Six years after Magic died, something is stirring after all those years. Something very familiar. Rated for Relm's swearing.
Final Fantasy VI and associated characters are copyrighted to Square-Enix, all rights reserved. The RPGOne translation has been borrowed from without express permission. This work is purely nonprofit and purely of the writer's creation. S-E does not condone this work. Any resemblance to real life people or real life situations is purely coincidental... and strange, considering the source. Some liberties have been taken with in-game incidents, due to the interactive nature of the original medium.
This work is dedicated to all fans of Final Fantasy, in memory of Chris of RPGOne. Happy fifteenth Anniversery Terra-tachi. I intend this story to be the Crystal Materia of FFVI.
Note: Some scenes have been altered for time constraints. (I work and have only a limited access to computers. Seven hours a week, in fact.)
Chapter 1: Seeking the Dead
It was over, Kefka had been dead for six years and so had magic. Terra was fully human, Sabin helped Edgar run Figaro, Locke led archeologists to various treasure sites, Gau and Relm caused chaos where ever they were, Celes had helped Maranda to rebuild and was an honored citizen there now, nobody knew where Shadow or Gogo were, Mog and Umaro had led the people of Narshe back home and protected them from monsters, Cyan was rebuilding Doma, Strago confused the hell out of visiters to Thamasa looking for Espers and Setzer lived like a bandit king off of transporting people and goods in the Falcon. All of them had kept busy after defeating Kefka. Some of the Fanatics still hid in their toweer, prophesizing Kefka's return from the dead, but most people ignored them; they had been quiet over the last two years, which was a relief to them all.
The children were celebrating; planning something big for their mama. Duane and Katarin were helping, mostly by distracting Terra. "What about the messenger pigeon?" Terra protested.
"You can worry about it later." Katarin soothed, leading Terra to the truck garden to inspect the vegetables.
Duane looked at the letter carefully. There were several styles of handwriting ranging from Mog's chicken scratch and Relm's "artistic" scrawl to Edgar's flowing officious script and Cyan's bold caligraphy. Locke had heard about Shadow being last seen by South Figaro three years ago, but none had seen or heard anything of Gogo. Duane read the notes carefully, folded it with the same care then put it in his pocket.
Terra forgot about the letter, figuring that she would gind out sooner or later and went through inspecting various places in town. She watched the children while the couple had some alond time and nagged some boys pretending to swordfight with sticks. It was thentime to prepare supper and getting all the children to bed, fussing over the small and shy ones, except for Lucy, who was quite bossy. She kept a close eye on Madeline especially, who was smallest ans had no sense. One rarely did at seven. She loved her like her own, stroking her head as she sang lullabies.
They didn't mind that she didn't sing as well as Celes.
She retired for the night herself, after going through a mental list of things she had to do the next day and drifted to sleep.
She was in the lab, confused and crying. Maduin was close by, in a glass cage. He broke the glass, startling her. He smiled at her and made fire that danced just for her, showing her how. Her little fire burned and danced too, even though it was smaller and danced only its natural dance. Energy surged through her, singing through her veins, soothing her.
Then she was older, more cautious an calling forth the fire in order to fight. It sang, enboldening her, borrowing her courage and daring. Even Celes sending her Blissard spells made her feel more alive... then those feelings were being pulled from her, part of her soul taken, gone and she stood in an empty place, palm up, chanting, concentrating, nothing coming, nothing at all, horrifyingly familliar laughter echoing, stuttering and-
She woke up, her heart pounding, breathing hard and remembering. They had bloodied the horrible new form of Kefka, but she had struck the killing blow; not one of her friends wanted to be her killer, not even Shadow. She closed her eyes, began chanting quietly, cibcentrating and reaching, down, down, a tunnel and- "Mama!" Madeline jumped seemingly from the door to Terra's arms.
She smiled, feeling like she had reached the Esper within her anyway.
Locke picked his way carefully through the wreckage of the ancient castle. The archeologists had other guides now and he had somewhere to be in two days. He whistled an old rude song about different ports and the loose women associated with each. He palmed a knife when he heard a faint rustling, but found that it was only a deer.
