|New Hope for a Troubled Heart
Author: BaschLuvva PM
Post XII game. It focuses mainly on the Magisters, and Larsa. It is slightly AU, but there have been no major changes, so please read this fanfic it's the first proper FFXII fic I have done. [ZargabaathxOC] I hope you enjoy itRated: Fiction K - English - Romance/Angst - Chapters: 2 - Words: 6,679 - Reviews: 4 - Published: 02-20-07 - id: 3404412
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
I do not own any of the FFXII characters listed here, apart from Judge Rulia, who is my very own creation
"It's Valentines Day soon - I was hoping to put on some sort of event, decorate the main hall - have some sort of banquet, playing with some romantic music!"
They were used to such ideas, and Basch was the first to comment about this proposal.
"I suppose we let the people know by..placing up posters around the city my lord?"
The young master nodded, and sat on the front of his desk. He cocked his head to one side, and smiled "Though many people view Valentine's Day as a waste of time and money, there are still some who wish to celebrate it. I
would also like the three of you to dress for the occasion."
"..I ask that I stay in armor my lord."
Rulia murmured with a stoic tone.
"Why is that honorable Rulia?"
"One is not fond of Valentines Day..it does not bode well for me for personal reasons.."
"Fear not my lady - I'm sure this year, things will be much better..I will make sure of it!"
Larsa beamed happily - he knew all too well what these personal reasons where, and he was determined to turn things around for this troubled Magister.
"As you wish, sire.."
Rulia bowed, and stood straight once more. Zargabaath turned his head slightly, then approached Larsa himself with a question of his own.
"Formal dress required sire?"
"No no - completely informal! But, it's not as if I won't stop people from coming if they wish to dress that way! I do require you three though to dress formally, if that isn't a problem."
"No, that will not be. Do you require us to do anything preparation wise?"
"Nope! Not at all - I have everything sorted! You may all go for your lunch break now - I should be joining you shortly!"
Larsa stood up, nodding, clasping his hands behind his back.
"Now..to order that dress.." He thought to himself, a sly grin appearing on his face as he went to sit back in his seat..
"Should be interesting don't you agree Basch?"
"Aye, tis not the sort of thing I am used to however.."
"Me either, but we should try to enjoy it all the same!"
Zargabaath turned his attention to Rulia, who had quickened her pace, hoping she would not be asked about her opinion.
"..I know you still feel for Drace and Gabranth, but you need to move on my dear. Larsa had hoped you would start to heal inside by now..I do believe that by allowing this event to go ahead, you will finally be able to accept
Basch as a friend and Magister.."
"I doubt it -"
"Judge Magister Rulia, face me right now!"
Zargabaath raised his voice, surprising Basch and Rulia, who looked at him with slight shock.
"Your behaviour towards Basch has been unacceptable at times - he has tried so desperately to befriend you, but what do you give him in return? Nothing but bitterness!"
Turning away, she began to walk once more, quite hurriedly, but Zargabaath grabbed her arm and pulled her close.
"Take off you helm - you also Basch. The pair of you will look at each other, look each other deep in eye..and you Rulia..you will also say right here right now..why you hate Basch so much.."
Basch's helm was slowly coming off - god, he..looked so much like Gabranth - even the sad expression - brought tears to her eyes..for it was a similar expression she last saw on Gabranths face.
"Now you Rulia." His voice sounded ever so solemn - he himself looked genuinely upset.
Her hands shook as she gently lifted it from her head, and held it under her right arm. Tears streamed down her face, and Basch grasped her hand tightly - as much as she wanted to pull away..she could not.
"..You remind me..so much of him..everything..the way you act..you're so kind..as he was.."
"Rulia.." Basch grasped her tiny hand compassionately - he knew that she still held onto the past, and was afraid to move on. That poor girl..
"I hated looking at you..because.."
"No more Rulia - I had no idea you would become so distressed this quickly."
Zargabaath placed his hand sympathetically on her shoulder. He too had taken off his helm, his eyes reflecting sadness within. He remembered how Rulia had looked up to Drace, how she claimed she loved Gabranth - Gabranth had always told him how her affection towards him always brightened up his sad times.
