I don't own FF9 or any of its characters.
Story was edited and fixed as of September 2010.
I know the title is overused, but I'm not good with titles, and it was the only thing I could think of at the time. Besides, I was listening to the song itself as I was thinking. My first attempt at a Garnet/Zidane fic. Well, it's a bit angsty, but there are hints of the pairing.
Contains some spoilers to the end of disk 3.
You're Not Alone
They had decided to stay for a night to rest in the Black Mage Village after escaping from Pandemonium and Terra with the other Genomes.
Steiner, Quina, Amarant, Eiko, Freya, and Vivi were staying at the inn. Garnet was, too, but she couldn't fall asleep. The events of what happened at Pandemonium swirled through her head.
Garnet looked at the ceiling. Zidane went through a lot…he seemed to be fine after we beat that big turtle monster and everyone snapped him out of it…but…he recovered quickly. A little too quickly. I wonder…how's he taking it?
She looked around, and noticed the empty bed near her. Zidane had been staying at the inn, too, but he was nowhere to be found. Garnet quietly pulled the covers off, slipped out of bed, and left the inn.
Zidane stood at the graveyard and looked at the graves of the mages that had 'stopped'. I'm just like them. I was made to be a puppet. An Angel of Death to replace Kuja. But I didn't want to be. I was different. Maybe a little too different. I wasn't a creature of Gaia…I wasn't a true Genome since I wasn't created to be a vessel…and I wasn't the Angel of Death that they wanted me to be.
The teen frowned. Maybe I wasn't like the black mages. They were created just like the Genomes, except just to be puppets. The Genomes were created to be vessels. But not Kuja, Mikoto, or myself. We were to be Angels of Death. Replacements for one another. Why? Everyone tells me that they are my friend, and I have no doubt about that. But, aside from Vivi, can they really understand what I'm going through? And even Vivi…he's just a little kid. He doesn't truly understand what is happening.
"You were created as a replacement for Kuja."
Zidane shook his head as Garland's words echoed through his mind. No!
"You are an Angel of Death. Created to wipe destroy life on Gaia so that the souls could inhabit the Genomes."
The Genome squeezed his eyes shut. NO!
"You talk about not killing. About saving people. Is that some way you have of trying to prove that you exist? That you're who you are?"
His hands clenched into tight fists as he felt tears sting his eyes.
"Names? What does it matter. For you, names don't matter one bit."
Zidane trembled a bit, his shoulders shaking. I'm…Zidane…
" 'Zidane'? Is that what they call you? Ha. Haha. You are nothing but a creation. What do names mean?"
Zidane shook his head, letting a tear slip down his face. No…
"So you come all this way to find who you are…and you find this. Are you happy? Are you sad? Does it matter? You can't feel emotions. You are nothing but a Genome. A little more advanced than those other emotionless vessels you saw, but a Genome. You were created to serve me. And you would have fulfilled that had Kuja not dropped you on Gaia."
Zidane sunk to his knees. Me…? Serve Garland…? Hell no! Not in a million years!
"You should have served me. You were a puppet. My puppet."
He wiped his eyes with his arm, then frowned blankly at the ground.
"You are an enemy to the people of Gaia. So tell me…what are you going to do?"
Zidane whimpered quietly. I didn't believe his words at the time. It was more a denial than anything else. After all the searching I did…to find who I was and where I came from…only to find that out…it couldn't be true. Could it? Garland was right. I was only a puppet. I wasn't like my…brother…Kuja, who was power greedy. And, I wasn't like Mikoto…someone like a sister…who had no emotions. I wasn't like humans, and I wasn't from Gaia.
The teen closed his eyes against a chilly breeze. Everyone was there for me, even when I pushed them away. Vivi, Steiner, Quina, Freya, Eiko, Amarant…and…Dagger. I know I have them…my friends…but I'm still alone. I have no real family. I was created. I'm different than everyone else, even the other Genomes. Even different from my 'brother', Kuja, and my 'sister', Mikoto.
Zidane looked back up at the graves of the mages as silent tears of loneliness and pain ran down his face. It was a momentary weakness that he only dared display in the solitude he currently felt as he sat on his knees, his eyes unable to hide the confusion, hurt, fear, and aloofness he felt inside.