He hadn't seen a monster in months, not in the castle.
He was still careful in his travels, but he was more on the lookout for predators of the two-legged kind. He didn't relax until he reached Figaro. Even the usually fun mine car ride had been intense. Inside the castle prison, he rang a bell and waited for the jailer.
The young man came and opened the cell. He was huige and muscular, but extremely laid back. Only a drunk sat in one of the cells, passed out. "Never mind him, he's just one of those Zozo crazies." He waved in dismissal.
Locke didn't feel as cheery as he once did, but watching the world and your lover die twice did that to one. He wasn't grieving anymore; he'd healed considerably. Rachel had told him to live and fight on and he intended to do that. "Hey old friend." He called, giving his best rakish grin.
"Hey, I'm not that old!" It was a familiar jab, on Edgar had answered in many ways.
"So when is Setzer coming?"
"You know it's still two days out; you know the man. Finds ways to more women than I do."
"Now that is really saying something!" Locke guffawed.
"Not anymore. I haven't been able to look at anyone since Relm got here."
Locke shrugged. Relm traveled extensively, a natural malcontent. She had been a hit at the Dragon's Head, from what he had heard. "I haven't seen her in years." He realized.
"Well, she tends to stay away from Maranda and she doesn't really travel the same circles as you. I swear, my friend; you won't recognize her."
"You need help, my friend." Locke shook his head.
He followed Edgar to the common room, where there were several women chatting, all pretty. One of the teenagers outshone them all. His jaw dropped. The woman was in good spirits and the intelligence in her eyes and the clever, amuzed smile made his heart drop. She noticed him.
"What are you staring at, you fucking perv?"
It was Relm alright.
"Thou must try again."
Gau groaned and wiped his forehead. "Gau knows this routine, Gau will need water soon."
"Thou hast suceeded valiently thus far, but thee shalt learn not only mine so-called moldy routines, but patience as well. Thine Rages are useless in this new world and thou art now mine Godson."
Match after match they fought. New people lived as Domajin, but Cyan and Gau were the protectors, the leaders of the new clan. Gau could speak correctly, but stress made him lapse. He had long ago ceased to be sent into fits of laughter at Cyan's old-as-dirt speech.
He missed the Veldt, but knew how dangerous it would be to return. When he had hit puberty, his wild friends became more territorial against him. He knew that he had no place there now. Besides, he was needed here. Someone had to keep the camp bosses honest.
For the time being, the group wandered between the old villages of Duma, giving people hope and they were proud once more to be called Dumajin. The place where the two now sparred however, was outside of Duma proper, not quite on the Veldt. Both were suprised it survived in the World of Ruin. Cyan's father had shown the dojo to him and now Cyan showed it to Gau.
He was relieved when Cyan called break. In the spring, he dipped a cup on a stick and opoured it on himself. The gambeson he wore was hot and itchy and it took quite the willpower to not jump into the inviting spring. He drank heavily of the mineral water and was surprised at Cyan's next words.
"Change into common travelling threads. Thou art coming to a special gathering."
He quite happily traded his training clothes for his much lighter normal clothing. It wasn't something that Cyan would wear- a gaudy-looking kimono shirt in purple, red and green and dark green pleated pants. He wore a necklace of teeth he'd added to over the years to suit his growth. He wore ordinary light shoes as well.
Gau doubted that anyone from Cyan's day would recognize it as being from Doma.
Mog couldn't come, he was too sick, Strago would make the trip-barely. Celes was on the ferry to South Figaro, but Shadow had already been at the ultimate destination of the group. He'd been around for a number of weeks. He'd been curious and other feeling had come to him; ones he'd tried not to feel since becoming Shadow.
He'd been set on leaving until he say something he wasn't sure if he imagined or not. He wasn't calling himself Shadow nor was he masked when he had come into town. The young man saw him first. He introduced himself as Clyde, a curious "professional". Not even Terra seemed to recognize him. He couldn't say if he was sad or disappointed. She kept looking his way; he just wanted to observe, he said. Just for now.
