Author's Notes: Like it says above, this takes place before the events of Final Fantasy VI.


By RyRy


Locke was amazed at how much of a friendship could be spawned out of meeting a man once a week in a dark room in the basement of a large castle.

Edgar Roni Figaro, the reigning king of the small desert city-state of Figaro, was a troubled man, and Locke knew it. Locke knew every piece of Edgar’s history – only because he had been painfully briefed about it all by Arvis, his contact with the Returners, who appeared to know more about Edgar’s past than even Edgar did. It had been Locke’s job to sway the charismatic young king away from the deceits of the Empire and toward the efforts of the rebel group the Returners.

Locke was proud of his work. Not only did he now have Edgar two-timing the Empire, but he had made a really damn good friend. He felt like he could talk to Edgar about anything, even if at first he had been a little wary. If he was fooling the Empire, he could easily be going the other way, right? But Edgar kept his promises, always following through with information. And when Locke told him of the activities of the Returners, not once had they gotten caught. In fact, Locke had many reasons to believe that Edgar often distracted the Emperor in order to aid the resistance group.

And the more Edgar did things like that, the easier it was to trust him. It also helped that it was very apparent that the man needed a friend in his life, someone more than a woman in his bed. And that was, essentially, what Locke had become. The midnight exchanges went from ten minutes in the beginning to hours now, and sometimes included Edgar smuggling down a bottle of rum for their enjoyment.

It was always fairly obvious that Edgar was an affectionate man. Locke didn’t know if that was because of his inherent interest in the bodies of other people, or if it could be attributed to the fact that Edgar had, just two years ago, lost his entire family. Either way, Locke didn’t mind the casual touching of the arm, ruffling of his hair, or an arm around his shoulders. It never felt uncomfortable or odd in the least – Edgar was just like that.

And so, on a night that came the closest to winter that you really could in the middle of a desert, Locke found himself summoned to another secret meeting. Edgar had never summoned him before, but a carrier pigeon had arrived in Narshe stating that he needed to see Locke as soon as possible. And so, faithfully, Locke went to the Castle again, sneaking down in through the secret entrance in the basement that only he and Edgar knew about, and went to their usual meeting spot.

He found Edgar sitting on the floor, back against the cold stone wall, looking rather upset about something. Locke knelt next to his friend, leaning against the wall himself, and put his hand on Edgar’s shoulder. “What’s up?”

“They want me to send troops to Kohlingen,” Edgar breathed.

Kohlingen. Locke’s hometown. One of the free cities. Locke swallowed. “Alright,” he said softly, turning his body around to sit down facing Edgar. “What’s their logic?”

“They’re worried about Figaro’s alliance with a free city,” Edgar explained under his breath. It was true, Figaro and Kohlingen did have an alliance… but it was mostly a friendly thing, spurred on by some crazy project Edgar had undergone to build a tunneling system under the castle. A system which would, apparently, allow the castle to submerge and resurface in the desert outside of Locke’s hometown. “I also think they’re testing my allegiance.”

The test of allegiance made Locke’s stomach drop. “Do they realize what a bad strategic move that is?” he said, shaking his head. “They would be much better off going for Albrook.”

Edgar lowered his eyes. “I know,” he said simply. His hand found Locke’s left elbow. “What do I do? Do I try to convince them to take the port city? Or just follow their orders?” Locke heard his real question though: What would make me look like I’m still under their control without sacrificing my ties to the Returners?

Banon, the leader of the Returners, had warned Locke that this might happen. He had discussed the possibilities with Arvis, and now it was time to see how it would pan out. Perhaps it was time to take the Returners public. “Make preparations to move on Kohlingen,” Locke said, putting his hand over Edgar’s. “And we’ll distract them.”

Edgar raised his eyebrows and looked up at Locke. He moved his hand subtly so his knuckles were intertwined between Locke’s fingers. “How would you do such a thing?” He paused, meeting Locke’s gaze. “Why?”

“We’ll set up shop in Albrook. Cause a ruckus. That’s what revolutionary groups do, right?” Locke smiled, realizing they were practically holding hands and it didn’t feel strange at all. “We’ve been discussing a move like this for a while. So far, we’ve been altogether way too quiet.”

