Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > Inochi Wa Tsusuku

Chapter Five

by AccountingNinja 0 reviews

Vivi felt as though the bottom of his stomach was dissolving. What was this strange mixture of joy and fear?

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: PG - Genres: Drama - Characters: Mikoto,Vivi Ornitier - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2008-07-16 - Updated: 2008-07-17 - 4206 words

Chapter Five ~ New Arrivals

Vivi rapped politely on Mikoto's front door. Usually, the Genome girl woke up before he did, and the two always ate breakfast together. Now that winter had turned to spring, the forest blossomed and the sun shone warm, and they could have their meal outdoors. He carried a small basket, filled with fresh muffins and bottles of juice. Vivi looked forward to sitting by the lake in the tall grass.

"Don't come in!" said a hurried, muffled voice. "I'll be out in a minute!"

Vivi sat on the step patiently, kicking up the dust with his new shoes. He had turned eleven and experienced a minor growth spurt since the ice thawed. His old shoes became tight and his old pants too short. Thankfully, his light blue jacket still fit pretty well, thanks to Rachel, the resident Genome seamstress, who was able to let out the jacket a bit in the shoulders and arms. Rachel had also ventured to repair some of the shoddy stitching in his hat, but Vivi refused; its imperfections made him think fondly of his Grandpa. Quan had made all his clothes by hand, so he hated the thought of outgrowing them forever.

Growing taller had its advantages, however. He did not look like such a kid next to Mikoto anymore. In fact, he was almost her height now.

Vivi raised his eyes to the cloudless bright sky latticed with high tree branches. Peace washed over his soul as he ruminated over his new life in the village. During the cold, frosty season he had painfully missed his questing days, but he had finally started to settle into this beautiful place, especially because of his beautiful friend. He and Mikoto spent practically all their free time together. She had not kissed him again since that winter, but she hugged him every night when they parted, and she never took her pendant off. He still could not find the right words to tell her how he felt. No time seemed right, but it was okay. His resolve to confess all to her had wavered. Why potentially ruin a fine friendship? No, it had to be the right moment. He would know when it happened.

Plus, she said she could still see his face. That was fine enough by him.

Her door creaked open. She peered out, a little ashamed. "Sorry. I overslept."

"It's all right," he replied kindly.

The lakeside teemed with dragonflies and the whining hum of the grasshoppers. Vivi and Mikoto chose a spot where the grass did not grow too high, and spread out a gingham blanket. They conversed sparsely between bites.

"Wow, these are really great," Vivi said, holding up his apple cinnamon muffin. "I never realized that Mr. 123 was such a good cook."

"Mm," Mikoto concurred through a mouthful. "His clandestine culinary talents are without peer." She arched an eyebrow playfully at him, lips pulled tightly into a mischievous smirk.

Vivi choked with laughter on a sip of juice. "You had to make me laugh while I was drinking." He mopped up the front of his jacket with a red cloth napkin.

Mikoto started to fan herself. It was only midmorning, yet it was beginning to feel oppressively warm. She looked at her friend. "Do you always wear that heavy hat and jacket? It's hot out here. You're making me hot just looking at you!"

Before Vivi could stop himself, he remarked uncharacteristically, "I didn't know I had that effect on you."

Mikoto replied by flinging a piece of muffin at him. It ricocheted off his nose.

Vivi flinched. Did he actually say that?

Maybe he was spending too much time around Blue Water...

She pretended to act affronted, but he knew better due to the grin on her face. "Well! Are you channeling a complete stranger?"

To which Vivi responded by pelting the top of her head with a piece of muffin.

"Hey!" Fwap!

"Take this!" Thop! Fwap!

Fwap! Thwip!

In a few minutes, their picnic area looked like a war zone, with muffin casualties strewn about. They had to catch their breath from laughing so hard.

Just then, they heard someone calling their names. They stood up, brushing the crumbs off their clothes, quite embarrassed, but giggling nonetheless.

Mr. 288 jogged ponderously over the grassy hill, the sight of which caused Vivi and Mikoto to stifle even more laughter. Breathlessly, he called to them, "I'm...glad I found you two. Ms. Dana...she had her baby last night. It's a girl!"

Mikoto and Vivi blinked at each other.

Mr. 288 continued, "They would like you to see her now, if you don't mind."

Anxiously, the three headed to Blue Water and Dana's house.



