For: astralavator, prompt "Lucrecia/Cecil"
Fandom: FFVII/FFIV AU (obviously)
Warnings: A tad creepy, and I like my Lucrecia a bit more self-aware and less beautiful victim-y, so yeah.
Summary: Some little girls dream about boys. Lucrecia makes hers.
Notes: Alright, so my FF7 canon is mostly OGC, but I do borrow Grimoire (he's mentioned, not a character really) from Dirge. Just in case you're reading this and think I made him up. I've screwed with the timeline too, as you'll be able to tell by the people she mentions, because if I'm going to AU, I go all the way. But most of it is stuff I made up. XD This is meant to be Frankensteinian with a hint of Pygmalion, so yeah. More heavily FF7 than FF4, because I am waaay more comfortable with that canon.
Lucrecia had never given much stock in fairytales, flights of fancy. She believed in monsters, sure, but man made monsters, not gods or spirits. Man was a monster, a fact she was reminded of on a daily basis. Some were just prettier than others. Some had fake smiles and ready handguns, some had pronounced foreheads and dry witticisms. And as a doctor, they were starting to make her weary.
It was inadvertently Ifalna's idea, of course. Lucrecia didn't remember the exact conversation, but Ifalna had made some moony comment about the lack of uninhibited paladins anymore. And while the idea of such a heroic figure triggered her desire to giggle, it lingered somewhere in the back of her mind.
As Grimoire Valentine's one time protege, she had access to all sorts of things in the labs. And with Gast in charge now she had even more freedom. Even if her original research was considered laughable by the scientific community, within her little domain she could still entertain some of the notions she held when she was younger. Even if she was supposed to assist Hojo in whatever it was that he was trying to do.
She'd been impressed with Hojo's zeal towards perfection, but the only things he seemed to be producing anymore were malformed creatures that barely stayed alive. She didn't become a scientist to make weak little fledgling abnormals. She became a scientist to make something beautiful.
Beautiful like Mako fountains and the slant of moonlight coming in through the Shinra Tower windows.
"Who's the cutie?"
Lucrecia had been spending her lunch break doodling again. Ifalna tended to materialize at times like that, when she was staring off into space while whatever was in the back of her mind made its way onto paper. Today it was a man--unusual for certain--but unlike men that really existed. He could almost be taken for a woman if not for the telltale signs of testosterone that put a lump in his throat and a squaring around the jaw.
"I'm not sure. It's just a sketch."
"You know, even if your logical brain thinks you're fine alone, maybe you're a little lonely? I know just the boy, he's less serious than you, maybe you could have some fun."
Lucrecia shook her head. "Do you think I'm inventing princes to take me away simply because I like drawing certain aesthetics?"
Ifalna seemingly ignored her. "You could double with me."
She bit back her initial response, which was to ask which man this time. Not that Ifalna was really a floozy, but she had a habit of collecting men. "I'll be fine. There's no need. I get enough attention in my own department."
"Suit yourself! If you change your mind, let me know."
No, the man in her drawing wasn't a Prince. He was obviously a King.
Today Hojo was acting more rival than suitor for the day, so once they had their argument she had the lab to herself. The monsters were starting to look more human, but she was starting to wonder if starting from scratch was really the right idea. The growth of a human body was something that still baffled them, even at such an enlightened age.
Yes, that was why she put on her raincoat--for three days it had been raining above the Plate, three grey and miserable days--and made the brisk walk to the morgue.
All it ever took to get anything to happen in Midgar was a little money. She always had a fair bit of pocket change because she lived sparely, aside from the occasional clothing indulgence. But that was almost utilitarian in a way, because she saw the differences in way the unkempt cerebral women and the more polished ones were treated. The last thing she wanted was to end up in a dead end sort of place like that Shera woman did in the Mechanical Department.
The corpse she was given was an ugly pickpocket who had pissed off the wrong gang member in some back alley. Not the sort that had family to come and claim him. Despite his generally unpleasant appearance she was fond of his hands. They were lovely hands. She could work from there.
She paid a couple of strong young men she saw on the street that didn't seem too curious to carry it back to the lab before slipping a tip into the Turk Chief's mailbox, so as to make sure there were no traces of where she had been or what she had gotten.
"So you've got a secret project?"
She could tell Hojo hadn't been sleeping much lately. He hunched more and managed to keep even less of his hair pulled back into his ponytail.
"Just a personal inquiry. I'm not even sure if it will go anywhere. Worried I'm abusing company resources?"
He looked at her skeptically, but let her be. She exhaled the breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and reopened her notebook.
Lucrecia had rather hoped that it would be like sensationalist pulp fictions that she often saw Turks reading; a flash and a bang and then there was life. But the process was far more gradual than she anticipated, and diverting suspicion had become increasingly harder. Another response she hadn't anticipated was how her creation grew on her as more of him started to become what she idealized. Especially as his hair grew in long and platinum white and flowed around his face in the mako tube. A face that now looked just as she had imagined.
Months of secret work and she was almost getting emotionally attached to him. She'd even named him. Cecil was the name of some king from a history class she'd been forced to take as an undergraduate. She hadn't remembered much from it, but she had always liked the sound of that name.
Everything had been about painstaking timing. Lucrecia had volunteered to go with Gast as he dottered about parts of the globe searching for Cetra this or that. But not every time. Just the times when he was going near the Mako fountains, and the particularly rough trip to Mideel. The lesser Valentine, the Turk one, had almost caught her while she collected the right crystals. Because they had to be perfect, with a bright clarity and no inconsistencies in the coloration.
Maybe that was the mistake that Shinra was making, pumping in the dirty common lifeblood from anywhere they could get it.
"I think I finally know how to wake you up, Cecil."
During the more direct work she was always alone with him, and had taken to telling him a history. A fabrication stitched together from stories she heard people talking about and things that came from a part of her imagination she didn't realize she had. About how he had become a King despite grievous betrayals by blood and a friend that he'd thought of as family. She even added a bit about a strong and beautiful woman that he had made his Queen.
Even in her fantasies, the men were always taken.
She could have done this during the day, but there was something about the feminine power of the moon, or so Ifalna had said so. Witches or something. Lucrecia wasn't sure when it had ceased to be science and had become... this. Was this madness? Or had she really been a lonely girl wanting to create someone beautiful to love?
When the mako drained from the tube and the cover was drawn off the upper half of the body, she hesitated.
"Ah, the best way to wake you up would be with a kiss, wouldn't it? That's supposed to break spells, I hear."
Cecil tasted acrid like a Cure did in the throat after a bad scrap, with an aftertaste of something dusty. Which was strange considering he'd been submerged in a fluid.
"Rosa? Kain? What happened?" he whispered, and she supposed it was only fitting that the little wife she'd made up for him was what he asked for first upon waking.
"I'm Lucrecia. And I've saved you, Cecil."
She would cater to the hallucinations because she was patient. It had taken her months to create him, and she could handle more months making him realize exactly who he belonged to. And anything else that came after it.