Title: Bring Me Home
A/N: Still no major revision or rewrite. Exactly as I originally wrote it. (wipes sweat from brow) At last the bloody thing's all up.
Addy: relisprince(at)hotmail(dot)com

Chapter XIV: Home

Zidane's golden hair is streaked with white. I can't find it within me to hate it, though. That pisses me off. It's a sign of what's killing him, but it's also a part of him. I can't hate it, like I couldn't hate the fact that Zidane was the biggest slut in Tantalus. Not like Marcus or any of the others could match his looks or charm, but still. . . .

There's a streak of white that drops constantly between the rascal's eyes. When he's back on his feet again, he's going to use that to his advantage, I know it. Like his tail. Anyone else would have hidden it, but not Zidane. He just used it to get under skirts.

My thoughts trail constantly back to his hair, the moonlight streaming through an open window reminding me far too much of the white strands. This is the third night since he fell asleep. Marcus keeps joking about Zidane and his beauty sleep, but I can see the darkness in his eyes.

Queen Garnet will have to leave soon, if he doesn't awaken. Rusty will have to go with her, and Eiko will have to return to her adopted home. Soon, they will all have to leave, besides Tantalus. Tantalus never abandoned its own. But still, as Zidane had said when he first began his tale, "everyone had their own responsibilities." It's not their fault that Tantalus' main responsibility is to each other.

The only way I will know if Zidane is going to recover, is if he awakens. That is what he told me. If it was anyone else in this coma and Zidane was the one awake, he would smirk at me and comment about the energy the person would have after this "nap." I know better. The longer Zidane sleeps, the worse his chances are. And it breaks my heart to admit it.

Soon, it'll be midnight. The fourth morning since Zidane's coma. Why does that seem . . . so ominous to me?

"You need to sleep," a familiar voice comments softly. I look up into Queen Garnet's beautiful eyes. "You won't be able to help Zidane if you're unconscious."

I manage a smile at her. I'm not surprised Zidane was smitten with her. When he awakens, he will be so proud of her. She has come far in five years, a great ruler of her kingdom.

"I slept earlier," I reassure her.

She raises an eyebrow. I don't think I've seen her do that before. "You passed out," she pointed out. "That doesn't count."

Technicalities, I muse. "I want to be awake when Zidane wakes up," I reply simply.

The queen's eyes turn sad, but she doesn't speak. I'm grateful. I know what she's thinking. I have been thinking it a lot longer than she has.

"I'll just sit up with you then," she says instead.

I smile and start to reply, when Queen Garnet gasps. I blink and look down. Zidane's familiar smirk greets me.

"I am damn good," Zidane sighs on my lap. "One in bed, the other beside me . . . just that damn good."

I don't know whether to kiss him or smack him. Usual occurrence around Zidane. The queen's joyous laugh solved the problem.

"Zidane!" she exclaims, and for a moment I could see Dagger again. Then Zidane's pout drew me back to the real world.

"Don't I even get a hello?" Zidane coos, only to choke on his words when I yank him into a wild hug. I'm barely aware of Queen Garnet stepping quietly out of the room, a sly smile on her face. I kiss Zidane's cheek, and the rascal grins at me. "Hey, be careful of the invalid!"

I only pull away when I register the shakiness of his voice. Worried, I put a hand on his cheek. "Are you okay? Are we clear yet?"

Zidane's radiant smile answers me. "I feel good," he reassures me huskily. "I feel fine now."

Just in case, I start feeling his face and checking his breathing. For once he's not burning up, nor too cold, and his breathing is slow and steady. I'm shocked that I didn't notice. He was right on my lap! Marcus and Cinna are never going to learn about this.

"Are you sure it's gone?" I ask anxiously.

Zidane rolls his eyes. "Shut up and kiss me, dammit. Dagger was nice enough to leave the room, I'm in your arms–"

I shut him up with my lips. He wanted a kiss, he got a kiss. And I'm going to make sure no one else touches these lips.


Another five years have passed. Zidane is the leader of Tantalus, the Boss stepping down to harass Regent Cid. His new office is something about security, like always keeping Cid in the know or somethin'. Tantalus has acquired new members, and Zidane has effectively wrapped even the most suspicious orphans around his little finger. Cid ignores Tantalus as long as we don't steal anything too valuable from his home, and we live comfortably in the wealth gathered from our acting and thieving.

I have to admit, when Zidane and I first got together, I was cautious. Zidane has been chasing everything on two legs ever since puberty . . . which I've learned come early to Genomes. That actually explains a lot. But Zidane has been totally loyal to me. I look away when he flirts, because it's my lap he dances in when he gets really carried away. I sleep in his bed at night, and I am the only one that receives his gentle, loving smiles.

I never found out about Vivi, nor about how the hell he had so many kids. I have yet to see Kuja's village, though Zidane and I are planning on checking it out for our honeymoon. Ruby wants to see us married soon, and what Ruby wants, Ruby gets. Tantalus agreed to that awhile ago.

Zidane still keeps track of the group that went with him into the Iifa Tree. He talks about "watching out for them" now that he's not there to protect them. I'm not quite sure how he does it. In ten years, he is probably going to have a bigger spy network than the Boss ever could have dreamed of. My love always aims high, and always succeeds. He's smug about that.

And right now . . . we're on the roof of some cocky royal's house, teaching some of our younger "tenants" the right way to climb into a window from above. Zidane's lying beside me, his eyes sparkling, his tail whipping behind him. We're going to be walking away from here richer, with a lovely diamond ring for my fiance's finger.

Yeah. Life's good.