Garnet ponders both Zidane's idiosyncrasies and the differences between them as she goes about her journey with him. Chapter two added.
Constructive criticism is desired and appreciated.
It occurred to me that petticoats back in FF9’s time probably didn’t have zippers, but then again, this is a Final Fantasy title, so I thought it might be okay…
“Flowers On Your Bed”
Garnet was sitting on her bed at the inn the group was staying at. In her hands, she held a pink and white flower crown Eiko had made for her. She smiled at it, but the expression was bittersweet. She used to make the crowns with her mother before Kuja changed her into a greedy monster. She still had the last two crowns they’d made together. They were pressed together in a thesaurus. Garnet felt the sting of tears creep up her nose and into her eyes. She pushed the feeling back when she heard noise in the hallway.
“Zidane?” she mumbled aloud.
It was definitely Zidane’s voice. He wasn’t alone; there was a girl with him. They were giggling and shushing each other.
“All right, come in here,” she heard Zidane say.
Garnet’s eyebrows shot high up on her forehead. She suddenly had a strong inclination that she should leave the room. But how? Zidane and his mystery girl were right outside the door! Garnet ran into what she thought was the closet, shutting the door behind her. She looked at the objects around her; a water basin, a towel, and a chamber pot.
‘I’ve locked myself in the bathroom!’ she grimaced.
She heard the room’s door open and Zidane and his companion stepped in. When they shut the door, their giggling continued. Garnet could hear their disorganized footsteps crossing the room, and a creaky thud, which told her they’d plopped down on one of the beds.
There was a small hole in the bathroom door, which was rather upsetting to everyone. Garnet, however, decided to use it to her advantage. She peered through it, and her dark eyes grew huge at the sight. Zidane and a girl with plump, strawberry-blonde curls were on the thief’s bed. Zidane was laying on top of her. They were kissing.
‘Who is that girl?’
The girl sat up to undo her corset whilst Zidane removed his vest. Garnet’s entire face burned.
‘Are they going to…? Out of wedlock?! That’s sinful!’
Zidane helped the curvaceous blonde out of her corset, then she moved onto her petticoat. Much to Garnet’s horror, she was finding that looking away from the prelude to the activity outside the bathroom door was entirely impossible.
‘What does this say about me?! I’m a voyeur! I’m a pervert! I’m Zidane!’ she screamed inwardly.
“I can’t get my petticoat off!” the curly-haired girl squealed. “Something’s caught up in the zipper!”
“Pull it up and then back down,” Zidane offered. “Here, let me try…”
Garnet’s blushing became so intense, she was fairly certain she was about to burst into flames. She wasn’t sure why she was having such a difficult time wrapping her head around this situation, but she just sort of was.
“…Would you be willing to let me cut it?” the blond boy asked.
“No!” the girl half-shouted. She looked up into Zidane’s blue eyes. “Well, I guess that’d be okay.”
Zidane pulled one of his daggers from its sheathe and sized up the fabric. It would cut easily. His main concern was that his companion might flinch and end up getting cut.
“Now, cut it straight enough for a tailor to fix and make sure it’s discreet enough so that I won’t be scandalized when you walk me home later,” she instructed. She turned around to look at Zidane again. “Got that? Ah! Don’t use that! You’ll cut me!”
“No, I won’t,” he said. “I’m great with daggers.”
“You’re going to cut me! Your hand is going to slip and you’ll end up stabbing me in the back! You’re going to cut me to ribbons!”
“No, I’m not! Look at this old thing! It’s probably not even sharp enough to cut skin,” he said, running the blade over his finger tip. It sliced it open. The girl gave him an “I told you so!” look. “…I would never allow one of my blades to cut the tender flesh of a beautiful woman.”
Zidane was beginning to question his judgment of character. Was this shrill girl really worth it? When she moved again, he caught a nice view of her chest.
‘It’s worth it,’ he thought.
“I think I have a paring knife in the bathroom. It’s got a shorter blade. Would that be okay?”
“I guess so,” the girl replied curtly.
Garnet began to panic as Zidane made his way over to the door. She also wondered what was going on with his pants. The knife was on the counter. Garnet picked it up, thinking that maybe she could get away with slipping it under the door. Doing so might even clue Zidane in on that there was someone else in the room. He might take his lady friend and leave so the princess wouldn’t have to spend an evening in a bathroom!
She tried sliding it under the door, but it was too thick. She took its cover off, but the handle was still just too big to fit. From the other side of the door, Zidane could see his paring knife jiggling on the floor. He raised a blond eyebrow and slowly reached for the handle, then swung the door open.
“Zidane! Hi! I was just…checking the floor for, uh…dirt! Yes! That’s it! Dirt. We simply can’t be washing ourselves in a dirty bathroom!”
He clearly wasn’t buying it. His lady friend got off the bed and went over to see what he was looking at. Her eyes bugged out of her head when she saw Garnet.
“Who is this?!” she demanded.
