A/N: Post-epilogue oneshot! Poor insecure, and guilt-ridden Lucille. How could I not write him a redemption and reassuring ficlet? This is third-person from Lucille's POV if that makes sense.
Disclaimer: I do not own "Grand Guignol Orchestra" "Ningyou Kyuutei Gakudan" "人形宮廷楽団" or whatever else you wanna call this series. This story was made completely for my own pleasure and I am not profiting from writing this in any way.
Summary: *Post-Epilogue* Marred with crack-marks as hideous as his soul, Lucille can't help but to compare himself to the queen in "Snow White" and he wonders... Does Celes still love him?
"Mirror, mirror, on the wall... Who's the fairest of them all?"
Lucille once laughed at the vain Queen step-mother in the fairy tale of "Snow White" and always thought she deserved to die dancing in flaming iron shoes. Her only redeeming point was her beauty and that was lost as soon as Snow White turned seven.
However, he now sees how he and the step-mother are so alike. His only redeeming point was his beauty which countered his rotten soul just like the queen. But since he lost his feminine face, he has become rather insecure in response as much as the wicked queen had. The difference between him and she though, is that unlike the mad step-mother, he dare not look into a mirror in fear of seeing what he has become and is undoubtedly decaying to.
The last time Lucille saw himself, his beautiful snow-white face had become riddled with guignol crack-marks and the once smooth skin of his body had also become afflicted with markings which he now hides expertly beneath his fine clothes.
What the once-beautiful man fears the most, however, is that his beloved and beautiful Celes will quickly become disgusted with him.
Their reunion was tearful and joyous and she whispered sweetly into his ear that she would love him no matter what, but Lucille couldn't help but to have his doubts...
Could Celes really love someone as ugly as him?
Could Celes really love someone as twisted as him?
Could Celes really love someone as dirty as him?
Could Celes really love him?
These questions plagued his mind. His darling Celes was so pure and beautiful and wonderful in every way that he feared her leaving him. In fact he couldn't even think to stand near her in any public places in fear of dimming her beauty or tainting the purity of it.
But, oh, Celestite... His most precious girl. Thinking about her made Lucille as relaxed as much as she made him feel anxious. She had definitely grown into a fine woman since their separation. No longer disguising herself as her brother, she told him that she finally let "Eles" to pass on from her peacefully. She had allowed her burgundy-red hair to grow out and even began to wear makeup to enhance her doll-like blue eyes, red cheeks, and pink lips. She had filled out in all the right places as well, from what he could tell from her pretty dresses.
She seemed to have changed so completely while they were apart, but the one thing that remained the same was the sound of her piano-playing. She had definitely become more polished over the years, but her music still held the pure and soothing tones that had drawn him to her like a moth to a flame.
Her piano was the perfect complement to boost the power of his voice so immensely back in the day. But now, Lucille's insecurity ran as deep as his voice. His greatest pride was now one of his most shameful embarrassments.
He was no longer an angelic soprano, but a tremulous tenor. He was thankful that he sounded more masculine and that his appearance, as hideous as it is now, no longer appears as feminine, but he knows that one of the things that drew Celes to him was his sonorous singing voice, just like how he was drawn to her sweet playing. Unfortunately for him though, he could no longer complement Celes's beautiful piano with a confident soprano voice, and that shamed him more than anyone would ever know.
"Hey Lucille, are you okay?"
Speak of the devil.
Lucille looked up from the crackling flames and turned his head to look at Celes who had taken the liberty to seat herself beside him on the log Gwindel had lugged over to their camp. Her pretty face was scrunched with worry and he couldn't help but run his gloved thumb over the crease formed by her frowning eyebrows.
"It's nothing, darling. I was just thinking about trivial matters." he half-lied. It would seem trivial to her, but it certainly wasn't for him...
The pianist used her hand to move his from her brows down to the side of her right cheek so she could press it to her smooth skin. Worry dulled her magnificent blue eyes and Lucille damned himself for being the cause of such a thing. "Liar," she called him out softly, "you looked ready to jump into the campfire..." The hand she kept over his squeezed firmly in accusation. "Please tell me what you're worried about Lucille... I wanna help in any way I can, so please don't treat me as if I'm useless...!"
Lucille looked down to his lap, unable to look at her blue, blue eyes which were watering up for him. "I'm sorry, darling... I just don't want you to think that I'm being silly..." He looked back up to Celes and pressed the fingertips of his free hand to the undersides of her eyes. He easily absorbed her tears before they could fall and streak her precious face and could feel the warmth of them soaking through the fabric of his glove. "Because as trivial as my concerns may seem to be to others, it is a very important matter to me..." he confessed truthfully.
