Perceptions of Last Yesterday Chapter 2

Troubled Youth

By Malice Shaw

He loved to swim. Ask anyone who even remotely heard of him, and they'd tell you that he loved swimming. The fluid water lapping seductively at his skin, the pleasant, weightless feeling of floating and just staring into the skies above with an honest yearning. The power of being completely content with himself, completely soothed out in fluid clerity as he pushed against the liquid air to his arrival. That, with the enticing adrenaline that surged through your veins like hot coal oil that accompanied Blitzball, made swimming simply the best thing out there next to the game.

Except now swimming was getting extremely old.

"Auron! Are you there?!" Tidus shouted, his throat hoarse and dry. His arms and legs wavered on the brink of fatigue, the muscles laced with heat trying to climb out through his skin in the freezing water. He wasn't used to be alone, and it was making him uneasy. Carefully he swam towards the large Temple at the end of the seemingly unending river, and rested on the steps. Gazing down at his feet he breathed hard, his breath coming out in tiny white puffs of clouds as he cursed the ground he stood upon. "Damn you, Auron. The hell made you think that-HEY!"

The water around him became uncomfortably rumbled, splashing with out any disturbance to disrupt the evenly flowing ripples into massive, drowinging waves. Tsunamis flew up from the splashing liquid and grabbed him, pulling him in sharply before his numbed fingers could grip . Tidus choked down a large gulp of salt water and pushed himself down underneath the surface, glaring at the bottom floor. Inwardly, he slowed his heartbeat to accomidate the flowing water, and searched his surroundings, desperate to find a clue to his whereabouts. All his search found were useless rubble and scaled rocks, sharp enough to cut through skin. Shrugging in disappointment, Tidus climbed the waters once more and surfaced for air, breathing in sharply and began floating on his back, gazing up at the sky. The thoughts ran rampant through his head, and he snarled in disgust as he thought of his surrogate father. Auron had something to do with his displacement. He knew it.

"Your ass is mine, old man." Tidus growled as he dove back underwater towards an opening in the side wall. His whole body ached from being thrown about. Each movement in the water somewhat slowed the dull pain in his bones, but not by much. Pulling himself from the water, he shook off the excess liquid and stalked towards the middle of what seemed to be a worshipping ground. Statues of important people flourished all around him, in a circular motion, their shadows in the dim light frightening. Once again Tidus whined to no one in particular, angry at the shadows for ignoring him. "How could you let this happen..? I'm so hungry.. Can't eat nothin' but rocks and crap here.. Rocks suck."

Carefully he walked the chill in his bones off, stripping off his gloves and rubbing his forearms vigoriously. Stepping towards the middle of the room, he felt along the foor and found a busted pile of rubble and soaked wood, unusable for any form of fire. Endlessly he searched, fidning nothing but rotting wood and more decrepid rocks. Whimpering, he cried outwards, shouting until his lungs ran free of breath and his throat once again became dry. Falling to his knees he smashed a fist into the floor, bruising his knuckles as he continued to pound away at the broken rock, venting his frustrations out into the open air.

"Damn you Auron!" His voice echoed. "Damn you to hell! How could you do this to me!? You were my step-father! How.. How could you!"

The walls ignored him, instead opting to throw his words back into his face. Grunting in displeasure, Tidus threw himself down to his knees, and folding his legs underneath him. Thoughts of his demise ran through his head constantly, as the nipping cold bit at his flesh. As the tears welled up in his eyes, the feelings of anger and betrayal sifted through his body and he sighed, letting a tear slide down his cheek and into the collar of his jacket.

I'm going to die here. He thought, as the darkness took hold and he fell into a light slumber..

He dreamed of home, a day long ago. Of when after losing the first big game, he fretted over it, yet calling it nothing, denying the day. He had sat down on the couch, his knees yanked up to his chin to quell the tears that threatened to fall. Always the crybaby. Always.

You're gonna cry. A small, yet wise voice reigned.


"Did I say something unpleasant?" Auron's voice hinted at him. Tidus turned sharply, glaring hard at the cloaked figure. Auron ignored his glare and stepped infront of him, wary of the boys' eyes that followed his every move. "You lost today."

"Don't remind me."

