Lucrecia's Folly

By: Amber Michelle  

She ran.

And her sorrows followed her.

Facing him was too hard, much too hard. He didn't deserve her burden. But while he loved her, she feared she was no longer capable of human feelings. He loves me...... Tears rolled freely down her cheeks. She didn't deserve his love.

Her pain and regrets would keep her company on her last voyage. She needed only to pass the grasslands now, and she would be free. The Lifestream was calling her.

Agony like a blazing fire ran through her veins. She fell, hearing herself shriek as her knees hit the ground with a jarring crack. Every muscle in her body writhed uncontrollably. Her glasses fell and shattered on a jutting rock. Death. Something inside of her was dying.

Slowly...... Ever so slowly.......

"Don't leave me Lucrecia.....!" His voice followed her in her mind. The raw pain in his call only made her cry harder. She lurched to her feet and, ignoring the pain, stumbled on, driven by his cries.

She ran. And she was running toward her doom.

* * * *

"What did you name him?" Lena asked from her seat across the table.

Lucrecia smiled down at the small bundle in her arms and whispered, "Sephiroth. My Sephiroth." The child's green eyes shined with mako energy.

Hojo, striding across the room, broke into their conversation. "Name him? Whatever for? The child is an experiment, woman. Don't grow too attached!" He adjusted his glasses and shuffled off to his lab table, muttering to himself.

Lucrecia ignored him and kept her eyes fixed on her son. Hojo didn't mean it. "He doesn't...... He doesn't mean that. He won't treat our son as just another experiment." She shook her head and started to rise. "Help me, Lena. I think he needs to be alone for a little while." Lena helped Lucrecia out of her chair and guided her to the door. She was still weak from the birth, and it was difficult for her to walk without support.

The basement air was frigid. Her lab coat was not enough to protect her or Sephiroth from the cold. Lena wrapped the mother and child in her own lab coat and pulled them along as quickly as possible up the spiral staircase.

"Why do you put up with that, Lucrecia? This is his son."

She shrugged helplessly and didn't answer. What could she do? She could never change Hojo, nor would she want to. He was so absorbed in his world of complexes and theories he did not realize what he said. Vincent wasn't like that......

Yet, she shared his passion for the science......

* *

"Give me the child, Lucrecia." Hojo carefully placed the syringe on the table and reached out.

She held Sephiroth close, wary of the scientist, and backed away. The baby was whimpering, still terrified from his father's last shout. She didn't want to let him go. He didn't need another mako treatment so soon. The reports said he was responding well to them, but another one now would wreak havoc on his infant system. She couldn't harm her child.

"Obey me, woman! Give me my son!"

She shook her head helplessly, clutching Sephiroth close. He sensed her distress and began a high-pitched, heart-breaking wail --

* *

Pain stabbed at her from all sides, and Lucrecia raised her arms to deflect the non-existent blows. She threw herself down and screamed as burning torture rushed through her body. Another agonizing scream came to her from far away, echoing miserably in her mind.

"My Sephiroth......" she sobbed, feeling the life inch slowly out of him, though she didn't know how. "My baby......" The force that had kept her alive all these years was being leeched out of her body, little by little. She realized she may not live to reach her destination.

He was dying, and she reached out, too late --

* *

"Leave him alone!" she cried, shrinking away from Hojo's touch. How wrong she had been, to be his willing experiment. That was how he saw her. Nothing more. And now her baby would suffer for her folly. "He's just a baby! What if it kills him --"

"Then he will be replaced!" Hojo snatched Sephiroth from her arms, despite her best attempts to hold on. She was still too weak. Her baby cried harder, red in the face and shrieking at the top of his lungs, twisting in his father's arms.

His words shocked her. How could he speak like that about their child? She had been wrong about him...... So wrong. Vincent was right...... and now he wasn't even around to help her as he'd promised. Tears were slowly building up in her eyes.

"Quiet!" Hojo muttered on his way to the lab, but Sephiroth wouldn't let up. He twisted and his small hands reached out to her, his vivid eyes overflowing with tears.

"Sephiroth!" She lunged at Hojo, grabbing for her child. She managed to touch him with one hand but the other was trapped in the scientist's vice-like grip. Lucrecia continued to pry her baby out of Hojo's encircling arm with what little strength she had, feeling tears running over her face. His hand tightened around her wrist and she flinched, but ignored the pain. Sephiroth's tiny fingers tangled in her hair as he tried to reach his mother. Almost. She almost had him free --


A shot, and then a sharp pain to her back, and Lucrecia felt herself collapsing against Hojo and falling to the floor, Sephiroth's thin fingers still tangled in her hair.

* * * *

She should have stayed.

The pain was receding and she was on her feet again, at the edge of the grotto. Inside, the Lifestream, brought to surface by an earthquake, pulsed green and white and created strange patterns on the walls of the cave.

If she had stayed instead of taking her first chance to escape, Sephiroth might be with her now instead of locked within Jenova's madness. If she had not left him...... he would still be alive......

Jenova was dead. Lucrecia knew, because she had heard the screams, and felt the pain. And nothing was stopping her from walking to the very edge of the basin holding the Lifestream. The thing could no longer keep her alive against her will. She closed her eyes and prepared to join her son.

Even Jenova's cells would not survive a fall into the Lifestream.

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