Chapter 11- Promises for the Future
" Yuna Lescing!!"
Everyone cheered, clapping for Yuna. Tidus walked forward, waiting patiently while Principal Mica pined the silver tiara on Yuna, handing her a scepter. Yuna faced Tidus, tears of happiness in her eyes, and the two embraced, earning more cheers.
A low, shrill scream cut short the cheering, and everyone stared in horror at Dona, who was screaming like a banshee. She knocked Principal Mica over, running off the stage and out of the ballroom, screaming the whole time.
There was complete silence as all watched the doors to the ballroom shut behind Dona.
After a moment, Tidus spoke. " That was weird."
Everyone laughed and the relaxed atmosphere returned to the room.
Yuna helped Mica up.
" Lead us in the first slow dance!" Someone yelled from the crowd.
Mica picked his microphone back. " I give you your King and Queen, leading us in our first slow dance of the night!"
A slow melody started up, and Tidus lead his Queen out to the dance floor. Students moved aside so that the couple had a small gap to dance around in.
Tidus twirled Yuna around, and she laughed.
" I didn't know you were such a good dancer." Tidus smiled at the complement.
" My mother taught me, when I was little . . ." He said softly.
"About that Tidus . . .I'm sorry me and mom weren't able to contact her spirit from the farplane. . ."
" It's okay, Yuna. . .I have something in my life now, to fill the void she left behind." Tidus looked around, noticing other couples filling into the dance floor.
Yuna looked up at him, making a face.
" You're saying I'm replacing your mom?" She teased.
" That's not what I meant and you know it." Tidus began tickling Yuna to punish her.
A huge projector screen came up on an empty white wall, and a slide show begin. All the couples turned to face it, still dancing slowly. Pictures of different people of the senior class flashed. A picture of the " In Crowd" and Yuna playing volleyball at Kilika beach flashed. Yuna smiled, remembering that day, her first group date. She couldn't forget about the undercurrent that the picture represented, it was during the "bet" arch in their relationship. But she could think about now without getting angry. She had forgiven Tidus. She caught Rikku's eye and grinned. The next few pictures were of people Yuna didn't know, and some of Dona and the cheerleaders. Where had Dona gone anyway? After she'd screamed, she' d just left the ballroom. Despite everything, Yuna hoped Dona found happiness, somehow. She was happy, and wanted everyone else to be as well. A picture of the big championship blitz ball came flashed, showing the whole team with Coach Auroch, posing with the championship trophy.
The next picture flashed, and at first everyone stared, in shock. Then Everyone began to laugh. Yuna covered her mouth in shock. The picture remained there. Another one didn't pop up. Was the machine broken or something?
Elsewhere, Dona heard the loud laugher coming from the ballroom. Leaving the balcony she had been crying on for the last 20 minutes, Dona smiled, wiping her eyes as she headed back into the ballroom. Finally, she'd get payback.
As she headed back in, searching for Yuna, students saw her, and began to laugh harder. Why were they looking at her and laughing? Her eyes scanned the crowd for a tiara and crown. Tidus and Yuna were staring at her, but they weren't laughing. They had what looked like pity on their faces. Frowning, Dona turned her attention towards the projector, a small path being made for her, students moving aside. The band abruptly stopped playing the slow melody they'd begun earlier.
The frozen picture on the projector was of her. But it wasn't of her with Tidus. A Technicolor replay of memory flashed through Dona's mind. It was the party at Bathello's house. When she had splashed her drink on Yuna. And Rikku had shoved her into the barf-infested pool. Dona had pulled herself out, covered in bile. She had seen a flash of light when she'd been pulling herself out, but hadn't thought much about it. Now she knew that someone had been taken a picture of her.
Dona stared at the huge picture of herself. Wet, hair in her face, bile hanging off her body. The laugher started up again. Dona stared around the room, Even her so called friends were pointing and laughing at her. Turning around, Dona ran towards the kid running the projector, who ran off upon seeing her charge after him. She unplugged the whole thing, then ran again, pushing her way out of the ballroom. She didn't see Barthello running after her.
" That was . . .wow." Tidus said, leading Yuna over to the refreshment table as the music started playing again.