Frenzied-looking Blue answered his door. He clasped both Vivi and Mikoto's hands, and he seemed about to weep. "Come in and see her! She's so beautiful!"

Mikoto and Vivi nodded apprehensively, taken aback by the man's emotion. Mr. 288 nodded to Blue Water.

"I have already seen the little one. Good day," he said, and bowed slightly before departing.

The girl and boy were on their own.

Dana sat in a rocking chair, holding a small bundle against her soft bosom. She appeared tired, but serene and contented. She did not register Mikoto and Vivi's arrival.

Unconsciously, the Genome girl and Black Mage joined hands, each feeling the weight of the silence that filled the room. Neither wanted to speak and disrupt the serenity of the scene before them. Then, the little bundle cooed, and fussed briefly, its tiny hand grasping toward its mother's face.

At last, Dana raised her weary eyes to her visitors. Softly, she said, "Hello, guys. Come meet the first Genome baby born on Gaia."

Vivi stepped up first, and peered into the blanket. Mikoto hung back, unsure what to do with herself. The newborn's small, shiny eyes bore into Vivi. She seemed fascinated by the young Mage. She gurgled and her wee tongue protruded slightly.

"Would you like to hold her, Master Vivi?" Dana asked warmly.

"C-Could I?"

He sat on another chair, and Dana placed the baby gently into his arms. He propped her head in the crook of his elbow. Her silky, downy tail poked out from the blanket, swaying peacefully.

"Be careful, now. A baby's head and neck are very weak," Dana told him. She sighed happily, "Ohh, she likes you, Master Vivi. Look how relaxed she looks in your arms."

A lump rose in Vivi's throat as he looked down at her.

The new father beamed. "Her name is Genevieve. It's appropriate, don't you think? We used elements of the word 'Genome', and also of your name, Master Vivi."

The Mage was astonished. "My name?" He did not know what to say.

Dana smiled. "We are very fond of you, and Miss Mikoto as well."

Vivi felt as though the bottom of his stomach was dissolving. What was this strange mixture of joy and fear? As he studied this tiny, helpless creature, a sudden insight jolted him. This was a baby. Very soon, he would have six of these fragile creatures, and they would be his. The immense responsibility he and Mikoto were about to undertake had never felt this tangible before. He involuntarily started to shake, and his grip on the child began to falter.

Concerned, Blue Water took Genevieve into his arms. He said to Vivi, "You don't look well! Are you all right?"

Mikoto rushed over and put an arm around his shoulders. This whole business made her feel very uneasy. She felt bad for feeling that way; this was a happy occasion, was it not? She spoke tenderly to her friend. "Hey, let's go outside a moment, and get some fresh air."

Vivi inhaled deeply. He squeezed her hand. "No...I'm okay now. I-I just got a little dizzy. Probably all the excitement."

Blue chuckled loudly. "You can't be fainthearted now, Master Vivi! Because I have more good news! It's auspicious, really."

Mikoto and Vivi looked worriedly up at Blue Water. He seemed oblivious to their dismay. With a huge grin, he announced, "Tonight is the night!"

Their eyes grew wider at the sinking realization. They clung to each other.

He continued merrily, "To think our children would be born on the same day! Perhaps I should start believing in fate. Tonight, your children will be ready for you to finally see them. It's been a long time, but finally, they'll be here! Aren't you excited?"

Only shocked silence greeted Blue Water's enthusiasm.



The lazy beauty of the late afternoon was lost to Mikoto and Vivi as they waited in agony for the evening. Mikoto sat on her front porch, her tail swishing, her feet fidgeting. She had an awful knot in her stomach. She looked at Vivi, who had been pacing in front of her for hours, it seemed. She had never seen him so agitated.

Vivi could not say anything. Words could not express the dread he felt. He was angry at Blue Water for springing this on them, but he was angry with himself as well. He admonished himself for blindly living the past six months without much thought for the future. How could he have known? He had never really seen a baby in the flesh before. He never knew how defenseless and dependent a baby could be. He felt out of control and not the least bit ready to be a Father. What would the babies call their child-parents? He and Mikoto had not even discussed what they would do. Who would raise them? He and Mikoto had been lulled by the fantasy of it all, because when it came down to it, they were just children, too. How else could they see it?

Gentle hands clasped his shoulders, stopping his frantic pacing. He saw Mikoto there in front of him, and the restraint in her eyes soothed him. She hugged him tightly, as if trying to contain his frenetic energy.

