Stunning was one way to describe the guilt that Lucretia felt every day.
There was not an existing word in the entire planar system that could even come close to describing the guilt that plagued Lucretia on a daily basis.
She’d been praised essentially for what she considered her greatest sins (and what the public considered one of the greatest feats of bravery) any time that she stepped outside of her living quarters.
Even catching so much as a glimpse of the joy carved into these people’s faces, feeling the thankful waves that simply radiated off of their beings, it all stung too much. It stung so much, in fact, that she stopped going outside as often, so as to attempt to avoid them entirely.
Confining herself to her living quarters left Lucretia with a lot of free time. A lot of free time which she spent being alone.
Lucretia couldn’t stand being alone, and having to listen to nothing but the voices inside her head barking at her constantly, but she also couldn’t stand to be around her family, her family who she’s put through hell for no reason but her own ignorance.
She’d much rather be alone.
When she lay in her bed at night, she’d stare up at the stark white ceiling, unable to sleep because her thoughts were drowned out by nothing but guilt, which coated her mind in a thick, gooey substance that she couldn’t seem to scrape off no matter how hard she tried.
The guilt goo, as Lucretia had so ‘fondly’ nicknamed the feeling she couldn’t escape, now controlled every aspect of her life. It had only been little things at first, like when her mind ran away from her, or when Taako shot a sneer at her over lunch. But then the pool of goo started to grow, and overflow.
Now the goo had a firm grip on her heart, had flooded her lungs, clouded her mind and fogged her vision. There wasn’t a moment that she spent alive that wasn’t completely controlled by this feeling.
Lucretia had never been good with feelings. Even from when she was a little girl, when her body matched her mind, and her criminal record was clean as a whistle.
On the Starblaster was when she really started to learn how to express and control emotions. Spending a century with people who know how to help really can change a lot.
at least, it did.
Like most people. Lucretia let her emotions get the better of her at times. But when it happened to her, it was on a large, large scale.
The day she decided to feed Junior her journals was an example of one of those times.
Ever since she had stopped being Lucretia, the Lonely Journal Keeper, and began being Madame Director of the B.o.B, she stopped expressing her emotions like she used to. If she let her feelings out too much, then she’d explode again and hurt someone like she hurt Davenport, or perhaps worse.
The thing Lucretia is most terrified to find out over the years of emotional isolation is that she is afraid. She is so very afraid of herself. She’s afraid of what she’s done, what she’s caused and what she’d created. She made this mess, and now it’s far too big for her to clean up.
As most come to find, people tend to not be able to be emotionless for eternity. Lucretia could be found many nights sprawled across the floor of her office, an empty bottle of wine in her clutches, and another dozen pushed in a pile behind her desk. The tiles would be wet with her desperate tears as she sobbed to herself, blabbering apologies to her lost family as if they could hear her from the lives she constructed for them.
She liked to think that she was a well put together woman. She was the director of an elite top-secret organisation, and she was doing the work that they should’ve been doing since the beginning.
But who was she to put herself on such a pedestal? Her legacy was stained with the blood of her past, that she still hasn’t been able to scrub out, no matter how many apologies she gives and how much forgiveness she receives in return.
Is she even sorry? Perhaps if she was really sorry then she never would’ve done what she did. What she did was unforgivable, and to have already been forgiven by the better half of her family was frankly more than she deserved. She didn’t deserve this happily ever after if you could even call it that.
Maybe it was just an ever after, just an after. She didn’t feel too happy these days and didn’t even deserve to. She wouldn’t fight against that statement. She didn’t deserve any of this, she never did. She deserved to have stayed on her homeworld and to have led the dull life that had always been planned for her.
She never deserved the twins, Magnus, Merle, Davenport, none of it. She didn’t deserve the thrill of the fight or the nights spent staying up late, body intertwined with her crewmates, breathing in the new strange air of a new world, relishing in the contact, in these relationships that no other being had yet to experience.
But maybe, there are some parts of her daily existence that she did deserve.
Like how when Taako made an offhand comment that was aimed at her, like a hero aims their fist of justice at the villain, her chest would seize up and her hands would go clammy.
Like when everything was going nice and then she made some comment, or wisecrack that was just maybe too far across the line, and her family looked at her, with varying emotions of anger and disappointment and how that made her hands clammy and her head rush and made her feel like she was sweating her weights worth in water.
She deserved the vile insomnia that kept her up for weeks on end, she deserved the pain in her stomach from not eating, the cracking dryness in her throat from when she didn’t speak.
She deserved the 20 years she sacrificed in wonderland.
She deserved the colour to be drained from her senses.
She deserved it all.
After all, the villain must be punished.
All of the Seven bird’s lives had been changed the moment they were assigned the Starblaster mission. Their lives were utterly corrupt now that Lucretia had gotten her grubby mitts on them. Whether or not Lup’s constant fear of isolation and darkness was necessarily her fault, plenty of the crew's permanent mental damage is her fault.
Like Taako’s fear of killing, or murder, his fear of showcasing his talent because of the life she constructed for him to fail in, and his fear of forgetting, because he’s forgotten the most important people in his life, and the most important person to ever exist because it’s his other half. He never would’ve lost his ethereal beauty if she hasn’t sent hem to wonderland, maybe if he was just more prepared then he wouldn’t have suffered as much damage.