That was how Garnet found him.
She watched him silently for a few moments from behind a tree, her heart going out to him. This wasn't the joking, silly Zidane that they were used to, though she couldn't blame him. She wanted to go over to him and hug him; tell him that it was alright, but she just couldn't. For some reason, she understood that this was a private moment for him, and she shouldn't interrupt just yet.
Did he still think he was alone? That thought stung the princess a bit, but she couldn't fault him. It had been a hard day for all of them, particularly Zidane. The pang in her heart went away. It's not his fault at all. He was still hurting when it ended…he's just good at hiding it. I sometimes forget that he was an actor, after all…
She watched as he moved his hands together, palms touching and fingers up in the air. He bowed his head and closed his eyes. She knew he was offering a silent prayer to the mages who had 'stopped'.
It hurt her to watch, and she just wanted to turn around and run away. He was being overly serious, much different from his usual behavior. Then again, not everyone could be happy or playful all the time. It was just impossible, no matter how hard they tried.
Zidane dropped his hands to his sides, letting them fall limply as he sat on the ground and stared mournfully at the grass.
Garnet shook her head and slowly went up to him, then knelt down and placed a hand on his shoulder briefly. She felt him tremble under her touch, and he turned his head away from her so she couldn't see the tears she knew were still there, but he didn't pull away.
"You have a soul, Zidane, just like Vivi," Garnet whispered to him after a few moments of comfortable silence between them.
"…made for war and destruction…that was how I was supposed to live," Zidane mumbled as he stared darkly at his hands..
Garnet didn't know if he even realized that he was talking aloud, and didn't know if he was talking more to himself or to her, so she just stayed silent.
"…it was my fight. I wanted to take him on myself. I was being selfish." Zidane lowered his arms, then bowed his head. "I know I was. And I wondered…do I really have a heart? A soul? How can a Genome feel? I don't know…"
"…but as everyone stayed by me…" Zidane shook his head. "…even as I was pushing them away…I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. I was being a bastard…I was completely ignoring everyone trying to help. I was about to disregard everything. I didn't need help…I didn't need a damn babysitter…but it's not babysitting. We don't babysit each other. We look out for each other. Then…it felt good…to know that everyone was with me. Even Rusty. But what really threw me…what snapped me back to who I was…"
He looked at her. "…it was when you came in." He stood up and swiftly wiped his eyes dry as he turned to face her.
Garnet blushed slightly, but was able to give him a gentle smile.
"If I was really just a vessel…" Zidane continued a little stronger, "a soulless husk…then I wouldn't be able to feel. Why could a Genome feel? How could I feel love if I was nothing but a vessel? Nothing but a toy…a puppet? I still don't understand."
"Zidane…" Garnet smiled, placed a hand on his shoulder once again. "It's because…you have a soul. And a heart."
Zidane looked at her even though his eyes displayed his vulnerability. "Dagger…"
"You're not a puppet. You're…well, you're Zidane," Garnet continued lamely. She shrugged. "I really don't know what else to say."
"I may be 'Zidane', but…I still…" Zidane lowered his head as his tail drooped accordingly.
Garnet took his hand in hers, and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Zidane…you're not alone. You only think you are."
Zidane was startled at first, and gaped as he wondered how she could just pick up on what he was feeling when he didn't actually come out and say it. His gaze softened, and he moved forward a bit and pulled her into a hug.
Garnet wrapped her arms around him, and held him close as he held her. She knew that this was what he needed back at Pandemonium: reassurance. But neither could think about it at that time since they had work to do. Now that they got a moment's peace, he was able to think about it, and she was able to help.
"Zidane…" Garnet whispered.
"Thank you," Zidane interrupted softly, and held her so that his cheek rested on her hair.
Garnet smiled. "You'll never be alone again."
I'm not alone, Zidane thought. I may be different, but I now know…that doesn't mean that I'm alone. I have my friends. And…Dagger.
They stayed in each other's arms for a while.
Zidane let a smile come to his face as he closed his eyes while his entire being seemed to fill with a warmth that he couldn't possibly even begin to describe. "I'm not alone."
"You were never alone. Because we were there. Always."
"Always," Zidane echoed her word in a whisper, a smile on his face. Everyone…thank you. Now I know…I'm not alone.