Three stories of Final Fantasy 6, Part two: Gogo's secret II; another face by Weiila
Forget "Gogo's secret: epilogue" and that I turned him/her/it into Daryl there; this is a totally different story. Good grief, my brain is a deadly weapon... it work in devilish ways sometimes.
Gogo has a hard position. He/she/it is such a mysterious character that imagination about who he/etc really are can get pretty free. I'm sure there's plenty of fics similar to "Gogo's secret", where he is Daryl. Or he could be... this. But what the heck, he has a secret; he's hiding his face, and he's got a reason! Poor guy, having to put up with mad fanfic authors' ideas...
How much is a friendship worth? Is it worth a soul or a face?
I hide my face. They don't know the reason, but they are polite enough not to ask. I am grateful for that. Because I fear that if anyone of them asked, I maybe would reveal the truth. I'm actually not afraid to do it. I used to be, but not anymore. Now, I fear their reaction. And that is much worse.
As they entered the zone eater and found their way to my cavern, I was amazed. I hadn't seen a human for surely at least ten years. They were just as puzzled to see me, ready to fight if I should attack.
I asked them who they were, and they told me. Those who brought me out of my cavern were Cyan, Setzer, Mog and Terra.
Her name sent claws through my already tormented soul. But I hid it. I thought that it couldn't be her.
Not that Terra.
But it was her. As I got to know for sure later on, I hardly could believe it.
As those four people found me, I asked them what they were doing there. They told me that they were looking for friends that had been thrown away at the end of the world.
I didn't even blink.
I only told them that I could sense that they were fighting to right the wrongs. I told them that I thought that it would be fun.
As I heard Terra's name, the suspicion began to grow. But it was so horrid that I refused to believe it.
Nothing could have prepared me for what my eyes should suffer outside of the zone eater. I had remembered the world so beautiful... but it was destroyed. Slowly fading away. I didn't ask why. I only watched in terror.
They brought me on board the Falcon.
He was there. We both pretended that we hadn't ever seen each other, but as soon as there was a moment when we could speak unseen and unheard, we took the chance.
He told me what had happened. I told him no, it's impossible.
He told me that it wasn't.
I held onto something. I don't even remember what it was.
I had to ask him about Terra. He told me that it was really the one I had thought about.
He told me that I had to tell the others. I nodded. I understood that.
I told him that I would. Later on. I told him that it was better to wait until they knew me a little, so that they would trust me.
He said that he understood my reasons.
I wish that he had persuaded me, from that very first moment. Then I wouldn't feel so guilty now.
He left me alone, to sort out my chaos.
I thought that no, I can't believe it. It can't be true.
But Shadow wouldn't lie to me.
There were still a few friends that they had to find. I agreed to help, but I had no thoughts of friendship. Something had gone terribly wrong with the world, and I felt that I was the one who should mend it, nobody else.
I only thought that these people also had suffered, so they had the right to fight too.
I only thought that they were temporary allies. Seriously, did they really have to know?
That's what I thought in the beginning. But then I begun to watch them closer, without really wanting to. They told me about themselves, and I listened.
Listened, but never told them anything in return.
Celes who had been a magitek knight. A beautiful woman that should have a whole life to look forward to. But she had no interest in her own life, only thinking about Locke, who we still hadn't found when I joined the group. And Locke, the "treasure hunter"... we all knew what his real profession was. It puzzled me that he didn't seem to really understand how much Celes loved him. Maybe he didn't dare to see it.
The bitter Cyan reminded me of myself. His feeling of loss was something I shared, but I never told him. I came to feel a little jealous at him, who found peace of mind.
Gau and Relm fascinated me. They could even make me smile. Two such young children were fighting for the world, as brave as any adult. The wild boy even had something in common with me; his way of using the attacks of monsters he had seen was much like my mimicking. And Relm, that little girl with the foul mouth and the fantastic talent of painting... not to forget her eccentric grandfather. He looks like he's as old as the world itself, but gods, he can fight!
I was amazed as I met Mog for the first time. As far as I remembered, moogles didn't talk or fight. Or dance either, for that matter. And they definitely didn't command enormous, muscular yetis. But as Mog gave him orders, Umaro growled obeying and happily ran into battle. Incredible.
Setzer, a gambler living with his loss of love. Even though his eyes turned dark whenever something made him think of his Daryl, his unbelievable optimism always became victorious.
I already knew Shadow. He hadn't changed at all, really. But there was more life in him now; as if he had found something to live for again. That was the first thing in ages that made me feel a rare sparkle of tiny happiness, or maybe it was compassion. I had thought that all those feelings were long dead...
Edgar, that smooth talking mechanic king, who had left his kingdom to save the whole world. His brother Sabin ... they weren't very alike. Like day and night, and just as close. The way that they worked together was admirable.
At one certain point my thoughts are always being shattered. My soul begins to twitch in agony and memories, I have to sit down or lean onto something. In those moments, I turn my mind towards Terra. It's almost just as painful, but it helps.
Once upon a time I was sure that she was a doomed girl. But as I see her now, knowing what she has gone through but still standing strong... I feel a little less disgusted.
I often remember that moment when she talked to me, holding a piece of magicite in her hands. She was talking about Locke. She was also worried about him. I don't know why she talked to me about it, probably only because I was the only one around for the moment. Setzer was concentrating on driving the airship, too far away to hear a word.
She said that she owed Locke so much, and that he was a dear friend. She also worried about Celes. If something had happened to the thief, Terra didn't know if the blond magitek knight would be able to take it.
And she was worried that she wouldn't ever be able to feel what Celes and Locke felt for each other. I thought that it really must be nagging her since she told me, a silent, veiled creature, such a thing. I hadn't been around for such a long time back then.
I only said that I was sure he was alright. I had never even heard about him before I met these people, but I had the idea that Locke was such a man who isn't very easy to get rid off. Or maybe there was something else that made me try to calm Terra.
It hadn't anything to do with Locke or Celes. It was only about Terra, and the bond she didn't know she had with me.
She smiled a little at me, but the smile faded quickly. I wondered if I'd ever tell her my secret. My life had been destroyed long ago, so what did I really have to loose? But I knew I wouldn't tell her. Not in that moment. She was troubled enough.
Then she turned my poor soul inside out. She held up the magicite and told me, bitterly, that it was her father.
It still surprises me that I didn't faint dead. Somehow I managed to just look at her, puzzled.
She said that she was an half-esper. She couldn't know that I already was well aware of that.
I had already had the explanation about the magical creatures and the magicite; even begun to learn a few spells. It felt hard at first, but I knew that it was the right thing to do. Only with magic could the wrongs be turned right.
But nobody had told me that he, Maduin, was among the espers that now helped the world by lending their powers in death.
When I was alone later on, I broke down crying. Like a baby. And I'm not ashamed about it. There were so many things that were lost, that I couldn't do anything about. The tears were stained with rage too. A pure rage that filled my soul. I had to do what I could. I wasn't born a warrior, but I had acquired some skills down in the zone eater. I was a warrior now, and I would fight.
I never dreamed that I would find friends. They weren't merely my allies anymore. To my surprise, they had become my friends. As we finally found Locke, deep down in the Phoenix' cave, I shared their happiness. And I shared Celes' shock as she realized that Locke's lost love Rachel maybe would return to him. The poor woman didn't know what to feel about it. She wanted Locke to be happy, but she wanted to be the one who made him that. And she felt guilty about it. A blind could see. But Rachel wasn't to be saved; she relieved Locke from his feeling of blame and then died peacefully. I wanted to help my friend, and Celes was waiting for Locke, and he was grateful for that. I and all the others watched, happy with them.
I should have told them. Before we entered the tower and began fighting our way to the madman. I should have told them.
But I didn't. I was a fool.
They called me Gogo. Even Shadow did. He respected my silence, even though he didn't like it. He also thought that I should have revealed my face before we entered the tower. Before it was over. But I didn't. I couldn't! They were my friends, I couldn't do it!
That was a year ago now. The world is recovering. We won.
I should have told them. Before it was too late.
A whole year...
I'm in Maranda, of all places. Just walking around deep inside of my own thoughts. My chocobo is walking after me, since I'm holding the rope around his neck. If I should let go, he'd run away, back home. Even though we've been companions for almost a year. The stupid animals are only true to the place where they were born.
When I'm lost in thoughts, I begin scratching my cheek, rubbing the cloth covering it. I have a scar there. Got it during the final battle. It's become a habit to scratch it. I don't know how it came to that.
