I didn't think I'd actually write this! I've never even attempted Final Fantasy VI
fanfiction before. If you'd told me a fortnight ago I was about to write Celes/Sabin, I'd have asked whether you were sure.
Sorry about the pretentious lowercase title. It just seemed like a title that demanded pretentious lowercase.Title:
a little thing like the end of the worldFandom: Final Fantasy VIRating:
Celes and Sabin, together in the wreckage.
“It’s been a long time,” Sabin says. “I was starting to give up hope on seeing any of you again.”
“Cid said I’d been asleep for a year,” Celes says.
Sabin whistles. “Haven’t really been keeping track. A year already, huh?”
“It doesn’t seem like long enough, somehow,” she says. “The world’s so different.”
There isn’t much to say in response to that, she supposes, and they’re both quiet for the next couple of hours, no sound but their footsteps and the occasional buzz of a particularly tenacious insect. But Sabin is a reassuring presence, she finds, even when he’s not distracting her with chatter.
They got along well enough before everything happened, but they never really spent time alone together; Celes was never as close with him as she was with Locke, or with Terra. Right now, though, Sabin seems like the most important person in the world, just because he’s here
. He’s with her. He’s the reason she isn’t alone.-
The nights are cold out in the open, but they’re still hours from the next town, if it still exists, and they’re too tired and hungry to press on. They find a patch of large, feathery ferns, yellowing a little but still alive, and they make a sort of mat out of them. It should be a little less uncomfortable than sleeping on the bare earth, at least.
“You want to take it?” Sabin asks, looking down at their handiwork.
Celes shakes her head. “It’ll be warmer if we share.”
There’s no discussion on the nights after that. She sleeps in his arms, his body warm against her back, his breath rustling her hair, and they never say a word about it.-
There’s not enough food for today. She’s getting used to the constant ache of hunger, but there’s even less than usual, and they’re both worn out from staying endlessly on the move. It’s difficult to find plants and animals healthy enough to make a safe meal, difficult to find anyone selling much that’s edible in a world where meat’s become more valuable than money.
She meets Sabin’s eyes, sees her own thoughts on his face.
“I’m not that hungry,” he says, pushing his share towards her.
“Don’t try to be gallant,” she says. You’re not your brother,
she means, but she doesn’t know whether mentioning Edgar will cause him pain. “I don’t intend to drag your half-starved corpse across the continent. Eat.”-
The walk along the Serpent Trench is a long one, and salt crunches under their feet every step of the way, a constant reminder that this land is supposed to be under water. A single seagull is calling weakly from the rusty sky. It probably hasn’t had any more luck finding food than they have. Celes tries not to think of the fish in these empty oceans, rotting before they’ve died.
“Could we have stopped this?” she asks.
“No,” Sabin says, without hesitation.
She turns to frown at him. “You can’t know that.”
He shrugs. “Worrying about it won’t make a difference. We might as well say the answer’s no.”
She hesitates. It’s an appealing proposition.
“You’re right,” she says at last, turning away. “We couldn’t have done anything.”
It’s good that he’s the one with her. Celes tends to dwell on things, keeps drifting into the past or the future in her head. Sabin helps to keep her anchored here
, right now. He’s able to stay focused on what needs to be done in the moment. They need to find supplies. They need to keep moving. Anything else can wait.-
They still sleep curled together every night. She wakes often, and it’s reassuring to feel Sabin’s warmth against her back, to feel his heart beating, to know without looking that she’s not alone in this broken world.
One morning she wakes to find she’s shifted in the night to face him. She watches him sleep for a moment, and then, on some strange impulse, presses her face into his neck. Closes her eyes. Breathes him in.
She pulls back when she feels him stirring. His eyes flicker open, and he gives her a puzzled smile.
“Sorry,” she says, suddenly intensely embarrassed.
“It’s okay,” he says.
A moment passes. They’re both awake, Celes thinks. They should be getting ready for another day of walking. And instead they’re lying here, in each other’s arms.
Sabin is the one who draws back at last. “Uh. I’ll see if I can find us something for breakfast.”-
“Do you have a room available?” Celes asks. It’s by no means guaranteed; a lot of people have lost their homes, and inns tend to be crowded these days, even with the decline in population.
