Replacement for Imperfection

By Tsarmina

Spoiler Warning: Spoilers through Disc 3.

Kuja moodily slumped into a chair, staring at the wall in front of him. A thoughtful expression conveyed almost nothing of what he was thinking. His silver hair was shaggy but not long, his face unadorned, and he wore a simple shirt with a pair of trousers, feet remaining bare.

He picked up a small globe of Terra from the wooden table beside him. He spun it on its axis, ennui apparent on his face. The little globe slowly stopped spinning and he set it back down.

Kuja had just talked to Garland, who had been overjoyed about something. He didn't know what for, though, as the other man refused to explain what he had been up to and the reason for his elation. The second he noticed me, his smile vanished, Kuja noted to himself. Something to do with me—it has to be, otherwise he wouldn't have cared that I had walked in. What are you hiding, old man?

The door behind Kuja slid open then closed with a hiss and a snap. He didn't need to turn around to know exactly who stood in the room: Garland, his grey hair disheveled from sleepless nights and black armor shinning dully in the semi-light of the room.

"Kuja…" Garland said. One might have mistaken his tone to be kind, but Kuja recognized it as the "I'm hiding something but I'll only tell you if you obey" tone of voice.

Kuja stood up and turned around slowly, crossing his arms over his chest and shifting his weight onto his right foot. "What?" he asked succinctly, masking his curiosity with a bored expression.

Garland knew the routine, one they went through on a regular basis. "Hmm… Maybe I won't tell you the why of the matter, then," he said obscurely.

"What do you want me to do?" Kuja sighed. He wasn't in the mood for Garland's games. "One way or the other we'll get to 'Kuja, do this' so why not save some time and order me to do whatever little task it is you don't want to do for yourself."

Garland's self-assured smile didn't disappear, but his expression did harden some. "Feeling testy, aren't we?" he snorted. "In that case I really won't tell you why I'm sending you on this task." He trailed off waiting for Kuja to take the bait. Kuja didn't, though, and Garland continued with a shrug. "You are to go to the planet of Gaia and help ready it for the Assimilation, he said stiffly.

Kuja arched an eyebrow when Garland didn't continue. "How so am I to 'ready it'?" he inquired politely when, in reality, he wanted to force the information out of the older man…preferably with some blood involved.

"You are to help create a war. As you know, this will help our cause greatly, since many people will be dying…" Garland said simply.

"Start a war?" Kuja commented.

"Yes. I think you'll be able to handle the task. Am I correct in assuming this?" Garland's voice took on an almost mocking tone.

"Tch. Easily," Kuja snorted.

"Good. Be prepared to leave by tomorrow morning," Garland said gruffly. He turned on heel and left the room at a smart pace, the door closing behind him with a final snap.

Kuja frowned. He's trying to get rid of me, or at least that's what it seems like. I wonder… Kuja walked to the door and through it, his silver tail swaying back and forth with each step. He went to the right down a hall, heading in the direction he assumed Garland had gone: towards the laboratory.

Upon nearing the open door of Garland's "birthing room", in which his "experiments" lay dormant in their cold tubes waiting to be "born", Kuja heard Garland speaking. He crouched quietly by the door, his feet only making soft whispering sounds to mark each step. He pressed his body and tail against the wall and cocked his head to one side so as to hear Garland's words better.

"—are to be my true Angel of Death. Much better than the failure," Garland said before stopping abruptly.

Kuja frowned, wondering who Garland could possibly be talking to. He never spoke with the other Genomes—no, Kuja was the only one given that gift. But, at the same time, Garland would not be saying such things to himself. He wasn't mad…as far as Kuja knew. He'd never shown any signs of madness, at any rate. Kuja could hear the sounds of clicking machinery. A new…?

"Ah, yes. Kuja was merely an experiment—a test run to see how a Genome with a soul would function. Admittedly, he was a huge failure in most respects, but he did pave the way for your perfection. His spirit is too strong and that makes him a mistake. You, on the other hand, will have a soul, but it will be the soul of a trained soldier—without conflicting emotions. I will mold your soul. No conscience will destroy you. The only 'right' or 'wrong' you'll understand is the difference between an order and anything else."

Kuja held his breath, waiting for Garland to continue. His mind raced with denials and rage. What does he plan to do with me if I am "imperfect"? he wondered. He knew the answer before the question formed completely: he's sending you to Gaia. Put you to use one last time before you're replaced.

Garland began laughing. "Oh, you will be far more superior to Kuja. In ever way possible! The day you are finally born will be a great day. Tomorrow will be a great day. That's all the time left before you are completed. Only a little longer…" He trailed off.

Kuja sensed Garland moving slowly towards the door and darted behind a corner with almost no sound. He moved quickly to the room he had sat in previously. He stood behind the door, letting his breath return to normal before moving across the room.

Obviously Garland had not seen or heard him since the other man had not followed. I have power over him… He has no idea that I know about my replacement. He frowned—so he knew something Garland didn't want him to know, why was that important? I can destroy this replacement before he even has a chance to live. Destroy? Why not make things a little more interesting? If you're going to destroy Gaia…

Kuja started to laugh. "Oh, I can work this to my favor," he growled. "My 'replacement' will just be another soul of Gaia, destroyed with the Assimilation with Terra. Hmph. Who's inferior now?"

It was time for a change, he realized. All his life, his existence, he had tried to please Garland as best he could. He knew he wasn't perfect, but nothing was every perfect; imperfections in his personality had slipped out and made themselves known. He had tried to be perfect and perform well, but it obviously wasn't enough, and he knew that now. Slowly Kuja would slip away from the "dutiful Genome" exterior and form his own self: the self that had been lying in wait beneath that dull façade. A change in appearance would help: Something that would enhance his already beautiful form, he mused.

"Who knows…" he chuckled. "Maybe I'll even let my hair grow long—"


Author's Notes: Quick hits. Yes, the "true Angel of Death" is Zidane. I didn't name him on purpose. I'm assuming you guessed it on your own, but I’m just clarifying it here (if you've played the game you know that Kuja dumps Zidane on Gaia, which will happen right after the fic). This is also sorta my take on what might have made Kuja look the way he does; I think it's him rebelling against Garland's decision and whatnot.

Tsarmina's Fanfiction