Yuna accepted a cup of punch from Tidus.
" Yeah, wow . . .that was. . ."
" It was supposed to be you. " Gatta said, walking over towards the couple.
" She had some mean pictures she meant to show everyone of you and Tidus. I beat her to it though. She deserved it, she's a bitch." Gatta said happily, munching on some crackers on a plate.
" I don't know. She'd been cruel to me like forever, but I still cant but feel sorry for her." Yuna said softly.
" I noticed she was wearing that dress from the shop. . ." Tidus said scratching his head.
" Yeah, I notice that too."
" Come on, let's dance some more." Tidus pulled Yuna back towards the dance floor. "Hopefully, nothing else weird will happen tonight."
A few guys opened the double doors to the ballroom.
" Hey, something's going on outside!"
"Great." Tidus muttered, being pulled along as half the people in the ballroom ran out the doors to see what was going on.
Dodging heads blocking his way, Tidus moved forward a little in the parking lots, trying to see what was going on. He could see a police car, doors opened, parked on the side. What was going on? He couldn't see anybody, and he couldn't hear over the loud talking. Seeing Wakka towards the front of the mob, he made his way over.
" What's going on?" He asked, not seeing anything.
" I don't know. Somebody heard police sirens, but nobody knows what's going on. I don't think we were too loud, this hotel we're in is out in the middle of nowhere." Wakka pointed towards the side of the building.
From around a dark corner, two police officers came around, dragging along. . .Seymour? Tidus stepped forward slightly, shocked. Seymour was being dragged away in hand cuffs, a cop on either side of him, with an angry look on his face. " I wasn't gonna kill anybody. I was just, gonna make them pay . . .make em' all pay for everything they did to me . . .scare em a little." He yelled, struggling with the police.
He caught slight of Wakka and Tidus, who stared back at him opened mouthed.
" Congratulations Tidus." Seymour said sarcastically.
" Looks like you won the bet. But the cops confiscated my car, so I don't think I can hold up my end of the bargain."
He laughed, as the cops shoved him into the car, slamming the doors behind them.
The hotel owner shoved through the crowd, talking to the police officers. Some more officers came around the corner, carrying bags of what looked like gun power or something. Gatta ran over to take pictures, and was shoved out of the way by officers.
" What's going on out there?" Some people yelled from the crowd.
" What did Seymour try to do?" Wakka asked no one in particular.
Hotel clerks urged everyone back inside, and the band started playing again. Unwilling to let whatever Seymour tried to do ruin the night, everyone began to dance again, and eventually things got back to normal.
Yuna opened her eyes when the carriage stopped. She yawned, snuggling more into Tidus's chest.
" You're home now, Yuna." Tidus said, opening the carriage curtain so she could see her apartment.
" Oh. . .was I asleep the whole way home?" Yuna blushed, adjusting Tidus's shirt, were she had slept on for the last hour. Tidus laughed.
'It's okay; I mean we had a long night. Though I have to say you're the first girl to fall asleep on me."
Yuna stepped out of the carriage, Tidus following behind her.
" Tonight . . .wow. It was great. I mean, not about, certain stuff was okay. You know what I mean." Yuna said, thinking about Dona and Seymour.
Tidus nodded his head. " I was so proud of you. You really did well. I didn't think the night could go on smoothly anymore after whatever Seymour pulled." Tidus sighed, looking up at the sky.
" I can't believe he went of the handle like that. He's always been a loose cannon, but . . .gesh."
" Yeah. That was freaky. I wonder if anyone know what he tried to do." Yuna adjusted her tiara. " Mom's gonna when she sees my tiara!"
Yuna looked down, feeling awkward. Tidus felt it too. They still hadn't talked about their future. She didn't wanna bring it up now.
Tidus leaned in for a kiss, and Yuna wrapped her arms around him. After a little while, one of the chocobo's made an odd squeaking noise, and Yuna pulled apart from Tidus, laughing.
" Guess that mean's time's up." Yuna waved to the giant birds, who began to make more noise.
"Better get outta here before they wake up the neighbors."
" They already woke up Mom." Yuna gestured to the second story of the building. Through the window, they could see a video camera aimed at them. Yuna waved a fist at the camera.
