The Ninth Wave

Author's Note: This is my attempt to write a Lucrecia-fanfic. I hope you like it. It's just a story describing my theory as to what may have happened to Lucrecia at the end of the game as Holy approaches because, frankly, I'm intrigued. Also, it's told from her perspective and deals with her feelings on events in her life. I hope you enjoy and please give me a review!

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THE NINTH WAVE

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"Wave after wave, each mightier than the last/'Til last, a ninth one, gathering half the deep/And full of voices, slowly rose and plunged/Roaring, and all the wave was in a flame." - Tennyson, The Holy Grail

*

It approaches. I can feel it stir, stretching its ancient powers through the earth, reaching out in awe-inspiring waves across the far-reaches of the Planet, gripping it in rapture and cleansing it of all evil. It will find me at any moment. I can't hope to escape it. It's coming. And it comes for me. Everything is so quiet now.

I'm not entirely sure how I know this. In researching the Cetra so many years ago - years that seem more like aeons - I heard superstitions and riddles that suggested of two spells of incredible power and energy; the ability to either wash the Planet in a wave of darkness or light. One would throw our world into bleak condemnation, shattering its life utterly and the other could heal it of all its old wounds and scars and heal it in a tender light of all evil and wrongdoing. I always thought it was just a myth, passed down through lines with some faint Cetra heritage. We all did. I suppose we should have listened, and not just about this, but about many other things.

But none of us listened. And now we're all suffering from it, we're all weary and lost, infected and sore in the grip of a rough, stifling blackness. And it's right, it's right that we be punished like this. It's justice that I suffer like this - I've earned it, no matter how unknowingly. This is my penance.

For so many years I have dwelt here in this crystal cavern, with nothing but the hollow shimmers, the shaded hues and the pure hushed echoes of my own ragged breath for company. I barely remember how I crawled here, how I succeeded in dragging my tired flesh here to fester and die, alone and unloved. I waited and waited, waiting for death to find me and rip my soul out of this filthy body with its bloodstained hands and infected cells. But death never came, it never came for me, no matter how many futile prayers I offered, my body wouldn't set me free. It was the only thing I wanted by then, just to be allowed some peace and to be able to feel the comfort of a soothing oblivion but these determined cells won't let that happen.

How long has it been? Here, time has no meaning. So deep in my dead fortress of empty twinkling, there is no time and all the days have long merged. Everything's just faded into a twisting hue of greyness and pain, where nothing has any meaning any more. If you stare into the abyss for long enough, the abyss will stare back. And I think it's stolen my soul and devoured it. There is nothing I can fathom in this void, no more pieces of myself, no more scraps of yearnings or needs, no frail fragments of anything I could cling to or use to connect me with the world that once was. The world has long faded into shadow for me. I know that it's doomed, I've finally seen the evil of the creature we unleashed upon the world and I've been unable to hear any whisperings in my psyche of any hope.

But how long has it been? Sometimes, I couldn't care less because it can't mean anything to me. It could have been fifty days or fifty years; it would make no difference. This weary heart still beats and these exhausted lungs still draw in fresh breaths. But on other moods, I would sell my soul just to know. My son has grown to maturity, this I know: it must be decades that I've languished here, like a discarded doll gathering dust, in this foul crystal chamber. It feels like it. So many years here and still my body hasn't given up.

I've tried, I've tried so very much. I came up here to die. This cavern became my tomb, only I'm still alive. I feel all the suffocating fear of a person buried alive. I waited for my body to tire out without me providing it with food, drink or sleep but nothing happened. I grew hungry, I grew pale, I grew thin and I grew frail but my body is still so much stronger than my need for release from this world. It still tortures me. Depriving myself failed so I began harming myself but it failed also. This body, infected with JENOVA cells, is still so strong and far too quick to heal and its primal, malevolent instincts of self-preservation are still so prominent. It will never let me die, I know that now.

