Characters: Rosa, Rydia, Cecil
Spoilers: Final Fantasy IV, ascent of Mt. Hobs (road to Fabul)
Notes: I'm playing Final Fantasy IV for the first time, and I'm puzzling over Ms. Fanservice vs. Mr. Armor-Plated Batman. I like the characters, I like the ship, but their costuming is throwing me. Also, I like Rosa's interactions with Rydia.
Rosa gazes across across the fire, sharing a silence that is almost comfortable despite the desperate fears tomorrow may hold. Her cloak is wrapped around the Mist child, who has finally fallen asleep with her head pillowed on the woman's lap. Rosa's eyes hold a crinkle of mirth and rueful frustration. She is too tactful to voice her thwarted wish in the presence of the desolate bard who paces the camp's perimeter, fingertips brushing laments from his strings.
Cecil notices her scrutiny and nods back. The corners of his lips tick up in a faint smile, although she cannot be sure of it in his helm's shadow.
"You've found us a treasure," Rosa murmurs, fingers fretting the wild green hair spilling over her knees.
"I'm sorry," Cecil says, a hardened reflex at this point.
"I see it will take more than Esuna to excise that word from your lips." Rosa shrugs in fond exasperation; she knows that this argument can only be won from within. "Beloved, would I not wish for our own to be such as she? I will almost regret when Rydia outgrows our aid."
His eyes widen. Rosa has not spoken so directly of the future in a long time, and his thoughts of the future have all been too dark.
"She will leave us soon, I think. In the meantime, I am honored to teach her what I may."
He exhales. "In your hands, at least, her mother's spirit may rest easier."
"Cecil." Rosa tips up her hand, a glimmer of moonlight on the palm mimicking the soft glow of Cura. "Let it be. Your every deed has been honorable since this child crossed your path. Hold onto her light."
His shoulders hunch. It makes her ache to remember his straight, erect carriage in the prow of the Red Wings' flagship, in happier days when they were sent on embassy together. Knight's armor is a wall she cannot penetrate. She will strip herself down to bare skin as if to compensate, and still he will not see her, eyes focused within.
He probably sees less in that direction than she does.
"Cecil?" She tries once again, because she will never stop trying.
There is a lurch, then, a creak of leather and rivets. Rydia does not stir at his clanking steps -- brave girl, resolutely trusting, although Rosa will soothe away her nightmares before dawn -- nor does she awaken when he kneels ponderously, almost placing his hand over the healer's.
He does not touch. He rises again and moves behind them. Rosa hears the catch of his elbow joints as he folds his arms, facing out, staring off into the clear cold sky where the mountainside falls away.
Wings clipped, she thinks, and wonders how long it will take for him to cast away the carapace with them.
In Fabul, she recalls, the men fight all but skyclad.
There, maybe, he will learn himself anew.
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