Zidane’s eyes shifted from one girl to the other, then to the knife, then to the floor. He bit his lip and gently took the knife from Garnet.
“Uh…Holy crap!” he stated loudly. “…Someone left a brunette in my bathroom!”
“No,” the girl said. She was stupid, but she wasn’t quite stupid enough to believe that.
“I didn’t think so,” Zidane said, admitting defeat. “Shall I walk you out?”
“Yes, please. Just to the room’s door and then I can make it on my own.”
“Will you be taking your corset, madam?” he asked.
Zidane led her out, then shut the door. He turned to Garnet, unsure of what to say. He could tell she was more than a little embarrassed, and he was, too, yet somehow, this wasn’t the most awkward moment of his entire life. He wondered if what little shame he had left had finally gone out the window. He took a deep breath to collect his thoughts, then opened his mouth to speak.
“So, how much did you see?” he asked sheepishly.
“…All of it…” Garnet replied, her voice barely louder than a whisper.
“…You could’ve snuck out of here,” he said carefully. “We wouldn’t have noticed you.”
“I didn’t know what to do…” Garnet could feel the sting of tears in her eyes. This was too weird. “So I hid…”
“…I’m not mad,” Zidane offered. He knelt down in front of the princess. “You know, I think I like an intelligent, honest girl. That other one was kind of…not the brightest paint in the set.”
Garnet laughed and Zidane smiled. He hated to see her cry and was all too happy to make her smile. A question nagged at the front of his mind and threatened to travel on out of his mouth. He really wanted to bite it back, but it was ready to burst. It was like a cup of water filled to the brim; just taunting the holder with whether it would overflow or not. Zidane bit the end of his tongue.
“So, you saw all of it?”
“I’m sorry,” the princess said. “It was all just happening so fast…”
“What do you mean ‘fast?!’” the thief asked. Garnet just looked confused. “Never mind. Anyway, how much were you planning on watching?”
Some questions just can’t be withheld. Zidane mentally kicked himself. That wasn’t nice, but he had to know. They’d probably look back on this evening and laugh someday.
“Zidane!” Garnet scolded.
Someday, but not today.
“…Does that mean everything?”
Garnet kicked him in the shin and stomped out of the room. Zidane watched her leave, then remembered his bleeding finger. It had stopped and he now sported a medium-sized bloodstain on his left pant leg. He debated whether to tell people the stain was from this exact incident or a fight. He’d decide later. He licked the remaining dried blood off his finger, immediately wished he hadn’t, then walked back over to his bed to retrieve his vest. It had fallen on the floor. He picked it up, sliding it back on, and noticed the pink and white flower crown on Garnet’s bed. He picked the crown up gingerly, inspecting it and sniffing the flowers. They made him sneeze, but he didn’t care. Zidane wondered if Eiko or Garnet had made this crown.
He turned his focus to the knots it in. He wanted to know how such a thing was made without the rubbery stems breaking. He knew absolutely nothing about flowers, but he’d seen some vibrantly colored ones in a garden not too far from the inn. There were so many in there; no one would miss six or seven flowers.
When night fell, Zidane snuck out to the garden. He plucked up a few flowers, then headed off to a spot where the moon shone bright enough to see. He’d worn an eye patch so he’d be able to see even better in the dark, even if it was only out from one eye. He pulled it off, then set to work on the crown.
He expected making the flower crown would be difficult, but it ended up being much tougher than he’d anticipated. He was glad he’d practiced with some pieces of string first. Eventually, he had a colorful crown.
It was not perfect. It was a little lopsided and had a couple weak points. He ended up tying one of the spots off with string. The stems had frayed a bit where they were bent, but it didn’t look too bad. It smelled nice, and he was slightly allergic to it, but all in all, he was pleased with his work. He returned to the inn and placed it on Garnet’s pillow.
Garnet awoke to the sound of a woman complaining loudly that someone had cut some of her flowers. Despite the fog of just waking up, Garnet couldn’t help but think that such an event was to be expected when somebody had a garden and there were other people living near by. She smelled something sweet and looked down at her pillow. There was a lopsided, colorful flower crown sitting on it.
“It’s beautiful,” she whispered to herself. “I wonder who made it…”
She peered around the room, eyes settling on Zidane, who was sleeping on top of the covers. He had bags under his eyes and dirt on his knees. Garnet knitted her eyebrows, then her face softened at the sight of a tiny white flower caught in the hair on Zidane’s tail. She picked it off, the tail twitching as she did so, and placed it in Zidane’s blond hair. He sneezed and Garnet bit back a laugh.
“You went to a lot of trouble to make this, didn’t you?” she whispered. “It’s lovely, thank you.”
Garnet turned to go into the bathroom. She looked at her bed, but knew she’d never fall back to sleep. Zidane’s little excursion to make this flower crown still didn’t account for all the other times he’d snuck off, though.
‘I wonder if I could get him to take me along?’ she wondered, looking over at the blond.