Ah, here we are, back again! I, Coli Chibi the Goblin Lord, greet ye. Welcome back to this humble little story called Birds of a Feather, my special little Kuja/Terra fanfic. Last time, Kuja and Terra managed to escape from the Warriors of Chaos, after Terra fatalitied the lot of them. Now, Kuja and Terra, along with Zidane, Bartz and Onion Knight (lamearse name, I know) go back to meet the Warriors of Cosmos.
While I'm here, I have good news! A fellow author named Pink Nymphetaime has created her own Kuja/Terra stories! The cause is spreading! Maybe we should make a club: the "Kuja doesn't have to be in slash fics club"! Make more of these fics, everyone! Support her storyies and read both of them! We need more Kuja/Terra, so keep it up! We need more Kuja/Terra! (Or you could do Kuja with Yuna or Tifa, but those wouldn't make as much sense in my mind, y'know?)
So, what will happen in this chapter?
Find out now, my friends!
Squall Leonhart managed to effectively voice everyone's mindset in seven simple words: "You have got to be kidding me."
Terra, Onion Knight, Zidane and Bartz had returned... with Kuja, Warrior of Chaos and infamous manipulator and narciccist. Oh, and that wasn't the best part. They wanted Kuja - their enemy - to actually join them in the war against Chaos and his minions.
"No, I'm not kidding," said Terra, honestly. "Kuja saved me. I think he deserves a chance."
"I think you're out of your mind," Squall replied. The other Warriors of Cosmos, Cecil, the Warrior of Light, Firion, Cloud, and Tidus felt equally uneasy with the idea. Kuja was probably the least trustworthy of all the Warriors of Chaos (except for the Emperor and Ultimecia... and Kefka, and Garland, and Exdeath... the list goes on) and his very vain attitude wasn't exactly befitting of a guardian of order. Besides that, they weren't just handing out little inventations to anyone who wanted to join them.
"We cannot trust him so easily," said the Warrior of Light. The nameless warrior distrusted the actor easily; he distrusted all the villains.
"He saved my life!" Terra said, desperately. "Hasn't that proven his intentions are good and his mindset reformed?"
"It still could be a trap," said Squall, glaring at Kuja. The mage barely payed him any mind. His eyes were closed and his mouth neither smiling nor frowning. Kuja was an absolute mess. Dried blood covered his clothing and skin, his hair was a mess and his clothes were badly torn. The mage barely seemed to notice this, as he awaited for the Warriors of Cosmos to decide his fate.
"It seems too good to be true," said Cloud, quietly. The swordsman had a bad habit of being too quiet, even when discussing important things like this.
"If he is the enemy, then he is not to be trusted," said Firion.
"But he isn't the enemy anymore!" Terra insisted. "We should give him a chance!"
"If Kefka asked to join us, would you let him?" asked Cloud.
"That's different!" Terra protested.
"How so?" Squall asked.
"Kuja isn't insane!" Terra said.
"You don't know that," Squall said. "None of us have many memories of our homeworlds, right? So how do we know if Kuja is insane or not?"
Kuja listened to the girl argue in his favor, and the other men argue against him. Deep down, he was feeling a little afraid. If the Warriors of Light decided that they didn't want him on their team, he'd either get killed by them, or be banished, and then probably get killed by his former allies. And, if he managed to escape them, he'd be alone and spend the rest of his days hiding in fear.
Neither sounded particularly appealling.
He simply stood there and listened to Terra argue for him, while Squall argued against it. The girl seemed to trust him. A little foolish, but flattering, nontheless. Zidane somehow trusted him as well. Perhaps it was because Terra did and he wanted to impress her (Kuja felt a pang of jealously, but ignored it) or perhaps it was because he trusted him for whatever reason. Bartz was for keeping him around too, but that was probably because Zidane wanted Kuja around. Bartz was Zidane's best friend, so if Zidane wanted something, Bartz would likely be for it as well. Onion Knight was also for Kuja joining up, but likely only because Terra was for it. The brat seemed to have a crush on her. How delightfully pitiful.
"He's a good person!"
"He's with Chaos."
"He was being manipulated!"
"That didn't stop him from trying to kill Zidane before."
