Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > Shattered Soul

Shattered Soul

by Pilotslover 0 reviews

Repost of Shattered Soul - sometimes we refuse to be helped.

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Angst, Drama - Characters: Vivi Ornitier, Zidane Tribal, Other - Warnings: [!!!] - Published: 2005-06-01 - Updated: 2005-06-01 - 6718 words

Disclaimer: All characters that are recognisable are property of their creators, the good folks who made FF IX. Thank you people for creating the characters! New characters, and what's going on, are mine.

Chapter one - The note

Authors note: I really can't justify what I've done this time, sorry.

Warning: This fic deals with suicide. I didn't want to put this on the start but sometimes it needs be done.


'Lost from within,

Pursuing the End,

I fight for the chance to be lied to again.'

- Lies - Evanesence


I've watched all of my children die, but three years after I gave them life.

Life, it seems like a shadow, an illusion, a dream that someone else is having! Death in comparison seems to be so stable, so secure, so definite. Nothing more then death can happen to you. Life is riddled by insecurities, improbabilities and inconsistencies; but we all know one thing is going to happen, it lingers over peoples shoulders and it never goes away. It is death.

Before my sons died, I didn't used to think like this; my mind was more childish, my way of looking at things was so naive. But, it drifted apart as my sons did the same. There were six of them, each one tearing away a misconception I still had about what stopping was.

Life isn't loving, life isn't happiness and life isn't friendship; life is having those torn around you torn away by something you can't escape, beyond the reach of hope and tears and magic. Each death tears a part of your soul; each extinguished light is a hole in my heart. Life is nothing but death, but tears of grief cried at night to an uncaring, unhearing universe.

But a shadow of a dream.

People curse at death for claiming life, for taking a loved one from them; I yell at life for making us suffer so much pain. Death is a release, a way to avoid the pain of watching others die. People fear death, scared of losing their own lives. I don't fear it, life was given me for one purpose - one I never fulfilled.

You never saw my scars; it took them to show me what I've always wanted to know; them and the scars no one can see. I used to ask how you proved your existence, now I know. Existence, life, isn't proved by being able to move, or by deeds; it's proven only by pain, by unexplainable sorrows. I cut myself and it bleeds, but the wounds I speak of are those in my heart and soul not the empty ones on my skin.

My heart is a puzzle, the pieces are scattered and lost; each new piece removed is like the first one but after each time I go on, hunting down the next hurt like a beast after its prey.

A being can take only so much pain, so much hate and death before it cracks, before the puzzle can no longer be made. I was a child, throwing myself blinding towards truths that would lead to my downfall. A truth that would hurt more then any physical wound.

I'm not blaming any of you. I've reached the end, I can't keep myself going any more; life offers itself to people and they take what they will from it. The simple way to justify this is that I'm not a person like any of you. I'm a collection of souls seeking rest and now that rest will come. I was never a life in my own right, I was never my own unique being, I was an illusion. A being of darkness and of pain, of shattered pieces and half-remembered lies.

My last act will be to leave.

The pain will be fleeting. I go to see my sons and the other mages, to die alone as the last of my kind. I love you all very much but even love can't restore my shattered heart.



Authors note: Please don't hurt me, please. Originally, this was going to be a one shot but I don't think people would be happy with me if I left it like that.

Shattered Soul

Chapter two - Sickening certainty


The plain white envelope lay on the desk; it was entirely unremarkable and written on the front in Vivi's tidy, small writing was merely 'My companions'. Nothing in the room had changed, the bed was neatly made and the Mace of Zeus was propped against the desk. "Hey Vivi, aren't you coming for - " Zidane's tones were breezy as he burst into the room without knocking; seeing that it was empty he shrugged to himself, thinking Vivi was already on his way to the main dining room.

A flash of white from the desk caught his eye, and he crossed to it to pick it up. A feeling of sickening certainty welled in his chest, as he thought Vivi may have run away, his hands toyed with the envalope for a while before he opened it; this feeling soon merged with sorrow, anxiety and pure fear as he read the letter. "Oh God no," He murmured, "No, no, no." He dashed out of the room, the letter in his hand as he did so.

"Steiner, find Beatrix and meet me in the main dining room!" He ordered as he ran past the knight; shocked, the knight went to salute but dropped the gesture as he started to run the other way.

