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Mother's Legacy is a Final Fantasy VII fanfiction written by Drake Clawfang. The story focuses on a For Want of a Nail concept — Ifalna's escape attempt from Shinra fails, and while they arrive too late to save her from her fatal wounds, Shinra is able to track her down in Sector 7 and take Aerith back into custody before Elmyra arrives at the platform.
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Flash forward to the timeframe of Crisis Core and Before Crisis. Aerith has been raised in Shinra as one of Hojo's experiments, and has now been placed in SOLDIER but with monitored movements, forbidden from leaving Shinra headquarters under any circumstances. Growing up in Sephiroth's shadow and constantly being ridiculed by Hojo for her inferiority in battle to him, Aerith is now cynical, jaded, snarky, and very bitter at Shinra. Her loyalties and skills are put to the test when Genesis vanishes in the aftermath of the Wutai War, and the anti-Shinra group AVALANCHE rises to challenge the company. Deprived of one of their best operatives and with an emergency giving Aerith the chance to show her skills in the field, she's released for field operations to take part in the new war between Shinra and AVALANCHE. Thus begins Aerith's journey to overcome her character flaws and prove herself to the world as she learns about the dark secrets of the company.

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The fanfiction was declared a Dead Fic May 18th, 2015. It can be read here.


This fic contains examples of the following:

