By Kate Lorraine
A thanks to Tera (author of Lights of Deling and FFVIII The Return), for encouraging me to write this story. This story is dedicated to you, little sister.
This is a story about what would have happened if the real princess Garnet never died so that Sarah (the girl we know as Garnet in FF9) was never forced to take her place as princess of Alexandria. As we all know, Garnet from FF9 was not Queen Brahne's natural daughter. Queen Brahne's real daughter Garnet died at the age of 6 and Garnet (Sarah) was taken from her deceased mother to take the princess' place because Garnet (Sarah) looked a lot like the dead princess.
Part 1 - Alexandria
Zidane Tribal felt a rush of relief as he saw her lying there on the floor, fast asleep, her hair in a black mess around her. For a moment she looked peaceful, too peaceful, in a serene contentment reserved only for the dead. But no, he would not allow himself to think such thoughts. Zidane bent down and stroked her forehead. Warm. Still alive.
Can you wake her? Freya asked, her knobby hands wringing in anticipation as she glanced toward the door of the dungeon waiting for the next guard to come stumbling in.
Dagger. Vivi whimpered as he too dropped to his knees beside Zidane who had began to pull the princess into his tender arms.
What did Brahne do to her? Freya asked shaking her head in disgust. To her own daughter. . . Freya muttered and trailed off.
It was at those words when the girl in Zidanes arms began to stir. Her lips parted and she uttered a small moan.
Dagger. Zidane began as his eyes opened wide in surprise. Dagger are you alright?
To his surprise, she shoved him roughly and fell out of his arms. The girl stumbled to her feet as she warded Zidane off with both hands. Her eyes looked suspiciously from Freya to Vivi and finally to the mysterious boy whose look of surprise had changed to hurt.
Who are you? She asked in a cracked voice. I have no more Eidolons left in my body. I am no more of a use to you fiends.
Eidolins? Zidane asked, perfectly perplexed. Garnet what are you saying?
Before she could answer, Steiner rushed in, his face red from a recent battle. His features bursted out in glee as he caught sight of the dark haired girl.
Princess Garnet! Youre safe.
But before Steiner could reach her, Zidane grabbed him by his arm.
Thats not Garnet. Zidane stated in a careful voice keeping his eyes on her.
Zidane left his three shocked friends and approached the frightened girl
I wont hurt you. He promised as he gently took her gloved hand.
Who are you? She asked as she allowed herself to be led from the wall she had been backing into. What do you want?
Were going to get you out of here. Whats your name?
Sarah. She responded carefully.
My name is Zidane Tribal. Nice to meet you, Sarah.
With their new recruit, the group of five made their way up the winding steps of the dungeons of Alexandria castle.
The queen would never harm the princess. Steiner muttered in empty self assurance I knew she wasnt the princess the moment I saw her.
Dont listen to him. Zidane promised the girl who was stumbling along weakly. Rusty doesnt always mind his manners.
You little- Steiner began before Vivi jumped and pointed to the open door. There stood Beatrix with her Save the Queen held ready at her side.
Beatrix! Steiner exclaimed in surprise.
Prepare to die, traitor. Beatrix replied in a hard voice. I have orders from the queen to take back your head.
However, before Beatrix could begin her deadly attack, Zidane cut in.
But what about the orders from your princess?
What do you mean? Beatrix asked impatiently.
We are here to rescue the princess Garnet. What about your sworn duty to protect the princess?
Beatrix looked at Zidane for a moment with a ice hard glance. However, she stepped aside and allowed the group of five out of the dungeon and into the room where Queen Brahne stood.
Brahne took one look at Sarah who stood warily beside Zidane and burst into malicious laughter.
Sewer rat. Brahne remarked at the girl before turning her glance to a furious Zidane. I suppose you two belong together.
Where is the princess? Zidane stated tritely.
Your majesty. Steiner began in a weak respectful tone. Please dont harm the princess.
Harm Garnet? Brahne asked in a feigned look of innocence. I never intended anything of the sort. Come Garnet, these rats would like to have a final look upon you before they die.
To the gang of fours surprise, Princess Garnet stepped out from behind the curtain. Only Sarah looked upon the scene without shock. Garnet looked on her four friends without an ounce of affection.
Garnet! Zidane finally broke out, trying his best still to believe that this was not what it appeared to be.
Stay back, thief. The princess responded. I know you not.
With that, Zidanes face was crushed. She had killed him without ever drawing a weapon.
Steiner. Garnet stated. I order you to eliminate these traitors.
Steiner stared at her in complete shock unable to believe the order he had been given. Even Beatrixs unwavering loyal expression was replaced with one of pity.
Princess. Steiner answered. I beg you to reconsider. He did save your life.
My daughters life? Brahne answered. The royal family would not tolerate such a disgrace as to have the life of one of their own saved by a peasant. What you have just uttered is blasphemy, Steiner.
I understand. Steiner responded as he turned to his former friends. He stared at them with apologetic eyes, unable to decide what to do. His loyalty was sworn to a villain, a damnable smiling villain. He could not betray his title of knighthood to truly be a knight.
Steiner. Beatrix whispered too softly for anyone to hear.
But it was already too late. Steiner squeezed his eyes shut and swung his sword blindly about the area where Zidane, Vivi, Freya and Sarah had formerly occupied. In her disarray, Sarah fell to the floor and laid directly underneath the large mans sword.
Sarah watch out! Freya cried out. Her voice broke Zidane out of the trance Garnets response had put him in.
Steiner! You idiot, youre going to hurt someone. Zidane exclaimed.
However, he had hardly finished speaking when a bolt of lightening fell from the sky and knocked Steiner off his feet.
Queen Brahnes eyes opened wide in anger as she realized that the pitiful summoner girl still possessed Ramuh.
Seize her! Brahme yelled to her remaining guards. I want that Eidolon!
Beatrix broke out of her confusion as she stepped in front of Sarah.
Run. Ill hold them. She said indifferently, concealing her new realization.
Thank you. Zidane answered sincerely as he grabbed Sarah and ran back into the dungeon with her and his remaining friends.
Youll have to fight me to get to them. Beatrix told the Alexandrian guards who rushed up to their former general.
Im going back to help her. Freya told Vivi and Zidane as they emerged at the bottom of the winding stairwell. The princess and the queen are both treacherous villains. But Beatrix certainly has another side.
Unwillingly, Zidane agreed.
Was she important to you? Sarah asked Zidane gently as they sat in the carriage in their escape to Treno.
Zidane shrugged as he looked away, more silent than he had been in a long time.
I thought she was my friend.
She has a role to play, Zidane. Sarah responded as she twisted a strand of her long hair in between her fingers. She cant let her heart interfere with her kingdom.
I know that. Zidane responded in a hard tone. I just . . . He shook his head in turmoil and closed his large eyes momentarily.
I know. You just wish that it didnt have to be this way.
Vivi. Sarah began. Where are we headed?
Treno. Vivi responded quietly.
Treno. Sarah said with a quiet smile. I cant wait to see the architecture there.
Part 2 - Madain Sari
So this is the sanctuary. Sarah said as she and Zidane stepped into the peaceful forest. Zidane rubbed his cheek and glanced to the ravishing girl that stood apart from him in silent nostalgia.
Darling, about that kiss, he began but only left her chuckling bitterly.
Your thoughts dwell on Princess Garnet. You dont have to pretend to like me, Zidane. She studied him as he smiled sheepishly in embarrassment and therefore - with his gestures - confirmed her words. At that moment, despite her resolution to make protecting her people her sole aim, she could not help but wish to cover up her summoners horn and to be Garnet for him. It was true that Garnet had an obligation to her people to play the role of the princess, yet Sarah could not understand how she could betray her own heart and reject the man who obviously gave her the most beautiful and rare species of unconditional love.
Yet who was she to judge the actions of royalty? She was simply an ordinary peasant girl and he was an ordinary peasant boy. They had both out stepped their bounds.
You made it. Zidane announced as he caught sight of Quina and Vivi entering the forest. The awkward silence was broken. However, before they could regroup, Quina suddenly broken into a mad frenzy of hungry lust as s/he caught sight of a small fluttering moogle.
A cry for help was suddenly overheard from the distance. It took Sarah only a second to recognize the sound of the shrill little voice.
Eiko! Sarah exclaimed as she broke into a run. She could do little good for the small girl hanging dangerously off the pinnacle of a nearby cliff.
Sarah! The tiny child hollered as she flailed her limbs helplessly in mid-air. Sarah! Help me!
Yet before Sarah could answer in her complete petrifaction, a voice beside her answered for her.
Jump! Zidane called out. Ill catch you.
No! Eiko responded. Ill be a squished pancake.
Zidane. Vivi muttered. You are sure . ..
Do it. Sarah suddenly cut in. Trust him, Eiko.
There was silence for a split second as Eiko stared indecisively into Zidanes eyes. However, her decision was made for her as Quina suddenly jumped up and down, knocking a few rocks loose from the boulder holding her up. Eiko fell from the ledge and narrowly missed careening into the gorge as Zidane caught her by her wrist. He pulled her back up onto the soggy forest ground easily.
Youre my hero! Eiko exclaimed as soon as she caught her breath. She embraced Zidane once before she turned her attention back to Sarah.
Im so glad you are alright. Sarah muttered breathlessly as she bent down to look Eiko directly in the face. What were you doing here anyway? Didnt I tell you to stay home until I got back?
Sarah, you were gone for so long. I was worried that you were never coming back. I was so lonely. Eiko responded with tears welling up her large blue eyes. I missed you so much.
Its okay. Sarah responded as she hugged Eiko to her bosom. Im back now. Youre not alone anymore.
So when are you two getting married? Eiko asked Zidane as they entered the ruins of Madain Sari. Zidane looked down at the earnest face of the tiny summoners girl. She gave him a wide smile showing him her mouth of pearly teeth.
I always thought Sarah deserved a knight on a white horse but I guess youll do.
Sarah is your sister isnt she? Zidane asked her tenderly.
Sarah is everything to me. Eiko responded. Ever since grandpa died.
Im sorry. Zidane responded as he scanned the pathway cutting through the rubbish waiting for his friends to return. To his relief, Sarah came strolling from the distance just in time. Vivi and Quina were not with her.
Are you going to answer my question? Eiko asked again.
When are you two getting married? Are you going to live with us? Or do you have a place of your own? Because you can live with us, you know, Im a great home maker.
Eiko. Sarah scolded which only made the small girl place her hands on her hips in an assertive stance.
Im just checking out your guy, Sarah, making sure hes good enough for my sister.
Eiko, Zidane has someone already. Now stop this nonsense and go help the moogles make dinner. Sarah responded in a patient tone.
Eiko looked up at Zidane with a disappointed pout.
You led me on all this time? Why didnt you tell me?
Eiko! Sarah said placed her hands on her hips in a mirror stance. Eiko stuck her tongue out at Zidane and ran away.
Im sorry. Sarah said in that awkward moment.
Does she do that to every man you bring home? Zidane asked in good humor.
I wouldnt know. Ive never brought anyone else here before.
Zidane grew silent as he sobered up to her dismal expression. Im sorry about what happened to your grandfather.
Sarah waved away his comment.
Is this place your home? Zidane asked as he glanced at the dusty ruins of what was once a great city. A city she had no memories of except in its present state.
I know. It looks like a pile of rubbish. Sarah replied. But this is my domain and I belong here.
The citizens here must be awfully lucky to have such a kind princess.
Sarah grinned mournfully at the boy. Her eyebrows lowered, framing her large desolate eyes. Yes to the bugs, moogles and flies that live here. I am the queen of cockroaches.
Sarah you know I didnt mean that. Zidane answered as he realized his mistake.
Its alright. She answered as she reached out in an unorthodox gesture of warm and took his hand. Come on, lets get back and eat, you must be starving.
Its princess Garnet, isnt it? Eiko asked Zidane over dinner. Vivi looked up somewhat nervously but Quina kept on eating as swiftly as ever. Sarah glared at Eiko and silently willed her to drop the subject.
Youre in love with the princess. Vivi told me.
I knew the princess for a little while. Zidane answered this time in a nonchalant tone. But he could not convince Eiko.
Whats the use of being clothed in a garb of royalty when you could be clothed in the robe of love? Eiko asked outright.
Eiko. Sarah choked out unable to believe her little sisters direct question.
I dont think I have either. Zidane answered playfully.
My sister loves you, Zidane.
With that Zidanes face suddenly grew heavy as his eyes fell on Sarah who was turning red from humiliation. Without another word, Sarah got up and left the table, leaving behind an uncomfortable silence broken only by the loud smack of Quinas tongue as the being devoured the dinner feast without any impression that anything was amiss.
It was the next morning when Zidane realized that Sarah was no where about. Upon asking Eiko, the small child merely shrugged and announced cryptically that if he really wanted to find her, he would.
He found out soon enough what she meant as he realized that she did not mean for him to follow his will but rather - his ears. A melody fluttered out of the deep inlet of Madain Sari. It dissipated into the air bidding him to find the source of the sweet perfume. As he walked the thought entered his mind that even if that Eiko said was true, that if Sarah really did like him, he would be betraying the elder sister just by being with her. If only she did not look so much like Garnet he wouldnt feel compelled to dream of Garnet in her presence.
I thought you would leave without me. Sarah whispered tentatively. After what happened over dinner last night.
I know I was a jerk last night. Zidane responded. He smiled and cocked his head at her. Will you forgive me?
For messing up the lines. That phrase about being clothed in love, its from that play by Avon right? I always forget what comes after that line.
Eiko is a sweet kid. Maybe we should take her along with us in our travels.
