Author's Note: What if the Zidane and Dagger romance bloomed earlier in the game? This is what the fic is mainly about, since I am very curious about it myself. I know, I know. It's almost there for the entire game, but nothing major really happened between them until the end. So this fic has them express their true feelings earlier. Oh yeah, and beware of spoilers, especially if you haven't beaten the game yet.

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy IX belongs to Squaresoft, not me.

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Zidane's Treasure, Garnet's Love

by Krile

(part one)

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I can't believe it. She is queen now.

Zidane Tribal was slumped at his table in the Alexandria bar, sulking about what happened.

I never thought that we would be separated this soon. I enjoyed traveling with her.

Zidane didn't know why he was so depressed about this. He had flirted with many girls before, gone on dates, and had been dumped more times than he wanted to remember.

Why was Garnet Alexandros any different? It wasn't because she was a princess, Zidane knew that much. In fact, he didn't care if she was the poorest girl in all of Gaia.

There was something...different about her. Something that made Zidane feel like he'd never felt before.

Is it...?

"Hey, kid!" A gruff voice interrupted Zidane's thoughts.

Zidane looked up to see the waiter standing in front of him, obviously ticked off.

"If you wanna sulk in here, you need to get something! Or out you go!"

Zidane's eyes narrowed at the waiter. He wasn't in the mood for this. "Fine, then I'll have a beer." He felt as though he needed to drown his sorrows with something.

The waiter looked Zidane up and down. "I need to see an ID, kid."

Zidane, still looking upset, replied with, "Fine, then I'll have water instead."

The waiter scoffed. "Thought so."

Zidane said nothing and turned his head away. Why did he even bother asking for a beer? It's not like it worked before...

Zidane sighed. Nothing seemed to work out for him anymore. Not even having his former Tantalus brothers stopping by cheered him up. Especially since Dagger...

Dagger...

Zidane banged his fists on the table, angry with himself.

Dagger...

Are you all cozy on your throne already?

No!

No, no, no!

I can't start my day without Dagger!

Her smile!

Her voice!

Her voice is like a beautiful song...

And her song makes me soar high into the sky!

But now...

Zidane buried his face in his hands, trying to stop the tears in his eyes from coming out. He didn't want to cry. Not now.

---

Zidane...why did you come with me? It didn't have to concern you.

In her bedroom chambers in the Alexandria castle, the newly-crowned Queen Garnet Til Alexandros the 17th, dressed in a flowing gown, thought back to that day in Madain Sari.

Only because I wanted to go with you. That's what Zidane replied.

Garnet sighed and looked out her window at her newly inherited kingdom, Alexandria. Everything looked so peaceful.

...Yet she was not happy a bit.

Something was missing... or, rather, someone...

Zidane.

Oh, how Garnet missed him. She didn't care what the others said. Steiner had told her that he was not allowed in the castle, and that they were from two separate worlds.

Garnet shook her head violently as she remembered those words. Didn't anybody understand? If she wasn't so dedicated to protecting her kingdom like her mother once had, she would easily give up her crown to be with Zidane.

Garnet sat back down in her chair, thinking about her meeting with her friends earlier. Everyone remarked on how beautiful she was. Zidane didn't say a thing.

Garnet understood that. She wasn't able to say anything to him either.

But... why...?

---

"Zidane!"

Zidane jerked his head up with a start. He noticed all his friends were standing in front of him...minus Garnet.

"Z-Zidane?" asked a timid Vivi. "We're going to Treno. D-do you wanna come with us?"

Zidane's eyes lit up, and he grinned at the Black Mage. "Of course!" he replied. "Wouldn't want to miss the great Card Tournament! AND a chance to meet some hot girls!"

Everyone groaned. Zidane seemed to be himself again.

"You insensitive fool!" Freya scolded, then smiled. "Come on, then. We're leaving now."

Zidane stood up and smiled. "You guys go on ahead. I need to pick up a few cards I left in Ruby's theater."

"Okay!" replied Eiko. "We'll be waiting!"

And with that, Zidane's friends left the bar.

---

In one of the back alleys in Alexandria, Zidane was walking, rather slowly, towards Ruby's theater. He started to enter the theater, but stopped.

Dagger...

Zidane felt just awful. He wanted to participate in the Card Tournament in Treno, but his thoughts and feelings for Dagger made him feel otherwise.

Dagger... what should I do?

I'm not allowed in the castle...should I go see her?

Zidane slowly shook his head and started down the stairs to the theater.

I've never felt this way about anyone else, though...

I've never even been in a serious relationship before...

Dagger means more to me than anything else...

DAGGER!

Zidane quickly ran out of the alley and through the streets, towards Alexandria Castle.

I'm coming, Dagger!

to be continued...