So I stayed up here, unmoving, feeling the dust gather, feeling the spare meat on my bones shrink and shrivel and turn paper thin, pale and as yellow as sepia with age. My hair, once so pretty when I was young, is now little more than ragged clumps. My bones feel like chalk. I starve, I feel so ravenous, so desperate for nourishment but I know that it's useless. My digestive system will never handle it, it would undo all my good work and it would take a terrible toll on my teeth. It would probably shred them. I waited, aching and longing for the day when even these accursed cells wouldn't be able to prevent death any longer, doing anything I can to repress the pain and not writhe and wallow in the pit of my own foolish torments. Thirty years must have passed and it still hasn't happened. I live still, pitiful and repulsive, outside and in, almost eroded by the years.

And it's all my own fault. It was I who so long ago accepted those cells into my ripe body as I accepted my beloved son, not only willingly but quite gladly. I was grateful for such an honour. This punishment was given to me by the folly of my own hand. I'm trapped, bound and incarcerated in a prison of meat, blood and brittle bone. And JENOVA cells; they're the lock and key that made this imprisonment in solitary confinement so absolute. It's all my fault so I suppose I have no right to lament about it.

But I only did it because I thought it would help. I thought it would help advance the human race by learning to master these cells. I thought it would be a great miracle to accomplish this, to make a human of such power, strength and intelligence. Besides, part of me always secretly longed to have a child of my own, a bright little boy.

Sephiroth. My son. My tiny little boy, so small as I pushed him out of my body, o unprepared for the world. I can still hear my sharp, shallow breathing. I can still feel the sweat that clung to my body. I can still feel his tiny skull force its way through me. I still hear his piercing cry. I loved him so much then. I remember how much I wanted him, how much I wanted to raise him and love him, not just as the first of a new race but a my bonny little boy. I had so much love for him and so many wild hopes for my little son; that little part of me that gave life back to me in exchange for the life I gave him. I wonder now if he would hate me for being the one who cursed him with life. Or would he even know about me?

I had so many hopes. For hours, I would sit alone and run a lazy but tender hand over my stomach, imagining I was giving my son a tiny pre-natal caress. I would pet my growing flesh and whisper to my growing baby. I would tell him how much I loved him and what a wonderful life he would have. I shared my secret hopes with him and let him know what kind of person his loving mother was and how much affection I held in my bursting heart for him. I would sing lullabies to him, old songs I remembered from my own childhood. I called him by a thousand silly little pet names and invented hundreds of new terms of endearment. I told him how one day, he'd grow up to be a great man, how he'd be strong, clever and powerful and how important he'd be. I told him that he'd help lots of people and that he'd make the world a better place. I told him that everyone would love him. Then I'd secretly confess that I'd always love him the most.

I can't imagine the life he must have had. Once I'd birthed him, I suddenly realised that they intended to raise him as a great experiment, not as a human being. I can't imagine what they must have done to him, what he must have suffered. I'm sure that I heard his heart call out to me many nights during his childhood. A mother knows these things. And I wanted to go to him! I wanted to hug him, smell his hair and stroke it gently and tell him that everything was going to be alright because his mother was here now and I was going to take him away from all the bad things, that I'd love him and was going to look after him now.

They broke my heart when they stole him, when they tore him from my love the minute he was born, draped in blood, fluids and pain. They never let me hold him. I only caught a glimpse of him as they carried him away as he screamed and wailed the way all babies do. I saw a sudden brilliant flash of silver and saw that it was the colour of his thin tuft of hair. As I heard him bawl, it was as if he was crying out to me, as if he was struggling to reach me. I was still so dazed and confused, so weary and exhausted - I didn't know what was happening until it was too late. I called out as they marched away with pride, my tiny broken voice trembling as much as my pained body, full of hurt confusion. I called again, suddenly desperate and began flailing around like a madwoman, trying to force myself out of the bed and to run to him. But I wasn't strong enough and I was bleeding waves of thick scarlet down my legs. I tried to stand, calling out to my little child, my eyes suddenly streaming with tears as I realised that people I trusted were taking away my baby, leaving me a broken, lonely woman. But I sank to the ground and into darkness. And then I was totally alone with only increasing waves of pain for a friend.

