Please forgive me for the long wait. I know you all aren't going to like any of my poor excuses but... I just kind of lost motivation for a while, and suddenly got it back. So I rushed to complete this chapter before I lost it again. I was literally writing this for three days in almost all my spare time. I'm happy you guys like this, as well as Naomi. Don't worry she's going nowhere close to being a Mary-Sue and if she does go ahead and tell me and I'll get right onto fixing that. Well here we go, second chapter.
And We all Entwine
"Ugh," Naomi moaned as she woke up. Pushing herself up on her elbows she realized how close she was to her rescuer. Staring at his closed eyelids her face went entirely red as she scrambled off and backed into a nearby tree.
"You're really quite soft you know that," Zidane sat up and rubbed his forehead tenderly.
Naomi's blush increased as she resisted the urge to sock him in the nose. Standing up she clenched her fists and walked over to the wreckage site.
Zidane just smirked and stood up himself. He had meant it when he said she was soft, not in the perverted way, but had really meant it. She was almost weightless when they had hit the ground (where he had found she had a pair of lungs on herself despite her previous refusal to talk in anything but hushed or rude tones). Though he didn't mind having her body pressed against him.
Making his own way out towards the crumbled ship he sighed and just shook his head. "This is not good," Jumping down he walked over to Cinna. "What's going on?"
Cinna looked back over his shoulder. "We're getting the survivors out. We haven't found the princess yet though," He turned around fully and shook his head. "I can't believe you let go. And with that girl in your arms too. You could've killed the poor thing."
Zidane glared. "I slipped. It's kinda hard to hang on to something like that when the ship crashes! And Naomi's fine. It'll take more then that to kill her. Right Nao?" he turned around to face the girl but was met with empty air.
"Nao? Pet names already eh," Cinna just shook his head. "They're searching inside you go search the forest. Maybe we'll find the Princess."
Zidane shrugged and did as he was told. The forest, he had decided shortly, was more like a swamp or marsh. He had barely taken four feet from the wreckage site and he was already soaked halfway to his waist. It would have been slightly more enjoyable if he had some -preferably female- company. But since the others were already busy and Naomi was nowhere in sight (surprise surprise) he had to go it alone. Clucking his tongue as he escaped another pond-like trench he shook his shoe of scum and slowly made his way across the dry patch of land. The water was weighing him down as it soaked into his clothes and the slapping sound of his soggy pants was starting to irritate him.
It wasn't until the scream came, followed by one less feminine but still girlish and shouts of, "Princess!" that Zidane didn't mind being damp. With speed that was quite unexpected, the monkey-tailed boy rushed towards the screams. It didn't take him long to reach the small clearing since it was only two bogs ahead of his previous position.
Garnet was swooning inside the head of some plant-looking thing, or a Prison Cage as he had been taught years ago, and Naomi was wildly clutching at the tentacle the monster had wrapped around her midsection. No doubt it was going to try and feed her to the next of it's kind that came along (the girls were skinny, but the monster wasn't exactly on the fat side itself. Eating them both at once might pose a challenge). Steiner was off to the side shouting insults at the thing and trying to both calm and get the boy at his feet to stand and fight. The knight, it was easy to tell, was failing at both.
Jumping up to help out Zidane pulled the knight and non-to-gently pushed Vivi back with his foot. "Shouting at the thing ain't gonna get you anywhere closer to having it let them go Rusty!" he lectured the knight as he unsheathed his dagger.
"I need no help from one such as yourself. And what is this 'them' nonsense? The only one that really needs to be saved is the Princess," Steiner argued, fighting against Zidane's hold.
Naomi gave a rather sour look directed towards the two. "Gee, thanks," she snarled. "Don't I feel loved."
Zidane sighed in exasperation and gave up on the knight. "You should Nao. It's not every day that you get saved by one hot thief."
The girl gave her own sigh and kicked at the tentacle holding her. "Well isn't that nice? Flirting on the job now are we? Tsk, tsk, monkey boy. That's a big….Ahhh!"
