"Thinking/Talking in the Lifestream"
Disclaimer: I do not own Jenova, Ultimecia, Naruto, or the Final Fantasy Franchise. They belong to their respective owners.
Time was fleeting. Time was unstoppable. Time was evasive, never holding still.
Ultimecia was caught within her own Time Compression, her body frozen into a Stop-like state, her thoughts moving at a sluggish pace while she tried to figure out where she had gone wrong.
"I prepared the spell correctly… I fought off my attackers…I cast the spell… Where did I slip? Was it never meant to be, to control time to that extent? To obliterate all reality by compressing an eternity into an instant? I don't…understand…"
Ultimecia, Grand Sorceress, age 26. Manipulator of Time and Space. She had sent her consciousness back through time to possess Edea, Rinoa, and Adel at different points, all to capture Ellone to send her mind even further back in time. All to compress time, to destroy the hateful, spiteful world she had to live in. To save future generations of Sorceresses the pain of having to know you're never wanted, to live under the shadows of the stereotype: the evil, megalomaniacal, tyrannical sorceresses.
"I tried… I tried so hard…but however hard I tried… it still wasn't…enough. 'It's only a matter of time' they said… 'Soon she'll show her true colors' they said…every slight mistake I made was blown… so far out of proportion… had to adopt a fake accent… and identity… just to save my sanity, I had to wear an unbreakable mask of apathy…hiding my bitterness at being the scum of the earth… the scapegoat to blame for every mishap…Farm burned down? Must be a Fire spell from a damn sorceress… Cows are skittish? Damn sorceress bitch must be close. Mission failed? That Hyne-whore must've cursed it! Tired…just so…tired…I hope the damn world is happy now… that'll give them a real scare… too bad… they'll… just… see sorceresses… even worse… now…"
She had done it. She had completed Time Compression, but at what cost? No being is allowed to have that much power, to be able to do the work of the gods themselves. And now she was stuck. In her own spell. For what seemed to be an eternity, to mull over her thoughts and actions up to this point. It's not like she had anything else to do, right? She was trapped for perhaps a true eternity, by her own actions. The only thing she could do, really. She couldn't blink, couldn't breathe, and couldn't scratch that itch on her nose.
Just had to sit there and think… in the dreary midnight void of Time Compression. Her castle and enemies seemingly destroyed by the spell, as she floated there, stuck in stasis.
"I wonder… if I ever survive this… can I ever live in peace… just a normal woman with extraordinary abilities… but never under the stigma of the populace? Maybe then… I can finally have my peace…and get these goddamn horns out of my hair… semi-note to self: horns are not a good accessory… neither is this dress… next note: use powers in selfish ways to change my appearance… if I ever get out of this thing…"
Her thoughts of how to create a decent (read- non-whorish) appearance was interrupted by an odd sensation. At first it started as a slight twisting feeling in her chest, which quickly escalated into an all out tearing sensation. Pins and needles couldn't describe the feeling. It was as if her entire body was rejecting itself, lances of searing, almost blistering heat jabbed through her being, as the absolute darkness she was resting in exploded in a prismatic flash of color, blinding her temporarily.
She could feel it, held by the soft flowing energy slipping across her body with an almost ocean like fluidity, the currents of the green energy leaving soft, hair thin touches across her skin, wrapped within its warm embrace.
She could hear it, soft pulsing echoes as the currents swayed about her, moving along on their wayward wanderings, never following a true path, chaotic yet orderly. The currents knew where to go, and they went there… but they never moved the same way twice.
She could even somewhat sense it, like one would feel the presence of a benevolent deity, a tranquil aura weighing down on her consciousness.
But never see it beyond the all-encompassing green glow, almost monotone in its shade of green.
She couldn't smell it, or taste it. After all, what would the pure essence of life smell like? Flowers? That would simply be the essence of flowers. Nothing could describe the smell of life. The taste would be better left unsaid…
She was trapped within the Lifestream of the Planet, the only company she had was herself, and maybe her son… no… wait… he got absorbed, his mind dispersed within the eternal tranquility of the planet, never again to reform into Sephiroth, the One Winged Angel of Death. Ah well. He was a bad son anyway.