Breathlessly, Zidane burst into the castle's main dining room; it had been four years since he had run the gauntlet of the Iifa tree's death, now he could just manage the trip from Vivi's room at full tilt. Garnet looked up as he entered; her cheeks held a healthy glow and she looked content and happy. 'This isn't going to please her.' He thought sombrely. "Zidane whatever is the matter? You look like you've seen a ghost." Her tone was slightly teasing, when Zidane had first reached the castle he had been convinced that he had seen a ghost in one of the corridors.

"Garnet," He attempted to go on before shaking his head; concerned by his lack of continuation, Garnet rose awkwardly from her seat, her pregnancy heavy stomach clear as she did so. "You're going to want to sit down," He crossed to her and pulled out the chair for her; she looked increasingly worried as she did as he asked.

"What's wrong Zidane? Where's Vivi?"

She looked past her husband to the door as it burst open, half expecting to see the mage; Steiner and Beatrix stood just inside the door after they closed it behind them. "Geez, this isn't -" Zidane attempted again; unable to say what was really going on he just handed the letter to her before he raised a hand to his forehead and tears began to finally slip from his eyes.

Uncertain about what was in the letter, Garnet felt an acute sense of worry build in her chest as she lowered her gaze to it. As she read, tears glided down her cheeks; one hand went to her mouth as she shook her head. Unable to speak, she motioned for Steiner to take it and read it, before she buried her head in her hands, her elbows rested on the table.

Beatrix read the note from over Steiner's shoulder; she shook her head but did not cry; in the years since the defeat of Necron, the mage had lived in the castle but Beatrix saw very little of him. "We must find him," Steiner insisted, looking towards Zidane for confirmation. "He is not thinking strait." He placed the letter on the table and looked at it, clenching his fist at his side.

"Steiner, he seems to be thinking strait enough," Beatrix attempted from his side, resting a hand on her fellow knight's arm. "This doesn't seem to be something whimsical he's just decided to do out of the blue, he genuinely believes that he cannot live any more." She looked towards Garnet and Zidane who were both still in tears. "Months have passed since the deaths of his sons, however well he seemed to cope with it; he clearly has not accepted it fully."

Zidane looked towards her, "Beatrix, I want you to contact as many of the hero's of Gaia as you can." He ordered as he moved to Garnet's side and hugged her; she gave him a full hug back, crying into his shoulder. "We're going to find him and bring him back." He assured her softly, "I'll drag him by the hat myself if I have too." His gaze went to Beatrix, "On second thoughts, forget about Eiko, make sure you get Cid though. And Tantalus, we've got a whole world to search and not a lot of time to do it by the sound of it."

Beatrix did not move, "Sir, are you sure this is such a good idea?" She queried, "Vivi is very clearly upset, he will not want to return to the same castle that holds so many painful memories for him." Her own memory grasped a moment she remembered all too well from four months before, the last of Vivi's children. "I was there when Valian died sir; it was very far from pleasant."

"Yeah, I know that Beatrix, I was there too, but I can't let him throw his life away like this!"

Realising that he would not be swayed, Beatrix saluted and left. "Steiner, I'll leave Amarant to you, he should be in Treno." He said simply, knowing no one else would be able to find the mercenary. "I want everyone here and ready to search by noon. We're going to be out all night if that's what it'll take." Steiner saluted and left, they heard his footsteps as he ran to the castle's entrance.

"We didn't notice, Zidane." The tearful tones broke into Zidane's own heart; he hated to hear Garnet so upset. "He was dying on the inside and none of us -" She broke off to tears, once again burying her head in his shoulder; he stroked her hair and kissed the top of her head.

"We're going to find him, Garnet."

"What if he ... he ..."

She did not need to continue, Zidane knew what she was trying to say, it was what he feared too. 'What if he's dead already?' His mind posed the question any way, despite Zidane saying he did not want it there. 'What if we do all this and he's already dead?'


Time for the hero's to search Gaia for our missing mage, but will they find him? And even if they do will they be in time to save him? Find out in the next chapter 'A hopeless seeming search'. Please leave a review.


Chapter Three - A Desperate seeming Search

The Hilda Garde IV was busy with people when it left Alexandria, Zidane stood in front of everyone, his tail flicking behind him in an aggravated fashion. "You all know why you're here," He was saying, there were nods from most people. "I think it's best to work individually, that way we can cover more locations and have more chance of finding him. Beatrix is checking Alexandria as we speak, I'll leave Lindblum in the hands of Cid and Baku."

