Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > Love is not Enough


by Myshu 0 reviews

Zidane, Freya and Amarant, reunions and commiserating. Sometimes a friend's confidence is more valuable than a lover's. Sometimes we can't leave love lost well enough alone.

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Humor - Characters: Amarant Coral, Freya Crescent, Garnet Til Alexandros, Mikoto, Sir Fratley, Zidane Tribal - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2006-03-19 - Updated: 2006-03-19 - 2902 words

Hey there little sis,

What's up? I hope the kids are alright. Tell them I miss them and I love 'em like my own.

How're you? Did you keep any of those kittens, or didja give them all away like you said? I hope you held on to that one with the black patches, I think he liked you!

A lot's happened since we last spoke. Rusty finally got the nerve to propose to Beatrix. It was almost hilarious. Steiner was so red I thought he'd pass out before he finally spit it all out (I was eavesdropping, naughty me. Like the whole castle couldn't overhear that man anyway). I guess I'll never know what she sees in him, but the wedding's in three months. You're all invited, of course!

I'm still getting used to the married life, myself. I didn't realize living in the castle could be so crazy and routine at the same time. I don't know how Dagger ever deals with it. She's always real busy, but such is the life of a queen! That's what she tells me, anyway. I don't deal in all that political stuff. Beatrix and Rusty teamed up to try and enlist me in the Knights of Pluto. "Get some real use out of that lazy oaf," they said. After the sheer horror wore off I about laughed myself into a coma. Can you imagine me standing in rank in that stinky armour, watching Steiner hop up and down and yell? I just couldn't take the imagery.

Oh well, I'm sure I'll find my niche here somewhere.

I hope you'll come over for our little reunion this year. The kids sure would enjoy it! You need to get out of that damn house and socialize! Please consider it, for your big brother, okay?

P.S. Before I forget, I have a question about Genomes. A couple of months ago I started to notice some grey hairs in my comb, and I've been finding more ever since. Some in my tail, too. I thought it was maybe stress at first (hahaha), but now that I look my hair's seriously growing in solid grey, at the roots. It almost looks white.

I'm just a little disturbed--is this normal?


Dear Zidane (I learned that's how Gaians head informal letters, correct?),

The children and I are fine. We kept that kitten you mentioned, in fact. We're learning how to care for it together. I'll never understand the use in adopting such a pet, myself, but the children are very amused by the enterprise. Maybe that's the point?

Mr. 482 stopped two seasons ago. He was the last one. He lasted much longer than the others, Vivi excepted. The children are the only Black Mages left. When I feel they're ready, I'll discuss the children's origins with them and see how they feel about restoring others like themselves. I think it's what their father would have wanted.
/The other Genomes are doing well. Adaptation to their new environment is a slow process, but they are every day resembling you silly, irrational Gaians a little more./

I wish you the best in settling in your new home, yourself. Don't let those Alexandrians be a trouble to you. They're rather unpredictable, but then again so are you. I'll consider visiting for that reunion, though I don't feel very comfortable around your friends. Maybe I'll stay just for a short while. I hope you'll come over and visit us all sometime soon, yourself.

P.S. Yes, it's normal at your age. There are two other Genomes here with grey hair. Did you think Kuja always looked that way? He once had yellow-blonde hair, too.


Dear Mikoto (Yep),

Sorry to hear about Mr. 482--was he the one with that onion patch? Or was that Mr. 352? Sorry if I got the numbers mixed up, I'm usually good about those things.

I think it's a good idea to let the kids decide, too. I also think you could learn more from us "silly Gaians" than you realize! And my friends don't bite! Well, except Quina (just kidding).

The reunion is in five weeks, I really hope you'll show. Everyone would like to see you and the kids again. What did you guys name that kitten?

P.S. Really? It's hard to picture Kuja like that, somehow. And I don't remember seeing anyone with white hair in Bran Bal...


Dear Zidane (Good to know),

Mr. 352 had the onion patch. Mr. 482 managed our potion shop. He made that juice you liked so much.

You wouldn't have seen anyone with white hair at Bran Bal because once first-gens reached that age Garland took them into Pandemonium, to either become his close servants or be decommissioned.

I think I will come to the reunion after all. We need to talk about this in person.

P.S. The kitten's name is Crackers. Bi's idea. I think he's a little too fond of food; he's overweight.



Great! I'll see you soon.

"First-gens"? "Close servants"? "Decommissioned"? I don't like the vibe I'm getting from your last letter. Should I be worried? I guess we'll talk more when you get here.

P.S. Haha, sounds like something Quina would name a cat. If s/he didn't decide to cook and eat it first.


The reunion was something tacked-on to an already uplifting occasion: Her Majesty Queen Garnet Til Alexandros XVII's birthday--not to be confused with her seventeenth birthday (which took place before the reunions), but nevertheless a mouthful that didn't fit very well on the banners festooned over Alexandria Square every year. A simple, "Happy Birthday, Your Majesty" tended to suffice.

