Author's note: I just completed FFIX for the first time the other day and nearly cried at the ending. It was so beautiful! It inspired me to write this oneshot, which takes place soon before the game's ending play. So, here it is. Read, review, enjoy! And check out my other fics if you like Final Fantasy, Kingdom Hearts, and other stuff. ;3

Our Broken Melody

The air was still in Alexandria save for the gentle breeze that blew every once in a while. Queen Garnet stood in her usual spot by the water, allowing the wind to gently change the position of her long hair. The wind was her only companion, and that was the way that she wanted to be. Maybe, if she wished hard enough, the wind would carry her words to her beloved.

But it was not distance that separated her from the man that she loved. It was death.

"One years," Garnet whispered into the wind. "It's been over a year since I saw you last." She remembered the day clearly. They won the fight against Kuja and Necron, the entity who wanted to create a world of nothingness. But Zidane refused to leave the Lifa tree without saving Kuja. She still didn't understand why he went back. Aramant's words still rang in her ears, saying that it wasn't in Zidane's nature to walk away.

"You managed to walk away from me just fine, though," she said, speaking aloud to her silent thoughts. "You left all of us in favor of the enemy…But maybe he wasn't really the enemy. Maybe he was misled, like you thought he was."

But what if he wasn't? What if he was evil till the very end? What if it was he that killed Zidane, not the reaction of the Lifa tree…

With a disgusted expression, she chased the thought away. Zidane was always sensitive to others and their true nature. If he believed that Kuja was only confused with himself, then that was how Kuja was. She trusted Zidane, even though she knew by now that he was dead. If he was alive, he would have come back to her now.

Maybe the wind will still carry my words to his spirit, she thought to herself. She had been talking to him a lot since he was gone, even if he wasn't around to hear her. Speaking to him one more day wouldn't hurt. "Hey Zidane," she whispered. "It's me, Dagger. But...I suppose you've already figured that out. You still recognize my voice, don't you? I speak to you often enough that you should…"

She felt silly for talking like that, so she cleared her throat as she stopped with the small talk. "It's been over one year, Zidane," she said softly. "You probably already know that, but…What you don't know is that I miss you. A lot. You did a lot more than kidnap me, you know. You helped me prove to myself that I'm braver than I ever thought. And strong enough to protect these people, even if I shouldn't really be their queen. I guess fate had a hand in making me Princess Garnet, though. If I wasn't her, we never would have met.

"Now I know who I am, because of you," she continued. "I'm not defined by a name. I am not Garnet, I'm not Dagger, and I'm not Sarah. I am myself. You taught me that who I am is always good enough. …I have to say thank you, for that," she whispered, a tear dripping from her eye. She didn't bother wiping at it, instead letting it flow down her cheek till it reached her jaw and dropped to the ground. Without hesitation, her soft voice sung the melody that she adopted for any sorrowful moment.

Alone for a while, I've been searching through the dark
For traces of the love you left inside my lonely heart

To weave by picking up the pieces that remain

Melodies of life-love's lost refrain

She swallowed hard, moisture flooding her eyes. Still, her voice continued to sing the words that meant so much to her. The words that reminded her of the love that she held for a person who gave her so much more than she could have ever expected from an average thief.

Our paths they did cross, though I cannot say just why
We met, we laughed, we held on fast, and then we said goodbye

And who'll hear the echoes of stories never told?

Let them ring out loud till they unfold

In my dearest memories, I see you reaching out to me

Though you're gone, I still believe that you can call out my name

Dagger couldn't sing the rest of the song. The realization that Zidane wasn't just separated from her, but truly gone, made the song inaccurate. He couldn't call out her name anymore.

She sank down to her knees, lowering her head as her tears escaped completely. Though no sobs left her, her heart was broken. "I finally remembered the words to that song I've always cherished, Zidane," she said softly. "But there's no title, so I've given it a name myself. 'Our Broken Melody.'"

Sniffling, she picked herself up off the ground and wiped at her tears. She couldn't stay here and be heartbroken any longer. But before she left, she had one more thing to say. "Tomorrow is my seventeenth birthday, and Tantalus is coming to the kingdom to perform I Want to Be Your Canary. It won't be the same without you, Zidane."

The Queen glanced back at the water, the wind blowing her long hair gently. But this wasn't the response that she wanted. She wanted any other response, just as long as it came from her lost love.

Knowing she wasn't going to get that response, she turned and walked away from the spot, feeling just as alone as she felt when she arrived.

*…*…*…*…*…*

I Want to Be Your Canary was always Dagger's favorite play. She read it dozens of times growing up and knew all the lines, and all the characters, by heart. Cornelia was a sweet girl, but she was also uncertain of her future, especially with Marcus. But Marcus, he was more certain. He had faith that their love would guide them down the right path in life. He believed that no obstacle could stand in their way, not even death. Or, even more than that, life. Life was sometimes harder than death in the fact that there were constantly forces driving the two lovers apart. People who didn't want their love to exist. Selfish feelings. Unspoken fears.

