Vivi, Zidane and Eiko talk about Kuja, Meltigemini and what has passed Spoilers disk 1 - 3 and start of disk 4 (one shot)
Rating: Uh ... Amarant says a bad word, but nothing too bad PG I'd say because the same word is used in the game a lot.
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy IX, mores the pity, I do not own the characters, I do own what they're thinking though.
Note about thoughts: Yeah ... lots of Vivi's thoughts going on here, these are marked by and , that will make more sense when you read on I promise.
Author's note: At the time this was written I should have be revising for my exams, but Vivi and Zidane kept coming into my head and asking me to write about them, so I had too. I hope you enjoy this, it can be rather melancholy, but dealing with Vivi tends to be. This is just a filler fic, with my ideas about what Vivi would have thought about things and what Zidane felt finding out about himself.
Vivi sat on the bridge, legs hanging over the edge, arms on one of the wooden beams across the bridge, head on his arms. He swung his legs backwards and forwards aimlessly, watching the stars reflections in the ever-moving water. He was very glad that the mages and the Genomes seemed to get along, both species had so much to learn and experience and he was happy that they would get to do so together, what better way was there to do it? Vivi wished that he had had someone to experience things with for the first time, convinced that if he had he would not have been so scared by everything. "Hey Vivi," A soft voice spoke from just behind him to the side; Vivi craned his neck backwards to Zidane, who moved to sit by his side, watching the stream too.
"H - Hi Zidane,"
Silence drifted like a laden blanket between the two; Vivi had realised on the 'Invincible' that he and Zidane were alike; both created for another's purpose, not truly recognising their own potential, and finding others of their own kind without really looking for them. "Are you alright?" Vivi asked after a little while, he tried to think of what he would have liked people to ask him but nothing really came to mind. He understood why Zidane had been so cold towards Eiko and himself on Terra, he had not wanted others around him in Dali or Madain Sari but he had been glad of them when they were there.
Zidane looked to Vivi, whose yellow eyes glowed out brightly in the darkness. The two of them looked nothing alike, but when it whittled down to it, the they were related; the prototype Black Mage, designed to be a thoughtless killer and the Genome lost on Gaia, expected to be the Angel of Death. "I - I can go if you'd like," Vivi suggested, recognising the tailed youths desire to be alone.
"Nah, you were here first Vivi, I'll leave you to it." Zidane sighed gustily, he had intended to talk with Vivi about everything but somehow it now did not seem right. Zidane had to keep reminding himself that Vivi was a child, not a friend he had known for years. Knowing that he would not sleep unless he talked about what he was feeling, Zidane sighed again. "How do you do it Vivi? How do you get yourself going again?" He caught his own error with a grimace, maybe 'going again' had not been the right thing to say to someone who would eventually stop.
Adjusting his hat, Vivi's eyes lingered on the stream. "I - I had a friend who helped me." He thought back to the time when the other Black Mages had tried to defend him against the Black Waltz, when he had been ready to give in after getting through South Gate, Zidane had provided his mind with the distraction of the 'Falcon's Gate'. In Madain Sari, when he had been thinking about stopping, Zidane had been there to cheer him up too. "Dagger knew what to say to you."
Biting the inside of his lip, Zidane thought guiltily of the things that he had said to his friend on Terra; Vivi was the member of the group he found it easiest to call a friend at times because he was quiet and did not think a lot of what he could do. He swallowed, "Look ... Vivi ... I'm sorry I called you a brat and a twit." He offered very softly, knowing now that it had hurt the mage on some level.
"Eiko's called me worse,"
Noting the dismissive tone of Vivi's voice, Zidane recognised that it had scarred the mage quite deeply. "Yeah, don't I know it? I really didn't mean it." He looked up from the stream, eyes going to the mages bowed head. "You're my friend; you're not a brat or a twit. Brats don't plan things like you did; I never would have thought to try this." He meant the boys plan to introduce the Genome's to the Black Mage village.
"You had other things to talk about, it seemed right."
