case slams back down.
She returns to her book.
He's playing the piano again, she realizes as she comes up from the labs. As usual, it's a piece in the minor key. He seems to have some sort of fondness for it.
"What's your name, anyway?" She asks as she enters the foyer, pulling off her bloodstained labcoat and trying not to think about Neil.
He looks up at her and smiles a haunting, enigmatic smile.
The image is slightly blurry, as if the hands holding the camera trembled.
The lower hallway, one AM.
She's just coming up from the lab (this time no blood, only crazy scientists trying to get her to treat some sort of Nibel wolf with no explanation of how the thing got in the Manor) when she sees an unnatural dark spot leaning against a wall.
It's the piano player, she realizes. She recognizes that smooth stride.
"Vincent Valentine," he murmurs as he passes her.
Somewhere beneath them, the wolf begins to howl.
It's almost musical.
The foyer, three AM.
He's at it again. Minor keys again, played with force. The pattern to the notes he strikes seems loose. Rests are random. It's as if the pianist is trying to recreate something from memory, something timeless and tuneless.
Six keys sound in unison, once, twice, three times. The piano stills.
And then the player begins to hum something. It's a long string of notes, starting out low and ending on a chilling high something. She sits down on the stairs to listen as he hums a piece of the string, mumbling letters to himself. Minutes pass.
And then the piano sounds again. This time, it's more mournful. The song--if that's what it is--keens high and low in a melody no human could put words to.
In the lab, the wolf responds. Its howl is muffled, but it comes through loud and clear, even in the foyer. Lurecia supposes that noise in the lab is deafening.
The piano replies in a long, loud succession of noise.
Silence from the wolf, then an almost thoughtful rejoinder.
After a few more minutes of this, the two begin to howl together. They harmonize. Together, wolf and man grieve the loss of... something. Some quality she doesn't understand.
As she stands to leave, she wonders if the TURK understands what he's doing.
Gunshots. She never expected to actually hear gunshots.
Lucrecia stares at the ceiling with dazed eyes, trying dimly to understand what she hears, then trying to figure out why everything seems so strange. Then she sees the two IV bags. One, she knows, is probably ketamine.
She startles, but her body feels as if it's moving through water. For some reason, even though she's leaning forward, nothing in front of her changes. A few seconds later, the world is back to normal. Except that as she turns her head, her view stays the same.
Definitely Ketamine, she realises with just a shade of horror.
The crypt, anytime.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.
It's endless. Measured. Almost perfect. Like a heartbeat.
It is the only sound he hears anymore, kept in his coffin. Where exactly it's coming from, he doesn't know. But it must be nearby, or else he wouldn't hear it.
It's the pulse of his nightmares. The tie to his more idyllic dreams--memories of ivory keys, strict instructions, dour expressions but thrilling music, music, music--and the one thing that lulls him back to sleep when he wakes.
Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock.