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That Which Was Beside You All The Time

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It wasn’t until a few days after the final battle with Kefka that the unlikely group of heroes was finally returning to their old selves. Before that, they had been in a daze of sorts; Setzer kept the Falcon on a slow course while they rested and healed. The sheer rush of defeating Kefka had been tempered with the reminder of what had been lost and the thoughts of what needed to be done to heal their world.

Relm and Gau had been the first to erupt in joy as they had run around the airship’s deck, the young girl retelling the battle like bards would. Their happiness had been infectious and soon the others were laughing and drinking, trading stories from when they were apart and planning grand celebrations for the future.

The third night found Terra standing at the airship’s railing, looking at the countryside as it slowly passed by. She had left the others in the dining room; most of her friends were either passed out from drink or loudly singing victory songs off-key. Even Celes, with her newfound singing ability, sounded a bit shrill as she competed with Setzer to see who could sing the loudest.

A hand softly touched Terra’s shoulder, as to not startle her. When she turned she found Locke standing there, a small smile on his face.

“Hey there,” he said softly, then moved to join her at the railing.

“Locke,” she replied with a short nod. “Couldn’t stand the singing anymore?”

Locke laughed. “It was getting pretty bad,” he admitted, “and I am nowhere near drunk enough to enjoy it.”

It was Terra’s turn to laugh; Locke enjoyed hearing her laugh, especially after all they had been through.

They fell into a companionable silence for a bit, both watching the world pass by. Then Locke spoke again, his words a bit hesitant. “So…where are you going to settle? After the celebrations and rebuilding, I mean…”

“Mobliz,” Terra answered without hesitation. “I miss the children there. It’s the first place I’ve ever been that really felt like…’home’.” Terra had no basis as to what ‘home’ should feel like, but it seemed the right term in her heart. “Are you returning to Kohlingen or Vector?” she asked him. Kohlingen had been Locke’s home for a long time, but Vector was where Celes wanted to return to. She had been raised there and wanted to restore it, but as a place of democracy instead of a monarchy.

Locke paused a moment. “Neither,” he finally said. “Kohlingen is no longer for me and Celes and I…well…ever since our last visit to Kohlingen…we straightened out a few misunderstandings between us.”

The last visit to Kohlingen had been when Locke had obtained the Phoenix Esper. Celes had been there for him when he found it, but looking back, he realized he didn’t thank her or even acknowledge her properly, as all his thoughts had been on Rachel. They had always been on Rachel, even when everyone else thought he was falling in love with Celes. Even Celes had thought that… Locke would never forgive himself for that. She finally realized it when Locke tried to revive Rachel. If it had succeeded, he would have stayed with her the rest of his life, Celes or not. They had talked about this after a while, Locke apologetic and remorseful, but honestly glad that Celes had survived and had found him again. For a bit Celes had been rightfully upset, but in the end, their friendship was still strong.

“I’m so sorry,” Terra said, not knowing about what had occurred. Even Celes had not said anything, despite being close with Terra. But then again, there wasn’t much time for talk when the world needed saving.

“It’s alright,” Locke replied. “Actually, I think I…well I might like to see Mobliz a bit more. Last time, with Phunbaba and all…”

“You want to come to Mobliz with me?” Terra was surprised, but admitted to herself that she liked the idea.

“We’ve been together since the beginning of this whole thing,” Locke explained, his confidence returning. “Why not stay together for the rest?”

Terra couldn’t stop herself from blushing. She realized that Locke had always been kind to her, and protective, even while admiring her strength and will. He had shared the quiet moments of everything from despair to happiness with her. Locke was her dear friend, the first she had ever known, and the thought of perhaps something more…

“I think I’d really like that,” she answered with a smile. Locke positively beamed at her reply and went to wrap his arms around her in a gentle embrace. They spent the next few hours like that, warm and safe and happy, watching the world with the promises of a happy future.