Summary: Celes, and finding purpose in a shattered world.
"Will she be all right?"
Celes looks up from tending Terra's grievous wounds and tries to give Duane a reassuring smile. "She'll pull through."
Duane and Katarin exchange worried glances. "Thank you for helping us," Katarin says. "We wouldn't know what to do without Terra here."
Celes nods and turns back to Terra. The sight of Duane and Katarin - their hands clasped together tightly, Duane's arm steady around Katarin's waist - makes Celes think of the youths she'd once commanded in battle.
They had shown her pictures, sometimes, of what they'd left behind to chase the fortunes of war; the sum of their lives captured in a few still images. This is my girl, they'd tell her; this is my mama, this is my family. This is what's waiting for me back home.
Celes hadn't paid much attention, then, giving only a nod and vague words of approval in response. Celes had fought because it was her birthright, because she'd been told to, because she did not know how to do anything else. There was no one waiting for her in Vector's cold barracks.
But Celes thinks of those men now, as she stands vigil at Terra's bedside and whispers magic to mend her ruined flesh. Celes thinks of the world outside, broken and bleeding and teeming with monsters from the depths, thinks of little orphans hiding underground and the smile that graces Terra's lips when they call her Mama.
"I'm sorry I can't help you," Terra whispers.
Celes squeezes Terra's hand. "It's alright," she says. "Just - keep a seat at the dinner table for me, ok?"
Terra's eyes widen in delighted surprise. "Oh - always!"
Celes leans close and kisses Terra's feverish brow, her tear-stained cheeks.
This is what waits for her, when her battle is done.