"Of course," Cid nodded, his face was grave and slightly pale. The news of Vivi's disappearance had struck many of the gathered hard, it were as if something had gone wrong, as if something was wrong in the world.

"Freya, if you take Burmecia, you know it best after all."

"Yes," The knight's answer was tight, as if she were fighting the urge to cry. "And Sir. Fratley will explore Gizamaluke's grotto."

"Marcus, Blank, you take Treno,"

"Sure bro, if he's there, we'll find him." Marcus assured him softly, though he was still trying to picture what Vivi looked like; like the other members of Tantalus it had been some time since he had seen the mage last.

"Steiner, Dali and Ice Carven." Steiner saluted to show his answer. "Ruby, Cinna, can you search Madain Sari? I doubt he'll be there but it's best to check."

"Sure, Darlin', like the boys said, if he's there I'll find him."

"Amarant, Desert palace," The mercenary gave no sign that he had heard, but Zidane knew through experience that he had. The salamander also seemed to be the least affected by everything, but Zidane was starting to wonder if maybe the outside cool was a facade that would melt when Vivi was returned. "Benero, Zenero, Deguerro and Esto Gaza; I don't think he'll be there." The two of the triplets nodded, the final triplet was missing for the group. "Quina, Quan's dwelling," The Qu nodded it's whole body in response. "This leaves me with the Black Mage village,"

"What are we going to do if we find him?" Amarant asked, "From the look of that letter I can't see him coming along quietly."

Zidane shrugged slightly, "If you have to, knock him unconscious." He said, truly determined to get his friend back. "We're not dealing with the same Vivi everyone remembers, we're dealing with a completely different version of him. Whereas before he wouldn't have dreamed of turning his magic on people I get the feeling he'll be slightly less concerned this time." He told them; one of his biggest fears was that he would have to hurt the mage in order to get him back to Alexandria. "All right, everyone knows where they're going, keep in contact by Moogles; if you find any trace of him then send a mog to the airship, they'll come to you at once."

He cast his eyes around the group, each one of them showing mixed degrees of worry and concern, except the ever collected Amarant. No body wanted to face the possibility of a little dead Black Mage, each feeling that maybe something had been wrong when the note had been written. Clutching his fist at his side, Zidane tried to seal his own heart away in a box, not wanting it to be torn to pieces by finding his best friend dead or dying. He shuddered, forcing his heart into the box it did not seem to want to fit into.


Wind whipped across the desert as Amarant stepped from the airship; he was one of the last people to be dropped at his designated site. He shielded his face behind his arm as the ship took off again before he started towards the sand-whirlpool that marked the entrance to Kuja's secret underground palace; he was in no real rush, knowing how unlikely Vivi being there was. Antlions screamed from their holes, and he spent a few moments making sure that he had the right pit before jumping into it.

He landed on his feet, one hand connected with the ground as he checked the soundings; sand trickled onto his head from the desert above and he moved into the main passages of Desert Palace. Still in no great rush he started to walk down the corridors, he checked the ground as an after thought, a thick layer of dust covered it but some footprints marked the covering. 'Why the hell did he come here?' He found himself wondering as he sent the Desert Palace moogle for the airship.

For a mercinary as skilled in finding people as Amarant, following the footsteps was not difficult, even at a run. 'I don't suppose he thought anyone would come here.' The mercenary considered, 'I guess he's smarter then I thought.' He soon arrived at the doorway leading into Kuja's room, he contemplated how he should enter, baring in mind the incredible magical strength of the boy he was there to 'save'.

He charged at the door, using his shoulder to force it open. A candle flickered near to the bed and a small figure lay in the same place his creator had once laid. A sense of urgency gripped Amarant as he spotted a bloody dagger on the ground just by the bed, he dropped to Vivi's side; blood stained the mages white sleeve and had started to seep up the arm of the blue coloured part. "Oh geez kid," He murmured, casting a Chakra spell on him expecting the wound to close a little and stop the flow of the blood. It failed.

A cold, anxious feeling wound through his chest and into his throat; never openly caring about anyone, he felt close to all the people he had journeyed with. Even the two 'brats' Vivi and Eiko, they were like the younger siblings he had never had. 'Think Amarant, what were you told about wounds that couldn't be healed?' He thought desperately, trying to draw on a memory that he had buried a long time ago.

