Author: Shaded Mazoku.
Disclaimer: Not mine. I have enough mental issues of my own without dealing with Terra and Kefka's issues, as well. Characters (and their respective issues) are property of Square Enix.
Summary: Terra never had a normal life.
Pairing(s): None, really, though I guess you could see some implied Leo/Kefka in here.
Fandom: Final Fantasy VI.
Notes: This was written while listening to X Japan's Music Box album, which explains a lot, and musing over what my ideal choice for FFVI seiyuu would be. Nobuo Tobita would make a great Kefka. Down to the weird ways to laugh.
Terra is two years old; shivering in a too-thin dress in the cold and sterile labs connected to the Magitek research facilities. Her feet are bare, and she wishes she had socks on. The adults around her in their white coats are all busy, doing something she can't see. But she can hear strange noises, smell strange things, and she wants to be anywhere else. She doesn't know where, the lab is all she knows. The world outside the white and metal rooms, filled with people in white coats, is unknown to her.
The door outside opens and Terra leans to the side, always hoping to see some of the secretive world outside. She can't see anything but more metal-and-white walls, though. Dejected, she stands properly up again, and her eyes fall on the man who came in, who is being strapped into a strange chair.
She has only seen the people in white coats, so far, and this man is so different she has to stare. He wears colours she only knows exists because they're pictured in her picture books, and his hair has a peculiar colour and is worn much longer than any of the men she knows. His skin has the same colour as the white walls in the room, making Terra wonder if maybe there is something wrong with him.
It probably is, she figures. That is why people come here. It's why they keep her here, or so she's heard them say when they think she is not listening. She is not human, they say. Terra doesn't understand what they mean. She is only two, after all, even if she is very smart. They always say so.
The people in white coats are fastening funny coloured tubes to the man's arms now, with those long needles Terra hates so much. The man doesn't seem bothered, though, talking to one of the white-coated ones. His speaks strangely, different than the people she is used to. It sounds almost… …Terra doesn't know any words to describe it.
She shivers again as they move away from the man, pushing buttons that makes things flow through the tubes. They've done something similar to her, but with less tubes. It had hurt very much. The man doesn't seem to notice if it hurts, though, watching the tubes for a while.
Suddenly, he gets bored, or so it seems, and his eyes fall on Terra. Terra shivers again, and this time it isn't the cold floor that does it, though she doesn't understand it. He is rather strange looking, with very pale blue eyes and red paint all over his face. She takes a little step back, bumping into someone.
Looking up, Terra notices that it is Cid, who is the only person she actually knows the name of. He looks at her, and then over at the man in the chair, who is watching them both now, head tilted oddly. His face pale, Cid rushes Terra out of the room, into the little room she lives in. It's lonely, but familiar, and it actually has a carpet, even if it's white. Terra waits until Cid leaves, then gets her picture book and quietly studies the colours.
Terra is five years old; once again standing in a room watching people, but at least now she has a better dress and socks, even if they're still white and sterile. There is a buzzing in the room, the adults talking over her head. They do that a lot. She doesn't know what's going on, but something has upset the white-coated people, she can tell. Cid isn't there, either, having left earlier.
She doesn't like it. Something is about to happen, and she doesn't know what it is. It makes her feel odd in her stomach, and she wants to go back to her room and huddle up under the blankets. But she can't do that, because for once, they'd spoken directly to her and told her to be there.
The door opens and Terra has a feeling she has experienced this before, as Cid comes into the room followed by the same man she still remembers from years earlier. His eyes are still the same frozen blue colour. He is talking to Cid, and the older man seems quite upset about something, but the man just keeps smiling, his red lips seeming impossibly wide.
Then he walks over to where Terra is standing, watching her for a while, before reaching over and taking her wrist in his hand. He feels too warm, like he has a fever, and his nails are long and red. He scares her, though she doesn't know why. Terra thinks that maybe they weren't able to fix whatever was wrong with him after all.
He still speaks in the same strange way, telling Terra his name and that from now on, she'll be living with him, because the Emperor said so. Terra thinks Kefka is an awfully strange name, and an awfully strange person, and she doesn't really know who or what the Emperor is, except that he is somehow important. She isn't really sure she wants to go with Kefka, either, but she doesn't seem to have a choice.