"They lost because of you, boy." Auron grumbled, irritated with Tidus' stature. "Do you realize what today is?"

Tidus shrugged, twisting in his seat. "Anniversary of my dad's disappearance. So what?"

He gave the youth a troubled sigh, closing his one good eye. "You were thinking about it. That's why you lost. You team lost because of you."

"Look!" Tidus barked suddenly. Turning to face him, he bared his teeth and snarled "If you just came to tell me that, then don't. I know they lost because of me. All because of me. If that's all you have to say, than don't bother me."

Auron turned to look at him now, and Tidus was shocked at how aged he looked then, with the moonlight glistening off every chiseled line in his face. Sadness etched into his features, not contempt, as Tidus thought he held. "It's been ten years. I thought you'd be crying."

"Never." Tidus said low.

"Not even once."


You're lying. The small wisdom filled voice chanted. You cried.

A long silence between the men had begun, with only Tidus' shifting in his seat the only describable noise. It wasn't until Auron sat infront of him in the seat as far across the room as possible did the silence break, that he whispered "You're angry with me for marrying your mother, aren't you."

"Who me?"

You cried that day.

Tidus shuddered himself awake as a new warmth stunned him, calming the harrowing marrow in his bones. Sitting upwards, he gasped at the newly formed fire that had been created, along with the familiar floating Pyreflies of what once had to have been a massive beast, chilling him once more despite the heat. Pulling himself to his feet, he glanced around the shadowed room, seeing no one. The hair on the back of his neck stood up, prickling against his skin sinfully as he backed away carefully from the flames, whispering a silent prayer. He had enough instinct inside of himself to know that whomever, or whatever, had made the fire surely would not welcome his awakening.

Carefully, the fire began to die out, the embers glistening. Tidus felt cold, sullen, while gazing at the dying embers until a chilling voice from afar cried out in anger at the dissipitating blaze.

"Uv luinca! Oui tea zicd frah E haat oui sucd!" A female figure seemingly fell from the shadows, her fists balled knuckle white as she trampled to the fire. She was clad in what seemed like a swimmer's outfit, adorned in orange and black that clung harshly to her figure, constricting her to walk upright in what seemed like a painful stature. Her face was covered, only her flaxen hair long and free being the only particlement of unruly on her. All business, she seemed, as she stalked towards the glistening embers. Tidus hid in the remaining shadows, backing up against the wall as far back as he could, watching her. She kicked over the woodpile, sparks fluttering about a she cursed, until finally she calmed, murmering in her strange tongue as she pulled off her goggles. " Zicd mega ajanouha amca.."

"Um.. Hi!" Tidus said from his hidden position. Turning sharply, the girl stared at him, narrowing her emerald eyes dangerously. "Hey, no need to be afraid. Who are you? Did you make that fire..?"

"Fiend!" She shouted. Reaching to her hip she yanked out a long bladed dagger, thrusting it towards him vicariously. Tidus yelped and jumped back, holding up his hands in protest as she screamed. "Pakuha! Ku yfyo, un ouin cgeh femm pa so haf puudc!"

"Say what?" Tidus asked, a bi disturbed by the girl's shouts. "Boy, you talk funny. We're not in Zanarkand anymore, Fido."

The girl's eyes narrowed slightly, and she bared her teeth, once again thrusting the blade towards Tidus' body. "Zanarkand!? What do you know of Zanarkand?! How can you speak of that place?"

Tidus' eyes widened momentarily, and he peered at her. "You know about Zanarkand?" he asked, waving his arms above his head. "With the big buildings and stuff? And you can actually understand me?"

"Of course." The girl pulled hair our from it's constricting hairband, throwing it aside and shaking the platinum strands loose. "I guess oui are not a fiend after all."

"Urm.. We?"

Once again the girl frowned, her strange eyes slitting. "Oh. You are not Al Bhed are you? Well, 'oui' means 'you in Al Bhed.. Hey you're not an Al Bhed hater, are you?" She growled. "You mean I just fought off a fiend for an Al Bhed hater?"

"Err, that depends. What's an Al Bhed?"


"And a... Fiend?"

"Hmm." The girl shook her head slightly, pressing her fingers to her chin. "This is a shot in the dark here, but did you happen to get anywhere near Sin?"