Suddenly, somebody say my name. The name I told my friends, not my real name. Even though he knows it. He is the only person alive knowing my secret, except myself. I turn around and face Shadow.
He says that it's time.
I sigh, knowing that it's true.
He doesn't have to tell me that I should have spoken earlier, because we both know that it's so.
Interceptor is making my chocobo nervous. I unclench my hand, and the rope hits the ground. For a moment the bird seem confused, then it warks and runs. Leaves me there.
He was only an ally, nothing more. I wish that my friends had stayed like that. I wouldn't dread telling them the truth if they never had become friends.
In fact, the only thing I'm not afraid of is Shadow. Many others are afraid of him, wisely. But he already knows, so I won't have to bear his horror.
I tell him that he might have to force me. He grimly says that he knows that.
I reach into a pocket, telling him that I have a job for someone like him. It's not a joke, it's a bitter conclusion. I tell him that I need to be brought to Mobliz, in chains if needed.
Shadow takes the small bag of coins and nods. He knows that I don't want to go, that he has to help me. And so, our journey begins, the journey I've dreaded for so long.
Terra leaned back against a tree, with a dreaming smile watching the sunset above the ocean. A few of her children were around too, but they hadn't time to sit still and enjoy the sight. Terra heard them wrestle and laugh somewhere behind her, in the grass.
Then suddenly, there was a happy shout.
It was one of the boys that yelled, but Terra wasn't sure who it was. She turned her head and stared into a wide-open mouth with fierce jaws and a tongue that hit her cheek. After fighting back the instinct of getting a heart attack, she realized that it was Interceptor.
"Hey, don't scare her to death..." Shadow said in his usual calm, almost bored way.
Interceptor moved away, allowing Terra to breathe and to see the visitor. Well, actually there were two of them. Behind Shadow was Gogo, veiled and clothed as always.
"Good evening, both of you," Terra smiled, a bit surprised to see them.
Of course her friends often came to visit her and the others in Mobliz; the destroyed town had been mostly rebuild. After Kefka's death one year ago the world had been steadily recovering, and the people had got to hear all about their heroes. In gratefulness to Terra and wishes to help, every town had sent a few workers to Mobliz to help out rebuilding. Merchants had shown up too, to sell stuff to the heroine and the carpenters... and so, one thing had lead to another and some of them had chosen to stay. Mobliz was no longer a town of children. Yet Terra was still the one who cared most for the kids, even though there were several other grown-ups that helped her nowadays.
It was always great to see her old friends again. Setzer came most often, since he had the greatest possibility due to the Falcon. The others came about as soon as they found some time, but it was actually the first time Gogo had shown up. Even Shadow had come more often. He usually just said "Hello, Terra" and then went away again, as if he just wanted to make sure she was still in one piece. The children sometimes made him tell them stories about his life, which, Terra hoped, mostly were fiction.
But not Gogo. Of course, he was even more mysterious than Shadow, and also even quieter. Shadow had often given suggestions in the darkness of deep caves about how the group should proceed, but Gogo just walked on with his companions, quiet and mimicking.
"The same to you," Shadow shortly said.
He turned his head swiftly at Gogo, as if trying to give the mimic a quiet order. Then he went to sit down in the grass, a few feet from Terra. He would always be the guy who didn't want human contact, if a miracle didn't occur. Interceptor lay down beside him. The kids went back to playing.
It seemed as if the whole world waited for something.
Finally, Gogo sat down in the grass, a few feet from Shadow. This was going to be a distant discussion, if any at all.
But for the moment, Terra wouldn't let a couple of half-mute, walking mysteries and a monster that called itself a dog mess with her peace of mind. She leaned back again and watched the golden and red silk sky.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" Gogo, Gogo, suddenly said.
Terra jumped a mile. Gogo gave the sky a compliment? It was as if Relm had stolen Edgar's chainsaw and had gone berserk through a forest.
"Yes, it is," Shadow said, emotionless.
OK, so Relm had the chainsaw, and Mog had the Bio blaster... and Umaro walked after them, picking lilies in a neat little basket... yep, that would be just as weird. If Cyan danced after Umaro, dressed in a pink... maybe that was too much.
"It's moments like this that makes one happy to be alive," Shadow continued, and somehow it felt like the words were aimed at Gogo.
A pink dress. And a ribbon.
The image almost made Terra burst into crazed laughter. But she pulled herself together and looked at the two men.
"Alright," she said, "what kind of drug did they get you to drink?"
Two pair of eyes turned at her in surprise, then Gogo gave a short snort, as a half chuckle and Shadow waved with a hand, nodding.
"I guess you wonder why we came," the ninja said.
"Actually, I didn't come at all. I just brought Gogo here. Come, Interceptor. Good bye."
And so Shadow stood up and walked away. His king-size pet followed him.
"Bye," Terra said as they passed.
She turned to Gogo, who stared at the sunset.
"So, what is it, my friend?" she carefully asked.
Gogo picked a blade of grass and played with it, absentmindedly. The fingers of his bright yellow gloves became slightly greenish with the sap, but he didn't seem to care. It was impossible to tell anything from the look in his eyes.
"Well," he finally said after a long silence, "I just paid Shadow for forcing me here."
"Forcing you?" Terra blankly said.
"Yes. Was afraid I wouldn't dare if I didn't have him bringing me."
"Hey, you've got nothing to fear here, have you?"
Terra stood up and walked over to him. He didn't look at her, just kept working on the tiny green blade. It was mostly in pieces now.
"Is there something that you wanted to tell me?" Terra asked, tentatively.
Gogo took a deep breath and released it slowly.
"Yes, there's something..." he said, "I just don't know where to..."
He suddenly stared at the blade of grass, as if he was shocked about what his fingers had done to it. Now it was no longer a long, green stick, it was a torn net. With a growl, Gogo threw it away and shuddered.
"Damn..." he muttered and raised his hand.
The strange hat, helm or whatever one could call it moved drowsily as he rubbed his forehead. Then his hand went to his left cheek and he scratched the cloth hiding it, as if he wasn't thinking about doing it. Only making it by instinct or habit.
"Are you alright?" Terra asked and took the risk of putting her hand on his shoulder.
His head snapped in her direction and he stared at her hand, seemingly shocked by the fact that Terra dared to touch him. But as she hesitantly began to move it, he hurriedly put his left hand over her fingers, stopping the movement. She nodded, and he let go while she didn't.
"If you don't want to tell me right now, you can stay here in Mobliz for as long as you like," she kindly offered.
"That's nice of you, Terra," Gogo said after an hesitanting pause.
"Hey, you're my friend," she smiled.
He nodded, but his eyes wandered away to the sky again as if he was afraid to meet her gaze.
Terra thought about how they had found him down in the zone eater. Of all places one could dwell... but he was a living mystery. Only once had she and the others been close to seeing his face; during the final battle. Terra clearly remembered how Kefka, aiming for Cyan, had managed to hit Gogo with his steel wing, which had looked like it was made of soft feathers. Gogo had been hit in the face, and bleeding he had fallen and crashed upon the cliffs further down. His veil had been torn, but he had ripped off a piece of the rest of his clothing before Celes had jumped down to bring him up. The new veil had been bleed through, but he'd kept fighting with a fury that hadn't ceased the slightest.
Yes, as he now scratched his veil again, it must be the scar after that wound that he really worked on. It was beneath the cloth.
This walking mystery...
"Mama, I'm hungry," a voice suddenly groaned behind the two.
"Yes, yes," Terra said with a smile and turned around, taking her hand away from Gogo's shoulder, "you're right, Cecil." (Hey, why not? It's an FF-fanfic!)
She looked back at Gogo.
The mimic stood up. As Terra began to walk back towards the town with Cecil's hand in her, the other kids assembled and followed too. There were still monsters around, so better not stay out of town without a grown-up, even though they could be so irritating sometimes...
"Mama, who's that guy?" Cecil asked, pointing at Gogo.
"One of my friends," Terra explained with a smile.
"Cool! What can he do?" the child gasped.
"Ah, I see the others have held demonstrations," Gogo said with an unseen smile.
Terra nodded, smiling.
"Well, why not?" Gogo said, "I haven't been practicing in a while, anyhow. Go on, Terra."
"Back off a little, children..." Terra said and waved with her hands.
The kids moved away, with gleaming eyes. Their mama's friends all had some cool things to show, like cutting off leaves from a distant tree with playing cards, making perfect imitations of any attacking animal and stuff similar to that.
