Redemption

One shot Flash Fic

A/N: Haven't played Final Fantasy Three in years. I was just packing and found the players guild, after reading the summery of Cecil's journey to become a Paladin I decided to write this… Hopefully I haven't blotched the story too bad with my memory.

Steel, white, as pure as marble, prayed over by priestess', bathed in the holy light of the moon. Cecil stared at the armor gifted to him by a sorcerer king, stared at it long and hard. He'd never believed in the Moon Goddess, never believed in anything that he couldn't see or touch, in that he wasn't like Rosa or the priests of Baron. The only thing he'd valued that was intangible were his morals, those unspoken rules of conscience that had at first barred his way then allowed to ascend to the rank of highest dark knight in the kingdom. But even then, he couldn't see those rules, couldn't touch them, so from time to time he'd let them be washed away in what was real.

In orders given by his King, in the hot blood and hate that battle demanded.

The dark knight clenched his gauntleted fist, seeing again, the fires that had claimed the village of summoner's, the girl lost to the serpent demon, a dead monk of Fabu, the panicked gaze of the "bard" who was in truth a prince. He'd recalled reaching for them, trying to pull them to the hunk of wood he'd speared with his dark blade. One hand gripped around his blade Hades, the other reaching, falling short each time.

Hope fading into understanding, despair, loss…

How real was that? It was as real as the blood he'd shed; it was all so real, even when he didn't want it to be.

Was this "redemption" real? If it was, it must be as real as the Goddess, as real as the supposed holiness of the Moon.

If it were real, shouldn't he be able to see it, touch it?

He reached out with a shaking hand, his black steel clad hand brushed against the holy steel.

Cursing, he wrenched his hand back. Cecil's gauntlet hummed form the contact of the material that was it's opposite, and the hand underneath… His hand was a mass of burning agony that pulsed in time to his heartbeat, he clenched his fingers, and red seeped out from the unseen wound. Red stained the black leather a darker shade of night, he flexed his fingers and let fall a small crimson drizzle from the wound.

Gritting his teeth, the dark knight turned his back upon the sorcerer king's gift. Here, now, it was no gift. It was a curse. The armor was a tangible representation of all that he could be, all that this journey was supposed to make him. It was within his grasp, there for him to touch, to take, yet every time he reached…

He pulled off his gauntlet, winced as the leather that cushioned the steel clung to the newest wound. It was the fifth, the fifth red line, a fingers width, a fingers depth, and in that dark mountain, in the darkest hour of night Cecil could not help but think of how fitting the wound was. The dying magi, the dying warriors, whom he had murdered to fulfill his King's orders…. The all had reached up, clasped his hand, their nails biting against the black steel. Their actions, the grasping, had it really been a final defiance against the Lord of Baron's greatest knight, or had the gesture been some sort of final plea?

Cecil sighed, pulled the gauntlet back on, the white magi, Palom… Pal-something, she would have demanded to see it. She'd demand to tend the wound, mutter something about the fear of infection perhaps. He pulled on the gauntlet, pulled hard, and gritted his teeth as the bloody leather and his flesh settled back in place.

A glance at the sky told him that his time for watch was all but up; the knight grunted, pushed off the rock he'd been sitting upon. He scanned mountainous terrain around him, picked out the white mess of blankets that hid the magi child, the white mage. Cecil would wake her up, use his clean hand to shake her awake if his voice wasn't enough, then he'd leave her to find some place on this ice, cold, god forsaken, rock to sit out the last few hours of watch.

And if she saw the armor, perhaps if she saw the blood… well let her wonder.