Jenova was not a saint, by any means. She had arrived on the planet over 1000 years before the first sorceress was discovered. She had crashed into the Northern continent, creating the Northern Crater, and limped out of the destruction. Her natural form would probably give the nearby life forms pause, so she took the time to shapeshift into someone she had seen within the treacherous landscape of the Crater, trapped beneath boulders, and quite dead.
Of course when she stumbled out of the destruction, who should she meet but that guy's wife? And then when she was found out to not be that woman's husband, all of a sudden everyone's screaming about an alien taking the form of peoples' dead relatives. How was she supposed to know that woman knew that guy was dead as soon as he died 'cause she can hear the Planet and everything in it?
They attacked Jenova on sight, and she was forced to fight back, trying to not hurt anyone. Unfortunately, her pause to deal fatal damage to anyone was her demise. They rounded up all these… Ancients… and sealed her away, forcing her to shapeshift back into her natural form, stuck in the Crater until someone would come by and release her. Granted, she was still conscious of everything around her, but that wasn't that much of a help, considering she couldn't move…or do anything…
Thousands of years later, that just happened to be a ShinRa platoon, led by who else but Hojo? He apparently had heard the rumor of the "Calamity of the Heavens" was still sealed away in the Northern Crater.
"Hmph… I'm just glad… that fucker is gone… sick, twisted bastard… I wish I could've killed him… but no, he took some of my cells and injected them… into a goddamn fetus… disgusting fuck. After that Sephiroth guy finally learned about it… he went psycho on everyone… so I contacted his mind… trying to get him to release me… but that bastard just wanted my power for himself… so I tried to take over his mind… and failed…he instead took over my body… and tried to deal a fatal wound to the Planet… claiming his 'mother' wanted to be with him forever… I do feel sorry for that poor Aeris girl, though… stabbed through the stomach by a maniacal, oedipal bastard. I wonder… she was an Ancient… I wonder if I can apologize to her in the Lifestream…?"
She tried to send her thoughts to the Planet itself, managing to screw up her face in a grand imitation of constipation, but no response. She relaxed a little, and tried to speak, but no words would escape her mouth. A slow tear trailed down her cheek as she thought of all the destruction her 'son' had caused in her name, and that perhaps the Planet had forsaken her, leaving her to forever be trapped, never absorbed, never released from the core of the Planet.
As her thoughts took a depressing turn, she was blinded by a flash of green-white, and found herself in a field of flowers set against a white sky.
She could feel someone else's presence near her, and if memory served… it was that flower girl, Aeris!
"Were you trying to reach out to me, Jenova?" A soft voice stated from behind her. Jenova relaxed, running a hand through her translucent, silver-white hair in an attempt to stave off the feelings that swelled up in her. She could finally apologize, and hopefully be forgiven for all the heinous grievances she never committed or planned to commit!
"Yes… I wanted to apologize… I was never sent here to destroy the planet…I… I want to be forgiven, Aeris…" Her voice was a tad bit raspy from thousands of years of disuse, yet still managed to convey her message as she tried to make her vocal chords relearn how to work.
"Oh? What is there to be forgiven? We were always told that the "Calamity of the Heavens" was sent here to destroy the planet, and to infect all others, causing destruction and chaos around the universe." Aeris' voice had a slight edge to it, unsure if she should trust the one that was blamed for so much.
"I merely was trying to escape my own planet as it neared its own destruction. When I came here, I assumed the form of someone I found dying in the Northern Crater, but your ancestors thought I was some form of a threat that could take the shape of their dead loved ones and sealed me away… and then that bastard Hojo started experimenting on me while I was still conscious, yet held in stasis in a large tube… I never wanted any of this to happen… so I tried to take over Sephiroth's mind… that didn't go over well…"
"He…was able to circumvent the mind control… and took over my body, destroying his own as he used my ability to shapeshift into his old body. He used my abilities for his own gains… his mind, demented from Hojo's experiments, came up with the idea that I was his mother… and that since all the files said I was to destroy the planet… that he should do that for me…" A sneer almost echoed off her statement, her mind repulsed by the idea that she should ever want to do anything of the sort.
