Because I Love Him

Because what was more simple than that? After everything, nothing else mattered. ZidanexDagger [Oneshot] for Atariel Tsukai

Disclaimer: I don't own FFIX or any of its characters.

A/N: Atariel Tsukai – wonderful author of FFIX story You're Not Alone (seriously people, read it, it's good) is suffering one long case of writer's block, and I've promised her a drabble to get her back in the swing of things.

But if the rest of you also wanted to review, I wouldn't be mad ;)

Because I Love Him

A strangled cry escaped her throat.

She leaned so far over the oak edge of the airship some part of her mind was worried she would fall out. Her necklace tilted over the edge, swinging like a pendulum counting her impending doom.

She tasted salty tears on her lips as she watched the small figure of Zidane standing in the dirt off of the Iifa Tree. She imagined his face – annoyingly optimistic to the situation, though there was one part of her that was sure there would be some sorrowful spark in his azure eyes that would tell her she knew he was going to die.

"Foolish! How could he do this?! What has Kuja done for us?!" Steiner continued to seethe, despite the conscious decision all of them had made to let the genome go.

"What are we going to do if he doesn't come back, huh?" Eiko sniffled, wiping her nose on her sleeve. Garnet – Dagger no longer – could picture it happening though her mind was elsewhere.

"Hush," Freya commanded quietly.

Though the clouds were rushing about them and the land was long gone, Garnet still clung to the ledge of the ship, straining her eyes to pick up the slightest trace that maybe he was still there – maybe he was waving them down to come back and pick him up, that he had changed his mind.

Tears continued down her face, and her shoulders shook with silent sobs.

"Princess," Steiner started, sounding more mature than she might have heard him on their entire journey.

A heavy hand landed on her shoulder, gently pulling her around. She nearly clawed at the wood, trying to keep a grasp on it, but her exhaustion had won out, and her hands fell pitifully to her sides. She stared up at Steiner with wide, sad eyes.

"Why do you weep for him so? He is a fool – always with his terrible decisions!"

"You've never understood," she told him, though her voice held no malice.

The wind blew her hair restlessly to the side, and the others stared without pity – for her and for themselves for the loss of a great friend. She hated that the doubt that Zidane would come back alive was mirrored in everyone else's eyes.

Vivi inched closer to her, unblinking eyes holding such love and understanding in them. Vivi, who had been with them from the very beginning of their journey. New sobs wracked her small frame as he moved next to her and took her hand.

"Why do you cry for him so much?"

"Because," she started with a huff, like she didn't understand how he didn't already know – like the world had whispered it in her dreams, and their company had shouted it from the rooftops – but Steiner still didn't know. "Because I love him."

"But you're Zidane. You're the cool-cat, the smooth talker, the such-a-charming-smile-you-melt-girls-into-a-puddle kid! You can't get engaged!"

"Silly Cinna," Zidane snorted with an eye roll, "I'm still all those things… Just to nobody but Dagger – er… Garnet. And you of course, my little love bear."

"Little?" Marcus snorted.

"Ouch!" Cinna griped, throwing a punch that missed by a mile. Blank rolled his eyes as he shuffled along with the group.

"Besides," he continued as he laced his fingers together, creating a pillow behind his head and leaning it back to watch the sky. Clouds lazily rolled across the shimmering blue, and the sun was just peeking out from behind a particularly fluffy one – looking strangely like a puppy. "It won't be for a long time. I just feel like if I have the money now, I want to get it now."

"I can't believe you're using your hero money on a ring." Blank scoffed.

"Isn't that Garnet paying for the ring technically?"

"No," Zidane sighed, "that's the tax payers paying for her ring."

"Shouldn't it go to education or something?" that earned Cinna another smack to the head.

"It went to the safety of Gaia," Marcus told them matter-of-factly in Zidane's defense. "You can't have education with psychos running around trying to put souls into other people's bodies."

"Cinna! Marcus! Don't ya for a minute think yer getting' out of yer share of this fixer-upper work!" Ruby's voice suddenly rang down the street, and the four of them froze like it was a defense mechanism to her shrill commands.

She stormed down the way, barely missing innocent bystanders on the street. "Get yer lazy butts back here and help me finish!" she screeched, and they nearly ran.

"She's too close now, don't test your luck man," Blank warned.

"Can't you control your lover, Blank?" Marcus groaned.

The shortest of the group's hand shot out so fast the eldest didn't even see it coming as he smacked him upside the head so hard that Marcus stumbled.

"She's not my lover, you dipshit!"

"Girlfriend," Zidane corrected politely. Blank whipped around and narrowed his eyes at the blonde, but he held up his hands in surrender, "I'm not going to say anything else, don't worry."

By that time, Ruby had reached them and grabbed Cinna and Marcus by the ear, dragging them mercilessly away. The remaining two heard the pained cries of the others for blocks before their dismayed sobs disappeared completely.

