After you've played all there is to a Final Fantasy game, you are still not quite finished with it. There is still the question in your mind, begging to be answered: why? Why? WHY? And if you're a bit of a fanatic, like myself, you start to theorize. And then, if you're an aspiring author, like myself, you try to visualize it. Then, if you happen to be myself, you write it out in novella form and see what other people think. I'm not saying I have the answers or anything, I'm just having way to much fun with this game. Already I have about 7,000 words worth (crappy pun) more, so this is just for openers. Oh, and please review...@_@

With apologies to Hironobu Sakaguchi (may you live forever)--if I completely misunderstood this entire story, it is all your fault! Based on his concept. I do not own any of Final Fantasy IX; it is completely copyrighted to Square Electronic Arts. ...and apparently Coke (j/k goshdarnit!).

Between the Lines
A collection of what went unsaid

Time: Pre-disc 1, shortly after the destruction of Madain Sari, Gaia--center of the oceans

The red light of the auxiliary power settled on the silence of the bridge. One boy struggled silently with wires; his counterpart struggled with thoughts. So strange, mused the one as he extracted his arm from the wall's interior. Normally this is done the other way around… He glanced towards the front of the airship where the younger boy, merely a child at that, sat next to the pilot's controls staring blankly across the ocean. He had been sitting like that for nearly an hour. Not even had his blonde tail given so much as a twitch. The older boy shrugged, tucked some loose strands of silver hair behind his ear, and turned his attention back to the loose wire. His counterpart was never this quiet; he was going to enjoy it while it lasted.
However, three minutes later, the wires confused him again. He had disconnected three others to find this one…but where did the three belong in the first place? He set down his…his…whatever-the-freakish-tool-was-called, and untangled his other hand from under the plates. He looked behind himself and glared angrily at the pilot-boy, who still had not moved. You little moron, he thought, I want to think while you handle this mess! It's your job anyway…I'm the one with the brains remember? He turned around again. He didn't dare disturb Zidane. Not after what he just saw…
Those…those…eidolons? Yes, that's right. The eidolons are what Garland was afraid of. I'm certain of that. Still…why…no. If Garland knew that Zidane could do that…He closed his eyes, recalling what had just happened.
They had waited for the primary burn from the Invincible 's main weapon to cool down a bit. Their orders had been to use it again…but it wasn't working. So he decided to go down and finish the job himself. The little guy came with him. And, sure enough, there were survivors, and the survivors attacked. At first, it was child's play. Literally. The Gaian tribe attacked them with crude swords and staffs and whatever was lying around. Zidane had simply whipped out his ultima weapon and made sport of them, halving any makeshift weapon that came too close. He just stood by and let his younger brother have his fun, although he did cast Reflect on the both of them…just in case. The Gaians withdrew for a moment, and he considered just finishing them off. That was when Hell broke loose. Again, literally. Right under their feet, for that matter. At first he was just knocked off his; then there were the flames. He ran to get clear and looked back to find his younger brother, but only to see the largest, most hideous creature he had ever seen. And it roared at him. He spotted Zidane lying on the ground a ways off, but his attention was soon returned to the monster, which was walking straight at him. He started backing up, completely unsure of what to do, increasingly becoming afraid. The monster roared. The Gaians cheered. He knew no water moves. And then he saw a brilliant flash of light coming from Zidane's direction. Both he and the monster looked to see the little boy standing now and glowing pink. He shouted at the beast who roared and charged him in return. The fire eidolon did not get far. A thousand glowing 9's came out of nowhere and attacked it…and it disappeared. The boy did not stop. He angrily turned his gaze upon the measly group of summoners. The word "landscaper" in ancient Terran hung in the air above their heads for a moment before dropping to the ground beneath them. In a brilliant dance of light they and the immediate area were annihilated.
