"I Am"

I am the woman
they pity.
I am the woman who
did it all.
I am a martyr.

I am sinless, and
I am the angel of
logic and reason and
the mother of science, and
I am forever.

I am the woman who
is his angel.
I am the woman he
loved without reason.

I am the woman who
has no name.
I am the woman who
murdered him.

I am no angel.
But I am forever.

+ + +

I wonder why I became a scientist sometimes.   Psychology might have fit me better.  It's people I'm interested in the most, though chemicals and complex formulas have their own subtle charm.  This latest project... it's just what I've been looking for all my life.  It will make me great.

But the project can wait, for now.  I have other occupations.

+ + +

It's spring, one of my favorite seasons, probably because of the growth and the new life just waiting for analysis.

We're sitting together by a waterfall, and I show him my lab notes, and he marvels at them, telling me he could never understand what I know.   I laugh and promise to teach him, and like an obedient puppy-dog, he clings to the promise ardently.

Very amusing.

I can tell that he loves me, but I don't love him, although I pretend I do, because it makes everything so much easier.  It doesn't matter, though.  I'll just break his heart in the end the way I've broken hundreds of others.  It becomes a habit after awhile.  It just doesn't matter anymore.

Actually, I'm rather good at it.

The green grass around us whispers and I smile.  It's so absurd, just like he is.  Maybe that's why he seems different from the other ones.   They always seek to impress me, but he's just different.  He listens and he clings to every word I say, his dark brown eyes like those of a child's, and so... different.

He's getting moody, too.  I know it's because of what I'm doing.  It's interesting, though, and I know I'm not compromising the project, even if he doesn't.  I know the project is all he cares about now.  He can be obsessive like this, but he's a good man to work with.  He knows his science.

+ + +

We made a breakthrough today.  It only cost a cheap security guard's life... hardly anything to worry about, with Shin-Ra covering for us.   He didn't die in the lab, he died by the fangs of a Midgar Zolom, and his body wasn't found.  Huh, ethics.  Don't talk to me about that mish-mash.   Without them, science proceeds so much faster.  It could have been twenty years before we got to this point if we hadn't discarded our morals long ago -- those things are good for everyday life, but in the lab, they just get in the way.

And it's not as if we're incapable of emotion.  The man's screams were disturbing, to say the least.  If we could complete the experiment without wasting life, I'm sure we would have long ago, and I told him that as he was dying.  I'm sure he understood.  If he even heard me.   It's all for science.  Science dominates over life.

He doesn't know about any of this, of course, or he'd be horrified, and that would ruin everything.  I've finally gotten him to talk to me.   I wonder what made him the person he is... or was he born that way?  No, surely there's some sort of story behind it.  And I'll find out.

I'm a very determined and stubborn sort of person.  I must have my way, and I almost always get it.  Fate has been kind to me.

Time is running a little short, though.  The project is seriously underway, and we have the ultimate key to unleashing the specimen's power.   Just thinking of the benefits our experiment could bring mankind makes my heart beat fast.  In my mind, I see myself as the mother of modern science, basking in the people's glory.

Perhaps it sounds egotistical of me to say so, but I'm not one to be unnecessarily modest.  I know this to be a reality.

+ + +

I can't love, he tells me.  Or at least, I never used to be able to love.

I can't love either, and I still can't, and I never will, the poor boy.  Love is reasonless and inexplicable and guided by randomness.   How can anyone trust a random emotion?  It makes no sense, and it never will to me, no matter how you try to explain it.

Love is pointless.  Like summer.

+ + +

Summer is the worst season in the year.  If God ever made a mistake when he created the world, it was summer.  The heat, the lethargy, the cheerfulness without purpose -- it's all so pointless.  But never mind.

The drugs are starting to have a deteriorating effect on my body, and I who have never touched makeup in my life am now applying it religiously every day.

He's noticed, the sweet boy, and now he's taking me out to dinner.  He must think I'm starving myself.

I'd tell him I've had plenty to eat, but it'll be fun to go to a nice restaurant.  I haven't been in one for ages, and what is there to lose?

It is rather sad that I'll have to break this one soon... maybe I can just let him find out on his own.  Funny he hasn't noticed yet.  But he will.  I hope I have more time, though.  He's hard to figure out, and I've needed a challenge for awhile.

I know he's just going to turn away silently when he finds out.  That's his method of dealing with life.  I know.  I always know.   I'm always right.  But either way, I'll see for sure soon...

+ + +

He proposed to me.  Perhaps I really have let this one drag on too long.  It's never happened before.

I told him I'd need time to think.

He said, Take all the time you need.  Take an eternity.  I'll be waiting for your answer.

How romantic.  How illogical and senseless.  How completely.... him.  But his love will die once he finds out... and he will, I know.   Soon now.

+ + +

I certainly didn't expect it to be that fast.  He found out.  He's not very happy, as I predicted, but for some reason, he still says he loves me.

For the first time in my life, I feel guilty.  It's probably a side-effect of the drugs that I'm taking.  I've trained myself to be hard and cold, and one man could never break me like this...  hah!  To think I, top-rate Shin-Ra scientist, the woman so many girls aspire to be, the one who so many men have called incapable of feeling, could fall in love with a low-level Turk?  How preposterous.

He asks why I never told him.  It takes less than a second for me to reply that I knew it would hurt him.  I'm so used to this.   Maybe I shouldn't have been a scientist or a psychologist.  Maybe I should have been an actress.

But then, no.  Acting was one of my hobbies as a child, and while it occupied me for awhile, analyzing these characters that never existed, that you could never touch or hurt or deceive, just didn't have the same charm as playing with real people.  Like him.

