For those of you familiar with my Strawberry Panic and Claymore stories should know that this was is a little different. Though there is an element of irony, this story is predominantly dark, violent and twisted, which is only reasonable when you combine one of the most dark, violent and twisted animes with one of the most dark, violent and twisted movie-serials. This one-shot's been mulling in my head ever since I spent the time around Christmas rewatching Elfen Lied and the new Saw V. Yeah, I know that's weird Christmas watching, but it was better than most crappy Christmas tv. :) I follow the anime of Elfen lied, and there are both spoilers for Elfen Lied and Saw, so you have been warned. Also, I neither own Lucy or Jigsaw... though I have a nice Jigsaw figurine on my shelf. Also, I used some of the dialogue from the movies because it fitted so perfectly.
"What I don't understand is, how the Hell could Jigsaw do all this? He was damn near on his deathbed the last time we saw him."
--- Officer Rigg, Saw III
Lucy's head was swimming as her vision was slowly starting to unblur. It took her a moment to realize that something was seriously wrong.
For one thing, she appeared to be hanging from a metal grid hanging face-down over a pit. A quick inspection learned that she was tied to the grid though a heavy chain, binding her ankles, waist and neck to it, while her arms were still free. Instinctively, she tugged on the heavy chain only to find a small keyhole to the girdle which held her waist.
She regarded her surroundings and for a moment, she was worried she had been discovered and would be subject to more years of cruel experimentation. But her surroundings did not resemble a lab. For one thing, the room was far too dark and she could see from the tiles that this room was in a sad state of disrepair.
She tried to think back to what had happened, but everything was blurred. From the snippets of memories she could remember that she had just left the homeless shelter after a quick meal and had stepped into the darkness of night… when she had been jumped by some sort of figure wearing a cloak and had the face of a pig.
It made no sense at all, what was going on?
When Lucy felt strength returning to her body, her fighting spirit took over. It would be an easy task to use her vectors to shatter these chains. Then she'd attempt to escape and get to the bottom of this whole situation. Options ranged from shadowy government agents to organ-pirates looking to steal her kidneys. Whoever they were, they would rue the day they had ever laid eyes upon her.
To her horror, however, her vectors did not appear. Lucy tried again, using all her mental strength. It was to no avail: her vectors simply didn't respond to her wishes.
A moment of panic crossed through her mind. If the person or persons who had captured her knew who she was and what she was, and had found a way to disable her vectors, she was in dire trouble indeed.
In a fit of anger, she tugged at her chains again. A feeble attempt doomed to failure.
It was then that she was blinded by a flash of light from below, following by a sense of smoldering heat. When she could finally see again, she could see that she was now suspended over a pit of fire. Sweat started to form on her forehead as she watched the flames raging angrily below her.
Over the roaring of the flames, she heard static from something nearby. She looked up and saw a flat television screen suspended in front of the grid. When the static faded, she saw a strange puppet staring back at her. The puppet looked oddly frightening with red eyes, bonewhite features and red circles painted on his cheeks.
"Hello Lucy," said a raspy electronically altered voice. "I want to play a game. For years you have been running from yourself. You see yourself as an abomination who judged humanity the same way they judged you. Rather than seizing who you are, you have decided to run from everything and everybody to hide in squalor. To made yourself vanish. The fire in the pit below you produces a heat of 1800 degrees, enough to reduce your body to ash. To your side is a box which contains the key to your bonds."
Looking to her side, she saw the box. It was attached to the grid. Lucy was horrified to notice the red-hot glowing key was located in what was, essentially, a small oven.
"Act quickly, though, for in sixty seconds this key will have burned to slag and you will be irrevokably lowered into the fire. Do you have what it takes to survive? Or will you simply... vanish. Make your choice."
As the puppet on the screen faded into static, she could hear the telltale clicks and whirrs of machinery in motion. Lucy yelped as the grid lurched down for about a foot, bringing her closer to the fire.
Lucy sighed heavily. This was another fine mess she had gotten herself into. She had escaped the elimination squads in Japan only to be captured by a madman here. Ironic, really, after all that effort she had put into leaving Japan. After losing the squads, she had managed to stow away on a freighter and found herself in the United States a month later. Here, she had nothing. No money, no friends and she didn't even speak the language. Still, it was the perfect place to hide, and few people paid the homeless any mind.