Dagger was already near tears at the scene where Marcus was waiting for his beloved to come to the ship so that they could run away together. And a tear did escape her eye when Marcus started doubting his love.

But his doubt only lasted for a second. "I must have faith!" Marcus cried. "She shall appear if I only believe! As the sun lends me no ear, I pray instead to the twin moons!" He turned, facing the two moons that shone brightly in the sky. "I beseech thee, wondrous moonlight, grant me my only wish!"

Marcus brought his arms in and got lower to the ground, as if he were about to cry or keep himself from bursting from emotion. Or, as Dagger quickly figured out, remove his cloak. He flung it off quickly, revealing his form clearly as he turned towards the queen's balcony and cried: "Bring my beloved Dagger to me!"

As soon as Dagger saw the figure and heard the words, she knew that this was no dream. Zidane! Not only was he alive, but he was here! And he just called to me! Dagger realized, rising out of her seat immediately. I must go to him!

She turned and ran for the doors, lifting her dress a little so that she wouldn't trip over it. But when she reached the door, she saw two guards blocking the doors with their arms. Steiner. Beatrix! What are you two doing?

The answer came quickly enough. Dagger looked straight at the doors as both of them parted, the path opening wide and clear for her. Her shocked gaze went to both Beatrix and Steiner, who smiled at her and motioned for her to run through. She didn't need any more encouragement. She ran through them and found the stairs, thanking the maids that taught her how to run in heels and a dress without tripping. It would have been terrible to fall now, when Zidane was waiting for her.

Despite the guards who were standing at the doors, Dagger had no intervention from them. She burst through the doors, shocked to see that the crowd didn't notice the large bang that the doors created. It didn't matter. All that matted was Zidane.

Her heart pounded a hundred miles per hour as she pushed through several people, trying to get to where she last saw Zidane. The only problem was that he wasn't there. The path was wide open, but he wasn't standing there. She skidded to a halt, her eyes widening as she suddenly felt the claspe on her necklace break. The jewel flew away from her, landing on the ground and skidding to a stop in the sunlight.

No… Dagger thought in fear, eyes wide as she lifted her hands to her chest. She felt dozens of eyes on her now, but she didn't bother going to retrieve the necklace. It was important to her, but not as important as the person she was looking for.

She spun around, leaving the necklace shining where it was in the sunlight. The path was clear for her as she ran another path, nearly everyone's eyes on her now. But her eyes were locked on the person that she now saw within her vision; Zidane.

She already lost the one item that represented a heritage that would separate her from him: the necklace of the summoner's tribe. Now, she lifted her hands and threw off her Queen's crown. She wouldn't allow her social standing to separate her from the man she loved.

With tears of joy nearly running down her face, she leaped into the arms that were waiting for her, her arms wrapping around Zidane tightly as she embraced him tightly. He spun her around so that her feet found the ground, his arms also holding her tightly yet gently. She had been yearning for this for so long. Suddenly, she felt like everything was different. Maybe the wind carried her song to Zidane after all and let him know to come for her. She slowly pulled away from him, her moist brown eyes eying him as he did the same to her.

His amused eyes landed on her, and though he didn't smile, the side of his lips turning up in a slight smile that said simply said: "Hey there".

Dagger's eyebrows furrowed as she embraced Zidane again, pounding her fist lightly against his chest a few times. How dare you just suddenly show up out of nowhere like that? she scolded through her punches. Why didn't you come back sooner?

But her questions weren't answered then. Zidane's hand gently stroked her hair, that gentle gesture preventing her from punishing him any longer for staying away from her. How could she stay angry at him when he was back, and when he put so much effort into his reappearance. She pulled back from the embrace to look at him yet again, a small smile forming on her face as she and Zidane shared eye-contact. As much as she loved looking into his eyes, she loved it even more when he set a hand on the back of her head and gently pulled her closer to him in an embrace.

The crowd went wild, but still their peaceful moment lasted. They were together. They, who started as two enemies, became friends, and then became lovers.

"How did you survive?" she asked in his ear, staying in the embrace without daring to pull away.

"I didn't have a choice…I had to live. I wanted to come home to you. …So, I sang your song."

Dagger smiled softly, turning her head to look at Zidane. "Our song," she corrected quietly, giving him a squeeze. The song didn't just belong to her. She never believed that it did solely belong to her; not since the day that Zidane first heard her sing it to her. While he was around, she hadn't remembered the words, or the title. So she came up with her own to go along with the words and emotions she got from the song.

Now, she realized that the title was completely off. The song wasn't about brokenness or the hopelessness of being alone. When naming the song that reminded her of Zidane, she completely forgot of the optimism and hopefulness that he gave to her in life. She needed a more fitting title, and the title that came to her was perfect. Melodies of Life.