Blood of the Innocents.

As of 7.6.8 I am reuploading the chapters as they were originally written, but with editing again, and some spacing between change of scenes and stuff, since those have apparently disappeared.

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Legal stuff: I own nothing. Not even a life. But I hear that it's overrated anyway.

AU story. English be not my first language, so there may be mistakes. I'm not actually sure yet what's going to become of this story, but there will be angsting, strange humor and Zax. I like Zax. Probably boy love later on. And I'd also like to kick Hojo's butt. So, read away, and please leave a review!


Prologue: It must be Monday...

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How long had it been? How long since his sweet Lucretia... Hojo, the bastard...

There was no time in his sleep, he might as well have slept one long night or for fifty years, it was all the same to him. There was no day, no night, only the eternal darkness and the dreams that filled it. Dreams of her, beautiful Lucretia, of him, the sick scientist Hojo, and of what he'd done to her. The worst part was that she had accepted it, had given herself to Hojo and to his experiments, all for the sake of science. He had tried to stop her, begged her to reconsider, but she had not listened to him. After all, he was only a Turk, what did he know of science? What did he know about the chance to make history, to be a part in one of the most important experiments in decades?

Nothing. But he had loved her. Still did.

"Well now... I thought I'd never see the day... but here it is. Wake up, Turk, I have use for you."

The voice, the light, they pierced his sleep and consciousness, bringing him back to reality. The fact that the voice belonged to the man he couldn't have loathed more did not make the awakening any happier. He tried to open his eyes, but the light was too bright, almost blinding. His head felt as if it was filled with cotton, and there was the horrible tingling sensation all around his body, when blood started to flow faster in almost dry veins. There was a quiet noise somewhere, like someone whispering into the wind. No matter how hard he tried he couldn't hear the words, and somehow it seemed that the voice was inside his head.

Someone was fumbling with the cloth around his neck, then cold fingers touched the even colder skin of his throat and neck, and a collar of iron was locked around them. He forced his eyes open now, even though he couldn't see a thing through the tears of pain.

A shadow moved in front of the light, and seeing became a lot easier. He squinted at the shadow and snarled as he recognized the scientist. "Hojo."

A chuckle. "Now now, Vincent. Try to behave. Now get up, I don't have all day."

He didn't want to obey but found his body didn't agree with the mind. He sat up and 'My hand! What is this thing?' got out of the coffin to stand up in front of the skinny man, who had backed away a few steps and now stared at him, rubbing his hands together. "Hojo, what have you done to me?" His throat was sore and dry, voice hoarse, but he managed the quiet words. The scientist chuckled again.

"Complain, complain, complain. That's all you specimens ever do. I make your bodies stronger and healthier but all you ever do is complain. Bah. You are all the same..." He turned around and motioned for the Turk to follow. Again, Vincent's body followed orders his mind didn't give. It did, however, give him a chance to have a good look at himself.

The blue uniform of the Turks was gone, but Vincent couldn't honestly remember when he'd last seen it. It was sometime before Hojo had started experimenting on him. He couldn't remember what the scientist had done to his left arm, which was now either covered or replaced with a gold-tinted claw. He couldn't feel his arm, but he couldn't feel much of the rest of his body either, so he couldn't say if the hand was inside the claw.

Last he remembered his hair had been cut neatly to shoulder length; now it flowed in unruly, raven bangs to his elbows. Someone had tied it with a blood red bandana that covered his forehead and kept it from falling in his eyes. Looking down he realized that he had a cape. A red cape. Over black clothes. His steel-covered boots make clicking sounds on the stone floor. Vincent even forgot the fact that he didn't seem to have any control over his body, as he looked curiously around for a mirror. 'What has happened to me?'

He looked at the man walking in front of him. Hojo seemed much the way he had been last time, a skinny, greasy-haired rat with glasses. There was no way to tell by looking at the man how much time had passed. The walls, the building around him, if they still were in Nibelheim's mansion, had not changed either.

"How long have I slept?" He asked quietly. Hojo cocked his head, having obviously heard the words, but only chuckled. "How long, Hojo? How long has it been since you murdered Lucretia?" His trembling voice broke slightly on her name, but it did make Hojo stop and turn to glare at him with an annoying smirk on his face. He waved a hand and Vincent's body stopped just before bumping into the man.

"Does it really matter? No time in the world will bring her back, dear boy." He turned again and motioned for Vincent to follow. Waving his left hand, finger pointing to the ceiling, the scientist continued. "And I did not murder her, no no, she offered her body to the use of science! And what we accomplished, my, it is something glorious! Very stubborn of late, but glorious."

"The child..." Vincent muttered, remembering the project the scientists had been working on. Lucretia had had a baby. Hojo's baby. Still, he had hoped that it might have been his. Until Hojo had told him, during one of their experimenting sessions, just what he'd done to the baby, before it had even been born.

"I've injected the child with Mako and Jenova-cells... the same thing you're getting, Turk. Aren't you the lucky one, hmm?" Mako and Jenova... how had they changed his body? What had they done to the poor child? What kind of a monster had Hojo created?

He was pulled out of his thoughts by Hojo's command to stop. The scientist punched a long code to a security pad hidden in the wall, and a door slid open, revealing a dark room illuminated only with a green glow. "Come in, Turk. The place has changed a bit since you were last here, but I think you should be able to recognize it."

Unfortunately, he did. The laboratory had not changed that much. It brought back a lot of memories, none of them good ones. Memories of needles, scalpels, strange liquids and all the different flavours of pain. It all came back to him, attacked his mind all at once, leaving Vincent Valentine hopeless and utterly depressed.