Final Fantasy - All Series Fan Fiction ❯ Sympathy for the Damned ❯ Part 27 ( Chapter 27 )
"Sympathy for the damned"
Kuja returned one day after Freya and Amarant left, and to the surprise of Zidane and Garnet, he came bearing gifts.
"I bought this for you because I know how you love this one," Kuja said as he handed a freshly printed copy of "I want to be your canary" to Garnet. "This way, you can read it as many times as you like without worrying about wearing out the original copy."
Garnet smiled, touched in spite of herself by the gesture. "That's very thoughtful of you, Kuja. Thank you."
He shrugged and tried to make light of it. "Ah well, I know the value of books. It's a tragedy to allow an original publication to become dog-eared from use."
With that said, he turned to Zidane. "And for you, I got this!" He handed a package to the other genome and grinned.
"Do I really want to open this?" Zidane said, only half joking.
"Yes, yes you do!" Kuja was like a kitten with a ball of yarn, he was so chipper.
Zidane groaned inwardly and opened the package. Inside was a pair of beautifully crafted daggers, with inscriptions of power on the blades and leather wrapped hilts. The metal was a pale green in color, and it glowed with its own life as Zidane lifted the weapons in his hands. His eyes were wide with awe as he felt the perfect balance. "Kuja, how did you-" he sputtered, unable to finish the sentence.
"You thought it would be clothing, didn't you?" the sorcerer said slyly. "I retrieved those from my old room at the auction house. They hadn't let anyone touch my room since I left! Those daggers are from Terra. Garland meant for me to use them, but I've never taken physical combat seriously." He hesitated and peeked at Zidane through his long, silver lashes. "Do you like them?"
"Is that a trick question?" Zidane retorted with a wide smile. He flipped the daggers experimentally, making both Kuja and Garnet take a prudent step away. "They're amazing!" he said as he caught them easily. "But, these were yours…I can't take them."
"Oh, yes you can. An unhappy Kuja is a bad Kuja." The sorcerer said as he put his hands on his hips. His tail swished behind him, and it was clear he wasn't joking.
Zidane chuckled. "Okay then. We don't want an unhappy Kuja. I don't know how to thank you, though." Truly, the daggers were probably worth half the treasury.
"I can think of a way," Kuja said with a leer.
Both Zidane and Garnet's eyebrows shot up at the suggestion, and Zidane turned bright red. "Uh, er…you can?"
Kuja suddenly laughed and slapped Zidane on the arm. "Oh, I do love to do that to people! You should have seen your face!"
Zidane laughed in relief. "You got me. I thought…" he left it unfinished, too embarrassed to voice it out loud.
Kuja was still chuckling, but he shook his head. "Not that you aren't an attractive sort, but bedding you would be too much like bedding myself. I'm kinky, but even I have my limitations, Zidane."
Then he turned to Garnet and his smile became lecherous. "Ah, but you my dear, you are another matter entirely."
"Oh, just stop it," Garnet said with a smirk.
"I'm serious!" He couldn't trick them a second time, he knew, and he sighed in defeat. "Oh, very well. Another time, I would have been serious. Gods, that man has made me monogamous! If Sephiroth ever does manage to get that tight ass of his here, I'm going to spank it good and proper for doing this to me!"
They looked at him with shocked, uncomfortable expressions, and Kuja bit his lip. "I know…too much information, right?"
"Let us just say that in the future, we needn't be told what your intentions are concerning your friend's backside," Garnet replied tactfully.
Kuja seemed to finally be getting better, and when Zidane spoke to Dr. Tot about it, he wasn't happy with the man's reply.
"In cases of suicide, the victim usually appears to be much happier just before they kill themselves. Watch him, Zidane. One little holiday shouldn't have logically cheered the boy up that much."
So Zidane kept an extra close watch on Kuja. It was a good thing that he did so, despite the sorcerer's protests. The guard stationed below the balcony of the room Kuja was staying in spotted the sorcerer climbing onto the railing, and he immediately blew his whistle. The guard inside of the palace on the other side of Kuja's door heard it, and he burst into the room and rushed to the balcony just as the sorcerer was about to jump.
"Let go of me, you fool! Who do you think you are!" Kuja railed against the strong soldier who dragged him back into the room, and he almost cast a spell. He intended to make the man sorry he had cheated him of death. The soldier evidently expected it, and his gauntlet clad hand clamped down tightly over the genome's mouth. He bore the angry sorcerer to the floor and attempted to subdue the flailing limbs, and his helmet slipped off and rolled away.
