Final Fantasy IX, the sequel. Come on, peeps, it had to happen. At least for me. (and for Li-chan *rubs bruise from poke marks*) First off, this will be long. Very long. Like IX, this draws from all the Final Fantasies (maybe even X, but not for a while, I'd think). A few quick notes before we get started:

The majority of this saga takes place approximately 20 years after the Zidane returns to Garnet. The ideas for the Terran race are, naturally, a carry over from Between the Lines, but this is a stand alone fic. I was going to have the Terrans speak Latin as their native tongue, but due to the complication that I do not speak Latin, they will speak Japanese. I reserve the right to twist the Japanese words for variation as I see fit (particularly in the hoshina variation of Terran), cause this is my fic. Lastly, I apologize profusely to all Vivi fans, but he did die at the end of the game, and therefore will be making no live appearances. And, yes, my fellow silver bishie cultists, the same goes for Kuja. And a thousand apologies to all fans Cid and Hilda, but they were getting old.

Disclaimer: Although I am making no profit other than amusement from this endeavor, I must point out that many of the characters and concepts are copyright to Square, ltd. (Final Fantasy IX, 2000) Sue me... and inherit my college loan debts.
Last note: All second generation characters, villians, and random peoples are mine. You are welcome to use them (if I dare be that hopeful), but please contact me first. (i.e. I want to protect my Bishi's backside! Wagh...)

Death of a Fairy Tale

prologue... The Ninth
*three years after the return of Zidane

Kari, yo kari, ikutsu no toshi-kara tabi-o sh'ta
{Wild goose, oh wild goose, how many years since [that first] have you journeyed?}

(a haiku by Issa, translated by myself)

