The Mage's Mother
***CONTAINS SPOILERS FROM HERE ON IN***
This fic is written from Dagger's point of view, placed in that obscured time between the defeat of Necron and Zidane's reappearance at the Tantalus performance of "I Want to Be Your Canary".
No.....it's not another 'Dagger Misses Zidane' story. :)
I know I shouldn't have done it. In the end I was no better than my mother, or at least the person that my mother was contrived into being. But I had my reasons.
My rise to power was shrouded in sadness. At least at my coronation I had 'him' there, but he wasn't exactly being supportive at the time. Zidane. I guess he thought that I, as a Queen, would suddenly be too good for him. I'm just glad he realized later on that this wasn't true. I'm glad he left us with fond memories and good thoughts of me. Though I move on, I still miss him terribly, but I will adjust. I will move on. But I can never forget.
No, perhaps I truly can't move on.
Yet this is not where my guilt lays.
I should have ordered that machine destroyed. When we first discovered it I was horrified. Horrified that such a machination could exist. Horrified that my mother could be a part of it. Yet most of all, I was devstated for him. He was a little powerhouse of black magic, but he spoke so innocently and viewed the world with the eyes of a child. He was deadly, but he was harmless. I saw him gaze at that machine in Dali with wide eyes, and though I could distinguish no expression, I could still see his face drop. He never seemed to question his origins, but when he saw this perversion of modern machinery his world seemed to crumble around him.
Vivi was a clone. One of countless many. Soulless golems. Engineererd soldiers. Mindless killers.
It was my first promise to myself, as Queen, to destroy that machine and have a formal inquest into the actual runnings of Dali's darker side. I wanted to vindicate him by dismantling his 'mother' so that no others would be born for the wrong reasons. It was the least I could do for him.
I didn't have to lift a finger. I didn't even have to go to Dali myself. I only had to give an order, and it would be done.
But I couldn't do it.
I still remember departing on Uncle Cid's Hilda Garde, watching Zidane's sillouhette disolve into nothingness as we rose, until I saw nothing but the voracious roots of the Iifa Tree devour the entire area. I still shudder to think of what happened to him. Did he reach his 'brother' in time? Or did I truly witness his death in that madenned tangle of sentient tendrils? Steiner was no help, despite his efforts. He always meant well, but his tact is as dense as his armour. Eiko was too busy crying. Quina was chewing on the ship's anchor. Freya and Armarant were respectfully silent. It was Vivi who toddled over to me, his child-like gloved hand reaching up for mine. I looked down to him, a tear falling from my eye and landing on the rim of his hat. His eyes always seemed unchanging, but I could see the sadness within them. He seemed to cry so easily at times, but he made the effort to be strong for my benefit.
It was clearly difficult for him.
Vivi viewed Zidane as an older brother, and myself as an older sister, but when I was with them I felt as though we were a family. I had my husband, and I had our son. I needed nothing else. Now I had lost my husband, and I knew that Vivi's time was short. He knew this too, which made his show of strength all the more courageous.
He liked to hold my hand. It wasn't like Zidane, who wanted to hold my hand in order to get closer to me. Vivi did so out of habit, like a child who automatically takes his mother's hand, and her subsequent protection. This is ironic, seeing as how I often stood behind the little mage in battle. There were many times where I could do nothing but restore his stamina, and relied on his magic and Zidane's strength to see us through.
Vivi held my hand as we returned to Alexandria. There was a fanfare awaiting us, but I wanted nothing to do with it. It was clear we weren't in the mood - it wasn't a complete victory. Steiner escourted me, but it was Vivi who accompanied me, and we entered the quiet solitude of Alexandria Castle. A cold shudder went through me as I looked up at the grand staircase. In a flash I remembered several events.
I remembered my mother scolding me for sliding down the banister in an un-princess-like manner.
I remembered running down them, escaping from a theif who intended to kidnap me while I was trying to run away from home.
I remembered that same theif looking up at me at the top of the stairs as I was crowned.
Now the stairs were empty and abandoned.
Cold and alone.
Steiner had found Beatrix.
Freya had found Sir Fratley.
Eiko had found family.
Armarant had found a meaning.
Sure I had my friends, but in a sense, Vivi was all I had left.
"I'm tired," he said to me, tugging on my sleeve as he spoke.
"It's okay Vivi," I whispered unintentionally. "So am I."
We parted company from the rest, and they all understood. We had lost more than they had. We went upstairs into my room, which I was to give to Vivi. After all, I was now to sleep in the Queen's room, right?
As we entered he let go of my hand and toddled over to the couch to sit and rest while I started to set the sheets out on the bed. I had never actually done this before - it was always done for me - but I wanted to care for Vivi.
"He'll be back," Vivi insisted.
"I know," I lied. "People like him don't go away," I said with a forced laugh.
"Yeah. I miss him alot already."
"I know Vivi," I said as I threw the sheet out to blanket over the bed.
"Will you tell him that for me?"
I couldn't help but giggle, despite my sombre mood. His innocence always did that to me. "There's no need to be so shy, Vivi. You can tell him yourself when you see him. Okay?"
He didn't answer me.
"You're too cute some times," I said with a smile. I wanted to thank him for cheering me up, even though it wasn't his intent. He'd be glad to know he did nonetheless. "Are you embarassed now?" I asked as I turned to him.
He didn't answer me.
He just sat there, looking at me.
"Vivi? Are you okay?"
He didn't move. He just sat there.
He didn't answer me.
"....oh no............Vivi no........."
He just looked at me.
"No! Not you too!"
He didn't even move.
"Not yet! It's not supposed to happen yet!"
I put my hands on his shoulders, but there was no response.
I shook him, but there was no response.
I cried. I had done nothing but cry, but I was devestated. Now I had lost everything.
As I put my arms around his tiny body I could actually feel him grow cold.
I had lost everything.
He just stared at me.
He didn't move.
He just stopped.
This is not what I told them, however. I told them that he had died valiantly while fighting Kuja. I had the story all made out before I had them 'made'. They were made to succeed him, to continue his lineage. They were created to give his life meaning.
They were created to fill my selfish void.