Ephemerial Fantasia: FF9 Fanfic
It was at the Alexandria dock where Garnet Til Alexandros III stood. The soft orange fabric of her shoes let the smooth movement of the waves over the posts that supported the dock seep into her body and calm her.
It wasn't every day the Queen could go out and take a break without being mobbed with one group of people or another.
As she walked toward the edge of the oddly empty dock, her hands clasped behind the small of her back, the woman of 23 years heaved a sigh from the stress of her everyday job. It, unfortunately, had taken its toll on her. If not physically, then mentally.
Garnet squatted at the edge, looking over the wood and into the soothing wate. It seemed that whatever shadow covered life went on, unnoticing her. Fish played tag with one another, pesky gnats still went about their business of flying in repetitive circles over the water. Yet, everything outside her reign was questionable; the water wasn't clear. The sunw as just in one of its "spots," she supposed.
The woman reached a hand down toward the water, just to feel how cold it was. This day was a hot one.
She jerked her hand back at the unexpected voice and fell upon her posterior.
"... Isn't it?"
The Queen of Alexandria couldn't help but scowl as soon as the fright had passed. Her hands angrily grabbed the edge of the dock while she pulled her head over to peer beneath the structure.
Her black brows drew down in annoyance as she looked at the form underneath- albeit upside down.
Zidane was on a small slab of stone from a few years a go when Bahamut had destroyed the city. The rock must've been unmoveable, or the movers simply didn't notice it under the dock. That was reasonable to assume.
"I'm sorry," the man stated, his blonde monkey tail waving up over his head.
Garnet couldn't find any reason why or how he could crouch so on that rock.
A small tear dropped down Zidane's cheek from his beautiful blue eyes, only to create a small ripple in the water below. The fish darted away from it.
The Queen thought the fish were smart.
She cut the sneaky little adventurer off.
"How could you?! And this is one of my only days of rest! It's enough that I have to take care of Ziko all by myself. And now you have to come back and break my life into pieces again?!"
Dagger was frustrated.
"But I'm really sorry," her husband interjected. "Please, take me back. All I can do is think abotu you. My eyes long for the joy of your frame, my hands want only to clasp yours, my--"
"Your manhood liked to seek other women," Garnet finished with a scowl, swinging her head up.
She wasn't going to listen to any more of his "heartfelt" apologies.
The woman stood to walk away, but couldn't stop herself from turning back to the river. Admiring the water.
Zidane had to ruin all that.
The familiar face slowly floated out from underneath the wooden platform. She couldn't understand why he wanted her so badly. He had countless others he liked to be with.
The slim frame of the man floated on his back, his hands by his sides as he smiled at her.
Was this some sort of joke?
But his shape changed; his figure shifted. Garnet could see herself in the water... But it wasn't her own reflection. It was her slow floating body overlayed of Zidane's in a mysterious visage. Her phantom self's pale blue lips moved in unison with Zidane's as he said, "To death do us part, Dagger. To death do us part."
She never thought anything was capable of frightening her more at that moment. Zidane's voice had never seemed so.... Haunting.
The Queen hurriedly rubbed her eyes. "What?"
The woman was spooked again buy the impending figure. The now very lively and drenched Zidane was climbing onto the dock.
Dagger took a jumping step backward.
Must just be the stress of work sneaking up on her.
It took a few moments for the man to eft his way up- no doubt due to the weighted denim on him. Once he was finally up, he towered over her, his familar smile plastered upon his face and his great blue eyes-- the sort of eyes one could get lost in, he answered her question.
"What we said when we were married."
The thief of money and hearts began to wring out his blonde hair only to find that the blue ribbon holding it back had been lost somewhere. His rebellious shoulder-length locks stuck to his clothes and face.
That ribbon was out there somewhere littering the water.
It would go out chocking a fish.
Just like its master had.
"I should lock you up," Garnet hissed as she looked her partner up and down, ignoring his more dominant features.
"You thief. Do you know what the penalty is for thievery nowadays?"
