Categories > Games > Final Fantasy 9 > Fleeing Dragons

Coming Along

by Myshu 0 reviews

Myshu gets an unexpected offer. Twice. Blank calls Zidane an idiot.

Category: Final Fantasy 9 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Crossover, Fantasy, Sci-fi - Characters: Blank, Zidane Tribal - Warnings: [!] - Published: 2005-12-19 - Updated: 2005-12-19 - 4082 words

I wished I knew a float spell. It would've saved me a bit of grief.

White mages don't know how good they got it. Cuts, scrapes, bruises? "Oh, let me cast a spell, all better." Broken bones? Just set it, say the magic words and get up and walk away. When I was growing up with my Tantalus brothers, we had to heal up the hard way. Boss said it gave us "character," whatever. As far as I learned, "character" meant you'd better not DARE bitch about your injuries, or the boss gave you something to really cry about.

I bet we made Baku wish he was a white mage sometimes.

4. Coming Along

Magus sat atop the short brick wall enclosing a flat, lofty rooftop. Three stories below his feet, Traven's urban wastes spread for miles, lining the inner wall of the domed city. In the center of town stood the high-climbing offices, their spires striving to scratch the great lensed ceiling. It was all a veritable greenhouse, the steel and concrete stalks budding florescent over the dirt and rubble at their roots.

Through the charcoal shadows entrenched around orange streetlights, the wizard could spot the scorched pit that was once the neighborhood novelty shop. He reached into his cloak's magic pocket and brushed the dreamstone pendant he had procured from the shack's dealer, shortly before the place was reduced to crisps by mystics (not his fault, that time. It could have been, in another day and age, but not today).

It was simply good timing, he thought. He didn't beg the question of fate returning her pendant to him, nor question the impulse that gave up his amulet in exchange for it. He didn't like to imagine that everything happened for a reason; he'd just have someone else to take out his grudges on. He was finally tired of blaming his troubles on others.

"I thought I was screwed, at first."

Magus started, albeit inwardly. He'd been so absorbed with that pendant that he didn't notice her approach, even when she alighted on the chalky roof slab behind him. He shoved the token deep into his cloak and turned around to face her, pulling his legs inside the roof without bothering to rise.

It had been about two weeks since he first met her, and too soon again, here. She was now wearing a scarf that matched the frayed violet rags she sported as clothing (as if she needed another way to resemble that oafish cavewoman, the blonde), and hefted a full pack between her shoulders with an arrogant swagger that always seemed to be demanding something; it matched well the low-browed scowl on her face.

"Oh," Magus said with flat, deliberate chagrin, "It's you. Don't you have someplace to be? Someplace that isn't here?"

Myshu got straight to the point. "I came here looking for the T'torlan. I thought Lucca had it, which would be bad because last I saw her was, oh, a thousand years back."

"A pity how much I care," Magus wryly put in.

Entirely unhindered, the neiphiti dragon continued. "Then I remembered that--oh wait--Lucca gave it to /you/, and how lucky that you decided to stay in this time period with me because I kinda blew up the other gates."

"What are you doing here?" Magus got to his point.

"So," she wraps up her story, "Turns out, I'm not screwed. Where is the T'torlan?"

"You want the T'torlan."

"You listen so well."

"Why should I give it to you?"

"What are you doing with it?" was Myshu's riposte.

Magus stood and turned back to the downtown vista, pulling his cloak over his shoulders with a blunt flourish. He cut an imposing figure against the urban midnight skyline.

"That's what I thought," the woman piped up after a telling silence.

He quit ignoring her, out of either legitimate curiosity or to hurry her out of his space, even Magus hadn't decided yet. "What do you want with it?"

"I'm looking for something," Myshu tersely responded.

A faint, patronizing grin teased the wizard's countenance. "Still looking for that 'something,' hmm?"


Since it was up and running anyway, Jerad had decided to put a few more minutes of work into his computer. Now he'd had enough. It was time for bed. The young man stood out of his chair with a flexing yawn while waiting for his machine to wind down. He then glanced to the floor, smirked at all the displaced papers and once again gathered them into a neat stack on his desk. He would find more fitting storage for Dr. LEA's notes later.

As he sauntered over to the windows to close them, his mind wandered back to that strange visitor.