"Sin!" Tidus screamed. He dropped to his knees and pounded the ground, stifled curses from his lips. "That.. thing destroyed my home! Annihilated Zanarkand! Killed so many of my friends! How.. How.." He brought himself to his knees and grunted, pressing his hands to his chest. "How the hell can you be so damned calm!?"

The girl narrowed her eyes again, glaring at him. "Sin has been around for a thousand years, since Zanarkand became rubble." She insisted. "But maybe you've gotten too close to it's Toxin. Made your head all funny."

"Whatever." He stepped up next to her and extended a tired hand, his shoulders sagging. "I'm Tidus. Who're you?"

"Rikku." She said curtly, ignoring his hand. She called for him to follow her as they walked out of the shambled remains of the Temple structure, with Tidus slipping a bit on his steps only to recieve an angry glare from Rikku's swirling eyes. Together they climbed the rubble and swam upwards, pulling one another ontop a large vessel of a ship with no name written on it's side.Tidus groaned, stretching his arms over his head as his muscles ached pleasurably, and his stomach grumbled noisily.

"Damn.. so hungry." He growled. Rikku nodded her head and left him for a moment, retrieving an already made dish of food. Gingerly, she handed it to him, and Tidus proceeded to choke it down, grasping at her hip for her bottle of liquid, taking a large swig before handing it back to her. "T-Thanks."

"Don't eat to fast." She curtly replied. "It'll give you heartburn. Or something."

"Well aren't you miss ray of sunshine." Tidus glanced around them, the ship shaking with each crashing wave. "So where are we?"

"We finished ransacking the ruins below us." Rikku replied. "And worked out what we can use. Doesn't matter, since we went to the Baaj Temple to rest, and apparently found you, so-"

Her words were cut off by a loud, shrill scream of one of her own breathren. Rikku turned sharply, and gasped as her eyes laid upon a large, whale like creature, it's many eyes darting towards them. Tidus shouted unheard words as it's lengthy thick fin smashing into the side of the vessel. More screams in Al Bhed, as Rikku stumbled herself towards a male version of herself; a tall, lanky blond man who had yet to have removed his own goggles. In her native tongue barked orders to him and fervently he nodded, shoving himself past her towards the abolishing creature, shouting "Sin! Sin!" as it thrashed about. The mammoth being let loose with a deafening moan, and the Al Bhed fell, clutching their ears in misery as their shattering cries filled the air. Strangly enough Tidus felt nothing, save for the usual chill down his spine at the sound as his rage dissipated into a sorrowful wail.

"Why?" He asked to no one in particular, gazing up at the monster before him with it's multitude of twinkling eyes. "Why..Why did you destroy my home? My life..?"

With what seemed to be a sorrowful cry Sin smashed it's large fin once again into the side of the boat, causing a massive dent in the exterior. Lunging forward, Tidus screamed and fell over the railing of the ship, oblivious to anything but his own rage. He did not see the dull metal interior poking through the ship's hull before his head smashed into his painfully, and he was thrown into reluctant darkness.


If I had known then what I had known now, I wonder, what would I have done?

Jecht was always a strange, strange folley of a man. I was confronted by his suburdinate ignorance as we packed to leave. He bundled from our reserved rooms, many things packed into large bags that would be torture to carry loaded up in his arms, strapped to his body, the workings of a madman going on his his eyes. Plunking his cases down, he pulled out what I recognized almost immediately as a picture sphere, using it to record the images of our encounter here. I was angry at first. Did he think this was some sort of intrepid vacation? When I confronted him, he simply gave me a scornful, arrogant smile and laughed.

"Well you said it was gonna be a long trip." He laughed once more, sounding choked up at the same time. :I might as well get some pictures of some interesting things, right? Something to show the wife and kid back home. Gotta prove to 'em that I didn't just loaf off."

"I assume, that in your former life you were a.. 'loaf off' as you put it." I replied curtly. I still did not like this man. He reaked of arrogance and spored irritating vibes. I sincerally disliked him. Intensly.