Her husband frowned. A soggy glove reached out to his wife. "Dagger, please..." he begged.
"You know what? I will," she finished her thought, ignoring the man's plea.
Her mind had been made.
Her right hand grabbed Zidane's wrist and she began to pull him along with her as she stomped off toward the castle.
Garnet was a proud woman who ruled an entire kingdom.
She wouldn't let some coniving manget to her.
Her back was straight, her chin held high, as she pulled the husband along.
So he finally realized his fate.
Zidane was quite the opposite of the Queen. His back slumped and his head was lowered. He began to drag his feet, but Dagger wouldn't let him slow from her brisk pace.
Zidane hated the castle. He didn't like big buildings. He didn't like what he'd been forced to do for love.
He began to sulk.
All the guards just watched as the Queen dragged her King toward the dungeon. It had been done before. Asking to help her in one of her "moods" got the knights a swift slap on the cheek. None of them wanted that, so they would simply let Garnet do this herself. After all, that was what she wanted.
With a wift twist of her hips, Dagger's momentum threw the unsuspecting man on his back into the newly opened cell. The bars slammed shut. The click of the lock sounded. Zidane's fate had been set.
Garnet grabbed the nearest guard from his light chat with some female soldier and threw him up against the bars on the outside of the cell.
"I want a guard posted here at all times," the Queen ordered. "I do not want this thief released."
She poked an index finger on the guard's chestplate to emphasize her next words. "Got it?"
The guard nodded and replied with a rushed "Yes, Your Royal Highness," and put a fist to his heart in salute.
"Good." The Queen spun on her heel and stamped off to her throne.
She had a lot of paperwork to do.
The high-pitched seven year old voice startled Zidane from his thoughts.He clutched a blanket tight against his cold, wet frame and looked through the bars to his son. The King forced a smile.
"Hey, buddy," he replied as he reached his free hand through the bars to ruffle Ziko's black hair.
That was the only thing Ziko had recieved from his mother- the black hair.
Everything else about him screamed "Zidane."
He even had a tail, although that matched the Prince's hair.
Once Zidane was through messing with his son's hair, the guard let the boy into the cell. Ziko ran in and hugged his father.
"Whoah, there, buddy. I'm all wet. Wouldn't want you to get a chill," Zidane cautioned, playfully.
The Prince paid no heed. "Mommy was complaining about being a Queen again, and then Ms. Cook told me you were here, so I had to come see you."
"Did she, now? How's life as a prince, Ziko?"
Zidane arranged the blanket so his son could sit in his lap.
"Well, Mommy is giving me more speeches about how I should stop being like you, and--"
The King couldn't help but burst out in laughter. After a few moments however, he apologized and asked the Prince to go on.
"-And now that I'm seven, everybody is listening to me, now. I get to do whatever I want."
"That's good," Zidane replied, ruffling Ziko's hair again. "Why do I get the feeling you don't like it?"
"Nobody else has a tail, Daddy."
"Well, we're special," Zidane said as he cocked his head to the side. He hoped what he thought was coming next wouldn't come. As confusing as it was.
"I want to go home," Ziko stated solemnly.
The King's hopes sank as he faked a smile and shook his son's shoulder a bit.
"That's silly, Kid. You are home."
"No I'm not. I'm adopted aren't I? The blue light is home."
"The blue light?" Zidane stood and picked up his son, placing him on the cot. He mentally prepared himself for an awkward situation with a more awkward conversation taking part in it.
"You're not adopted, Ziko. You have your mother's hair, and my... everything else." The King sighed.
He never thought he'd have to deal with Terra, again.
"Buddy, the blue light is just a dream. It doesn't exist."
The little Ziko hopped off the cot and curled his hands into fists. His little face puffed up. A previously unknown trait from the boy's mother.
"I don't believe you," Ziko shot back. "I want to go to the blue light. Everybody knows you don't have any power as a king any more, Daddy, so you have to do what I say. And I want to go to the blue light!"
