Hello. This is a story I had the idea for recently while replaying Final Fantasy VI. It's a story about Shadow and Terra, told mostly from Shadow's point of view. Should be fairly short, probably 5 or 6 chapters.

The story begins on the ship sailing for Thamasa after Terra and the others joined forces with the Empire in order to search out the Espers. As nightfall arrives, Shadow overhears Terra's conversation with General Leo, and reluctantly throws in his two cents. But what was he thinking at the time? Maybe we can take a little liberty with that concept in order to weave an interesting tale...

Elemental Forces
Chapter 1: Shadow Scroll

xxxxx

Bright stars, calm waters, silence.

The ship bobbed gently as it rolled across the waves, carrying its passengers to an unknown fate. Shadow himself was not concerned about their agenda- it had little to do with him, and he would not hesitate to go his own way when the circumstances called for it. The dark figure let the nighttime sea air wrap around him, black and cold, just as he was.

The ninja gear he wore had an impenetrable appearance, but was actually lightweight and breathable. Appearances could be deceiving in many ways; the garments he wore were in fact just a shade lighter than true black, for instance- any assassin who stayed alive long enough to become as infamous as he was knew that even the shadows themselves were composed of shades of grey, against which black clothing would stand out like a sore thumb. Many men made that mistake before they even earned the right to be called an assassin. He knew, because he had often been subsequently hired to clean up the mess.

The world, it seemed, was similarly devoid of such absolutes. Nothing was as simple as black and white- not allegiance, not good and evil, not human emotion...

...but he hadn't been able to explain that to the girl. She wanted to know what love was, and was naive enough to think anyone who happened to cross her path capable of providing her with the answer she was looking for.

Shadow had listened with considerable disdain as General Leo had waffled around the subject, clearly not knowing what to tell Terra. His conclusion that she would find her own answer when the time was right was evasive and unrealistic, making Shadow believe that the man simply didn't have an answer or couldn't bring himself to hurt Terra with the cold truth.

What made the soldier respond this way was outside of Shadow's understanding, but considering the company the man kept- Gestahl, Celes, Kefka- he was sure to be bent or damaged in one way or another.

Of course he was no better himself.

He couldn't believe what he was seeing when she turned those wide, innocent eyes to him, expectantly waiting for him, the feared assassin and bloody killer, the man who would 'slit his own mother's throat for a nickel', to tell her what love was. Shadow had learned much in his life of the art of illusion, and of how the mind could play twisted little tricks on itself. It took a few long moments before he knew with clarity that she was actually there before him expecting a response, that she wasn't some strange specter reflected upon his awareness by the light of the stars.

Shadow made himself a liar then, watching the girl's bottom lip tremble as he gruffly informed her that some people choose to kill their own emotions. He felt the nauseating twist of suppression in his belly as he fought down the urge to shake her violently and tell her that love was pain, that depending on others- loving others- caused nothing but suffering, grief, guilt, anger...

Clyde...

That was Clyde talking- a person who no longer existed. The memory of him, of his life, resided deep within the black pit of Shadow's being. Clyde and his feelings were kept insulated from reality by layers of darkness, scrubbed from existence and hidden beneath a shadow that grew darker and deeper with every dagger he threw, every splash of blood he had on his hands.

The girl looked at him with confusion as she backed away, delicate features tightening and knitting together as if with worry. Her emotions were so raw, magnified by the crackle of magical energy that always surrounded her. That unusual sea-green hair fluttered in the ocean breeze like a living thing, absorbing its power from the elements. Shadow wanted to swallow Terra Branford whole and bury her naked feelings deep down within, right along with the long-dead fears and sensations she was raising inside of him.

The shadow could keep her safe, the same way it protected him...

These instincts were cause for concern, even if they lasted only long enough for Terra to fade, frightened and somewhat embarrassed, from his view. Reclining on the ship's deck, Shadow let the cool and starry darkness permeate his skin, washing down his not-so-dead feelings with a swirl of midnight, soothing and numbing him much like the burn of liquor.

He hadn't been able to kill his- Clyde's- emotions, not really. He'd merely hidden them away within the shadows. The shadows were where he could feel as nothing- his body, his past, his feelings; they were no more than swirling dust. But with Terra's searching eyes blazing molten in his mind's eye the assassin realized that despite the force of his will every shadow is cast by light, and the protection that it grants is infinitely changeable and dangerously fleeting...

xxxxx

That's it. More of an introduction than a real chapter, I guess. But I'm a little rusty and need a little time to get going! The following chapters will be longer. Each chapter will be based on one of the ninja scrolls in Shadow's arsenal and the element that powers it. Timeline should be during and possibly after the game. Might be a little angsty at times, and there will be some heat there, too. I hope somebody out there will like it!

Incidentally, there used to be a story kicking around on this site called Terra's Shadow, which was the first Terra/Shadow I can remember reading. Does anyone know if it's still out there somewhere? I don't remember who the author was or anything, but I would love to read it again...