He ignored my bitter statement, flashing me a sarcastic grin before turning to our Lord Braska. "Hey, Braska!" He shouted, and I flinched at the lack of repect in his voice. "Ain't this supposed to be some sort uhh.. Like, grand occasion or something? Where's the crying and screaming fans? The horde of women falling at our feet?"

Lord Braksa pressed his lips together in a stern line, his polite demeanor flailing. "This is it." He said, his voice still calm. "This is it. Too many good byes, and one would think again over leaving. I cannot afford to do that."

The sullen, dirty man actually laughed then, literally throwing back his head and laughed, his slack jaw open in a wide guffaw. "Sure, sure! Whatever you say, Braska. But this place had better be a hell o a lot more colorful when we get back. And I mean, hordes of fan, crawling at our feet! Parades, parties, fireworks, the works! Hell, even a Blitzball stadium, in my name!"

"You are not the one who will vanquish Sin!" I barked at him, pleased at the dumbfounded look on his face. "You are not the one who is going to lose his li-"

"Auron!" Braska's voice shouted at me. I turned to face the Summoner, my stance a bit taken aback by his ferocious additude towards me. "Cease and desist, Auron." he said, in his much more calmer sense that I had grown accustomed too. "Please. He is a man of Zanarkand. He does not know the traditions of Spira. Give him some time to learn of us."

"Yeah, Auron..." Gravel against a chalking board, his voice was. Grating.. "Give me some time, will ya?"

That one phrase from him had been the most kind thing from his lips I had heard since I met him, and I let a bit of my resolve falter. Breathing in a sigh, I pointed outwards, informing Braska and Jecht that soon, day would break and we must depart. As we began down our path, I felt a burly hand upon my shoulder, and I cast a gaze backwards to bee Jecht's pursed smile in my face.

"Auron." He began, a bit afraid sounding. "I'm sorry.. But-But thanks anyhow."

I felt for this man then. I truely felt for him. He did not have the luxury I had; the luxury of knowing one's homeland like the back of their hand. No. This wasn't his home, and although I could never say it, I did not think he would ever see his own home again.

"It is.. Alright, Jecht." I said back to him, giving him an encouraging nod. With that, Jecht grinned once more and tranmpled past me, jovial once again but I saw through his act. The man was afraid, for he had the same thoughts as mine. He did not know if he could get home again.

I wish I could say that I would have done something differently. Some how, changed the past, change it in some way to make sure, that some how, in some possible extreme that I would have reacted and proceeed differently. But I can not.

Now, though, with only a glimmer of hope on my horizon I have one last, final chance to make things right.

...End Interlude~+~

"Hey, you alive?"

The only sound aside from crashing waves of the ocean that he heard. A voice, calling out to him, asking about his status. Tidus opened his eyes and was greeted with a faceful of sand, a small gust of a breeze and a mouthful of the dirt that cusioned his body. Raising to his arms, he groaned, pulling himself over and over until finally he rested on his back, spitting out sand and letting it drizzle down the side of his mouth. The man who had made the sound leaned over him, staring quizzcally over his features as his crimson colored hair fell over his furrowed eye brows.

"Ah, you are alive, ya?" He said, a smirk forming on his lips. He then turned behind him and waved towards his comrades, whom tidus saw were bouncing balls over and under their foreheads, kicking them absentmindedly, and dropping them as if they were stones. "Hey! This ain't no cadaver, ya? He's alive!"

At the sound of the man's calls, the group cheered, dropping their balls and walking towards them eagerly. One of them, with a pony tail and dark hair reached downwards to help him arise, and Tidus took his hand greatfully, pulling himself to his feet. The man gave him a kind smile, and shyly backed away at the urgings of whom tidus figured to be their leader, as they all seemed to follow his every notion.

"Thought you were a goner there, brudda." The red haired man grinned. He thrust out a hand towards him, smirking. "The name's Wakka, ya? I play for the Besaid Aurochs." He pointed towards the other men, who had resumed playing. "How you end up here?"

"Besaid Aurochs?" Tidus asked, ignoring Wakka's latter question. "What's that?"

Wakka gave him a confused look, and pointed to the other men. "Uh, we're that, ya? Blitzball. C'mon, you've heard of Blitz, aintcha?"