Zidane dropped his gaze back to the river, and Vivi shifted slightly so that he could dip the tip of his shoe in the stream. "I've been thinking Vivi, about mages and Genome's; in a way they're cousins ... both created, soulless ..."
"M - Mages aren't like Genome's; we're only supposed to the last a year."
Catching the painful edge to the comment, Zidane was reminded about something Vivi had said to 288 about dying before; he had been worried that he too would soon stop. "Yeah, but you're special, you're supposed to last longer."
"Nobody knows how long for ... or how long I've been ... running ... already. I could stop tomorrow, or in a year's time."
Silence fell, considering what Vivi's age was supposed to be, the tone and manner of the conversation was disturbing. For his part, Vivi sat watching the water flow around the tip of his shoe; it was so easy to change the flow of water, it had to keep going and therefore flowed around any obstacle, just as life did.
The silence became uncomfortable for the Genome. "You know, technically, we're cousins too." Zidane offered at length, trying to draw Vivi away from the depressing thoughts of death that saturated his being. "This makes you cousins with Kuja too,"
"I'd rather have you as a friend and Kuja as an enemy."
"Same back at you,"
"I - I thought I was alone after Grandpa died, now I've not only got brothers, but cousins too. It's strange."
Something fell into the stream somewhere nearby, causing the two friends to look to one another quickly before looking behind themselves to see what it was. "I'm all wet now." Eiko's voice moaned from downstream. Zidane stood first, jumping into the stream to follow it to her.
Eiko was sitting in the stream, droplets of water in her hair from having fallen into it. "What are you doing Eiko?" Zidane questioned as he saw her, just aware of the carefully treading Vivi behind him.
"I fell in,"
She stood up, water running in rivulets from her, dripping from the ends of her sleeves; Vivi's shoulders shook in silent mirth, he was not sure what it was he was laughing at but she looked to bedraggled. Noticing his friend laughing to himself, Zidane could not help but do the same. "Are you laughing at me?" Eiko asked, planting her hands on her hips in the same way that Dagger would when she was annoyed at him.
"N - No,"
"Vivi might not be, but I am. I know this part of the village is over the stream Eiko, but how did you manage to fall in?"
Zidane sat on the decking, trying to ignore his wet ankles. Miraculously, Vivi managed to stay on his feet, sitting on the decking a little way from Zidane. Shaking her arms to try and get rid of some of the water, Eiko plonked herself down next to the Genome, on the opposite side to Vivi.
"I thought I heard a Moogle."
Water dripped from her hair onto the decking as Eiko shifted uncomfortably. "You can hear the one from the Chocobo shed here, if you're quiet enough." Vivi told her from Zidane's other side, yellow eyes reflecting brightly back at their owner from the stream. Of the three, he knew the village the best, "It cries occasionally."
Eiko gave a quiet sneeze into her hand, Vivi threw a blanket to her and she pulled it over her shoulders. "It's not bad here; the conversations not great but it's a nice place." She hugged the blanket into herself to try to keep warm. "I suppose this is your home now Vivi."
"I - I'm ... not sure."
Zidane smiled slightly to himself, Vivi would not say he was at home in the village because he felt he had little right too, he had not helped to establish it after all. "Why not?" Eiko asked, she still had the six year olds view of home being a place and a loving family, Vivi had realised that it was not the buildings, or even family that made you feel at home but the people you cared for, those who cared for you and the heart. Vivi shrugged slightly, drawing his legs up and wrapping his arms around them. Talking with Eiko had made him think more about his own life span; she was only three years younger then he was and yet had many years of life before her. He had no idea how long the 'prototype' was supposed to last but he suspected it was not long.
"Home isn't always a place Eiko, sometimes it's a feeling you have. I didn't feel at home on Terra, but that was 'home'; all the time, I thought I'd rather be in Lindblum with my Tantalus brothers, or spending time travelling with you two, Dagger and the others, you don't need a family or a place to be home."
Vivi nodded in agreement, watching his reflection nod back. Silence fell over the three, who did not look to one another. Looking up finally from his reflection, Vivi's eyes went to Eiko and then Zidane; he was used to being down but seeing others like it was strange for him. "I heard the mages let you stroke Bobby Corwen today." He said softly to Eiko, trying to make the six year old more buoyant again.