Her sentence was cut-off as Zidane slashed at the tentacle with his dagger. The monster recoiled, taking back what little of his arm he had left, and then went to retreat into the darkness. Of course, this left Naomi suspended in midair, and gravity wasn't planning on letting her stay there long. The girl fell with grace, Zidane had to give her that. But it certainly was no picnic for him when he went to catch her. She was flailing so much that he had gotten at least three good smacks before she was safely on her feet again.
"Well, aren't you frisky," he muttered, fingering his lightly bleeding lip gingerly. She blushed at this, turning away and muttering a quick, 'sorry,'. Zidane just smiled, but with a slight wince he quickly let his expressions travel to his eyes instead. Moving his mouth at all was rather painful at this point of time. Man did she have a punch.
Naomi coughed and turned back to face them again. Her hands were quickly placed on her hips and she gave the air of nobility. "Well, are we going to go rescue her or not?"
Her question was greeted with silence. Steiner was preoccupied with Vivi and hadn't heard the girl, and Zidane had responded with a light grimace. Naomi was silent for a few more minutes before shrugging and turning on her heel. "Mise well go on my own then," she said, started off towards the monster's retreat.
Zidane shot his hand out and grabbed her by the shoulder. With a sharp tug she was pulled against his chest where he held her tightly. "There is no damn way you're going out there alone!" he hissed, tugging her backwards despite her thrashing. "Do you know what would just love eating someone like you? About everything you'll meet out there. Now come on and we'll sort out what to do."
"Which is to save the Princess naturally," Steiner had long since decided to just let Vivi sort himself out and had decided to join in on the conversation. "We cannot just leave her. She is ruler to all of you. Not to mention it's the dirty hands of yourselves that has gotten her into this mess."
Zidane rolled his eyes and continued to tug Naomi back to the ship. "Ignoring Rusty," he started, grabbing a hold of one of her more lively arms to keep his nose intact. "We'll get her back. You'll see. Zidane Tribal does not just leave a girl in trouble."
Naomi snorted at this but stopped struggling all the same. In fact she seemed rather drained, which left no surprise at all with Zidane. It wasn't every day that you were attacked by a monster, let alone a monster of that size. Naomi was a girl after-all, even if she did act tough. Zidane could also tell she wasn't used to work like this. Her earlier hesitance and ignorance of what she was going to be walking into had proven that. Skilled though she may be, she lacked enough experience to truly be able to fend for herself.
In his musings he had failed to notice the presence of another Prison Cage lurking behind them. A shriek from Vivi and Zidane whirled around in a matter of seconds. Naomi had gone for a spin with him and she felt like she was experiencing whiplash. She soon got over this though, for she was now struggling to release herself from Zidane's grip. The boy obeyed at once, rushing in himself as Naomi tumbled out of his grasp. Vivi was almost crying inside the confines of the Prison Cage, and Steiner's taunts weren't exactly helping the small boy. It didn't take them long to dispatch the monster though. Having gotten control of himself after being technically eaten, Vivi was long last able to perform his magic. A quick fire spell and a few slashes from the daggers and sword fell the monster in a matter of six minutes. The clean-up was less then favorable though. Vivi was covered in what could only be considered the monster's stomach contents, Naomi's hair was a mess of twigs and blood, and Zidane's hands were covered in a sticky fluid that was probably vomit and saliva. Steiner was the only one who seemed even remotely unscathed, though the fact that his armor was already rusty and caked with dirt in spots probably covered any blood and innards that had spattered on him pretty well.
The party was recovering when it happened. The Prison Cage deflated, and in a matter of moments seeds were flown every which way. Steiner and Vivi were pelted with the small things and eventually ended up moaning on the ground. Zidane had dodged the ones that had come his way and Naomi had managed to throw herself to the ground face first, and covered her head with her hands before any could hit her.
It was definitely not exactly the nicest tasting medicine. Well, to be perfectly blunt, it made him want to hurl his meals from the last three weeks. The small mage had woken with a killer headache, not to mention feeling extremely tender and sore. He didn't dare pull off a piece of clothing to check underneath. There were some things that he just didn't want to see. The possibility of his body deformed was something he best leave unchecked and just imagine that he was fine and dandy. Grandpa had always said if you believed something hard enough it would come true. Always being one to respect his elders' advice, (and since Grandpa had never been wrong so far) that's what he was going to do.