The mage stirred slightly, his yellow eyes flickering opening slowly, "You move so much as an inch and I'll knock you out, you little bastard!" Amarant snapped angrily, tearing apart part of the sheet that was on the bed, it was dusty and not the best thing to use to cover a wound but it was all there was; wasting no time on being careful, he roughly grabbed Vivi's arm and tightly bound the wound. That done he picked the small body up and started towards the portal in Kuja's room; it was a long shot, it had been four years now since Kuja had died but he tried anyway.

The blue tingle of magic surrounded them, teleporting them out to where the Hilda Garde I had once stood; its sister ship was there now, a white mage rushing out to meet them. "Your magic isn't going to work; I tried a Chakra on him." Amarant barked at her as they ran, she just managed to keep pace. "It's the old fashioned way or no way."

They soon reached one of the private rooms on board ship, "What can you do for him?" The medic shook her head at the question, eyes on the small teenager. "People coped before there was magic, what can be done for him?"

"If the magic isn't taking then there's a reason for it," She told him softly. "He doesn't want to be healed." The mercenary knew this, he was not an idiot and appreciated more then the others the pain Vivi felt. "In the times before magic, they used stitches on wounds." She went to remove the hastily constructed bandage, before pulling back and shaking her head. "I can't do it sir; I've never even seen it done."

"I have, a long time ago. Fetch me some clean water, something I can use to stitch it with and as many bandages as you can find."

She nodded and left, ordering as many people as she could find to fetch bandages. "You're too young to die." He muttered as he pressed firmly on the blood vessel in Vivi's elbow, stopping the bleeding at the wrist slightly. "And that monkey Zidane isn't going to let you."

The young woman entered again, her arms heaped with bandages, "These were all the bandages I could find. I don't know if you can use this for stitching," She removed a role of fine plastic looking stuff from her pocket, "They use it in repairs," A young knight entered with a bowl of water, setting it down nearby before he left.

"Right, you take over here; make sure you press down hard on the blood vessel, if you loosen your grip the bleeding will get worse." He moved to the bowl and washed his hands as she did as he told him. "Apply something as a tourniquet just above it, or just under your hands, just to make sure." She used one of the bandages to do so, all the time keeping one hand on the desired location.


Authors Note: Yes I know they're making faux pars in their treatment, but they're doing that for a reason, namely that the people on Gaia have relied on magic too much and so the 'old' art of healing has been lost.

They have Vivi back, but he's far from in a good shape. How will Zidane deal with this? Find out in the next part of 'Shattered Soul' - 'Hearts and minds.'


Chapter Four - Hearts and minds


By the time they had reached the Black Mage village, Amarant had done as much as he could to Vivi's slashed wrist; it was a mess and there was no real art to it but at least it stopped it from bleeding. Not only was there the outer damage to repair but the mercenary had used some soluble fibres to repair the cut blood vessels inside the wound too. "You really can do just about anything Amarant," Zidane said as he met him in the corridor outside the room Vivi was in. "How's he doing?"

"All things considered, I think he'd rather be dead."

"Yeah, I know that but he's too young to go making stupid decisions like that."

"Too young in body, he's more mature then you are when it comes to his heart and his head."

"If you were so convinced that he'd be better off dead then why the hell did you help us?!" Zidane snapped angrily; tail bristling out behind him as he did so.

"I didn't say he'd be better off dead," With this, the mercenary slouched off down the corridor. Zidane shook his head slightly, not even wanting to work out what went on in Amarant's head half the time. "He's awake by the way," The salamander called back casually, "But you might want to stay where you are right now, he'd take your head off if he had the strength."

"What do you mean by that?"

"You really are an idiot. He doesn't want to see you Zidane, not yet."

This bit into the Genome, who stopped what he was doing and looked the mercenary full in the back. Swept up in the idea of rescue and saving Vivi's life he had not once stopped to consider the fact that the mage may well have been beyond help. "You'll just drive him to do something stupid, he doesn't want to see anyone he was really close too." Amarant turned back to face him, "He certainly didn't want me there, it was just upsetting him."

The Genome sighed and slipped down to the ground; utterly defeated by an enemy that he had no defences against, the anger of someone he had considered a very dear friend. "You've really done it this time," He murmured to himself, his head in his hands. "He was at rock bottom, you didn't see it, and then you go and do this."