Not everything dies come autumn. It was a beautiful day in mid-September. The sun shone clean through the cloudless sky, warming the earth to forget that the night had brought the first frost. Windows were open to let in the balmy breeze, and the stale air from the fireplaces was drawn out into the empty sky so that the onset of winter might be forgotten. The changing leaves rustled gaily in the winds, their death belied by the brilliance of their color. The wilting of the grass, however, could be denied by none. Nor could any ignore the delightful absence of the insects that had been so bothersome just yesterday. But autumn brings not only death, although the sounds Queen Garnet til Alexandros the 17th was making from within the birthing room seemed to prove otherwise.
"Mamma?" the one and a half year old Lance Steiner tugged at his mother's skirt. "Why is da queen scweamin' wike dat?" Beatrix turned her gaze down on her son's brunette head, his large dark eyes boring into hers with his questions.
"It's a mommy thing, sweetie," she said softly. "Didn't I tell you to go play?"
"Daddy won't pway wif me," the toddler pouted. Beatrix turned to look at her husband, Adelbert Steiner, who sat on the bench wringing his hands.
"Daddy's busy right now, sweetie," she sighed. "Why don't you go down to the kitchen and see if Quina will make you a snack?"
"Okie!" the little boy's eyes lit up, and he dashed down the hallway.
"And walk down the stairs!" Beatrix called after him. Stifling a laugh, she went and sat down next to Steiner. For a moment, she watched him sit there, sweating and biting his lower lip. His eyes were wild, and he was whimpering softly, hysterical tears clouding his vision. The father-to-be was calm by comparison. Zidane Tribal simply paced back and forth like a caged tiger, his tail lashing irritably, his brow knit with worry.
"As I recall," Beatrix chided her husband, "you weren't nearly this concerned about me when I went through this."
"You're so strong," he whimpered, "I knew you'd be alright, but her Majesty, she's just a child… She's not ready for this! I can't bear—" He stopped when he made eye contact with Zidane, who had ceased his pacing to stare at the rambling knight. Just then Garnet let loose with a rather long and loud howl of pain.
"I'm sorry, Dagger!!" the anguished genome called to the door. Then he sank to his knees, muttering: "Geez… I can't take much more of this." Beatrix hid a smile behind her hand. Zidane was outside of the room because the nurse had said it was actually medically bad for him to see his beloved in pain. She had been positive the young man was going to go into cardiac arrest. It was merely evidence of his undying devotion to the queen, Beatrix knew. She admired Zidane for it.
"I think we need to plug his ears," Beatrix whispered not too quietly to Steiner, who nodded thoughtfully.
"Oi…" Zidane muttered as he climbed to his feet.
"Don't worry, your Excellency," the general smiled supportively. "At most, it'll be a few more hours."
"Hours?" Zidane groaned. "We've been here since dawn!"
"These things take time," she shrugged. Zidane sighed and buried his fingers in his ruddy blonde hair. She noticed how tired he looked, for he had gotten very little sleep over the past few months, and less to come, she knew. She fondly recalled that morning back in mid-January, when everyone had learned of the fabulous news. As the story went, Garnet had gotten sick in the middle of the night, and Zidane, after dutifully helping her back to bed and making her some herbal tea, had gone out in search of a doctor. Perhaps the Terran would never realize that was what servants were for. The next morning, Beatrix, Steiner, and a very anxious and exhausted Zidane had stood at the bedside of the queen as the doctor had examined her. Upon the doctor's announcement that her Majesty was with child, the new father-to-be had promptly passed out on the floor. He had bruised his ribs in doing so, too.
"Sit down and rest some, Zidane," Beatrix suddenly decided. Willingly, he collapsed on the bench beside her. She patted his shoulder, comfortingly, just as Garnet let out another wail.
"Damn," his head dropped. "I feel like such a bastard…"
"As very well you should," Steiner said with mock sternness.
"I'm glad you feel that way, your Excellency," Beatrix sniffed, "because Steiner had no qualms for what I went through."
"That's not…entirely true," Steiner half objected, half apologized. "Oh well, pretty soon it'll be diapers to change, so don't fret so."
"Isn't that what servants are for?" Zidane pointed out, with half a smile.
"He learns," Beatrix observed, jokingly. They fell silent as Garnet screamed yet again, followed by some loud moans.
"I hope it's a boy," Steiner changed the subject. "Alexandria could use a strong prince, built like a dragon, but nimble as a serpion." Beatrix cast an eye on Zidane.
"Coming from his loins?" she snickered. "I don't think we'll get that lucky."
"Regardless," Steiner continued, "perhaps his Excellency would allow me to train him…" The Captain of the Knights of Pluto cast a meaningful glance upon the queen's husband.
"You're not going to get the best hand-eye coordination from an infant," Zidane shrugged.
"No!" Steiner heaved an exasperated sigh. "I meant when he got older—"
"You're jumping ahead, my dear," Beatrix interrupted. "Personally, I hope it's a girl, because I don't think we could remain sane with two wise-crackers around." She pointed to Zidane as she said this.
"True," Steiner nodded. "She would be like her mother."
"My gods," Beatrix looked quite suddenly distressed.
"Oh my…" Steiner suddenly fell upon the same realization. "We don't win either way, do we?"
"What were we thinking, letting the two of them breed?"
"Oh sure," Zidane cleared his throat. "I'll just sit here, overhearing this."
"We are only teasing, my lord," Beatrix giggled, as she poked him in the side. Zidane looked like he was about to say something when several more moans filled the air. He stared sorrowfully at the closed door. Suddenly, the moans got louder and more regular, until the three benchwarmers were brought to their feet with anticipation. And quite suddenly, a tiny cry pierced the air. Zidane fell back against the General in surprise.
"Kikina Dani," he breathed. "My gods… It's—it's…I'm—Ai, kikina Dani!"
"Congratulations, Zidane," Steiner clapped the all-but-floored Terran on the back.
