Title: His Desert Rose
By: Reddo Meijisu
Disclaimer: FFIV, places/characters, all belong to Square-Enix.
A/N: Haven't abandoned "Sins of the Father;" rather, I'm stuck on it via writer's block. I've been wanting to write a vignette for a long time now, so herein you get one of my first attempts at such. Enjoy.
Warning: Rating due to extreme old man cussing. You've been warned. ;D

• • •

Even before they had become engaged to one another, his gifts always involved the red jewel: a barrette with heart shapes, which looked magnificent when lost in the sea of her cherry tresses; a rose in full bloom, its stem of gold; and a beautiful bracelet that would have made any girl throw her arms around their lover and profess claims of undying devotion.

Tellah would immediately glare at her with disapproval when she'd come dancing through the door of their small home in Kaipo, still aloft on Aphrodite's wings. He'd sought out the bard personally, claiming that he had stolen the current gift she was wearing, and she was just to blame for thinking of taking the objects.

"Why always ruby, though?" The Mysidian Sage asked of his daughter one morning, contempt smearing over the horrid stench of coffee to an unusual extent. Brown eyes shimmered hot underneath his crystalline spectacles, but this was a sight she had long become used to. "Why does that bard always give you a ruby object? Certainly if he were stealing from the nobles of Damcyan, they'd have more variety than red. It clashes with your mother's hair."

Anna said nothing, but stared out the window, hesitant for Edward's arrival. Her lithe fingertips, once used to casting the mightiest of spells as a child, brushed over the ruby barrette fastened to a thick braid, now ready to give up her standing as the world-renowned sage's daughter and trade it in for the role of his wife, the princess of Damcyan. She hadn't, wouldn't, tell Tellah of Edward's actual identity: It would make it too easy, she told herself repeatedly. He always looks for the worst in everyone. If I could just show him that, every appearance is often deceiving, and can actually be worthy of a rose's love…

"Don't forget you have obligations today, Anna!" Tellah soon called out, his daughter making a beeline for the door as her lover appeared. "We need to work on your magic casting skills if we are to open a school here in Kaipo, which is more important than any ruby crap that bard might --"

Nevertheless, his Anna was soon gone, engulfed in another's arms: a null youth fighting the old mage with a double-edged blade for the title of his Anna as well.

He'd always stare out at them with such derision when she left with that bard, arm in arm: Ruby. There were too many damn rubies. The bard's tattered robes and berets reeked of it. He was sure, even; that the golden harp he carried by his side was bejeweled with the damn gem as well. It was too much red for his little girl magess that had actually grown up wearing the robes of a red mage, future Mysidian sage, when she soon turned them in for the soft dress of yellow that her mother wore long before her birth.

At least she has that, he would remind himself, turning away as the bard gave her another gift -- likely ruby as well -- and back to his coffee and papers, bemusing when to call her in for some inane chore that would hammer a nail in their time spent together.

Anna hated it when her father did that. She'd apologize profusely to Edward, who, in turn, would apologize to her as well, as though the hatred of the sage was a common burden placed on their shoulders. They'd never depart without some sort of gift, though, be it a kiss, or, in later days, a circular object that would hold more meaning than any of the gifts he had given to her before.

Fate revealed itself on a clear night, the stars shining brightly overhead on the calm lands of the Damcyan desert. Anna stood before Tellah, honoring her father and smiting her personal wishes, as she showed him the ruby ring placed on her third finger of her left hand. The calmness in her voice haunted both father and daughter as she told him she was leaving to Damcyan to marry Edward, and pleaded for his consent afterwards.

"NO!" Tellah screamed, anger flushing red, ruby fists meeting the granite table instead of a solid blow to his daughter's face. "Anna, don't you have any idea what this would DO to me; to you? I refuse to have my daughter marry a worthless piece of shit, and bring down my good name --"

Tears explodedand dripped fromAnna's eyes, sapphire already ruby, and the mere sight made Tellah pause. The sage's daughter quickly turned, clutching her chest, and giving the front away to solitary breaks in a golden chain around her neck.

"I thought you loved me, Father, and would support me in anything that I do," Anna whispered quietly. She swallowed hard; how could she of been so stupid and naïve to of thought that he'd understand?

Age might make you wise, but the maturity riding on it makes me hate you more. Like love colored red, I was a fool to believe…

"…I thought I had your love."

Anna turned back to him, shoved the necklace into the claws that hadonce cast the mightiest of spells, and hurriedly ran out from the house, every tear precious as silver, and not of red.

Tellah looked at the necklace in his hand, and fumbled for a seat. The heart-shaped pendant was one he had given to her long ago as a symbol of his undying love for his daughter, and the pendulum that housed her connection with spell casting.

Angrily, the sage threw it down on the table, and covered his face, resisting the urge to cry.

The pendant was ruby, signifying her training in the Red Arts. His temper flashed garnet, and the tears pleading to come out were killing him.

Ruby red. The very thought of it tickled the back of his throat, and dropped lifelessly into the pit of his stomach.

Why did he have a feeling he would see more of that damning color in the days to come?