Author's note: This story takes place during Garnet's arrival back into Alexandria as well as the attack of the city by Kuja. However, the events in the story are actually very different from the game.
It was close to midnight at Madain Sari.
Garnet stepped outside of Eiko's small hut, breathing in the cool night air. She walked slowly towards the tiny fountain, the welcoming and still-working landmark of Madain Sari. Her mind was in turmoil, and had been for quite some time now. All around her, in the tiny village, she could only see destruction. In the backround she could hear the moggles playing some sort of orchestra, something which they apparently did every night. It sounded beautiful but sad. Beyound her, as far as her eyes could see, was debrise, the after-effects of a brutal attack.
"This is what Alexandria could be," Garnet whispered to herself.
"Dagger?" a voice inquired behind her.
Garnet turned her head and was not surprised to see Zidane. Zidane was the leader of their party, but more then that, he was literally one-of-a-kind. She had never seen anyone quite like Zidane, both in appearance of a tail and golden hair or in demanor. "Everyone's gone to sleep," he said. "You should too since we're going to the mist tree tomorrow-"
"I have to go back," Garnet whispered brokenly.
Zidane reached her. "What do you mean?"
"I have to return to Alexandria." She looked up, despair in her massive eyes. "It was stupid to leave in the first place. My people need me. I'm a princess, after all."
Zidane blinked. "I don't get it," he said as Garnet slowly paced the courtyard. "Why now? We need you! We're going to stop the mist! Isn't that more important then some kingdom-"
Garnet bowed her head and sighed, her healer's rod shimmering slightly with dark green power. Garnet still had very little idea of what it could do.
"I have my own responsabilties to the castle, to the kingdom," she said. "Ever since recentlythe people have lived in despair. You know I have to return there." She sighed heavily, brushing away a lock of brown hair. "What other choice can there be? What choice have I ever had?"
For a long moment Zidane said nothing. "You look at me right now. I've never met a single member of my own species. I don't know who my family was-my parents, my mom or dad. I went to a great philosopher once, and he told me that there was no one else like me on this entire planet. So, don't you think that I have a responsability to find my own people? No!" He jumped onto the fountain's edge.
Garnet stared at him uncertainly.
Zidane's back was to the jets of shimering raising water. "I mean, why should I? I'm happy being right here, being who I am. I might die out and be the last of my kind. But at least I'll die knowing I did what I want!" He stared at her. "So why shouldn't you?"
"Well...this is what I want" Garnet stammered.
"Oh yeah? Prove it!" He was smiling. "I know you want to dance with me right now."
"Come on, dance with me Dagger!" Zidane ogged on.
Zidane's arms were open and inviting. Garnet hesitantly took his hand. Zidane yanked her upwards. Together they danced on the edge of the fountain, both giggling. Zidane gave her a little swirl and gently lowered her back down. For a moment both did nothing but stare into each other's eyes.
"PRINCESS!?" an almost-girlie voice shrieked.
Zidane's head jerked up in surprise, and he lost his balance. "Woah...woah!' Both of them tumbled into the water with a splash.
Steiner came rushing towards them, puffing. With a snarl he grabbed Zidane by his belt out of the water and threw him against the street. Steiner was nearly purple with rage. "You-!?" He pointed at Garnet who stood out of the water. "And you! I...I..." He was at a loss for words.
Garnet and Zidane glanced at each other, and it was too much for her. Sniffling from the water, Garnet giggled, then burst out laughing. Zidane quickly joined her while a baffled Steiner looked on.
That was only two days ago, Garnet thought quietly to herself as she walked down the tile steps of the castle. Since then...war. Fire. Death. She remembered the dark Mage Kuja launching an assault against her mother's ship. Herself and Zidane unable to do anything despite being only meters away from him, the horrible sounds of the cannons being fired, unable to hit Kuja...Kuja firing down on her mother's flying ships a beast that looked so terrible...Zidane, herself, and the rest climbing down from the mist tree onto the shore. Then, a twinkling in the sky as her mother's ship was destroyed, a twinkle coming fast and headed directly towards her...Zidane shouting at her to look out and pushing her out of harm's way as the pod landed with an explosion of fire down on the beach. And then, herself running up the sandy shore to the pod, Steiner, Zidane and everyone else shouting for her to stop...and finding her mother...
Garnet closed her eyes. A tear fell down her cheek.
"At last I am free from all that greed..." her mother's dying whisper had been. "Make sure that you never make the same mistake I-did, my child. Protect Alexandria..."
Since then Dagger and the rest returned to Alexandria with her mother's body. Garnet was welcomed with open arms. Desperate, open arms. She would be crowned as a Queen tomorrow at dawn. It was now dusk as she stared out at the peaceful city from her balcony. Secretly, her heart was gripped with fear. They were still waiting for a sign from Kuja, for it was almost certain that he would attack Alexandria next. And what better time when the people were facing a new queen? He could attack any day now.
At any time.
Zidane leaned against the pillar, wishing this was over and done with. He had a crimp in his back but made no move to correct his posture. Next to him were Eiko and Freya, both almost jumping with anticipation. As soon as they got to Alexandria Dagger had been taken from them by the royal guards, and the door had been slammed in their faces. Since then, no word from Dagger. Nothing. He had tried to see Dagger himself-twice! And was thrown out onto the street. It was only by Freya's much more careful diplomacy that they had finally gotten in. Zidane shook his head. He didn't know what to expect when they got back, but it wasn't this. Waiting impatiently in the tavern, drinking one ale after another. Waiting for Dagger.
"The Princess will see you now," Steiner said somberly.
The door above them opened, and Dagger stepped out. Against himself Zidane looked up.
