"Athanasia" Addendum


--I have been persuaded not to leave things here and torture you poor future souls with ambiguity, and to finish off my book by telling you the outcome of Zidane's advice. So, you really want to know what happened after he took this back to the castle for Freya to read? Actually, the whole thing smacks of a ten-gil paperback, same as all the ones about Zidane and the queen. I won't blame you for stopping here and keeping your sense of drama intact.
All right, I give up. What happened was, I went on to Treno, not expecting very much. Why is it that I always go here when I have nowhere in particular to go? There are many, many better places around the world to end up in.
But, like it or not, Treno is where I was, just hanging around and stuff. Stopped into the inn, and since I helped save the world I guess I'm not really 'wanted' anymore and so the innkeeper, that grouchy old bastard, gave me my old poster he's had hanging in the corner for so long. I don't know what he thought I might want with it, but I took it rather than pitch a fit, and then I went down to the nearest bridge to drop the damn thing in.
Now, okay, this is where it gets melodramatic. You don't live in a place like Treno that's built on water without learning to swim. You just learn, or else, well, you won't be living there any longer, right? So when I heard this splash I didn't think one damn thing of it. There're always people jumping off the bridges, whether it's for a dip or maybe you're just out of money and out of luck, goodbye.
So, yeah, I didn't care. Dropped the paper in and turned to go find something else to do, a bar to sit in for a while maybe, but then I hear this splashing and some voice, and a girl screaming her head off. Now who knows why, but some kid's in the water, and he's being dragged under by the sucker-plants, since nobody really gives a damn about clearing them outta there around the bad side of town. Cleans out the trash, you know.
This kid's gonna be drowned and eaten, maybe not in that order, and I'm standing there. Now, maybe once I would have just walked off and figured that it's just not my problem. But that would have been before Zidane screwed me up, better or worse, and so I went in after him.
I'm willing to bet you've never messed with a sucker-plant before. I don't know if they're really all plant or what, maybe something like a plant-monster that eats meat. But they've got these little feeler things on tentacles that wrap around you and keep you from being able to move too good. It had that kid wrapped up pretty good, and it was real dark under there, but I had the claws so I just started tearing away, mucking up the water even more with its sap or blood or whatever.
When the little feeler things start getting at you, it doesn't hurt too bad, at least at first, kinda like Eiko pinching you when she doesn't get her way. But they go for the same spots over and over again, pinch pinch pinch, and then it really starts to hurt. And I had to get close to it to get the kid out, and some of those vine whatevers got around my arm and latched on, and they started that pinching that was really like - nibbling, until they got to some blood and then it felt like hell.
I think the kid was passed out by then, couldn't hold his breath that long, and I wasn't feeling too good either, kinda hacking away blindly and trying my best to kill it or at least make it let us go, and then it got tighter and tighter and I just couldn't breathe, and the only thing I could think by then was this was what Sust felt, because I just know they tied him up and threw him to the plants, and they just sucked away his life until he was dead, eaten up by the little teeth and here I was going to have the same thing happen to me because I was so fucking stupid as to help some damn kid, because I thought that if I didn't - well, that's just not who I am anymore.
That sentence was much too long. I'll never make a good paperback fiction writer. For shame.
Anyway, yes, it was getting dark and I was thinking that was it, I mean, even after offing Kuja and that whatever-thing who had the mind-numbing chorus of screams in his amphitheater at the end of the world - whoever the fuck he was - after that, and Amarant Coral can't fight off one damn plant by himself. Well, no, I can't, not with it sucking my life away bit by bit - and it was underwater, give me a break.
But then there was this flash of light and some streams of color and then I felt myself going upward, kinda slow but maybe I was seeing it wrong. Just up and up till finally I hit the surface and could breathe again, which was real nice. Some other people helped get me and the kid up on the bridge, since Freya couldn't really push us both up there without the water to help carry us; she's such a little thing after all and she knows it too even though she makes a face when you say it.
Oh, yeah, it was Freya who saved us. I guess after she read my book she decided to come find me and there were all these people around talking and I couldn't really hear her voice when she explained it, I just didn't want to hear anything. I don't know, I was just shocked that she was even there, I mean after what I did and everything. I could only look at her and watch her speak even though I didn't really hear what she was saying.
But maybe my writing makes me sound like some okay guy because it made her think that anyway. And since she comes to find me and has to save me because I was saving some kid, well, that just makes the whole thing complete, I'm so completely redeemed and Not So Bad. You've got another Canary play right here. It makes me sick.
So I'm sitting there wet and I finally get the mind back to ask her if she's really going to forgive me for what I did, and I suppose that was what she was talking about because she gave me this huge whack upside the head which I didn't appreciate because I'd just almost drowned.
Everyone was staring around at us and someone was thanking me and I don't know, I just wanted it all to go away - except Freya of course because I didn't think that I would have seen her again and suddenly there she was, so she shouldn't have to go away. But everyone else had to and I told them to and they did, because I was pissed off and I don't look like the kind of person you want to be around when they're pissed off, especially when I'm bleeding and wet. So they all left.
Except Freya. And since it's quiet now and everything you say is suddenly really loud and in front of you, we're quiet too, and I realize that she's put her coat around my shoulders and it looks all ridiculous and is too small and doesn't help me one bit getting dry, but I leave it there. And we're just looking at each other in a pool of water on a Treno bridge, and she's just everything all at once, you know, she's not just many parts of one thing like most people, she's many parts of many things and that maybe I don't see them all, maybe the stuff I like isn't the most of her. And it turns out that was what she was thinking about me, that she was wondering if I was really what she saw, until she read this book. And the book didn't change her mind, just made it up for her I think.
Now, I can't help but think that's kind of unfair, that she can know the parts of me that senses can't sense and I know only what I can see of her. But Maybe she'll give in one of these days and make her own book, but I've never known her to give up an advantage once she has one either. I'll just have to wait and see, and Zidane can go spit into the wind if he thinks I'm going to give him one word of thanks for his 'help'. Because I didn't need it, see.
Okay, well, that's about it. I really am finished with this now, since the rest of what happened isn't interesting at all. So I'm not going to bother you with the way she gently brushed my hair from my face, looking straight into my eyes. I won't describe the warmth of her arms around my neck, the way her hair tickled my cheek as she leaned in close, or the taste of her lips pressed against mine.
After all, some things should remain private.

--Amarant Coral