His red-haired darling smiled sweetly at him and Lucille swore that twenty-some angels just received their wings. "Lucille, nothing that worries you so deeply or anything that makes you think so deeply will ever be silly or foolish in my eyes." Dulling worry was replaced by twinkling honesty in her eyes and he could see the love she held for him in their depths.
"Even if I was contemplating world domination?" He asked her seriously, holding back a small smile.
Celes gave him a firm smack on the arm for making light of her "I'm being serious!" she giggled "Stop joking around and just tell me already!"
Lucille chuckled deeply and rubbed his arm. Man, after all his time, she still had quite a hand on her. "Well... I... I was thinking about..." he trailed off.
"About?" Celes asked while leaning in with inquiringly widened eyes, ears attentive to his every word.
He looked her dead in the eyes and let her see his weakness, his fear, and most importantly his vulnerability. The pianist couldn't help but gasp at the raw emotion open to her in her love's amethyst eyes. "How much longer will you love me? One more month? A year?" Lucille took her hands in his tenderly. "I don't look or sing as beautifully as I did when we first met, and my rotten soul hasn't changed at all." He looked down to their joined hands and interlaced their fingers. "I can understand if you'd want to leave me..." His grip on her hand tightened, afraid she would take his word and abandon him.
He was such a liar.
Celes unlaced one of her hands from his, which only made him tighten his grip on the one he still had to a painful extent. She paid no heed to his bruising strength and used her free hand to tilt his face up to look at her.
All the pain, fear, and loneliness shown in his eyes was crippling. His eyes shined with ready-to-fall tears and she felt her own water in response.
Unable to handle the tension building in his chest, Lucille released her hand and pulled his red-haired angel into his arms. His long limbs wound around her and locked like metal bands. He buried his nose in her hair and allowed his tears to finally fall. "I'm sorry. I lied. I love you too much... Please don't leave, Celes!" He confessed hurriedly.
"You moron!" Celes cried with her own tears falling and soaking into his jacket. "You're such an idiot sometimes Lucille!" She thumped at his back in a sad outrage. "I don't care if you don't look like you used to, and I don't care if you don't sound like you used to either! But never... NEVER, say that you have a rotten soul!" she stopped hitting his back and her fingers twisted in his jacket.
"You're a good person." she sniffled. "You always had your own reasons for doing what you did...!"
Lucille rubbed his face back and forth on top of her head in disagreement. "No, darling, I have an awful soul. I've killed so many people, took so many lives, and I even let poor Cordie become queen and die in my place!"
The pianist looked up at him, the makeup on her eyes had begun to smudge from her tears. She pushed at his chest so that he only had a grip on her shoulders. "That doesn't make you a bad person though!" she argued.
"THEN WHAT DOES IT MAKE ME?" Lucille cried in torment, tightening his fingers around her upper arms.
Celes slapped her hands on both his cheeks firmly, as if she was trying to sober him up. Her sapphire eyes were bright with a fiery anger. "It makes you HUMAN!" She yelled back in his face.
The two began to pant heavily from the force of their yelling.
"W-Wha... What?" Lucille whimpered.
"I said," Celes tried to catch her breath, "it makes you… human." Her fingers travelled up to twine in his silky golden hair, "Not a monster. Not a Philomela. Just... Human... Just a man..."
Lucille's grip on her shoulders loosened as he stared at her. His eyes were wide with shock. "My crimes... My sins... They make me... Human?"
Celes nodded "Yeah, all that stuff you hate and damn yourself for... Lucille..." She leaned in and cupped his face. A small smile curled her pink lips. "They just make you as normal human being..." She shrugged, "Capable of good and bad." She smiled.
Lucille felt redeemed suddenly and couldn't help but to swoop down and steal a kiss to hide his grateful tears. His pianist responded shyly, still new to their budding relationship, and it made his selfish little heart soar. It was this moment that he allowed himself the indulgent pleasure of knowing that only he would ever touch Celes so intimately. He wanted to be her first and last, but knew that the latter would only happen with her consent. He would do everything in his power to make sure no one else could have her though. He knew it was selfish, but he wanted to keep her light and beauty all to himself.
When they broke apart, Lucille pulled her back into his arms and onto his lap. He untied her bun and her fell down her back freely and he couldn't resist running his fingers through the silky strands. He buried his face in her loosened hair and smiled fondly.
"I love you, Celestite."