Garland did say he'd be able to use dyne…but he'd have to mature first, right? He glanced at Zidane again. Maybe that Ifrit creature is not a very strong eidolon…that might account for something. Maybe…He shook his silver mane and picked up the wires again. The dyne…it makes no sense. Maybe I'm thinking too hard…The wire sparked in his hand. He dropped it with a small cry that echoed throughout the ship. The blonde did not even flinch. The spark was gone…as if it had never existed. Like the pink glow. Was it…maybe…Trance?! Could Zidane use raw dyne when in trance? The more he thought about it, the more it made sense. Maybe…Garland must not have known that Zidane had the ability to trance. I can't let him know then…because it seems trance is more powerful than the eidolons, which he fears…but…
"Do you remember my garden?" The voice made Kuja jump. Brushing silver locks from his eyes, he glared back to see that the child still had not moved.
"Yes," he finally answered. How could I forget? It's the only thing you've ever gotten in trouble for!
"I like plants…" Zidane's little voice trailed off.
"Enough to create seeds in the genome lab," Kuja cut in with a half-smile.
"And then plant them in a sealed, off-limits storage block."
"They got more CO2 there!"
"I was surprised that he didn't discard you right then and there," Kuja snorted.
"He wouldn't do that…"
"Hmph," Kuja went back to the wires. One of them went live, but he caught it and pulled it out. Zidane turned around.
"Why do you bother? You know you'll only make it worse."
"It's broken, and I don't see you doing anything to help," he said tossing down another tool he did not know how to use in disgust. Zidane faced forward again.
"I was thinking…"
"About plants?"
"Um…yeah…a little, I guess," Zidane turned around and leaned against the railing.
"You've been sitting there," Kuja stood up, "for a whole hour, while I burnt my hands and got shocked…and you were thinking about plants?!" Zidane looked up to meet his eyes only to feel the same anger and hatred from them as so many times before.
"You never take me seriously," he said softly.
"Try to be taken seriously." Kuja looked back into the hole in the wall and eventually started working at the wires again. Zidane watched him for a while, but then looked back out to sea. Some sea animal surfaced and swam there for a while. Zidane rotated the ship to watch it, making Kuja drop something.
"Arrrgh! Zidane? What are you doing?!"
"Do you know why I like plants?"
"Oh, for crying in the…"
"It's because they're alive." Kuja looked at him for a minute. Great. Now, when I'm fit to kill him, he wants to talk…what? Philosophy maybe?
"Could you give me a hand?" he inquired. Say it, Zidane. Come on…ask me "Which one?" Instead, he only nodded and came over. Without a word, he picked up the discarded tools and started reconnecting the wires without even bothering to untangle them. A few minutes later, he was piling everything back into the wall; and when he had finished, he reached inside and did something that Kuja could not see. A faint humming sound came from somewhere deep in the bowels of the Invincible . Seconds later, he could see the glowing of the main weapon, meaning it was on standby.
"I hate you," he said as Zidane slid the last plate seamlessly into place and smoothed it over with his hand.
"I know," he answered glumly. He walked back to the front of the ship and sat down. A moment of silence ensued.
"So, if you knew what the problem was, why didn't you just fix it before?" Kuja asked, leaning against the wall. Something is wrong… Zidane looked at the floor.
"I was curious, I guess," he replied. "I-I kind of wanted to go down"
"Me too." Zidane looked back at him, his eyes wet. This startled Kuja; he had never seen his younger brother like this. What is going on? You're normally sickeningly cheerful. Did Ifrit or…the trance maybe? Nothing ever seemed to get to you.
"Are you…are you alright?" Kuja shifted his position.
"Why? You don't care. You don't care about anything. Not anything." You're normally so animated. Always such a child…where did this come from?
"What exactly do you mean by that?"
"Kuja, have you even given a thought to what just happened?"
"Of course I have. I spend most of my time thinking."
"Really," Zidane looked at him again. "We just…we just…"
"Followed orders?"
"Destroyed an entire city," Zidane finished. "I killed a group of people. Real people with thoughts and-and feelings…" That's what's bothering you?! But you did it so easily, so flawlessly. You did as you were created to do and…you regret it? You wanted to come, Zidane. You begged. You pleaded. You wanted to do this. Just as you always did as Garland wished. You always believed in this .
"We are angels of death, Zidane," Kuja replied, "You told Garland you would be. I saw you with my own eyes."