"So? Golbez attacked Bartz and Onion Knight before, but you never complain that Cecil trusts him!"
Cecil stiffened, but said nothing.
"Golbez hasn't tried to join up with us. He stays over there, where he belongs."
"You don't get to choose who belongs where!"
"Excuse me," a female voice said.
Terra and Squall didn't listen. "He need to leave before anyone gets hurt or killed."
"He can stay if he wants to!"
"You're being an idiot."
"I'm being merciful!"
The Warrior of Light's outburst startled the Warriors of Cosmos. The nameless hero glared at the group, before turning and bowing his head. "You have their attention, milady."
Cosmos, guardian of order, smiled. "Thank you," she said to the Warrior of Light. She turned back to the group, staring at them for a second, and then to Kuja, who had opened his eyes. "Kuja was once an enemy. But, if what Terra says is true, he has been manipulated in the past, and did want to join us." She sighed. "I cannot sense any ill-will from him... But I will not allow a warrior among you if you do not wish for his presence. We shall have a vote. All those for Kuja leaving?"
Squall raised his hand without hesitation. Tidus, not willing to trust anyone who might have a connection with his hated old man, raised his hand as well. Lastly, Firion slowly raised his hand, the rebel not wanting to be betrayed.
"All those for Kuja remaining?" Cosmos asked.
Terra raised her hand quickly, followed by Onion Knight, Zidane, Bartz, Cecil, and surprisingly enough, Cloud. The Warrior of Light, having full trust in Cosmos, raised his hand as well.
Cosmos nodded. "Seven ayes and three nays. The ayes have it." She turned to Kuja. "I welcome you, Kuja, to our ranks."
Kuja smiled and bowed. "Tis an honor, milady."
Old Chaos Shrine
To say that Emperor Mateus was in a foul mood would be a gross understatement.
The moment that they had arrived back at home-base the Emperor flew into a tantrum to top all tantrums. He destroyed every pillar, every statue, and anyone foolish enough to get close to him. Ultimecia had tried to talk some sense into him, and got a nice face full of Flare for her efforts. Not that it really mattered. Chaos could just keep reviving her. Kefka was in an equally bad mood, hopping around the room with an actual frown on his face, angry that Kuja had stolen his "toy". Ultimately, he went off to where ever, to simmer down (and likely find some Moggles to torture.)
Still, the Emperor was quite angry. He was fuming over Kuja's betrayal, and their defeat- his defeat -at his unworthy hands. It was infuriating to him.
So, the golden armored monarch, after destroying Ultimecia and nearly getting smashed by Jecht, was currently fuming outside of the temple. Kuja had betrayed him, and such an attrocity would not stand. It was not fitting, for the Emperor to lose. Especially against an inferior warrior in the battle of the gods.
So, he stood there, alone and angry, his hand trembling as he clutched his staff.
"You seem to be taking this well," a deep voice said.
The Emperor whirled to see Golbez. "What do you want, traitor?" he snarled.
Golbez was silent.
"Oh, don't play coy with me!" the Emperor commanded. "I know all about your dear little brother, and how you are connected to those blasted so-called heroes!"
"You think I am the one who allowed Kuja to escape?" Golbez said, calmly.
The Emperor growled. "It would not surprise me."
Golbez folded his arms, standing next to the monarch. "Do not be a fool," he said. "My allegence is not with Cosmos. My allegence is... with the end of this all. My brother is all I truely care about. Kuja is of no concern to me."
Mateus rolled his eyes. "You have such great power, and yet you waste it upon others?" he asked. "How pitiful. Why Chaos summoned you of all people is beyond me."
Golbez nodded. "It it better than struggling to gain worthless power," he said.
"Worthless?" the Emperor said. "Becoming a god and ruling over all is worthless? I have a feeling we have very different ideals on what is worthless and not."
"The life of a god is a lonely one, is it not?" Golbez asked. "Before Cosmos began this war with Chaos, she had no one with her. She was all alone. And when this ends, Chaos shall be all alone. All they have is power. All you would have is your power. No friends, no family."