"Ready, Gogo?" Terra smiled.
"Whenever you are."
The woman with green hair nodded, and Gogo did the same. Then Terra began to jump around like mad, standing on her hands and wheeling. And whatever she did, Gogo did exactly the same. The kids watched with wide eyes and open mouths as their mama danced around with a brightly yellow, green and red shadow. Finally Terra fell down in the grass, laughing and gasping to regain her breath. Gogo kept mimicking her; he was just as tired.
"Great!" the children cheered, and the four year old Lia even rushed over to Gogo and hugged him, with her typical lack of shyness.
Gogo stared at the small, blond girl that held her short arms around his neck (well, where his neck probably was below all the cloth). For a moment Terra almost feared that he would push away, but then Gogo patted the girl's back, with a smile in his eyes.
"Liked it?" he said.
"It was so cool!" the small girl grinned, "mister, why do you wear that veil?"
Gogo cleared his throat, as if trying to win some time for thinking.
"I... well, it's the only way that I could be just as mysterious as Shadow," he finally said.
"Oh. OK," Lia merrily said.
A moment later they were walking towards the town again. As they reached their goal it had begun to get dark, and there were candles being lit in most of the houses.
"Run along now," Terra said, "dinner is probably served already."
The kids shouted "good night" and ran over to a big building in the center of town.
"The eating house," Terra explained to Gogo, "we take turns cooking. Come on, I'll see if I can cook us something without poisoning us both."
"If you cook half as good as you fight, I have nothing to fear," Gogo said.
Terra glanced at him as they walked.
"Excuse me, Gogo," she carefully said, "but you talk so strangely much today..."
"Yeah, I know. After all those years in the zone eater, well... I hadn't so many people to talk to. So I'm trying to get back now. Think it's about time."
"As long as you're happy, so..."
Terra smiled and opened the door to the house that was her home. It was pretty small and neat, with a kitchen, a living room, a toilet in the back and two guestrooms just in case. She slept on the second floor's only room herself.
"I'll see what I can mix..." Terra said and waved at a chair by the table, "if you sit there you can at least help me fast in case something should catch fire."
"You can't be that bad at cooking," Gogo smiled, "didn't you take care of all these children by yourself before you got help?"
"Yeah, but I could use magic in case something went wrong back then..."
She fell silent and sighed. Rather lazily she picked with some vegetables in a bowl.
"Hey, Terra..." Gogo said after a long silence, scratching his cheek, "does it pain you terribly that magic is gone from this world and that the espers are all dead?"
She turned around, rubbing her forehead.
"Sometimes I miss it like mad," she admitted, "but that's plain egoistic. I don't really need it anymore... and the times when I long for it are getting rare. I'll survive."
"Good to hear," Gogo slowly said, "but the espers... I sometimes think about that... we maybe could have saved them."
"It wasn't your fault, my friend. We couldn't have done more than we could, I'm afraid."
"And you know what, they aren't dead."
Gogo looked up, rather surprised.
"What? But I thought..."
"As the magicite disappeared from this world, it returned to the world of espers," Terra told him, "and there the other creatures could use the power of the holy phoenix that was left there to revive those who had died. Father often speaks with me, in my mind."
Gogo seemed to frown, concerned.
"But if they are alive, isn't there a risk that...?" he said.
"No," Terra said and shook her head, "now that the statues are gone, an esper entering this world would be immediately teleported back. They can't stay where there's no magic. There's no risk that the foolishness will repeat again."
"I meant to tell you sooner, but it seems like we never met again before now."
"Ah, my bad..."
"No, no, I didn't mean it like that," Terra hurriedly said, "tell me, what have you been doing since we parted?"
"Oh, not much. I bought a chocobo and rode around the world a couple of times. Then when I was in Maranda for a while I met Shadow. We talked a little, and... well..."
Gogo took another deep breath and released it slowly.
"What I came to tell you is... something... that I believe only myself and Shadow know about."
Terra looked at Gogo in surprise. Shadow knew something about Gogo? Had they known each other before all the battling had begun?
"And it's... something that..." Gogo slowly continued, almost stuttering and forcing the words past his lips, "that... is very hard for me to explain. The thing is..."
He fell silent and shook his head.
"Ever since we won, even before that, I've been trying to think about how to tell you and the others," he said in a miserable way, "it's just that I've been alone with it for so long... this."
His fingertips touched his veil, but he made no attempt to remove it.
"Look, Gogo," Terra kindly said and sat down in front of him, "you're not lonely anymore. All of us, me, Setzer, Sabin, Edgar, Locke... we are your friends, even though you never really opened yourself to us. We trusted you anyhow."
There was a careful smile in Gogo's eyes.
"And," Terra continued, "if you're not sure that you're ready to unveil yourself just yet, then you're welcome to stay here until you are. I won't push you, you just take your time."
Gogo looked her straight in the eyes.
"Thank you, Terra," he said with such honesty that it almost was painful to hear.
A while later she cooked some dinner and gave him a plate which he carried into one of the guestrooms and emptied alone. He had always eaten alone, since he would have to remove the veil to do so. And he wasn't ready yet.
Sabin watched the view in front of him. Ocean, ocean, ocean, ocean etc.
It was boring. And when he got bored, he wanted to hit something. Now was not exactly the time, though. Setzer would be mad. So he had to think of something else. Maybe he should practice some conversation. He had been working on that for quite some time now, after beginning to think about doing something more with his life then to train and fight. It had been enough for as long as he could remember, but lately he had felt a little... alone. So he had begun to make experiments. Talking could be really fun, he had found out that with great amaze.
"Hey, Setzer!" he called and walked over to the albino man who was driving the Falcon.
"Yeah?" the gambler said with a grin.
He had also found, to his amaze, that Sabin could lead really interesting discussions when he actually tried. They had laughed themselves through the whole evening the other day. Too bad he couldn't remember what they had talked about... too much wine.
"Well," Sabin said and went through the list of subjects, "Terra?"
"Terra?" Setzer thoughtfully repeated, "green hair, pretty... wonderful woman."
"I wouldn't say she's just plain pretty," Sabin said and got something dreaming in his eyes.
'Good grief...' Setzer thought and smiled to himself, 'Sabin?!'
There was a sudden thump!
"Hello, Shadow," the two men said without even turning around.
"How long had you been up there?" Setzer asked, as someone who's into business.
"Since you left South Figaro."
The ninja and Interceptor walked over to the stem of the airship.
"Heading to Mobliz too?" Sabin said.
"Yes. I have to see if Gogo kept his promise."
"Gogo?" Setzer and Sabin repeated, puzzled.
"Left him there a week ago," Shadow said without turning around, "if he has done as he promised me he would, then I guess all is well so far. Otherwise I'll help Gogo to speak whether he likes it or not."
There was a very rare anger in the ninja's voice. Even Interceptor looked nervously at him.
"So, you... hm, want Gogo to be honest?" Sabin said, extremely careful.
"Yes, I do," Shadow growled, "there is something that he should have told all of you a long time ago."
Shadow snorted and finally glanced over his shoulder.
"I do have some sense of honor, you know. And Gogo's silence is far below any sort of that twisted thing."
"Can this ting fly any faster?" Sabin whispered from the corner of his lips.
"I'll try..." Setzer replied.
They landed outside of Mobliz about one hour later. Terra ran out to meet them, smiling.
"Hello, Setzer, Sabin! Oh, Shadow?"
"Has he told you?" the ninja coldly said.
Terra's eyebrows went up.
"Told me? Who, Gogo?" she said.
"He hasn't. Come, Interceptor."
Sabin had been bored for far too long. He leaped over Shadow's head and blocked his way. It was hard to tell who in the group was most surprised. Maybe Sabin himself. But he found himself quickly.
"Why are you so mad at Gogo? Take it easy!" he said.
"I took it easy for over a year," Shadow coldly said, "now I'm tired of him. Move."
"Now wait a darn minute..."
"No, it's true," Gogo's voice sadly said, "Shadow is right."
They all turned to look at the mimic. He looked as if he had been walking around the world ten times, carrying a house on his shoulders.
"You didn't keep your word, Gogo," Shadow coldly said, "we had an agreement. I'll have to keep my part if you didn't, as you said yourself."
"I know I had a week to speak, Shadow," he said in a tired voice, "but please give me one more day. If I can't do it, then you can... help me whatever I say."
There was a silence. Everyone anxiously and wondering awaited Shadow's answer.
"One day," the ninja finally said, "I'll come to Terra's house tomorrow evening to hear your story or tell it myself."
