Disclaimer: I don't own Zidane or any other Final Fantasy 9 character.
A/N: Inspiration hit and I started typing. This resulted. Set before the game, tells how Zidane and Freya became friends. It's not what I typically write, so reviews would help. Constructive criticism welcome. Flames are not.
Zidane sat on a cliff outside of Lindblum, gazing out onto the ocean. It was a strange thing to do. He never looked out at the ocean. But now, he felt drawn to it in a way. A strange way. No, that wasn't true. He knew why he was drawn to it. It was blue. Every bit of him longed for the ocean to be the blue light that filled his dreams. Any clue that would point him to who he was! No, that wasn't true either. Whenever he felt the need for knowledge pulling at him, sometimes smothering him, something told him ignorance was bliss, some little corner of his mind warned him that he wouldn't like what he saw. That little corner kept him sane.
His tail twitched as he mused over these thoughts. Usually he didn't even notice it, but now it bothered him. He grabbed it and tugged on it, mentally cursing it. His tail. Blasted thing. He could try and fit in as much as he wanted, he could have as many friends as he was possibly able, he could be part of Tantalus for the rest of time and his tail would keep him separate from everyone else, acting as an anchor, keeping him tied to his unknown past. It bound him to something he did not know. Stupid tail, he thought to himself as he tried vainly to toss it aside. A futile move. If only it could be tossed away so easily.
Zidane turned away from his tail and looked back out at the sea. The waves, normally a clear blue, were now dyed an inky black from the night. The stars' reflection danced on the waves, almost tauntingly before their reflection was dashed against the rocks below as the water crashed against the cliff. It was only when a breeze brushed past him that he felt the wetness on his cheek. He brushed away the tear and drew his knees up to his chest, starting to feel cold. He could go back into town... but he wasn't ready to face Tantalus yet. They knew when something was wrong. They always knew. They were the closest thing he had to a family, but he knew they wondered too. He could see it. They wanted to know where he came from, who he was, WHAT he was... if only he could tell them. If only he knew.
Tears flowed freely now. He didn't care. He was alone. After this, he would collect himself, smile, and be the Zidane that everyone knew. Fun, mischievous.... he tired of it sometimes. It all became just a masquerade after a while. He needed times like these to let his feelings loose. Troubles like his would surely rip him apart from the inside if he kept them bottled inside for too long.
The voice startled him. He hadn't heard any footsteps approach. Quickly he wiped the tears away with the back of his hand and turned around. A woman, a very odd looking woman, was standing there. She looked more like a rat than anything, with pointed ears and fur... even a tail. Zidane guessed that she was the dragoon he had heard about. He jumped to his feet.
"You are Master Zidane, yes?" the creature asked. She was very polite, he noted. Probably not out to kill him, then. Wouldn't have been the first time someone had tried to kill him. He thought back to an incident in Treno that happened recently... but certainly this person didn't work for the red-haired guard he had angered then...
"Who wants to know?" His words came out harsher than he meant. The person looked slightly offended, but collected herself.
"I believe there is a group in town looking for you. They are worried."
"So, the boss sent you out looking for me?" Again, his words had a sharp sarcastic edge to them.
"I was leaving Lindblum tonight. Since they also were ready to leave, I figured I could spare some time to look, and asked if they would like my help. Does this anger you?"
"Why would it anger me?"
"You seem to be angry at something."
Zidane recalled his harsh tone earlier and sheepishly scratched the back of his head. "I'm sorry. I really didn't mean to take it out on you. I........." he felt his voice begin to tremble and he turned away, sitting down again. To his utter surprise, however, the dragoon sat down next to him.
"Care to talk about it? It helps."
"About what? Nothing's wrong."
Zidane looked up, startled by the direct tone of the stranger's words. He tried to study her as best he could in the dark. She stared at him, not even doubting that he would answer. His natural instinct said to tell her to mind her own business. This was his problem. But he had kept it inside for too long. He told everything, about his past, about his tail, about Baku taking him in, about his lack of memory, about his search, about the blue light that he searched for. The stranger listened silently as he nearly poured out his very soul. When he finished, he looked at her, and she noted how his eyes searched for acceptance. He looked so very lost and alone. Finally, she spoke.
"You won't be content until you know your past, I can tell. But don't worry. You will find your past someday."
"You seem pretty sure of that."
"I am. I know it to be true." As she stood up and turned to walk away, he stood up and touched her shoulder. She turned back to him.
"Thank you," he said, smiling. She was right, it had helped to talk about it.
"Anytime," she said.
"But, why are you leaving Lindblum now? It's the middle of the night."
"I may ask the same question. A band of "performers" traveling in the middle of the night? Very odd." So. She suspected that Tantalus wasn't just a group of actors. He couldn't tell her that they were thieves, though, travelling at night, slipping wuietly in and out of cities. That would be telling too much.
"Fair enough," Zidane responded, letting the question drop. She could keep her secrets, he could keep his.
"Maybe we'll meet again under happier circumstances, Zidane."
"I look forward to it. Hey, what's your name, anyway?"
"Alright. Well... goodbye then, Freya."
"Goodbye, Zidane." She didn't walk away, to his surprise. She jumped. An odd thing he would learn to get used to in the coming years of their friendship. They would meet again under happier circumstances. Under worse ones, as well. But as for that moment, his mind was cleared of troubles about his past, and he was able to go back into town.
"Yo, Zidane," Blank said when he reached the inn. "Where'd you get off to?"
"I was just out thinkin'," Zidane replied.
"How touching. C'mon, let's go! Boss is waitin'!" Off to the future, then, with no time to look back for his past.