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Disclaimer: FFIX and its stuff is owned by Square. I am but a (not-so) humble fanfic writer. Sue my college going butt, and you won't get much. ^^;
Notes: I've had this story in my head for a while, and I decided to put it down in words. It gets weird, but don't most things? ^_^
Warning: This story contains excessive spoilers. Yeup.

The Wings of Rejects
By: Sforzie

I remember getting my first wings...

Some part of me had longed for a companion, something the computers called a 'pet'. I had expressed my desire to Garland, and he had found me a pet...

The Silver Dragon was small, based on what Garland said. It was one of the ones sleeping in the Iifa Tree. He called it a runt, and said that it wasn't worthy of protecting his tree. I think he gave it to me as some sort of twisted revenge for dumping Zidane on Gaia...

Silver Dragon may have been small, but to me she was huge. I was only thirteen, and still sort of short. Silver towered over me, her tarnished color gleaming strangely in the ever-present light of Terra. For the first moment, I was afraid that she was going to eat me--that this was some trick of Garland's...

But Garland had walked away, going back to his observatory. Silver made some deep purr in her throat, stepping forward. The water at her feet stirred as she approached me. I froze as she dipped her head at mine. Instead of biting my head off, she sniffed my hair carefully. I heard the purr again, and Silver nuzzled my chest with her snout.

I laughed softly--the sound at the time was new to me--and rested a hand between Silver Dragon's eyes.

"You're a reject like me, aren't you?" I whispered. Silver looked at me curiously, not understanding. In time, she would grow to understand my words...

 

We were inseparable, my pet and I. Silver Dragon didn't get any bigger, but I did eventually. Garland had no quarrels with me riding around on her back. I think he hoped I'd fall off.

Terra looked amazing from the air. The strange architecture of a dead civilization glimmered as we passed amongst it, hinting at lives gone past.

Even when no one else would, Silver was always willing to listen to me. I really think she understood me. The Genomes just stared blankly. Garland would roll his eyes. But Silver would purr and growl in response to what I said. I didn't have to poke or prod to get her to change course, I just had to ask.

Even as I plotted against Garland, Silver remained faithful. Much of my plans for Gaia's eidolons were formulated while laying in a daze on Silver's back.

Garland said I reeked of her, but I didn't care. We rejects had to stick together.

 

When Garland sent me to wreak havoc on the souls of Gaia, I insisted on taking Silver Dragon with me.

"What do you want with that wretched thing?" Garland had snapped in annoyance at my demand.

"She's not a wretched thing, she's my friend!" I had cried, hands balled into fists at my sides. Garland snorted.

"Fitting," he had said evenly.

"I won't go without her," I had said.

"You're going to go either way," Garland had snapped at me again. He had little patience for me. "I didn't create you so that you could sit around with your stupid pet and sulk."

"I know. You created me to look pretty and kill things while you got Zidane ready."

It always hurt when Garland backhanded me. The first time had been when he discovered that I had dropped his precious little Zidane on Gaia. He'd cracked a rib that time, but I'd recovered.

The pain was brief that last time. I had regained my footing, holding a delicate cheek in an even more delicate hand. My eyes stung more than my cheek did.

"I won't go without the Silver Dragon."

Garland had snarled something under his breath, his back turned.

"Fine, take the thing," he said. "But leave it there. I don't want it back on this planet."

I had been more than glad to free Silver from his grasp.

 

And so Silver Dragon was with me during my workings on Gaia. I did my best not to return to Terra. On the days when I was forced to remain on the Invincible, Silver snored peacefully from her usual resting spot on one of the peaks of the Forgotten Continent. I imagined, despite the hum of machinery surrounding me, that I could hear the familiar noise.

When I changed to my more grandiose style of dress, Silver had purred her approval of the silver wings I had added to the sleeves.

"Khehehe, you like those?" I laughed as Silver nodded. "Good, I added them so I won't forget you when we're apart."

Silver had nearly knocked me over as she nuzzled me. I burst out laughing at this.

"Ah, that tickles, Silver!"

Silver snorted against my stomach, her hot breath tickling the bared skin there. I fell against her, laughing loudly. The sound had echoed across the lonely landscape of the Forgotten continent. I had stopped after a while, still hugging my friend's head tightly. I looked up at the sky.

"I hate this planet," I muttered. Silver purred reassuringly.

"I hate having to be here. I hate these people. I hate having to hide my tail..."

Silver Dragon had done her best to comfort me while I cried under the alien sun. But something inside me continued to hurt.

I kept wondering why I clung to my soul so desperately, despite the fact that I continued to destroy it in the process.

 

Silver had never seen Zidane before. Burmecia was the first time. She hadn't seemed impressed. I didn't blame her.

The rain felt good. The Mist was okay, but it depressed me after a while. The rain reminded me that I was still alive. That my soul was still mine. That Silver was still mine.