The princess was dressed in a shimmering white gown that sparkled almost exactly like a diamond. A small, plain circle of gold was etched around her forehead and above her hair. She was holding a bonet of green flowers in her hand. Jasmine, which Zidane vaguely remembered used to be her mother's favorite. Zidane's breath caught in his throat. Starring up at her, he couldn't find the words.
Beside him Eiko clasped her hands together. "Oh, she's so beautiful," she whispered. "Don't you think so, Zidane?"
"Umum" was all Zidane could think to say. His tongue seemed to have grown three times too large for his mouth. For once, Zidane-who had never once been afraid of anything couldn't find the words.
Then her large brown eyes glanced at him shyly. Their gazes locked.
Zidane heart lurched in his chest. His mind flashed back to the conversation they had in Madain Sari, how she had laughed, and her beautiful song...himself, pondering whether or not she liked him. When he had returned to Alexandria he had been treated with cool politeness and gratitude, but that was all. His part of the fairy tale was expected to be over. And even if Dagger was in love with him, what would that mean? What would he become? The King of Alexandria? Oh, that was a laugh. Unconciously Zidane stepped back as panic began to set into his mind. He could imagaine doing a great many things in his life, but never that!
Beside him Eiko poked and prodded him. "Say something, you big dope!" she whispered furiously.
For once, Zidane had a clear view of how seprate Dagger and his worlds were. A world that would never accept him. Ever. "N-No," he stammered.
"Princess," Beatrix said quietly. "We must go. The preparations..."
Garnet closed her eyes. "All-all right," she said quietly. She turned to leave.
No one was more then surprised then himself when Zidane spoke. He ran up the stairs but was instantly held back by two swords that were drawn against him.
"Is that all that you have to say to me!?" Zidane asked through clenched teeth.
Garnet looked as though she was about to say something...anything, but her mouth closed. Once again, her song echoed in Zidane's head. She looked down.
Zidane's eyes darkened considerably. "Fine. Whatever, right?" he snapped. He turned to leave, shoving away a guard that was about to escourt him out. "I know the way!"
It was midnight in Alexandria as Zidane walked onto the small bridge overlooking the river, cursing himself for being such an idiot, along with the required repeated smacks to his head. Did Dagger realize how much he loved her? Did he, himself not know until this very second?
He looked down into the river, biting his lip. He did know he loved her. He just never knew how seriously he couldn't live without her until now. Angrily Zidane kicked a stone into the black water. He watched as it made a satisfying 'plop' into the river. For a few minutes he did nothing but stay there, leaning on the railing.
Not even his group would take him back. "If you can't even catch a canary then you have no place being here," Buko, his ex-boss had said.
Zidane leaned back, still gripping the railing in his hands. His blue armlets glinted in the moonlight. There was an annual card game tournament in Treno at the moment. Tommorow would be the last day to register. He could take Vivi and Freya and maybe Eiko-
But who was he kidding? To do so would mean that he would be apart from the princess, something that would kill him. He moved away from the railing and started to walk slowly. But hadn't Dagger already rejected him, just by saying nothing to him? Hell, he really had been an escourt and treated as nothing more, and Dagger..
.....Dagger didn't care.
So absorbed he was in his thoughts that he didn't notice a faint green glow shimmering on the concrete ahead of him, in fact stepped right on it. He looked up in surprise at the sudden sound of thunder where there was no clouds.
"You are a resourceful little rat, I grant you that," a voice purred behind him.
Zidane whirled around, a plain knife in his hand. He knew that voice very well. More was the pity that he had left all his possessions back in the guild, but he didn't need them to deal with a white sissy mage. "Kuja."
Kuja towered over Zeldaine in height, and wore a white robe which matched his odd white hair. Kuja bowed his head in greeting and looked out towards the city. "Beautiful, isn't it? Ah, my Queen, if you had only stayed on my side none of this would have been nessisary. But now the cost has been your life...and now, your city will be mine."
Zidane snorted. "So far, you've needed Dragons and the Queen's previous guard to fight your battles. Come on, Kuja-you wanna take me on? Man-to-man?"
Kuja actually rolled his blue eyes. "Oh, please, Zidane. You of all people..."
Zidane crouched downwards, his body already aching for a fight.
Kuja turned and stared at him with a new light. "However....a little distraction for the princess might prove to be fruitful. All right, you wanna fight?" The Mage whirled backwards, his white robes flowing from the motion. He took out a massive sword.
"Game on," Zidane replied.
A thousand meters away Garnet stared at the city on her balcony, watching with growing concern at the increasing wind which lifted her braided hair. Off in the distance she could hear the sound of thunder.
Zidane slashed to the left, to the right. Kuja avoided both easily, and swung with his massive sword. Zidane leapt upwards and backwards, his feet lightly touching the railing.
"Your heart is as open to me as pages on a book," Kuja gloated. "Really, how could you ever foresee marrying Princess Garnet?"
Biting his lip Zidane leapt upwards, his blade poised to strike. "Her name's Dagger!" he shouted as he sliced downwards.
Kuja stepped back easily. "She is a small and fragile thing, that cannot be denied. All I have to do is reach out with my hand and Alexandria will be mine. And you? The greatest fool of them all, not even able to touch anything as pathedic as that." He swung, and Zidane dodged.
The blade tore deep into Kuja's arm, spilling blood. Kuja stepped back and touched his sleeve. A small, sly smile lit Kuja's lips.
Breathing hard, Zidane's tiny blade glowed with green light. It was a kind of magic he always had within him, able to transfer through weapons. Two things could happen. Either the dagger would draw a fatal or mortal woundor it would miss and break in two. It was the luck of the draw.
But then, so had been much of his life.
Kuja's eyes lit with power.
Zidane leapt forewards.
Natasha Bennett's Fanfiction