"Yeah, they love that little thing,"
Zidane smiled slightly as he thought back to when he had first met Vivi; whilst the boy was still a fiendishly shy introvert he had changed greatly since then, developing a great deal of inner strength due to the trails he had faced concerning his life. "I bet they're glad they kept Quina away from that egg now." Zidane said with a smile, thinking of the ambiguous creature's reaction to the Chocobo egg before.
"I - I promised them I wouldn't let him near it. They told me to cast fire on him if s/he did."
"I didn't want to break it to them that Quina'd probably try to eat it now too."
"T - That'd make them sad,"
"You were there Eiko, Kuja lied to them, told them he could make them last longer." Eiko looked across Zidane to Vivi, who still sat huddled into himself; he looked back to her, yellow eyes disturbing her slightly. "Last longer then what?" She asked harshly, thinking that the mage's motivations had been entirely selfish. Vivi looked to Zidane, who sighed slightly; Eiko would not have necessarily have known of the mages one year life spans.
"They stop after a year," Zidane told her gently, he knew that Vivi would not have wanted to say it himself and so had said it for him.
"M - Moving,"
Zidane looked towards Vivi, who had spoken, realising that his young mind still lingered on death; it did not matter to Vivi that he was going to die so much, but the idea that his whole kind would die out distressed him. "Black mages were created by Kuja, Eiko and most of them stop after a year. Mr. 288 told Vivi that the prototype would last longer."
"Which one's the prototype?" This caught the two friends, they had assumed that Vivi was the prototype but it was not a sure thing, 288 had not told them either way. "They all look the same to me." The girl admitted, causing Vivi to look at her, yellow eyes and body language upset. "What?"
"D - Do we really all look the same?"
Zidane sat quietly, he was not sure what to say to either one; Vivi's mood had slipped drastically again and Eiko did not seem to know what she had said to upset Vivi so much. "Well, you don't, you're shorter then they are, and you're clothes are different."
"At least you're shorter then they are Vivi, I mean look at me and Genome's."
"Y - You're different then they are."
"Yeah, I am and you're different to the mage's Vivi."
"If I wore what they did you wouldn't be able to tell the difference."
Zidane chuckled slightly, "Vivi if you were the same height, wore the same clothes and stood in a line up with the others I bet I could tell who you were." The Genome told him with a smile. "There's more to a person then how they look." Vivi looked him in the eyes, nodding slightly to show that he felt the same, he felt he could tell Zidane from any of the Genome's. "Plus, we've travelled together for a while now huh? You get a sense of a person in that amount of time."
"Don't you know me too?"
This drew their eyes to Eiko for a moment, Zidane thought for a while hoping Vivi would not point out that they had not known Eiko as long. "Yeah, but you're unique Eiko, there's no one else who looks like you in the world." Zidane pointed out, realising what he had said wrong with a grimace. "Well, everyone's unique, but you're the only summoner with a horn, you look unique."
Eiko smiled widely, she liked talking to Zidane. Even with what she had learnt about Vivi, even after the strength he had shown in the Iifa tree, even after he had told 288 what he thought about dying and being a 'puppet', and even after he had sat with the other mages after Kuja's deception she still saw him as a weird cry-baby and she did not feel comfortable around him. However, Eiko knew that Zidane saw him as a friend and tried to get on with him for Zidane's sake; she clutched the blanket slightly, the blanket Vivi had given her, maybe Vivi was not all that bad really.
"They say everyone in the world has a double," Eiko announced softly, she did not want to wake the sleeping Genome's and mages.
"We certainly found mine," Zidane offered with a chuckle.
"I - I don't think so," Vivi had been quiet for a while and it drew both of their attentions when he finally spoke up. "I don't think any of them are your double, they aren't like you, Zidane." The Mage did not look to either of his companions, light coloured eyes on the ever-flowing water of the stream. "They're all soulless drones, you've got a soul." He was mumbling, mouth obscured by his high collar. "I hope Eiko hasn't got a double," He continued and Zidane recognised the joking tone to his voice. "One of her is enough."
