Title: You're Not Alone

Author: Atariel Tsukai

Date: August 2, 2015

Summary: War is breaking out in Gaia once more. It is up to Garnet, as the queen of Alexandria, and her acquaintances to figure out just who is waging the war and what they can do to put an end to it!

Rating: T

Authoress's Note: Sooo, I feel pretty bad, since I left the last chapter off on such a major cliffhanger! Hopefully you all don't want to kill me by now! Also, I owe so many thanks to zestychicken2 for kindly kicking my butt back into gear to finish writing this chapter! She even wrote a drabble for me to get me motivated! Anyone who's still around reading this should read her fics as well!

.ix.

Chapter XVII: Separation

Mikoto ran over quickly. "Zidane, stop!" she ordered with the most emotion Blank had ever heard from a Genome other than his best friend. Unfortunately, it was not enough.

The until-moments-prior unconscious blond growled angrily, his azure eyes narrowing dangerously and flickering with magenta, even as they met with the familiar terra-cotta pair. "Zidane. . it's just me. . . " the redhead choked as he became lightheaded, trying to reach out to the other once again. The ex-thief, however, seemed to have no intention to release him, or even loosen his grip around his neck even a little. "C'mon, Br-"

"Where the hell is Dagger? Bring her back!" He sounded desperate underneath all of his anger.

"Zidane," Mikoto tried once more, placing her hands on his arms. A faint light began to radiate from her body, transferring to her brother's.

Blank could feel fingers finally loosening from around his scrawny neck and quickly doubled over, panting heavily. "D-damn. . Thanks, Mikoto. . . " he stammered, rubbing his muscles with both gloved hands. He looked up to Zidane once more and saw that his best friend's eyes were back to normal, well mostly normal. "You okay, Bro?"

"I'm. . fine, but. . . Dagger," he began, sounding a lot more worried than angry this time. "Dammit!" Just like that, the blond was trying to get out of bed. And, already, he was breaking a sweat, the lack of a tail taking its toll on him. "I have to. . help her. . . before it's too late," he breathed out heavily.

The redhead jumped forwards and caught the blond before he could fall out of the bed. "You're lucky you're not dead right now, but that doesn't mean you can just jump right into a fight again! If you keep trying, you'll definitely be dead before we can get anywhere near Alexandria to save Dagger," Blank said a little gruffly.

Zidane was quiet for a few moments, breathing heavily. "Dammit. . Why did it have to be my tail? Again. . . " he just barely managed to choke out.

Mikoto helped Blank get their brother back into the bed. "Zidane, I'm going to heal you, but you'll still need to rest," she told him sternly. "You won't do anyone, especially not Queen Garnet, any good if you don't let your tail heal."

The male Genome slumped down to the bed in defeat. He hesitated for a very long time before finally muttering, "I guess you're right." His azure gaze then wandered over to his adoptive brother. "Where's everyone else anyway?" he asked quietly, surprised that Blank was the only member of Tantalus around to make sure he was okay.

"Eiko wanted to help, but she already used a lot of magic back at the Iifa Tree. We didn't want her to use any more unless it was an emergency," Blank told Zidane before adding, "You bleeding out from where your tail used to be counted as an emergency at the time. Even the Boss thought so."

The blond managed a cheeky grin. "Guess I've finally grown on the old man," he said with a laugh, though his smile turned into a grimace of pain. The redhead moved closer to his side once again and the blond gave a slight shake of his head. "I'm fine. I think I'm gonna take your advice, though, and go back to sleep. Can you let Eiko know that I'm okay and thank her for healing me? Dagger would be super proud," he added.

Terra-cotta eyes blinked softly at the words and a frown came to the redhead's lips. "Don't be an ass. You're not dead yet and Dagger's probably not dead either. And neither of you can go dying on Eiko. She looks up to both of you so much."

"Whoa. Don't tell me you're in love with her!"

"On second thought, I could always kill you myself and say that Mikoto had no luck healing you from this pathetic state you're in right now," Blank said coldly.

A dry laugh escaped Zidane's lips and he laid his head back against the pillow. "Touché. Just tell her that I'm resting and that I'll see her later."

"Yeah sure. Get some rest," Blank said with a dismissive wave of a hand. Of course, before he could finish his words, his best friend was already out like a light. Azure eyes had fluttered closed and long blond hair was blown away from his face as he breathed out softly. He shifted just slightly before falling into a dream, whispering the name of his love.

.ix.

"Dagger."

Chocolate orbs blink softly and wandered over to the blond's face. Immediately, they lit up with excitement and a bit of mischievousness, two traits she had picked up from him. "What is it, my beloved Zidane?" she asked with a song-like giggle that always made his heart melt.