A magician, huh? Jerad supposed he could believe it--it would be hypocritical not to, considering everything else he knew and spoke up for--but it was still suspiciously strange for a wizard to, after several hundred years of not supposing to exist, come knocking on his door, of all places. Or, uh, just teleporting through his door, as the case was.
Jerad was sure he'd first seen him with LEA's posse, which was why he didn't freak out too much. LEA's arrival, like most of the stranger happenings in his life lately, must have been a side effect of his connection to Ramezia.

Ramezia introduced many things into his world that everyone imagined dead or impossible before: magic, mystics, gate rings... It was a shame he never actually met her, face-to-face. It was thanks to her and her associates that his bold (if poor and obscure) freelance group, Free Bandwidth, obtained the funding to continue its time travel research, long after their old sponsors had shut them out. She'd given his band the tools, knowledge and means to work on the shrine at Death Peak, and in exchange she got full use of their handiwork.

Granted, a lot of things about the arrangement were suspicious (like Ramezia's refusal to negotiate in person), but he'd agreed because he saw no loser in the deal. And now... she was dead? The wizard had slain her? What for? What kind of villain would do that?

Jerad berated himself for ever sharing what he knew about Ramezia with that strange rabble. He was always selling out for the higher bid; he couldn't help it. He wanted anything that would get him closer to the truth, the reality of time gates and their impact on his world.

And then, once he showed everyone that he was right--those bastard professors at the university, his friends, his parents--he would... would what? Change the world? Change history? Live out those storybook fantasies about traversing the fourth dimension and exploring magic kingdoms, those dreams he'd kept under his pillow since he was a little boy? Become famous? More popular? Get more friends?

His friends... Was all this worth his friends? Was Free Bandwidth drawing his friends together for a common goal, or was his obsession with that goal pushing them away?

Why the hell was he thinking so hard about this? Now wasn't any time to doubt himself. It was too late at night for it, and time for bed.

Jerad blinked out of his musing, suddenly aware that he was getting chilly standing over an open window. He started to drag the glass pane shut along its rusty rail, but paused when he overheard... voices?

("...looking for...")

Where was that coming from, outside? The lad angled his head out the half-closed window, straining to discern the source.

("Still looking....hmm?")

Hey, that was that wizard! ...That was on the roof!


The dragon woman stewed in the wizard's remark for a minute, until her patience came to a boil. "It's the Phoenix, okay??" she burst, aware of how ludicrous her answer sounded. "Why the hell am I being interrogated?"

"Well you are asking for something from me," Magus reasonably noted.

"Oh, like it's ever belonged to you."

"More than it's ever belonged to you."

"Look, I just want to look up how to use an artifact I took from Lord Griffin, who you don't know anyway and--" she cut herself short, shaking her head. "Why the hell do you care?! Just give it to me."

"Well, that was polite and convincing." Magus dug into his cloak's pocket, and in an instant the sought-after book appeared in his hand. He moved to pass it to her, "Here you go--" but just as she reached for it he plucked it away. "Oh wait, no."

Myshu fumed, her fists balling at her sides. "You big pasty-faced bastard. It's important to me, okay? I'm actually looking for something that's important! I bet you never had to look for something that meant the world to you in your entire dungeon-crawling, Beelzebub-worshipping goddamn life."

Magus's glare could have turned a naga to stone. Myshu recoiled half a step, nonplussed by the fiery hatred in his look. "Or have you?"

An ineffable expression smoldered on the wizard's face, a film of bitter nostalgia glossing his eyes. At length, he gave a rumbling sigh and turned away from her again.

"...You can't read it, you know."

"Good thing Lucca left her translation notes between the pages," Myshu snapped, back on track. "Don't try to fool me."

"Fine," Magus relented, "You can use the book, on one condition."

"Oh?" A thick, intrigued eyebrow tipped up.

"Take me with you."

Myshu reclined on her hips and squawked, "Wha--"

"What's going on?!" a third party interrupted. The dragon lady and dark wizard turned to see Jerad storming out of the stairwell on the building's corner. The conversing magicians quieted for the young man as he approached, puffing and looking generally rumpled in his denim jacket, thin cotton shirt, pajama pants and fuzzy bunny slippers.