"I love life," Zidane said as he went up to the main display. "And Terra is…has always been…so dead. I wanted Terra to be alive…and I was willing to kill to see that happen. And that's what Garland said was necessary."
" 'Death is part of life; killing is part of living,'" Kuja quoted his maker.
"Yes, important parts," Zidane laughed bitterly. The sound made Kuja shiver. That sounded too much like myself. An awkward silence filled the bridge. Finally, Zidane placed his hand against the image of the planet beneath them and spoke again.
"This planet…this planet is alive. It is full of life; we have no right to take it. It…I'd say it has a right to live. Just as…we have a right to live." At this last part, he looked his elder brother straight in the eye. You are starting to get very bold. Either you are comfortable that Garland is a world away or you really trust me.
"Does it matter? What you would say?" Zidane looked out over the ocean again.
"Yes," he replied. "Yes it does." Or maybe a little of both, Kuja thought. This could complicate things a bit. "So alive…" the child murmured as he watched a school of fish jump at a stray sunbeam that found its way through a cloud of mist. He laughed softly, "I think I love this planet." Or it could complicate things a lot. However, he did defeat an eidolon. When this dyne thing matures a bit, he could be very useful against Garland. He's already showing signs of rebellion…Kuja's thoughts were interrupted by the realization that Zidane was staring at him.
"What now?"
"You don't understand," Zidane sighed. "You don't understand at all."
"Maybe…maybe not," Kuja turned his back to the screen. "So…now what?"
"I guess we have to go back."
"No…we can stay here."
"I refuse to be Garland's angel of death." Uh-huh.
"Isn't that against Garland's wishes? His Orders?" Kuja looked at him from the corner of his eye. Zidane looked right at him.
"Who cares about his orders? You?"
"Oh, no. I don't care about anything, remember? But I do want to stay here."
"We can't stay here…I-I can't…be a bother to these people." Oh? You never minded being a bother before .
"If you go back, he'll kill you. You know that."
"It's a chance I must take."
"There is no chance, Zidane. You go back, tell him he's wrong, and refuse to work for him? He will kill you, end of story." Or he might erase your memory, like he has mine several times. After that, you might as well be dead.
"Well, that's life." I started to forget what an idiot you are.
"Try this: we stay here, pretend to follow his orders, but all the while getting stronger…and then, when we're good and powerful, we go back and kill him. Hmm?"
"Would you stop treating me like an idiot?! We would have to carry out his orders for years! He'd know if we didn't!" Zidane sighed and stared off to the horizon. He trembled for a moment; the tears accumulated at the corners of his liquid-blue eyes. "I don't want to kill Garland…I just refuse to hurt this planet any more. If he kills me? Fine. I just don't want any more people to suffer." You're hopeless, you're not working with me, and you are still on Garland's side? I'm sorry, Zidane, but that's a triple threat. You are truly his perfect little angel. I can't afford to even keep you around…much less let you give Garland anything. Now either you're pretty confident that you can beat me or you really don't think I'm going to attack you. Oh yeah, you might be too stupid to consider either. He glanced at Zidane who glanced back at him. Then he considered his options, staring off to the rear of the ship at the red light from the main weapon while Zidane collected his thoughts by staring at the blue of the ocean. Suddenly, an odd thought occurred to his mind that nearly made him smile. He liked it.
"Hm," was all he said as he left for the rear of the ship. Zidane watched him go before sitting down in front of the screen. Kuja returned to his quarters and sealed the door out of habit. He opened the secret hatch that was under his mattress and removed the…thing. I really hate not knowing technical stuff sometimes. And now is not the time to start scorning those who might need it. It did not matter that he did not the name for it; he knew what it did. After the second time (or maybe third? He couldn't remember!) Garland had it used on him, he stole and hid it. He later found out that Garland did not even need it to erase his memory, but luckily he did not find this out the hard way. For a moment, he simply stared at his old enemy, trying to make himself believe it could be an ally. All I have to do is restrain him for a minute and get this thing on his head. Then it's all over. Let's see…the generator thing is not nearly as portable as the gadget, and it's in Bran Bal…but it looks like I can power it manually. I should have more than enough power on me…hahehe--maybe I should ask Zidane! He went back to the bridge to find Zidane still in front of the monitor.
