Step 31: Partial Truth
Step 31: Partial Truth
It was a meaningful occasion and it took place in an elevator. I wasn't expecting Elena's revelation to have such an effect one me, but somehow it did. It was as if something deep inside me was unlocked.
The elevator started going up then halted, Rude had stopped it; my reaction would decide when it would move again, how far and in which direction.
"We didn't want to tell you yet because we're still investigating and giving you only a little information might leave you feeling uneasy until you get more," Elena is putting it gently, that's for sure. "We also wanted to make sure we had our facts straight... Anyway, for now, this is all we can give you." She reached into her pocket and took out a plain small white envelope which she gave me.
Truthfully, I wasn't particularly in a hurry to open it. I even considered nonchalantly putting it in my pocket and moving on with my day, but Rude might have tried to prevent me from touching the elevator's controls until I saw the envelope's contents and admittedly I was curious.
The envelope had some weight to it, which I was surprised I could perceive. My sword is by the definition of most people very heavy, though to me it feels light, and the envelope was certainly light enough to be carried with ease by a normal person. However, considering how small and thin it was, it shouldn't weight at all.
A part of me was proud of the perception, but I quickly disregarded it and focused on finding the cause of the weight by shaking out the envelope's content out into my open palm. With a glimmer of gold, the weight was revealed to belong to a necklace, a golden chain with a heart attached to it. It appeared to be a locket, but it didn't open and I don't want to break it and look like a brute.
I looked at Elena with puzzlement, waiting for her to tell me what the connection was between the locket and my past. My guess was correct as she soon revealed, "it was your mother's. It looks like a locket but it doesn't open, the two pieces were soldered together on the sides, it's a false locket, the kind she must have spent hours trying to open only to find that it wasn't a locket at all, just a charm."
Perhaps Elena had a similar experience with an article of jewelry much like this one, but try as I did to picture the scene with my mother in place of Elena, I could not. I couldn't imagine mother doing anything, simply because I couldn't imagine her at all. If I tried too hard, I would get the picture of an alien fossil stuck in my head and it would all go downhill from there.
I pocketed the golden heart chain and noticed that there was something else in the envelope, one more thing, a picture. That's when the world felt like it came to a stop. I can't describe what it was, but somehow I knew that the woman in the picture was my mother. I could suddenly imagine her trying to open the heart charm thinking it was a locket and no alien fossils came to mind.
I don't know for how long I stared at the picture but when the reality finally sunk in I voiced a barely audible, "thank you," and inquired about her name. By then the elevator had started moving up again, though I didn't immediately notice, distracted as I was by my fascination with the picture.
"Lucrecia," Elena replied.
"Lucrecia..." I repeated it, not Jenova, Lucrecia; that was her name. "Lucrecia," I voiced the name again, committing it to memory, then the elevator doors opened and Reno received us on the top floor with his usual ramblings.
"Do you know what Blaze did just now? He jumped on the keyboard when Rufus was typing, it was so funny, it's like he wanted to help; he's such a good little chicobo. Rufus got mad because something was deleted, but he didn't get mad at Blaze, he got mad at me. Why do I always get blamed for everything? I mean sure Blaze is too cute to stay mad at, but why can't he just not be mad at anyone?" Reno continued rambling and the chicobo he carried chirped in unison, Reno is a bad influence on that bird.
We went into the president's office where Tseng casually asked, "is everything okay?"
To which Elena replied with a cheerful, "everything's fine."
"Sephiroth," Rufus spoke, calling my attention and receiving a discrete warning look from Tseng that would have escaped the untrained eye. "When you were leaving you said 'not Lazard', what did you mean?"
"I was just reminding myself that despite the physical similarities you're not him," there's an edge of bitterness in my voice that I didn't intentionally included.
"Good, because I don't want to be in anyone's shadow. I'm sick of always being Shinra, as if I'm the company and not a person, as if I'm nothing but my father's successor." It sounds like hit a sensitive spot.
"You're not..." you're not Lazard's shadow, not Lazard, not my trusted friend... But I don't want to say that, not now that I feel I might have misunderstood the earlier conversation. Not now that I have started to believe what I want to believe.
"I'm not trusted, I know that," Rufus finishes. "Maybe trying to say things gently isn't the way to earn your trust, I'm tired of this running around, either you forgive Shinra or you don't, but you can't stay in-between forever; running off and coming back, changing your mind."
"Then don't say things gently, don't sugarcoat it, I want to know. What do you think I'm expecting, a happy past that I somehow forgot? I know the details of the truth will be unpleasant. I was raised to be a weapon, that's what I am a weapon..." Something clicks into place, but it doesn't feel wrong, it feels as if I'm staring right at the truth without realizing that' it's the truth, but at the same time, I feel that I can face it if only I could understand it. My conclusion is that "I'm ready to know."
"Then I will tell you," Rufus sounds truthful and determined, I sense I can believe him. "I think I finally understand why I let you join the Turks, I thought it was due to Shinra's debt to the world, but that's not it. The reason is because I somehow felt identified with you. We both carry the burden of our fathers. Your father was a scientist at Shinra, the old Shinra..."
A scientist... could he be? "Why didn't he tell me?" I don't expect to hear an answer, "he had countless chances to tell me that he..." then the answer came to me, "of course, he couldn't tell me; it was the old Shinra full of blackmail and threats. He must have wanted to tell me, but he couldn't. It must have been difficult, but I won't hold it against him, I'm just glad to finally know who he was." Rufus and the Turks are staring at me as if I'm insane and the strangest thing is that they didn't even stare at me this badly when I was. "What?"
"You don't hate him?" Rufus manages to push the words past his shock.
"No," I assure firmly, I truly don't feel anything negative towards my father. "Even if I never knew he was my father, Gast was still a great man."
To be Continued
Disclaimer, I don't own Final Fantasy VII. Congratulations if you caught the reference to Axel from Kingdom Hearts. XD Oh oh, Sephy is confused...