Like Magnus’ fear of relationships, his fear of falling in love, because the last time he fell for someone, she was snatched away from him by a man who showed no mercy, and he wouldn’t have fallen for her if Lucretia had never sent him away. Magnus never would’ve lost his body if it weren’t for the wonder twins. He had his body back of course, but Lucretia knew that it wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the same body that he’d once had, the same lips that had kissed her nor the same arms that had held her close. These hands hadn’t carved for days on end, these eyes hadn’t held the same light that his old body had.
Merle would never have been caught up in his messy relationship with Hecuba, and maybe then he wouldn’t be so afraid of commitment if Lucretia hadn’t set him up for a lifelong commitment that he was nowhere near ready for. Merle lost more than most of the crew. His eye was taken in wonderland, as well as the beautiful colour that both she and Lup had been so fond of. His arm had been taken away when she sent them to collect the philosopher’s stone. It had been replaced with a gift from Pan, but maybe he wouldn’t have needed Pan’s gift if she hadn’t‘ have been so naive.
Barry wouldn’t have lost his wife if she had perhaps waited a little longer, waited until Lup had come back, or waited so long that she never would’ve had to erase their minds in the first place.
Davenport had his entire life taken away from him. His thoughts, his emotions, it was all static for ten fucking years. She fed Junior the stories of the ship and planar travel, and all their adventures without realising that that was his whole life. His whole world revolved around the Starblaster, space, research and learning, discovering, and the crew he spent a century in. Even now, he still wasn’t the same man he once was.
Lucretia was a monster.
A disgusting monster.
Like some demon that had slipped passed the gates of hell and had burrowed itself deep in her soul.
She deserves to rot in hell.
She deserves to rot in hell with every mistake she made along the way to her death.
But of course, Lucretia being the stupid, naive woman she is, can’t seem to stop herself from falling in love, again and again, though she knows she‘ doesn’t only be hurting them, dragging them into a mess they aren’t responsible for.
She still finds it so hard to let go of the fact that she isn’t part of her family anymore.
She knows it, of course, she does. She knew it from the moment she fed their lives away, erased the lines on which their legacies were written.
However, no matter how hard one can rub, an eraser can never remove everything it touches, with their pasts, presents, and futures having been rewritten and elaborated upon, painting their stories with the golden light of a thousand world’s worship.
And even now, as Lucretia lay in her bed, facing the flaky paint of the ceiling, staring but not seeing, she felt as bad as ever.
As the phrase goes, “Time Heals All Wounds”.
Lucretia never believed common idioms anyways.
As every day passed, everyone seemed to grow better, as the light shined brighter in their eyes, and their smiles stretched wider, and their hugs grew tighter, and their laughs grew louder, as their shoulders relaxed, as their tension eased, as their scars faded and their hearts grew strong.
But for Lucretia, her eyes sank deeper, her smile a long-forgotten feature of her face. Her stomach churned at even the thought of her past, which was practically all that she could think about right now. Her hands twitched, fingers aching for something to do other than distress her clothing, drum on her desk, or grip so tight on her staff that they turned white.
She yearned to write, to spill all her thoughts and feelings, her dreams, her hopes, her regrets, her life, to spew it all up onto yellowing paper, as she had done a hundred years prior.
But every time she held a pen in her hand, held it over an open, over a clear page, ready to write again, she felt sick to her stomach, often having to hurry towards a toilet or sink, or if she was desperate, the bin she kept by her desk.
She tore her family apart writing with these withered hands, documented how she tortured them. It was a constant reminder of what she had done.
Even signing her own name sent her heart into her throat.
Lucretia would rather never touch a pen in her life.
But Lucretia doesn’t get to just stop having to deal with a little hardship. She needs to grow up, move on. She’s put others through far worse. The least she could do was not complain about a little inconvenience.
But that sickness, the unease that has settled itself in her stomach, is always there. It never eases, ever burrowing deeper through her stomach, climbing up her ribcage, suffocating her lungs, squeezing her heart.
Even now, as Lucretia lay with her plain blankets pulled up to her chest, the swell was still prominent in her stomach, swirling what little food she had eaten around like a wild storm that refused to cease.
Even as the night was peaceful, quiet, and calm, Lucretia found herself far from any attainable sense of calm.
Sweat trickled down her neck and forehead, making her feel sticky along with the bandwagon of other negative emotions.
Her hands trembled and her eyes wouldn’t, couldn’t stay shut, because she’d much rather count each individual crack in the paint than be subjected to the darkness of her own conscience.
And once every flaking crack has been accounted for, as was done every night, she turned her mind to the window next to her bed.
She’d forgotten to draw the curtains this evening and was afraid that if she shifted even slightly, her lunch would come up and out.
She guessed, while gazing out the window, that the sky was less black and more blue this evening.
She imagined what it would be like there, to feel the moonlight’s projection on her, feel her skin and clothes shirt in a shimmery silver light.
But sadly, all she saw was black and grey, and the sharp sliver of white light across the monotone room. Oh, what she’d give to see colour like she used to.
But there was more to life than colour, proven by there beauty of a thousand stars against the black, or so it appeared, sky.
A thousand stars just a map of a thousand worlds, one of which used to, or still would be, Lucretia’s home. One of these stars was the home of her mother, her siblings, her friends, her family, people she knew, people she had forgotten, people that shaped who she was.
all these people existing on one plane, one world, and she had almost wiped that away forever, just destroying their memories like smoothing over a drawing in the dirt.
It all could’ve been gone, and it would’ve been entirely her fault.
‘God’s,’ she thought to herself, sitting up as gently as she could so as not to make her feel any worse. ‘I’m going to be sick’.