Terra: Part II Chapter 8

By Mintbaby


Relm straightened from where she’d sprawled on the couch, her eyes brightening to a brilliant emerald. She set aside her sketchpad and stood to rush to his side. “Yeah, Daddy?”

His eyes held an unreadable emotion as he gazed down at her, then he looked away to gesture toward the door. “Let’s walk.”

“Oh. Okay.” Relm turned to grab her sketchpad and her pencils and then fell into step beside him as they stepped onto the front porch. “Where’re we going?”

“Some place we can talk.”

A sudden burst of butterflies from another planet sprouted in her stomach and she gripped the sketchpad tighter to her chest. “You’re not allowed to stay, are you.”

“No, I need to tell you about your mother. I need to tell you why I went away.” He took in a deep breath and released it slow. “I need to tell you everything.”

The way he said it terrified her. “Oh. Okay.” They proceeded out of town and Relm could sense the dread. “Daddy?”

He hesitated. “Yes?”

She stopped walking and turned to face him. He turned as well, catching her gaze. “I don’t care. Sure, it would be nice to know what happened, but--“

“Relm, you need to know.”

“Do I?”



He clenched his jaw and seemed to get irritated. “Because if I don’t tell you, what kind of father would I be? If I keep yet another secret, how can you feel a part of my life? How can I truly have peace? How can I truly be free of the Empire?”

Relm chewed on her lower lip as she saw the dread and fright battle in his eyes. “If it makes me mad… Daddy, I don’t want to deal with that. I just got you back. I don’t want to lose you again.”

Words by the hundreds rose and fell in his eyes, clashing against each other like the waves of the sea on the shore of Thamasa. Finally, after what seemed hours instead of the few moments they actually were, he turned away with clenched fists.

“I need to be free of all the secrets, Relm. I know that this one revelation may chase you from me, but… how can I risk your feelings of betrayal should you discover my secret on your own?” He faced her again, pain evident in his eyes. “My life has been hell, seeing you so close and not being able to let you know that I still thought of you… But how could I, knowing that I had chosen to stay away those many years, serving the evil that I had intended to destroy.”

Relm’s insides went cold as his voice began to sound chillingly familiar. Her mind and heart battled with the realization and her throat tightened as he went on.

“You must be given the choice to hate me or forgive me. If I keep that from you, my torment will never end. It is not fair to you, I suppose, but you need to know. You need to know, so that you can decide whether I am free to stay or go.”

Relm shook her head, a wave of panic bringing tears to her eyes. She dropped her sketchpad and it landed on the ground with a dull thud. “No. Don’t tell me. I don’t care. I just want my father.”

He knelt down to look her eye-to-eye and took her arms in a gentle grip. “I am your father, Relm. I have been your father, even as I hid behind that shroud. Even as I watched you grow in courage and bravery, determined to destroy an evil that had destroyed so many. I have been your father, even as I have been your friend.”

She shook her head again, pulling against his grip with a half-hearted tug. “No. Please.”

His eyes darkened with agony at what his next revelation could do, and then he pressed forward. “I was Shadow.”

Relm covered her face with her hands and burst into tears, anger and hurt clashing together to bring fresh sobs. “Why? You didn’t have to tell me. I didn’t care. I just wanted my father.” Her hands dropped and the rage sparked in her emerald eyes as she pushed at him. His grip remained firmly gentle on her arms. “Why did you give Terra your sash and make me think you were dead? Why did you send Interceptor for me to take care of? Why, if you were going to tell me who you were anyway?”

“I was given another option. One that I thought would be easier on you, until I realized that, again, I was taking the coward’s answer. I was robbing you of something that you needed to be told. A decision that should have been yours to make.”

“Even if it made me hate you?”

He cringed and swallowed hard. “Yes,” he said in a tight voice. “Even then. I… I couldn’t keep this from you, Relm. You deserved my complete honesty. You deserved all or nothing.” He paused and his grip tightened on her arms momentarily. “You’re all I have left. I wasn’t going to lie to you anymore. That was Shadow’s life and I had already decided to put that behind me.”

Question after question pushed accusation after accusation out of her mind as she stared down at her father… her friend… The pain was as clear as anything she’d seen. The dread even more clear. She didn’t know what to do or what to feel. She felt angry that he’d traveled with her for so long and not told her. She felt relieved that Shadow, her friend, wasn’t dead. She felt hurt that he thought she wasn’t mature enough to move past the lie and accept him…

“I am sorry, Relm,” he said in a voice twisted with misery. “Yet again I have done you an injustice.” He slowly stood and dropped his hands from her arms. “I will go if you wish.”

Relm stared up at him in confusion and a myriad of other emotions that kept her rooted to the spot. She wanted to hit him. She wanted to hug him. She wanted to cry her eyes out and tell him that she didn’t care. That she was happy just to have a father, finally. All she could do was stare at him, tears trailing paths of misery down her cheeks as she desperately tried to think of the right thing to do.

Relm balled her fists and lurched forward, pummeling his chest with her little hands as she cried and raged in frustration. He knelt down to gather her weeping form into his arms, silently taking the slaps, shoves, and punches as she continued to vent her fury, confusion, and betrayal the only way she knew how. Once the onslaught passed, she wrapped her arms around him and sobbed, burying her face into his neck as he tightened his protective embrace.

“I am so sorry,” he repeated in a voice sated with tears. “I never meant to hurt you. I thought I would die when the battle with Kefka ended. I was resolved to that ending because I knew that I would never be your father. I had too much evil in my heart. Then I was given another chance. And another.” He pulled back and held her face in his hands, wiping her tears away with his thumbs as his gaze held hers. “Your face wouldn’t let me go. The memory of the happy life with you and your mother plagued me each night, urging me to try again. To recapture it. I had to try.”

Relm saw the tears in his eyes, watching them in awe as they cascaded down his scarred cheeks. Never in her life could she have imagined Shadow crying. Yet… Shadow was her father. He was her father. ‘Your father,’ she told herself. ‘You have a father.’ She brought her hands up to his face and tenderly wiped the tears from his face.

“Daddy,” she choked out, “please don’t go away again.”

He pulled her into a tight embrace, pressing his damp cheek against her tousled curls. “I won’t. I promise.”


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