And with that, Shadow turned and walked down the long shoreline south of the town, Interceptor by his side.
"What's this all about?" Setzer asked.
"It's about me."
Gogo turned and walked back into town without another word.
"He's been living by me for a week," Terra explained, concerned, "and he's been trying to tell me about himself. But he can't, it seems too painful. And I've got the idea that Shadow don't want to be alone knowing it anymore."
Sabin and Setzer nodded.
"He said something about honor," the gambler said, "and, well... it's apparent that Gogo promised that he would tell his secrets. I'm really curious now, Shadow is taking this gravely personal."
"Well, I guess we can only wait," Terra sighed.
He stood in the guestroom that Terra had given him. It hadn't been easier to sleep during the night with Sabin's snoring roaring from the living-room. He had been sleeping on the couch, his companions had too well remembered how it had been trying to fall asleep by his side during their journeys. So Setzer and Gogo had refused to share the room with him, and the gambler had concluded that the mimic needed peace of mind for a while longer; therefore not asking to sleep in his room. Sabin had understood. Eventually.
The sun was sinking outside. Gogo could come to that conclusion even though he had shut the curtain tightly. There's just something about certain light...
He stared at himself in the mirror on the wall (if Terra had known anything about Feng Zhui, this scene had been totally spoiled). For the first time in many years he had removed the whole helmet and veil in a house he wasn't completely safe in. Surely, he had locked the door, but anyone of his friends could break it down any second. Yet he had chosen to trust them. He knew he could. It hurt. It was like a red hot dagger that worked its way through his whole soul. Friends. But...
The fear grew again, and he almost wanted to run. But it was too late. He wouldn't make it far, and there was absolutely no place in the whole world where he could hide. Not from Shadow. The ninja had had enough. From the very first moment that they had brought Gogo out of the zone eater, Shadow had waited for the truth. But it had never arisen from its grave; time hadn't made it easier. No, it had walked in the other direction, filling the mimic with disgust. Shadow was a patient man, but the disgust had gripped him too, and he wanted the truth to be revealed to clean up as much as possible.
Gogo stared at the face he had hidden for so many years. How long had it been? How old was Terra? 21? Yes, she had been eighteen when she had been saved from the empire, then it had taken half a year before the goddesses were moved. And then one more year before the group had started to assemble again in the World of Ruin. That process, which had ended with the madman's fall, had taken another six months. And another year had passed since then...
The reflection stared back with loathing in its eyes.
"I hate you..." Gogo growled, touching the reflection's pale, scarred cheek, "I hate you!"
He recoiled, backing into the other wall with his hand pressed against his mouth. The words stained his tongue and lips, filled the air and laughed scornfully at him. He could almost hear another voice laugh, a voice so screeching and harsh that it sent shivers through Gogo's whole body. He sunk to his knees, burying his face in his hands.
This face, that he had begun to dread, the face which was his...
I hate you.
There was a knock on the door.
"Gogo?" Terra carefully said on the other side of the wood, "Shadow has come."
"I'm coming too," Gogo answered.
She still called him Gogo. That felt like the last grain of security left in his life. And soon it would be gone.
He stood up and put on the veil and the helmet. So little had kept his secrets away, only this thin piece of cloth. He knew what those who now awaited him could do when they found out. But he didn't fear death, that had been very long ago. He only feared the fury of his... friends.
Only trying to mend, not wanting to be a part of a group... but what had happened? Something had gone wrong. He had begun to care about them, all of them. Edgar, Strago, Relm, Locke, Celes, Terra... how he had suffered keeping quiet and knowing that they trusted him! How he had feared their anger when facing the truth!
It was too late. He had to bring it up, bring up his story and his face. And hope that they wouldn't scream.
He secured the veil and then unlocked the door.
They waited for him in the living room, all of them. Setzer, Sabin, Interceptor, Shadow and Terra.
Oh, Terra... forgive me for telling you the truth, but I have to...
He sat down in the sofa, and they all watched him.
Begin, their eyes pleaded, we trust you. Shadow only looked coldly and demanding at him. He took a deep breath and began.
"First of all," he slowly said, "I know Shadow from a time when he saved my life. He had come looking for a friend, but he found me instead. I never asked and I will never ask why you took me when your friend wasn't to be found."
Shadow said naught.
"I was in an absolutely secure cell in Vector," Gogo bitterly continued, and several eyebrows went up in surprise, "no windows, a thick, unbreakable door, guards everywhere... everything. And yet, Shadow got me out of there. As you understand, the empire wanted me out of the way. So Shadow brought me to Triangle island and into a zone eater; we both knew that nobody would look for me there. He was also the one who brought me these clothes."
Those who still waited for the whole story hardly believed their ears. This was unbelievable. Shadow doing such a thing? Who the...?
"One can say that yellow clothes with green and red stripes are something that lies within my family. We used to have it on our family herald long ago..."
Gogo fell silent.
"Go on," Shadow coldly said, "you haven't come to the important facts yet."
"I'm getting to it..." Gogo sighed and continued, "it was down in the zone eater that I learnt to mimic. There wasn't much else I could do. Those other 'humans' you saw down there were simply humanoid monsters. I started to mimic to keep sane, and I found it to be a powerful weapon if I got attacked. So I trained and trained... and then you people showed up one day."
He fell silent again. Then he took a deep, slightly shivering breath.
"I know... that you want to know now... why I was imprisoned in the first place. Before that, I was a powerful man among the empire. I worked only by Gesthal's orders, but... I suddenly began to ask myself what I was doing. And somebody who I trusted more than anyone else... whispered in Gesthal's ear, and so I was imprisoned."
A silence followed.
"But Gogo," Terra finally said, "if you betrayed the empire... you fought on our side, you know."
Shadow held up a hand.
"Wait before you forgive, Terra," he coldly said, "you haven't heard, or rather seen, the best yet. Now, Gogo."
Closing his eyes, Gogo reached up and put his hands on the helmet. But then his arms fell.
"Shadow..." he whispered, as if pleading for mercy, asking the assassin not to put him through this.
But the ninja walked over to him without a word, pulled out a dagger and cut the veil and helmet's cloth in pieces. Gogo hid his face in his hands as Shadow violently ripped all the equipment away, then finally grabbed the mimic's wrist and tore his hands away from... his.... face. That face.
Terra, Sabin and Setzer stared. Gogo stared back.
Shadow let go of the shivering wrists and crossed his arms.
They stared at him. He stared back.
Terra, Sabin and Setzer stared at Gogo.
Kefka stared back.
"You!" Sabin finally growled after recovering from the shock and flew from his chair, boiling with anger.
"Gogo?" Terra gasped.
"Kefka!?" Setzer choked.
"And now you know," Shadow growled.
His hair was long and wild, uncombed, and the total loss of sunburn made him eerily pale, even paler than they remembered him. A scar went over his left cheek. The eyes had, strangely enough, no insanity. But it was Kefka. A very miserable Kefka.
"That is my name," he said in a low voice, "I am Kefka. That's the name that my twin brother Kerr stole from me as he took my place."
Stop the berserking...
"Twin brother?" Terra, Sabin and Setzer blankly said.
"Yes, my twin brother. Who destroyed the world in my name."
"You mean that... you are not the Kefka?" Setzer said, dumbfounded.
"Yes and no," Kefka bitterly said, "Kerr took everything from me, my name, my identity, my work, my life... but he added his madness."
He sighed deeply. For a second his hand touched his scar, but then he removed his fingers from it.
"But I am not innocent," he continued, even more bitter, "it was I who started to study the espers and found the path to them. I advanced in the empire, reached Gesthal... and Kerr was left one step behind me all the time. But I always thought that he didn't mind, that we were friends. I guess that you know what kind of bond we had, Sabin... I mean, what kind of bond I thought we had..."
He shook his head.
"So, I found the secret of espers, and... Gesthal lead the expedition. I was just as thrilled as everyone else in the whole empire. But then they returned..."
Kefka rubbed his face with his hands.
"Most of the espers had been put to sleep with some drugs, but there was one who they hadn't dared to touch after he had awakened from unconsciousness. He was bound with chains thicker than his own legs, but he was on the brink of breaking free all the time. Never have I seen such fury. It was your father, Terra..."
He couldn't look at the others in the room, just stared down on the table and kept talking.