Kuja went still and stared up at Zidane with wild eyes. "What…you…"
"Are you so fucking anxious for death?" Zidane snarled angrily, and tears filled his eyes. "I knew you were going to pull something like this, and I didn't trust anyone else to move fast enough to stop you." He levered himself off of the stunned sorcerer and glared at him. "You know what? Just go ahead. I can't keep doing this. If you want to kill yourself, you're eventually going to do it no matter what we do to stop you. All I'm asking is that you think of the people who care about you. Think about what you'll be doing to us if you kill yourself."
Kuja didn't move. He could only stare at the exhausted genome that sat in armor that was ill suited for him. The despair in Zidane's eyes was almost equal to the despair in Kuja's heart. "Would it really be so awful if I were to die, Zidane?"
Zidane didn't respond with words. He just looked at him with those big, soulful hazel eyes and nodded. Tears dripped down the blonde's cheeks, and Kuja felt guilt like he had never felt before. "You really care about me that much?" he asked past the lump in his throat.
Again, Zidane nodded wordlessly. Kuja took a deep shaken breath and crawled close to him, then awkwardly put his arms around him. The armor pinched Kuja's tender skin, but he didn't care. "I'm sorry," the sorcerer whispered. "I…I won't try it again. I won't do that to you, Zidane."
Zidane hugged him back and muttered, "You promise?"
Kuja managed a smile. "Yes. I swear on my lost Sephy, I won't try to kill myself anymore."
Zidane sniffled and buried his face in the sorcerer's fragrant, silvery hair. "I'll keep my people looking for him, Kuja. If he ever comes through that portal, we'll know it."
Kuja nodded and closed his eyes. "Yes. I appreciate that, Zidane."
True to his word, Kuja didn't try to kill himself again. He went through stages of hysterical laughter to miserable tears, and some days he didn't come out from his room at all, but Tot assured Zidane after visiting with the sorcerer that Kuja was slowly healing.
Steiner and Beatrix were shocked to learn of Kuja's survival and that he was living in Alexandria, but both of them were far too loyal to Garnet to protest too strongly. They trusted her to make the best decisions, and their faith in her was unshakable. They avoided Kuja during their brief visit, but they didn't bother him or make comments about him.
Yet another test was well on the way when Cid sent a letter saying that he would be bringing Eiko and Hilda for a visit in the winter.
"I'm sure it will be fine," Garnet assured her husband, who was getting tired of explaining things to all of their friends. "Uncle Cid has always been understanding, and Hilda always felt more pity for Kuja than anything else. Eiko may prove to be a handful, but she was very young when we went up against Kuja. She's a young woman now, and she might handle seeing him again a bit better than we expect."
"I don't know, Garnet…Kuja tried to extract the Eidolons from her, and he sent your own Eidolon to finish Alexandria off. She thinks of you as her big sister, so that's two major crimes he committed on top of the rest. You know how hot tempered she is."
Garnet smiled. "Yes, I do know that. I also know she was always a little fascinated by Kuja. She mentions him in her letters once in a while, did you know that?"
"Really? So, she's got a crush on him?"
"Hmm…I don't know for sure. I know she's always thought he was rather pretty, and she seems to be confused by her own admiration of his looks. I'm not sure if it's a crush or envy, to be honest with you."
Zidane laughed. "Leave it to Eiko to admire the wrong guy. So, she doesn't hold it against him, what happened to her people?"
"Well no…that wasn't even Kuja. That was Garland's work. The only thing Kuja has tried to do to her was try to take her Eidolons. I suppose that's quite enough, but as I said, Eiko has always been curious about him. I think she'd like to understand his motives more. Maybe she saw something in him the rest of us missed."
Zidane shrugged. "Could be. She's always been a receptive kid. Let's just hope it goes smoothly. I'm getting really tired of explaining why we've taken him in. Maybe we should have sent out Yule letters to everyone explaining it. You know, like Cid does every year. `Greetings from Alexandria! Hope you're all doing well! This year, we've taken in Gaia's most infamous villain! So, what have you all been up to?'"
Garnet laughed at that and hugged him. "Ah, but that would have raised more questions than explaining in detail would have, darling. Trust me, everything will be fine."
-To be continued