Zidane's fake smile withered. Terra was gone; all the genomes had been rescued and brought to the Black Mage Village. But he didn't want to take Ziko there.The genomes had no souls. Zidane remembered how freaked out he was when he found out he was simply a creation of Garland's. His son was real. He didn't want Ziko to go through all the axiety of questioning that fact.
"You can't go." Zidane hated being so serious. "Your mother and I went to the blue light a year before you were born and destroyed it. The blue light doesn't exist any more."
"Mommy said she met other people like you- other people with tails." Ziko just wouldn't give up, would he?
"Yes, but they have nothing to do with the blue light," Zidane lied.
"Mommy said they did. She said they can tell me all about it. You got to search for the light when you were younger, Mommy said. Why can't I?"
"That was different," Zidane was pleading, now.
"I want to go," Ziko insisted.
"No!" Zidane argued.
Ziko began to cry and wail.
The guard looked through the bars of the cell and commented, "Your Highness, I really think you should take the Prince. It couldn't be as bad as getting chewed out by your wife all the time."
Zidane glared at the guard. "You're not helping."
"You have to take him. He's the prince. You can't break your own law," the guard shot back. It was difficult to hear over Ziko's tantrum.
"I'll talk it over witht he Queen!" Zidane finally yelled.
He turned back to Ziko and shook his shoulders. "I'll talk it over with your mother!"
The tears slowed and the wailing stopped.
"Let us out," the Prince commanded. The guard did as told.
Zidane took his son up in his arms and began walking toward Garnet's throne.
"This is all Garland's fault," Zidane thought to himself.
Everyone knew that Zidane was innocent. Garnet was the only one who thought otherwise. Something dreadful must've happened while she was out doing business.
The Queen had been out for a month, and Zidane was doing a poor job of holding Alexandria together by himself. He wasn't used to so much responsibility.
Some people had reported illnesses in a few "women houses," and instead of sending out a group of healers, Zidane had gone to see what the problem was himself.
By the time his wife had come back, Zidane had beenc hecking on the women every day, and the rumor had spread among the townspeople. Of course, money was missing from the Treasury since the King had to buy certain cures. Some of which were extrememly rare. When Garnet came back, she thought Zidane had been womanizing.
Everyone in the castle knew otherwise though, and tried to convince the Queen of that fact, but she just wouldn't listen. It was as if Garnet was a different person. She always listened to Zidane before she went out on business. But as soon as she returned, it was as if the power and authority had gone to her head. No one could figure out why she was so stressed.
Zidane had finally reached the hall where the throne sat, only to hear a the queen screaming at someone beyond the door.
"I don't care what you put down, you're a commoner! Just put down was you want and sign my name on it! I'm sick of all this paper siging!!"
Zidane put his son down and told him to wait before the King opened the door. As soon as it closed behind him, a very large stack of papers was thrown at him while an indistinguishable man ran past him and out of the office. Unable to catch the papers due to the surprise, he yelped and threw them up into the air again.
"Who let you out?!" Garnet yelled from behind her desk. "I told them not to let you out!"
Dagger's hair was sucha mess. Was all this work really so stressful?
Zidane's face turned serious.
"Ziko wants to go to the Black Mage Village to meet the Genomes. He ordered me to take him, but I don't think--"
"Who cares what you think!" The Queen interrupted. "You have no power anymore! Follow Ziko's orders."
"But Dagger, as his Father, I don't want--"
"I'll have an airship prepared for you. You take him to the village. Ziko needs to learn some new things."
"In fact... Take Ziko. Teach him your thieving ways. This kingdom is better off rules by women." Dagger grabbed a small knife and plopped it into Zidane's hands.
"This is his. And I'll get someone to pack up the rest of his things..."
Zidane put the weapon on the desk and placed both his hands on his wife's shoulders.
He hardly ever called her that. But he wanted her absolute attention.
"You need a break. Why don't we all go together. As a family. Like we used to."
The woman shoved Zidane's hands from her. "No! There's too much to do. I have to..."
"No Garnet. You're coming. You look forty years old. You need a break," Zidane urged.