"Aiii…" the new father breathed, dazed. Beatrix was considering setting him back on his feet when the doctor opened the door.
"Congratulations, Zidane Tribal," he smiled warmly, but tiredly. "You are now the proud father of a bouncing, albeit small, baby boy." Beatrix half expected Zidane to fall over, but instead:
"Hey, there's nothing wrong with being small. Am I allowed in now?"
"I don't see why not." No sooner had the man said it, than had Zidane dashed into the room. The queen of Alexandria sat propped against many, many pillows with her slender neck drooped in exhaustion and her disheveled hair hanging over her face. In her arms rested the newborn, easily as fatigued as she was, if not more so.
"Dagger, honey?" Zidane murmured as he drew closer to her. "Are you alright?" She looked up and smiled brilliantly at him, her eyes shining with joy.
"I've been better," she breathed. "But I've never felt like this." Tentatively, Zidane walked forward, breathing in the scent of new life as he sat down beside his wife and new child. His son's head lay upon Garnet's shoulder, innocently and perfectly asleep. His tiny fists were up against his chin, and his knees were curled up towards his chest, so that he still took the fetal position. But most delightful was the tiny appendage of flaxen velveteen that poked out of a hastily cut hole in the back of his little swaddling suit and curled up protectively against his body. Carefully, Zidane placed his fingers on the little head, which also bore the faintest bit of white blonde hair. The baby didn't stir, but seemed to grow more peaceful.
"Dagger…" Zidane spoke softly. "Look at what we've made… He's gorgeous." The corners of the queen's mouth turned up as she gazed upon the little half Gaian in her arms. To imagine that I should be mother to the first Gaian/Terran hybrid… she reflected.
"This is wonderful!" Steiner exclaimed from the foot of the bed. "We must send out couriers announcing the birth of Crown Prince Roger til Alexandros the 23rd!"
"What?!" Zidane's interjection quickly silenced the room. "Whoa," he looked questioningly upon his wife, "when did we agree to call him 'Roger'?"
"Traditionally," Beatrix answered, "as the next heir, his name is Roger."
"What kind of a name is Roger?" Zidane stood up, looking rather perplexed.
"Roger was my father's name," Garnet said quietly.
"But…" Zidane looked slightly sorrowful in case he had upset his beloved, but still perplexed, "twenty-three isn't even a romantic number!"
"Well, technically," Beatrix scratched her chin, "you could name him Edmund the 5th, but it might not go over well with the purists."
"As if that's better," Zidane rolled his eyes. "Look at this child! He doesn't even look like a Roger!"
"And 'Roger Zidane' is rather a funny name, don't you think?" added Mei, the only Terran midwife.
"His name would be Roger til Alexandros the 23rd," Steiner corrected.
"No," Mei shook her head. "The male child always carries the father's name."
"Oh my, culture clash…" Beatrix observed. She was not really concerned with the issue so much as interested in how much Zidane might push it. She hadn't seen him so vehement in a long time.
"I'm sorry, my dear Terran," said high advisor Stephen Gawaine, who had walked in a few minutes ago, "but the Alexandrian tradition will follow."
"And what exactly is that tradition?" Mei challenged, getting nearly as assertive as Zidane.
"The heir to the throne shall be named after his grandfather, or grandmother should the gender require, although if his grandfather was a poor king, he may be named after the great grandfather."
"By that logic, his name would then be Tribal Zidane, or even Garland Zidane by some schools of thought," Mei stated.
"Perhaps," Stephen sniffed, and sent Zidane his usual look of disapproval, "but we must take into account the fact that the father is neither of royal nor noble blood. His heritage, then, is disregarded."
"Ooh, that does it!" Zidane suddenly shouted, making the baby wince in his sleep. "Look here, I'm not just your God-damned sperm donor! The hell you are not naming my kid for me!" Instinctively, Garnet covered the newborn's ears.
"Zidane," she chided. "Don't make a habit of that."
"He can't understand yet…" Zidane scratched the back of his head apologetically. Beatrix hid her smile. She really hadn't expected Zidane to be this adamant, but the High Advisor was certainly asking for it.
"I don't see what you hope to gain by yelling obscenities, Master Zidane," Stephen adjusted his collar, "but do remember your place."
"Allow me to enlighten you," Zidane nodded, as his eyes narrowed into slits. He had taken a lot of crap from many nobles, but he was going to draw the line. "Most of the nations of Terra were revived, but I am the only of the hoshina, or the sangakuchijin in the common Terran tongue. The only Highlander, translated. The last of the Highlanders until about ten minutes ago." He turned to look at Garnet, his liquid cerulean eyes begging for support.
"So," she asked in her stern but gentle voice of command, "what would you name him in the tradition of the Highlanders?"
"Your Highness!" Stephen interjected, but she stilled him with the raise of her hand.
"What does it matter so long as we follow tradition?" she asked coolly. The High Advisor froze in place, unable to argue the point with the queen. Zidane's eyes fell upon the tiny bundle, who seemed to be slightly awake.
"Has he opened his eyes?" he asked.
"No," Mei answered. "Typical of Terran children, because the sense of feel, or touch if you will, is the most important sense to us." The High Advisor seemed to ignore her. Zidane, however, nodded absently as he looked upon his first-born son.
"May I?" he finally asked, holding out his hands.
"Of course," Garnet smiled happily, passing the baby into his father's arms. Zidane's senses thrilled with delight as he brought the tiny body against his chest. Oh, gee whiz… I'm a dad!
"Hello, little man," he crooned next to the tiny ear. His son moved his head slightly in response. Chuckling softly, Zidane glanced around the room until his eyes settled upon the window, which was open. He carried the baby over to it.
"Mind that he doesn't catch cold," the doctor warned. Zidane nodded again as he stepped up to the view. The slight breezes of early fall seemed to interest the infant, for he began sniffing the air quite curiously. Zidane looked out over the kingdom of Alexandria, now completely restored, and smiled at the brilliance of the leaves just starting to change.