"Why are you telling this all to me now? It's a little late, isn't it? Sephiroth is dead, his mind destroyed within the Lifestream, the Black Materia is also gone, destroyed in the aftereffects of Holy. The Planet shall be in danger no more." A curious tone slipped into her speech. She could detect no lie from Jenova… and yet all the pieces were into place for her story… she could be easily misunderstood from what happened to her, not to mention all of Sephiroth's great "deeds" in the name of his "mother".
"I just… want to be forgiven. Even though I may not have been in control, I still witnessed everything he did… and it sickened me. I tried so hard to prevent him, especially from murdering you. I was nearly screaming in his mind to stop, but I suppose… he was too far gone in his little world…" Two tears dripped out of her mismatched eyes, painting silvery trails down her light blue cheeks, before falling to the flowers below.
"You have given me a lot to think about, Jenova… I'll have to discuss this with the other souls of the Ancients, to get their recollection of what happened when you first arrived… if all goes well, I'll release you from the Lifestream, seeing as how your soul is alien to this planet, and cannot be absorbed for reincarnation."
"Thank you… that is all I wish for. I'm just… tired, I guess…" Her voice was absolutely dripping with eons-old weariness. "I've been conscious for over three thousand years… can you wake me from my hibernation when you've reached a decision?"
"Of course. Sleep now, Jenova, and I shall wake you when we're done."
Jenova slowly closed her eyes, almost sobbing with relief at finally being able to descend into sleep once more, laying her body amidst the field of flowers. As she slipped off into her world of slumber, only one thought resounded within her mind. "Thank you, Aeris, for giving me a chance."
"Jenova… it's time to wake up… we've reached a decision." Aeris' light voice broke through the darkness of her hibernation, rousing her from an almost comatose slumber. She gently stood up amidst the flowers, taking special care to not smash one on accident, smoothing her waist length silver-white hair down. She looked down at herself and a light pink blush spread across her face, realizing she had been naked ever since she was sealed, and it never occurred to her to put on some clothing. Moulding some of her cells to her will, she created a flowing silver kimono that reached down to her ankles.
She slipped her arms into her sleeves and turned around to face Aeris, a content smile on her face at finally being able to sleep after so long. She held in a smirk at the slight widening of the eyes, and the astonishment shown within the Ancient's green orbs.
"Surely you knew I could control my cells at will, right? It's not so hard to create clothing out of that, even replicating the true feel of the clothes, so long as I've felt them before."
Aeris merely nodded, containing her surprise at the level of control required for such a feat. "I did… but we never really saw you use that ability often. We only knew it existed because Sephiroth would create horrible abominations by dropping what looked to be a tentacle, and then it'd take shape into some malicious monster. He always referred to them as parts of his 'mother', so I guess that kind of… didn't help with the stereotype of you being a planet-destroying monster."
Jenova's lips curled downward into a frown, wanting nothing more than to utterly obliterate Sephiroth for the perversion of her ability, to torture his mind to the point that he fell into an incurable coma, to rend his… She pushed those thoughts aside for now and brought attention back to the matter at hand.
"That insufferable whelp… I hope he gets reincarnated as a roach in the middle of a pesticide convention… oh well. You have reached a decision, yes?"
The green-eyed Ancient giggled a little as she saw the flickers of emotion go through Jenova's eyes, judging by the pure hatred she exuded when she mentioned Sephiroth that she truly loathed the man for making a mockery of her abilities, and furthering the belief that she was some sort of monster.
