Note: Set post-game, so spoilers for late-game events.

Come Back to Us
by Estirose
c 2011

Maria watched as her brother stalked off, resisting the urge to lean against Firion. Leon... why did he have to feel so guilty?

Of course, something in her said, of course he felt guilty. He had been the Black Knight, tried to rule the world... why wouldn't he feel guilt?

It just... it was as painful for her as it was for him, from thinking he was lost, to finding him declared Emperor, to saving him again, to convincing everyone to give him one more chance.

And everyone had, and Leon had been as much a part of their victory over the Emperor in hell as the rest of them had. Even though he hadn't had as much power, he had been there to heal her and the others so that they could defeat the Emperor one last time, save the land.

They'd survived, and received the grateful thanks of Hilda and Gordon, dear friends and commanders. But when it had come time, Leon had fled.

"I'm going after him," she told Firion firmly. He, who had been her friend and comrade for so long, the love of her life, merely nodded.

But then again, he knew what Leon meant to her.

Waving at the others, she took off after Leon.

* * *

Leon stomped down the stairs of Fynn Castle, only dimly aware of Maria calling after him. Why couldn't she leave him alone? After all, he'd betrayed her, his sister. He'd betrayed Firion and Guy and the whole world in that moment where he'd declared himself Emperor.

Killing the damned Emperor in Hell had been the only way to redeem himself, but he had to admit, even that had not cleansed his soul.

The sooner the others understood that, the better off they would be. Why would Maria want a betrayer for a brother, anyway?

His sister caught up to him as he was tramping down the damned stairs of the castle. Somehow, he wished there had been some secret way out so he could have sneaked off without anybody being concerned about him. Yeah, it was rumored that Fynn was full of secret passages, but he didn't know them, as much as he wished he did.

Giving up for the moment, he stopped, not going any further. "Go away, Maria." He refused to look at her. Because of him, his baby sister had to become a warrior. A powerful mage, from what he'd seen. If he'd been better at things, they could have escaped completely and he could have been by her side, protecting her.

"No, Leon." Maria's voice was soft, the voice of the sister he'd left behind, not the warrior that had taken her place. "Stop running away. You deserve this victory just as much as we do."

Leon wanted to scrub his hand through his hair and get his sister back to her friends. He was sure from what he'd seen that he'd have Firion soon enough as a brother-in-law. A fellow warrior to keep Maria happy.

Someday, they'd have kids. Be happy. Forget all about him.

"No, I don't." He shook his head. "Go back to Firion, Maria. Go back to your friends and celebrate." He was sure his voice was too rough with emotion, but how could she understand? She'd saved the world. He'd merely supported her.

"Not without you." Maria's voice was just as firm as his should have been. "Come back to us, Leon. Come celebrate. No matter what you did... you're still my big brother."

Leon shook his head again. "I betrayed you all." His voice was far too emotional for a dead man's. He might have to remedy that. "I'm leaving, Maria."

But somehow, he didn't move.

"Don't," she said. "Come back to us, Leon. We still need you. I still need you."

He could almost laugh. Did. "Maria, you and Firion blasted the Emperor to pieces. Twice. Firion teleported him into a cyclone the first time, you told me. You don't need me now. You and Firion and Guy are heroes now. I'm not."

Leon could hear her soft intake of breath. Listened to her breathe, once, twice, three times.

"Please don't leave," Maria said softly. "Come back to us."

"I can't." With that, he continued down the stairs, down one of the forty million stairs of Fynn Castle, and left to be alone. Because he deserved it.

He hoped that Maria would be happy, now.

Final Fantasy fics