Here she lived as a drifter, moving from town to town, from city to city. She had learned the language as well as she could out of bare necessity, and made ends meet by doing odd jobs here and there and theft. Lucy had gotten quite adept at using her vectors to pick pockets. The money from these escapades was put towards new clothes, warm meals and a bed at a hotel on cold nights or whenever she needed a shower. But for the most part, she avoided human contact whenever she could. Loneliness was her most trusted companion.
To live in squalor, as the madman had said, was her lot in life.
Again the grid lurched downwards, and the fire was even closer. Part of her wanted to end it there and there, burning in the fires of hell as punishment for her existence. For what she had done to others.
Faced with the seemingly inevitable fate of being lowered into the fire, Lucy saw snippets of her life flashing in front of her. Being abandoned by her mother, being terrorized in the orphanage, going on a merciless killing spree throughout Japan, being subjected to horrible experiments in the lab... oh yes, perhaps it was best to simply vanish and be gone from this miserable life.
But even through all the misery, the pain and the loneliness, there were the scant few moments of happiness. Those moments with Kouta, both as children and as teenagers, were moments she cherished beyond everything else.
Yes, there would be people who'd miss her, if she'd be gone. It was hard to believe, even to her, but it was true. Even though Nyuu didn't exist anymore, Lucy still had the memories. Kouta's smiling face, the love, their kiss.
Yes, Kouta would miss her if she were gone. In fact, she often thought about the friends she had left behind and wondered how they were doing. But she knew leaving had been for the best. As much as she had wanted to stay with them, with Kouta, she would only endanger them. Kouta, Yuka, Mayu, even Nana. She could never return, but she hoped they were well.
She still remembered the promise she had made to Kouta: never to kill again. And that was a promise she had kept. However, that didn't mean that she had never used her vectors in self-defence. She was a young women with exotic looks living on the streets, after all. But only if it had been absolutely necessary.
Again, the grid lurched down. The heat became almost unbearable now. She closed her eyes and saw the smiling face of Kouta. Yes, he would miss her if she were gone. And that alone gave her strength: this was no time for resignation.
Lucy turned to the small over to her side and removed the metal pane keeping it closed. Lucy was momentarily blinded by yet another burst of heat. The key inside was already starting to melt. Time was of the essence. She grit her teeth, took a few deep breaths and reached inside.
Indescribable pain followed, more pain than she had ever endured at the lab back in Japan. Of course, they had never considered testing the Diclonius' resilience against fire, for obvious reasons. It wasn't long until the terrible pain become to much for her. She withdrew her arm, her hand and upper wrist now covered with horrible burns. Lucy fought the urge to wretch and cradled her wounded right arm.
The grid lurched down again, and Lucy was really close to the fire now. She felt flames licking against her skin and singing her hair.
A lifetime of regrets, missed opportunities and sorrows hit her all at once. Tear started running over her cheeks... oh, if only she could make up for her mistakes... how she would do things differently had she the chance. In the face of a certain agonizing death of literally burning alive, another feeling welled up inside of her, a feeling she hadn't dared to let out in a long, long time. Hope.
Now was the time to be strong. Now was the time to fight. She could be more than the was. She could be more. She wanted to be more.
Lucy took another deep breath, grit her teeth and reached inside the oven once more.
"I want to live," Lucy hissed as she felt around for the key in the smoldering heat. The nauseating smell of burning flesh hit her nostrils and yet her resolve never crumbled. She felt as if her arm was being burned off and yet she never faltered.
Kouta's smile, his smell, his voice... his love.
"I WANT TO LIVE!" Lucy screamed from the depths of her lungs as she finally grabbed hold of the key, and felt the super-heated metal sear into her skin and flesh. She yanked her arm out of the oven, slammed the hot key into the lock and turned it.
Immediately, the locking mechanism clicked, causing the grid to split in two. Lucy was launched to one side, was released from the chains and landed safely on the cold floor right next to the fire. Seconds later, the grid was released and fell into the pit.
Lucy let out a scream of intense pain as she cradled her severely wounded arm, covered with terrible burns and patches of blackened skin. She lay in the fetal position for a moment, before finding a relatively clean white rag to wrap her arm in. Lucy propped herself up against the wall and tried to fight back the adrenalin soaring through her veins at the moment.
She was put on edge again by the sound of something opening in the room. Immediately on the alert, Lucy, slid herself up against the wall and prepared for the worst.