The innkeeper flicks his eyes over the two of them. “One bed?”
“Two, if you can spare them.”
“’Fraid we’re nearly booked up,” the innkeeper says. “Got a one-bed room, if you can make use of it.”
Celes lets out a breath. In some strange way, she thinks she might be relieved. “We’ll take it.”-
“A proper bed,” Sabin says, grinning broadly. He walks around it, admiring it from all angles. “What if we steal it and push it along with us?”
Celes closes the door. Leans her forehead against it for a moment. She hadn’t known what she wanted until this moment, and something about crossing the threshold and seeing this room, that one bed, has brought it into clear focus at last.
“Would you kiss me if I asked?” she asks, not turning to look at him.
There’s a brief silence.
“Uh,” Sabin says. “Are you asking?”
She turns then, and sees his frozen posture, his bewildered expression. “I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
Sabin looks slightly affronted. “I’m not frightened
. I’m just... not sure I heard you right.”
Celes sighs. She shouldn’t have asked. “Never mind. I can sleep on the floor, if you’re – if this makes things uncomfortable.”
He shakes his head. “It’s okay.”
He holds out his arms when he lies down, just as he usually does, and she nestles in as she usually does, her back against his chest, trying to ignore the tight coil in her stomach, trying to forget she said anything.
A minute or so passes, and then he gently brushes her hair to one side. Presses a kiss to the back of her shoulder.
Celes breathes out slowly, carefully.
He turns her in his arms to face him. “This isn’t some kind of joke?” he asks.
In answer, she leans in to kiss him on the corner of his mouth. He lets out an unsteady breath of his own, then curls his hand around the back of her neck and meets her lips with his.-
It isn’t going to end with kissing. It starts as a feeling; it builds quickly into a determination.
He’s reserved at first, so much so that she wonders whether he really wants this. But he eagerly returns any move she makes, and she realises that he’s letting her set the boundaries. If she kisses his neck, he knows he can kiss hers.
She slips her hand under his waistband, and he groans into her mouth and pulls her closer.
A moment later he breaks off suddenly, his breathing shallow. “I don’t have any...”
He makes an awkward gesture. Any way to prevent conception,
Celes’s mind fills in, although those probably aren’t the words he’d use.
“Do you?” he asks, almost pleading.
Celes doesn’t particularly want to talk or think about this; she just wants to fall into it, she just wants to feel
. But apparently some degree of talking is going to be required. “To be honest, I wasn’t planning for this to happen. And I certainly
don’t plan to have a child in this situation.”
“You don’t have any magic that can help or anything?”
She finds herself smiling. “Any magic?
Any contraceptive magic?”
“Well, I don’t know how it works,” he says, a little defensively.
She shakes her head.
He groans again, as if he’s in pain, and rolls away from her. “So we can’t...”
“So there are one or two specific things we can’t do,” Celes says. She pulls him back to face her, kisses him again, her hand against his hip. “I’m sure we’ll manage.”-
“Do you miss Locke?” he asks, afterwards.
“I miss everyone,” she says.
He’s silent for a moment. “Were you thinking of Locke?”
It’s a question she hates; it’s a question she’s been trying not to think about herself. Best to deflect it by not taking it seriously. “I was thinking of everyone.”
“Ugh.” Sabin makes a face. “Even Mog?”
And somehow they’re suddenly laughing, the two of them, here after the end of the world. It feels good to know that she can still laugh. It feels good to have him with her, even if the others are lost.-
She heaves her pack over her shoulder, looking out at a horizon just as featureless as everywhere else. It’s tempting to settle in town, but they have to keep looking. “I suppose we should set out.”
“Guess you’re right,” Sabin says.
They stand side by side for a moment, neither making a move to leave. At last she turns to look at him.
He hesitates, then reaches out to touch her face. She closes her eyes, lets herself focus on nothing but the roughness of his palm against her cheek.
“You’re beautiful,” he says. There’s nothing suave in it; it’s actually a little awkward. All his confidence seems to vanish when he’s saying something sincere.
She opens her eyes. “Don’t tell me that,” she says. “It’s no use to me. Tell me I’m alive.”
He smiles a little at that, and the discomfort in his voice has faded when he speaks. “You’re alive, Celes.”