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Ended in Disaster

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They had failed.

They couldn't stop him and it took everything they had to escape that crumbling, floating continent with their lives in tact. The collective heart of the group was heavy with the gloom that they hadn't achieved their goal. With the exception of Setzer, the group watched with varying degrees of despair and horror as everything they had fought to protect fell apart. Locke and Celes in particular were staring at the ground thousand of feet below them as the power of the Warring Triad wrecked havoc, their hair blowing into their eyes.

They could hear Sabin shouting in the background. "Get out of the way! The island is falling..."

The island was falling. The biggest sign of their failure was hurtling toward The Blackjack. Locke reached for Celes' hand as she reached for his. The two exchanged hopeless glances, eyes wide as they viewed the world being painted in hues of red, orange and black. They watched as their faces changed to grim, bleak and blank countenances as the first piece of the island hit the airship. An engine exploded and the two refused to let go of the others hand. The deck began to shudder as the second piece of the floating continent fell onto the communal gasbags that kept the ship afloat.

The gasbag exploded into a fiery rage, the ropes securing the bag to the deck strained against the moorings before they eventually began to buckle under the pressure. The ropes untwisted and went up into the sky with the blazing remaining of the top half of the Blackjack. It was only inevitable that they would all be thrown overboard.

Relm and Gau were the first ones thrown over and Locke couldn't reach either of them in time. Celes watched as Strago and Cyan were bucked away from the falling vessel as the deck shuddered from a third assault from the falling island.

They were nothing more than toys being thrown away by that point.

"I'm not letting go," Locke shouted desperately at Celes. "I won't lose -- NO!"

Both Locke and Celes heard a shrill scream and a stream of green hair from their dear friend Terra fell to her doom over the ocean. The both reached out in unison to try and save her before the deck had had enough and splintered beneath their feet. Sabin and Edgar fell along with Setzer and Shadow which left Locke and Celes hand-in-hand on the remnants of the deck. The two exchanged desperate looks as the deck crumbled beneath Celes. She braced herself for the moment of free-falling before it stopped.

The former General looked up to find Locke staring at her, eyes wide with horror and desperation, his grip like a vice around Celes' hand.

"No!" He shouted defiantly. "Gods and Kefka be damned! This whole world be damned! I'm not losing someone else that I care for!"

Celes swore she could hear Kefka's laughter from above them as she tried to tighten her own grip on Locke's hand, but her fingers were numb. There was a cold running through her body that was more than just the power of the esper whose life had been pumped into her. She looked at Locke and could see that not being able to save Rachel was playing over in his inconsolable eyes. She smiled sadly at him, knowing that he wasn't ready to let go of his love for the comatose girl yet as the General steeled herself to save him again above all else.

"You have to live," She screamed at him. "We have to live. We have to survive. Kefka won this round --"

"--Celes, stop!" Locke pleaded as she let go his hand and whispered something that fell upon deaf ears. "I can't do this alone again!"

"--But he hasn't won the war." she mouthed to him as the only thing she left behind for theTreasure Hunter was the single leather glove that he scrunched in his hand.

His eyes closed as grief consumed him for a second time. He'd lost Rachel and now he was losing Celes. His eyes were wide, the all-consuming grief that he'd failed another person he had sworn to protect was beginning to win again as the rest of the deck fell out from beneath him into the water below. He was coming closer and closer to the water as he looked up and watched the rest of the island crumble and litter the sky.

Locke's body hit the water as he resolved that Kefka would pay for destroying everything they held dear as the world around him went completely black.

The plan had ended in disaster.