He sank into her body, the panic ebbing away. The sun began to set, washing everything in coppery brilliance. He breathed deeply several times. He then gazed into her face. She was like a still pool of water, possessing a quiet intensity. Vivi steeled himself inside. He had to be strong. He thought of how strong he had become since leaving his childhood home.

I ran steadily, tripping over my own feet, occasionally sniffling. I still wept for Grandpa, who had told me that once he stopped moving for good, I was to roll him into the ocean below, and then leave for Treno. I waited for three days for him to move. He got stiff and cold, and I, more confused. But I did it, just like he told me. I was terrified on my way to Treno. What would I do? Who would take care of me? Back then, I was scared of everything. I had never experienced the outside world. My arrival at Treno was the beginning of the rest of my life.

He buried his face in Mikoto's shoulder, savoring her familiar scent. He remembered the time he thought he saw the apparition of Quan when he returned home after a long time.

Quan had said, "Vivi, grow much at all."

Oh, no, Grandpa. You're wrong.

Mikoto held the boy for a long time, without saying a word. She rubbed his back gently, surprised at herself. She loved him so much. She finally felt deserving of the soul inside her.

From her shoulder, he traced his nose along her neck up to her cheek. Their lips met, and he tried to convey all his feelings for her in this kiss. Her fingers caressed the back of his neck. He pressed her against him. Eventually, they broke apart, foreheads touching, in silence. Vivi thought he would be more nervous after his first kiss, or that it would involve a lot more pomp and circumstance, but it flowed so naturally and happened so quickly, and it was beautiful.

The snapping of twigs interrupted their tender moment. Someone drew near. They separated, and held hands, waiting.

Blue Water appeared out of the dusk. He nodded slowly, eyes dancing brilliantly in the blood-red sunset. It was time.



Mikoto and Vivi held their heads high as they headed down the dimly lit passage to the underground laboratory.

"Dana wanted to be here," Blue Water said, his voice sounding hollow in the stale air. He seemed to be attempting small talk, perhaps because he sensed the tension in the young friends. "But Genevieve is very demanding! Must take after her father."

"Yeah," Vivi responded robotically.

The lab lights glared brilliantly, and Vivi once again had to hide behind the brim of his hat. Even before his eyes could adjust, he heard the feverish scuttling of feet fast approaching.

"Mother Terra," he heard Mikoto gasp.

"Daddy! Mommy! They're heeeere!"

Suddenly they were beset by six little bodies, chirping eagerly around their parents. Six little Mages shouted excitedly, each dressed very similarly to Vivi, looking almost identical. They each had a number pinned to their jackets. They reached their small, gloved hands out to touch Mikoto and Vivi, all talking at once.

"Are you our Mommy and Daddy?"

"Can I hug you?"

"Ow, my foot!"

"I don't like bright lights!"

"Mommies are girls, right?"

"Why don't I have a tail?"

Mikoto held her hands up defensively, eyes wide, like a frightened animal. Gaping, she turned to Vivi.


To her horror, he fainted dead away.

"Daddy fell down!"

Mikoto's mouth opened as if to scream, but only a strangled whimper managed to squeak out.

Blue Water tried frantically to stop the chaos before Miss Mikoto fainted as well.

"Boys! Boys!! Back off a moment, the lot of you!"

The children quieted down, looking sheepish. Blue furrowed his brow at them. He ordered them to line up immediately, and they obeyed, nearly tripping over one another.

"What did I tell all of you before they arrived?" He interrogated.

One of the little Mages, who sported a number 3, spoke up. "N-not to all run up at once?"

"Right. Now look what happened." He motioned to Vivi's prone form. Mikoto hunched over Vivi, tapping his cheek, trying to awaken him.

Another boy, number 5, started to cry. "We killed Daddy!"

His brother, number 2, smacked him. "He's not dead, dummy."

Number 6 toddled over to Mikoto, and tilted his head inquisitively at her. He peered down at Vivi, kneeling at his other side. Vivi groaned, coming to.

Mikoto sighed in relief. "Vivi, are you okay?"

Vivi slurred, "Th-They aren't babies. What's going on?" Suddenly he snapped upright, startling Number 6. Angrily, he cried, "Blue! What's going on here?"

The Genome man was perplexed. "I don't understand-"

Vivi did not let him finish. "I can't believe this! How could you?!"