"Yes… we have decided that we believe you, and that we shall release you from the Lifestream. It took awhile to debate, because we had to get past some of the biases of the people who first saw you… they said something about 'Tentacles don't GO there!' or some such nonsense… you wouldn't know anything about that, right?"
Jenova let her eyes wander all around the scenery, trying hard to hold in the urge to whistle innocently, before breaking down and giggling uncontrollably.
"I'm sorry but… when I first got here, I was trying to not kill anyone, so I attacked at their blind spots with blunt force… I think that guy got hit in the ass… and I really, really, really hope I didn't actually penetrate him. I didn't have any weapons, so I was forced to attack with my own cells… which is kind of an odd sensation, actually. Almost like stretching your body as one would stretch taffy, I guess."
Aeris laughed again, smiling softly as she tried to picture it.
"Yes, I suppose that might've been their own fault for attacking you… Either way, we've decided that you're trustworthy to live on the surface without going on a planet-destroying binge. Unfortunately…we'll never be able to reincarnate you, seeing as how your soul is so different from the souls within the Lifestream, so you'll basically be immortal, and should you ever get nearly-killed, you'll be brought here to recover before being released again. Unfortunately, since you first came here, the planet has changed quite a bit on the outside. There's only one large continent now, which they call the Elemental Countries. The only area we'll be able to release you in would be Fire Country, is that alright with you?"
Jenova tapped an elegant, clawed fingertip against her chin, deep in thought about having to explore the world to see how much it had changed since her last stay, before responding with a twinge of wanderlust within her voice.
"It actually seems quite fine to me. Will anyone remember the "Calamity of the Heavens" and persecute me for it?"
The Ancient smiled disarmingly, gently setting a hand on Jenova's shoulder to calm her.
"Don't worry. After a combination of Meteor almost being summoned, multiple wars, and the latest event of Time Compression which reconstructed almost all of the planet's surface, as well as obliterating all technology as they knew it, there would be no one alive that would remember anything. Most of the humans are busy re-learning magic, but they have changed the dynamic of it sort of… they channel their energy not through materia, but through different hand gestures they call hand-seals to recreate the effects of some of the magic that was lost."
The blue-skinned woman grinned wide, showing off her perfect set of teeth.
"I think I'll like the Planet just the way it is right now. I promise I won't mess around with it too much. Who knows? I might find a successor to my name and abilities out there, if they're deemed worthy enough. If they were born human in the first place, then they might also become nigh-immortal like myself, so I'll have to warn them of that before I take action. Wouldn't want someone else to suffer like myself for forgetting that."
Aeris' lips twitched upward in a serene smile, her eyes sparkling mischeviously as she prepared to defy one of the principal rules of the Planet.
"Are you ready to go back, Jenova?"
With that one word, the field of flowers disappeared in a green flash, the planet crying out with the effort to expel the alien from the depths of its core. Earthquakes rumbled in the location with the deepest crevice, the area where Jenova was about to reemerge. The Lifestream surged upwards from there, the green liquid pooling out of the crack in the Planet's exterior, carrying with it an ecstatic blue woman.
Ultimecia surged to her feet, looking around the area in which she found herself. Coughing heavily with the intake of air she felt deprived of for so long, she wobbled her way to the cave wall, pressing a hand to it as she tried hard to recollect what happened.
"If I remember correctly," she mumbled to herself as her voice strained to work after what seemed an eternity of disuse, "I felt like I was being torn apart, then that flash… where am I…? When am I…?"
Her thoughts were derailed when she realized she was not alone in the cave. A low growling sound was all that warned her of the impending attack before five large claws slashed at where she had been moments before, only her instinct saved her by forcing her to phase through the wall and appear on top of her attacker.
Fur. Lots and lots of blood red fur. Soft, to be sure, but definitely not reflecting on the temperament of whatever it was connected to. She looked behind her to see nine thick tails swaying back and forth, almost chaotically, and behind that an inky blackness, as if the cave had no end. She looked forward to see the exit of the cave, the sky a bruised purple-blue, denoting twilight.
