Chapter 19: Gold, Part I

Status: Finished  |  Genre: Fantasy  |  House: Booksie Classic

Reads: 470

Color pulsed out from under Zidane's feet, spreading across the white, and curving upward as if a dome was being painted. The green grass turned to blue sky, and as the arch of color finished high above him, Lance noticed that there were no clouds.

Trees sprouted around him, their trunks reaching upwards and blossoming branches, leaves that ended a few feet above Lance's head. When the forest was done forming, he found himself face-to-face with a tree.

An instinct called, and he reached up, plucking one of the leaves. The color changed at his touch, lilac bleeding into vibrant orange. Lance moved his thumb, sweeping it across the rough texture and feeling the leaf become smooth as it turned into that same orange shade.

"Reacts to body temperature," a voice similar to Zidane's said, speaking into his mind.

Lance turned, spotting nothing but rows of trees. He looked between them for a moment, and more than a few seconds passed before he noticed there was someone sitting against one of them. Curled in such a tight ball that Lance thought they were a rock at first. It would've been a rather strange rock, with the blue coloring of the long robe pooling around their feet, but then again this place was rather strange to begin with.

Lance took a small step forward, seeing the blonde hair. Long enough to cover their ears. He wondered if this child was indeed Zidane, but it seemed like they didn't have a tail.

The arms that were wrapped around knees tightened a little, and even though the sleeves covered their hands completely, Lance could see the way their fingers curled. Clawing against their legs as if they wanted to hurt themselves with the force of their grip.

Something made Lance look over his shoulder. A woman walked past him, dark, golden eyes never acknowledging his presence. Somehow, as she started towards the child, Lance knew that her eyes were only getting darker, becoming a near black.

Her long tail swished, and Lance caught focus of the different markings decorating it. Leopard-like spots that were a lighter color than the main golden-tan of the limb.

Lance thought back, remembering Zidane's tail. His was absolutely plain, no markings at all.

The woman stopped in front of the huddled figure, and he sensed those golden eyes brighten a bit. Becoming a medium shade. With careful, cautious movements, she got down on one knee, golden robe folding over itself and covering the grass below. She moved her other knee, resting on both of them. And with a steady, slow hand, she reached out, speaking only one word.


The child didn't move. Her fingertips touched their small shoulder, resting for a single moment before spreading out. Placing her palm against them. There was love in that gesture; Lance felt the waves of care in the way her hand had moved. It nearly triggered memories for him; being in a hospital, seeing everyone for the last time...

He forced the feelings and the images away, training his focus onto the woman's voice as she spoke again, light words ringing out into the silence of the forest.

"Come, Nachi. It's time."

The child finally moved. Their head shifted upwards, the bangs that had been resting against folded knees swinging downwards. Momentarily covering near-black eyes. The child looked up, meeting the woman's gaze. Lance sensed her smile, and he saw the child's eyes become tinted with blue.

The woman moved her hand from his shoulder, tending to the hair partially covering the child's eyes. Sweeping it over to one side, exposing navy blue eyes completely.

Lance recognized the feeling those eyes brought him. A familiarity that he couldn't place. He didn't want to admit this child was Zidane; the features of his face were much too frail, much too... Weak. There was no sign of the confidence he'd almost grown accustomed to seeing. And those eyes just got darker as the woman lowered her hand away from his brow, holding her palm out between them and silently offering her assistance. The child placed a sleeve-covered hand in the center of her palm, and the shape was visible through the folds of the cloth. Incredibly small. Almost doll-like in size.

He stood up, an air of resignation in the movements of his legs, the way his other hand barely lifted out to the side in hopes for balance. With her hand gently wrapping around his, enfolding those small fingers, the child stopped wobbling. His hand was held a bit tighter, squeezed in a quiet congratulations.

Lance watched them walk together, heading in his direction. He kept his stare on the kid, wondering why he was so incredibly short. At least three feet.

How old were you? he wondered, and as the child passed by, those dark eyes lifted to meet his. Brightening, giving him a smile all on their own. One that was way too familiar to be ignored.

Zidane laughed as passed by. "I was about five," he said, and the sound of his seventeen-year-old voice kept Lance from replying.

When Lance didn't move, didn't start walking behind them, Zidane turned around. The woman stopped walking, foot positioned to take another step. She froze completely, and Lance watched as Zidane beamed at him, frail features stretching a little wide.

"Yeah, probably pretty weird, huh?"

Lance almost wanted to tell him to stop talking like that because hearing that voice come out of such a small, weak-looking body was way too weird. He shook his head instead, running a hand through his hair, resting his eyes in closure.

"Yeah, it's pretty weird," he replied.

He was surprised to hear a laugh, the light sound making his eyes open again. His stare swept over to Zidane, seeing the crossbreed suddenly place hands in pockets of his robe—pockets that hadn't been there before.

"It'll make things easier," he began. "Hearing my voice like it is now will let you know which part of me is talking—past or present. Memories might get a little confusing, so I'll be explaining concepts that are probably pretty foreign, and I'll also answer any questions you might have along the way. Make sense?"

Lance nodded. "Yeah." He swept his stare over to the woman. "Is she...?"

Zidane returned his nod. "My mom," he said quietly. His eyes stayed dark. "Anything else you wanna ask?"

Submitted: November 15, 2019

© Copyright 2023 Meaghan Kalena. All rights reserved.


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