"You didn't see it because he didn't want you to; you think he wanted someone to see this? Why do you think he went away in the first place?" Amarant offered before stalking from Zidane's sight; the king did not move, rocking slightly on his haunches for a while.

The young White mage emerged from Vivi's room, a host of bloody things in her hands; the red substance stained her robe. Zidane looked up, slightly awed by the fact that the mage had that much blood to spare, 'Then again, he probably doesn't.' He thought sadly, lowering his head again. 'He didn't want people to know he was upset but we should have seen it anyway! Damn it, Vivi's a friend and I left him to cope with this all alone!'

"There's no point waiting out here sir," The white mage told him softly, she stood just by his feet. "He's asleep again now; his body can't cope with being awake."

"Is he going to survive this?"

The medic gritted her teeth slightly, uncertain about what to say. "He's lost a lot of blood sir, whatever Amarant did stopped the bleeding but there's no telling if he's lost more then he should have." She shook her head, "The traditional capacity of a 13 year old male is 12 pints, I think he's lost about 4 or 5; the recovery is going to take a about a month."

"What you mean before he's better?"

"No sir, by no means, it'll take a long time before he has the strength to do anything. Right now, magic is out of the question, I've silenced him to act as a deterrent."

"Smart move,"

She left him; her pace was quick as she made her way to the incinerator. Zidane's eyes went to the door, before a sense of guilt forced him to look away again. The ship echoed with the sounds of flight but the Genome heard none of it as he lowered his head onto his folded arms, blinking hard to drive away the tears; Vivi was his best friend, bar no one. He had told the mage things in the past that he would tell no other, not even Garnet. They had been a team, the two members of the group who could always guess the others next action, 'I didn't see this though.' Zidane thought as he heaved in a big breath. 'I always knew he was down, I could always tell that but I didn't tell this time did I?'


Dr. Tot was quick to meet them on the airship when it docked at Alexandria, a white mage followed him; Cid had sent a message ahead of them that White magic was not working to heal Vivi's wounds. "Whatever did you do without magic?" The usually academic doctor asked Zidane as he stood to meet them outside the room, a place he had not left since he had boarded the ship.

"Amarant stitched it, I haven't seen it, but the white mage on board ship seems to think its okay."

Tot raised a hand thoughtfully to his chin, "You do realise why the magic refused to work don't you?" He queried of the king who shook his head. "White magic works on the principle of the one you're using the healing magic on wanting to be helped, part of casting such a spell is the targets desire to be healed." He looked Zidane in the face, his big glasses catching a lot of the light in the corridor as he did so. "If Vivi's current emotional state is as dire as the letter alludes then he certainly does not want to be healed."

Zidane's mind ran some of the letter through his mind, already having some of it dictated to his memory. "Yeah, I never thought he was suicidal, it doesn't sit with him as a person." He offered, not wanting to seem like he was a bad friend despite the fact that he had missed so much.

"In the past I would certainly say the same but the events of today demonstrate otherwise."

"Yeah, I know."

Tot shook his head, "I was there for most of the boys stopping, I know you saw Valian's but you saw only the end of things. Vivi spoke to no one in the castle of the things he saw and felt when each one stopped," Zidane's expression became slightly confused, he did not understand what Tot had meant by 'felt'. "I see you are confused and I guess what it is that confuses you; the first two deaths were more like I imagined stopping to be, they slipped away during the night. However, the deaths of the last four were more distressing."

The Genome nodded, "They really did just fall apart, didn't they?" He asked of the doctor who nodded gravely. "You told me about it when we were there for Valian, it started with the lesser major organs and spread into the more important ones; they broke."

"Yes they did, that's a very good way to say it." Tot agreed with a nod of his head, "When I said that Vivi felt it I meant quite literally, the boys were a part of him. I doubt he was exaggerating when he wrote that it felt like he had lost a part of his heart."

A shudder ran up Zidane's back as he tried to imagine how much losing the boys had physically hurt the mage, no matter how hard he tried he could not do so; each attempted to feel the pain Vivi felt ended in a sharp shudder of shock up his spine. "I have lingered here too long; I trust there are supplies in here." He bowed his head to Zidane before he entered the room.