What Vivi had wanted to do was find that girl. He still hadn't properly apologized for the earlier incident. He wasn't one to just up and leave a person without a proper apology and he felt bad for not having the chance to do it earlier. He had other reasons though. She intrigued him deeply. Never had he seen a girl with eyes such as hers. Coal black and almost lifeless if you didn't look close enough. She was the opposite of him. While hers were black, his glowed the brightest of yellow. What made them similar was the loss of a pupil. He had none, and though he was pretty sure she did, it was impossible to tell with the color. They were similar, and yet opposites. So close, that he wondered if maybe they had come from the same place.
Vivi wanted nothing more than to find out where she had come from. That might help him know exactly where he had before his Grandpa had taken him in. Maybe she had known his parents. Possibilities were endless, and though he knew they were all rather childish and had low chance of being true, he wanted to ask her. Being nine years old he was still a boy, and though he was rather mature for his age he was still rather childish at heart. And childish splendors love to be fueled. So until he was able to talk to her he would continue to dream of the possibilities that might greet him.
This opportunity would probably be coming much sooner then he had expected fore no sooner had he sat up then voices rang outside of his door. And to tip the scales even better in his favor, one of the voices was a girl's. An annoyed girl's but a girl's all the same. Vivi could feel the excitement rolling off him as he waited for the pair to come to the door. He had been greeted by only the boy earlier. Though he had been happy to see the one who had saved his life he couldn't help but be disappointed. Especially when he found out that the boy had only come to give him an antidote. And a rather nasty tasting one at that. Vivi could still taste the vile concoction, even after having slept for a while.
It was when he was swallowing large quantities of saliva in a poor attempt to help annihilate the taste did the two walk in. Though it went unseen Vivi blushed and quickly stopped his slurping. He was greeted with a rather soft look from the boy of earlier, and the ignorance of the girl he had so desperately wanted to see. The boy's heart leapt in joy and Vivi found it hard to keep all of his questions inside of himself. But he managed and instead gave a small, and somewhat forced (for not only had it tasted bad, but the fluid had downright burned) 'Hello,' He then shut his mouth and stared hopefully at the two, or more specifically the girl. Though he did notice the distance she had put between them that looked almost purposefully done.
"Ahem," Vivi's attention was sent to the boy, who was busy both clearing his throat and trying not to look guilty. The nine-year-old was actually somewhat startled to find that his left eye was a tad darker then the other, though his rather long blonde bangs hid it quite well, and he looked like he had just come back from a scuffle. "We were wondering," he started, then paused. Seeming to decide that was a bad approach, the boy cleared his throat again and re-started. "I know I asked yours, but I don't believe I gave you my name." Vivi thought a moment before shaking his head, though it didn't seem as though the boy was planning on listening to him no matter his answer. "I'm Zidane. This here," he motioned to the girl next to him, who gave a short bow of her head but no other indication of even listening, "is Naomi. It certainly looks like you're feeling better."
Vivi gave a nod and refrained from commenting on how much he had actually liked the small concoction. He instead smiled and piped in with a, "Very nice to meetcha."
Zidane nodded and gave his own smile, a bit of the earlier tension leaving his face. He seemed to take this as on indication to go on to more important matters since he started yet another topic in a matter of moments. "We wanted to know if you were up to going out into the forest and rescuing the Princess," It was obvious that hadn't been how he had meant to say it. He grimaced slightly and the girl gave him a rather harsh stare, which he seemed to notice for he gave a sheepish smile in return.
Giving an annoyed sigh the girl took a step closer to the bed, still effectively keeping her distance. "What he meant was, if you were able and wanting to. We know how tough it is, and we don't want to cause unnecessary trouble for you," she gave another harsh glance at Zidane, and Vivi swore her heard her mumble something about her already having been. But she turned right back and continued on as if there had been no pause whatsoever. "We thought, having possessed such amount of skill that you would be helpful. But we do not wish to trouble you with such things if you were not willing."