He's been my only dream since then. I wish I could see him still, if only once. I wish I could hold him, the tiny little bundle that he is. Or rather, was. I've been so alone for so long. I only wanted to love my son. I've felt as if I'm wandering, lost and blinded and all alone with only his name on my lips, only finding him as my quest. I would cry, were I able to, had this body not lost the ability to. I miss him. I want my baby. I wonder sometimes if he's as lonely as I am. I think so.

I feel so terrible at times, so ridden with bitter, corrosive remorse. I feel as if I've wronged my baby so much. Sometimes, I feel the Planet scream to me, wailing at me like a barren savage, howling my wrongs at me. It screams, Murderer! Murderer! At times such as that I long for death the most. The cries haunt me still and echo distantly through the darkest regions of my heart. Murderer! Murderer!

But still, he gives me a kind of ghastly comfort. The memory of him, of those months I carried his tiny body inside me, is a precious golden things. It's worth the pain that comes with it, the pain of knowing that my dreams have been reduced to bitter ashes and my future holds only suffering. It's worth having to feel that torment as well as the torment of being separated from the only thing I love and value in this world. When I think of those times, I remember how happy I was and I recall how much I still need those memories of happiness and love to keep me from absolute despair and loss. When I think of my son, I no longer feel alone. I see him in my dreams, I see him growing up. I see his brilliant eyes. For so long, he's been my world, the one happy thought I still have left, the one thing that keeps me from total madness.

The memory of my defenceless little baby's father gives me no happiness. My heart doesn't swell with any grand love or passion, not anymore. I doubt it ever did, even when I was so young and idealistic. Imagine, as a scientist I thought myself thoroughly acquainted with a few common human truths but I never understood anything about the darker side of human nature. I never thought it possible that my newborn son could be ripped from me and taken away from his doting mother to his own prison of white walls and unscented labs. I never thought I could be left a broken and bleeding woman, weary and torn, thinking myself dying and treated like a being already dead. Had I the energy, perhaps I would hate Hojo. I would hate him for all he did to me, for what he did to all of us and for what he did to himself - for allowing himself to become something so sickening and twisted. Most of all, I would hate him for any harm he did to my little son. I would hate him so much for that.

I wonder how grotesque he was inwardly before he died, how deeply his depravity had consumed him. I've known he was dead. I felt Jenova wail out in defeat and disgusting anger, I felt the chill of that blackened howl as one of her most devoted servants fell. I felt him die. I was not unhappy. But then again, I've been utterly indifferent to everything for so long, I've probably forgotten to delight or mourn his passing. It's a blessing not to have feelings as undying as my body, I would venture.

Hojo is dead, but I am not. He died recently, full of bitterness, aiming all his vindictive energy at Sephiroth, resenting our son with the last of his putrid spirit. Whatever maggots he let loose in his soul three decades ago, now they've had their fill of him. I wonder if he's gained some peace now or if he's suffering deeply for all the pain he caused the world, for the pain he caused to those who trusted him, those he should have loved and the pain he caused to many complete strangers.

Thinking of the man I chose as the father of my child has not kept me sane but neither has thoughts of the man I could have loved. My dear Vincent. So lost, so solitary, so wounded. He has not changed. It is strange, that I should feel such tender thoughts of him now when it is pointless, when I threw away his offer of love when it truly mattered. I wish it could have been different. Why did he have to suffer for my mistakes? He hasn't deserved his punishment. I knew he was alive, all these years, I knew it. I felt his spirit still alive, still lost in a twisted purgatory of torments. If only he could love me less. He would know happiness if only he would forget about me. I wish he would find peace and let me go. There is nothing left of me. Thinking of me brings a thick tide of regret sweeping over me, drowning me in its cruel waves.