A hushed silence fell over the children, save Number 5, who wailed even louder.

"They are-They're not babies," Vivi said incredulously.

Blue folded his arms. "I'm not sure why you are angry, Master Vivi."

"What did you do to them?! How could they be this old in six months!?"

"They've all been aged to approximately six or seven years. They have been endowed with the knowledge they should have. Did you really expect I would saddle you and Miss Mikoto with six infants to care for? Why, you are still children yourselves."

Vivi fumed, his back to the Genome.

Mikoto looked from one to the other, unsure of what to say.

"You took some of their life away," Vivi said darkly. "I never thought you of all people would do that. They lost seven years. What about all that 'respect for life' you had?" He whirled on Blue Water, eyes shining hotly. "Would you have aged Genevieve like this?"

Blue Water's face fell open in shock. He shook his head. "It's the way the pods work. I-I am truly sorry that I have angered you. It--certainly was not my intent."

No one dared speak for a long time. Vivi felt a hesitant touch at his side. He glared at whoever it was.

Little Number 6 withered under his father's gaze, but spoke nonetheless. "I-It's okay. We don't mind, Daddy. Please, don't be mad at Uncle Blue. We aren't mad."

Mikoto raised an eyebrow, shot a sideways glance at the Genome man, and under her breath, muttered, "/Uncle /Blue?" He shrugged sheepishly.

Vivi's eyes softened. He was surprised how short and small his son looked standing next to him. The other boys slowly inched up to him.

Vivi swallowed hard. Faced with so many pleading eyes, it was hard for the gentle boy to remain furious.

"I'm sorry I snapped," said Vivi to Blue. "I shouldn't have taken it out on you." He was not being completely honest, because he still felt a little angry at Blue Water. But he had the distinct impression that he was ruining a great occasion, so he decided to be diplomatic and let it drop.

Blue smiled ruefully. "Let's just put it behind us, shall we? The important thing right now is the boys."

Number 6 still stared at Vivi. The older Mage clasped the younger one's arm. Number 6 hesitantly smiled at him, and Vivi marveled at how he looked just like a little brother. Vivi, being a fellow Black Mage, could see the boys' faces under the darkness. He scanned them all, their features a perfect melding of his and Mikoto's, though most of them had his darker features, possibly due to the engineered dominance of Vivi's Black Mage traits. Only Number 1 had dirty blond hair, and bright blue eyes.

Number 1 ambled up. "Dad. We need names." His voice was the strongest and boldest of them all.

"That's right! All we have are numbers, now," piped Number 3. "They go from oldest to youngest. I'm right in the middle!"

"I thought we were all the same age," said Number 6.

"I think there're only minutes between us," Number 3 replied. He looked around, asking, "Does anyone remember who woke up first?"

Number 4 mumbled almost imperceptibly, "Obviously, Number 1 did."

"Yeah, but does he remember?"

"Who cares?" Number 2 interjected wearily. "We've been in this boring room for hours. Let's get names and get out of here already."

Number 5 rubbed his teary eyes, and in a choked voice, said, "I don't /like /the number 5!"

Number 2 scoffed. "You don't like anything, do you?"

"I don't like you!" Number 5 spat.

"Ooh, I'm so hurt."

"Shut up, meanie!"

Mikoto stomped her foot. "Stop arguing! Only hours old, and you're bickering!"

"Sorry, Mommy!" sounded the collective reply.

She shook her head wildly. "No, my name is Mikoto. Don't call me Mommy."

The boys deflated. Blue chortled. "Funny, you already sound like a Mommy."

Mikoto sniffed. Vivi decided to change the subject. "All right, guys. We can name you, but not right now. Let me think about it for a while. I want to get to know you a little."

"Yay!" they shouted, and swarmed on him joyfully.

It was getting late, and everybody soon grew weary. The children had actually been up for most of the day while Blue Water prepared them, and many of them started yawning. Blue Water thought this the perfect time to show everyone the place that had been built for the boys.

A new dwelling had been constructed not far from Mikoto's house. It had six beds, six little tables with six chairs, a pantry, and plenty of space for them to play. Vivi worried about them being alone at night, but Blue Water assured him that the boys were pretty self-sufficient. Surely, they had much to learn about the world, but they could fend for themselves on a daily basis. Plus, several village adults checked on them at certain intervals, including a Genome girl named Melissa, who had volunteered to cook for them every day. The children gleefully explored their new house, and then they were put to bed. They had a big day tomorrow, when the rest of the village got to meet the next generation of Black Mages.