"What are you doing up here??" he questioned the wizard. Then, finally noticing the woman with him, he blurted, "Whoa, how long have you been here?"

The two exchanged bored looks and then continued as they were, Myshu asking Magus, "Why the hell do you want to follow me?"

"Hello!?" Jerad wouldn't stand to be ignored. "This is my apartment!"

Myshu twisted a look his way and shrugged. "What's your problem? We're not inside it."

"You're on top of it!" Jerad stomped to draw attention to the fact. "This is my roof!"

The woman gave a wide-eyed, incredulous smirk. "You own all of this? Really?"

"Well, it's..." Jerad pushed his glasses up his nose, considering her, and then blinked to jar his thoughts back on track. "Why am I explaining this? You're on my roof! And you!" He directed an accusatory finger to Magus. "You killed Ramezia."

"Yes," was all Magus had to say for himself.


"Hrmph. Did you even meet her?"

"No, but..." the lad faltered, trying to rally his argument, "She was helping--"

Magus picked up his line instead. "Helping you do what? Build those gate rings? Are you aware of what she was trying to do? Did you even ask why she was helping you?"

"It was for a great scientific achiev--"

"Ha, 'science.' You sound as ridiculous as that girl. Ramezia was not the noble benefactor you think she was. She was going to use the gates to destroy this world. She had the motive, and you were supplying the means. I just supplied her death."

Jerad was shocked into silence. Myshu started to laugh at his dumbfounded expression, which only fueled the young man's indignation. He shook his head slowly and quietly uttered, "No, it's not... You don't understand."

"One of us certainly doesn't," Magus rebutted, and then turned back to Myshu. "As I said, I wish to accompany you on your quest."

"Yeah, I heard you, I'm just looking for the 'why' part," the neiphiti responded, not sounding thrilled with the proposition.

The wizard twitched, reluctant to divulge his purpose. After a heavy moment, he said, "I... too, am looking for something. You know the gates better than I, and I am a more experienced magician than you. I will lend you my skills if you will be my guide. Perhaps we can both find what we're looking for."

"You're not as much of a lone wolf as you make yourself out to be, are you?" Myshu remarked teasingly.

"I work with what--or whomever benefits me most," he rationalized.

Jerad was left to sulk while the other two talked. It wasn't a minute before the scientist recognized the tome in the wizard's hands. "Hey!" he interrupted to point again, "What's that? Isn't that the book Dr. LEA was reading?"

Both magicians seemed amused by the observation, though Jerad couldn't tell why. These people were weird enough as it was without him trying to decipher their in-jokes.

"Yes," said Magus, the master of monosyllabic answers.

"It's called the T'torlan," Myshu informed. She narrowed a glare on the wizard. "And this bastard's not handing it over without a fight, apparently."

"No need for violence," Magus spoke, deceptively smooth, "I just want to see that you don't do anything unseemly with it. You're one to keep an eye on at all times."

"Oh, whatever! You say that like I'm gonna tear out the pages to wipe my ass with!" the brash woman raised her voice, inadvertently making the wizard's point.

"Wait," Jerad intervened once again with a query for Magus, "Did you say something about gates a minute ago?"

"Yeah, gate rings," Myshu answered for him.

"You two really did come from the gate, didn't you?" Jerad asked with a tinge of awe.

"The one on that blizzardfuck mountain? Yeah, we did." Myshu scratched her head with a careful claw, not grasping what Jerad's big deal was and, moreover, trying to convey annoyance. "Didn't we have this talk before? I'm getting deja vu."

Jerad didn't take the hint. "Are you going back to Death Peak?" Not even allowing time to reply, he jumped to demand, "You have to take me with you!"

Myshu shrank a step back, holding out her hands to ward off the entreaty. She shot wary glances between Jerad and Magus, snarling, "Whoa, wait a minute, fuck you guys! I just came for the goddamn book. I don't need an entourage."

Jerad began to plead, insistent and eager. "Oh no, I don't mean to impose. Well, I mean, I guess I am, but I mean that, um, if you can use the gates, you must show me what you know! I built the gate rings on Death Peak, me and my friends, I mean. According to what Ramezia told us to do, that is. I'm still trying to research the results and how it all works and--hey, you're using the gate to look for something, right? Maybe I can help, if it's treasure or... whatever! I minored in archeology, back at the university here. I can help you look. Just please let me come with you!"