Smiling, Tidus hugged Yuna one last time. He climbed back into the carriage, waving as he was carried away. Yuna waved back, the sadness returning. She headed back inside, locking the door behind her. They were gonna have to talk about things, and soon.
One week later. . .graduation day. . .Luca Convention Center. . .
" James Adams."
The announcer's voice rang loudly through the packed stadium. Tidus looked out through the crown, standing on stage. His name would be called in just a few minutes. He stared out over the sea of people. His classmates.
Tidus thought back to earlier in the morning. He was at home, had gotten all dressed in his silver cap and gown and headed downstairs. Rikku's mom, Sara, had taken his picture. Rikku had soon joined them, and the two had posed together for more pictures. Jecht hadn't come down stairs to see his son. It had bothered Tidus more than he cared to admit. Sara had given him an embarrassed look, saying that he was hung over from last night, as if that was an excuse.
He had support from his friends, from his step family. Having some support from his real family would have been nice, that was all.
Tidus looked out through the senior class, who sat in rows in front of the stage. He spotted Yuna, who smiled and gave him a thumbs up.
" Cindy Ajakon."
Tidus moved forward in the line, taking a deep breath. A strange feeling came over him suddenly, a warm, safe feeling. A strange scent wafted around him, a perfume.
Tidus tapped the guy in front of him.
" You smell that man?"
"Smell what? I'm nervous as it is, gimmie a break." The guy grumbled.
Tidus tried to shake the queer feeling off, but it only grew stronger. The perfume spelled like. . .no, he wasn't going down that road of disappointment again.
Suddenly, something caught his eye at the end of the stage, a woman standing next to the photographer. She only looked half there, as if fading away, and little lights danced around her. Her eyes were a deep blue, and she had blonde hair, just like Tidus's. The woman grinned brightly, and waved at Tidus. Tidus broke out into a large smile. His eyes searched for Yuna in the crowd. She nodded her understanding. She had seen her too. Turning back to the blonde woman, he waved to her, almost shyly. Finally, he had found her. And he could say goodbye.
The students surrounding him gave him funny looks, wondering what he was staring and waving at. Tidus was sure strange sometimes.
The woman gestured towards Yuna, winking at Tidus.
" Tidus Akard."
Barely hearing his name, Tidus quickly stumbled forward, not believing what was happening to him. He proudly took his walk across stage, waving, the cheers and claps deafening. Principal Mica handed him his diploma, and he posed for the picture. He stared back at the woman, who was know only a few feet away from him now. More of the strange lights. . .pyreflies, that's what Yuna called them.
More of them appeared, causing her to fade away more and more, until there was nothing left.
Tidus walked of stage in a daze, shaking lightly. He felt tears gather in his eyes, blinking then away. Through her image had faded away, he felt more closer to her now. He could finally put her spirit to rest. And he owed it all to Yuna.
Tidus patted and hugged people, taking pictures and pictures. The graduation ceremony was over with. School was over with. Wow.
" Come over here Akard!? Get a picture with the team, for old times sake!" Coach Auron motioned Tidus over, where the varsity blitz team was waiting. He laughed, running over to join them.
Posing for pictures, a kind of awkwardness drifted in the air.
" This is the last time we'll be together like this, you know?" Jumal said through a smile.
" It's also weird without Seymour, he was part of the team, even though he went all psycho on us." Zev said.
" What did he do prom night to get arrested anyway?" Wakka asked.
" He tried to burn the place down. I saw someone creeping around the place, and I called the cops." Barthello said, flexing his muscles.
" No way!" Tidus said, shocked.
" They didn't tell anyone, Didn't wanna bring done the mood of the prom. Telling everyone that your classmate tried to set you on fire, was kinda a party killer. Anyway, he claimed he wasn't gonna kill anyone, said it was a prank."
"That's enough." Coach Auron said. He walked over to Tidus. " Good luck in the future, son."
"Thanks coach!" Tidus said, his smile fading as he saw Jecht approaching him. Coach Auron walked away.
Tidus eyed his father for a few minutes when he stopped in front of him. Jecht sighed.
