Till Death and Ever After - by Vrazdova
- Fandom: Final Fantasy VI
- Rating: Explicit
- Warnings: Graphic Depictions of Violence
- Category: M/M
- Characters: Clyde/Baram
- Additional Tags: Backstory, Sleep Paralysis, Canonical Character Death, Dom/Sub Play, POV Fuckery, Unreliable Narrator, Psychological Horror
- Wordcount: 15,515
Some nights, a demon comes and pins me down. He holds me on the edge of consciousness, taunts me with my past - mocks me for being alive.
I dread ever going to sleep.
After 2 years, I finally continued my first story about Clyde & Baram! And it took an entirely different turn than I’d initially expected… (see tags above for a hint). Yeah, it gets porn-y at times, but those scenes are all part of the character development as well. This is a deeply intimate intrusion into Shadow’s memories of what was clearly the most significant relationship in his history. And that’s exactly why I decided to take it down that path - upon replaying FFVI recently, and discussing Shadow’s backstory with others, I began to understand the true weight of this relationship. Obviously he is haunted by the circumstances of Baram’s death, as anyone in that position would likely be - but then you realize that these events happened, at the very least, 11-12 years before (based on Relm’s age). And not to minimize the tragic death of a friend, but to be so vividly troubled by the event over a decade later - and indeed, to have altered one’s life entirely, and to have adhered to that transformation all this time because of it - Clyde and Baram must have shared something very special.
And then there is the juxtaposition of Shadow and Relm in-game - he never once displays personal interest in or affection for his own daughter; never reconciles his abandonment of his family. He never even admits it was a mistake - he simply tries to annul it; goes on as if they are strangers. All the while still dreaming of Baram, the last person who ever mattered to him. Even his last words in the game are directed toward his long-lost friend.
So, I began to see their relationship as having been something incredibly intimate, and likely of the the ‘fast and furious’ type - Baram’s death must have come while they were still within the ‘honeymoon phase’ of things, allowing (or condemning) Shadow to look back on that time as being unnaturally appealing, near-perfect, never to be achieved again with anyone else. And he clings to it to great fault, cutting himself off from further intimacy and emotional attachment, even when it comes to his own daughter. Thus we get his uncomfortably personal warning to Terra on the boat to Crescent Island - There are people in this world who have chosen to kill their own emotions. Remember that.
That is quite the commitment to someone so long gone. The world has moved on, but Clyde, really, has not.