With a joyful shout, tidus lunged towards one of the players, snatching the ball from his hands. "Of course I've heard of Blitz!" He shouted, bouncing the ball on his head. "I'm the star player of the Zanarkand Abes!" With that, he bounced the ball on his head once more, and then steadied it evenly. "Man, finally, something that I... know?"

Out of the corner of his eye he watched them, their smiles fading from their faces one by one. Carefully, he let the ball slide down his face to his chest, and then to his hands, where he held it completely still. The men had begun to crowd around eachother then, whispering amongst one another in voices too low for Tidus to hear. After a few moments Wakka came foreward, a sheepish yet fearful smile on his face. He stretched his arms out gave a nervous chuckle, motioning for his friends to stay silent. "Yo man." He began, glancing around his surroundings. "We don't.. Well.. you say Zanarkand right?"

"Well.. yeah." Tidus began to finger the ball, a nervous habit. Some way, he knew he was not going to like what Wakka had to say.

'Y'see, brudda." He began, resting an arm around Tidus' shoulders. "Dunno what you hit your head on, but Zanarkand was destroyed a thousand years ago. By Sin, ya? Those Zanarkands, they used Machina. It went against all the teachings of Yevon, an' of course, Sin came and destroyed them. Machina made them lazy y'see? People played all day and let the Machina do all the damned work." Wakka spat out the word as if it were a curse. "Machina. Damn those Al Bhed."

Tidus ignored his last remark, forwning slightly as he began boucning the ball on his head once more. Zanarkand, in ruins? he thought to himself as the ball slapped against his forehead with an audible smacking sound. My home.. Dead a thousand years ago.. can't be true. Sin destroyed it, but the city can rebuild itself, right? With that he gave the ball one last smashing hit, and it flew high into the clear blue sky, a bird swerving sharply to avoid it. As it fell, crashing towards the ground tidus pushed his body upwards, twisting around to slam the steel toe of his boot sharply into the side, smashing the ball forward and over the sand dunes of Besaid beach. A flurry of gasps from his audience and he turned around, an arrogance filled grin plastered on his features. "Eh? Whatcha think of that huh?"

"Ya, never seen those moved before!" Wakka sniggered. Stepping towards Tidus, he threw the younger man into a headlock, playfully shaking him about. "Ya know, you should come play with us in Luca ya? You no amateur. Someone'll recognize your moves out there."

"But I said.. Nevermind." Tidus sighed, gazing to the floor. they wouldn't believe him about Zanarkand anyway. A loud rumbling erupted, and he looked to his belly, noticing that was where the rumbling formed. "Man, know where I can get some food?"

Wakka gave him a curious look and nodded, ushering him towards a sandy path. Together they spoke, of nothing but eachother, with Wakka doing most of the talking. In a short period of time Tidus learned from Wakka's words about how he was the Captain of the team he called the Besaid Aurochs, and that he had been captain for a very long time. Blitzball was an ultimately popular sport, and soon he felt a bit more comfortable in the Captain's presense, a bit pleased. Soon enough they came upon a small village structure, far before the technologies Tidus was used to. The houses were tents, covered in sheets of lovely pastel material with small vented fireplaces, while the town seemed lively it also seemed calm, virile, and full of vegetation that he himself had never been trust into. Tidus leaned down towards a plant, feeling the soft petal like leaves in between his fingers. Vegetation rarely grew in Zanarkand, unless nurished by a kind hand. This was new to him, different, and some how he liked it.

"Hey!" Wakka shouted at him, a slight mock in his voice. "What, you like plants or somethin'?"

"Huh? Oh, no." Tidus smiled. "Plants rarely grow where I'm from."

"Which is Zanarkand, ya?" Wakka shook his head slowly, leading him away. "Man, you're still nuts. Sin's Toxin do some crazy stuff."

Tidus gave him a curt nod, frowning slightly. "So you've been blitzing since you were five?"

Wakka opened his mouth to speak after a hesitant pause when suddenly two other men came up to them, their bodies strict and bold. The older of the two gave Wakka a grim smile, and bowed, folding his arms infront of him and bending his head. "Captain Wakka." He said. "Good to see you, but be careful. Fiends still inhabit this road."

"Yeah!" The younger one chimed in. "We're gonna go out and clear the way, but from behind us it should be safe."

