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

This takes place in the future supposing that Kefka did not succeed in killing Leo, and was captured, the battle being won shortly after. A new Emporer is in place and the land is slowly being rebuilt.

Prompt 011

Give Up

Terra stands at the base of a tall tower, fingers splayed over the door. She closes her eyes, sensing the heavy magical warding that a team of mages has carefully put in place to contain the creature within. She ignores the cold wintery wind as it whips her mint-coloured hair around her face, stinging her eyes with every gust.

"You come here every day, Terra, and yet nothing. No results. The Empire is barely being rebuilt still, and yet you waste all your resources on this venture," Leo says, his voice stern. He has been dragged out of bed in the pre-dawn blizzard for this, because Celes has ordered that Terra never go to the tower alone.

"Then go, and leave me to it," she says harshly. She opens the door, unflinching as the wind tears the handle from her grip and slams it against the inside wall with a deafening bang. She walks past Leo without so much as a glance in his direction, proceeding into the base of the tower on her own. In spite of his irritation, Leo follows her in.

"I'll be waiting down here out of the cold," he snaps at her. He tugs a flask from its place in the pocket of his long woolen cloak and unscrews it, then drops down into a seated position at the base of the long, winding staircase Terra has already begun to climb.

With a gesture as she climbs, the torches closest to Leo flare up, spreading warmth through the otherwise cold and bleak entrance. "Get comfortable," she says as she ascends, the words loud enough for him to hear, but said at a tone to suggest she didn't care whether he had or not. She intends to spend more time this day than the others.

The closer to the room at the top of the tower she draws, the more obvious the magical wards are. They are heavy and oppressive, giving her the sensation as though she is walking through water. She finds it hard to continue, as she always does, when she reaches the final ten steps. She grips the railing much more tightly then before, and stumbles as she takes the last step from fatigue.

She can hear him inside the room. He knows she is outside. He knew when she entered the tower, of course – all the wards in the world couldn't break the bond they shared. More specifically, the bond Terra and Kefka shared – this thing that was in his body, speaking with his voice and using his limbs – this was not Kefka. This was something evil that had taken him over, and Terra would not be swayed into thinking that just because it had come into possession of his body did not mean it could not lose its hold of him just the same. She simply hadn't found a way to do it, yet.

A low laughter starts at first, so quiet she almost can't hear it. By the time she has arrived at the door, the laughter is echoing off the walls, loud – like a hyena, hollow and rich at the same time. It is the laughter of a madman, that much can be heard without knowing who was doing the laughing.

"Good morning, Kefka," she says to the bars on the door.

The laughter stops for a moment, and then hands shoot out, grabbing at her. There are no words to accompany his violence, just a gnashing of teeth and a sputtering of crazed noise. Terra steps swiftly away, fully anticipating this reaction. The hands clench frantically at air, and then recess back into the darkened room behind the door. After a few seconds, the shadow of his face appears. The torches along the stairs light up the angles, giving his blue eyes a sinister sort of glow to them.

"Back away from the door," she commands, her voice taking a strength to it that the creature he has become is still not familiar with.

As she comes into the room, several wisps of mage-light conjure above her, moving to line the top of the room like a series of lanterns, illuminating the room enough to give them a bath of warm amber and white light. Kefka, who has darted away into the far reach of the room, regards her with a suspicious expression. He is clearly debating on whether or not to attack her, as she, nor anyone else, has set foot in the room since his capture. They slid food in through a panel at the bottom of a door, and the wards or other conjurings did the rest of the work.

Terra waits only for a few heartbeats, then advances on him. She has such power that he hesitates to attack her, and so she uses this to her advantage. She makes a hard grab for his hand quickly before he can pull away, and speaks a few words that she has spent hours memorizing. She has no idea how long the spell will last for, or if it will work at all, but she is desperate, and through her voice it resonates in volume. Her chanting is harsh, dominant, controlled. There is a pulse of light quick and so bright that it forces her to release his hand as she shields her own eyes. She cries out and backs away instinctively in case it has failed, reaching for a knife hidden in her boot.

