I don't own FFIV. I'm sure you guessed that already. As always, I welcome all feedback, including suggestions for improvement. Especially pointing out mechanical errors or plotholes.

It's done! I'll save the rest of my comments for the ending note. I hope you all like this final chapter of the story.

How to Save the Environment in Two Easy Steps

Step One – kill a lot of monsters.

Step Two – make the Lunarians go away.

by Maelstra

Chapter Twenty – Farewells and Conclusions

A week later, as Cecil was giving audience in his throne room, Captain Jared Farrell jogged in and motioned frantically for Cecil's attention.

"What is it?" Cecil whispered, concern mounting.

"The Lunarians are back, and they demand to speak with you immediately!" Jared replied in a hoarse whisper.

Oh. The Lunarians – and of course his guards would assume Golbez was with them, hence Jared's concern. Cecil felt a lump form in his throat, realizing that he probably ought to tell Jared the full story about Golbez, and soon. But not quite yet. "They're harmless, Jared. I give you my word. Don't get the other guards riled up this time, though, just go ahead and bring the Lunarians on in."

"Yes, your majesty." Jared turned and left quickly, but he didn't argue further, for which Cecil was glad.

Cecil sighed loudly, then returned his attention to the merchant he had just been talking to. "Thank you for bringing the matter to my attention. I'll consider your proposal and get back to you soon." Cecil caught the eye of one of his four guards currently assigned to the throne room. "Ashton, will you please escort this gentleman out?"

"Certainly, your majesty."

The red-haired guard did so with great efficiency, ignoring the merchant's half-hearted protests as he guided him to a side door. Cecil sat down on his throne and pressed a hand to his forehead while taking deep breaths. "Tael?"

"Yes, your majesty?"

"Would you please tell the queen and Captain Highwind that I require their presence in the throne room. And King Edge, too, if you can find him."

The guard just nodded and slipped out the side door without a word.

Before the door could close all the way, it was wrenched all the way open and Cid barreled in. "Blast it, Cecil, what do those Lunarians think they're trying to do?!"

Cecil grinned despite himself, and despite the fury boiling in Cid's eyes, because he was so glad at least one person wasn't calling him 'your majesty' constantly. "I don't know yet, Cid." Cecil motioned to the main, double door that Jared was just opening ceremoniously. "They've only just arrived. Promise me you won't yell or threaten them, and I'll let you listen in. Deal?"

"Hmph." Cid's whiskers twitched as he made a face. "Oh, fine! But only if they don't try to start anything."

"Thank you, Cid." Cecil heard the side door open again and glanced over. Kain entered the room, and took up a defensible position on Cecil's right. Rosa came in after, and she took her place in the throne by Cecil's side. Cecil reached over and took her hand, and smiled gratefully at her. She returned the smile.

FuSoYa led his entourage across the chamber, having only six or so others with him this time, who all moved together in one tight mass. FuSoYa carried his staff loosely until he came within several yards of the thrones, then he smacked it loudly against the floor for dramatic effect. "Cecil, we have come to bid farewell to the people of the Blue Planet," he pronounced, skipping any preamble and getting straight to the point.

Cecil started, caught off guard. "You're leaving already, uncle?"

"Yes . . ." FuSoYa bowed his head. "We have cleaned up what little damage Zemus's monsters did to our facilities on the moon, and have retrieved all our devices from this world. There is nothing that remains for us to be done here." He paused a moment, then meaningfully added, "Unless there is anything else you wish to discuss . . . ?"

Cecil bit his lip and tried not to flinch under FuSoYa's intense gaze. He was not sure how well succeeded. "Uncle, we already discussed this. You and your people are welcome to stay here, of course . . . but the Blue Planet is not yet ready for Lunarian technology. If you could try living without most of it . . ."

"No, Cecil." FuSoYa should his head. "It is as I told you last time. Our world is gone. We cannot abandon what remains of our culture, the work and invention of ages!" He leaned against his staff, clutching it with both hands. "It is too much to ask us to give it all up."

"But KluYa . . ." Cecil tried again.

"My brother . . . was always more liberal-minded than most of us. But while I never agreed with him, I did . . . respect him, and his choices." FuSoYa came a few steps closer, dropping his voice. "I sense the echo of his spirit, lingering here on this world, rather than back on the moon with his people. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised. But I can also see that a part of him lives on in you, and that pleases me greatly. Cecil . . . I know we don't completely understand each others' point of view, but . . . I hope you realize I only wanted to help you, all the people of this world."

"I know, uncle," Cecil replied softly.

FuSoYa's face slowly lifted in a smile. "So stubborn. Just like your father . . . Ha! And well . . . you deserve to know . . . I'm certain that KluYa would be very proud of you – and that he would approve of the choices you have made."

Cecil was amazed, not at all expecting his uncle to admit to such a thing. "Um . . . thank you . . ."

While Cecil was still at a loss for words, FuSoYa spun around to face his flock of white-haired Lunarians again. "And now, I believe it is time for us to depart. Farewell, children of the Blue Planet! May the stars bless you!" He glanced back at Cecil and added in a quieter voice, "I wish you the best, nephew. Guide this world with your wisdom. And maybe, someday . . . the peoples of our two worlds will join together again."