The 'worst' however, was the same puppet she had seen on the screen, though this time it was cycling towards her on a red tricycle.
"Congratulations, Lucy," sounded from the doll, that same electronically distorted voice she had heard before. "You are still alive. Most people are so ungrateful to be alive. But not you. Not anymore."
"What do you want?" Lucy said, her voice broken due to the pain. "What the hell do you want from me?!"
"The poison which disabled your vectors should have run its course by now," the doll said. "What you seek lies beyond that door."
She decided to test that by using her vectors to decapitate the doll and, to her delight, it worked. The vectors were slowly returning to their full strength. Cradling her arm, she walked to the steel-plated door and, with her vectors, she ripped the door from its hinges and tossed it aside as if it had been made of rice-paper.
A corridor was behind the door, uncleaned and littered with dirt. She had slept in plenty of condemned buildings to recognize one when she saw one. She staggered through the corridor, as the pain from her wounded arm intensified. Beyond the corridor was yet another metal door, which she opened. Behind the door was a large workplace, filled to the brim with tools, metal tables, computers and maquettes.
Sitting at the end of the room behind a desk surrounded by screens, a nerve center of a sort, sat a middle-aged man. The man was wearing a red and black cloak and looked upon her with a neutral expression. The man was looking very unhealthy, with a sickly yellowish skin. Behind him stood what looked to be an often used oxygen canister.
Now was not the time to show weakness, so Lucy suppressed the pain and straightened her back. For good measure, Lucy let her vectors lash out behind her, shattering the metal door and crushing several metal tools as a show of force.
She slowly stepped forward, causing destruction with her vectors as she passed the tables. From the corner of her eye, she spotted a maquette of the very trap she had been in mere moments ago. She picked it up with her vectors and threw it towards him. It passed over his head and smashed into one the computers. The man didn't even flinch.
Lucy was standing right in front of him now, looking down upon him as her hair fell over one of her eyes. "Do you realize," Lucy hissed angrily in heavily accented english. "Just what I can DO to you?!"
The man looked at her with a passionless expression, seemingly unimpressed. "The fact that you haven't done anything yet leaves me to believe that you won't do anything at all," he spoke with that same raspy voice, much clearer now.
Lucy scoffed and grinned evilly. "Don't be too sure of that."
"Let me put it too you this way," the man replied and leant forward. "I have an inoperable tumor which is slowly liquefying my brain. What can you possibly do to cause more pain to me?"
There was an intensity in his eyes which made Lucy stop in her tracks. "Who are you?" she hissed. "Just who the fuck are you?"
The man leaned back and tapped his fingers together. "Just a man whom the assorted media have erroneously dubbed 'Jigsaw'."
Lucy nodded. Even though she tried to keep herself outside of society and paid the world little mind, she had heard of the Jigsaw murders. Or at least, what they said about it in the papers: Jigsaw was someone who let people play sadistic games with their lives as collateral, making them fight for their survival. Of the games Jigsaw played, there were only few survivors.
"Tell me, Lucy," Jigsaw rasped before putting the oxygen mask to his face and taking a few deep breaths. "Right now, do you feel... alive?"
"I feel a lot more alive than you are about to feel," Lucy glowered.
The man ignored the thinly veiled threat. "How long as it been, since you have last felt alive? Was it the day you escaped from that lab in Japan? Or the day you decided to sacrifice your own happiness for the sake of your friends?"
"How did you know those things about me?! How?!"
"It is not important," replied the man dubbed Jigsaw. "Suffice it to say that I have my sources."
Lucy can very close to damning herself yet again, by breaking the promise she had made to the person that mean the most to her in the entire world. It took every fibre of her being to keep herself from shredding this Jigsaw person in front of her.
"Like you, I know what it's like to lose family. I know what it's like not being able to protect loved ones," the man said, as if sensing her internal conflict. "It's a powerless feeling. But unlike you, I've never killed anyone. I give people a chance."
A sardonic cackle escaped Lucy's lips. She pointed back at the corridor with her uninjured arm. "You call THAT a chance?!"
"We'll see. Our game has just begun," Jigsaw replied.
Lucy sighed heavily. "I don't know what you're planning, but will not have any part of it! I only want to be left alone!"