"I clearly remember his eyes, they have haunted me all since that day. His anger was almost driving him crazy... 'give her back, Gesthal', he called over and over again, 'give me my Terra, my daughter'... and the emperor just sneered at him. Later, as I asked, Gesthal showed me the baby he had got from a dying woman; a woman that had given birth to a half-esper. And he laughed at her pathetic plea that he would take care of her child... I felt tainted, blemished, filthy. It was all because of me, my fault... that wasn't what I had worked for! I kept quiet for a few days, then I spoke with Kerr when I couldn't hold back all my doubts and regret anymore. And he went straight to Gesthal and left his report. I was arrested..."
He clamped his teeth.
"But however, I was well known and liked among the scientists that worked with the espers. Gesthal didn't want their work to slow down a minute, so he allowed Kerr to take my place. Which my brother did with pleasure. And that is my story. Shadow freed me after about eight years later... I'm pretty surprised I hadn't turned mad as well by then. I came from the zone eater to find that my brother was still alive, and I was prepared to do anything to mend that. I had no real intention to find... allies. For a while I even wanted to tell you all, but... as I heard you talk about my brother, using my name... and I saw his madness... I couldn't."
He finally looked up at the others in the room. They were silent, watching him.
"It was my fault, Terra," he said, "I found out, planned and showed the way to the espers. This whole war, all those who died... the destruction and pain... is to be put on my account. And also... your and Celes' stolen lives, Terra. The death of Rachel and Cyan's family... the old king of Figaro... Narshe... the whole world's downfall... because of my discoveries."
Suddenly Shadow pulled out the Striker and put it on the table before Kefka.
"I know what your first impression was," the assassin coldly said, "I don't know what you think now. But I won't allow anyone to touch this man."
Everyone stared at him, surprised.
"The empire took my friend Baram," Shadow continued, hissing, "so I took someone who they thought was important. Therefore, I won't allow that somebody kills him."
"Don't be silly," Terra said, "if Gogo just happens to be Kefka's... Kerr's brother, what does it matter? He is still Gogo."
She turned to the stunned Kefka.
"You couldn't know what it would turn out like," she said, "I'm sure you didn't believe that the reality would be so cold and harsh. It's like with Celes."
"I wonder how she will take this..." Sabin grunted, still not sure if he would trust Kefka/Gogo, "not to mention Cyan. I remember how long time it took before he accepted Celes."
Kefka rubbed his forehead.
"I guess we better find out," Terra said, "come on!"
"Huh?" Kefka gasped as she grabbed his hand and brought him to his feet.
"Let's go to our friends and tell them," she resolutely said, "it's the only way they could begin to break their distrust and accept the truth."
"Not another word," Sabin said and grabbed Kefka's shoulders, "go on, we're blowing this joint."
It seemed like Edgar's brother finally had come to a more understanding decision. He and Terra more or less dragged Kefka towards the door. Setzer shrugged his shoulders and hurried over to his friends.
Shadow blocked the door.
But there was no weapon in his hand, only a big piece of yellow cloth; the biggest remain of the torn veil.
"Better put this on if we're going to walk around outside," the assassin said, "your face is not very anonymous."
"Right... thanks," Kefka mumbled.
He took the cloth and wrapped it around his head with skilled hands.
Shadow opened the door and walked out into the night, followed by his friends. Interceptor strode on behind, as if being on guard. Kefka didn't seem too fond of the idea to show his face to the rest of the world.
"Your Majesty, Mr. Gabbiani seem to have landed outside of the castle," a servant announced.
"Oh, bring him in at once," Edgar said.
He turned to his guests with a smile.
"Ah, yet another of our comrades approaches?" Cyan smiled, "mayhap these dull discussions of state can be turned down for a moment..."
"I haven't heard a boring word for an hour," Locke pointed out.
"That may be because thou dost not turn thy ears to king Edgar and myself, my friend," the leader of the rebuilding of Doma kindly said, "thy whole concentration is aimed towards thy lady."
"Now, now, Cyan," Celes laughed, "since when did I become a lady in your eyes?"
"Since the first moment I realized that thy soul not stored the great darkness I accused thee to carry within."
The servant came hurrying back.
"Your Majesty, apart from Mr. Gabbiani, Your brother prince Sabin, miss Branford, a Mr. Shadow and Gogo are also here."
"Good grief," Edgar said, "now we've got almost everyone..."
Terra, Sabin and Setzer stepped into the room, watching Gogo over their shoulders as they walked. Shadow and Interceptor closed the surrounding of the mimic.
"Hello, people?" Locke said, as puzzled as everyone else.
"Hello," Gogo said in a low voice.
"May I ask what you are doing?" Edgar said.
Terra put her hand on Gogo's arm, calming.
"There's something that our friend here wanted to tell you," the woman with green hair said, gravely.
"You act as if he's Kefka resurrected or something," Edgar said.
"Well, brother, please don't scream..." Sabin said and reached for the veil.
"Sabin, please don't..." Gogo weakly began.
The veil fell.
"... Be so hasty... good grief."
Figaro castle shivered by a roar.
"Next time I'll have you talking first, I promise," Sabin muttered and parried a guard's arm.
"I'd be happy if you would..." Kefka miserably said.
"Stop it!" Setzer shouted, "he isn't Kefka... I mean he is, but not that Kefka... I mean, he is his brother!"
Edgar pushed himself through half his army and waved at the soldiers to back off.
"Alright," the king grimly said, "what's going on?"
"It's Kefka, that's what it is!" Locke concluded, playing with a dagger.
Cyan and Celes said nothing, but their hands were close to the hilts of their weapons.
After Kefka finally had time telling his story again, the air was still thick with distrust. Especially Cyan was very skeptic and resolute.
"And thus, we shall believe the words of this man and Shadow?" the swordsman coldly said, "I am sorry, but in this matter I cannot trust what I hear of the foe's mirror and an assassin."
He was angry, very angry. That he had dared saying something like that about Shadow was proof enough. One had to be very close to rage or completely out of one's mind to say something like that with the man in black present.
Kefka, or Kerr, had murdered Cyan's family, and also many, many others. Everyone had thought that Cyan had forgiven himself for not being able to protect his love and son. Well, he had forgiven himself, but by no means the face that had poured the poison into the water.
"You mean he could be the Kefka we thought we killed?" Terra said, disbelieving, "that is impossible, don't you see that?"
"What is this word 'impossible'?" Cyan growled, "be he Kefka or Kerr, or carries a third and even fourth name, he might be the same man, trying to fool us into new, false feelings of security."
"My name is Kefka," the man in the center muttered, "but I was not the one who poisoned the people of Doma."
"How canst we know that?" Cyan snapped, "thy guise might be merely a new one! Could it be so that 'Gogo' was a game thou played, mocking us while we fought for what was left to love in our dying world?"
"No, that's not true, Cyan!" Kefka cried out.
"Dost not dare to speak my name, fiend!"
Kefka stared at the floor.
"We killed Kefka... Kerr or whatever," Sabin said, surprisingly calm, "that is a fact."
"What tells us that the goddesses hath no power to create another evil from the first?" Cyan coldly said, "the one we killed did not have the guise of the Kefka we knew before; that being was nothing of a human."
"Cyan has a point," Locke said, "we don't know if this Kerr ever existed."
"I got this man from a prison cell," Shadow calmly said, "and that was long before the goddesses had awakened."
"What dost thy memory tell us?" Cyan coldly said, startling everyone by showing such courage, "thy own life is still hidden in mist, Shadow."
At first, everybody just waited for something sharp to dash through the air. But Shadow only nodded slowly.
"I do understand your point," he said.
"Isn't there anybody that could have at least known about Kefka having a twin brother?" Setzer said, trying to come to a solution, "Celes?"
She shook her head.
"No, but... that doesn't mean that he's lying," she slowly said, "people had no value at all in the empire, and the less you knew about others, the better for everyone." "Cid," Kefka suddenly said.
"I used to work with him before I was arrested... he knew Kerr a little. If he's still around somewhere..."
Edgar and his friends exchanged glances.
After the victory one year earlier, the first thing Celes had done had been to fetch her "grandpa" from the solitaire island. He had attended the celebration at Figaro castle, and then he had stayed there, fascinated by all the machinery. He was still there, now working as chief mechanic and scientist for a good purpose. His research of edible cacti had shown to be a start for growing a new kind of crops in the desert. Figaro had produced weapons and armory, but that industry had been pushed aside for more peaceful industry. What the world really needed was farming to recover food for both humans and animals, and tools for that was highly demanded. And the vast desert was suitable for growing cacti which was starting to become popular worldwide. With little water Cid's discoveries grew and carried fruits. Some of the plants' trunks were also tasting well, if one only could get past the needles...
