stealth_noodle: Esper!Terra cuddles a piece of magicite. (esper!terra)
Stealth Noodle ([personal profile] stealth_noodle) wrote in [community profile] yuri_challenge2011-04-05 02:52 pm

"A Light That Never Goes Out," Final Fantasy VI, Terra/Phoenix

Title: A Light That Never Goes Out
Creator: [personal profile] stealth_noodle
Rating: R (xeno sex)
Warning: None.
Word Count: 1195
Prompt: Esper Terra/any female Esper, Communion.
Teaser: She is all the colors of fire, a spectrum ablaze.

Terra's world might end tomorrow, but it ended a year ago, too, and she survived. She tells herself this as she creeps into a quiet room below deck, away from the people taking comfort in each other. The side of her they could touch isn't the side in need.

Phoenix's magicite is warm and familiar in her palm. When Terra shuts the door behind her, the only light comes from the stone, washing in pulses over her skin. Pressing it to her chest calms her, reduces the light to thin shafts between her fingers. Her heart syncs. She closes her eyes and breathes.

When her mind is almost clear, Terra toes off her shoes and lets her clothing puddle on the floor. Inside she shifts—feet stretching as her bones lengthen, skin thickening and branching into fur, nails and teeth sharpening. Cavities open inside her and fill slowly with magic. What used to frighten her is now only her, changed but recognizable.

In this form she can hear the soul inside the magicite moving like water under the earth. She holds the stone to her mouth and whispers to it, "Wake, Phoenix."

A tongue of flame flickers above the magicite before bursting fractally into feathers, driving every trace of cold and shadow from the room. Terra basks in the heat that echoes the fire inside her.

A wingtip glowing like a sunset brushes her cheek. "Terra," Phoenix says softly, "why are you troubled?"

Phoenix's eyes and voice are Rachel's, just as Rachel's life is the undying heart of her furnace. Perhaps a life is always needed to fuel her; perhaps Phoenix on her own would be mortal, and isolation is how she faded to magicite. If Terra knew more about espers, she might know whether it would be rude to ask.

Instead she swallows and says, "I'm afraid."


There are words to explain, perhaps, but Terra doesn't know which ones they are; her emotions are still jumbled, still bound together so tightly that she can't sort them out. Fear overlaps with a racing heart overlaps with a thousand other feelings that she's scarcely begun to name.

When she shakes her head, hoping to knock something free and clear, Phoenix's wings fold around her. The world shrinks to heat and light, warm brown eyes and music deeper than sound. Terra accepts the invitation, letting her hands sink through the fire of Phoenix's feathers until they find something solid. She flattens her palms and lets go of herself.

Phoenix is ever-dying. Terra is consumed with her down to a tiny pebble of a core, falls with her on scorched battlefields that birth her from their ashes, breaks with her when the cycle suddenly ends and there is nothing to feed her shifting flames. Together they are cold and hollow until a woman's dying breath stirs their embers.

Terra shivers and gasps. "There," she says, because the human part of her needs to speak, and Phoenix draws her back to the precipice of a long, lonely cold. Shuddering, Terra unfolds: here are the things she loves and the person she is becoming, here she is fire dancing free in the wind and there she is solid and anchored to a village that needs her, here she is in halves so recently joined that the seams are still visible. And then suddenly here she isn't.

"You fear change," Phoenix whispers. "How will this world live again without changing?"

"I know. I feel selfish." Terra rests her head against Phoenix's chest, letting the heat evaporate her tears. "But if we have to sacrifice magic to bring the world back to life, what's going to happen to me? I can't—I don't—there's so much I haven't done." Her stomach lurches and drops. "And what about you? What about all the others? All that's left of you now is magic, and—"

Phoenix whistles softly through her beak, hushing without lips. "I don't fear it. There will always be something of me in birth and fire, even when magic is long forgotten. I'm not afraid to find out what that will be."

Terra shakes her head. "I'm not ready."

"Then carry this with you." Heat brushes down Terra's shoulder and over the small of her back, then lower and hotter until she starts to tremble. Phoenix turns her head sideways to fix Terra with an eye like an ember. "Keep this memory of us inside you. Recollection is rebirth."

Terra came out of the darkness and back to life when her father's memories ignited her own. Magicite is memory is all that is left in the end. Phoenix is a memory blazing with life, waking nerves Terra never knew she had forgotten.

"I'll remember everything about you." Terra's fingers slip between Phoenix's variegated feathers to trace her contours. She is all the colors of fire, a spectrum ablaze. "I promise."

The smooth warmth of Phoenix's wingtips strokes along the insides of Terra's thighs, making her breaths heavy and drawing her up to rest with her legs parted over one of Phoenix's, just above the shining-gold scales. She rocks gently, building a dizzying pressure between her thighs. Instinctively she presses her knee upward, against Phoenix, uncertain what to look for but hoping to return the sensation.

Fire builds in the pit of her belly. When she shifts higher, rubbing against the groove where Phoenix's thigh meets her torso, Terra arches her neck and feels a cool beak stroke her throat. "Closer," she says, surprised by the thickness of her own voice, and then she is enfolded in wings that shut out the dark. Even when she closes her eyes, the backs of her eyelids glow crimson.

Phoenix is so alive under her hands, hot and sleek and never still; her feathers flicker and shift like tongues of flame. Terra moves after her, chasing a solid moment, an absolute connection, fearing that her hands will eventually clutch only air. She shuts her eyes tighter and clings.

Phoenix's beak brushes her hair back from her ear. "Let go."

The human part of Terra wants to protest, but she does not give it voice. Instead she leans back, very slightly, hands still buried in shimmering plumage, as she continues grinding. Talons scrape the floor until the floor falls away; they rise together, hotter and lighter than air. When Phoenix's beak dips to trace patterns over her breasts, she cries out.

"Let go," Phoenix says again, voice lower, and music follows.

This time Terra opens her eyes and lets herself fall backward, trusting her weight to Phoenix's wings and tail. Scarlet flushes violet and gold around her as she focuses on letting sensations wash over her like a sunrise: the friction of feathers on fur, the heat within and without, the peace in Phoenix's dark eyes. She dances until the fire coiled inside her shoots down her limbs.

She is overflowing quietly, half outside herself. Wings like glowing coals lower her to the floor. "I'm not afraid," Phoenix whispers, warm and gentle and fading, "for myself or for you."

Terra sleeps with the stone shining against her chest, pulsing in time with her heart.
wallwalker: Venetian mask, dark purple with gold gilding. (Default)

[personal profile] wallwalker 2011-04-05 09:33 pm (UTC)(link)
So beautiful and sweet; I love the imagery. This is exactly what I was hoping for. Thank you!
sidonie: (Default)

[personal profile] sidonie 2011-04-07 01:52 am (UTC)(link)
Again, here via FF Press, and once again, this is epic. Terra/Esper fic is so hard to find, and this was beautiful.