When she opens her eyes again, she immediately releases her knife. Kefka is on the ground, resting on his knees. His face is pale; the make-up has long since been washed off, revealing his true features. He looks tired, with dark circles under his eyes. His long, dark blonde hair is disheveled, and there is dirt beneath his fingernails, things that are cracked and broken in spots due to his clawing at the walls in fits of uncontrollable rage.

He looks up at her, an expression of pure despair in his watery blue eyes. "Terra?" he says, his voice barely a whisper. It is nothing that could have made the sounds he previously made, rabid and frenzied; nothing like the voice he has spoken with for years that was tainted by madness and often used for howling or screaming.

"Kefka?" she gasps, her determination replaced by total and utter shock – shock that causes her to feel dizzy. The spell had worked; for however long or short the duration, she had been able to quell the madness inside Kefka.

She finds she can't support her own weight anymore, and falls to her knees before him. He is so much taller than she, even when neither of them are standing. She chokes back a sob and grabs him, burying her face into his chest, ignoring how thin he has become. She says something, but her words are lost to her crying, and she is in so much duress that she is shaking violently against him.

His hands are hesitant to touch her, as his mind struggles to understand what has happened. The madness, the dark desires and urges he could no longer control – they were gone. He feels it inside of him somewhere, but he is unsure as to why it has gone except that Terra had obviously done something to make it cease. As gently as he can, he wraps his arms around her, resting his forehead atop her own. "Please don't cry," he says, his throat stressed and causing his words to come out in a harsh whisper.

"Please, Terra, don't cry," he repeats, unsure of what else to say. He wants to say so many things, but he doesn't know where to begin. He's been the second party to his own body as the demon he'd become nearly wiped out the entire world, nevermind all of the friends he had known and the only sort of family he'd ever had. He doesn't know how to apologize for that; he doesn't think he can.

"I'm so sorry," she bursts out, taking him by surprise. "I had to lock you up, because I knew that one day I would find a way to cure your madness. I found this spell, but it's only temporary, and I know it's not enough, but I just miss you so much," she cries, her words falling over themselves as she struggles to spit them out between sobs. "Celes and Leo said to kill you would be just, to end your misery, but I wouldn't let them. I couldn't – I couldn't let them. I knew you were in there somewhere, if I just kept trying," she continues.

Kefka has to grip her shoulders tightly to stop her, which he is finally able to do. "Terra, please, it's okay," he says. "I understand why they feel that way... I've done so much..." he trails off. He doesn't want to even consider all of the horrors he's personally seen to, because he is trying to be strong. He feels as though he is assuming an old role, as though he is protecting Terra, despite the fact that she has essentially confessed to protecting him.

"How long does this spell last for?" he asks, his mind racing as he tries to determine what he must do to try and fix some of the damage he has caused.

"Minutes, maybe. Not long at all. I just had to try," she says, pulling away from him. She found it hard to look into his eyes. Something inside of him had hurt her so badly, and yet the man before her was not that something. The man before her was Kefka – her caretaker, the man she loved – the man for whom she would have done anything, had he only asked it of her. It broke her heart to even consider it the hell he had been trapped in while his duality essentially destroyed everything he had ever wanted or loved in his lifetime – and likewise hers.

"Then please, don't spend the short time we have in remorse for what never was," he says softly, tipping her chin up to focus her flitting gaze on him. "Please," he says again. His voice is coming back to him, with more bass and steadiness – so much like the last time he had been lucid.

"I don't know what to do," she confesses. She rearranges herself, scrubbing her eyes with her hands to try and wipe the tears away. "I don't know how to speak to you. We have so little time -" she begins. He cuts her off with a wave.

"Just tell me... tell me everything. Tell me what I've missed," he says. He shifts his body around so that he is seated next to her. "Don't worry about how much time you have. Just talk to me." He gives her a smile, an expression that she hasn't seen in so long, and he reminds her of how charming and full of life he was once before the thing inside of him had split him in two.

"Okay," she says, her voice warbling. "We have a new emperor, elected by the kingdom as a whole. Leo is practically his right hand, while Celes offers as both magic expert and Leo's second. I'm up there, too, though I've been preoccupied since we've returned," she says, referring to Kefka.

"Don't let me eat up all of your time," he tells her, crooking a brow. He feels a shudder wrack his body, and a nauseous sensation comes on. He lays down and rests his head on her lap, closing his eyes as he feels her hand immediately drop as her fingers brush through his hair. Her touch was as gentle as he remembered.