Chapter Five - Unexpected Understanding

Alexandria Castle was trying to exude a sense of normality upon the Hilda Garde IV's return; there was no need to panic the citizenry into worry for the Black Mage; as with all the peoples of Gaia, the citizens of Alexandria regarded the party of eight as heroes. No one had been so widely loved as Vivi and Eiko, the two youngest heroes, the two many people saw as the bravest because they had faced all the trials of a risky journey before they had even hit puberty.

For Vivi, the usual calamity of growing older was worsened by having to care for six boisterous but loveable Black Mages. He took it well, throwing himself into caring for them and devoting his time to them; losing each of them within a month of one another had slowly torn him up inside. The outpour of grief from people who did not even know them personally was huge. Everyone knew how much like Vivi the boys were, how much of him they represented, contemplating life without them was virtually impossible.

Of course, now they had stopped, people had to learn to cope. Zidane and Garnet had tried to be there for Vivi but he had retreated into a world of his own, seemingly not wanting support from anyone until he was ready to claim it. Now, such support would be forced upon him, people did not want to risk losing one of their heroes, no matter how much pain he was feeling.

Upon his return to the castle, Tot had settled Vivi into one of the medical treatment rooms; the mage had flitted in and out of consciousness for the whole trip but now he was awake a good deal of the time. Awake to some degree anyway, he refused to talk to anyone, he did not cooperate with his treatment and he avoided eating whenever he could. Waves of anger, pain and grief washed out from him; his eyes refused to shine brightly as they had done in the past but Tot was heard to link this to blood loss and not to emotions.

It was certainly beyond him to deal with any of his companions, his emotional defences had been ripped away by the boy's death and his suicide attempt had been his way to cope with things. In his mind, he was keenly aware of the disgust others felt towards him; this was only in his mind, the disgust was nothing more then sympathy and guilt on his friend's behalf.

The room he was in smelt of stale blood, a worrying scent to smell around a boy of Vivi's age. Someone tapped on the door with a knuckle but went ignored; all too used to people ignoring him, Amarant walked in without the mage's blessing. Listless yellow eyes flickered towards the door before the boy rolled onto his other side. "You can manage turning then?" The mercenary asked without any real interest, he was not expecting a reply.

"There's something I want you to hear, I don't care if you take it in or not." He lent against the door, in part using his body weight to hold it shut in case someone tried to enter. "When I was a bit older then you, my - hmm - a woman I lived with tried to kill herself, cut herself like you did. The guy I used to fight sowed her up, kept an eye on her but she died." He snorted a slight laugh; this drew no reaction from the mage. "I used to think it was my fault, I soon got over that. She changed her mind just before she died, she seemed to be getting better but then she gave up, again."

The Salamander folded his arms across his broad chest, "She was a weak woman, that's what he taught me. She was weak in the head and she beat up her body to make it better. '99 outta 100 times they ain't worth savin',' He used to say and I agreed with him."

The ball of pain, anger and bitterness that had once been the boy hero of Gaia shifted slightly, "Why'd you save me then?" He asked, annoyance biting into his tones. "I'm weak, I've always been weak." His voice was as listless as his eyes; he was still tired from having lost so much blood in so short a period. Dr. Tot had succeeded in re-hydrating him, reducing the risk of losing him, but the restoration of the spilt blood would take a lot longer.

"You were the one percent I thought was making a mistake. Do us all a favour kid; recover your strength before you go making idiot decisions. Your mind's clouded by grief, there's still loads left for you to live for; you 13 not 113."

"I lost them all; I'm not changing my mind." Came a painfully tiny and cracked voice, the whisper of a person who felt they had nothing left to live for. Even for a mercenary as hardened as Amarant hearing it was painful; to him the mage was still just a child and yet his attempted suicide proved that he was not. It had not, as with other children Vivi's age, just a ploy for attention; he had been determined enough to die that he had removed himself for the castle and those he cared for.

"Kinda selfish of you really; we all have to deal with grief and pain but most of us cope by not sticking a knife in our wrist. Think about that when you're putting that tricky puzzle of yours back together again."

Feeling he had offered up enough of his soul for one day, Amarant pushed away from the door. "The monkey's outside," He told the mage simply, who still lay with his back to the door. He knew that Vivi's road to recovery would take longer then it would take for the wound to heal, that the only person able to make to make the choice to recover would be the mage, and that the guilt, the pain and the anger would forever leave a stain on his heart.