"You want to flee from everybody, including yourself," Jigsaw said. "You don't know me, Lucy. But I know you. I know you shun and distrust all around you. I know you move among the shadows. I know you often cry yourself to sleep at night when the loneliness becomes to much for you to bear. I know there is no person in the world whom you hate more than yourself. Like I said, I give people a chance."
Lucy shifted uncomfortably for a moment, her harsh expression faded. Jigsaw's words had hit home hard. "Some people don't deserve a chance," she whispered softly.
"EVERYBODY deserves a chance!" he rose from his seat, more than a hint of anger on his voice. It was the first emotion Lucy had detected from the sickly man in front of her. Jigsaw coughed painfully and sank back into his chair. "You squander the gifts given to you at birth and stand in the way of realizing your full potential. To take control of your own life."
Lucy chuckled again. "These 'gifts'? The horns that make me a freak and the vectors that make me a monster?! I would instantly trade these things if it meant I could live a normal life! Without these horns I... I could have married Kouta and might even have a family," she said, feeling tears sting at her eyes over things that could have been. "I would have loved to have a family with Kouta."
Jigsaw seemed unimpressed by Lucy's admission. "Without your horns, you would never have even met your Kouta."
"You don't know that!" Lucy snapped, and hissed in pain when she moved her injured arm a little too much. "And my true potential? A killer like you? Is that what you want me to be?! I promised Kouta I would never kill again, and that is a promise I will never break... even if I will never see him again."
Jigsaw shook his head. "I have never killed anyone in my life."
"Oh, really, then why..."
"Killing is distasteful!" Jigsaw narrowed his eyes. "To me... There is a better, more efficient way. The goal of my life's work, which I intend to continue after my inevitable demise. In my work, you get to dispense justice and to give people a chance to value their lives in the same moment. You see, it's a different method that I'm talking about. If a subject survives my method, he or she is instantly rehabilitated."
Lucy stared at him as he grabbed a small remote control from his desk and pointed it to the side. The bolts slid away from a large metal door, which then opened automatically, revealing the night outside. She gave him a questioning look.
"Game over," Jigsaw said, and pointed at the door.
Lucy somewhat warily made her way to the door while never taking her eyes off Jigsaw, who stared back at her with intensity.
"Lucy," Jigsaw said just as Lucy was about to step through the door. "Living without a sense of purpose is a terrible thing indeed."
"What do you mean?" Lucy asked.
"Simply giving you an option," Jigsaw replied. "What you do with that option is your own free choice."
Lucy nodded and quickly made her way outside. The door snapped shut behind her, and she could hear the bolts falling into place. She found herself in some sort of industrial area, near a set of closed steel-mills. She could probably find a good place to sleep here, but she would rather put as much distance behind her as possible.
She walked to a nearby lamppost for a good light and removed the wrappings from her arm to get a good look. The injuries were severe, but they would heal. Diclonius were much more resilient than humans, after all, and the pain was already lessening. The biggest injuries would be gone in a week or so. More than that, her clothes were damaged, her backpack was missing as was her cap so she couldn't disguise her horns.
Lucy let out some pent up frustration by lashing out her vectors are some inanimate objects. She tore apart several rocks, the asphalt of the road she stood on and a wayward wooden bench.
So many things around her were so beautiful. Everything was so different. As if her eyes had been opened for the first time in her life. Lucy had never stopped to the look at the full moon as it stood in the clear sky and now she could but stand in awe of the sheer beauty of it.
The song of crickets in the shrubbery, it was as if she heard them for the first time. So beautiful. So serene.
Even the man-made steel-mill, sillouetted against the dark skye, the pipes, mills and chimneys offered an almost organic symphony. Everything around her was suddenly so beautiful.
And more than even that, the Other was silent. The Other had always been there in the back of her mind, egging her on to distrust humans, to kill them, to prove Diclonius superiority. But now, for the first time in her life, the Other was utterly silent. It made her feel free.
"To take control of your life," she heard the voice of Jigsaw say in her mind.
It was a weird feeling, to feel alive. She had been dead inside for so long, stuck in a downward spiral towards oblivion. No more. Not when there was so much beauty in the world.
"I am alive," Lucy whispered. "I am someone who matters."
Lucy stepped over to a puddle in the asphalt and saw her own reflection. And for the first time, she could see her own reflection without feeling revulsion.
"EVERYBODY deserves a chance!"