Silver had stood quietly, her breath steaming in little snorts. I stood in the rain, looking down at Zidane. He didn't know who I was... even though we'd lived together for the first four years of his life.

'Garland did a good job on you,' I thought as I stared down at him, ignoring the agonized rat-girl at my feet. 'I should have killed you... but then Garland would have done more than backhand me. And he has Mikoto too, in case you don't come back...'

I sneered at him, but he didn't see me. 'Your time is soon, little brother.'

I shook my head as I turned away. The sneer left my lips as I approached Silver. She growled reassuringly, dipping down to let me board.

I looked at Zidane again as Silver lifted into the sky. I wanted to say something, but for the first time, I drew a blank.

Silver Dragon took me to Treno without me telling her to. She knew that was where I was headed.

 

Things progressed. Zidane, who I had managed to avoid for the better part of my life, continued to become a greater thorn in my side as time went on.

He was at the Iifa Tree. But so was Princess Garnet, that lovely little thing. And so was Silver Dragon. She saved my life, I had to admit, when Brahne sicced Bahamut on me.

I stood a few yards from her, facing the gigantic form of Bahamut. Gods, but that thing was ugly. I sidestepped closer to Silver as the Dragon King began to rage in front of me. I glanced at her, my left hand gesturing quickly for her to get ready to go. I noted her faint nod from the corner of my eye as I looked back at Bahamut.

I think I waited a second too long to start running for Silver. I don't remember ever clearing ground that fast before in my life. The air burned around me as I reached her. I had an arm covering my face, and my hands had grabbed blindly for the harness on her shoulders.

Silver took to the air as the flames surrounded us. She had lighted as soon as my fingers had found a slight hold on her. I nearly dislocated my shoulder getting onto her back.

I felt the sting of a small cut near my hairline. There was blood there, to my surprise.

"We cut that a little close," I whispered with a bemused smirk. Silver Dragon roared. "I know, it was my fault..."

She was steady in the sky as I claimed Bahamut for my own. Her devotion was unwavering. Even when I had ordered her closer to Brahne's fleet earlier, she simply did as she was told.

I gave a giddy laugh as Silver Dragon winged away from the destruction I had caused.

"What power, Silver," I laughed. "How delicious!"

Silver Dragon purred at this.

"No, I'm not hungry, silly..." There was another purr. "Oh, you're hungry? Well, I suppose we can take a break. You worked quite hard today."

 

We didn't get much more time together after that. There were the transports, yes, but our free time together vanished as I neared my goal.

I felt bad about leaving her behind on Gaia, but Garland had said that I had to.

I didn't know he'd use her to hurt me.

 

I don't know how he brought her back to Terra, but he did. He used her to fight against Zidane and his cohorts.

I had watched helplessly from the Invincible as they defeated her... as she dissipated into a million shards...

I wanted to cry. I wanted a moment to grieve for my best friend. For my Silver Dragon.

But there was no time... I had to make my move.

I would end up destroying the skies that I had shared with Silver Dragon, but...

 

Epilogue.

I remember getting my last wings...

I don't think I excepted to lose. I had no reason to think it.

The Iifa Tree played a cruel trick on me. Swallowing me whole, even after I took such pains to save Zidane and his friends.

I saved them even though they took my own friend from me.

But the one thing I feared most of all didn't happen.

I didn't lose my soul.

The sun bathed me in its warm light. Where was the Mist? It should have been choking out the light of the sun..

I opened my eyes, wondering what had happened.

At first I couldn't move, couldn't orientate myself. I was on top of the Iifa Tree, which had long since quieted in its violent reaction.

I tried to get to my feet, but couldn't. My arms wouldn't support me. My knees buckled as I tried to stand. My head felt heavy and off balance.

It was when I felt the counter-weight coming from my rear that I became alarmed.

"What the hell--" My words came out in a low shrill honk. My eyes flew open. I saw the truth.

My knees had buckled because I had tried to bend them backwards. My arms wouldn't support me because they were gone. And my head felt so heavy because it was perched at the top of a longer-than-normal neck...

And I had feathers...

I laughed weakly, the sound distorting as it passed through the black beak that was my mouth.

After a few tries I managed to stand. I tottered uncertainly toward a distant pool of water. My arms twitched as I neared--wings.

My reflection didn't startle me as much as I thought it would have.

I was a bird.

I wanted to smile, but the muscles didn't work right. I was a beautiful bird. Something like a white and violet egret. I laughed at my reflection, loving the strange new noise. It looked almost as if someone had painted this bird form to look like I last had as a human...

I laughed again, spreading my wings.

I had won, in a way. My soul was still my own, even if my form wasn't. I laughed until my throat was raw, delighting in the racket I caused over the still landscape. I had won. I had won. I had won...

I beat my wings against the air, teetering on slender black legs. I moved in a silly victory dance that I would have never allowed myself before.

I wanted to fly. Retake the skies like I once had with my best friend.

Maybe I would find her somewhere...

----

end