"I hope so, uncle. Someday – when the Blue Planet is ready."

FuSoYa snorted, but smiled, and he strode back over to his group. They waited for him, but then as they turned to leave, one of them hesitated, then stepped out of the shelter of the center of the group. Cecil heard metallic chinks as all the guards in the chamber tensed and drew their weapons.

Golbez, who still had yellow traces of bruises marring his face, bit his lip and shifted his weight nervously between his feet. "Cecil?" he asked quietly. "If I might . . . speak with you a moment . . . ?"

"Golbez . . . Of course." Cecil stood and crossed the room to where his brother stood, ignoring the murmurs as he passed. "I didn't expect you to be up so soon."

Golbez smiled faintly. "Lunarian medical technology . . . is quite impressive."

"Yes . . ." Cecil tried to force a sympathetic laugh, but it sounded empty. Strange – after several days in which he'd thought of a hundred different things he wanted to ask or say to his brother . . . now his mind was completely blank.

Golbez searched Cecil's face intently for a moment, then redirected his gaze down to the floor, and whispered so softly that no one else could hear him, "I wanted to thank you, brother . . . for giving me another chance."

"Oh, no . . . I should be thanking you." Cecil planted a hand on Golbez's shoulder. "When we were fighting that golem monster – I couldn't have done it without you. I owe you my life."

Golbez met his gaze and smiled, a sincere smile. "Don't mention it, Cecil. I was glad I could help."

"Yes . . . um . . ." Cecil found himself still drawing a blank for something profound to say. He felt awkward, but since this was the last time he would be seeing his brother . . . "I'm . . . glad to see you're alright. I was really . . . worried about you."

In response, Golbez pressed his lips together tightly, like he was fighting back tears. "Thank you . . . Cecil."

"Don't mention it," Cecil returned, confused by Golbez's reaction.

The main doors to the chamber slammed open, breaking the intimacy of the moment. "Heeey, Cecil! What can the magnificent Edge help you with now?"

Golbez just stared, open-mouthed, while Cecil groaned and covered his face with his hands. "Why right now, of all times?"

Edge sauntered over, belatedly realizing that Cecil was less than thrilled to see him. "What?" Edge eyed Golbez piercingly, then asked Cecil, "He giving you trouble?"

"No, Edge."

"Oh. Well then . . . guess who I found visiting the town of Mist." Edge glanced back at the door, and yelled, "Come on in and say 'hi' to Cecil!"

After a moment, Rydia slowly entered the room, dressed in plain traveling clothing, but still distinct with her bright green hair. She took in the whole scene at a glance, rolled her eyes at Edge, then waved politely at Cecil and remained standing where she was.

Edge made a face at Rydia's aloofness, but then continued loudly, "So anyways, like I was saying, I was traveling through the woods, looking for an opponent worthy of my vast talents, when suddenly I –"

"Edge, please, not right now," Cecil interrupted.

Golbez cleared his throat, looking self-conscious, and muttered, "I . . . should be . . . going . . ." He tried to back away, but Edge stopped him.

"Hey, Golby! How's it going? You're still alive, I see. Hey . . . what did you ever do with that wicked sword of yours?"

"Um . . ." Golbez glanced at Cecil, seemingly asking 'is this guy really serious?' "I believe my sword was buried in the rockslide on the moon."

"Oh. Aren't you going to go get it?"

"I . . . wasn't planning on it."

"That's too bad," Edge frowned. "That looked like a really good sword. I broke the Murasame on this gigantic rock dragon, and I could use a new one . . ."

Golbez raised an eyebrow, then shook his head in resignation. "If you want it badly enough to dig through several tons of rock, it's all yours."

"Hm . . . nah. I don't have that kind of time. My talents –"

"Edge . . ." Cecil said pointedly.

Golbez backed away from both the monarchs. "I'm sorry . . . I must be going," he said hurriedly. "Farewell, Cecil . . . Edge . . . everyone." Golbez started to look around at the people present in the room, and then he hesitated once more. He swallowed once, then in a louder voice, said, "I . . . wish to apologize to all of you. To all those I hurt . . . whether personally or indirectly." He glanced back at Cecil, apparently seeking approval, then continued. "I truly wish that things had gone differently. I wish there was a way to repair all the damage I have caused. But . . . I don't have that kind of power. And maybe . . . some of these wounds are too deep to ever heal." Golbez looked into many of the eyes fixated on him, then looked down to the floor in shame. "I'm sorry, but . . ." He paused, then reconsidered what he had been about to say. "Farewell, everyone." Without another glance at anyone, Golbez turned and strode quickly toward the doorway, where the Lunarians were still waiting.

Cecil watched Golbez go, now suddenly able to remember the questions he had had about his mother and father and Zemus. He couldn't ask such things now, or in such company. Maybe this is for the best? he mused.

"Cecil!" Kain hissed in his ear.

Cecil almost jumped at the interruption, and glared at his old friend. "What?"