You dont plan to desert the team do you?
No, of course not. Sarah replied too abruptly.
Good because Im really getting used to having such a cute girl following me around.
You should stop flirting with me.
Because you dont love me. You are in love with a princess.
Its obvious, Zidane. You dont need to deny it. I wont pretend to be able to compete with Princess Garnet. How can I ever measure up to royalty?
Sarah, Garnet far above me in every possible way. I would better love a dream.
No. Sarah answered looking away. She will come around, soon. And when she does youll search your heart and realize that only she can put those broken pieces back together. Thats just the way it is, you will see.
Part 3 Iifa Tree
Garnet, Queen Brahne said to her daughter affectionately. What is troubling you?
Its that boy, mother. Garnet answered looking down at her clasped hands as the clouds flew past them on the Red Rose. I think I really liked him.
Garnet! The queen muttered in disgust.
Look at me, Garnet. The queen answered. You are the heir to the throne. You will one day be the queen of Alexandria. You must put your role ahead of yourself. You are not a little girl anymore.
I know. Garnet answered rapidly. All these things you say to me I already know. But I learned so much about our people traveling around with him. I think I will be a better queen if I were more open to the citizens of Alexandria.
Garnet. The queen answered in exasperation as she began to fan herself rapidly. You are royalty. You cannot mingle with the commoners because, you will become one of them. Preserve yourself from their sight, make yourself as rare as the blue moon. A common queen will lose her throne to the godly one.
Is that what it means to be royalty? Garnet answered her eyes bright with tears. I was born with royal blood, mother. Nothing can take that away from, not my actions, not my fancies. Even if I am to be common, it would only be a painting without a heart. A dove cannot become a crow even if it were to be covered with soot.
The queen smiled sadly. If only that were so, Garnet. If peace were that simple everyone would have it.
I do not understand, mother.
Promise me you will not seek out this boy.
Mother, that is a promise I cannot make.
That is a promise the princess of Alexandria must make. The queen answered angrily. Are you the princess of Alexandria, Garnet?
Steiner stood on the deck of the red rose watching the black mages take their place, preparing for attack.. He knew there was something horribly wrong in this but he could not quite place his finger on it. There was that boy, who had been noble in every respect of the word but he was now banished from Alexandria as a traitor. Steiner did not pretend to be able to fathom the royal mind, yet his instincts begged him to betray the woman he now hailed as queen. Beatrix had found her answer, he had yet to find his.
Stand back, Steiner. The queen ordered. You are useless to me as of now. My weapons of fire and magic will take of Kuja. Take the princess to a safe place and bring her back after the battle is done. I will conquer the outer continent. I will become the ruler of the world.
Queen Brahne but the outer continent is largely wasteland!
Do you defy me, Steiner?
No! Steiner answered quickly as he kneeled. My loyalty is eternal and -
Thats enough. The queen answered. You are my sole knight now. Follow my orders and you will be well rewarded.
Steiner left the queen to her throne on the Red Rose. He found Garnet sitting remorsefully in her chamber. She looked so utterly sad, Steiner could not possibly imagine what would make her appear so mournful.
Princess, I must bring you to a safe place.
My place is with my mother.
What do you mean?
I am the princess of Alexandria.
I know you are. Come we must hurry. The battle is about to begin.
I dont want to be princess, Steiner. Garnet responded suddenly as she looked away. I want to be myself but it would take a girl far stronger than I, to be herself in my position.
I dont understand what you are saying, princess.
You were never meant to understand. I just needed someone to tell me that I am making the right decision.
Princess. . .
Lets go to that place. Garnet answered but no sooner had she said those words the Red Rose began to rock with fierce blows of the queens canons.
It was near twilight when the side of the Red Rose shattered from the battle with Kuja. It well into darkness before Zidane and his party found Queen Brahne washed on the shores of the beach. Garnet was kneeling beside her deceased mother - crying.
Sarah stopped a few feet away from the whale like body of Queen Brahne while Zidane ran the last few steps and approached Garnet without hesitation. Steiner, who stood nearby, did not stop him.
Sarah watched, completely mute, as Zidane took Garnet into his arms and kissed her. All was forgiven, all was forgotten. All she could do was turn and walk away, with the bitter satisfaction that her prophecy had come true.
What did it mean to be princess? Sarah wondered to herself. It was true that anyone could act like a princess just as Zidane could easily act like a prince. Yet what was the use of garbs of royalty if one did not have the blood to truly be royalty. She could be regal and he could be valiant yet they were both performers in a story, counterfeiting nobility.