Kefka leads her along, out in the hallway, and Terra watches wide-eyed as the passages go from metal and white into stone and lush red drapes. There is a carpet under her feet, too, and it feels so much nicer than the hard floor in the lab. People stare at them as they walk by, but mostly they stare at Kefka, who occasionally stops and stares back. Before long, people run away. Terra doesn't blame them. Kefka doesn't blink a lot.
He brings her to his chambers, where Terra finds herself staring in amazement. She is raised in a cold and white lab, and hasn't seen much colour in her life. Kefka's rooms are filled with colours of all kinds, often clashing terribly. Terra can't bring herself to care, just taking in the sheer sensory impression that is these rooms.
Kefka still scares her, but not as much here, because he doesn't look as outlandish in his own rooms as he does in the lab. He brings Terra a bundle of clothing and shows her a room connected to his. It is a small room, probably formerly a closet, but it's warm and comforting, and both the walls and carpet are a green colour that matches Terra's hair. He leaves her in there, telling her to change, and Terra sits down on the bed, takes of her socks, and buries her toes in the fluffy carpet. It feels unbelievably good.
The dress he has given her is green, too, and her new socks are purple and don't quite match up, one is lighter than the other and has a band of lace around the edge. She gets dressed quickly and quietly, neatly folding her old white dress and the rest of her clothing. Picking up the folded clothing, she carefully opens the door, reasoning that she had not been told not to do so.
She finds Kefka sitting at his desk, or more accurately on it, writing something down. He grins at her when he sees her, then frowns at the bundle in her hands. He gets off his desk and takes the old clothing from her, saying that she won't need them any more. Apparently thoughtlessly, he tosses them into the fireplace and smirks widely, before speaking an incantation.
Terra stares in disbelief as fire consumes the traces of her old life, never having seen anyone else do that before. She has always been told that she is abnormal for being able to do such things. If Kefka can do them too, then maybe she isn't.
Then again, she thinks, standing next to Kefka as he laughs to himself while watching the fire, it might just be the proof that those with their ability are abnormal.
Terra is seven years old; sitting on her chair in Kefka's rooms, the chair Kefka had especially made for her. She would think it sweet if it wasn't for the fact that he has chairs made especially for his favourite dolls, too. She has lived with Kefka for long enough to know he's most definitely not quite right.
Kefka comes into the room, followed by a man Terra has never seen before. He's probably younger than Kefka, but Kefka never looks his age, so it's hard to say. He is tall, wearing armour, and has much darker skin than most people Terra knows. Next to Kefka, he looks very dark indeed.
He looks surprised as he sees her, probably wondering what everyone does. He doesn't ask if she's Kefka's daughter, and Terra is relieved, because it puts Kefka in a terrible mood and he's even scarier when he's having one of his fits.
Laughing, as is his habit, Kefka introduces them to each other. The stranger is named Leo. Terra likes the sound of that name. Apparently Kefka does, too, because he keeps saying it, even if he does mispronounce it like he does a lot of things. He does that on purpose, because he doesn't do it when they're alone, unless he's feeling playful.
Leo is a lieutenant. Terra isn't quite certain what one of those do, but she knows it's something military and physical. Leo says he is currently assigned to protect Kefka. Terra thinks he's probably rather protecting anyone stupid enough to try anything with Kefka from having to die painfully.
Terra instantly likes Leo. He talks to her, actually paying attention to what she says. He also listens to Kefka, but doesn't either chat along, nor does he shy away. She watches him stand next to Kefka and wonders if Leo is very tall or if Kefka is just short. Kefka always seemed so tall to her, but he isn't, really. It is strange.
Leo's company seems to have a good effect on Kefka, even if they do get into somewhat heated discussions. Terra is very happy when Leo is invited to stay for dinner, happy enough that she barely notices that they're having the soup she hates.
She hopes Leo will stay around. Kefka tends to scare people away.