Edgar had sat up now, in a crouch, his left hand making its way to Locke’s shoulder. “You would endanger your organization?”

Locke held Edgar’s gaze, the man’s bright blue eyes practically radiating his conflicting emotions. He was close now, searching for answers in Locke’s face. “We value our friendship with Figaro,” Locke answered simply.

Edgar raised his eyebrows in response. “You value your friendship with me?”

“That too,” Locke replied, feeling a bit of heat rise to his cheeks. His friendship with Edgar had always been pretty much unspoken, having never been publicly (or even privately) acknowledged. Locke half-worried that acknowledgment would ruin it.

“Look, you don’t have to do this,” Edgar said, his face mere inches from Locke’s. He studied Locke’s gaze, apparently still searching for answers, or some sort of signal.

“I know we don’t have to,” Locke said quickly, “but it’s about damn time we did. And I can’t think of a better situation than this.”

Edgar’s eyes dropped. “You don’t have to,” he repeated, “I can… figure this out—“

“But you don’t have to,” Locke replied, his voice rising as he gripped Edgar’s shoulder with his free hand – the one what wasn’t locked in Edgar’s fingers. This was starting to feel a little weird. “You’ve done a lot for me, and for the Returners. Let us save your ass for once.”

“You’ll get hurt, you’ll be in danger,” Edgar said quietly, his eyes coming back up to meet Locke’s again. “I don’t want that to happen. I don’t want anything to happen to the people I care for.”

Locke was a little confused by that. The people he cared for? Since when did Locke gain that status? Sometime, he thought, in the process of becoming Edgar’s best friend. “I can take care of myself,” he said softly, putting his hand on the back of Edgar’s head. “And you.” What he saw in the man’s face was concern and loss, and a sudden desperate need to be comforted… and Locke knew, now more than before, that he was the only one who even came close to understanding the man behind the title of King.

His fingers entwined in Edgar’s hair. It was soft like silk across his skin, like petting a very well groomed kitten.

Edgar closed his eyes and leaned back a little into Locke’s touch. After a moment, he opened his eyes and gazed at Locke, as if he could barely comprehend what was happening. His hand shook a little as he traced it up Locke’s shoulder blade and across his neck, landing eventually on Locke’s cheek, fingers splayed out in his hair. He stared at Locke like he couldn’t believe he was real. “I…” he managed to say before words failed him.

Locke was drawn to Edgar’s eyes, the way they exhibited his feelings so out in the open. He couldn’t break the eye contact, just kept gazing like the answers to the mysteries of the universe could be conveyed through the meeting of blue and gray eyes in a damp forgotten basement.

Breath fell softly on Locke’s lips. It was Edgar’s. Their lips touched, sending shudders down their backs as their eyes probed each other for a signal of any sort. Locke backed off a fraction of an inch as he felt the shiver, but ultimately, the shiver is what sent him back to Edgar. Their lips met in more than a casual almost-accidental brushing – it was a kiss, encompassing the need they had for each other at that precise moment in time.

Locke found it strange at first, but he lost himself in the moment – in the husky scent of Edgar against him, the soft feel of the man’s hand as it moved across his body, and the simple desire he felt as Edgar folded him into an embrace. They lingered against each other, opening up slightly and letting the kiss deepen, until Edgar pulled away reluctantly and opened his eyes as if gauging Locke’s reaction.

Locke, however, found himself looking down at his right hand, still clasped in Edgar’s. It was a promise, Locke thought, one of friendship and respect.

And, quite possibly, love.

“I’ll be in Albrook tomorrow,” Locke stammered, looking back up at Edgar. “See if we can distract those Empire scum for you.”

Edgar nodded, still gazing into Locke’s eyes. “Will you be back?”

“Of course,” Locke said with a nod, bringing his hand forward to caress Edgar’s cheek. “I have to let you know how things go, obviously.”

Locke lowered his head and turned to leave, but Edgar caught him and held him back. Before he knew what was going on, Edgar had dropped a small kiss on his lips, the taste and feel of it lingering in Locke’s mind.

“Thank you,” he said, releasing Locke’s hand finally.

Locke nodded, finding no words to say. He smiled as Edgar before leaving down the secret entranceway, hoping he wouldn’t be too long at Albrook.

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