"Say, Zidane," he said in a casual tone. "Do you think I could power this manually?"
"What?" Zidane turned around, looking genuinely annoyed. When he saw the object in question, however, his expression changed completely. "THAT?!" Ah, shoot! He knows what it is? In a flash, Zidane was at the pilot's controls and the Invincible jumped to a racing start. The sudden change of motion knocked Kuja over and sent him sliding out of the bridge. He managed to grab a railing just before he might have tumbled down the stairs. I swear Zidane! You and your stupid action complex…argh! You make me sick. Actually, Kuja was starting to get sick. He always had found automatic motion nauseating, and the way the little genome was flying did not help at all. Resisting the urge to vomit, Kuja slowly got up and made his way to the engine room. There was only one thing he knew how to do in there, and that was to cut the power. Which is what he did. The entire ship began to dim and he could feel it descending, faster and faster, until it… suddenly drifted out and settled on the sea. Kuja stood up from his braced position.
Nice save, Goldilocks, He spoke directly into the pilot's head. You'll make an excellent airline pilot someday.
No thanks to you, sunshine. Kuja received an image of Zidane sticking out his little pink tongue. Kuja smiled. He completely ruled the advantage now. They were floating in the middle of an ocean, so Zidane could not just leave; the power was out, so he could neither move the ship nor call to Terra; and in order to restore power he would have to come to the engine room, where Kuja was. Kuja picked up a stray tool belt and put his equipment in it. Well, here's hoping this works…and hoping he can't trance out twice in a day. He peered out into the hallway and, finding no sign of his target, went out and up to the main deck. Again seeing no sign of his counter part, he raced up to the bridge entrance, where he assumed a battle position before cautiously entering. Zidane was at the controls, also in a fighting stance.
"I see it this way, Zidane," he said as he slowly moved toward the boy. "Either you can bend to my will…or you can drown. The choice is yours." Zidane's frightened eyes met Kuja's cold ones. He knew there was no way he could fight off Kuja, because he was three times as big and had a wide variety of magic.
"I don't like those options," Zidane replied as he quickly slid under the rail and backed up to the very front of the ship. Great, thought Kuja. I can't let Zidane get by me now or I'll be chasing him all day, and he can run all day because five-year-olds always have more energy than they could ever possibly expel. And I have to remember his speed; even though Garland was always bragging about it, he never exaggerated about it. Kuja moved up to where Zidane had been and looked down at him. The little genome was ready to split the moment he made a move for him, so instead, Kuja simply stepped off the platform and stood ready several feet in front of the trembling child.
"I'd like to introduce you to an old friend of mine," he cooed in a satin voice. Zidane's tail started lashing around like an agitated cat's. Kuja realized it was a ruse just in time to shift his attention to Zidane's torso, therefore seeing which way he was about to dodge. Left! In the same instant one darted and the other dove. In the next instant, Kuja had tackled the younger genome to the ground. Zidane's head hit the stair when they landed, stunning him, which made it easier for Kuja to secure a strong grip on the little body. When Zidane began to struggle, the older genome shoved the younger one's back into the wall and put his weight to use. Laying one knee across Zidane's legs and pressing the other against Zidane's chest, he managed to free up his hands to get out the device. The tears that had threatened to flow so many times that day finally spilled out from their aqua blue birthplace over Zidane's round cheeks.
"No! Kuja, please…please, no!" he begged through tremulous lips. "I'd-I'd rather die than…than lose myself like-like that!"
"Yes, I feel that way too," Kuja grabbed Zidane's face and felt the warm wetness run over his fingers. "Only I don't want to die. That is why I am doing this." He slid the thing over Zidane's head as the child began to struggle again. He grabbed both of the little hands in his and was surprised at the strength with which they fought back.
"You are only making this harder on yourself," Kuja said as he tried to work around the tiny spasms of strength. "I mean it. There is no point in resisting." The resisting immediately intensified. "Stop it, Zidane!"