Now Zidane and Blank walked down the streets of Lindblum in a calm silence. They shared moments like this often these days, both having changed from the events of the past year and a half.

He let his thoughts wander back to Garnet. He missed her laugh and the way her eyes would sweep an entire room before she deemed it responsible to speak, especially when Zidane had snuck into the castle to see her. He loved the way she would bite her lip when she was thinking, or how her entire light seemed to swell when she was talking about things or doing things she was passionate about.

It had been a week since he had seen her, and he was officially moving to Alexandria after his last few days with his brothers in Lindblum. The last few days that he was an official member of Tantalus – the last time he would leave the troupe. It was for good.

"We're really still on our way to buy a ring?"

A laugh bubbled from Zidane's throat. "Lindblum does have the best jewelry store in Gaia."

"You're really going to propose?"

"Someday," he decided after a moment.

Children ran between them, chasing each other and yelling about their simple games in the streets. They heard the river rushing to their right, feeling the coolness of the breeze on the canal in the hot sun and stuffy city.

"You're really ready to stand around in stuffy, ridiculous outfits and talk like the nobles we make fun of, and deal with the politics of running a country? You're ready to give up adventures and doing whatever you want and never having to let anyone know where you are?"

There was another moment of silence as Zidane contemplated. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the way his best friend stared at him as he walked, his green eyes flecked with questions. His hair was long, falling in front of his face. A serious expression adorned his face, but not one of ill-contempt.

He pursed his lips as he started to vaguely nod, "Yeah… Yes, I'm ready for that."

"Why?" Blank asked like he didn't believe his ears.

And then both of them stopped, and a crooked smile suddenly adorned Zidane's face, and his eyes were old and young and loving and knowledgeable all at once, "Because I love her."

She watched Beatrix's hand curl into a fist at her side, and Steiner's jaw clenched tightly a little earlier in the conversation.

Garnet's face was ever-graceful, though her heart was tired.

The party was still in full swing, ballroom gowns sweeping the room and charming men coming to kiss her gloved hand. Chatter and the clinking of glassware was really the only thing she could hear, except for the occasional rise and fall of laughter in the crowd of nobles.

Currently, the woman in front of her had hair that was pulled too tightly against her head, only to fluff out into a ridiculous style, and her dress was almost as big as Garnet's own gown. Her beady, dark eyes shamelessly probed the younger girl's calm face.

"Well? Isn't that true? Wasn't he a thief?! Surely there are better suitors out there for our young Princess."

"Queen." Beatrix snapped. "She is a queen."

The woman nearly rolled her eyes at the knight, standing stiff next to her queen.

"I mean, how small-minded could one woman be, chasing after a man who doesn't even know how to run is own life let alone –"

"Enough," Garnet suddenly said, her voice having changed dramatically.

The woman actually stopped, mildly offended, but more curious.

A few people around them that had heard the hostile tone she had taken with this ridiculous noble turned, curiosity piquing their interest as well.

There were many things she wanted to say. She wanted to tell this woman that Zidane was a hero, and she would never understand what he had done for the entire world – let alone Alexandria itself. She wouldn't be alive if it weren't for him – multiple times over. She wouldn't be the person she was – she wouldn't be strong, she wouldn't know the affairs of the world, and she wouldn't be nearly as cultured or into the lives of her citizens as she was.

They might all be dead if it wasn't for Zidane.

But she took in a deep breath, remembering that no longer could she run around yelling at people when they upset her like she did when she was traveling. She clasped her hands tightly in front of her and stared at the woman, trying to burn a hole through her with her eyes.

"He is a fine gentleman. His beliefs are pure."

The woman almost looked disappointed that the Queen didn't explode at her, and she went wandering away, suddenly disinterested.

But that had only allowed the next questioner her audience before she could move more than a few steps. She couldn't wait until Zidane had to tackle these parties with her and just show people how wonderful he was.

"Why would you limit yourself to such a man?" A lion creature stepped in front of her, with an eye glass she thought was a little prissy and a suit that looked mildly ridiculous with his mane. "Why would you be with a man when you could find someone so much more appreciated by the people?" he twirled a tendril of his course mane. "Just out of curiosity."

"Curiosity killed the cat," Beatrix mumbled next to her, though not loud enough for the man to hear.

She shrugged, thinking of the only thing she could say in this situation that made complete and utter sense to her, because nothing else about the situation did.

"Because I love him.

A/N: No editing, no thinking much about the plot. Like I said, this was just to kickstart Atariel on her writing again Though I hope you guys did enjoy the fluff, though there was no actual interaction between Garnet and Zidane in this story

Can I just tell you guys how incredibly HARD it is for me to go back to writing Dagger as "Garnet"?! After six to six and a half years of writing the girl's name as Dagger, I can't even say Garnet in a sentence when I talk about her, let alone write her with her proper name. This was very stressful for me :P

Anyways, Atariel, I hope this helps! And to anyone else: I hope you enjoyed!