Bring Me Home
Chapter Thirteen - Waiting for a Miracle
I can’t breathe. Staring into Zidane’s bright eyes, I think I’m going to cry. There’s a fifty-fifty chance. The spell might have worked, the spell might have failed. I’ll only known if Zidane keeps waking up.
Zidane smiles confidently at me and fingers my face. “I came home, Blank,” he informs me quietly. “I could have stayed in the Black Mage Village, but I knew I couldn’t do that to you. You brought me home.”
Damn. Now I am crying. I can feel the tears streaming down my cheeks, but Zidane simply wipes them away.
“Kuja and Mikoto and all the people of the village taught me a lot while I was there,” he continued softly. “Sometimes the hardest battles aren’t fought with swords and magic. It’s inside, you know? I always believed you have to live life. They taught me that that was only half the battle. Living for something, or someone, helps a hell of a lot. Kuja later told me that I gave him a reason to fight. Knowing that someone believed in him helped him more than anything else.” Zidane’s eyes pierced me, and for the first time, I realized I was shaking. I was shaking so hard that Zidane’s arm was trembling from where I was holding his hand. “Knowing that you were waiting for me here got me here, despite all those damned pickles I had to eat to get this far. It was worth every step.”
I was choking on my tears. Over and over I kept touching his face, not believing what I was hearing. Could he be...could he be saying what I think he was saying?
“I love you, Blank,” Zidane whispered. “Whether or not I survive this damned spell, you will always know that, and you had better believe it.”
Next thing I knew, he was in my arms, and I was holding him tightly. “I love you, I love you,” I chanted into his hair, ignoring the fact that there was a chance this was the last chance I would be able to say that to him. He would not die, I would not lose him to this, not now, not ever. I had waited for him for so long, and I would not let him leave me now.
Zidane rubbed my back tenderly, nuzzling the junction between my neck and shoulder. I could feel the heat radiating from his face, and I shuddered. Zidane would not be among the Genomes that had died. He was strong, stronger than Kuja. If Kuja had survived, then so would Zidane. Since Zidane’s return, I had not felt as hopeful as I did at that moment. He would not leave me alone.
Zidane’s tender motions slowed, and I clutched him desperately. He raised his eyes to my glossy ones.
“I’m going to take a small nap,” he whispered. “Wait for me.”
Shivering weakly, I can only nod. He’s going to wake up, and I’ll be waiting for him. I ignored the chill going up my spine, ignored the echo of Zidane’s earlier words. He was going to wake up, and I would see his beautiful eyes again. He would not leave me.
I had fallen asleep with him once again. The sounds that awoke me were ones I had been waiting for awhile, but I had finally given up on. I would have jumped up to greet them, but Zidane is still dozing. The most I can do is stroke Zidane’s hair and wait. I don’t want to wake him up.
“Blank!” Boss snaps, storming into the room. I almost cry when I see all of Tantalus and Zidane’s friends running behind him. Dag–Queen Garnet cries out when she sees Zidane asleep in my arms.
“My darlin’!” Ruby exclaims, darting forward. Hastily, I wave my hand before anyone else could start shouting. Rusty glares pompously at me, but I see him darting concerned looks at Zidane. He missed him just like everyone else.
“He’s alive,” Freya whispers. “I knew he wouldn’t give up.” Then the rat straightens and looks at me. With a quick nod, she starts herding everyone out of the room, including the hopping Princess Eiko. She glances back over her shoulder at me one last time before she clears the room. Only Regent Cid and the Boss remain.
“That rascal,” Cid comments admiringly. “Should have known someone as stubborn as him would have found a way, even after all this time.”
I close my eyes for a moment, before tilting my chin up. “He’s inflicted with the same disease Kuja had,” I inform them, proud at the clearness of my voice. “A cure has been found, but Zidane’s not sure if it’s working. There’s a fifty-fifty chance.” My arms tighten involuntarily around Zidane’s slender body, and he shifts on my chest. I return to petting him, and he calms. “I won’t lose him, Boss. I just found him again. I can’t lose him.”
The Boss pales at my words, but then he was standing tall again. “You won’t,” he answers gruffly. “If that boy knows what’s good for him, he’ll stay. Don’t worry about that.”
Zidane groans against my chest, like he heard Boss’s words. I force a smile and kiss his hair. He’s mine now. I can do that without feeling guilty.
So ha. ~~~~~
One by one, each of the groups come in, as to not disturb Zidane’s rest. Against my will, I find myself remembering the last time we had such a situation: when Zidane had fallen into his three-day sleep. There had been no large groups, everyone too afraid to upset the peace of his room.
Unlike last time, Queen Garnet was a steady visitor. This was not a little girl visiting, but a queen, and I had only to look into her vibrant eyes to see the difference. She nodded solemnly at me before kneeling beside Zidane. She squeezed his hand and touched his face. Each visit, she would end with a determined smile in my direction. “He will awaken. He will not give up.” Surprisingly, I found myself drawing strength from her, the one whom used to be my rival for Zidane’s affections. I wonder how he feels about her. Was she just another swift crush? He had had so many, before his disappearance. Even after his devoted words, that still rings in my mind. However, if I was to lose Zidane to anyone, I would choose her...and pity her poor kingdom.
Eiko was another avid visitor. Thankfully, time has matured her. She did not leap on Zidane, as I feared she would. She kissed him gently on his cheeks and forehead and warned me that when he woke up, I had better treat him well. While the queen was calm determination, Eiko was pure fire, and I find myself nodded quickly.
Freya, and surprisingly Amarant, visited as well. Freya quietly sat beside Zidane, watching him intently. She rarely spoke, and when she did, it was far too soft for me to hear. Amarant spoke only once, from his spot in the corner. I still do not know what it means: “The sly eagle swooped too low, this time.”
Steiner would willingly sit beside Zidane, older and wiser but still blustering to Zidane’s deaf ears. The word “scoundrel” popped up countless times. I wonder if Steiner just can’t think of any other words to use on him. Still, the concern in his eyes kept me from popping him one when he accused Zidane of just doing it for attention.
I do not know where Vivi was during this. I don’t know if he had “stopped,” or had been among the Black Mages in the village that Zidane had stayed at. If he was, why didn’t Zidane say something? Why didn’t he mention him? When Zidane awakes, I’ll ask him. The...Qu...thing...had vanished two years ago. The queen promised to tell...he...she...it about Zidane’s return, but the Qu not knowing doesn’t bother me much. The idea of it in our home does.
The other Tantalus members watched us both with silent, worried eyes. For the queen and the others, Zidane was a friend. For us, he was family. For five long years we had lost him. We cannot do it again. Since Kuja gifted us with him all those years ago, he had been the light of our lives. It’s too soon for that light to flicker out.
In my ours, with the lights out around me, Zidane sleeps, as he had since finishing his story three days ago.
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