Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 6

Lightning and Shadows

by Person 0 reviews

Terra was the only one awake aside from Setzer when the heavy clouds they'd been flying under suddenly cracked open around them.

Category: Final Fantasy 6 - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama,Romance - Characters: Setzer,Terra - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2008-06-25 - Updated: 2008-06-26 - 2100 words - Complete

Terra was the only one awake aside from Setzer when the heavy clouds they'd been flying under suddenly cracked open around them. All at once they were surrounded by storm, no edge to it visible for them to fly towards to get out of it. It was so strong that she would have thought it had been building for hours, instead of just being grey clouds and the occasional grumbling rumble of thunder as the shifted against each other until nature suddenly decided that it was time to explode. She almost would have wondered if Kefka had some new weapon that allowed him to control the weather, except that she was fairly certain that if he did he would be sending every bolt of lightning in the sky straight at them until one connected.

The lightning did interesting things to Setzer's scars, she noticed as she leaned against the airship's railing, watching him at the captain's controls as he tried to search for a safe spot to land in the dark. Most of the time she was so used to them that she hardly even noticed them anymore (something she wouldn't have though possible back when she first met him, but many things had changed since then, herself not least among them), but in the brief flashes of stark light that lit up the otherwise nearly entirely black night they suddenly seemed new again. The lines and whorls of them became much more obvious than they were in the steady light of day, slight shadows from dips in his flesh that were almost unnoticeable under the sun made deep black by the lightning being not quite able to entirely banish the night from his face. She found herself tempted to reach out and touch those shadows, to feel the skin hidden by the darkness.

He cursed suddenly, and the ship lurched under her so strongly that she was almost thrown from her place if it hadn't been for her firm grip on the rail. She tore her eyes away from his face and to the direction they'd just turned from, and was shocked when she saw a mountain so close that it was a miracle that they hadn't crashed into it fading away into the night the moment they weren't right on top of it any longer.

When she turned back to Setzer again he was looking back at her, and when Terra met his eyes and saw the look in them she was startled to realize that /he was afraid/. Their near fearless gambling captain, who left notes warning of his crimes so the victims had a sporting chance of fighting back against them, who had gotten them safely away from one wrecked ship in the past, who hadn't allowed his love of the sky to be tainted by whatever had happened in his past to leave his body in tatters, was terrified of what might happen to them in that storm.

Suddenly Terra felt ashamed of how interesting she'd found the storm until then.

When he spoke, his voice was entirely calm, and she thought he must not have realized she'd been able to see his expression through the storm and was trying to hide his worry. "You may want to pray to any gods you might believe in. We'll need all the help we can get to find a place to land safely." His tone turned the words into a joke, but knowing what she did she could hear the ring of truth under them.

And she realized all at once that she couldn't just stand there enjoying the weather and the chance to watch what it did to his features. She couldn't make him bear the burden of keeping them all safe entirely on his own shoulders. She was rather disgusted with herself for not feeling the same way before then, her only excuse being that until she saw his eyes she hadn't realized just how heavily it weighed on him.

"Hover," she told him, and her tone made it an order even though she'd never once felt like the leader The Returners tried making her into. "Or fly in small circles, if that's easier. Watch for me, Setzer; we'll get out of this!" Then she flung herself overboard before he had a chance to respond.

She allowed herself to tumble for a moment, enjoying the feeling that nobody else could ever share without it ending in a sudden unpleasant stop, before she changed herself in midair. There was always a wild moment when she first changed, where her instincts took over and told her to fly, fly, /fly/, to leave everything behind her except the sky and the wind. She fought the feeling down more quickly than usual, not having any time to revel in it with the storm growing worse by the second and Setzer waiting for her.

She dipped down towards the ground, flying low enough so that she could see the land below her, and began flying as fast as she could. She quickly realized what Setzer must already have known; the storm had caught them at an absolutely awful place to find a spot to land. If it were only daytime out it might be simpler, but with only the occasional flashes of lightning for guidance an already difficult job became nearly impossible. Below her there was forest as far as the eye could see, no problem if it had still been the days when they traveled everywhere on foot but impenetrable for an airship. In one direction she tried searching in ran straight into a mountain range, the same that had already almost killed them once with one of its peaks. In the next two directions she flew in she wound up at the ocean before she could find an end to the trees, equally useless to them, although if worse came to worse it would at least let them fly low enough that they might survive the crash when lightning inevitably struck them down for being the highest point over open water. She looked in the last direction she had to check when lightning flashed again, and despaired. The quick burst of light had been enough to let her see that there were miles of trees in that direction as well, and she didn't have time to be searching for the end when the goal was to get the Falcon to the ground as quickly as possible.

