Disclaimer: I do not own any of these characters. I do not profit from this writing.

Prompt 001


He is in her room when she arrives. She is not sure which version of himself he is, and she is scared, but he gestures to her all the same. "Come here," he says. "I want to show you something." His voice is playful, his words edging on that insane hyena cackle she has come to hate.

"What do you need, Kefka?" she asks, careful to keep her distance. He exists within a duality, of that she is certain. There are times when he is the man she knew, and there are times when he is the man he knows. She has learned to tell them apart, but with every day he becomes less of one and more of the other. She wouldn't tell him that it breaks her heart, because the damage has already been done.

When she does not come to him, he begins to come to her. "You're being difficult," he warns her, his voice full of misplaced enthusiasm and amusement. "Don't make me chase you down, now," he warns. He has something behind his back now, and she can see that, but she can't make what it is.

She backs up until the door touches her spine, and she makes a soft noise of surprise. Her cry, however slight, seems to stop him in his tracks, and for a moment she is confused. He smiles and shakes his head, straightening his posture. He then holds up the thing he had behind his back. It glimmers in the light. It is golden with a stone set at the center the colour of the richest ruby.

"Kefka, I..." she begins. She can't find anything to follow it, and her cheeks are hot with shame. She has always been inarticulate and clumsy, and he made her so much more. In his presence, she is still that same girl, though – scared, afraid, alone. She depends on him for so much, and he keeps changing, like the tides in the ocean; never the same wave when he comes back, never the same when he goes.

"It's a gift," he says. "Do you like it?" He holds it closer to her, trying to get her to approach him. She is like a deer, this one. He must be careful.

She finally breathes a sigh of relief. The Kefka that she is afraid of is gone; this is the one that she knows. This is the one that she... "It's beautiful," she marvels. "I have done nothing to deserve this," she says. She is always modest; she feels she has no talent, no ability. She recognizes that she is nothing without him, and this pleases him.

"Nonsense," he sings. "Come closer, dear. Let us stand before the mirror so I can see how it looks on you." He reaches out with his empty hand for hers, and she slowly raises it and places it in his. Her hands are smaller than his; warmer. For a moment, he regrets so much, and then it passes.

She walks to the mirror, the light in the room now focused on the two of them. It is brighter on her, and as he stands behind her, she realizes that in the mirror he seems to fade into the darkness as though he is not really there at all, but a vague apparition of a man that once was. She is correct, but she doesn't realize this.

"Can you?" she asks. She turns to look up at him, and for a moment the fear is replaced by something else in her eyes. It is almost enough to anchor him, and he tries so hard, but then the moment is gone like all of the others and she is smiling and waiting.

"Of course, my darling," he says. He lowers the circlet to her head. Just before it touches her hair, he leans down to whisper in her ear. "This won't hurt a bit," he says. His breath is hot against her neck, and her eyes widen as she realizes that she has made the wrong choice, that he has tricked her.

Her lips form the word "please", her last act of free will, and then there is nothing. Empty eyes stare into a mirror that stares back into them, the word caught on her tongue like a snowflake, melting away with her freedom.