Myshu was so enthusiastic over the offer she could spit. In Jerad's eye. She thought she saw Magus crack a grin, something sardonic, though the stoical wizard said nothing. Jerad stared at her expectantly, hopeful and pathetically desperate, and the plush bunnies peering up at her from his toes weren't helping his image.

She crossed her arms, looked at the ground and cursed. "Damnit all."


He woke up in a pile of fabric to a dull, throbbing headache. He pulled his fingers into a fist, taking hold of the slightly prickly cotton sheet beneath him. His scalp felt sticky with wet, and a kindred damp, coppery, fetid odor hung in the air.

Zidane peeled open his eyes and was greeted by a patchwork ceiling of course wood and askew nails. His straw bed sat in the corner of a rickety shack that must have been right on the inner city docks; he could hear the faint sloshing of water beneath the floorboards.

Still in Treno, then. But where was he? How did he get here? What happened?

He turned his head to look about, noticing the gauze twined around his head as it tugged on unruly hairs. He glanced over the oil lamp on the bedside table and the curled edges of the wanted poster on the door, and centered his focus on the man doing laundry. He was stringing soaked outfits along a line that ran from a high nail in the wall to a docking post just outside the window.

Zidane recognized the half-naked man for his thick, sweeping spikes of red hair and his off-hue skin grafts, stitched broadly across his face and torso in a fleshy quilt. The disoriented Genome cleared his throat and called him out. "...Blank...?"

Blank spun around and eyed his friend from beneath a buckled headband, which the redhead adjusted in some kind of aloof street gesture. "You big idiot," he said hello. "Congratulations, you smell like the richest shit on Gaia." Blank returned to tending clothes. "And so do I, thanks to you."

"Unn?" Zidane groaned. A fun fact about Treno River was that it served as a sewage drain for the whole city. So that was that smell on him--he must have fallen in the water, which explained why his shirt and pants were dripping dry on the clothesline, alongside Blank's. When did that happen, though?

"What... what happened?" Zidane risked shifting on the straw tick to sit up. It didn't turn out to be such a good idea when a hot poker of pain jabbed his left thigh and ripped a path clean to his toes. He hissed and tentatively held his side, fingers brushing the prominent red splotch peeking through the bandages on his upper leg. "Augh," he cried out with a sudden influx of memory, "I've been shot!"

"So I heard," Blank said drolly. He reached into a satchel flopped over the top of a cracked chiffonier, obtained a corked vial and tossed it towards the bed. "Here, drink this."

Zidane's numb fingers fumbled the catch, but he eventually managed to get the red liquid down his throat. He grimaced at the strange aftertaste. "This isn't a potion?"

"It is," Blank reassured him, "I just spiced it up a little."

"Spiced it up with what?"

"Oh, some tally weed," the redhead delivered with an offhand air.

A strangled squeak escaped Zidane as his eyes bulged with alarm.

Blank chortled, relishing the reaction. "Heheh, just kidding. Relax, it's opium. It'll help with the pain a bit."

Zidane fell back into the bed and scowled. "That wasn't funny."

"Oh, heh heh heh," he laughed slowly while pulling out the room's only chair and settling in it backwards. "Maybe not. But you shoulda seen your face."

Zidane, hardly amused, skimmed the room for a change of subject. "Those my clothes up there?"

Blank twisted a glance to the clothesline behind him. "Yeah, they're drying out."

Without bothering to get up, the wounded thief appraised his faded blue trousers, noting the rusty freckles fringing a gruesome tear through the seam of one leg. "...Aw. Those were my favorite pants."

Blank snorted. "Yeah, that's your biggest concern."

"Mmmm. I'll have to find that tailor in Lindblum again. I don't like the clothes those guys at the castle try to make me wear. They're too... uh..."


Zidane nodded sluggishly, the potion-cocktail already setting in. He wondered if opium was the only special ingredient Blank neglected to mention. "...Yeah. Hey, how did you...?"

"Find you?" Blank finished his trailing sentence. "I was hanging around, waiting for you to show up."

"Hanging... where?" A shadow-clad figure beneath a culvert flashed across his mind's eye. "Oooh. You were that guy I passed on the way to King's, weren't you?"