"Ya?" Wakka smirked. Pushing tidus ahead, he pointed to each man, and explained their formal presense. "They be Luzzu and Gatta, brudda. Crusaders. Don't tell me you even forgot that one."

"I errr..."

"Crusaders.." Luzzu began, interrupting him. "Defeat the Fiends on the roads for others to have a safe trip on the grounds. I assure you, we try our best at any time we can, so the rest of your trip to Besaid should be much more safe. Please, do carry on."

Both men walked past them, with the younger of the two unusually happy. Tidus gave them a weary gaze and shook his head, staring at them as they walked on before Wakka's deep grovel interrupted his thoughts.

"Luzzu and Gatta, they be brothers." He began, the faintest hint of a smile on his lips. "They were 'sposed to be the best men at my brothers' wedding. Chappu died before it happened."

"Ouch.." Tidus cringed, giving Wakka a sorrow filled look. "I didn't know that. Right before his wedding?"

Wakka smiled grimly, rubbing one eye with his wrist. "Yeah. He woulda been alive if he wasn't betrayed."

"Betrayed?" Tidus questioned, tilting his head to the side. Wakka ignored him and continued walking, his steps heavy and cold after the initial confrontation with his feelings. Calmly he followed suit, admiring the old style houses with subtle awe. Never once did he think that such antiqued like places could be charming, and beautiful, yet welcoming all the same. He gave a sideways glance to Wakka and noticed the older man's demeanor had softened considerably, and a small smile perched on his lips. The friendly visit with whom Tidus thought of as the man's closest friends lightened Wakka's demeanor, and silently they hurried on, Tidus dropping any other questions and doubts he had in his mind of the Blitzball player beside him.

It was a long while before Wakka spoke again. They had come to his place of home, sitting down on his comfortable couchs until Wakka had noticed the fatigue depressing in the young man's eyes. "You tired, ya?" He questioned, and recieved a nod from the shaggy blond head. "Then you sleep. No worries, I'll wake ya when it's time, okay?"

"Time?" Tidus whispered, as his eye lids grew heavier until they encased his senses in darkness, and drifted his weary body into a well deserved sleep.


I never expected my life to be this way.

Who was I, a Monk, to ever deem myself above another the way I had with Jecht?

We were in Luca, preparing for battle after our ship left. The games of the Blitzballers had begun, and even though the sport itself never excited me, it seemed to please Jecht incredibly so. He whooped with joy, dancing around like an infant child, swooning over the excitement that brought me nothing but discomfort. A part of me envied his spirit, his joy in such a simple matter of throwing a ball across a water laden dome. He took one of our recording spheres and recorded every living moment, throwing me one and commanding me to do the same. I placed the sphere back into our traveling bag, reluctant to deem myself a tourist, and stepped towards the man I disliked, and frowned, remembering words not too long ago he shared with me.

"You got that last match, right Auron?" He barked at me. I nearly twisted my blade in his throat then and there.

"No." I said back to him evenly. Jecht turned his body to me, his face a combination of anger and disappointment, and I pondered whether he would strike me down then and there. "I have no idea why you would want me too." I hastily explained. "You have Blitzball in Zanarkand, do you not? Why not record them there once you return?"

"It ain't for me." He said, his voice tersing again. "It's for my kid. My kid, he plays ya know? Or tries to."

"Your son plays this game?" I mumbled, motioning to the wide blue screen. "Blitzball?"

Jecht merely grunted in reply, setting his sphere to the floor. "He tries to. Like I said, he wants to beat his ol' man, me. It's pathetic, actually, but I admire the kid for his gumption. One time, I told 'im, 'Give it up, willya? No one can beat me at this game!' and ya know what that brat did?"

"What, pray tell, did the child do?" Braska's voice rang in our ears as he stepped up to us. His formal robing had been undone, and now hung slack on his shoulder. The heat wave of Luca descended upon us and warmed his flesh as well, I noticed, Even a great Summoner as he is not immune to the weather, I mused to myself.

Quietly he gave a small smile to Jecht, his eyes twinkling with intrest. "Your son did...?"