She stared off in that direction for a moment more, than made her choice, turning back into the thick of the forest and this time flying much more slowly over it, searching for a clearing within it instead of for an edge leading into grasslands. The decision proved to be the right one, when she found just what she was searching for close to the start of the mountain range; a clear spot just barely large enough for the airship to land in.

She shot back into the air, whirling until she saw the Falcon a little ways off in the distance. "Setzer!" she shouted, but the storm tore her words away from her even if she had been close enough for him to hear her. She bit her lip, unsure whether or not she'd be able to find the clearing again if she went to him. It was much too easy to get turned around in the darkness and the pouring rain.

Instead she hoped that he'd listened to her when she told him to watch for her, and flew high straight above the clearing, trying to make her body glow more brightly by sheer force of will. When that didn't work, she cast a fire spell into the air, making it burn as fiercely as she could, her flames so hot that the raindrops that fell into it boiled and steamed away in midair instead of having any chance to dim the fire. She forced it to grow wider, higher, her eyes fixed on the airship waiting for a sign that she'd been seen. She was a little afraid (or, if she was honest with herself, a little /terrified/), to be flying so high above everything else aside from the mountains in the middle of a lightning storm, knowing that with every second that passed it became more likely that a bolt would hit her, but she didn't for a moment consider flying down to safety, any more than Setzer had seemed to consider throwing on a parachute and saving at least himself when she'd been watching him flying.

As she willed the airship to begin moving in her direction, she thought about how stupid she'd been back when she'd tried to quantify everything she felt, to work out exactly what it meant to be happy, or sad, or to love. How could anyone explain this thing inside of her that said that anything that night happen to her would be perfectly acceptable as long as the others on the airship made it safely to the ground. How could General Leo or anyone else she might have asked have made her understand the feeling that no matter how scary the thought of being struck by lightning was, the idea of letting Setzer down when he'd given up his own search for a place to land because he'd placed his faith in her was so frightening that it overwhelmed any other possible fear?

The type of joy that came when she saw the front of the airship turn towards her and it began flying in her direction and she knew that everyone would be okay was something that could never be gotten across in words. She had to experience it herself to be able to understand.

She waited until the airship was close, close enough that she could see vaguely see Setzer's form on deck during a lightning flash, then she let herself fall, building up speed as she plummeted until she was level with the treetops again and turned her fall into flight. She used that speed to blast herself around the clearing as quickly as she could, around and around again, doing her best to use her body's light to outline the clearing for him. There was so little space, the fit would be so snug, that he needed to know exactly where he could land, and she couldn't think of any other way to show him.

But she should have known that there was nothing to worry about. Setzer was the one person in the world who might be as comfortable in the air as she was, even if he needed the vastness of an airship around him and she only needed her own body. Once he knew the space was there to land in, land the Falcon would, no matter how wild the night was around them.

As soon as it touched down she landed on the deck and changed herself back into her regular body again. She swayed slightly as her legs took her weight, the energy she'd drained away from her flight and her fire obvious now that it was her body supporting her instead of the wind, but she hardly even noticed it over her glee at everyone having made it to safety. Setzer crossed the bridge to her in a few long strides, and as he got close enough for her to see his expression she could tell from his smile that he was feeling the same thing; the type of almost drunken giddiness that only came from cheating death.

He swept her into an embrace, a dip, a twirl, all drama even in a situation like this and a time of night when nobody else was even around to see them. As he bent over her sodden tendrils of his hair draped down around her, clinging to her cheeks like it was her own. "Ha!" he laughed, with a bright flashing grin, "Let it never be said that Setzer Gabbiani doesn't know when to bet his life on a woman." Then he pulled her up to kiss her, fiercely enough to drive the storm around them right out of her mind.

It was probably just their surprise at still being alive getting to them, the small section at the back of Terra's mind that still tried to analyze the way every feeling worked no matter how silly she'd realized it was offered.

The rest of her mind told that part to shut up, as she brought her hand up to softly caress his face and finally drag her fingers across those shadows.
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