As per custom, a grand feast was prepared by the kingdom's top gourmand, a Qu that could be known for more famous endeavors than cooking a pot of soup so spicy it gave an ambassador from Daguerreo a stroke, but the best gossip is the most gruesome. Dignitaries from all corners of the Mist Continent (and beyond) were invited to the party that could not contain itself in the ballrooms (spacious though they might be) of Alexandria castle. The festivities spilled out the courtyards, across the moat and into the streets for every man and woman, common or better-wrought, to indulge in toasts and revelries on the queen's behalf.

The birthday was an excuse, really; behind every raised glass was the addendum, spoken or not, "To the saviors of the world." Garnet's turning of age was a special marker on the calendar for a time nobody who'd sifted through the rubble of their homes or buried someone dear in the ashen wake of an eidolon would quickly forget. It was a world war, Gaia's war--not the first, unbeknown to most, but certainly the most profound in the people's memory. It was Garnet's sixteenth birthday that initiated those planet-shaping events, first bitter and then, after a lost two years, sweet as a fairy tale.

That was the first reunion. She was eighteen and lonely as a caged songbird. The now-famous Tantalus theater troupe was performing for her, just like they did the last time, just the same play as last time, to forge some kind of tradition out of the nostalgia. He made a dramatic entrance, as he's always wont to do, and she rushed through the crowd and into his waiting arms. The throng cheered, happy ending. Everybody knows the story.

There was a big dinner to follow the show, which Quina graciously catered sans-frogs. The entire gang was there--the "eight heroes," people already began to say--and there was elated, frantic chatter until the sleepy hours.

Eiko clung to her adoptive parents, Regent Cid and his wife Hilda, like a pair of gaudy rings she had to flash at every opportunity. Neither seemed overly perturbed with the arrangement; Cid would only throw his head back and laugh at the child's every precocious outburst.
Freya appeared in full cut-&-armor, as if the call to Alexandria were one to the battlefront. Her polearm was checked at the front gates, where a pair of confounding Pluto Knights had to convince the Dragon Knight to lay down her weapon in the interest of castle security. It ultimately took many more than two of them.
Amarant showed up in his typical, nonchalant style, and proceeded to sulk in the corner for most of the festivities. Nobody wanted to hear what he muttered behind everyone's backs.
Steiner shrieked, stomped and fussed over his queen and then his new girlfriend, the distressingly gorgeous and levelheaded warrior Beatrix. The captain was generally an old maid, not the least towards Zidane, who suffered a blasting reprisal for his bravado that left Her Majesty "worried sick for ages." The kitchen staff, the librarians and the Knights of Pluto collaborated for the first time in history with their petition for Captain Steiner to kindly "shut the hell up." Garnet's laughter was the first voice to break the subsequent, rage-filled silence, and the entire hall followed suit.

Garnet--or Dagger, depending on the company--was glowing and shiny with tears of joy, for a change. At the head of the banquet table, her hand in Zidane's, she was the picture of the little-girl-fantasy come true. Everything felt like a bona fide "happily ever after."

The only damper on the party was the absence of one of the group's dearest comrades, Vivi. The child-mage had "stopped," as the euphemism went, several months beforehand. His six children attended in his spirit, but everybody knew in their hearts that, despite the eerie resemblance, it wasn't the same.

The Tantalus troupe excused themselves early for the bawdy parties in town, and the little Vivi spawns retired shortly after. Garnet's closest friends were afforded guest rooms throughout the castle to stay the night in. Freya remembered her quarters that first reunion being not-quite-whole, furnished merely with a cot, two down pillows, a dusty floor and apologies on behalf of the castle reconstruction crew.

Every birthday thereafter became a holiday, and like every holiday, some were more momentous than others, though not one ever matched the first. It just wouldn't do.

In that vein, the second reunion was anticlimactic. Amarant didn't even show up, voting to be apathetic on his own time. His devil-may-care attitude towards the reunions became the root of another tradition: the "Will Amarant Show Up This Year?" betting pool. Treno's "number one bandit" proved to be a sporadic, fleeting presence, which kept the game interesting birthday after birthday.

On a perverse level, Freya always missed him, and not just because she lost twenty gil each time he didn't show. It was some kind of brusque flattery that most of Amarant's subversive asides were reserved for her ears only--with the "rat" pejorative tacked on, of course. She'd give him something nimble and cutting in return, and he'd either bat the curt ball back into her court or grunt resignation and slouch back into his post. Without the cynical bounty-hunter at the table, dinner conversation was a little less entertaining.

Amarant wasn't around for the third reunion either, but there were bigger fish to fry that round. Dagger and Zidane predictably got married on the queen's twentieth birthday, after a predictable engagement and complete with predictable pomp and ceremony.
The queen's court even successfully predicted the objections that arose from Alexandrian nobility over a common thief marrying into the royal house. However, since the couple had the endorsement of Lord Steiner, Lady Beatrix and the regent of Lindblum, there wasn't much room left for protest. Zidane became Garnet's prince consort by marriage, and that was that.

