Drabble alert – classic example of unstructured, impulsive mind-vomit. Written because I can't believe I haven't already, and to insert a light-hearted break into my monotonous workload. Set in-game but don't ask about the time scale. Just accept that it's in-game somewhere. Reviews are appreciated. Enjoy!

Romantic Improvisation.
"The art of love is largely the art of persistence." – Albert Ellis

Act I

In truth, she was hard pushed remembering the whole thing even when he knocked on her door with a posy of flowers in one hand, wearing a clean shirt and an expression that said she really should have known better.


Naturally suspicious, she opened the door to accommodate only herself, and gave him a once over. She was certainly intrigued by his spotless shirt and the shine to his hair. Then her gaze drifted to the flowers in his hand, of a common sort and wilting already, and noticed their stems. With a tone both accusatory and curious, she asked, "Did you pick those flowers from the pots outside the inn?"

His startled gaze flicked to the clumps of dirt clinging with commendable tenacity to the roots of the flora and offered a bashful laugh. "It's called romantic improvisation."

"What do you want, Zidane?"

He flashed her a winning smile. "You owe me a date, remember?"

She stared at him flatly and he matched it with a guileless one.

Eventually, she said, "You're actually serious, aren't you?"

"A bet's a bet!" he beamed. "So are you ready?"

"I agreed to no such thing."

"Yes you did!"

She levelled him with another look. "I did not agree to anything remotely akin to a date with you or anyone else. It was you who invented the terms and you who imagined my agreement. In fact, if I recall correctly, you mistook me for another girl you'd accosted in Lindblum, then tried to con the bet onto poor Vivi, who ended up getting roped into the festival against his will anyway. So in short, you'll have to look elsewhere to slake your fancy. I'm sure that other girl would be more than happy to accommodate you."

"But I won…" Zidane bleated miserably, flowers sagging in his grip. "I washed my shirt and everything…"

"Goodnight, Zidane," was all she offered as she closed the door.

Act II

As expected, he tried his luck again, but in broad daylight and when there were important things to be done, which only ended up frustrating her more.

With her mind and eyes fixed on a list of items the group was in need of and harbouring the intent to hunt them down in the Business District alone, she didn't notice the leg blocking the inn's corridor until she walked into it. Zidane's foot was pressed against the wall opposite and he considered her while eating handfuls of biscuits from a tin.

"So how 'bout that date?" he casually inquired around a mouthful of mushy crumbs.

Garnet gave his leg a push. "Excuse me, please."

"Is that a no?"

"Zidane, we've got a lot to do before we depart and you're delaying me. Please don't do this right now."

"Later then?"


"Ah, I get it. You're buildin' up the anticipation, right?"

"I'm not finding this very funny."

"Lucky it's not a joke then."

"Zidane!" she barked, putting her hands on her hips. "You're being really annoying!"

He lowered the tin of biscuits, all wide-eyed and pouty. His leg dropped to the floor and he squeaked, "I'm annoying?"

She fought off a butterfly of guilt and breezed past him, but her conscience said, "You can come with me to get supplies, if you want."

"I don't consider stocking up on supplies a date."

"Good," she said. "Neither do I."


When the knock at the door came again Garnet didn't know whether she admired or scorned Zidane's persistence, but didn't dispute her feelings regarding his timing, as the clock had just struck ten. She had half the mind to ignore him, but thought that would be quite rude regardless of his intentions, so dragged herself out of bed and over to the door.

"What is it?" she asked around a yawn, then noticed the bunch of flowers. "Gardeners must scorn your existence, Zidane Tribal."

"I bought these, actually."

She threw him a frank appraisal.

"Well, when I say 'bought' I mean borrowed… on a permanent basis," he admitted. "But they did come from a store."

"It's late," she stated. "Can't you save it for tomorrow?"

"Late?" Zidane repeated. "It is not late, Dagger. That's lame. That's a lame excuse. That excuse just stinks of lame."

She waved him away, unfazed. "I really don't care. Please go and amuse yourself somewhere other than my doorway."

She shut the door but his thin attempt sidled between the woodwork regardless. "I'd rather you amused me inside your doorway!"

"Good night, Zidane."

Act IV

He must have assumed it was the door between them that was the problem, so skipped that inconvenient process altogether. Garnet had found it suspicious when he'd been the first to depart from the group that evening, as he was usually last to bed (and last to rise in the morning), but she still jumped out of her skin when he leapt out at her from behind the bathroom door.

"Aa-ah!" Garnet yelled, and Zidane doubled over laughing.

"Hahaha, sorry, I'm sorry! I couldn't resist! Hahaha!"