Terra is eight years old; sitting at a café table in a small café in the outskirts of town. Leo has just made captain and is taking her and Kefka out for dinner as a treat. Terra is wearing a new dress and ribbons in her hair, which Kefka seemed to delight in braiding into it. Kefka himself is wearing his idea of incognito, which basically consists on clothing in only two colours and toned-down makeup.
The lady serving them mistakes Kefka for Terra's mother, and Kefka has a total breakdown, laughing so hard he can't breathe properly. Leo, completely deadpan, tells the lady his that his wife has issues and asks if they could please have some spiced tea.
Kefka is still laughing to himself later that night, lying on his stomach on his oversized bed, a sketchpad on the bed in front of him. Terra wants to ask what he is drawing, but she is afraid to spoil the mood.
Terra is eleven years old; watching her little world crumble in front of her. Kefka, in the middle of talking, suddenly seems to choke and falls over, clawing wildly at anything within his reach. His nails leave tears in the carpet.
Terra gets to her feet, running mindlessly towards the soldier's barracks. She has never been there, and in theory knows she should go to the labs instead, but she hasn't been back there since she left and as scary and mean as Kefka can be, at least he acknowledges her existence. She doesn't want to go back.
So she runs to the barracks, stopping just long enough to ask a bemused soldier where she can find Major Leo. She thinks it's better to find Leo, because Kefka seems to actually trust Leo, unlike the scientists, whom Kefka threaten to blow up, poison or otherwise kill at least once a week. Terra has learned to ignore that. Kefka threatens everyone. Even Leo, though his threats towards Leo are less lethal and more odd.
When she finds Leo, she is too out of breath to properly explain but somehow he still understands, pretty much carrying her back while running. Terra wonders if he's as scared as she is. She decides that probably not, because Leo is stronger than she is.
Together, Terra and Leo manages to get Kefka into bed, though Leo now sport deep scratches on his arm and Terra's head hurts from the tension in the room. When Kefka gets very angry, it always makes the room fill with pressure. Leo doesn't seem to notice, though, so maybe it's just because Kefka and Terra are abnormal.
Kefka is certainly not happy, but he calms down because he keeps choking and having a fit when you can't breathe properly isn't a good idea. Terra makes him a cup of tea the way he likes it, with more sugar than tea in the cup, which seems to help a bit. It is Leo who finally calms him down, offering to go down and shake Cid to get some information. Kefka laughs until he can't breathe any more, probably having a very vivid mental image of just that. Terra knows how vivid Kefka's imagination can be.
Now that the crisis is averted, Terra curls up in her chair again, watching Kefka carefully. He is not a very nice person at all, she admits. He has a terrible temper, is very self-centred, and he is definitely not right in his head. He deliberately goes out of his way to cause trouble for people he doesn't like, and he doesn't really like anyone. When Terra makes a mistake, or just annoys him, he yells at her. She has not seen it, but rumour has it that he shoves people down staircases if he gets angry. Terra has no problem believing that. She knows he likes hurting people.
But he at least acknowledges her, and talks to her, even if he does talk to her as though she is an object more than a doll. She knows he thinks her a fancy toy, but it's better than being eternally ignored in a cold lab.
At least Kefka isn't cold.
Terra is thirteen years old; hiding in her closet-room. Kefka is in a terrible mood, yelling and screaming at anyone who comes close. It is unusual even for him, and Terra is frightened. She wants it all to stop; to go back to normal, but Kefka's foul mood has been building up for weeks now. However, something seems to have happened today to make it even worse.
There is a knock on the door, and a messenger pokes his head in. He opens his mouth to say something only to have something crash into the wall few inches from his head and shattering. Whatever it is, the shards are sharp, and the man's face now has cuts in several places. He stutters as he tells Kefka that the Emperor wants to see him, before running off in case Kefka intends to throw anything else at him.
Kefka frowns, looking at the mess on his floor, before calling to Terra, telling her to come into the room. Trying to hide the fact that she's trembling, she obeys, carefully not stepping on any of the shards on the floor. Kefka is positively seething, and Terra can almost see his magic in the air around him. He doesn't use magic like she does; his use is so much more spontaneous than hers have ever been. It's part of what makes him so very deadly.