If one asked Garnet, the wedding was a blissful blur, too brief and too sweet and yet too long and too loud--a moment she had to chase to keep up with. It was the proposal, that private connection between her and her love and the stars, that hung in perfect clarity in her heart, like a glass ornament.

She'd remember that night on a castle parapet being a little too chilly--she thought that was why Zidane was trembling, at first--and then he was on his knees and pleading like she'd never heard him before--quiet and desperate and needy like hope. He said many things that did not make sense, but she knew her long-lost pendant when it was gently pressed into her palm (apparently there was tremendous trouble retrieving it, the King House of Treno be damned if it ever heard about it), and after a breathless wait he was at the point.

"Dagger, let me be your eidolon. If you call me, I will come. Always. Even if I'm gone... even if I say goodbye... I'll never leave your side. You won't ever be alone. Never ever. All you have to do is call me, like you do your other eidolons. And, if I'm yours, no one else can--no one else can use me--I can't hurt anyone anymore I don't want to just, just... just please..."

He bowed his head. She thought she saw tears hiding in his hair and on the bricks at his feet, and in the sky.

"...Please be my summoner."

She said yes.

As if to provide bonus gossip, Freya and Fratley brought their newborn twins, Adele and Brit, to the wedding reception. The Burmecian couple were wed that past autumn at the chapel in Gizamaluke's Grotto. It was a beautiful ceremony, even though the moogles started throwing kupo nut husks once they ran out of rice, accidentally pelting Prince Puck in the eye. The ensuing outburst allegedly profaned the last six kings of Burmecia, and the priest reprimanded His Highness before the entire wedding party, saying all were lucky that "his late Master Gizamaluke did not rise from his eternal slumber and bite the foul mouth clean off" the vulgar prince.
Puck's rejoinder (which was shortly published in the /Treno Herald/) was that by the time "Mister (censored) Zombie Gizamaluke" was finished with the "(censored) moogles" he'd be well out of harm's way.

Puck wasn't invited to Garnet and Zidane's wedding. He showed up anyway.

For the fourth reunion, Zidane performed for the last time alongside his Tantalus brothers in a play for Alexandria's queen. For following birthdays he'd spend the show by his wife's side, in the royal booth.

Had Amarant not made a bet-shattering appearance, the centers of attention that gathering would've been the newlyweds Steiner and Beatrix, Alexandria's Captain of the Pluto Knights and General, respectively. The happy fit had been made official two months prior, and Regent Cid called the pairing "another foregone conclusion"--in good humor, of course.

Amarant was monopolizing the bad humor, anyway. "Everyone getting married right and left... it's disgusting," he grunted to any who dared ask his opinion. Eiko, eleven years old and at her wit's end with his remarks, hotly asked why he didn't go get married and stop being bitter, and he stared frostily at her until she became uncomfortable and bothered someone else.

The only sight rarer than Amarant was Mikoto, who had finally ventured to Alexandria at her brother's cajoling. Zidane made a slight spectacle of her arrival, to her red-cheeked embarrassment (and confusion: "Why is that cake aflame?"). The siblings chatted privately for a while before Zidane retired early, to the group's bemusement (and more of Mikoto's confusion: "What is a rain check?")

Freya lost another twenty gil the fifth reunion, but won it back the sixth. By then Beatrix had borne a son whom was christened (to unbearable irony) Alexander. (Zidane's official comment was that "corny is as corny does." You would never get Steiner to admit that he stayed up late that night trying to interpret it, until Beatrix insisted he give up for sanity's sake.)

Watching Freya and Fratley's twins play with the infant inspired Amarant's usual complaint, only with "babies" muttered in place of "married." Freya tried to tell him to stow it.

"'Brat' has 'rat' in it for a reason, you know."

"Not one more word, Coral, or you'll be short one of those precious dreds."


Hi Mikoto,

I'm glad you showed up at the reunion after all. Next time you should bring the kids along! I'm sorry if I embarrassed you, but it was all in good fun, I hope you know. I'm also sorry about the way I reacted to, well... you know. I wasn't a very good host, running off to bed like that.

I'm still coping with the news, to be honest. I can't even write it out--my hand's shaking. I usually don't lose my nerve like this, just so you know. But I don't mean you should feel sorry for telling me. I'm really glad you did. I just wish there was something I could do.

I haven't decided yet how I'm gonna tell the others. I haven't even decided if I will. Worst case, they find out the hard way, right? I don't think letting them know sooner is going to do anybody any good, especially Dagger. Do you know what I mean? I just want to enjoy whatever time we have left together.

You've got to live life to the fullest, because every minute counts, you know? Vivi was right. It's amazing how wise he was.

I'll make a point to come back to the village and see everyone sometime.

P.S. Pet Crackers for me.
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