The sun crept up over the horizon, splashing colours across the sky and water. It was a lovely sight that went unnoticed by the lone figure sitting on the sand. She was still, legs folded under her, hands laid on her lap and her gaze looked past the ocean.
For a time life had become so simple in its complications. As the High Summoner who lived and brought the Eternal Calm there had been much to occupy Yuna's attention. It was easy to let old practices take over, to push aside her feelings and focus solely on what needed to be done. She would fulfil expectations and that was all.
Then the lull came - a private calm that wasn't so calm at all. Now she felt lost at sea, adrift in a world that gained so much and that lost more than anyone knew.
"Yuna." The quiet voice was enough to draw Yuna's attention and she looked back to see Lulu crossing the sand toward her.
She tried to smile and couldn't say if she succeeded. Lulu lowered herself to the sand beside her, a close and comforting presence.
"You've been rising before the sun."
"Habit from the journey… I suppose." Yuna averted her eyes as Lulu's gaze wandered over her face.
"You haven't been sleeping well," she observed.
"I… dream of them and… him." She struggled to keep her voice steady. "But they're only my dreams now."
Lulu wrapped an arm around her and she leaned into her.
"I was prepared. I think. We had hope, real hope." She shook her head. "And we still do. I know that; only I… wasn't prepared for their sacrifice. It's what they wanted. I know this."
"They are at rest now."
"They are…" Yuna said with a nod. "But T…" she sucked in a breath.
There were so many things she could say, so many other things she wanted to say instead. But it always came back to him, to the shadow of a touch and the fading of a dream.
"You don't have to hold it in, Yuna." Lulu's voice was calm and she pulled Yuna toward her.
It was too much. She shuddered as the sob worked its way out of her throat and she bowed her head against Lulu's shoulder. Lulu stroked her hair as she wept against her.
Since leaving Zanarkand she had held back. It was a time to rejoice, it was a time to rebuild. It was a time for peace. She needed to be present. She was relied upon. She could do it. She did do it. And yet on her return to Besaid she only found her foundations cracked and all she held back seeped through.
It came out now as she cried and trembled and clung to Lulu's sleeve against the depths that rose to consume her.
Lulu said nothing and only held her until she was able to finally catch her breath and wipe her eyes with a sniff. Yuna focused on the fabric of her dress, tracing the threads and patterns of the weave with her eyes, not able to look up just yet.
"I tried to be strong," she whispered.
Lulu gently tilted her chin up and wiped a tear from her cheek. "You are."
A breeze passed over them, cooled by the ocean, but tinged with the rising sun's warmth. Yuna breathed in and savored the scent of salt. She turned away from Lulu to lean against her and face the ocean.
"He's there," she said and lifted a hand to her heart. "He's here."
The ocean stretched out before her, vast yet welcoming. Spira now seemed a place both familiar and something new. A world not easily won, but now truly theirs all the same.
"I'm not sure I know who I am anymore. I don't know where my path will lead, but I will step forward. I will follow it."
"Not alone," said Lulu.
Yuna nodded. "Thank you Lulu… for everything."
She rested her head against Lulu, eyelids feeling heavy until the ocean's waves and the cries of gulls lulled her to sleep, and they remained there as the sun's warm rays wrapped around them to rest and awaken to a new beginning.