Figaro was facing a prosperous future, and Cid should have a lot of thanks for that. Oh yes, he was still around.
Edgar looked up at all the soldiers in the room. It was a big room, so there was space enough for many uniformed men. And they were all determined not to move before Kefka had been found either guilty or not.
"Would somebody go and get Cid, right away?" Edgar said, his voice making it clear that he would be happy if there were quite a few people leaving the room.
The soldiers knew their king. They weren't too fond of it, but they left, leaving a lot more air to be used for breathing.
"Put the veil back on," Edgar said, "I do want him to think clearly and all by himself."
It took a couple of minutes before Cid arrived. The first thing he did was smiling at Celes.
"Hello, dear," he said, "sorry I had to go back to work."
"It's alright, grandpa," she said and managed to smile a little, "Edgar wanted to... we wanted to talk to you."
"Oh, and what's the matter? Hello, when did you get here?"
The last thing was aimed at the five people and the dog who had arrived last of the old crew.
"They just came here," Edgar grimly said, "tell me, Cid, did you know Kefka before he... snapped?"
Cid's eyebrows went up.
"Why yes," he said, "why do you want to know that?"
"I'll explain in a moment," Edgar said, "what can you tell us about him back then?"
"Well, I studied all the old scripts about espers and magic with him," Cid said and shuddered, "on Gesthal's command, of course. There were many others than us working on it, but we were in the lead. We thought that if we found the way to the espers it would be to create some kind of alliance that could help both sides. We never dreamed what Gesthal's real intention was, you see. Then of course, when the espers had come the reality showed up to be different. But I never dared to protest, and so I grew to believe that what happened was alright..."
Cid cleared his throat, realizing he had left the subject.
"But you were talking about Kefka," he continued, "and before we succeeded in our cause, he was someone I liked to know; inspired, hardworking and reasonable. I never dreamed he would change like he did when the espers were brought in. It was like turning a page. I guess it was because his brother was killed by the espers, one of them broke free and... I never saw it, but people talked about it in weeks afterwards. Of course, not even that can excuse what he did."
"Wait," Locke said, frowning and acting as if he hadn't already heard about it, "Kefka had a brother?"
Cid pursed his mouth.
"Yes, he had. A twin brother, actually. I don't like to talk about him, always thought that he was creepy. But Kefka liked him, even though they were like day and night. His name was Kerr, and if somebody of those two had turned mad, I had never believed it should have been Kefka. Now, why did you want to know about this?"
Terra, Edgar, Locke, Celes, Cyan, Setzer and Sabin exchanged glances.
"What's going on?" Cid asked, puzzled.
"It's me, Cid," Kefka bitterly said and removed the veil, "Kerr never died. It was just another of Gesthal's lies."
Cid stared at him.
"Kefka?" he stuttered.
Kefka looked at those at whose side he had been fighting against his own brother. Terra was smiling carefully, and there were signs of accepting in Sabin and Setzer's eyes. But they had become slightly used to the thought by now. Edgar, Locke and Celes might turn a little softer in time, but Cyan's eyes were like poisonous needles in Kefka's soul. The swordsman was as stubborn as he was strong, the mimic had known that if somebody wasn't going to accept the truth, it would be Cyan or Celes. Kefka had hid for a reason.
Still Kerr kept haunting him. He would always do so. Whenever Kefka looked at his own, scarred face in a mirror, if he destroyed even the tiniest blade of grass or even laughed (which he actually hadn't done in years), he would think of Kerr. That madman, that monster who had been his brother wouldn't ever stop torturing him, always finding new ways to do it. Right now he was smashing the delicate friendships that Kefka had built up using another name. No, those people wasn't his friends. They were Gogo's. He looked down at the yellow piece of cloth that he still held in a tightly clenched fist. That veil was Gogo. Another person; a mysterious but trustworthy ally. But without it, he was simply... Kefka. And not the Kefka he was born to be, but the Kefka that Kerr had created. And that Kefka was not an ally or a friend.
Kefka. What a name to carry...
He noticed in the corner of his mind that the Cyan and Terra party had fallen into a discussion, but he didn't listen. Either they would decide to leave him alone, or they would choose to forgive him for carrying the face which they hated. Or to do away with him, but he didn't believe they would consider that. Whatever the decision became, they wouldn't be the same now that they knew. They couldn't be the friends of Kefka. Gogo had been quiet and mysterious, but he had been a much closer friend that Kefka ever could be. And now, Gogo was dead.
He lazily wondered how long it would take to find another zone eater...
He looked up and found Cid's eyes.
"I'm glad it wasn't you," the mechanic gravely said.
"You must be the only one," Kefka bitterly muttered.
Kefka glanced at Cyan's back and then looked away again.
"Not that much."
"Hey," Cid kindly said, "at least forgive yourself when it comes to the espers. You weren't the only guilty one, and none of us knew the truth. Besides, they are all well and alive according to Terra."
"Yeah," Kefka muttered, "that's the last good news I had in a long time."
He absentmindedly scratched the scar on his cheek. Kerr's last gift. Had almost disclosed Gogo that time. It was good that he had been able to rehide his face before Celes had seen it. They hadn't needed the confusion in that moment.
'Pity, pity, pity, pity, brother!'
His imagination had a horrible way of making a replica of Kerr's mad, screeching voice when Kefka felt helpless and miserable.
'Poor, poor Kefka! Loosing all your little friends, does it hurt, brother?'
He fought back a shudder as his memory played the insane laughter he had heard on the top of the tower one year ago.
Brother. Why did you hate me so?
He turned his head, finding himself looking at Terra.
"Look, can you go through with facing Strago and the others who are left?" she carefully asked.
Kefka scratched his scar.
"I'm not ready, but I'll do it anyhow," he said with a sigh.
"And I am going to keep an eye on thee!" Cyan growled.
Actually, they ended up with everyone, except Edgar, going to the airship. Cid just followed, without a word or explanation. Celes and Locke decided to do as Cyan, not one more grain forgiving. And the only reason the king of Figaro stayed was probably that he was needed in his castle. No, they didn't trust Kefka. Not at all.
'Oh dear, oh dear, brother! They all hate you, don't they?'
"You'll get that to bleed again if you don't calm down," Terra warned him.
Kefka realized that he was scratching his scar again, almost furiously. That habit was really getting a grip of him, or it had just had so many chances to be used lately. He put the veil back on to save the old wound. He felt much better with the cloth hiding his secrets.
Back on the airship he stood alone, watching the ground below. It was green, but there were spots of brown, dead parts. And all edges of the continents were still mostly dead cliffs, as if the water was dangerous to the plants.
He sighed, and without notice the right hand reached up to his face again.
"You're... you!" Relm stuttered.
"Him! Him dead!" Gau howled.
Strago just crossed his arms and glared at Kefka, making him want to recoil into the wall. God, that old man could look terrifying...!
Mog and his gang of moogles had been taking the whole thing surprisingly calm, and Umaro had been half asleep when they finally had found him. That had probably been just as well, anyhow...
The small, white, dancing teddy-bear had calmly explained that it was obvious that Kefka wasn't the one the heroes had defeated, so he could only be someone else. So what?
Moogle logic... bless it. Humans were worse.
Gau had become fond of Relm during the adventures, so Strago had allowed the wild boy to move into the old man and girl's house in Thamasa. The boy had actually begun to become pretty civilized, and he was very proud of it. Relm and her grandpa had taught him how to read, creating a book-eater. Gau was a curious boy, and a fast learner. Nowadays he stood up straight most of the time. And had a better hairdo.
But right now, all that was irrelevant.
"Look," Terra said, "he might be Kerr's brother, but he is also our friend Gogo. Can't we see to that matter, and not only his face?"
Gau and Relm exchanged glances. Well, they had so far been spared the kind of suffering that some of the grown-ups had experienced. They still had a lot of innocence left, and could probably forgive.
"Leave it, Terra," Kefka said, shaking his head, "I'm really glad you're trying, but I believe that it's better that I just disappear now. Setzer, could I please ask of you to bring me to Triangle island?"
They all watched him in silence. Then the gambler finally nodded.
Damn, was it just his habit or did the scar really itch?
"Then I'll help you find a zone eater," Terra said, with sadness in her warm, beautiful eyes.
Yes, it was best that he left. He knew it, they knew it. It was for the better for everyone. The loneliness down in the zone eater would be much better than the loneliness outside of it. Maybe he would be able to find peace of mind if he just got to forget all of those who had been his friends for such a brief time...