Azure eyes locked with chocolate orbs and a smile came to the ex-thief's lips. "How did I get so lucky to have you return the love I feel for you?" he asked, reaching up and gently caressing one of her soft cheeks.

Garnet smiled even more at his question. She took both of his cheeks with her own hands and pressed her lips to his. "I'm the lucky one. You came into my life at a very difficult time. And I wasn't very kind to you showing your affection for quite some time. I'm lucky that you kept trying, even when I turned you down multiple times," she said softly.

Zidane took a look around their surroundings. They had already been up on the wedding boat at Conde Petie for hours, talking and just enjoying each other's company once they had finished dancing to their song. It was a relief that they could do such a thing despite everything going on in their world right then. "I promised that I would kidnap you, didn't I? You should have known that I'd never give up on trying to make you happy," he said softly, running his hand along her soft cheek once again, gently playing with her long raven hair.

The queen let out a content sigh and pulled back slightly, though only so she could lean back against her king instead. She looked out over the town, her chocolate orbs sparkling in the moonlight. "Thank you so much for bringing me here, Zidane. I'm sorry I gave you such a hard time about leaving Eiko and the guys," she said softly. Once more, she turned her attention to his face. "It's getting late. Perhaps we should look into getting a room to sleep in tonight."

Azure eyes blinked softly and glanced down to Garnet. "I don't know. The inn here is so small and usually crowded. It's not romantic like a honeymoon should be," he said with a playful smirk. "We could stay up here," he suggested. "The air is nice and fresh."

He was expecting her to turn down the idea, but as always, his love surprised him. A soft giggle broke free of her lips, causing his heart to melt even more. "That would be nice, too," she said as she shifted a bit so she could press a gentle kiss to his lips. She hesitated a moment or two, however. "Hey, Zidane?" she breathed out.

The blond tilted his head to the side slightly. "What's up, Dagger?" he asked curiously, gently returning the kiss to her lips and stroking her raven hair once again. He felt her suck in her lower lip gently, a habit he had noticed she had whenever she was nervous.

"Well. . that is. . . there is once more thing we have yet to do that all newlyweds do," she stammered, her pale cheeks flushing a soft pink as the suggestion hung in the air around them.

Azure eyes wide, Zidane was fully aware of what Garnet was implying. "You want to. . . ? Dagger, don't feel like you have to, just because we're married n-"

Before he could finish the thought, her lips pressed to his once again. Muffled sniffles escaped her lips and he immediately slipped his arms around her waist to let her know that he was there for her. He felt her pushing on his chest, much like he could remember from when he had held her after returning to Alexandria from the Iifa Tree. Her delicate hands then began to wander, slim fingers carefully undoing each button of his teal vest. He looked at her face yet again, seeing a faint rose dusting her pale cheeks in the moonlight, and a small smile came to his lips. "You can relax, Dagger," he told her reassuringly, gently pulling her hands away and taking over the job of undoing his vest. He took it off with ease, along with the sleeveless white shirt he wore underneath.

Again, her cheeks began to glow in the moonlight. She had never even seen Zidane topless before, so this was a big step for them. She placed her hands on his now bare chest and gently ran them over it. "I love you, Zidane," she whispered, leaning towards him.

Yet another smile came to his lips. "And I, you, my beloved Dagger," he said, closing the rest of the small distance between the two of them and pressing his lips to hers.

She felt his tail wrap around her leg, gently massaging her thigh. A soft gasp parted her lips and she breathed out his name once again. The same feeling she had during breakfast several days prior returned, though she was not sure she wanted it to go away this time. It felt much too special. "Zidane. . Please. . . "

Very carefully, the blond laid his raven-haired bride down on her back. "You're sure you want this?" he asked her. He had always dreamed of the day he would get lucky enough to make love with a beautiful woman, but from the moment he met Princess Garnet, he had known that she was way out of his league. He had never given up, but he had also never expected it to lead to him marrying her and the two of them sharing this very special moment.

Chocolate orbs met azure eyes and the raven-haired queen nodded. "I am positive. You don't want me to worry about the others, right I believe this will help," she murmured, blushing more than ever. "I want to focus on my love for you, Zidane."

The blond breathed in deeply and nodded in return. "Alrighty," he said simply before pressing one more kiss to her lips. After that, he began to move downwards, trailing kisses along her soft skin. Slowly and carefully, he pulled down the straps of her orange jumper and lifted her white blouse up over her head. A soft shiver ran through her body, though it had little to do with being cold. A confident smile came to his lips as they continued to make their way down her naked skin. "Don't forget to breathe," he teased her quietly.