Blank nodded. "I figured you'd be too stupid to just tell Garnet what happened or try to buy it back from King or somethin'. You just had to go and put your neck on the block, didn't you?" He clicked his tongue scornfully. "Big dumb showoff."

"You should've been more specific," Zidane retorted.

"You should've been less of a dumbass. Why am I always bailing you out?" the redhead asked matter-of-factly.

Zidane could have tried to refute the "always," but this was hardly the first time Blank was stuck taking care of the reckless thief's injuries. Fact was, the roguish redhead had a knack for nursing and medicine, and for a rowdy acting troupe such as Tantalus, his services were often called into play.
Instead, Zidane cheekily squirmed in the sheets, the painful stitch in his thigh drugged out of his notice. "Because you loooooove me?"

Blank huffed. "Now that wasn't funny." He sighed, dropping into a more serious tone. "You could be in big trouble this time, Zidane. If King got a shot at you then that means he saw you tryin' to rob him. You know what could happen if they find out who you are?"

"Yeah, yeah," Zidane grumbled and shied his gaze away from Blank's. "I already got this lecture from Rusty. I know what I was doing."

Blank opened his mouth, further reprimands brewing on his tongue, but after a moment he decided to swallow them. Whether Blank was saving it all for later or just letting it go, Zidane couldn't read from the fellow thief's taciturn countenance.

"Are you... going to tell Boss what I did?" the Genome hesitantly asked. He wasn't sure if he was intimidated by that prospect or not. He shouldn't be, his pride told him. He was a man now, and didn't have to care if "the boss" disapproved of his actions--Baku wasn't even his real boss anymore. He'd quit the band to stay with Dagger.

The redhead scoffed into the back of the chair. "Hell no. Boss would just pat you on the head and say, 'Way to go, boy.' It's like I'm the only one with any sense around here."

"Heh, that does sound like Boss."

"So, did you even get it?" Blank got to the crux of the matter.

Zidane spotted his mop-wet travel pack in the corner by the door and waved at it. "Heh. See for yourself."

Blank made a funny little frown, again indecipherable, and shuffled out of his chair to retrieve the pack. Some impotent suspense later, the redhead pulled the prize into the open. He held the Silver Pendant by its chain over an admiring light, watching its conical facets glimmer like a diamond's. "I'll be damned."

Zidane grinned with dopey arrogance. "Are you impressed?"

"Your stupidity never ceases to impress me," Blank cut him short.

His friend pouted playfully. "You're so mean to me."

Blank bent down to tousle the blonde's mummy-wrapped hair. "Just keeping your big head on its toes, or whatever."

Zidane wiggled in weak protest until Blank took his hand away. "So," he moved the conversation along, "What now?"

Blank shrugged. "Like hell if I know. This was your big idea!"

"Yeah, well now you're an accomplice."

The redhead crossed his arms, miffed at the label, even though it was true. "Don't make me wish I'd let King find you."

"Hee, just kidding!" Zidane recanted. He then thumbed his nose, contemplating his own question. "Um... Oh, Lindblum. I was going to Lindblum next."

"Sounds good," Blank shrugged along. "We should get out of town as soon as you're in better shape. The cops are pro'ly looking for you already."

Zidane was amazed at his friend's easy compliance; Blank didn't even ask why Lindblum, of all places. "You're coming with me, then?"

"Looks like I'm stuck, aren't it? I am your accomplice, after all," the redhead reminded in a half-joke. He then put the jewel piece back in Zidane's bag and began to rearrange their drying clothes on the line.

"Heh, right." Zidane smiled glumly. "...Sorry to get you mixed up in this."

Another shrug, this time with Blank's back turned. "Whatever."

Blank liked to act put-out, but he was a good friend. He'd stick by Zidane until he was healed and out of trouble. A Tantalus was always good for helping out a brother in need, and "Once a Tantalus, always a Tantalus," Baku would say. Zidane felt guilty for being such a burden sometimes, but still appreciated a friendly hand--he had learned the hard way too many times that he couldn't do everything on his own.

"Hey Blank... You ever thought about going straight?"

Blank stopped, spun around and stared blankly at his friend.

The two abruptly exploded into laughter.
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