She huffed indignantly, "That isn't a very nice thing to say about a lady." She put her hands on her hips and looked at him, but Vivi did not look at her. "I hope you haven't got one either."
"I don't think I have, unless I'm a twin,"
"Well, I've got a brother and a sister, so I suppose anything is possible."
Despite having said it as a jest, Vivi thought about what would happen if he were a twin. What if he were part of a whole, like Zorn and Thorn had been? "What if I'm like Zorn or Thorn, Zidane? What if there was someone out there who could make me whole?"
Zidane looked to Vivi, shrugging slightly. "So what if you are? You'd be the good equivalent." He recognised that Vivi was not upset by this concept, but entertained by it and he seemed happy too. "I can see it now, some sort of extremely powerful mage, kinda like you in Trance."
"What? Blue and white with Double Black?" Eiko asked teasingly; as much as she hated to admit it, she liked how Vivi looked in Trance because he lost the floppy hat and gained an interesting jacket. Eiko thought about this with a slight smile, she liked that jacket more then Vivi's present one, which looked tatty and old. "Or like Meltigemini?"
The mage shrugged slightly, "I don't know, I didn't see Meltigemini." He told her softly, "I was with the others when Kuja ..." He trailed off, losing his voice to the memories. Kuja lied to them all, they all knew he'd lied to them but something inside made them do go with him and do those things anyway.' He thought sadly, yellow eyes on the glittering stream, the moonlight shone off the streams surface, lighting his face as it did so. They knew, and all along, I knew they did. I'd have done the same thing; I'd have killed others to be able to live longer then a year. He bit his tongue slightly, stopping this thought in its tracks. No, that's where I'm different; I don't think I could kill someone like they did. Kuja created us for war, they knew this when they went with him, they knew he'd lied but they went with him anyway! His mind started to work against itself, presenting the two sides to the argument in logical progression;
They didn't want to die
I don't want to die either, but I couldn't work with Kuja!
I just admitted I would,
I wasn't thinking strait.
Neither were they, they didn't want to do it really.
They held us prisoner; they knew Kuja would kill us all.
"You're lucky you didn't, it was really ugly,"
Zidane chuckled slightly in agreement with Eiko, nodding his head. "Yeah, pink wasn't the best colour huh?" He asked with a twisted smile, "And the two heads are better then one approach didn't work for them either." Eiko laughed slightly, smiling widely.
They would have helped before it came to that!
No they wouldn't.
Soulless mages tried to save me from the Waltz, there's no way these are different. The mages on the Cargo ship acted to save me, they didn't know me.
Look at what that got them!
Noticing that Vivi had drifted into a very deep silence, Zidane sighed slightly, Vivi seemed to be more down now then he had been in a while. He looked to the stream for a few moments, before sighing again, "Vivi?"
They died to protect me,
I never could have done the same for them.
I want to live too much to do that.
There's nothing wrong with wanting to live.
There is if it's at another's expense!
Unable to stop herself looking worried, Eiko leant into Zidane as he grasped the mage's arm lightly. "Vivi, are you all right?" The boy looked at him blankly for a few moments and Zidane recognised that he had been very deep in thought, the blank look melted slowly.
"S - Sorry Zidane, I was just thinking."
"I noticed Vivi, what was it?"
Eiko pulled back, not wanting Vivi to see she was concerned, her emerald green eyes went to the stream. "Keep your secret thoughts Vivi; just don't let them get you down too much." Zidane's voice was soft as he spoke, gentle blue/green eyes locking with innocent yellow ones. "Thoughts can't hurt you unless you let them." He smiled slightly, touching Vivi's arm again.
"You're so weird!" Eiko snapped suddenly at the young mage, this startled Vivi who jumped slightly before looking towards her. "You go all quiet like that, don't hear a word we say, then tell us it's nothing and expect us to be ok with that?" She did not wait for an answer, shaking her head. "Sorry, no way!"
"It's the way he is Eiko, he doesn't hurt anyone."