Mateus laughed. "I don't need such trifling things," he said. "Friends and families are but trifling, momentary distractions. They won't last long at all. War, hunger, starvation, banishment... Even time is against them, and you." He shook his head. "People do not last. They do not need family. Nor friends. But what people do need is a ruler. People are fools when they are left to be; destroying each other and their planet, and their precious family and friends. They are too foolish and violent to be left alone. They need guidance from a more powerful being. Like me, for example." He smiled to himself. "The universe needs someone like me. Someone to keep things orderly, to be the leader they need, even if they do not want me. And I'm afraid your precious 'family' and 'friends' would either get in my way or try to take my power for their own."
Golbez shook his head. "You truely do believe that, don't you?"
Mateus laughed drily. "Didn't you, once? After all, Chaos summoned you for a reason. He would have left you if you hadn't commited some act of so called 'evil'."
"Perhaps. But I have learned from my mistakes, something you seem incapable of doing," Golbez replied smoothly.
The Emperor growled. "Why don't you go bother Sephiroth about his god complex and leave me alone?" He turned away. "I'm sure he'd love to hear of family and friends."
He was silent for a moment after that. So was Golbez Finally, the warlock spoke once more: "Ultimecia is going to be angry," he said, gesturing to the blackened spot on the floor where the witch had been standing.
Mateus rolled his eyes. "I could care less about what that witch feels. She is just a pawn, to Chaos and to me!"
"I figured as much," Golbez replied. "But Kuja was but a pawn too. Can it truely be so simple, to defy fate, to spit in the face of one's own destiny?"
Mateus growled. "If that brat thinks he can escape..."
"He won't," Golbez said. "He will cease to exist, very soon."
Mateus looked up. "How can you be so sure?" he demanded.
"Cosmos made only ten crystals, for her heroes," Golbez said. "There is no eleventh crystal. When Cosmos dies..."
"...So does the traitor," finished Mateus, feeling a small smile cross his lips.
Golbez sighed and nodded. "I... believe I may actually miss him. He was an egotist, and a fool... But it would seem his heart was in the right place after all." He shook his head. "But sorrow is useless now."
"So it is," the Emperor said, smugly. "Soon, I shall be rid of both Cosmos and Kuja in one, quick stroke. The time for my reign is coming, now faster than before!" he laughed.
Golbez nodded. "Correct. So please, act your age." And with that, Golbez walked off, leaving the smirking Emperor to gloat.
Night had fallen over the sanctuary. The heroes who remained there, those who had collected their crystals already, sat around their campsite, sleeping the night away. The entire evening had been nothing but glaring. All the heroes who hadn't voted for Kuja had glared at him for the entire evening. Kuja felt a bit angry at them, but understood why they were so angry with him. And he couldn't expect them to be so accepting of him on the first night. Hopefully, with time, they wouldn't mind him as much.
Terra hadn't left his side since they had arrived. She had been next to him, talking to him, laughing with him and forcing him to eat. Kuja hadn't been too hungry when he had seen the stale bread that he was expected to eat.
Now, night had fallen, and Terra was fast asleep. All the heroes were sleeping, on the small patch of dry ground in the sanctuary. The esperkin was clutching his arm as she lightly snored, fast asleep. Kuja lightly smiled as the girl clutched his arm like a blanket. She must've been very cold.
Unfortunately, so was Kuja. The sanctuary was freezing, and his outfit wasn't helping. The genome shivered as he rubbed his arms together. He was begining to regret his choice of attire (even if it did better display his natural beauty). He was freezing. He was begining to wish that he was wearing a warm leather jacket like Squall's.
Kuja stood up and shook his arms, yawning. Maybe a walk would help him warm up. He gave one last glance to Terra, who was still fast asleep. "Mmm... Moogle stole my cake..." she muttered.
Kuja raised an eyebrow at the girl, before turning away and walking off. He walked past Bartz and Zidane, who had fallen asleep playing a game of cards. Onion Knight was curled up next to Terra, Firion was slouched over with Cloud by the dying fire, and Squall had fallen asleep after glaring at Kuja for about an hour. Kuja walked as quietly as he could past them, before departing to the sanctuary, his feet sloshing in the shallow water.
He walked away quietly from the little camp, his quiet footsteps never rousing the Warriors of Cosmos. He walked through the dark sanctuary, alone and solitary.