It was then that he felt inclined to jump up and nod his head vigorously. The little boy didn't know why, exactly he had done this. His only answer was that he still didn't know much about the girl and he was going to hold fast to his fantasies until they were shot down in reality. Of course he didn't want to admit this. For one, it was a very embarrassing issue, and as another problem, he didn't want to seem anymore weaker and more childish then he already had. So he opted to explain himself with another issue that actually had come to mind when he had nodded his small head.
"Well, I-I'm part of the reason she was taken away," Vivi explained, his eyes refusing to meet either of the others' for shame. "I think it would be best if I went to save her. And," he paused to clumsily adjust his hat in embarrassment. "I want to. Really, really want to. I feel bad for letting her get taken instead of me. If I had done something then maybe she'd still be here."
The girl had taken this opportunity to cross the gap between them and place a delicate hand on top of his hat. "You're alright. Heart of gold eh? It's nice to see something so innocent these days," with that she retracted her hand and turned to face Zidane. "Unlike some people I've come to know," Vivi didn't understand this, but Zidane had given her a rather smug smirk. Giving a sigh Naomi cocked her head towards the door. "We better go see the tin-can. Loath as I am to say it he might just come in handy," And with that she was off towards their only exit.
Vivi practically had stars in his eyes. She had complimented him. In all his childhood he had never had anyone tell him anything nice but Grandpa, and most the time Grandpa was lecturing him. The girl was acting positively nice to him now. He immediately came out of his trance though as he remembered one of the original reasons he had wanted to see her. Jumping off the bed and rushing past Zidane he tumbled to a stop by crashing into her leg. The girl gave a start and almost toppled over with the little boy in tow. It was at that time that Zidane chose to break into laughter. Vivi felt like a small child and quickly stepped away from her, adjusting his hat to keep from looking up at either of them.
It was Naomi that had decided to argue. She wasn't one to just be laughed at, especially if the comical thing wasn't committed by her. "Now listen here Zidane Tribal," she barked, earning herself another grin from the blonde. "You shut up now or so help me,"
"You'll what?" he asked, striding over and taking the hand she was currently shaking in his. "You couldn't hurt a face as pretty as mine now could you?"
He had purred this in her ear and Naomi went bright red. "Think what you want!" she shouted, throwing his hand away from hers like it was some disgusting bug. "But I swear, you'll get what's coming to you someday." This time she really did leave. And she did it with such grace and fluidity that even Vivi, who was standing by the door, had barely caught her escape.
"That's rather interesting," a sly grin etched itself onto the other occupant of the room's. "Rather interesting indeed."
The small boy looked quizzically over at the blonde and cocked his head. He kept his mouth shut in hopes that the boy would continue but it didn't seem likely. Instead, Zidane decided to come over and give a sunny smile down at him. "Whelp Vivi," he started, motioning his head to the door. "She ain't gonna wait for us. Shall we follow the little princess."
Since he had no intentions of letting the girl leave on him without first confirming or denying his fantasies Vivi nodded his head enthusiastically. "Y-yeah. Mr. Zidane."
The blonde clucked in disgust. "There'll be none of that Mister," he told the younger boy, shaking a finger to emphasize his point. "Never did like it. Zidane's just fine. And I'll call 'ya Vivi." Stepping outside there was another, slightly muffled cluck from the monkey-tailed boy. "She has to be so difficult," he muttered to himself. "Couldn't she just wait for a minute or two? What does she think I am, an airship?"
Vivi gave a small smile and went off to follow the boy. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad as he had first thought. They were going to rescue the Princess, the girl that had been so nice to him before. And he got to travel with the other girl, if only for awhile. 'Naomi,' He liked that name. It was pretty in it's own way. And Zidane didn't seem all that bad either. The boy seemed rather nice to. It was the knight that worried him. He hadn't been all that good at listening earlier, and Vivi wasn't good with pushy people. Especially considering he was a push-over. But all of that would be decided later. Right now he wasn't about to be left behind.
There you go. I know Vivi was a bit out-of-character. I really tried to convey the feelings of adoration, but I'm not entirely sure I did it right. It should be okay though. And just in case you were wondering, Zidane doesn't exactly like Naomi that much. It's the playful flirting he does with almost every other girl. I believe I'm still keeping the original pairing of him and Dagger unless you all want it to change. Until next time,