Celes blushed as red as her hair, feeling her entire body heat up as well. Lucille always told her that he loved her, but she never actually heard him say it so seriously before.
"I... I love... I love you... too... Lucille..." She nervously stammered out shyly. Her fingers curled tightly into his jacket and she buried her face in his chest. Lucille grinned at her awkwardness; she was always going to be his little cutie pie. "I love you too, Lucille." She restated more firmly. He pulled back enough to look down at her and found her staring up at him with her face completely red and petal pink lips trembling. "I mean it... Now and forever..." she promised.
Lucille dropped his head again to steal another sweet kiss. She responded more confidently this time, pressing back passionately as their lips moved against each other in a bruising force.
A naughty thought invaded his mind and the corners of his mouth curled up like a mischievous cat.
His hands that were tangled in her hair fell to her waist. One hand stayed firmly curled around her side while the other ran up her stomach and brushed against the underside of her breast before resting directly below it. Celes's eyes popped open in shock and she pulled back from their kiss. Lucille looked down with hooded eyes and a wicked smirk.
The pianist was red with mortification as she curled into herself, she parted her swollen lips to scold him and he took his chance to pull her forward and plunder her little mouth with his tongue. He held her closer and continued his exploration of her body with his free hand.
The poor redhead clung to her love as he began to slowly massage her breast, unable to fully process the intensity of their intimacy. The polish on her nails threatened to chip and crack as she dug her fingers into his strong shoulders.
His hand left her chest and Celes involuntarily released a bereft whimper, and Lucille couldn't help but to smirk into their kiss. His long fingers unbuttoned the collar of her dress and his lips left hers to kiss his way down to her bared neck. When her dress was unbuttoned down to the swell of her breast, his hand travelled back up to curl around her nape possessively.
He nipped and sucked mercilessly in different spots, and enjoyed the movements of his little lover as she writhed helplessly beneath him.
"Lu-Lucille...!" She whimpered out. Her fingers went from his shoulders to tangle in his hair. "I... I can't...!"
Celes fell limp.
Lucille stopped his ministrations and looked to his still sweetheart. She no longer clung to him as all her muscles had relaxed when she stopped moving. She was breathing heavily and her face was an adorably dreadful red. He easily deduced that his too-red angel experienced a sensory overload and promptly passed out and he couldn't help but to give a chuckle through his nose.
He couldn't hear Kohaku or Gwindel approaching the camp, and used the time to calm his body before neatening the unconscious pianist. He allowed his eyes and fingers to linger on the marks he put on her neck, before buttoning her dress back up. He took some water from the canteen and wet his handkerchief, using it to remove Celes's smudged eye-makeup.
Lucille pocketed the dirty hankie and laid her out across the log they sat on, gently placing her head on his lap. He sifted his fingers through her burgundy hair and expertly twisted it into a loose braid, making sure that it would be comfortable enough for her to sleep in. He smoothed out her dress and let one gloved hand rest on top of her head while the other kept him propped up on the log.
He looked down to examine her. She had definitely calmed down from before and appeared much better. Her chest no longer heaved for air, but evened out with smooth breathing. Her precious face had returned to its normal, beautiful porcelain complexion, but her cheeks remained mildly tinted.
Lucille's amethyst eyes drifted back into the fire and his thoughts drifted back to the vain queen. Was he going to end up like her? Celes wouldn't think so if he asked her when she woke up. She promised to always love him, but how many promised to love the queen before she became gnarled and wicked?
Was it only a matter of time for him as well?
The blond looked down at the mumble and Celes curled into him. One of her hands loosely fisted in the lapel of his jacket while the other took his hand from her head and pulled it towards her cheek where she snuggled happily into the glove. A darling smile curved her pink lips and the vocalist felt his heart melt.
Well, he'd worry about this kind of stuff later. For now, Lucille just wanted to enjoy the warmth of his beloved by the campfire in this peaceful quietness.
However, his guilt and insecurity had other plans for this thoughtful silence.
"Still the fairest," the fairy tale queen purred in his mind, "now and forever!" She cackled Celes's promise back to him, twisting it to suit her vanity. The imaginary queen kept repeating those words over and over again, threatening to drive him mad. Her screeching chant mellowed into a song, and she sounded as if she was singing from a skipping record player. The singing voice he imagined for the queen was oddly angelic, but there was something vaguely familiar about it.
Lucille fisted his hand on the log, breaking off bits and pieces of its bark as he realized why the queen's singing voice sounded so familiar.
She sounded just like his old voice.
"Still the fairest!"