Kain made a point of looking right at Golbez, then made eye contact with Cecil and quirked an eyebrow meaningfully. Though Cecil could not reads Kain's mind, the expression plainly said, 'Aren't you forgetting something important?'

"What?" Cecil repeated, a little annoyed, but Kain only shrugged and looked away nonchalantly. Cecil snorted and tried to puzzle out what Kain was hinting at. Nothing was occurring to him. He directed a glare at Kain who now was just ignoring him.

Cecil looked around the room, seeking answers from someone else, and was suddenly struck by a sense of deja vu. It took him a moment to identify the cause, but as he counted the familiar faces, he realized that this current scene was almost an exact recreation of when he'd said farewell to his brother the first time, on the Lunarian moon. Even all the same people were present, all waiting, all eyes on him . . .

"Golbez . . . wait."

Golbez stopped and turned to face Cecil again, some desperate, nameless emotion evident on his face. Now Cecil was fully aware that everyone was staring at him. But finally, he had caught on. He knew what Golbez wanted. It was the same thing he had been wordlessly begging for the first time.

Golbez was asking for forgiveness. But there was really only one person's forgiveness he specifically wanted. And last time, Cecil had been either unable or unwilling to give it. Not this time.

"I . . . accept your apology, Golbez," Cecil said slowly, as he crossed the room at the speed of a sleepwalker. "And I . . . don't hold you accountable for the atrocities Zemus made you commit." Cecil paused to swallow. "As Kain was not responsible for his actions while under mind control . . . neither are you."

Golbez seemed to be trembling slightly. "You . . . really mean that . . . Cecil?"

"I do."

With that, Golbez sagged as all tension drained from him. He opened his mouth, but could not appropriate words.

Before Cecil could talk himself out of it, he had more he needed to say. More that must be said, if he was serious about finally forgiving his brother. "And . . . maybe the pain of seeing familiar faces is too great . . . but you don't seem to fit in with the Lunarians either. The final choice must be yours, of course, but . . ." Cecil was now close enough that he could look Golbez in the eye, and he did so, trying to project sincerity into his words. "You are a child of the Blue Planet as much as I am. And so if you wanted to stay here – in Baron at least – you have my permission. Brother." The last word sounded completely like an afterthought, but Cecil counted it a triumph anyway. I finally said it!

Golbez started crying, and gasped out, "You really mean it?"

"Yes, Golbez, I really do." Cecil tried his hardest to keep a straight face, not comfortable with men crying, period, and finding it fairly awkward to watch his older brother cry.

Golbez nodded shakily, then whispered, "I want to stay . . . more than anything . . . But will they let me?"

Cecil thought about asking which 'they' Golbez meant, but decided it was probably those whom Cecil could sense were currently glaring daggers into his back. I'll have to have Rosa talk to Jared again. And to Cid, too. "It'll work out. Don't worry about it." Now Cecil bit his lip, uncertain again, since such a situation seemed to call for something more.

Finally, Cecil made a conscious decision to just do the first thing that came to mind. He put his arms around his older brother, in the most awkward form of a hug to ever exist in the history of the Blue Planet, and whispered, "Welcome home, brother." He held the hug until the count of five, then quickly let go as embarrassment overcame him.

Golbez did not seem to mind. On the contrary, he seemed quite touched by the gesture, and smiled brightly as he wiped away his own tears.

Cecil glanced across the room to Rosa who smiled in approval. Kain also met Cecil's gaze and smirked in an irritatingly smug manner.

FuSoYa snorted in amusement, and smacked his staff against the floor one last time, for good measure. "Farewell, nephews!" (Do try to keep out of trouble this time,) he added as a telepathic postscript. Then he and the Lunarians finally proceeded down the stairs, out of sight.

And though his throne room erupted into chaos, Cecil felt everything was as it should be. Somehow . . . everything would work out.

And then everyone could finally go home.

Do you remember how pitiful Golbez sounded at the end of the game? I thought he sounded like he needed a hug. So he got one. :)

I'm so sorry for the delay in posting this. The final chapters of this story were more difficult for me to write than anything else I've ever written. I'm still not totally sure why.

But anyway, this concludes the story. I don't anticipate a sequel, although an in-game prequel might be interesting. But first I need a break. At last, I can work on other projects without feeling guilty for neglecting this one!

I want to thank all my wonderful reviewers for the feedback and suggestions!!

I'm sorry that Rydia didn't feature more in the story, but it just seemed to make sense since she's a magic caster and couldn't have done much against the monsters. But when Edge wrote himself into the last chapter and dragged Rydia along, I decided to let them both stay (it's scary when characters take over a story . . .).

Also, I'm not into slash . . . but I do agree that after everything they went through together, Golbez and Kain must have an interesting sort of bond. That's the main reason I'd want to do a prequel – because I think the only way Kain could've survived the game is because Golbez latched onto him as a friend and didn't want him to die.

Finally – I don't know if I even want to know what Edge was doing with the cyclopians – but HolyDragoon guessed closest to what I was picturing. Who knows, it might be fun? Grab one, spin it around like you're doing a discus throw, then let it go and see how many you can hit . . .

Thank you all, again! Have a wonderful summer!