Vivi walked Mikoto home under the moonlight, amidst the chorus of frogs and crickets. This night felt surreal. They scarcely said two words to each other. Mikoto hugged Vivi goodnight, her face drawn and tired. A new shyness prevented them from repeating their earlier kiss, but all they both really wanted was to go to bed.

Vivi thought for sure he would not be able to get a wink of sleep with all the excitement, but he drifted off as soon as his head hit the pillow.



The first few weeks were quite an adjustment for everyone. The Mage children had stolen everyone's hearts. They eagerly soaked up any information they could learn from the various villagers. The older Black Mages delighted in the boys, and life felt fresh and new since their arrival.

Mikoto retained her ambivalence about being called "Mommy". The boys refused to call her Mikoto, however. Luckily, they compromised, and Mikoto became Mamiko. She reluctantly accepted, realizing this was probably the best she would get. Vivi did not mind being called "Dad", though he had to admit it did feel weird.

Although Vivi still did not like that the boys were artificially aged, he felt relieved that they did not need constant attention. In fact, so independent were the boys, it seemed Vivi had not gained six children, but six new friends.

The children needed names, and one night Vivi and Mikoto discussed the matter. She really had no strong feelings one way or another, but suggested that maybe one could carry on Vivi's own name. Vivi wanted to honor his friends, Zidane and Steiner. Mikoto wrinkled her cute nose at the names, but would concede if that was what he wanted.

Customarily, the oldest son receives the father's name as a Junior. Number 1, however, was as different from his father as could be. Brash, outspoken, and even a bit of a smart aleck, Mikoto felt that Number 1 should not be named Vivi. So, he was called Zidane, or Daney for short.

Number 2 inherited his mother's haughtiness and no-nonsense attitude, but had even darker hair and eyes than his father. He had a short temper and a penchant for teasing a few of his more sensitive brothers, but otherwise, he was a good enough boy. He rejected most of the names suggested to him. "I'll find one myself," he told them. Eventually, he settled on Yugi, one of the names Mikoto had suggested, and it seemed to fit him.

Number 3 was an even-keeled and practical boy, who showed more interest in craftsmanship and trade than in black magic. He hung around the Dwarven travelers most of the time, and they affectionately dubbed him Marty, for reasons only they know.

The quiet observer among the siblings was Number 4. He spent a lot of his time alone. He showed even less love than Number 2, especially for Mikoto and Vivi. He had a hard time accepting that his parents were not much older than himself, and seemed to possess an undercurrent of hostility. They called him Adelbert, or Berty.

An outsider would probably think Number 5 to be the youngest, considering how sensitive he was. He helped Dana with baby Genevieve. He adored the baby, and Dana treated him like her own. She called him Daisuki, or just Suki.

That left the curious, happy and introspective Number 6. Not only was he named Vivi by default, but the name did suit him after all. However, to avoid confusion, everyone called him Jun, as in Junior.

As the weeks passed, the boys began to show more noticeable physical distinctions that distinguished one from his brothers. Suki, appropriately, remained the runt of the litter, timid and cowardly, though very sweet. He was, therefore, the constant butt of Yugi's scorn. Yugi grew slightly taller, thinner and more angular than his brothers to match his sharp personality. Daney did not care for the usual garb of the Black Mage, and wore instead an outfit similar to Blue Water's. He kept his pointed hat, but adorned it with neat trinkets and feathers and anything he could find. He looked the most like a Genome, with dirty blond hair and blue eyes, while his brothers had the darker features of their father. Berty and Marty put on more weight than the others did, though Berty's was due to eating a bit too much. Marty never wore gloves, so he could learn to work with his hands more adeptly, and lots of physical work made his body stronger and stockier than his siblings. And Jun looked similar to Vivi when he was younger, but had the pointed chin and delicate nose and eyes of his mother, and was much less shy than his father had been.

Vivi regaled his sons with stories of his adventures, while Mikoto focused more on formal education and their Terran heritage. Surprisingly, Vivi and Mikoto found the boys mostly a pleasure to have around, when they weren't arguing amongst themselves, and they enjoyed being able to teach them about the world in their own ways. A weight had been lifted, and a new age dawned on the Black Mage Village. The Second Generation was well under way.
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