"You should be resting."
Kuja didn't need to turn around to recognize Cosmos' voice. "So should you, with all due respect."
"I came to see you," Cosmos said. "I wish to speak with you."
"About my intentions?" asked Kuja. "Did you not tell your warriors that I was honest in my attempt to join."
"I did. They are." Cosmos stepped foward, walking towards the genome. "I just want to talk to you... About that which is to come."
"Ah, yes," said Kuja. "That which is to come. I know all about that."
"Yes," said Kuja. "I know about what's coming... About you and Chaos... About what you're planning."
Cosmos stopped walking towards him.
"I know about your plan to sacrifice yourself," Kuja continued, casting his eyes back to the warrior's camp to make sure they hadn't overheard. "I know that you're going to die."
Cosmos nodded. "I am," she said, a light touch of fear evident in her voice.
Kuja turned to face the goddess. "Why?"
Cosmos sighed. "Thirteen cycles," she said. "This war has been going on for thirteen cycles. Memories, freedom, light... all of these are being lost to Discord. Fary too many have given up their freedom so that the Warriors may still fight. Why should I not do the same?"
"Because you don't have to," Kuja said, plainly.
"It's not what I have to do," said Cosmos. "It's what I need to do. The Warriors need to know despair - true despair - before they can overcome it. My death... is not something that can be avoided."
Kuja said nothing. What could he say? Cosmos had made her choice herself.
"Will you tell the others?"
Kuja raised an eyebrow, finally able to say something. "Shouldn't I? After all, honesty is the best policy."
Cosmos shook her head. "Please, don't," she begged. Kuja felt lightly amused, as well as surprised. There was a good, begging him of all people. The wonders never cease.
"Please," Cosmos repeated. "If you tell them, then they won't go and find the crystals. They won't survive."
"I know," said Kuja, calmly. "I won't tell them."
Cosmos was quiet for a moment, before speaking again. "Kuja, you do realize what this means?"
Kuja didn't reply.
"I made ten crystals for these heroes," she said. "No more, no less. There is no elenventh crystal. Kuja, if they do find their crystals..."
"I'll fade away. Just like they would without their own crystals," Kuja replied, morosely.
Cosmos nodded. "I'm sorry," she said, sorrowfully.
Kuja sighed. "I know..." Looked back to the goddess. "You have accepted your fate... perhaps the time has come for me to accept mine. Besides..." he added, looking back to the camp. He saw Terra, who refused to leave him. He saw Zidane and Bartz, who had defended him. "I think I found something living for. And something worth dying for."
Cosmos nodded. "Thank you. I'm sorry."
Kuja nodded. "I know."
Cosmos turned away. "I'll leave you alone now," she said. "I need to prepare for my part."
"As do I," Kuja said, walking back to camp.
Wordlessly, Kuja returned to camp.
Terra's blue eyes slowly flickered open as the moonlight slowly shone down on her face. She yawned as she woke up.
Kuja was sitting next to her, his eyes open and his hand on his chin, deep in thought as he sat in the moonlit night.
Terra tugged on his sleeve, earning a glance from the silver haired mage. "Hello."
"Why are you up?" Terra asked. "You're still too weak. You need your rest."
Kuja chuckled. "I'm fine, dear," he said.
"You still need sleep!" Terra insisted. "Lay down," she ordered.
Kuja still laughed to himself. "Yes, ma'am," he said, leaning back into his thin mat. Yeesh, you'd think a goddess could produce better beds. He yawned quietly. "I've been needing some sleep anyway," he said.
"How're your injuries?" Terra asked, concerned.
"They are fine," he said. "I see you got a new cape."
Terra nodded. "Blood stains on the garbs of a mage would hardly do," she said, mimicking Kuja's sophisticated tone of voice.
Kuja raised an eyebrow at her, but smiled nontheless. "A good sense of humor," he said, closing his eyes. He sighed.
Terra blinked. "Are you okay?" she asked. "You seem... sad."
"I am, a little," he said. "A lot has happened, as of late."
"Do you miss... them?" Terra asked.
Kuja laughed. "Like I'd miss a skin-rash," he said. "Why would I? Glares and distrustful words are far better than the abuse those morons like to inflict on me."