Terra wants to ask him what's wrong, want to do anything to make him calm down, because when he looks like this, he scares her. Not like he usually does, either. He is usually quite creepy, but right now, he is terrifying. The magical tension in his body seems to spark around him, and his eyes seem to have changed colour somewhat, having acquired a gold tint to them.
Instead of asking, she bites her lip and quietly reminds Kefka that the Emperor wants to see him. The sudden sharp sting in her cheek as he calls her an insolent child startles her. Kefka has never hit her before. He yells a lot, and leaves her locked in her room, but he never hits her. Not before today.
Kefka grabs her wrist again, his touch as feverish as always, but now with an added static hint, and drags her along to the throne hall. She would prefer staying behind, but with Kefka in the mood he is in now, she doesn't dare even hinting at wanting something different than what he has planned. Instead, she strives to keep up with Kefka as he stalks through the corridors. For a man who isn't at all that tall, Terra has nearly caught up to him in height and probably will soon, Kefka walks very fast.
Terra hates the throne hall. People stare at her a lot, and it makes her feel queasy, a strange knot in her stomach. The Emperor is strange, too, and talks about her as though she isn't there. There are more people than usual in the hall today. There is a pale girl standing near the Emperor, her skin nearly as pale as Kefka's. She is around Terra's age, and it makes Terra curious. She doesn't dare ask, though, or even speculate. Her cheek still stings from the earlier slap.
Leo is there, too, standing around in full armour. He looks just like a fairytale knight, Terra thinks. He looks at her and she can see him frown, eyes darkening as he sees the redness of her cheek. He turns to glare at Kefka, who returns the glare defiantly, muttering under his breath about the wisdom of wearing armour when bothering those who command lightening, or the lack there of. For an instant, Terra truly fears for Leo, but thankfully, the Emperor speaks up, capturing Kefka's attention.
Terra counts her blessings.
Terra is fifteen years old; standing in a dark room in the laboratories despite swearing she'd never come back. Kefka is with her, at least physically, but as has become more and more frequent over the last years, his mind seems to be somewhere else entirely. He is talking to himself, occasionally pausing to run his fingers through Terra's hair or to tell her to stand still.
He has something in his hands, a narrow golden circlet made from some sort of smooth metal, set with a myriad of flat little crystals on the inside, two of them larger than the others. He holds it carefully in his hands, as though it is a treasure without comparison.
Terra wonders what it is.
Kefka smiles, and Terra shivers, wishing she had the leave to move. Kefka's smiles have always made her feel uneasy, but now he looks nothing short of deranged as he smiles, his lips seeming too wide from the paint. Behind that smiling face, there is an eternal tumult going on these days, Kefka's thoughts are never silent.
Suddenly, Kefka leans forwards and presses his lips to Terra's, causing her to gasp and pull back. It is not a proper kiss at all, but Terra has never been kissed before, and it feels wrong to have Kefka do that to her. His lips are even hotter than his fingers usually are, leaving Terra feeling almost scorched. She is frightened of what Kefka will do next, because she can never tell.
She wonders what he'll do.
But he pulls back, smiling almost sadly at her, before telling her she's a good girl and stroking her hair. He lifts the metal circlet and slowly lowers it onto her head, telling her that she is his. His voice is oddly possessive.
Then everything goes blank.
Terra doesn't wonder about anything anymore.
Terra is nineteen years old; waking up in her bed in Mobliz, drenched in sweat. Her room is dark, and there's nobody else there, just her. Yet she can still feel the warmth of Kefka's fingers on her skin, and she shivers even if her room is warm. Pulling her blanket closer around her shoulders, Terra leans back against the headboard, trying to piece together the dream she just had. Not a dream, she realises after a while. Memories.
All that she repressed under the slave crown is now coming back to her, and she can't understand how she forgot all of this.
Funny, she thinks, how she is freer than ever, but still trapped by the same old things.
She'd forgotten how much she needs somewhere to belong. She finally has that. Her memories make her realise that she needs to treasure it before it disappears. Good things in her life tend to do that.
This time, she will fight to keep her place.