"He ran away for hours! We couldn't find him for a long time." Jecht pressed a finger or two against his chin and laughed, the memory of tormenting his child obviously humorous to him. "When we found him, he was kickin' around an old blitzball, and laughing for some reason. When he saw me, he just stopped though, and stared, and then crossed his scrawny arms, refusin' to talk to me. Was that way for a whole week!"

Braska smiled warmly, and quietly shook his head. "Children show their emotion in different ways. Maybe now, he regrets that."

"Naw, my kid'll probably be sitting on his rear end, crying it off like he always did." The gruff man sniffled then, and I turned away, unclear at this newfound humanity in the man known as Jecht. "I hope he got bigger. Put on some muscle.. Shit."

I looked back at him, and saw a sight that surprised me. He had buried his face in his hands and began to sob uncontrollably, his body shaking in tremors that could rival an erupting volcano's wrath. My lips pressed tight enough to give my own body tremors, as Braska laid a comforting palm upon the man's shoulder, and brought him into a comforting embrace. I watched them, for a few subtle moments before I looked to the ground and realized the recording sphere was left out, capturing each touching moment within it's rights. Hurriedly I reached down to shut the machine off, but not before Jecht noticed my ministrations, and once again transformed back into the roughened exterior of the man I had come to believe him to be.

"Turn that damned thing off!" He shouted, thrashing about at me while I shoved it deeper into our travel bag. "Damn it, I'm not a bawl baby!"

"No one claims you to be." I said, a bit disheartened that the touching moment had ended.

"Yeah, well.. I miss my kid, okay!?" Jecht ran a hand through his mussed hair, shutting his eyes. "I miss him. I miss my life. I just.."

He didn't go on, and I did not force him to.

I knew then that there was much more to learn about the man we knew as Jecht, than we could ever have possibly known.

~+~End Interlude..

Wakka's loud voice intereferred with his dreamless sleep. Tidus stirred quietly, rustling slightly, as he listened to the older man speak, his voice once again regaining it's serious composure from before. Fatigue nearly grasped him again until he felt a strong hand upon his shoulder, shaking him awake. Wakka loomed over him, a wide grin plastered against his cheeks as he motioned for Tidus to rise.

"Come on." He ordered, pointing outside. "We're gonna go wait for the summoner. Been a while, since she been in there, but hey, these things take time."

Summoner? Tidus thought Where have I heard that word before? He shook the thought from his head and walked on, continuing behind Wakka as they neared a large, stone chapel, some how illuminated by an unsen radience from within. As soon as they stepped inside, the doors shut tightly behind them, as if sensing their presense. Tidus yelped at the sound, stumbling slightly in his steps while the monks around them gave him harsh looks for disturbing their induced peace, and lit another torch otop of a large statue that resided in the far end of the round room. The scent of incense and burning wax wafted into his nostrils, and he breathed in the scent heavily, his body relaxing calmly in the dimly lit room. Suddenly feeling curious, he let his feet travel himself around the room, pressing his fingers against this and that, admiring the delicate yet splendid carvings and paintings that nourished the room's calming tastes, and soon his steps pressed him upwards, towards the stairs, where he was immediately halted by a guarding monk, his face twisted into a sordid look.

"Don't go in there!" Wakka shouted from his position near the entrane. "That's sacred grounds you're stumbling to!"

"Oh." Tidus said back, twisting around to give Wakka a better look. "So what do we do now?"

Wakka shrugged. "We wait for the summoner of course. She been in there for a long time now, almost a day and a half. 'Course, not that I give a crap about it."

"Is it dangerous in there?"

"Not enough."


Wakka gave Tidus a cold stare, his lip twitching slightly in controlled anger. "I said, not enough. I don't care if that woman lives or dies, ya? After what she did.."

"Whoa, wait, the summoner is an actual person?" Tidus' face cringed, and he gave another look back at the door. "And it's dangerous in there? What if something happened to her?! We gotta go help her!"

Against the protests of Wakka, Tidus grabbed the robed monk by his lapels and threw him aside, pushing the heavy framed doors open and disappearing inside. Sighing to himself, and stiffling a curse, Wakka soon followed forth, stepping over the chanting monk who lay crippled upon the staircase. He saw the fast paced moving body of the younger man running, running through the complete Cloister of trials and finally was able to catch up to him, eaching him before he entered the final bronze doors.