When I think of him, I think of how much I was once loved. I think of how different my fate could have been had I loved him and carried his child and allowed my Sephiroth to be born out of love and goodness. I think of all that I wasted when I was blinded in a youthful haze. I had love and I squandered it. I had a future full of happiness and I brushed it off with disgust. It gives me reason to perhaps loathe myself, for what I did to Vincent, myself and my child. I had so much and I willingly scattered it to the cold winds. I freely gave up so much and paved a far darker path for myself. Things could have been so different. That is the greatest, most poignant curse of it all, I believe, the poison amidst all the bitterness: I had another option and I simply let it pass me by.

Nothing can be anymore between us. Some things cannot be helped and should be left alone. There is no hope for Vincent and I. We are both too greatly changed for there to be any redeeming love. We are both alone in matters of the heart. It is best to leave it be, I cannot muster any tiny feeling inside my heart any longer. I cannot love. I am a pale shadow of a human being. I am little more than living death.

He told me Sephiroth was dead. I suspected all these past five years, despite what my spirit told me. How can he be dead? He is still my little baby, he cannot die! Not yet! It is too soon! He is still so young, so small! How can a mother outlive her son who is still an innocent infant in her mind?

I still felt his soul lingering, shrouded in some heavy agony. I have felt his life. I have seen him in my dreams. But it seems that I have only been believing that which I want to believe. I never thought myself capable of blindness and foolish wishful-thinking after so many hard lessons to learn, but it seems so. After all this, I am still a fool. My son is dead. At least, he must have died a great man, beloved to many. Perhaps public adoration will have made up for the lack of maternal love he received. So I hope.

My son is dead. My little baby, having grown to manhood without his mother, is now gone. He is gone. He has left me. I am alone. I am in despair - I want only to fade away and die now. I have no will to live a moment longer. I cannot live like this, knowing I am utterly alone in the world, without even my son to live for, to gain new hope from. I feel the guilty weight of his murder upon my fragile shoulders, I feel as though it is my fault. I only want darkness, oblivion. I no longer want to feel this pain. I want to be with my child, I want to hold him in my arms. Then we can both be at peace. This is my single, solitary wish.

And it seems that it will be granted. I feel Holy approach. I feel the Planet sing with liberation and ethereal joy at its coming. I am happy, my son must be in that peaceful, spiritual mass, singing with those awed souls. I know now that death is upon me. This is my final hour. But knowing that the end is nigh has made this final hour a bright one. I now recall what hope is, what joy is. I will be with my son soon, no matter how much these lingering, hateful cells cry out in defeated despair and scorn. I am stronger than them now. They are broken and weak without the main body. They are fading fast. Now Holy approaches to cleanse the Planet of them, to wipe it clean and heal it of all traces of evil, of all traces of Jenova.

This is how I will die. Holy will consume my mortal body and cleanse it of Jenova and its destructive cells. I will be human again, as I once was. But I will be restored to a human who has not eaten a morsel in thirty years, who should have died during childbirth, who has riddled her body with fatal injuries dozens of times. I am little more than an animated corpse and the change, the purging of my body, will kill me. There's no way I can survive it. And I like that thought, it gives me comfort. I can't wait for Holy to wrap me in its warm blanket of purity and such utter white energy and power and feel it take away all that's bad and terrible and pull out my wretched spirit with it and give me peace. The thought of death isn't frightening - it's lovely. It's like a beautiful dream. Finally, I will return to the Planet and I can see my darling son. I'm ready.

I see it now. Only a tiny dot at first on the horizon, one second of pure white. I smile, for the first time in decades. It approaches me, quickening, and I am ready for it to cleanse my body. It is my saviour, it's Vincent's gift to me, I know it. I feel it.

It's beautiful. It's a magnificent wave of blue and white, wreathed in flame and raw energy, sparkling with purity and innocence and that sense of spiritual goodness. It rises above me, washing over the land, healing it completely with its gentle strength, singing with a thousand harmonies of pure voices. It is coming for me. I watch it approach with delight.

I shut my eyes and spread out my arms, smiling, eager to accept its embrace. I am ready to die and to let that radiant tide wash over me and drown all my demons and deliver me from evil and into the light. Into eternal peace. I am happy now.

I'm going to see my son.

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THE END

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