AUTHOR'S NOTES: Inspired by a throwaway comment in "Themes of Love." You might want to read that to understand some of the references. This fic contains spoilers regarding the bosses in FFIV's final dungeon. The rating is for violence and language.

Glass Darkly

I want people to remember me. Is that so much to ask?

My titles are Ragnarok's Guardian and Dark Mirror; the light reflected onto my lunar body is Bahamut Dragonking. My name is Wyvern. That is the name others have given me. So eager to name the darkness, to break up a formidable undefeatable mass into pieces named Plague, White Dragon, Ogopogo, Wyvern.

White Dragon - the youngest the weakest, thus given guardianship of the weakest weapon. So white, so clear - clear to see there is nothing. Dying screaming, sword-mangled, magic-torn. There is a place for weakness under Zemus, but no place for White Dragon's weakness.

Plague - a shadow puppet, borrowed magic woven into life force. As it dies pierced through with the lance of one of Bahamut's children, the magic disintegrates, death-curse null and void. Acid eats the spear of Bahamut's child, who need not worry about going unarmed, for Plague's death opens the way to the Holy Lance.

Ogopogo, Wyvern - both of us Mirrors. Ogopogo awaits them in the Core; imagine their shock and consternation when he yields up a sword barely stronger than White Dragon's Murasame, in utter defiance of all chronological protocol. Not that they will make it there, in any case.

My sight-crystal blinks light, and I watch for them. I watch and wait for my glory to arrive.

Mirrors. The secret to the defeat of Bahamut Dragonking is reflection. Bring him down by his own power. The secret to the victory of Ragnarok's Guardian is reflection, reflection and refraction. They fling up their barriers in fear and in memory of Bahamut. I let them, and then I put up my own. I summon a flare against it, watch it bounce randomly, punching through their weak glass and oh listen to the boy with the Murasame yell, watch as he falls.

The misty girl all in green begins a chant - what will it be, lightning or ice or fire? The white wizard chants as well; I recognize a life spell. The Paladin flat-out runs, a bubble of useless star's-veil around him, clutching his sword. Glass and mirrors are no match for cold steel. Bahamut's child flies into the shadowy heights of the lunar cavern. It doesn't matter; I'll get him when he comes down.

The sword slashes; the Holy Lance Plague failed to guard pierces. I summon another flare; it strikes Bahamut's child, but he is of stronger stuff than the boy with the Murasame. He continues standing.

The white wizard finishes her life spell, cries "Kain!" and begins on a curative. The Paladin runs forward again; Bahamut's child Kain follows. Should I know the name? They stab and slash, the weapons passing through my layers of glass but not damaging them. It doesn't matter.

Another flare. The misty girl is brought to her knees but keeps on chanting. The boy with the Murasame throws her a potion. Hah. No potion could heal so much.

Another. This strikes the Paladin. The boy with the Murasame flings a sword; it is not a strong one and I ignore it. The white wizard completes her curative on Bahamut's child, who immediately jumps again, and begins another. My wall is faltering, but that means theirs must be as well. They expect another flare, don't they?

As I ready my imitation of Bahamut-fire the misty girl lifts a hand and cries out.

The four still on the ground vanish or merge or perhaps just run and hide, and I realize this is no simple Black Magic oh no it's not…

She has called forth a mirror, reflecting, refracting, and I stare at my reflection through my glass darkly, the weakening glass of my walls and the glass that is me.

Bahamut roars fire. I roar back and release my own fire. He shrugs off the mimicry and keeps up his torrent - it smashes through my walls, pushing further as I try to decide my course of action, until there is no course of action to take. Bahamut's fire shouldn't do that, it ought to go back on him. It must have something to do with the girl, the summoner girl.

I am a mirror that cannot reflect, a darkened moon. Instead of being illuminated by Bahamut's fire I burn in it. I scream - it must be a scream, the sound I make could not be considered a roar under any definition. Surely the girl cannot keep the Dragonking here for too long, surely her power cannot be great enough. But even if he left now it would be too late. His child is still in the air, and when he comes down I will be done for.

Bahamut looks at me. Is that curiosity I glimpse? Why, Dragonking? Curious to see how brightly I can burn? Curious to see how shoddily made Zemus's mirrors are? Stop staring at me, damn you, stop staring, STOP STARING -

He is gone and the four return. They look at me and observe my condition and then they look up and I know what they see. There's no point in trying to dodge. True Dragoons have excellent air coordination.

The Holy Lance pierces through charred scale into my throat and out the other side, and I jerk violently, sending the wielder tumbling and disarmed, not that it matters. The Lance remains, stuck fast. Be thankful, Bahamut's child Kain, that my blood is not acid like Plague's. Be thankful that you can just stroll over and pluck it out right after I'm done with my death throes…

I lash my tail and send Ragnarok off the altar and across the cavern. The Paladin scrambles after it, nearly stumbling on his drag. I laugh in the face of death. Haven't I earned a right to laugh at something?

"He's laughing," says the white wizard. "Do you think he's up to something?" I want to tell her that I'm up to dying, you silly bint. It's hard to talk with a lance through your throat.

The boy with the Murasame goes up to the misty girl, offering praise for her quick thinking. Quick thinking? Hah. How much thinking do you think use-your-strongest-spell entails? It's too bad her strongest spell was summoning Bahamut.

They ought to remember me. I hope a half-century later the Paladin tells his grandchildren about how he fought Bahamut's dark mirror to get his sword. It's all the recognition I'm likely to get.

There's nobody waiting on the other side. There is no promised land for the likes of me. I cannot even live on as the memory of a powerful enemy to light, only as the memory of Bahamut's dark mirror, just as weak as darkness must always be.

Damn you, Zemus.

Didn't you know, Dark Mirror? I am already damned.

Well, damn you again. You made me - you made all of us - you made us think that maybe we could win this.

Rest assured, I will.

Hah. Speak for yourself.

Do not blame me for your own weakness.

I am going to blame you. You were the one who made me flawed.

You are well aware you won't be missed. There is no place for your weakness under me.

Fine. Fine. Now let me die in peace.

Peace? You seem to be doing a fine job of tormenting yourself.

You know what I mean, Zemus. Wish Ogopogo luck for me, why don't you? He'll need it.

I thought dying would be harder.

END