"Hilarious," Garnet gritted. "How did you get in here?"

Zidane straightened. "Picked the lock. Hey, aren't you sharing with Freya? Good job you came up first 'cause she would've kicked me out the frickin' window if I'd done that to her."

"I'm going to bed, Zidane."

"…Is that an invitation?"

"Please leave. I'm tired."

"It can be a bed date!"


"I'll keep my hands where you can see them at all times."

"Zidane, if you don't leave –"

"I'll even sit on top of the covers."

"I'm going to call Steiner."

"I'll even - Wha-? Why?"




Zidane jumped like a cat that's had its tail stepped on and pressed his hands over her mouth. "No, no, don't call Steiner!"

She spluttered and batted his hands away. "STEINER!"

"Okay, okay!" Zidane relented, backing out the room. "I'll go, okay? And look, I'll even get the door on the way out, see?"

The door shut and Garnet let out a sigh of relief.

"But I'm not giving up," Zidane added as he poked his head back in, and barely missed getting hit on the head by a pillow.

Act V

"What would you consider to be a date, anyway?" he asked out of the blue a week later, as if they'd been speaking of it for hours.

She almost withered on the spot, not believing he was touching upon that subject again, here, now.

"Not in front of Vivi," she craftily diverted, and the little mage blinked obliviously at her.

Zidane cut through an overhanging branch, then paused briefly to wipe sweat from his brow; clearing foliage was tough work, but apparently not tough enough to cease his chattering. "It's just girls have different opinions on what classifies as a date," he mused, ignoring her warning completely.

"I don't care."

"You didn't seem keen on the flowers, so I'm guessing you're not a traditional girl."

"Those flowers could barely be called a bouquet."

"So you're fussy."

"I-I'm not!" she spluttered, indignant. "I just… I'm just not keen on cut flowers. They die quickly. I think it's a … waste."


"I like flowers," Vivi added to the conversation quietly. "I like daisies the best."

Garnet smiled affectionately at the mage. "Maybe you should be giving Vivi flowers, Zidane."

The genome muttered something unintelligible under his breath as he sliced through a tangle of vines. She chose not to venture after what he said, but felt she should offer something of an explanation. "Princesses aren't allowed to… date."

Zidane glanced over his shoulder. "Oh yeah?"

She picked her way through the undergrowth to avoid his stare. "We can be courted by other members of nobility or royalty, which usually is an impersonal affair. They send lavish gifts to portray their own wealth and stature, rather than to impress the individual. Once, I received six cages of brightly coloured finches. I couldn't have thought of a more unsuitable present for someone like me if I tried. I let them all go, anyway."

"Damn," Zidane said. "Now what am I gonna do with the six cages of birds I bought?"

"…I hope that's a joke."

He threw a crooked smirk over his shoulder. "Where the hell would I get six cages of birds from?"

"You're full of surprises."

"True. But conjuring birds out of my ass is a talent I've yet to accomplish."

She chose not to comment, and thankfully neither did Vivi.

Act VI

When things went from bad to worse, then to just plain ridiculous, and everything Garnet and Zidane had comprehended beforehand lay in the ruined landscape of incomprehensibility, and all they had left to grasp at were their own morals and instincts, she found she really had forgotten all about her debt until she discovered him in a state of moody reflection.

He'd had it rough the past few days, to put it lightly, and every now and again the strain of numerous personal revelations would show through the cracks in his chirpier exterior, one she had unintentionally learned to dissect during their journey, so now she could tell his emotions were bleak, even in the stuttering flames of an untended campfire.

She didn't really know what to say to him; she couldn't make it better and she couldn't make it go away. But she couldn't leave him sitting alone in the terrible night with only his thoughts and daggers for company. The least she could do was lend him some cheer, though even that was so hard to come by in her hardened heart.

She walked past him and into the darkness, diverting his question and acknowledging his word of caution, though she encountered no trouble so close to camp; this late perhaps even the fiends were snoozing. Once returned, she rummaged through their supplies and came up with what she needed to initiate her vague plan, then sat next to him by the fire.

"Uh… it's my watch," he reminded her with a baffled frown. "What are you doin' up so late anyways. Dagger?"

She put between them a chipped, clay mug and a parcel of bread, and in the mug she propped a posy of wildflowers freshly cut from the outskirts of their little camp. She tore the bread in half and shared it between them. Apologetically she said, "Sorry there's no wine."

He stared at the set up with an entirely baffled expression, then realisation dawned like a rising sun. He snorted a small 'Heh' and rolled his shoulders in a manner that might have been sheepish or grateful, and stared into the glowing embers of the fire with a small smile brightening his eyes.