Written on November 15, 2019 (♏)

Content Warning: 💀This ficlet, while it does not contain explicit sex, implies mutually non-consensual, incestuous sex wherein one party is a revenant. So, definitely a Don't Like Don't Read situation.💀

He’d kept pleading, kept insisting that there was some spell or charm that would set this nightmare to rights. As his men fell, however, Ramza knew that he was falling back on a naive optimism that he thought had long abandoned him. Throughout the long and dismal battle, he refused to raise arms against his brother. By the time they stood alone in that dark and bloody sepulcher, he realized that the man before him—the lauded Savior of Ivalice and the leader of all the Northern Sky—had also never struck him a blow.

The realization did not comfort him, but it left him with something—fragile and insubstantial as it might be—something that he could pretend was hope. He kept his blade ready, but did not advance.

“Please...” Zalbag said with a slow, choked voice. His own sword dragged against the tiles. “Please... don’t make me the one who kills you.”

“You haven’t killed me yet, brother,” Ramza whispered.

The ensuing pause was terrible, and as they stood there, still and silent, Ramza could not help but cast his eyes towards the unmoving bodies that had been scattered about the crypt. His gambit had been made at a cost, and he had not been the one to pay it. He realized that he had been holding his breath only when he heard the clatter of metal on stone and turned to see Zalbag half-collapsed before him, his sword having fallen from his hand.

He knew the instant he moved that it was the rankest stupidity to attempt to help, but some impulse got the better of him. Zalbag would not move as he tried to pull him upright, his body cold as ice and immovable as a statue. The only thing to render him more animate than the stone faces of the patriarchs above them was a fearful trembling that did not seem in accord with the motions of any living creature.

“Ramza...” he gasped without breath. “Don’t...”

Ramza, eyes wet, tried to think of something more he could say—something to counteract even the smallest measure of the despair that engulfed them. Before he could collect his thoughts, he heard the sonorous voice of the chief Templar echoing over their heads.

“Kill him, Zalbag. If you find means to balk, perhaps I shall have you fall to sins less lethal than fratricide.”

He watched as his brother, pale as bone, convulsed in the midst of voices chanting out some whispered strain of High Ikkoku. When he sprang back to motion, grasping him in a sudden embrace that flung them both against the sarcophagus that dominated the chamber, he could see that something like tears fell from his eyes, staining his face with streaks of ruddy black.

“Oh God. Oh God. Oh God...” he mouthed in a frenzy before wrenching Ramza’s face to meet his own in a passionless, violent kiss. “What has delivered us to... this?”

When he haltingly pinned his wrists and rent at his garments, when Ramza fully understood what was to happen—he closed his eyes a moment and did his best not to move, and then with his free hand he caressed Zalbag’s hair with a faltering tenderness.

“It’s okay brother. It’s okay.” He swallowed hard, realizing how unconvincing he no doubt was. “I’ll let this moment be gentle.”