She'd told him she was sure she;d met him somewhere before. She was surrounded by children and she seemed to be... missing something. He wasn't quite sure what it was, but had two possibilities in mind. At least. Finding out which one was inevitable. Over the next few days, children began sitting on his lap, climbing onto his shoulders. He wasn't sure if he minded or not. He sat on the wooden bench, near the little inn. He didn't say anything as Terra sat next to him. He let her talk. He wasn't sure when they started kissing, it seemed inevitable. He wasn't sure when they ended up on his bed, either.
It was inevitable, but it wouldn't be the last time.
Over the weeks, hr kept watching, intercepting courier pigeons; Cyan was on his way to Nikea with Gau; Celes was a day away from Figaro; Strago had already found his way to Nikea on a ship; Edgar, Sabin, Locke, Relm and Setzer were at Figaro living it up. Everyone would be there in three days. He told her he had to leave in two days. He found himself reluctant to go. He saw a little of her sadness go away, but not all. He found himself smiling the day he was to leave. She had no qualms, no regrets, she told him. She knew he had to leave. It was good being with him for a time. He gathered his gear. He tried leaving in the middle of the night, but she was there. "I don't think you killed your emotions..." He stopped.
"What do you mean?" He asked.
She smiled. "You told me a long time ago that you killed all emotion and that I needed to find my own answers." He searched his memory and suddenly recalled that boatride to tragedy.
"You know..." He commented in dry tones. "I never lied once while I've been here. Clyde is my name... one that I used long before I was Shadow."
"I know." She held her hand on his face. "It was nice having you here... Shadow."
He felt unglued and shaked as he walked numbly out of the village. It actually felt... nice.
Terra awoke to the whole orphanage in her room, Katarin holding a tray with breakfast on it. They laughed with her while she ate. Duane chased the children out so she could get dressed properly. When she was ready, she started to chant, reaching for the fire. She was aimed for her candle. She fought for the fire, reaching down, down, a tunnel, a wide open space, further, further
a kindly hand like her own
Still deeper, go deeper, Terra kept chanting
a laughing face, different, they were different
Picturing the sun, the stars, she grasped further, reaching reach, she felt her eyes roll up with effort
running laughing she was picked up by strong arms, but she wiggled away and she sat on
closer, closer, so warm, so very warm
his shoulders grabbing
there! Go there! GO
his horns and laughed.
She fell down, twitching. "Terra?" Katarin called. She peeked in and gasped. "Oh no..."
She never saw the melted candle on the dresser.
When Terra woke up, she saw old friends. If it weren't for Gau and Felm being older, she might have thought she was dead. That's not like any kimono I've ever seen... she thought absurdly. "How long was I out?" She asked.
"Two days." Celes reported. "It took lots of Elixers to bring you back."
"Ouch." Terra winced.
"I won our bet, Relm." Gau held out his hand. "Pay up."
Terra balked. "You bet on when I'd wake up?"
"Mother fucker; I'll get my money back!" Relm snarled, handing him a bag of Gil.
"No," Gau replied; "We were betting on what you'd say when you woke up."
Cyan glared at him. "Our troupe is relieved that you have awakened. I am too fond of thee to want to see thee die before mine self."
"I'm glad you woke up." Locke told her honestly.
"What were you doing, hmmm?" Strago asked pointedly.
"Trying to light a candle."
"How? By giving yourself an anuerism?" Sabin eyed his brother.
"What candle? I don't see one in here..." Gau said after looking around.
"Look here, morons." Relm pointed.
"That's just a candle she probably let burn down." Sabin shrugged.
"Think again meathead. There's only one candle we didn't bring in. I don't think she would say 'puddle of wax', not unless she meant it. Were you trying to use magic? Magic's dead; I stopped trying my illusions years ago."
"Fire." All stared.
Relm smiled elatedly. Cyan stared dumbfounded. The look on Locke and Edgar's faces made the years drop away. Tears fell down Celes' face. Gau began to whoop. Strago rubbed his eyes, uncertain of the reality. Setzer started to chuckle.
Something had been reborn, something good... in the hands of good. It was a new beginning, a hope newly borne. It was small and bright, yet just a spark.
A fire burned in her hand.
....just a spark.