"However my dear..you should not have turned on Basch like this - causing yourself and Basch unnecessary pain..you should have come to him, talked to him. That way, your soul would have found peace much earlier. Drace and Gabranth, if they are watching us right now..would be extremely upset and disappointed in you. I do hope at the Valentines Day event you both will enjoy each other's company, I also hope..things will have been settled once and for all.."
He had removed a glove from his hand, to wipe away the tears, and to gently massage the young womans hair.
"Come, if we stand here too long, the food will get cold!"
He tried to smile, making Lisa smile softly in return.
"What is the main course today then Zargabaath?"
"Beef - one of my favourites."
"Ugh, how I hate it so much - I prefer lamb, turkey, chicken - pork even! But Beef!"
Rulia wrinkled her nose, displeased at the thought of eating her least favourtie meat. The elder judge laughed and started walking again, commenting on her fussiness.
"I prefer beef to chicken myself.." Muttered Basch, as they continued walking to the dining hall.
"Pfft - you have a bad taste in food..Basch. Just like Zargabaath!"
Basch simply chuckled - he had begun to detect a humorous tone in her voice.
Leaning back in his chair, Zargabaath slowly closed his eyes - he had already finished his meal before the others.
Came the response from the less enthusiastic Rulia, who had pushed aside her plate, which still contained more then half of the beef. Oh well, at least she consumed most of the vegetables.
"Would you like to finish my meal off?"
"No thank you Rulia..I am quite well. I assume your meal went down well Larsa?"
"Oh indeed! I favour beef also! Anyone for dessert?"
All three Magisters shook their heads - all were full from such a large lunch. They all talked amongst themselves, well, mainly Zargabaath and Larsa, while Basch and Rulia remained quiet.
Both still needed to clear the air with each other, and now was not the time..
Evening soon came, and Larsa was preparing himself for an early night - the Magisters were officially free to do whatever they pleased. Zargabaath sorted out some paperwork, and both Rulia and Basch were out on a stroll.
Rulia was to be found in the Castle Gardens, sat on a cold wooden bench. As she looked at the stars..she began to dream..
She had found herself sat next to Gabranth, enjoying one summer afternoon.This was not a dream..but a past memory. They were enjoying an informal conversation, herself often bursting into fits of laughter.
They were both so happy..none knew that danger lay so nearby..
Then it came to that..final time they were together. Already hurt by the passing of Drace..she could not believe she was losing the man whom she loved, adored.
As he lay, breathing weakly, he gently stroked her head..
"Do not cry..be strong.."
"..I will try..but I - I do not want to lose the man who I love so much! Noah..please..don't go.."
"..I am touched Rulia..but..I believe your heart lies elsewhere.."
He smiled - then that was it. She left Noah to be with his brother in his final moments..gently whispering goodbye, and coming off the airship as it had docked already...
Sitting up sharply, Rulia turned to her left to see Basch approaching, looking somewhat concerned as he noticed a tear falling down her face.
She sat up, desperately trying to make herself be at ease. Her helm almost fell on the floor, and as she grabbed it, she noticed how ill she had become - stressed was probably the right word. Her hands seemed paler then usual (she had pale skin anyway, and she remembered times when Bergan used to make fun of her for it), and the skin was incredibly dry.
"May I speak with you?"
"Yes..you may Basch."
She placed her helm on her right side, and hid her hands.
"I saw Rulia..this has now given me more reason to resolve issues with you."
He reached over, gently holding her cold, dry hand - there was a warm touch to it, and Rulia simply looked at it - she said nothing, and moved her head slightly to one side, trying to avoid eye contact.
"You are not angry with me..deep down inside..you blame yourself for Noah's passing - this is why you are bitter to yourself and to me - you see me as another Noah..and by being bitter to me, you do not have to feel any pain for me if I were to pass into the afterlife. You should not blame yourself for something like this..Noah would say the same if his spirit could speak to you. You also think that this person Noah referred to as the one you truly loved was me - "
"..It is not. You are trying to push away these supposed feelings for me, by being bitter - that's what you think..isn't it? Look at me and tell me I am lying if you are so confident about this."
