Disclaimer: As much as I may daydream, Kuja, Zidane, and all of the other FF9 characters do not belong to me. They are all property of Squaresoft and related licensees. I am not making any money off of this fic, nor do I plan to. This fic may not be copied, appropriated, published, folded, spindled, or mutilated without my permission.

Author's note: This fanfic contains major plot-related and character-relationship spoilers for FF9. If you have not finished the game (or at least gotten past Terra), don't read this fic unless you want to be spoiled within an inch of your life.

First Angel

a FF9 Fanfic by Rachael Haring


You are my source. You are the deity of everything I am, everything I was made to be. You are a creator without mercy; you are a teacher without gentleness. You are father, mother, family: all roles wrapped into one loveless, black, cruel being.

I hate you.

I hate you for your rules and your laws, your abuse, your derisive words. Do you honestly think that you own me? Just because you brought breath to my lungs, do you think that I am indebted to you?

My tail does not make me your animal. My beauty does not make me your doll. I am grander than you realize. I am stronger than you ever intended. I will not bow to you, no matter how many times you strike my cheek, no matter how many times you call me "mistake." I should think that fact would be clear to you by now. I should think that even an idiot could see the flawlessness in me.

Have you forgotten? I was the first angel created from your gnarled hands. Beautiful, brilliant, without precedent. A pure, unmarked soul.

And yet you say that I'm not good enough. Not strong enough. Not perfect enough. Are you blind, old man? Are you stupid? I don't know what more you could want.

Or...perhaps you discard me because you see that I care nothing for your plans. Even as young as I am, I've realized my own mind. I've become something entirely different from the puppet you desired. I have a soul, and a will of my very own. You don't like that I can think for myself, and you don't like so much power teetering on my whims. You're afraid that I'll grow too powerful and take your pitiful life for my own.

And you have a right to be afraid. I've already determined that you will not control me forever. I've already begun to make plans for your demise. I'm simply biding my time until my power exceeds yours. It won't be long. The one you call a defect shall rise, and all of your plans will be nothing in the face of my ambition.

For now, however, I'm going to destroy what you most treasure. I'm going to take away what you have worked so hard for.

The genome called Zidane. Your shining hope. Your new angel.

Hmph. It was most brainless of you to place your precious little one so near to my quarters. Perhaps you don't think me capable of action against you. Perhaps you still hold hope that I will become as servile and spineless as you want me to be.

You'll see.

The little one sleeps in his bed, his soft, fragile breaths like the sounds of wings unfolding. I reach the side of that special bed and stare down at this would-be-replacement. He shines. His hair is golden and bright with moonlight; his tail curls almost defensively over his prone body. His face is porcelain-pale, inhumanly delicate, filled with the blank happiness of blissful slumber.

Oh, "father," how you've outdone yourself on this one. What a masterpiece. What an exquisite little creature. He's practically waiting to be broken, begging to be destroyed.

How long did it take to make this lovely thing? How long were you working to replace me, to betray me? How long will it take to make another like this? Perhaps you never can. Perhaps this truly is the apogee of your creation.

Even better still. I'd love to think that I'm destroying the very best you can do.

I reach into the bed and gather the warm little body into my steady arms. He sighs in his slumber but does not wake, instead reaching out a hand to blindly take hold of a few strands of my silver-purple hair. The small fingers are stronger than they should be, and I wince slightly at the tug.

It doesn't matter. That strength will not save him, golden though he may be.

"Come, brother," I murmur softly, the words escaping from my barely parted lips. "If you're going to be the Angel of Death, you'll need to see it first hand."

My bare feet silently tread the cold metal floor as I make my way through the stark corridors of the Invincible. The still-sleeping child grows heavy in my arms, and I walk faster.

Finally, we reach the end. The control room. There is no one in sight. Everything is dim and still and empty, the machinery humming with navigational calculations, the auto-pilot programs working through the long night to keep the great ship on course above Gaia.

This is first place you will see in the morning. You'll sweep through this door, searching for the missing treasure, but all you will see is destruction. You'll see your creation shattered. And I will be here to see the look in your cold, empty eyes when you realize what's happened. I won't hide my deed; I'll profess it with pride, with the glee that comes from your pain. I'll smile at your despair.

And what will you do about it, oh "father"? Will you cry tears of ice? Will you scream at me, and tell me what a naughty little boy I've been? Perhaps you'll kick me again, your boot grinding into my ribs, sending flashes of pain through this delicate body you've created. But even as my lungs gasp in agony, I will continue to laugh. And that laughter will ring in your mind forever.

Enough thought. It is time to complete the deed. I set the sweet little child on a round, low pedestal in the center of the room, smiling at him with dangerous joy.

Now, the one called Zidane opens his blue, blue eyes and looks into mine. For a second, my will falters, temporarily shaken by the intelligence in that youthful gaze. No words pass his lips, and he makes no efforts to rise from his rest: he simply lies beneath me, staring upwards. He seems so innocent and yet so knowing, so feeble and yet so powerful.


I shake the soft thoughts from my head, raising my hands before me in preparation for the killing magic. There is no time for weakness, no time for pity. There is time only for vengeance. Mine is the only will that matters. My life is the most precious of them all. It's not a complicated concept. It is truth.

The death spell wells up in my throat and is given shape by my voice. The soft words of magic echo in the metal room, undulating as the power grows. I can feel the forces coursing through my thin body and gathering in my hands, and a strange laughter curves my lips.

Imperfect, am I? Only a mistake, a failure? How I wish you could see me now, you pompous bastard! You call me worthless. How can this be worthless? How can this power, this beauty, this strength be replaced? You're a sadistic, arrogant fool. I'll show you what a true Angel of Death can do.

But as I open my eyes to focus the magical blow on the precious child, I see nothing but a blue column of light, shimmering with arcane symbols, surrounding Zidane in luminescence. The magical words die on my lips as the child's tiny form begins to fade.

What...what is this? Some sort of forcefield or protection? The child is too young to know what I am doing, too young to possess his own magic...isn't he?

And then, in a flash of panic, I remember what the low, round pedestal is for. It is the transporting beam, used to move beings from the flying ship to the ground below. It has been activated...but how? Perhaps the child's motion or warmth...or the power within him...or the workings of fate...

Whatever the reason, I can do nothing but watch as the child disappears into nothing. The blue light retracts and fades, and the room once again falls into dim stillness. After a moment of stunned, blank silence, an odd sort of chuckle escapes from my throat, and I raise my eyes to the dark ceiling.

It doesn't matter, I realize. It doesn't matter at all. True, this is not exactly the deed I intended, but I have still won. There is no way of telling where on Gaia the child has fallen, or even if he has fallen on land. It is nighttime below, cold and windy and merciless.

Perhaps this is even better. There is no blood on my hands, no messes to clean. There is no trace that the one called Zidane ever existed. The disappearance is sudden, disturbing, final.

You will never find him. He is already dead, drowned in icy waters, eaten by wild creatures, frozen by cruel winds. I laugh aloud, joyfully celebrating this unexpected turn.

"Your angel is dead, dead, dead," I sing very softly to myself as I walk back to my cramped, miserable quarters. The thoughts of your rage do not bother me in the least; in fact, I'm almost looking forward to your reaction. I'm not going to cower from you. I'm not going to shrink from your blows.

And afterwards, when all of the punishment is doled out, you will have only me.

I will be your only hope. You'll have no choice but to respect my power. You'll have no choice but to deal with me as I am.

I am Kuja.

I am the first.

I am the only.

And someday, "father," I will destroy you, too.

© 2001 Rachael M. Haring