Terra nodded. "They'll come after you," she said.
"So it would seem," he said. "Thankfully, we currently outnumber them by one. Besides, what have I to fear when you have my back."
Terra looked away. "Me."
Kuja rasied an eyebrow. "I beg your pardon?"
"Did I go esper?" asked Terra. "And I want the truth. I need to know."
Kuja sighed. "You... did. To protect me."
"Did I attack you?"
Kuja nodded. "Once."
"Did I attack the others?"
"I did, didn't I?"
Terra leaned back into her mat, looking devestated. "I did it again."
"You did it to save me," Kuja said. "I'm quite grateful for that."
"I almost killed you," Terra said. Her eyes were getting watery. "Everytime I fight..."
"You seem to keep forgetting that you saved my life," Kuja reminded her, taking her hand. "And, you defeated those barbarians single handedly. They'll be off licking their wounds for a while, giving you ample time for your friends to find their crystals."
Terra shivered. "What if I... hurt anyone else? I don't want to hurt my friends!"
"You won't," Kuja said.
"But what if I do?" Terra insisted. "If I hurt them... how could I live with it?"
Kuja rolled his eyes. What was it with heroes and their insecurities? "Very well," he said. "Let's make a deal, hmm? If I protect you from yourself, you can protect me. Sound fair?"
Terra blinked. "What?"
"I know you can defend yourself, and others," Kuja said, folding his hands. "And we've already established that I can immobilize you and return you to normal. All we have to do is protect each other." He paused, and then added, "Forgive me if I am mistaken, but that is what 'friends' do, correct?"
Terra slowly nodded. "Yes. It is."
Kuja nodded, yawning. "Good. Now, I must retire." He leaned back down onto his mat and closed his eyes.
Terra closed her own eyes and leaned down into her mat. Before she could sleep, the sound of shivering and chattering teeth caught her ears. She turned to Kuja, struggling to keep warm in his feeble cot.
"You really should wear more clothing," said Terra, almost in a teasing tone.
Kuja rolled his eyes. "So I've noticed," he huffed.
Terra scootched over to Kuja and drapped her cape over him like a blanket. "Better?" she asked.
Kuja slowly smiled. His fingers gently rubbed against the girl's arm, under the blanket. "Much."
"Good." Terra turned away and yawned. "Let's go to sleep. We have a lot to do tomorrow."
Kuja nodded. "As you wish, canary."
And so, the traitor and the esperkin, slept together. The moon silently watched down upon them. As did a goddess, sadly and quietly. The two had become close, in such a short time. Too close.
Cosmos turned away. One sacrifice was one thing. But two was cruel and unusual. Kuja had risked his life to get here, only to spend it for the others.
Cosmos sat down on her chair.
"His intentions are truely pure?" a voice asked.
Cosmos nodded. "They are."
"And, he knows what this shall cost him?"
"He is brave, for one so... strange."
"Yes, he is."
"So, your plan shall proceed, as expected?"
"It shall. My sacrifice is something that cannot be avoided. But Kuja's..."
"Kuja's sacrifice shall not be in vain," the voice reassured. "Nor shall your own. The ones you have chosen shall see to that."
Cosmos leaned back into her chair. "You're right," she said. "For them to truely defeat the darkness... they must know true dispair. All of them."
"They can end this," the voice said. "They can end this forever."
Cosmos closed her eyes. "Yes they can." She looked over to Kuja and Terra, fast asleep in their camp. "They can, and they will," she said. "May they enjoy their time together. Before it ends.
The goddess closed her eyes, before joining the others in sleep.
DONE DONE DONE DONE DONE.
Well, there it is, the end of the story! Kinda bittersweet, huh? Kuja and Terra are finally safe, but, alas, their time will end when Kuja vanishes when Cosmos dies. Still, one of the main lessons of FF9 was that even if you don't live forever, you still have your friends and loved ones while you're alive. Well, Kuja and Terra didn't kiss, but they've only known each other for a few days, and I didn't want to rush things. I might do a sequel to this, and I might not. If you want to do the sequel, feel free to ask and I'll consider it!
Until then, the end! See ya!