"That, little man, is your kingdom…your homeland. The place to which you will offer yourself…is here." As if on cue, the incoherent voices of a dozen calling geese echoed against the towers of the Alexandrian Castle, increasingly getting louder until the "v" shape flew into view. It was at this moment that the Crown Prince of Alexandria first opened his eyes, intrigued by the sound he had never before heard the like of. The idea of gravity had already been impressed into his young mind by the first fifteen minutes of his life, and the sight of things unaffected by it completely baffled him. He watched the arrow of wings head due south until they disappeared.
"He has your curiosity, Dagger," Zidane reported fondly as he watched his son. Just then, the child turned his questioning eyes up to look at his father. Zidane gasped audibly.
"Zidane?" Garnet called, concerned. "Zidane, what is it?" Slowly, Zidane walked the child back towards his mother.
"Dagger, where in heaven and earth did he get these ?" The baby boy recognized his mother somehow, and began to make noises to get her attention. But for the moment, Garnet was dumbstruck. The shape of the eyes was slanted like Zidane's although the orbs themselves were round rather than cat-shaped, but it was obvious where he had gotten those genes. The color, however, Garnet had never seen the like of.
"Like a… forget-me-not?" she pondered aloud. "No… they're far more violet than that!"
"Really dark," Zidane noted, "almost black, but definitely violet."
"He has violet eyes?" Beatrix suddenly called out in excitement.
"Yes!" Garnet nodded, "but I saw violet once or twice. This shade however, I've never seen anywhere!" Beatrix scurried closer, willing and ready to fuss over the newborn as her matronly instincts began to kick in. Barely stifling his amusement at his wife's antics, Steiner came closer as well, to see the prince's eyes.
"Hmm…" Beatrix stared at the little one, who made a bewildered facial expression when he saw her. "I've seen violet eyes, yes, but they're always very pale."
"Have you ever done any painting?" Steiner interrupted. All looked at him. "The pigments tend to be darker then the colors they are named for. I've seen 'ultramarine' which is just as dark. Maybe this is 'ultraviolet'?" Mei stifled a laugh, causing Steiner to look up questioningly.
"From a Terran standpoint…" Zidane chose his words carefully, "the connotations made it seem kinda funny. Basically, 'ultraviolet' is not the term for it."
"Why do you not just name him 'Violet,' then?" Stephen asked, sarcastically.
"Because that wouldn't be in the hoshina tradition," Zidane replied smoothly, "to name our males after flowers."
"Then what would you name him?" asked the High Advisor, impatiently. After a strained second, Mei asked:
"What did he see?"
"The wild geese," Zidane answered, cradling the child to his chest as he sat down on the bed beside Dagger.
"Mmm," Mei nodded. "Karikun?"
"Yeah, right," Zidane answered with a snort.
"Nooo," Zidane shook his head.
"Um…" Dagger interrupted.
"Hm?" Zidane quickly turned to her.
"What exactly is the tradition?" she asked.
"You name the child for the first thing they see." A brief silence settled in the throats of all, aside from Mei:
"Ai, Dani," Zidane rolled his eyes, "geez, put some thought into it, Mei!" She flinched apologetically before joining the others in thought once again. After about five minutes, she tried again:
"Ryokusha?" Zidane quickly looked up at her, the out the window, than down at the baby, whose violet eyes were half-closed as he gazed wistfully at his mother, too tired to try to get to her. Garnet knew her husband well enough to know when his brain kicked into overdrive, which was an incredible thing to watch. She knew his mind was covering four times the distance of normal thought, a power to which only inspiration was the key.
"Tabito," he suddenly breathed into existence. Mei seemed to consider this before she smiled broadly and nodding.
"It sounds nice," the queen said, reaching out a hand to stroke the tiny head. "What does it mean?"
"On the literal side," Zidane met her eyes, "'journey and something to do with flying.' In the romantic sense, something like 'journey of the soul'." The room was held under a hush as the queen considered her husband's proposition. Suddenly, she smiled.
"Tabito?" she tried the name on her lips.
"Tabito," he confirmed, with a nod. She reached for her son, who became quite happy once he was passed back to his mother's waiting arms. No, she thought, he definitely doesn't look like a Roger.
"Steiner," Garnet called.
"Your Majesty," he saluted.
"Send your couriers now, to announce the birth of Crown Prince Tabito Zidane til Alexandros… the First."
"Yes, your Majesty!" he saluted again and left the room. The High Advisor looked completely floored, and Zidane, having said his piece, simply smiled at his wife, who grinned back. And then they kissed, right there in front of everyone.
"Your Excellency?" Beatrix interrupted.
"Hm?" he looked up.
"Give her a break." The entire room burst into laughter, even Zidane after a moment of blushing. Then the baby cried, not a long bawl, but simply let everyone know that he was not happy.
"He's probably hungry," Mei remarked and began to shoo people from the room. Stephen nearly went into hysterics.
"Surely her Majesty will not—" his high-pitched voice was quickly silenced by Garnet's hand.
"I'd have no other do it," she stated then motioned for him to leave. The company quickly deserted the room, leaving the new family to have some time to themselves.
"It must be nice," Zidane considered, "having people jump for you like that with a wave of your hand."
"You'll learn, love," Garnet smiled, "You'll learn…"

A/N: Yes! I know it's pretty boring... But it's the friggin' prologue! Prologues are supposed to be boring! Some of this will become key later on, albeit much later on.
Please review... I'm so nervous about posting this. I've been working on it since August last year, and I should keep it to myself, but... I write fanfiction to practice my skills. Trust me, I do not have the time to work on my original stories. I'll try to update this on a weekly basis, should I decide to update at all.