"I'll help too," Cid resolutely said.
Sabin nodded, gravely.
"Thank you," Kefka said, scratching his scar, "but I..."
"We'll come too!" Relm said, "if you're so sure that hiding is the solution, well... I guess you're just as stupid as some goofy old man I know."
Strago ignored her. Kefka too. At least he tried to.
In the end the airship became just as crowded as one year ago. Kefka went into the small room in the corner of the main room, to be alone.
'Yes, go away! Get out of the world!'
And that damn laughter!
"Shut up, Kerr!" Kefka growled to himself.
He kept laughing for a few seconds more until Kefka began scratching his scar to think of something else.
"Don't make it bleed."
He startled and spun around. Terra looked calmly at him. He hadn't heard her enter, too deep into his thoughts.
"Are you sure about this?" she asked, "that hiding will clean your name?"
"My name can't be purified," Kefka muttered, "there's no place for me in this world."
"But you're not giving yourself a chance. I was an imperial witch, but as people realized that it had been a slave crown that kept me there, I was forgiven. And you weren't the one who destroyed the world."
He tried to smile a little, but didn't succeed.
"It's nice of you to try to make me feel better, Terra, but as you have seen there's no way that all of your friends will understand. No."
He shook his head.
"And I don't blame them."
"That's just idiotic!" Terra snapped, "you just have his face; it wasn't you! How can this be? It's completely absurd!"
'Such a sweet little flower she is! And stupid too! Ha!'
Kefka clenched his teeth, fighting his own imagination. Was he going mad too?
"It's not that easy to forgive," he said, raising his hand without thinking about it, "forgiving me would maybe feel like forgiving my brother."
"It's absurd," Terra repeated, sighing.
"Yes, it is. But it's really not that easy, you see. People are complicated beings..."
His skin finally broke after the cruel beating.
How could such a small wound hurt so much? Felt almost like it had done when he had gotten it...
"Let me see," Terra kindly said, not blaming him.
"Not necessarily... what the...?"
Kefka stared at his gloved hand, which he had just removed from the cheek. It was covered with blood. But the wound couldn't be that big...
"Good grief!" Terra exclaimed and rushed over to him, pulling a small handkerchief from her pocket, "how can it bleed that much?"
Lightning bolts flew through Kefka's head as Terra carefully touched his face with the piece of cloth. He sunk to his knees, and she followed.
"Don't worry, Kefka, it'll be alright," she promised him, "here, take the handkerchief..."
He held it against his cheek as Terra ran to the door and called for the others. Blood was staining the floor as Locke, Celes, Cyan and Sabin came rushing to see what was wrong. All the others were up on the deck and hadn't heard Terra's call.
"Don't bother..." Kefka muttered as Sabin grabbed his arms to help him stand up.
"We need bandages," the muscular man said, ignoring what the bleeding one had said.
"Come on!" Terra growled as the three other people hesitated, "it isn't Kefka, it's Gogo, alright? Gogo!"
At first, they all stood silent and hesitating. Then Celes gave a growl and hurried over to Kefka, giving him another handkerchief. Terra's was soaking.
"Oh, alright!" Locke finally sighed and went over to help Sabin give Kefka support.
Terra hurried out of the hall and downstairs. She knew that Setzer had a box of bandages somewhere...
As she had found it and ran back, she found that Kefka was lying on one of the sofas, and the group onboard had assembled. The flow of blood hadn't ceased the slightest.
Kefka watched the world through fading eyes. This bleeding was going to kill him, and he knew it. If it didn't stop...
Terra removed the second handkerchief and put a bandage there instead.
Was she the only one who really had accepted the truth apart from Shadow? She, who should hate his face most of all?
If so, couldn't he die there, anyhow? Did it really matter anymore?
'Die, you fool! Die!'
That his imagination never could...
It hurt so much... that laughter... filling his head... burning...
He stared up in Terra's wide eyes.
"What was that?" she whispered.
"Wh-wh... what?" Kefka stuttered.
His life was bleeding away... hurt...
"Did you hear something?" Terra whispered.
"No, what?" Sabin worriedly asked.
"I thought that I heard..."
"No!" Kefka screeched and sat straight up, violently pressing his hands against his head, "no... stop!"
Terra rushed to her feet.
"Look!" she shouted.
Kefka only felt as if his head was about to explode. But through the burning lumps that danced before his eyes he saw something small and glistening soar from his face. It looked like a tiny nail...
"Pity, pity, pity, brother! Ha!"
Insane laughter filled the air. Terra stumbled backwards, and she wasn't the only one.
No, not a nail... it was a piece of a metallic feather. And it began to glow, burning the blood away.
"K-Kerr..." Kefka stuttered, heavily leaning against the elbow rest of the sofa.
"How I hate, hate, hate you, brother..."
The glow grew, taking an almost human form.
Two enormous wings tore the air into pieces, sending everyone flying into the walls. A couple of claw-like hands grabbed Kefka's shoulders and lifted him from the sofa.
"No magic..." he stuttered, "you can't..."
"No, no magic!" Kerr screeched, "but hate has it's own power, you see..."
"Can't exist... you are dead!"
Kerr threw his head backwards and laughed. As he did so, Kefka's misted eyes fell upon his eyeteeth. They weren't teeth, they were fangs. Undead... he was an undead...
"I am dead, that is true," Kerr sneered, "but I cannot be completely gone before I have destroyed one last life! Die, brother!"
He let go with one hand and raised it, ready to cleave...
"Oh no, you don't!"
With his fading sight, Kefka only thought that he saw a wave of green hair and a white cloak. He fell, but somebody caught him.
"Hang on, Gogo!" Sabin growled.
Kerr backed screeching as Celes and Terra grimly gave him proof of that one years peace hadn't made them less furious. The woman with green hair was unarmed, but she did what she could with her bare hands. Yet her anger wasn't completely focused.
"Will you pick up your blasted head from the floor now, Cyan?" she snarled, "when this shadow is back to kill? Is that what it takes for you to trust?! You idiots, all of you!"
"Now isn't that a pity?" Kerr sneered and grabbed Terra's crag with his right hand, "pity, pity, pity. Destroying the greatest power of all, but a mere face crush your pretty alliance? Ha!"
Celes threw herself at her struggling friend, but another hand grabbed her throat. She desperately kicked the air, fumbling for the undead angel's wrist.
"And little pretty Celes Chere," Kerr smirked, "still in one piece, dear?"
"Let them go!"
Locke leaped forward but was knocked back by a big foot. The two women's struggle was getting more and more desperate, fast.
"Interceptor!" Shadow growled, and the assassin attacked with his dog by his side.
Kerr snarled as he was hit by a dagger in the shoulder and two lines of sharp fangs buried into his arm. Terra and Celes fell to the floor. Locke and Setzer rushed to the women, ducking for Kerr's feet and pulling the two slightly dizzy friends away.
"How dare thee return?!" Cyan growled and reached for his swords, "after thy defeat..."
"You are such an idiot, Cyan..." Terra coughed, holding her hands around her throat.
Shadow and Interceptor hit the wall and fell to the floor. Kerr sneered at the confused warriors.
"Give him to me!" he screeched, "you don't want him, so why are you fighting to keep him?"
"You'll never get it, will you?" Relm snapped, instinctively reaching for her brushes even though they held little power nowadays.
Gau's hair bristled, and he was growling in a dangerous way. Sabin was backing, on guard. He had to bring Kefka to as much safety as there was. The prince caught Strago's eyes, and the two men nodded. The older one held his staff in a tight grip, moving in between Kefka and his undead brother as Sabin put the wounded one down on the floor. Cid rushed over the floor with a new bandage.
"Are you alright, Shadow?" Sabin called, ripping his clawed knuckle-dusters from his belt.
The assassin rose up on his hands, shaking his head to regain his orientation. Interceptor was reminding a lot of Gau for the moment.
"We said that we wouldn't allow you to harm another living thing," Celes snarled, "and that includes Gogo, whether he has your face or not!"
"Hear ye, hear ye!"
Everyone stared at Terra. Her eyes were shooting lightning bolts.
"I see," she snarled, "now he's worth something again! This is absurd! I thought I knew you better than this!"
"Oh, don't give me that kind of crap again..." Kerr sighed, floating upside down in the air with his feet touching the ceiling.
"You just shut up," Terra snapped at him, giving him a poisonous glare.
"Look who's talking big... the little lady Maduindaughter."