"Make me!" he shouted back. Kuja hit him in the face, harshly knocking his head against the wall. Zidane cried out in pain, sending sharp echoes back and forth across the voiceless bridge. Kuja quickly switched one of Zidane's hands into his other and shoved the triad of hands under Zidane's chin, holding his head more or less in place. With his free hand, he affixed the equipment to the back of Zidane's head, his ears, and his temples. Zidane's tears ran over his hand and down his arm as he charged the machine with his own power.
"Look at me, Zidane," Kuja sighed as he watched the little genome's expression go from angry to helpless. The helplessness intrigued him. Is that how I look? "I'm just a defect, a genome whose genes did not do as his creator first intended them to. I am a genetic mistake that he happened to find a use for. But as soon as I am useless, he will destroy me. Zidane, do you see where I am coming from?"
"Kuja, I come from that place too."
"You do not. You are perfection. Exactly what Garland had in mind…"
"And that is why you hate me," Zidane sighed, closing his eyes. "Please don't do this to me…it's not my fault. I…I didn't…want this."
"You think I did?!"
"Please…I was made this way. My will meant nothing to Garland…"
"And it means nothing to me," Kuja said. Zidane opened his eyes and looked them into Kuja's. Kuja could feel the sting of his own words through those eyes; he could feel the chill of them in his chest. However, he took advantage of the opportunity and raised the final part of the apparatus to the place where their eyes met. Closing his eyes, he triggered the operation and a blinding flash of blue light illuminated the bridge and was gone, just like the small cry that came with it. Zidane's body jolted beneath Kuja's weight and went limp. With that, the process was complete. Kuja let out a long sigh of relief. Yeesh, finally…He looked at the slumped form against the wall and felt like slumping himself. Kids…they really take it out of you. He gently removed the contraption from Zidane's head and even more gently wiped the drying tears from his face.
"It's really strange…looking at you and knowing you're just unconscious, but, at the same time, also knowing you're gone." He stared at his little brother for a moment before laying the kid down on the floor, tucking one arm under the head. He went back into the engine room to restore the power. When the auxiliary red lights had brightened into the normal lighting, he went back to the brought up a map of the world on the display. They were pretty close to the most populated continent. He saw a place where the river met the ocean. That spot was not terribly far from several civilizations. Kuja glanced at the unconscious genome. For some reason, he wanted him to survive. He considered his location again and decided that from there, Zidane would be fine on his own. He punched the location into the navicomputer and let it do the work from there.
Kuja walked over to the wall and slid down it to a sitting position next to Zidane, where he relaxed a moment. Eventually, he looked down at the little face and wondered if he would miss him. You're annoying, you're stupid, and I hate you…but…for some reason…I fear parting will be hard. Why? I don't know…there is no reason for it. I'll be rid of many problems now that I'll be rid of you…and it's not like I owe you anything. Sure…we confided in each other, but only because it was just us…because we were different from the others. Kuja slowly reached out and put his fingers into the baby-soft strands of tawny, dusky blond. But we're also different from each other. I never understood you, and you never understood me. There was always a fight, a tension…we never got along. Never. Why should I miss you? What is this affiliation I have to you?
The ship slowed to a stop. Kuja looked out at the display. It was nearly midday here. Zidane would awake soon. Gently, again, he scooped his counterpart into his arms and made his way out to the underside exit. He took a breath as he set the tiny body onto the circular red pattern that would transport him to a new world. He looked at the little face once more, missing the bright blue-green eyes for they were closed. Finally, he bent his head close to the ear.
"I leave you your name," he said aloud. "Farewell, Zidane Tribal." With that, he activated the portal, and watched Zidane's body become green streams of data that seeped out of the ship through the center of the circle and were gone. "Until we meet again."

AN: yes, I am aware that some of that was really corny, but I'll probably touch it up after I go through Disk 3 again; so, if you noticed any mistakes, please tell me. Oh, and thanks so much for your time..."You have my gratitude." -Garnet til Alexandros the 17th