children of a lesser god

Her mother was a dancer from Centra, beautiful and exotic and wild, and Galbadia didn't have a clue what to do with her. Spun-gold hair and vivid blue eyes on a small, lithe body usually clad in little more than beads and bells took the most of the cities by storm, but she found her niche in Deling. Working nightclubs, bars, and back alleys, she made a meager living - until she found out she was pregnant.

She originally wanted to abort the child - a woman who made her living off of her body couldn't afford to risk stretch marks and a screaming bundle of spit and snot waiting for her, not to mention that she had no idea how to handle a child - but a fortune-teller told her that her child would do great things and that she shouldn't worry anything about what effect the pregnancy would have on her body.

So she went with it, because she was superstitious, and besides, she kind of thought that having a baby would be fun. Just her and the kid, eating ice cream and who knew? Maybe she could find herself a real job and put a good life together. If she had a girl, she could get her lessons for the real dancing - not the type she was accustomed to, but ballroom or ballet - and find herself the mother of a star someday. Maybe it could all work out.

Three hours after her daughter was born, she was dead. That's a risk they all take, the doctors muttered and found themselves with a crying blonde baby girl, newly orphaned and alone.

-

Her mother was strong-willed and clever, a small, spunky redhead with more fire in her than most blacksmith forges. Her father was tall and jovial, a baker in Timber, likeable and friendly, well-respected. They had been childless for the entire ten years they had been married, and after suffering through two miscarriages and one heart-wrenching stillbirth, had decided not to try again.

She was an accident, but a well-loved one, and was doted on as the little angel her parents believed her to be. But then there was the accident - the train they were on derailed. The soldiers who scoured the wreckage for the living found her unconsious under her father's dead body. He had thrown himself over her in an effort to protect her, and it had worked.

But she was an orphan now, an orphan with big green eyes and a bright personality that none of the soldiers could possibly resist. One knew of a place in Centra that was run by a friend of a friend - good people, he said. They'll take care of her, she'll be fine.

-

His father was a cold-hearted man, and his mother a bitter, frail, loveless woman. The product of a drunken night and forceful parents, his first years were spent in lonely, festering resentment. He didn't make many friends as a child, too bold and daring and commanding. His mother said he'd be a great leader someday - his father said he'd be an infamous criminal.

His parents died separately, with little mourning. His father was found murdered in Deling City, after a bar fight, it seemed. His mother died of some sort of disease a few months later, and the Mayor of Balamb ended up in the custody of a brash, headstrong bully with unruly blond hair and a sullen expression.

He and his wife tried vainly to take care of the little hellion for a few days, but quickly gave up when he poured paint all over their puppy in a temper tantrum. The Mayor's wife suggested, half-joking that they chuck him in the ocean, but ended up handing him over to a passing ship, telling them to deal with the wild child.

The captain hated children, but the first mate had three of his own, and gave the boy a place to sleep, but the ship, too, grew weary of his actions, even though the first mate said the kid was just tired of being ignored (which he was, but it didn't really matter, because he was still uncontrollable). They docked near Centra, and passed him off again, to an old couple who claimed that they could change him.

Two months and much humiliation, exasperation, and anger later, he ran away. At five years old, he snuck out of his foster parents' house, stole himself a coat and a place in steerage on a little ship, and found himself on a foreign continent with no money, no food, and no future, when he ran straight into a bossy, blonde girl of his age who led him to the orphanage.

-

His mother left him on a doorstep in Fisherman's Horizon, but everyone knew who she was - the sixteen-year-old who had been going to an academy to become a chemist, and gotten pregnant from the owner of the local hotel, a soon-to-be-divorced man nearly 25 years her senior. She left a note claiming that she couldn't possibly take care of a baby, not when she had school and her future to look forward to, and promising that someday, she would come back for her child.

The woman whose door she left the baby on was, unfortunately for the mother, the wife of the father and wanted nothing to do with the baby. She wasn't heartless, however, and made arrangements to send the boy to an orphanage, claiming that he was as good as (because no boy wants to grow up with her for a mother). By the time his mother found out, he was already on the ship, blond boy already with a penchant for making trouble.

She didn't cry, just waved a little, and went back to her studies.

-

His father was a general, proud and strong, and wanted to raise his son to follow in his footsteps. His mother died in childbirth, and his father remarried only a year later, claiming that his boy needed a mother. Not many people were fooled, though.

He didn't like military life much, though. At a young age, he started playing with cards and magic. In desperation, his father tried to teach him the ways of weaponry, of swords and daggers and physical fighting. He struck gold when he gave his 4-year-old son a toy pistol. The boy was fascinated, and immediately took to it, a natural sharpshooter with good aim and a strong eye.

I'll make you a soldier yet, boy, he said, the day before he was assassinated. His stepmother didn't like him, calling him obnoxious and tedious, and didn't think she should be made to take care of a stupid child that wasn't even hers. She left him at the nearest church (not that there were many in Deling City), but the life of an altar boy bored him until he just left it behind. He ended up in one of the nightclubs finally, a little scared and a lot lost, but enjoyed the place. Gambling, women, and song - what was there not to like?

The singer there, a pretty woman named Julia, snatched him away from the barmaids who were cooing over the adorable little boy with too-long brown hair and an already charming smile. She tried to make her husband take him in, but Caraway hadn't like his father, and insisted that he go to an orphanage.

Julia remembered hearing about a place in Centra, and took him there personally, insisting that they take good care of him. The matron assured her that he would be well-cared for.

-

His mother was beautiful and kind, well-loved and respected throughout Winhill. She found his father on the beach, washed up and bruised and broken, in a torn Galbadian uniform, and took him in, making sure he got better. His father was born with a wanderlust, and had never been happy to stay still for more than a few months at a time, but fell in love with the beautiful bartender, and couldn't bear to leave her.

But the wanderlust never really went away, and so when their adopted daughter was kidnapped, his father jumped at the chance to save her. He would have taken his wife, but she was pregnant and couldn't leave. He swore he'd be back before the baby was born, and they'd all be there as a family.

The town hated him, and when he didn't return, they simply hated him more. His mother cried for him when she went in labor, begging him to be there, cradling her son with tears in her eyes because she was alone and empty and scared.

She died a week later, and the little old lady who owned the flower shop sent the boy off to an orphanage. When his father returned three days later, she told him that they both died.

-

None of them remember any of this.

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(A/N: The title of the story is the name of a play, and, I believe, a movie. I don't have even the slightest idea what the script is about, but isn't that just the best title ever? Review!)