  • Action Girl: Aerith is a frontline SOLDIER Second Class. On the antagonist front, Elfé has the skill and power expected of AVALANCHE's leader.
  • Adaptation Distillation: Adapts and combines aspects of both Crisis Core and Before Crisis, first and foremost being that rather than Genesis make his own army to fight Shinra, he allies with AVALANCHE. Before the story was a Dead Fic, it would have advanced to include elements of the original Final Fantasy VII.
  • Always Someone Better: Before her Character Development starts to kick in, simply mentioning Sephiroth's name makes Aerith bristle.
  • Anti-Hero: Deconstructed. Aerith is ultimately still a good person, but she is very bitter, jaded, and arrogant. Numerous characters try to make her understand that it's her personality flaws that hold her back from promotion to First Class, as Firsts are expected to be role models to the rest of SOLDIER and spokesmen for the company, and Aerith's attitude is unsuitable.
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  • Attention Whore: Aerith is desperate for recognition and fame. It's a result of Hojo drilling into her head for years that she's weak and worthless.
  • Awesome by Analysis: Aerith's scores in mission simulators are among the top of the company, because being cooped up in the tower with no authorization for assignments, she's spent months doing them daily and is able to predict the timing patterns of the AI.
  • Battle Couple: Aerith and Zack, though Aerith is quick to declare He's Not My Boyfriend.
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Elfé and Genesis, though it's more an alliance of mutual convenience than actual cooperation. Genesis mentions that he doesn't care for AVALANCHE's objectives, and AVALANCHE doesn't trust him but they need him for his cell samples to create the Ravens.
  • Break the Cutie: Aerith's current personality is a result of her being broken long before the story began. For years, she was forced with train with Sephiroth, who dealt her a Curb-Stomp Battle every time as Hojo mocked her powerlessness before him.
  • Broken Ace: In spite of her considerable battle prowess, Aerith has a lot of psychological baggage weighing her down.
  • By-the-Book Cop: Errol of the Turks is very professional and procedure-oriented.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Zack, as expected.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Genesis dangles choice bits of information in front of everyone present when he's captured and interrogated, but says little outright. Justified as he's being interrogated at gunpoint, and knows if he says the wrong thing that Sephiroth, Angeal and Aerith aren't supposed to hear, like the Jenova Project, it could get him killed.
  • Defeating the Undefeatable: Aerith's greatest single desire is to surpass Sephiroth in battle. Everyone tells her it's not likely to happen.
  • Evil Knockoff: AVALANCHE's Ravens are made from a similar process as SOLDIER using Genesis's cells and data Hollander stole from the company. However, the subjects lack the mental and physical discipline demanded of SOLDIER applicants, and because of this and Genesis's own inferior genetic traits to pure Jenova cells, the Ravens are not as powerful as SOLDIER, the subjects have a higher mortality rate, and they're almost devoid of humanity. Still, as Genesis notes, they're good enough to get the job done.
  • Foil: Elfé to Aerith — she's a powerful warrior, hates Shinra, and has a Villainous Friendship with Shears to contrast Aerith's Battle Couple with Zack.
  • For Want of a Nail: Aerith's recapture by Shinra as a child lead to a chain of events in which Genesis allies with AVALANCHE and Cloud joins SOLDIER successfully, among other, lesser changes.
    • In Spite of a Nail: However, AVALANCHE still rises, Genesis still goes rogue, and the Wutai War still went on for several years.
  • Grey and Gray Morality: AVALANCHE uses violence and summons to attack Midgar with no regard for civilians, deciding if they live on Shinra's payroll they're just as guilty. SOLDIER meanwhile tries to protect those innocents and has good people in its ranks. One of the main conflicts of the story is that the typical SOLDIER dream of being a hero is a muddy one to define because there are no obviously good or evil sides in the conflict.
  • Hot-Blooded: Downplayed but present with Aerith. She has no field experience at the start of the story and is prone to rushing into battle and fighting enemies head-on.
  • Hidden Depths: Noted by Aerith with regards to Cloud. Despite being a naive rookie Third, he's surprisingly perceptive and is not afraid to give Aerith a What the Hell, Hero? when he thinks she's acting reckless. Part of her Character Development is also coming to see this about Sephiroth, realizing he's a person with his own problems and motives, not just a rival to be defeated.
  • Iconic Item: Aerith still has her hair ribbon, bought by Zack as in the canon. However, she thinks she looks stupid when she tries it on in in her hair, and instead ties it around her bicep where Elfé scarred her, wearing it under her uniform sleeve.
  • Inferiority Superiority Complex: Aerith's desperate drive for validation and refusal of assistance or pity have grown out of her feelings of inferiority to Sephiroth and her inability to surpass him in battle.
  • I Owe You My Life: Aerith was going to be killed by Hojo after his experiments with her concluded, but Sephiroth convinced the executives to send her to SOLDIER instead. Aerith knows it and is not pleased that she owes Sephiroth such a massive debt.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: As bitter and snarky as Aerith is, deep down, she's still a good person.
  • Katanas Are Just Better: Elfé and Sephiroth, as in the canon.
  • Knight Templar: Elfé and AVALANCHE want to see the planet freed from Shinra, even if they have to destroy Midgar to do it.
  • Laser-Guided Amnesia: For no given reason yet, Aerith remembers nothing before her recapture by Shinra, including her own mother.
  • Mythology Gag
    • Paralleling Zack fighting Ifrit in Crisis Core, Aerith fights Shiva on her first mission.
    • The physical appearances of the Turks aside from Reno and Rude are based on Before Crisis designs.
    • In Chapter 7, Aerith is taking part in the "Defeat 1000 soldiers" mission from Crisis Core, and mentions that it's not difficult, just long and boring.
    • Aerith wears her hair ribbon around her arm covered by her sleeve, in the same manner Cloud wore his ribbon in memory of her in Advent Children.
    • When Elfé summons Bahamut over Midgar, it manifests from the clouds in the same manner as Bahamit SIN does in Advent Children.
    • In Chapter 15, Elfé drops Aerith through the grating of the Sector 5 Reactor into slums. Guess where she wakes up.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Invoked by Sephiroth. He mentions he's one of the few to regularly compliment Aerith's combat skills, and wonders if her attitude problems are a result of his praise.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: President Shinra thinks AVALANCHE is a nuisance and has little interest in them since he doubts they'll be able to back up their threats. Then they invade Midgar and bomb Shinra Headquarters, also turning Shinra's trap to capture Genesis back on them when Genesis breaks free and attacks Lazard.
  • Play-Along Prisoner: Genesis allows himself to be caught by Shinra's trap and taken to the headquarters to be interrogated, because when AVALANCHE bombs the building, he's in the middle of the chaos and makes an attempt on Lazard's life (almost) before anyone can react.
  • Playing with Fire: Aerith's first new Limit Break, Crimson Flare.
  • Pride: One of Aerith's greatest faults, though she's making efforts to improve on it.
  • Rapidfire Fisticuffs: Angeal's Limit Break Charge Assault, based on Rush Assault.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Aerith is the red to Zack's blue, Zack having much more field experience than her and being more respectful to superiors.
  • She-Fu: Aerith's fighting style with her staff relies on a lot of flips, twirls and Spin Attacks. She fights this way due to the advantages of a more acrobatic fighting style coming hand-in-hand with using a staff, as opposed to fighting with a sword and a more straightforward method. Genesis offers the alternative idea that she fights that way to show off and get attention.
  • Shock and Awe: Aerith's second Limit Break, Thor's Hammer.
  • Simple Staff: Aerith wields a collapsible metal rod as her weapon, gifted to her by Sephiroth. Flashbacks reveal she picked up a taste for the staff after using a length of pipe as an Improvised Weapon to battle Sephiroth during a training session.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Aerith is the only female SOLDIER ever recruited. Narration mentions she's occasionally prone to catcalls or insults from new recruits until she demonstrates she's in Second Class for a reason.
  • Stepford Snarker: Aerith's quips and sarcasm conceal her intense hatred for Hojo and Sephiroth.
  • Technical Pacifist: While she mows down Mooks without hesitation, at the onset of the story and on her first few missions, Aerith has never actually killed anyone. This is one of the reasons she prefers using a staff over a sword — staffs usually don't inflict killing blows.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Being raised in Shinra has risen Aerith to the combat levels of some of the Compilation's greatest warriors.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: And it's also made her much more abrasive and anti-social.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Sephiroth is a much more approachable figure than even in Crisis Core, acting as a Big Brother Mentor to Aerith.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: Aerith's raw talent is mentioned to be among the top SOLDIER members, and she has the potential to become one of their best. However, all her knowledge of combat is book knowledge and practice against AI simulations, she has no practical experience and it starts to show once she gets sent into the field.
  • Warrior Poet: Genesis, naturally.
  • World of Badass: The story so far has focused on SOLDIER, the Turks, and AVALANCHE. Almost every major character so far is a serious ass-kicker.
  • The Worf Effect: As competent as Aerith is, she's thrashed whenever she tries to go up against Elfé.
  • Xenafication: Aerith is far more badass than the sweet flower girl of the canon.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: After several years of Aerith failing to live up to his expectations, Hojo decided to just dispose of Aerith. It was Sephiroth's intervention that got her transferred to SOLDIER instead.
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