"That's what Leo and Celes say," she informs him with a heavy sigh. "But it's hard. I have so much power and I can't find any way to -" she stops for a moment, then shakes her head. "Celes has a child, now," she offers. "With a rather interesting fellow that she married. You would like him – you would like them all, Kefka," she adds.

"Tell me more. Do you still have those horrible little animals?" he presses, gritting his teeth as a wave of pain flashes through him. He is able to hide it from Terra, but he is aware that the spell she has used to contain the darkness within him is wearing thin.

"Of course," she replies, a fond smile on her face. "I had hoped to raise them alongside a child, since they live so long. They could bond as they grew together. I let Celes' daughter play with them, but it's not the same. I wanted to have my own some day, but – " She stops again, looking away. "But I have decided not to have a family."

"Why not?" he asks, his blue eyes popping open as he turns his head to look at her. He already knows the answer, but he asks anyways, hoping that she will say something else.

"Because I only love you," she whispers. "And nobody can replace that hole that you left in my heart." Her eyes water up again, and she closes them, long lashes nearly touching her cheeks.

He sits up abruptly, gripping down on her arms as he takes them. He clenches his teeth again as a flicker of strange, racing thoughts pulse through him, but pushes through it. He knows the spell is losing its hold; the room becomes inverted in colour, and he starts to catch glimpses of dead bodies and blood littered around them. "The spell is wearing off," he tells her, his voice obviously laboured. "Listen to me, Terra. Promise me. Promise me you'll move on. Forget me, and go start a life. Be happy. Get married – or don't. Have a kid; adopt one - adopt ten! Make a home, start a family – you can even name one after me if it makes you happy, and I know it'll piss Celes off if you do. But don't wait for me. Don't waste away waiting for me, my sweet girl. I'm as good as dead."

"I don't want to give up on you," she says, fighting back her tears.

This causes him to smile. "But you must, my love." He manages to loosen his grip on her, and starts to stand. "You need to go, Terra. The spell is wearing off. I can feel it. I'm starting to -" he pauses, unwilling to confess to her the hallucinations that plagued him. He begins backing away from her.

"Fight!" she commands, rushing forward and grabbing his arms. "Please, Kefka! For me, please! Fight back!" she begs.

Kefka shuts his eyes tightly, trying to block out the blood and the bodies. The voice is starting in his head, chattering about the doll the doll the doll she's back let's keep her forever yes perfect perfect and he forcefully pushes the green-haired girl off of him, ignoring the sinking feeling in his chest as he does so.

"I did fight back," he whispers. "For almost sixteen years. It's time to let go, now, Terra."

For a moment, Terra is frozen, unsure of what to do – and then he tosses his head back and begins to laugh.

Stupid crying dolldolldolldoll imperfect doll need to fix need to teach doll a lesson stupidstupid

Terra covers her mouth with her hand and looks away for a moment, trying to stabilize herself, collect her thoughts. She realizes that he's truly gone this time, and that as painful as this was for her, that he was to be trapped inside that body with that insanity dominating him for the rest of his life, living with madness, his only thoughts the guilt of what he had done. Kefka had told her he was as good as dead, and truthfully, he was. She was struggling to come to terms with this, but she knew she must. She knew it was the only way.

The wild laughing and babbling has stopped and Kefka's form lunges for Terra suddenly, a stolen knife in his hand – presumably grabbed from her when Kefka had pushed her away – only to be stopped short by a violent flash of red light. He falls to the ground in a heap. Terra cries out in rage and kicks the knife away from him, then falls to her knees next to the body and lowers her head, covering her face as she continues to scream and sob.

She does this until she feels that she has no energy left.

"Goodbye, my Kefka," she finally says, her voice almost inaudible from screaming. She leans over and kisses his lips, a brush of skin on skin that is almost chaste in its softness and brevity, and then she exits the room without looking back.

As she reaches Leo at the bottom of the stairs, she wipes her face again, knowing that her eyes will still betray her tears.

"Are you okay?" he asks in a tired, but concerned voice, as he stands and turns to meet her.

She looks away for a moment, then meets his eyes. "No," she says truthfully. "No, I don't think I am."