Eiko looked Zidane in the face; her eyes conveyed that she did not believe him. She ducked her gaze, "Except himself," She mumbled to herself. Vivi heard what she had said, sighing to himself.
"I don't hurt myself ... I think about things so I don't."
Silence bit into the night, Vivi finally pulled himself out from being huddled and stood. He gave a big stretch, adjusted his hat quickly, and gave an unseen yawn. "I - I'm going to bed now, I'll see you in the morning." He turned to go, Zidane stood too.
"Smart move, I'll turn in too; Eiko?"
The three went to the Inn, where the others already slept. Vivi slipped into the sleeping bag the mages had provided for him as the other two did the same. Zidane had the sleeping bag on one side of him and Eiko the one on the other; the monkey tailed youth lay on his back. Vivi lay on his side, slightly curled up listening to the others breathing, he knew Eiko was already asleep. "You're still awake aren't you Vivi?" Zidane asked in a whisper.
"What were you thinking about?"
Vivi rolled onto his back, yellow eyes going to the ceiling. "Nothing ... well nothing that bad. I'll be okay, I promise." Zidane nodded, he knew Vivi well enough now to know that h would be all right if he had said he would be.
"If you say so, I'll take your word for it,"
"T - Thanks, I appreciate it."
Zidane sighed gustily, trying to order the thoughts within his mind. "My brain's so full my head hurts, all I can seem to think about is what Kuja's up to." Zidane admitted in a whisper, this was part of what he had wanted to say to Vivi before but Eiko had fallen into the stream before he had had a chance to. It scared and disturbed him that Kuja could destroy Gaia as easily as he had destroyed Terra. "I can't let him destroy this village; I can't let the people here die at his hand." He turned to face Vivi, who turned his head towards his friend. "I don't care how long mages are supposed to live, they should be allowed to live it happy!"
"Thanks Zidane, I want the same ... they deserve a chance."
The gentle, innocent yellow eyes closed for a few moments, before he looked back to Zidane, who smiled a slight smile back. "Everyone deserves a chance Vivi," Vivi nodded in agreement; Zidane was right, as he usually seemed to be, "Even those who are made, like you and the others."
"And the Genome's,"
The Genome nodded slightly, "Yeah, the Genome's too. It's funny, I know I'm one of them, I look like they do and everything but I don't really consider myself one of them." He chuckled to himself, laughing at how stupid that had sounded. "That's pretty weird huh?"
"I'm not sure, I feel a little different sometimes too. The Genome's don't have souls, you, Mikoto and Kuja are different because your not empty vessels. I'm different because ... I'm going to live longer or I already have, because I was raised by a Qu."
Noticing a heavy sigh the mage heaved, Zidane sighed gently. "I don't think you're that different Vivi. The other mages care very much for you because they can relate to you. They have to understand you to some degree." Zidane folded his arms behind his head, tail twitching at its tip. "I told 288 that I only just started to understand you recently, I didn't lie to him. I'm glad I had the chance to understand you a little."
"Don't make me sick," A voice growled from nearby, startling Vivi slightly. "I can't believe a sentimental bastard like you beat me." Zidane could not help but chuckle softly to himself. "Couple of chatterboxes, yack yack yack. Just go to sleep!"
"S - Sorry Amarant,"
"Yeah, ok, we'll go to sleep now dad."
Vivi rolled onto his other side, Zidane yawned and closed his eyes and Amarant was soon snoring. In the dark, a young mind fought with itself again. I am different.
Yes, but in some ways I'm also the same.
In some ways I'm like the mages.
In others like Grandpa Quan.
Sometimes I can be a little like Eiko; maybe not as much.
But with all the similarities I'm also different. I am always myself.
Myself may be shy and confused a lot of the time but it's always me.
Yes unique; Eiko's wrong, no one had an exact double because everyone experiences something different and reacts differently to new situations.
And takes their own unique something from any given situation.
Yes, finally contented with things, Vivi allowed his mind to rest. The soft, caring confines of sleep slowly claimed him and harsh reality gave way to childish and fanciful dreams.
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