A small pout came to Dagger's lips. "Zidane, stop making fun of me. You act like I don't know what I'm doing."

For a moment, he was reminded of how she was towards the beginning of their adventure. She had always been willing to learn everything she could in order to keep her identity hidden. And she was a fast learner, which made things a lot better.

"Well. . . it is your first time, so I wasn't really expecting you to know what to do," he admitted. "Unless there's something you're not telling me about."

"You're doing it again." She sounded a bit annoyed, so he knew that he better stop if he really wanted to continue. "Of course this is my first time, Zidane. I've never loved or been married to anyone else," she murmured. She hesitated for a moment before giving him a serious look. "Is this your first time?" she asked.

"Would you believe me if I said yes?" Zidane asked in return, before continuing without hesitation, "Because it is. I know it's hard to believe with the way I used to flirt with girls all the time, but. . when I met you. . . I knew that I wanted to wait," he told Garnet, looking into her chocolate orbs.

Pale cheeks flushed a deep pink yet again and Dagger leaned down so she could catch his lips with her own once again. "Thank you for waiting, Zidane. Now, I think we've done enough of it."

He could not agree any more. His physical attraction towards Dagger was so strong – he was not sure how he had successfully kept it under control for this long. Holding the kiss, he slowly moved himself back up so he was closer to her. He ran his hands up and down her sides gently, then slowly worked on removing her jumper from her lower body and his pants from his own.

"I love you so much, my beloved Dagger."

.ix.

It was cold and dark and Garnet was terrified. Even the time she traveled through the Ice Caverns could not compare to the way she felt right then. Back then, she had been accompanied by Zidane, Vivi, and Steiner. Now, she was alone. She felt vulnerable and completely unsafe.

"Aah, you've woken up."

Just when she had thought that it could not get any worse, it became even more horrible. She would have even taken being alone over knowing that Gilgamesh was present. Chocolate orbs stopped fluttering and opened wide, shielded by a guarded expression. She looked around for a brief moment, finding that they were in what appeared to be the cargo room of an airship. She was on the cold floor with nothing protecting her body from the draft that came in from the air outside, or from her captor, for that matter.

"You missed almost the entire ride back to Alexandria," he told her, though he sounded amused beneath the mock worry.

Garnet opened her mouth, but nothing came out. She felt very lightheaded and her head stung from being hit back at the Iifa Tree. Those memories stared flooding back and she finally managed a nose that resembled a choked sob.

"Zidane!"

She had no doubt that the evil man in front of her had left her love in the pool of his own blood to die. Again, she had left the blond behind at the Iifa Tree to face his death. This time may have not been by choice, but the guilt was enough to make her feel sick. Somehow, she managed to turn her numb body over just in time to empty the contents of her stomach, which she was sure already had nothing in it. If they were already close to Alexandria, like Gilgamesh had said, it had been days since she had last eaten.

The masked man took a few steps and crouched down next to Garnet, reaching out to run his hand through her long raven hair and over her soft cheek. She pulled away quickly and narrowed her chocolate orbs in his direction. It hurt to move, but she was not going to let him get near her if she could help it. After all, she was naked and afraid of what he may have already done to her, let alone what he had planned. A second wave of nausea washed over her and she threw up once more before quickly covering the front of her body with both arms.

"Y-you. . You killed him. . . " the queen finally whimpered. She was trying her hardest not to cry, not to show Gilgamesh any more weakness, but tears still rolled down her cheeks from her wide chocolate orbs. "You're going to take over Alexandria. Why do you even need me alive?"

A twisted smirk came to the red-haired man's lips. "That's easy enough. You're going to help me win the trust of your people, then help me rule. Without that pesky magic of yours, of course," he told her. A laugh broke from his lips as he saw a guarded expression take over her face once more. "I'm sure that I will be able to find ways to make you cooperate, my Queen. Now, put your clothes on. We'll be home soon," he instructed as he handed her the same gown she had married Zidane in.

.ix.

Authoress's Note: Not too sure how I feel about this chapter besides feeling bad that it took one day short of FOUR MONTHS to update it! I'm not even sure where the flashback bridge Zidane and Dagger's parts came from. I just had the idea and tried running with it, just for it to end up causing a lot more trouble for me than I originally thought it would. I still really like the beginning of this chapter, probably since it revolved around the huge cliffhanger from the last chapter. I remember that part being really easy to write. Anyways, please let me know what you think, especially if there is anything I should change – whether it's adding or taking away!