A deep rumbling sound emitted from further in the cave, startling her and the creature she was seated atop of. A deep green glow spread from the void behind her, brightening gradually until it became a bright light, blinding the creature as it looked back to search for the source of the cracking and groaning of the earth around it.
A deep, anguished cry emitted from deep in the cave, as if the force to create that green glow was causing great pain to it. Before long the cave was flooded with bright green tidal wave of liquid, shoving the creature and it's rider out of the cave with a deep roar, managing to drench the bottom half of the colossal creature.
A soft thump was heard next to Ultimecia, as the rider on the radioactive-green wave of doom (patent pending) landed next to her on the massive nine-tailed creature. She looked down to see a tall woman, about 6'0", with glacier blue skin and silver-white waist length hair, wearing an elegant silver kimono with wide sleeves. The woman was splayed out against the blood red fur of the creature, and seemed to wake from a slumber as Ultimecia stared at her.
"Nngh… never again… am I asking to be rejected out of the Planet… that thing screams too loud…" the woman mumbled, rolling onto her back and opening her eyes. Ultimecia was startled at first, looking at a piercing red eye, that seemed to glow with a light of it's own, matched with a softly glowing green eye as they stared at her. An elegant white eyebrow rose in obvious question of seeing someone so soon of waking up, but before the question could be asked, a tremendous roar of agony split the sky, the nine-tailed red behemoth shaking violently in obvious pain.
Ultimecia and Jenova (as Ultimecia would later learn her name was) clung onto the back of the animal as it seemed to roar in pure torture, sprinting out of the cave, weaving side to side and destroying the landscape, a victim of extreme Mako poisoning from the wave of the Lifestream that soaked it.
A few hours, and a few introductions made at high speeds on a lumbering, agony stricken nine tailed fox, later, Jenova and Ultimecia were still holding onto the Kyuubi as it sprinted with a large village as its target, seemingly dead set on its destruction. As they drew nearer, a large 'poof' of smoke appeared, and a blond man holding an equally blond child on top of a gargantuan toad hopped into the direct path of the giant fox. The man whispered a few words, going through odd hand gestures faster than the eye could normally follow, and then both Jenova and Ultimecia felt an odd tugging sensation, before they spiraled along with the fox, into an intricate seal array on the blond baby's stomach.
They awoke a few hours later, and put the soul of the fox out of it's misery since it was completely beyond the help of the Sorceress and the alien. Ultimecia finally got to fix her fashion disaster, using her Sorcery to reconstruct her red dress, if that article of clothing could be called such, into a flowing midnight black gown that more properly covered her body, ending just short of the ankles. She altered her hair, removing the odd horn ornaments, and let her metallic silver hair fall down to the middle of her back, the two strands of hair on either side of her face falling down the front of her chest, ending just short of her stomach.
She looked over to Jenova and saw her wary gaze, her eyebrow raised in silent question of the feat performed by Ultimecia, causing the Sorceress to grin and use her magic to create a pair of large, comfy chairs, beckoning the alien to sit down across from her. The two sat down to talk within the confines of a large cage, connected to a veritable labyrinth of sewer tunnels.
Life stories were exchanged, powers discussed, and conjectures about their location were drawn. They studied the seal array that bound them from within the dank cell, learning that they need to wait for their container to approach them before they could work anything out, so they sat back down in the chairs, and Ultimecia conjured a 60" monitor screen to see through the container's eyes, and allowed them to also hear what was going on.
They would be trapped in this state, watching through the child's eyes, powerless to help him for years to come, before they were finally able to meet him.
Author's Note: First fanfiction written... kinda odd. It came to me in a dream, as overused as that sounds. Will be working on it in my spare time, and I have a lot of that. Reviews would be nice, but I don't really expect them until I actually get to the part where it involves Naruto.
Odd thought: Should he also inherit Aeris' limit breaks in his repertoire of abilities?
Next Chapter: Meeting the Calamity of the Heavens and the Compressor of Time.