She couldn't answer - Basch was right - damn him..
"Open your heart, be yourself once more, and you will know who it is Noah referred to."
"I was so confident it was you."
A weak laugh escaped her lips. Sighing deeply, it was only then she noticed Basch's grip had become tighter - he was different in a way to Noah. Noah was at times..unable to show that he cared for someone else. Basch..was the opposite. He was such a kind man, always apologetic.
"Will you give me your word that you will try to move on? I think..that in two weeks when Valentines Day is upon us, if you have received peace in your heart, Larsa would be most happy. Noah and Drace too. You may even get used to the idea of wearing a dress."
"..Don't push your luck."
"Haha! I take that as a "Yes"?"
"Indeed. I think I'm going to retire to my room now. Sleep is descending upon me fast..and another late, sleepless night is not what I need."
Standing to leave, Basch joined her side as they walked back inside.
"Too much paperwork?"
"Not really..sometimes I have nightmares - I worry too much you see. Plus I dream of Noah..and losing him over and over.."
"Zargabaath scolds me sometimes - tells me to take it easy."
"He means well by it..he cares for you a lot."
"More so since the time Drace died - he got more protective of me. Which was cute..I think it was his way of saying to Drace that he would not fail me, and that he was sorry for not stopping her death."
They eventually reached Rulia's quarters and just before Rulia closed and locked her door, she looked Basch in the eye.
"Forgive me..Basch Fon Ronsenburg."
"Nay, it is alright."
"I must apologise - my actions in the past, though fuelled by grief, should not have happened. Personally I wish that my bitterness never makes an appearance again."
"..Sleep well Your Honour."
Bowing, Basch turned and left for his room.
"Do you think we have made a good choice Zargaabaath? There were quite a few to choose from - maybe we should have got more then one for her!"
Larsa pondered this thought, as he slipped on his nightgown, Zargabaath looking outside his bedroom window.
"I think we have done surprisingly well - are we going to tell Basch?"
"Yes..I think so - we will have to tell Rulia that..hmm..how do we explain it to her?"
"We must leave it as a gift! Yes, the night before Valentines Day, we sneak into her room, and leave it on her bed. I'll tell her that she may stay in her armor, say that I changed my mind! Oh, I must leave a note also!
Something like "Surprise, surprise! Hope you like it, love Larsa and Zargabaath!"
"You are to include my name I see.."
"I know you care for her Zargabaath."
A strangely calm voice spoke, a tone different from what the young master usually used.
"As a friend yes, nothing more."
"I think you are lying. Ever since you took her under your wing, trained her - I have seen a great bond between the two of you develop. Sometimes I have seen you argue..just like lovers do!"
"Friends can also argue Larsa."
"I just think..the two of you would go well together. Anyway, you may go now Zargabaath. Good night, and see you tomorrow!"
The young Emperor yawned, pulling the covers over him.
As he left his room, Zargabaath walked, not saying a word, his mind blank.
The days had passed slowly, and Zargabaath soon discovered that Larsa was on a mission to fix him and Judge Rulia on a date. It didn't annoy him, he just felt embarassed. His mind drifted back to the days when Drace used to tease him over her.
He was a lot older then her..he had just turned 40, and she was 21. Too young for him. Basch was even starting to hint that a relationship might be good for them both - Zargabaath had to hold his tongue, just so he didn't
end up saying something too rude.
Today was the day before the Valentines Day event - Zargabaath had just awoke, and was having a wash - as he splashed cold water on his face, he looked into a mirror - he still looked somewhat handsome, but he was
starting to get past his prime. Surely Rulia only thought of him as a mentor and close friend? She most certainly would not have any romantic feelings towards him.
Once he had got dressed into his basic clothes, he reached towards a simple set of draws, and rummaged through the top one, drawing out a simple envelope. Inside, was a little letter. The ink was smudged, due to some tear stains that had run down it. It was from Rulia - Gabranth had found it tossed aside as he had gone to visit the Emperor one time - it was unfinished, but still quite lengthy.