She saw the horns on her head as part of her. It made her unique, it made her her.
"There is a place for me in this world," Lucy said, a revelation which made tears stream over her cheeks. "There is. I know it."
Lucy sank to her knees and laughed. It was a genuine, gentile laugh, born out of happiness. She was so happy to be alive.
"If a subject survives my method, he or she is instantly rehabilitated."
Jigsaw was right. He had been so right. She had been trying to run from everybody. And for what? Nobody knew her here. She wasn't hunted, or hated. Not more than any other person. And for one thing, she truly felt like she had no more reason to hate herself for anything. Everything seemed so clear now.
Purpose. Growth. Accepting herself for who she was. Those were her priorities. But purpose was the most important.
"Killing is distasteful!"
She stood up, and slowly walked back towards the steel door from which she had just escaped. Yes, a purpose. Lucy needed a purpose. And through that purpose, she could remain in control of her life. She could learn to love herself for who she was and become who she was meant to be.
"There is a better, more efficient way."
Yes, a better way... even for a Diclonius. Through that door was the only human besides Kouta whom had ever given her an honest chance. In retrospect, Jigsaw had given her a wonderful gift.
And as Lucy approached the door, the bolts clicked and the door opened, welcoming her back inside.
Five years later.
"I promise that my work will continue. That I have ensured. By hearing this tape, some will assume that this is over. But I am still among you. You think it's over just because I'm dead. It's not over. The games have just begun."
---John Kramer, Saw IV
Director Kakuzawa head felt as if it was about to explode. He blamed himself, though, for having had too many shots of whiskey at the hotel bar.
How he hated these business trips to America. Japan was so much better in every single way. Japan had better booze, better hotels, better service, better toilets, better taxi's, better restaurants and, most importantly, considerably less imbicilic gajin surrounding him at every turn.
Businesstrips was something he had been condemned too. His research facility had never recovered from the loss of Lucy, now six years ago. Without a Queen, his Diclonius research had been essentially useless. Adding to the injury, the Japanese government had withdrawn all funding and demanded the humane treatment of his test-subjects.
A 'Humane solution to the Diclonius problem'. Where these leftist fools so deluded that they thought they could spot the coming cleansing of the world by giving Diclonius children special education? Those idiots!
He had managed to find ways around this limitation by privately funding a research facility on his own away from prying eyes, but the difficulty was finding additional investors, which was what these trips were for. Fortunately, there were others who believed in a Diclonius controlled world.
His vision was still blurry and he tried to remember what had happened last night. He remembered dipping into the mini-bar when someone slid an apparently complimentary TIME magazine underneath his door. The magazine had an article on the Jigsaw murders. It seemed that the Jigsaw murders, even after the death of John Kramer, had continued on unrelentingly while the inept American police had no clues whatsoever.
Still, for a serial killer, the new Jigsaw was more than a little inept: often enough the victims escaped from the elaborate traps set up for them. He had scoffed at the time: it only went to show that Japan also had better serial killers, who didn't let victims escape. It was all a matter of dedication, something these gajin lacked greatly.
He remembered someone knocking at the door, a girl with a familiar voice asking if she could have her magazine back. He had opened the door and then... a pig mask?
He tried to remember after that and moved to rub his head, only to find out that he couldn't move his hands at all. In fact, he seemed to be strapped into something rather tightly.
"What the..." he called out in Japanese. "Untie me! I demand you! Do you know who I am?!"
It was then that the lights turned on and Kakuzawa realized where he was. He was in a large room and strapped in a rig which was used to restrain particularly dangerous Diclonius subjects. He hung suspended vertically and saw that there was some sort of tube aimed right at his head a few meters away from here. With slow dawning horror, he realized it was the same type of air-powered cannon used to fire metal balls at Diclonius subjects to test their resillience.
Crackling static from a monitor next to the rig attracted his attention. On the screen he saw a weird puppet staring at him, and then he heard it. An electronically distorted, yet hauntingly familiar female voice adressed him in slightly accented English.
"Hello director Kakuzawa. I want to play a game."
And so ends this twisted tale. I consider it a happy ending, of a sort, even though Lucy didn't end up with Kouta. She did, however, finally found her place in the world. :) As for Kakuzawa? Did he survive? Well, like John Kramer, Lucy would give him an honest chance... if Kakuzawa chose to take it, he might have even survived. :)