"Well, well," he said, "if you little fools are determined to keep my brother, I guess I'll just make a little hole in your pretty balloon up there."
He hit the ceiling with his heel, and the thick planks broke like hay. Immediately the wind began to howl inside of the room, making Kerr's strange robes flap like his wings.
"Why do you want to kill him so badly, Kerr?" Setzer growled, trying to stop the madman with words.
The big angel-creature waved with a finger.
"No, no, no," he said, soft as silk, "my name is not Kerr, it's Kefka."
"I don't believe it, you want to kill him of jealousy, you nutcase?" Relm said, disbelieving.
"Of course he wants to," Cid growled, pressing another bandage against Kefka's cheek, "he was always jealous at his brother. You have no idea how strong that feeling can be, especially when it's fused with insanity, little lady."
Kefka's trembling hand tried to hold the bandage.
"You can have my blasted name..." he bitterly stuttered, "you've stained it already..."
"Is this when I should scream and disappear because of your sacrifice?" Kerr sneered and began laughing, suddenly rushing through the air with his wings beating like two blades of a meat-mincer.
Kefka could hardly see at all by then. He only heard the others scream and hoped that everyone had ducked in time. Then he heard Cid give a half strangled shout, and the bandage fell as there was no strong hand that could help him hold it in place anymore. Cold fingers encircled his neck and ripped him from the floor.
"Sir Gogo!" Cyan shouted.
Yes, I am Gogo... call me Gogo, then everything will be alright... alright...
Even his burning throat and lunges didn't seem to matter that much anymore.
Just call me Gogo...
It'll be fine.
He had no idea how he could do it; his leg seemed to draw back by itself and then heavily hit Kerr's chest. Snarling in surprise the madman lost his grip a little, and Kefka broke free. He hit the floor, Cyan grabbed his hand.
"Come, Sir," the swordsman grimly said, "thy strength is not enough for this battle."
The red liquid on Kefka's gloves stained Cyan's palm, but he didn't seem to care the slightest. With the help of the resolute friend and his legs shaking of the loss of blood, the mimicker somehow managed to stagger away from his growling brother. Kerr was spitting and snarling, suffering attacks from all directions.
As the angel-creature tried to fend himself against Locke's dagger, Celes gave him a cut in the hip from behind. Spinning around, he left his back vulnerable to Setzer, who was ready with his very sharp, metallic playing cards. Two buried in Kerr's back, but fell out with a hit of the wings at the same time as the angel sent a powerful kick into the gambler's stomach. Setzer flew backwards, knocking Gau to the floor when the boy tried to stop his friend's dangerous flight. In rage, Terra and Sabin attacked simultaneously, almost sending Kerr into the wall. But his palms were the only things hitting the wood, and he used that support to dash backwards and return the favor. Sabin almost landed on Terra as they were sent above the floor, but managed to avoid hurting her with his weight by getting a grip of her shoulder and pushing her aside even while they both fell.
Celes attacked again, raising her sword for a powerful slice. But Kerr saw her coming and reached out for her, as an attacking snake. His long fingers caught her wrist and sent her stumbling past him. While he was turned away, Strago took the opportunity to practice a jump of a height that his age shouldn't allow, and forcefully placed his staff in the back of Kerr's head. Dropping a comment about old men and staffs, the madman reached backwards, grabbed Strago's arms and violently pulled. Relm's grandpa spun around as he fell, and landed on his feet just beside Setzer.
"Shadow, now!" Locke shouted.
The assassin pulled out a black dagger, undoubtedly the Striker, and it flew through the air like a swallow of death.
There was a terribly soft thump.
Kerr screeched of pain and rage; a fading screech and growl as he sunk to the floor, twitching like a wounded animal, trying to get a grip of the black hilt that was stuck in the back of his neck.
Then suddenly he froze and fell, loose-limbed. His mad eyes, which had burned a second ago now stared blankly at the ceiling, wide open in shock.
He didn't move anymore.
Everyone held their breath for almost a minute. Kerr's legs twitched a couple of times; death throes.
"Is everyone well?" Cyan finally asked.
"How's Kefka?" a coir of uneasy voices shot back.
"Aye..." the swordsman sadly said.
They rushed over the floor and sat down on their knees, anxiously watching the half deathly pale, half blood-stained face. It looked like a mask of a horror theater.
Kefka's feverish eyes tried to focus on the many faces around him.
"Wh... what...?" he whispered.
It was almost impossible to hear his weakened voice, especially with the wind howling from the hole in the ceiling.
"He's gone," Terra softly said, trying not to let her voice give away her despair for Kefka's fading life, "not even he could survive the Striker's poison, since he had no magic..."
Kefka tiredly blinked, trying to remember something important.
"No..." he muttered, frowning, "Striker can't... undead..."
They all spun around or looked up as they heard the hoarse giggling.
"You seem to have forgotten how hard it is to do away with ol' Kefka!" Kerr sneered, sending the Striker into the floor were Shadow had been half a second ago.
"You're not Kefka!" Cid growled, "you're Kerr, the madman!"
"No, no, no," Kerr spitted, "I am Kefka!"
"Gods, let him... have the damn... name..." Kefka whispered, "let me... let me just be Gogo..."
All the bandages were bleed through. Cid desperately looked around, but Cyan cut off a piece of the wounded man's robe and put the yellow cloth against the bleeding cheek.
"Terra is right," the swordsman gravely said, ignoring the battling in the background, "I was a fool, Gogo. 'Tis indeed tragic that it would take such circumstances to make me think clearly."
"I und-underst... understand..." Kefka muttered.
Yes, he understood. Cyan had had the right of not trusting him. They had all had that right. After all, he hadn't trusted himself either; dreaded the one he really was and hated his face.
He felt so cold and tired. Maybe if he just fell asleep, the pain would disappear...
Sleep. That sounded nice.
There was a sound of glass shattering, followed by a scream. Not of pain, but pure anger.
'Kerr...' Kefka thought, fading, 'is that you...?'
He couldn't see anything, too tired to even try. Only listen.
"You puny little fools!" Kerr's voice screeched.
"You're the only fool around here!" Locke's voice growled, "here, catch!"
Kerr screamed again, to the sound of more broken glass.
"Cyan!" Setzer shouted, "there should be more healing potions in the cupboard, get them!"
Kefka felt the swordsman move away and heard hurrying footsteps.
"Here, Sir Cid," Cyan's voice muttered, "whatever good can be done is worth trying."
The cloth left Kefka's cheek, and was replaced with a soft feeling of purifying warmth.
"I guess you can't drink it," Cid muttered, "don't worry, my friend, it'll be alright."
There were more smashes of glass. As the herbal potion sent careful, healing tentacles through Kefka's flesh, he regained his sight a little.
Kerr looked as if he was partly melting, the potions that healed living was deadly for an undead. But he was still standing strong, fending himself against those who tried to hit him with their weapons. Terra and Relm was standing in the back, carefully aiming not to waste the three last bottles of healing drugs.
"Do the Bum Rush now, Sabin!" the woman with green hair shouted as she successfully threw a bottle.
"Back off!" the warrior prince yelled and took a deep, calm breath.
Kerr had no chance to scream again as Sabin attacked him, looking like a deadly, human tornado.
The mad angel heavily hit the floor, and Terra ran over to him with the two last bottles and smashed them onto Kerr's chest. His hand flew up and grabbed her shoulder, trying to make her loose her balance. But as she easily broke free, he gave one last growl and then became quiet.
When his hand hit the ground, it turned to dust. The rest of the great body followed, even the metallic wings.
There was a moment's silence.
"Is he gone now?" Gau finally asked.
Terra sat down on one knee and held her hand above the pile of dust. Then she blew carefully at it, making it lazily twirl and dance over the floor.
"Yes, this time he is," she finally concluded.
Kefka smiled tiredly and closed his eyes. There was a darkness reaching for him, but it wasn't evil. It was a warm, welcoming fall that awaited. It would only bring away all the pain and harsh memories, blessing him with peace of mind.
It's time. Time to rest.
He thought that he heard his friends call his name. They called him Kefka.
No, I'm not Kefka. I am Gogo. Let me die with that name, please...
I can't die as Kefka.
I have to live, to teach them that I'm Gogo.
The darkness seemed to hesitate, watching him.
Don't you want to come?
No, not yet.
Very well, then.
It seemed to smile, understanding.
He opened his eyes. At first, everything was dark. Then he
managed to harness the soft light spilling out through a curtain
and use it to see better.