Garnet on the other hand, was not bound to the rules of virtue. Hers was the blood to make a black heart gold. Queen Garnet, Sarah thought to herself, I only hope that you will act more like a queen than your mother.
The troop entered the castle of memories. They walked up the terrible palace watching their memories and their nightmares take place. There was a gravity in the air, an understanding that there was a chance they might never go home again. Sarah kept to herself, speaking only to Eiko periodically. Garnet had taken no notice of the summoner girl at all throughout the journey. She spoke only to Zidane and yet, even those words were few and far between.
Her mothers promise echoed through her mind. And yet, after Zidanes revelation that he had been created by Garland to be an angel of death, Garnet began to realize that there might be a future for them after all. He was no commoner, in fact, he was a prince from one point of view. The prince of Terra and the princess of Alexandria, it was a perfect union, seemingly.
I always knew that a knight on a white horse would come, to take me away. Garnet told Zidane gently as they found a moment alone.
Im not a knight. Zidane answered her somewhat remorsefully. Im just a common thief.
No, you were chosen by Garland to be his angel. Now youre my angel to protect Alexandria by my side.
Dagger. Zidane said as he turned to look her in the face. Im just Zidane. Dont treat me differently because of a title.
You treat me the way you do because Im royalty.
No. Zidane answered. I would treat you the same no matter what you are.
Liar. Garnet said with a smile. If I were a commoner, you would ignore me, brush me aside and head for the next pretty thing that catches your eye. . . .just like the summoner girl.
It was hard to describe what Garnet saw then in Zidanes face. She wasnt sure exactly what expression it was. It looked like sorrow, but also joy. Without another word he turned and walked away from her. After Zidane left her, Garnet stood there alone looking out the window of the demonic castle. She saw Steiner nearby as the group was resting from their recent battle. Garnet knew that Zidane wanted her to love him for simple virtue. Yet he did not understand the obligation she had to her blood as well to her people. If devotion made the queen then anyone can be royalty. And she was not just anyone. She was the peacock among hens. As much as he may believe himself to be different from her, she knew that he would come back to her. Like dissolves like. Royalty can only merge with royalty. Zidane Tribal, the angel of Terra, would never peace elsewhere but in her embrace. Just as she would never find understanding anywhere but in his.
As the group came to the final doorway, a landing that stepped off into oblivion, Zidane turned to his team and told them that he needed to fight Kuja alone.
If Garland is right, then I will be able to defeat Kuja since I was created to replace him. There is no need to put the rest of you in unnecessary danger. Thank you for coming with me this far but there are some things I must do alone.
Despite his friends protests, it became obvious to them that what he said was true. This was a mission only he could complete. Tearfully, they said their goodbyes.
Goodbye princess. Zidane said to Sarah as she watched him with her sad eyes. Before she could deny the title he gave her, he pulled her close and explained his words to her. Garnet may be a princess by birth but you are the princess by act.
He turned and stepped into the void.
The field around the Iifa tree exploded an hour later.
He never came back.
Garnet was nineteen before she saw another play performed by the guild that had once kidnapped her. Not a day passed that she did not wake up thinking about Zidane. All she could do was sit by the window and wait for the knight who would never come back to her.
Yet that day she sat there in her ribbon and lace as the play opened. However, this was not like any Avon play she had ever seen. The moment Cornelia stepped onto the stage, Garnet saw herself. The queen looked into her own mirror reflection. It was Sarah, the summoner girl who playing the princess.
And Sarah did it well. For her character revealed a strength and devotion unlike any living royalty in existence. But such was the allure of theatre, to show the audience a vision that surpassed reality. There Sarah laced her lines, the princess of a neverland which can never be. And there she professed her devotion to Marcus, the peasant which had captured her heart.
At the conclusion of the play, Garnet performed the queens duty as she stepped onto the stage to complement the director.
The actress did a wonderful job, Garnet said to the Baku as the curtains were drawn, and the actor who played Marcus as well. But why did he wear that black cloak all through the performance? I could not see his face.
Baku said nothing but turned to the actors and announced. Did you hear what the queen said? She liked the play.
There were a few cheers from the crowd of actors.
Its a pity we need to be leaving, your grace. Baku said to Queen Garnet. We have an affair in Treno tonight.
I see. Garnet said. Then I bid you farewell.
With that each of the actors came and thanked the queen for her graciousness until only Cornelia and Marcus were left.
Grinning shyly, Sarah bowed before her mirror image.
Your majesty, it was a pleasure performing for you, adieu.
Beside her, Marcus removed his hood. Garnet turned stark white as she realized who he was. However, he only smiled and bowed.
It was great performing for you, Dagger. Goodbye.
Kate Lorraine's Fanfiction