Zidane looked up as Amarant left the room, the mercenary stood in the way of the door so Zidane could not get in. "He isn't ready for you yet, maybe tomorrow, today he's got a lot to think about." Amarant told him honestly. Zidane stood, clenching his fist by his side, "Don't get angry at me. It's not my fault, it's not anyone's fault but his and he knows that."

"Yeah well, I can't go in and beat the crap out of him can I?"

"Why not? It's what he's expecting you to do; he's expecting everyone to be angry at him." Amarant said as if he knew something Zidane did not. "There's nothing worse then failing yourself, and I can't think of any worse failing then trying to kill yourself."

Zidane heaved a sigh, "What was he thinking?" He queried rhetorically he was not even sure he wanted the answer. "I know he was upset, I'm not blind but even he knows that suicide isn't the answer."

Amarant scoffed slightly, "Put yourself in his place," He partially instructed. "He was a kid when Quan died, he gets dragged along with your quest when he learns he isn't technically real, then he learns that most of his kind only last a year. When we finished Necron he was happy for a while, he made the others and lived in the castle. We get the news that you're coming back but it's overshadowed." The mercenary was not in the habit of speaking for so long, especially on behalf of another but Vivi could not say these things for himself. "Just before the play, Mikoto calls him to the village because 288's about to stop. No matter what people tried the Black Mages still didn't last very long, so 288 dies as the last of the army Kuja created two years before. Vivi's devastated, he was close to 288 but he refuses to grieve because of the boys; hiding how upset he was just made it worse. He's used to hiding grief; he's been doing it since Quan died."

"It's still a little extreme, slitting his wrist isn't a way of dealing -"

"Have you ever lost anyone, monkey?" Amarant interrupted quite sharply, "I don't mean someone you barely know, I mean close family. Losing an aunt or someone like that is painful but it isn't like losing your parents." He knew what he was talking about to some degree, his mother had died when he was very young, his sister had committed suicide when he had been 14, he had lost aunts and uncles but had never been close to them; his father had forcefully beaten such weaknesses out of him.

There was no answer Zidane could give, the only person he had lost was Kuja and even he was not sure what he felt about that. The other Genome had died inside the Iifa tree, his injuries too great for him to heal; Zidane had sat with him until the end, watching his final, painful breaths leave his body. However, Zidane had not been close to Kuja, he certainly did not feel any real love for the Angel of Death. "In his head, Vivi's lost his father figure, his brothers and his sons." Amarant was explaining, "I'm not giving him a reason, it was a stupid thing to do."

Casually, he lent against the doorframe, his bulk still blocking the door. "Tot'll let him out of there tomorrow, it's been two days." He told the Genome who stood looking at the door, guilt met Zidane's features as his green/blue eyes locked with the dark wooden door. "He won't want to see you for a long time, if he ever does."

Helplessly, Zidane looked towards Amarant, who shrugged ever so slightly. "But I wanna see him." He said hopelessly, "He can't lock himself away for ever." He insisted, fighting the temptation to stamp his foot and throw his arms to his side.

"Can't he?"

"No, I won't let him,"

"There's more then one way of keeping people out," With this cryptic comment, Amarant pushed away from the doorframe. His steps were unhurried as he moved down the corridor, he knew ways to keeping people out and he knew Vivi knew them too; the mage had been using them in the years since Quan's death and he had not stopped since. In his current state of mind, Amarant would not put it past Vivi to turn mute, or even try to take his life again.

Zidane slipped down the wall to sit on the floor again, he was not sure why he kept sitting outside Vivi's room but it made him feel like he was doing something; at least if he was outside then Vivi could get him if he wanted too. 'Why the hell would he want to?' He thought bitterly, he stood slowly, flicking a quick look to the door. 'He doesn't even know that I'm out here,' He shook his head. 'I'm sorry Vivi, it's my fault you're laying in there right now, I didn't see.' He forced himself away from his watch, 'I can't sit outside forever, and I've got to be there for Garnet.' He started to walk down the corridor, telling himself not to look back.


Authors Note: Back in the castle, tired and hurt, Vivi won't let anyone in. A new companion, a kindly soul, next time in 'Shattered Soul'.

Authors Note: As you can see, at the original posting this was five chapters, but due to my sheer laziness I've grouped them into one!
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