He won't leave me alone.  He's following me everywhere, and the tension between him and my partner has risen to a point where if it doesn't break soon, there's going to be some kind of catastrophe.  It's ruining the entire season for me.  Autumn has always been one of my favorite seasons, too, with the gradual signs of death creeping upon the land, stealing souls and kissing away the gift of breath from the living.  But I'm so distracted.  It's hard to appreciate death when you're distracted.

I feel like I ought to move the specimen away from this village.  What with the Turk's sharpshooting and the professor's equally sharp mind, it's just not safe here... especially with both of them being the silly extremists they are.

It makes perfect sense, and usually, he, the Professor, I mean, would see my point, but now he's so engaged with this snubbing warfare of theirs that I can't talk to him without being snapped at.

I could enter the argument, too.  But I won't, because I have more sense than to do that.  The project is the priority, but neither of them can see that.

Damn men and their petty minds.

+ + +

So far so good, the specimen is intact, and they haven't gone beyond verbal abuse.  But I fear for the project.  The professor must be alive, in case something doesn't work out.... nobody else can continue the project -- Gast?  What an idiot.  He spends more time daydreaming about his wife than he does working on the experiment.

I almost miss being able to talk with him about the scenery around us... the towering, craggy Nibel mountain range, the quaint look of the village from a second-story window in the Shin-Ra mansion.  It looks even nicer carpeted with snow as it is.  The blank scent of nothingness permeates the air, and all is silent.

It's as if the world is waiting... waiting to be reborn.

I shall be the mother.

+ + +

The child is coming soon.  The projected date was two weeks from today, but it feels like it could be any day now.  I've doubled my intake of cells per day, just in case.  I'm incredibly excited.  I've developed a serious cough, but I'll take care of it after we finish this part of the project.  It can wait.  The project is everything now.

I'm confined to the lab, have been confined to the lab for several days, and I haven't seen him and his innocent eyes for awhile.   Stupidly, I find myself missing him... or no, just the experiments I played with him.  He'll be all right.  They all get over it eventually.

Of course, that's what I said when he found out about this part of the project, but what does it matter?  I'm sure he'll forget his love, forget me.   Experience has taught me this much, at least.

I'm so tired.  It's hard to take account of my status, because even if you're not supposed to develop a racking cough before childbirth normally, this particular time is just different.  Maybe it's supposed to happen this way.

I wonder what the child will look like.  But of course, it doesn't really matter.  I hope he works out, because if he doesn't, I'll have spent the last nine months of pain in vain.

+ + +

I think there's something wrong with me.  Damn you, you slimy nutcase professor, a million times over.  What was it that you didn't show me?  What was it that you knew but didn't tell me?  What's going to happen to me?

Oh, you'll still get the dream you've always wanted, he tells me with a Satanic leer.  You'll be in the textbooks for eons.  'The mother of modern science,' isn't that right?  You just won't be here to see it.

I hate him.  I want to bash his face in.  I can't die now.  Not with so much in store for me.  Think of the medals, the honors... they'll all be his.  His and Gast's.  Where am I in all of this?  How... I had been in control of everything from the start.  How had I been locked away from this knowledge?

I stew in hatred, my heart screams for revenge, but I can't tap my finger against the bloodied sheets, much less aim a good kick at the back of the professor's oily ponytailed head.

And then he comes.  I don't really want to see him right now though, and how on earth did he get in?  Doesn't he know the lab is closed to anyone except the scientists, and oh.  The gun, of course.  Guns could be useful.  I once studied the components of a handgun for an elementary school research project.  The teacher didn't like it, but I did a good job on it, so she had to give me an A.  I always do a good job with everything.  Too good, this time.   I won't live to see the results.  I hate, hate, hate.....


His voice.  Did I make a mistake... or no, of course not.  I don't make mistakes.

I'll always love you.  I'm so sorry.  I should have helped you.  I should have known.  I'm sorry, so sorry.  If I could die for you, I would, but... Lucrecia, forgive me.

Despite myself, despite the roaring alarm bells in my head that tell me I was losing my reason and I didn't have to comfort him because it wasn't my fault it was his, I try to gasp out some sort of consolation -- was I wrong?  Is it possible? -- but before I can, he interrupts again.  No, don't forgive me.  I don't deserve your forgiveness.  I don't deserve anything.

It's okay, I try to tell him, but all I manage is a wince, and I feel so faint it's hard to breathe...  I was wrong.  The pain of wrongness is the worst thing I've ever felt, besides the pain of knowing I'd die.

I have sinned.  I am an undeserving wretch.  But I love you, I love you so much.  My angel...

And now I know how wrong I was.  Do I love him?   Perhaps?  Is there even the tiniest flicker of such emotion in my slowly dying heart?  I know he loves me.  I know he loves me beyond love.  I could cut him to pieces with a jagged piece of glass and he'd still love me until the last drop of his blood had been wept.  And if there is an afterlife... he'll love me still.

And if heaven and hell exist, and they very well might -- but where is my common sense going?  my reason and logic? -- then I'll never see him again, because I'm going to hell, and he to heaven.  We've both killed many in our lives, and no doubt he'll kill more in his lifetime, but I murdered.  I murdered him.

Only the faint notion that in his eyes, I can never do wrong, can comfort me, but... no, thinking that just brings on a fresh wave of guilt.   Better that he hates me, forgets me, buries me under the shroud of time.

Living death.  We've all heard it so many times before... we've all discarded it as a fanciful notion.  Human beings don't live death.  They forget, start over.  But not him.

I murdered him.  My Vincent.  I murdered him with my own mistake, and now he shall pay for my sins.  My Vincent Valentine.  What a fitting name for him.

Lucrecia? Lucrecia!

Good-bye to the world... to the people who will always know me as a saint, an angel, the martyr who gave her life for science, and not as the murderer I am.  Some angel I make.