Dagger and Zidane had finally managed to escape from the festivities outside the castle, seeking solace from the many well-wishers by retreating to the queen's quarters inside. The hour was late, and the congratulations for the happy couple had been plentiful. It's not everyday that the people's beloved queen's beloved comes back seemingly from the dead, and the people of Alexandria were in a right mood to celebrate.
"We should get married," declared Dagger once the door had been shut behind the two of them.
"Dagger, what?!" repeated Zidane, who had to sit down on one of the queen's overstuffed chairs for fear of falling over with shock. "You're serious?"
"Absolutely. You're back and I'm not letting you go ever again," said Dagger, who slid into the oversized chair next to Zidane.
"Don't you need a minute to think about it?" asked Zidane as he leaned over toward Dagger. "I mean, you're a queen and all, and I'm just a member of a troupe of thieves who play at being actors."
"Oh, says the person who enjoyed calling me 'wife' whenever he had an opportunity while we were on our journey?" Dagger abruptly stood up. "I thought that after your performance today, it was clear I'd meant something to you."
"I don't wanna hold you down," explained Zidane lamely. He winced at the foolishness of his words. "I love you, but I don't want you to ever wake up one day and have you wish you'd done better."
"So? I love you. I waited for you," shot back Dagger. "I'm the queen of Alexandria, am I not? I think that gives me the right to marry whoever I want. And I want nothing more than to marry you, Zidane."
"You really mean it?" asked Zidane. "But I'd make a horrible king."
"Who said you ever had to be king?" said Dagger, the faintest hints of a smile forming at the corners of her mouth. "You can be whatever title you wish. I was leaning toward Prince Consort, myself."
"You can't be Prince Consort if you're already a queen," pointed out Zidane. "And besides, you're female."
"Oh, so now you choose to make fun of my semantics!" replied Dagger. "Does that mean you're warming to my idea?"
"I want nothing more than to marry you, my wife," replied Zidane soberly. He reached out and pulled Dagger back into the chair with him, letting her rest on his lap. "Although I do admit I'm a little annoyed you stole my thunder."
"I stole your thunder?" said Dagger, who had raised one eyebrow in skepticism. "You? Weren't you just telling me that you couldn't marry me? That you wanted me to do better?"
Zidane wrapped his arms around Dagger, resting them just above her waist. "I was being noble, I guess," he muttered softly, so Dagger could barely hear.
"You were being noble?" exclaimed Dagger, more than a little surprised. "But why?"
"Because I want you to be happy," said Zidane, still speaking softly. He buried his head in the crook of Dagger's neck and breathed in her scent. He felt no further need to elaborate, and contented himself with simply holding her.
"I'd be happiest with you, you idiot," said Dagger. The smile on her face was full-blown by now. "Don't you ever dare forget that, Zidane."
Zidane pulled his head back from her neck. "I was hoping you'd say that," he admitted honestly. "Because well…" he trailed off, swallowing.
"Out with it Zidane," said Dagger, impatience beginning to edge into her tone. "I love you, I'm not going to reject you. You'll be lucky if Steiner can drag you away from me tonight. Now tell me?"
"Rusty dragging you away from me is not lucky." Zidane made an exaggerated face before reaching into his pocket, which was more difficult than one might expect, mostly because he was bound and determined to keep Dagger on his lap. At long last, he pulled out a simple gold ring. Dagger gasped at the sight of it.
"I'm glad you said it first, because I was going to throw myself on your feet and beg you to accept me anyway," said Zidane. "Of course, I was going to soften you up a bit, maybe take you to a fancy dinner and a show at Ruby's theater first."
"You can do that anyway," said Dagger, snatching the ring from Zidane and pulling it on her left ring finger. "When we celebrate our engagement."
"One more thing, Dagger," he said, his voice suddenly sober. "I'm not sure I can have kids. I mean, I'm a genome made from who knows what, and you're one of the last two summoners from Madain Sari."
"Well, life is full of surprises, isn't it?" replied Dagger. "What happens, happens."
"But won't you need an heir? To carry on the Alexandrian throne?" said Zidane. He shrugged nervously. "And I'm not sure what kind of lifespan I'll have, as a genome and all."
"Do you feel a strange need to present yourself in the worst possible light?" Dagger shook her head. "I love you, you love me, right?" Zidane nodded so intensely it reminded Dagger of a moogle's pom-pom swaying madly in the wind.
"I love you more than anything," he replied. "You're everything to me."
"Two more years or one hundred more, I'm going to spend them with you," replied Dagger intensely. "You're brave, kind, selfless, and more than a little perverted. Life will be an adventure together, won't it?"
"The best adventure of all," said Zidane. "I'll keep the Alexandrian queen from getting too caught up in forgetting how to live."
"And I promise to smack sense into you if you ever get down on yourself again," vowed Dagger. "Nobody's going to insult the man I love, especially not himself!"
"Well, now that all the important stuff's out of the way, can we celebrate that engagement a little early?" asked Zidane, his eyes ever-hopeful.
Dagger laughed, a mischievous glint present in her eyes. "Only if you're thinking the same way I am," she said, leaning forward to capture Zidane's lips against hers in a kiss.
The last coherent thought Zidane had that night was a fleeting notion to get the chair bronzed in the morning.