"Dear Zargabaath..You are not only a mentor to me, but..you mean much - " the sentence was crossed out, as were many others.
But the main message was clear - she was in love with him.She had felt so lonely when he was not around.
Gabranth had made a comment when handing it over, saying that she is closer to you, and thinks more of you then you know.
A spark had been reignited - had listening to Larsa and Basch finally paid off? Had the letter..somehow given him hope? He did have a crush on her in the past, but he repressed those feelings. Emperor Gramis would not approve of two Magisters courting. Placing the letter back in the drawer, Zargabaath put on his armor. He took one last at himself in the mirror and put on his helm.
He was the last to the breakfast, and everyone's expressions were the same as usual - Rulia, half asleep, Basch, deep in thought and Larsa seemed alert as ever.
"Everything alright this morning Zargabaath?"
He turned to face Rulia, a slight blush coming to his cheeks. Her eyes were a pale blue colour, her face, also pale in comparison, but not to the extent where she looked lifeless or ill.
Remembering once that Bergan had called her a "pathetic weakling", Zargabaath had reared up to defend her, while she stayed mute in the background. Bergan had argued that she could stand up for herself, but Rulia had simply ignored him.
The elder man could not just sit there and let such verbal abuse towards the trainee Magister go ahead. That poor girl had no choice but to do as her father required - join the military. She was the youngest daughter out of four girls, and she practically meant nothing to the man who helped bring her into this world.
Her mother missed her terribly - it had been several months since they had last spoke - she had been given the opportunity to leave her position, but Rulia refused point blank.
She hated her family, she hated her mother for not supporting her, for not stopping her father from restricting her to do many things.
How had she become a Magister so early on? Emperor Gramis was bribed, with a substantial amount of money - though the other Magisters and Rulia herself never knew the real reason as to why she was put in as Magister straightaway. Zargabaath was there when Rulia had spent her last moments with her father.
There was no affection shared between the two - just a glare.
That was it - he had left without saying anything to her - a look of anger appeared on Zargabaaths face - how could anybody be so cruel to their own child?
Such a pale, ill looking creature, and when she had turned her head, that was when he had his first glimpse of the girls eyes - strong, undeterred by her fathers inability to love and nurture his youngest child.
Those eyes..were trying desperately to say she could do well on her own, prove to herself that she was not weak, that she would become a great Magister.
"..I do like the Military.."
Her first words spoken to him, and that was all she could muster at that point.
Returning back to the present, he found that Rulia was now watching him - why had it taken him so long to realise that she was an amazing woman?
He had always remained loyal to the Empire, refusing to let loving a woman become part of his life - the role of Magister didn't give you much freedom.
It was like..he had finally begun to understand that it wasn't wrong to love someone who was a lot younger then yourself - sometimes, you couldn't help who you loved.
He remained deep in thought as he ate his breakfast, then his concentration was broken as a small note flew across to the table to his plate.
"The dress arrived this morning. You and Basch are to come with me to look at it, and I will be sending Lady Rulia on an errand so she does not find out what we're up to."
Zargabaath looked up with a smile. He winked at Larsa, and finished off his cup of tea.
"Do you wish to take any guards with you Rulia?"
Larsa had asked ever so casually, trying to disguise the excitement in his voice, his hands clasped together in a rather formal manner.
"No, it is quite alright - it is only a simple trip to the marketplace my lord.I don't think anything will happen to me during such a short trip."
"As you wish. Well then, I shall leave you what it is I needed - some blood red shoes, remember the ones I talked about for? That's all I think - they can go with my outfit for the event. Right, now we have finished breakfast, we can start our days work. Rulia, I shall see you later. Basch, Zargabaath - come with me!"
Originally this was going to be a single chapter story, but as things progressed, I've had to make it into 2 chapters xD
I hope I did ok, especially with Zargabaath, as I haven't..well you know..played the game, I have only seen cutscenes/FMV's.
Please review kindly )
And if anyone is wondering..my favourite Judge is Ghis/Bergan lol - Zargabaath is probably like 3rd place or something P