"Dunno what's gotten into you." He panted, kneeling down to grasp his knees. "But that was a bad thing you did."

"Tidus scoffed. "Yeah, well I don't believe in sacrificing a human life for pure enjoyment."

"It ain't enjoyment, it's life, man." Pressing his hands against the door, Wakka paused, then turned to cast a long gaze at Tidus. "Now there's a few things you gotta know before we go, aiight?"

"Fine." Tidus crossed his arms over his chest, frowning. "What is it?"

"Usually, only summoners, guardians, and practicioners can come through here." He jammed a finger to himself. "Me, I'm a guardian, but not for the Summoner, so I bent that rule a bit."

Tidus smirked, while Wakka continued on. "Now behind this door there's another Guardian, and she's like my little sister, ya? She's my sweetie. No one bothers her, and she's the one I guard. She ain't no summoner, but she's the one I'm guarding. No questions, ya?"

Numbly, tidus nodded, and waited for Wakka to press open the door. When he did just that, they both were welcomed by a flush warmth, an eerie glow, surrounding the small room. Sitting quietly, minding to herself was a plain beauty, with a beaded strand adorning her neck, and twisting downwards into the small curve of her breast, shiftling slightly over her collar bone. In her hands rested a small stuffed animal, which she lovingly stroked it's ears, and cooed to, before she carefully set it down on the ground and placed her palms in her blue skirted lap. Tidus took careful note to her stature, worried and yet fearless at once, the way she wrung her hands, twisting her fingers delicately. She wore an adorned skirt, stitched pink flowers on a vine trailing the edges that only heightened her olive toned palor, with her white, criss crossing bodice seemingly glowing in the dimmest of light. Feeling out of place, Tidus whispered something unintelligable, only to have her head snap up and her miss-matched eyes gaze at him, her tulip mouth open just a slight bit.

"Excuse me?" Her soft, monotone voice danced on the walls and in his ears. "But who are you?"

"Ahh he's some brain dead who thought it would be too dangerous for a Summoner." Wakka's toughened voice filled the air, as he walked through the doorway to stand beside Tidus. He leaned an arm against the door frame and grinned, watching the two young people with a glint in his eye. "So, what's been happening, Yuna?"

"She hasn't returned yet." Yuna looked down, crestfallen. "I'm scared Wakka."

The older man knelt beside her, pressing a hand into her shoulder. "She can handle it, girl."

"I know you wish she couldn't." Yuna cast a weary gaze up at Wakka, and then put her face down again.

"Hey, I don't wish anything that harms you, ya?" Wakka chirped, his voice unusually upbeat. "So we wait-"

Wakka was cut off by a large, echoing shrill scream that crowded into their ears. Tidus cringed, while Yuna grasped her ears. Wakka smirked silently to himself, crossing his arms over his chest, murmering underneath his breath words the others did not hear. Suddenly, the door slammed open, and there stood a tall, lanky woman adorned in black leather, sweat tearing down her face, dripping to her chin before falling to the floor in a deafening splash. Her head low, to the ground, she blinked back tears of agony as she clutched her body, and suddenly fell forward, caught only by the swift movements of Yuna. Throwing her hair out of her eyes, she brushed off her leather pants and coughed, looking up as her hair tumbled infront of her eyes. Long, silky black braids tumbled infront of her, falling before her torso as her mussed hair was sorted back into it's place. Raising lithe fingers to the young girl, she placed a soothing palm on her cheek, and Yuna nodded, motioning for Tidus to hand her the small, stuffed animal she had had in her lap. The woman in black motioned for her not to, and stared down at the small animal, and as if possessed, the moogle jumped to it's feet and did a small dance, before gingerly climbing up the steps to it's master.

"Lulu?" Yuna said, gazing at the woman with fear. "Are you okay? You were there for a long time.."

The woman smiled before she spoke, patting the animal's head gently as it lavished in her touch. "I've done it." She said, with a small, serene smile. "I've become a summoner."

With a forced smile, Yuna embraced the summoner, holding her close, and long enough so that she would not see the tears that fell from her eyes.

Final Fantasy 10 Fanfic