" I. . .came on time. . . well, a few minutes late. I saw you walk down. . ." Jecht stopped talking, scratching his head. Tidus sneered, turning to walk away.
" I just wanted to say. . .I'm proud of you." Jecht said to his son's back, who stopped walking away, tensing.
"Look. . .I know I'm a hard ass. . .but, I just wanted you to succeed. . .it's how my dad raised me. . .I'm sorry I spent most of your life being your coach instead of your father. . ."
Tidus turned back towards his father, stone faced.
"Look, I'm glad you're going to college. . .You seem. . .err, happy about it. Zanarkand's a good, a great choice. And I'm glad you found yourself a good, err, great girl. . .she reminds me a little of your ma, you know? She'd not afraid of me. . .and she makes you happy."
Tidus smiled back at his old man, who was avoiding eye contact. It was a weird way to apologize for years of being a jerk, but for Jecht Akard, it was a pretty good start. He walked over closer to his father, and the two shared a brief, awkward, strained, two second hug. Afterwards, both jerked apart, coughing and looking uncomfortable.
" Err. . .well then, I'm gonna go find Sara. . ." Jecht said, all but running away from his son.
" And I'm gonna find Yuna." Tidus said, pushing his way through the enormous crowd. Easier said then done.
"Sign my yearbook Yuna!!" A redhead yelled in Yuna's ear, to be heard over the loud talking.
" Um, ok." Yuna signed the yearbook, looking around for familiar faces. She was so happy!! She was now a graduate!
Seeing Lulu in her silver cap and gown, Yuna rushed over to her.
" Lulu!" The goth turned around smiling at Yuna, hugging her.
" Hi yourself."
" Nice to see you in something other than black. Glad I got my camera!"
Lulu rolled her eyes. "I'm over talking pictures already! But I'll give you one free one." Lulu posed while Yuna took a shot of her from her camera.
"So, what are your plans. Lulu? College? Straight to work?"
Yuna asked, handing Lulu her yearbook to sign.
" I don't know. I just want a simple life you know" House, kids. I just wanna practice my magic, have a simple husband."
" Really? That kinda surprises me. Well I hope you find him. We'll keep in touch with each other." Yuna said happily, taking her yearbook back from Lulu. She moved through the enormous crowd, spotting her mom, fighting her way over to her.
" Mom! Did you have a hard time finding a seat?" Yuna asked, hugging her mother.
" No, honey, I came early, I was smart. And I brought this!" Ariel waved her video camera in the air. Yuna shook her head, laughing.
" You go say goodbye to your classmates, I'll catch up with you later." Ariel moved through the crowd, and soon vanished in a sea of people. Someone tapped Yuna on the shoulder, and she turned around.
"What's going on girl ? Happy to be a graduate now or what!"
Yuna hugged the gossip monger, and the two exchanged yearbooks. Gatta flipped to a page.
"See this, this is you, Yuna, You and your honey." Gatta pointed towards a page with Senior Mosts written at the top. Above the most popular couple inscription, was a
picture of Tidus and Yuna, in computer science class, looking at a computer monitor together. It was then that Yuna began to cry. It was fitting for Gatta to use that picture. She and Tidus had some good times in that classroom. It was there that he had first touched her, there when he'd first asked her out. And there that he'd gotten his feet stuck under her chair, and she'd "fallen" for him, literally, for the first time.
" Why the tears girl, it's a good day!" Gatta said, pouting.
" I know, it's just. . .it's been such an incredible year. . .I'm gonna miss everybody so much."
" Oh, you'll be seeing me again. I got an internship at a huge tv station. I'll be reporting all over Spira!"
"That's great Gatta! I 'm so happy for you!" Yuna hugged Gatta one last time, before braving the crowd again, searching for Tidus. She saw Rikku in the distance, and waved to her. She'd catch up with her later. Someone tapped her on her arm. Yuna spun around, a smile on her face. She froze when she saw who it was.
Tidus spotted Yuna finally, and made his way over to her, his hand tired from signing yearbooks. He had so much he wanted to say to her. As he got closer, he noticed Dona standing next to her. Yevon. Couldn't the girl ever get the hint already?
He walked over quickly, protectively putting an arm around Yuna.
"Tidus, wait, before you get mad. . .I'm not here to pick a fight." Dona said, hands up in the air.
" I'm hear to apologize, to ah, explain myself a bit."
"Huh?" Both Yuna and Tidus gapped stupidly at Dona.
Dona lowered her eyes, tugging at her silver gown.
" When me and Tidus dated. . .he was nice to me, you know? He wasn't trying to get into my pants. He seemed actually interested in me. When I tried to sleep with him a couple of times, he refused."
Tidus colored slightly, and Yuna looked up at him, then back to Dona.
" I broke up with him because of that. I felt insulted. And then, I missed him, but he wouldn't go back out with me. I liked having a guy that cared about me, but I blew it. And then he started dating you, and well, you both know what happened after that. I got desperate. But after what happened at prom, I had to reevaluate my life. My friend have abandoned me. They weren't my real friends. I worked so hard being popular, and now school is over, and what does my popularity mean now?"
Dona colored slightly, looking very uncomfortable.
" Anyway, after I ran off at prom, after that picture of me surfaced, Barthello came to me, offered me a drink. He was nice to me. He always has been. He didn't care that I'd been humiliated. He was what I was looking for all this time. A guy to care about me, to like me, for more than my body. . ." Dona looked over to the side, where Barthello was talking with some people.
" He may not have movie star good looks, but he's not a jerk, he's not taken by somebody else, and he likes me."
Dona smiled at them, a real smile, not a snarl, or a catty smirk. She was actually happy.
" So, I'm sorry. I know we're not gonna be best friends or anything, but I just wanted you to know, I'm out of your hair now. And also, I knew Seymour planned something, but I didn't know he was that messed up." She looked awkwardly at Tidus, who smiled at her, nodding his head.
" I'm glad you're happy Dona."
" Me too." Yuna said, wrapping her arm around Tidus's, unable yet to shake old habits. Dona nodded, then walked away, to join Barthello.
Yuna faced Tidus. " Did you buy that?" Tidus asked.
" I don't know. Maybe she means it, for now anyway. I still
don't trust her. But she'd in our past now."
Tidus hugged Yuna, then let go.
"Will you sign my yearbook, Miss Yuna?" He said, in his best dorky voice.
" Sure, only if you'll sign mine." She laughed, and the two exchanged yearbooks, Yuna signed her name on the front page, planting a kiss next to her name.
She looked up at Tidus, who was watching her with stars in his eyes.
" I saw her Yuna. . .up there. . .I had been searching for a way to see her, for so long. And it's funny, cause I'd just given up on it. I wouldn't have been able to do it, without you helping me to reach her."
Yuna blushed, lowering her eyes. "It was your energy, Tidus, that brought her here today. Your love."
A few students approached them, asking them to sign their yearbooks, and to take a picture with them.
After they left, Yuna wrapped her arms around Tidus again.
" Are we gonna talk about it now?" Sadness entered her eyes.
"You mean the issue of us going to separate schools across Spira in three months?" Tidus said, looking around. It was a pretty loud, crowded place to have such a serious conversation. But there would be no more putting it off.
" Long distance relationships rarely last." Yuna said, leaning in and giving Tidus a peck on the cheek.
" And we're young still. Our feelings may change" Tidus said.
" We could grow apart, meet other people. . ." Yuna said, kissing Tidus again.
" All relationships have problems. . .challenges. But when
you're in love, really in love. . ." Yuna began, kissing Tidus again.
" Those problems, in the end, can't break you apart." Tidus said. They only make you stronger. . .we can make it through."
He spun Yuna around in his arms, both laughing.
" That wasn't so bad of a talk. .." Yuna said laughing.
" Hey guys!! Party at Barthello's house!! Come on!" Wakka yelled, from the doorway of the convection center, where all their friends were waiting for them.
" Let's go Tidus. For us, it's the ending of something, but the beginning of something else. Something new, exciting. Today, are lives began anew."
Tidus took her hand, and they walked towards their friends, towards a new future. Tidus looked down at Yuna, smiling. He knew, in his heart, things would work out.
" Yeah, our lives begin anew. . . together. . ."