Isn't It.. By Sodoshiin Pairing- Luzzu + Gatta Rating- PG-13 Warnings- Deathfic, Shonen-ai Author's Notes- Okay, I realize that Gatta is a little OOC but that's because I would think that because some of this takes place before he's in the Crusaders and because we don't seem him really out of "Crusader Mode" that maybe this was what he might have been like. I always found the voice that they gave him in the American version annoying, in my head he doesn't sound like that lol.

Also, I realize that in the game there is a way that you can trade the fates of Gatta and Luzzu depending on what actions you take. Frankly, I think it works better this way.

I wrote this in 7 hours on no sleep and no beta reading so please take that into account lol ^_^'

Gatta's POV

Isn't it.

The earliest memories I have of the summoners were the stories that I'd heard as a child. Yevon's warriors. The saviors of the people of Spira. Those who brought the Calm.

Eight hundred years of stories all paged neatly into my head, and from the moment I'd heard the first I'd wanted to be one.

Four. I was four when I saw my first summoner. He was tall, with a long black mane that carried behind him, and I was sure he'd bring us the Calm because I knew he was so dark that the shadows would hide from him.

So much for four-year-old intuition.

That summoner died on his way to Bevelle.

My mother, who was sick at the time, begged me to never follow that dream, to live for at least her, and to always take care of my sister, Evah.

I promised.

A year later she died in her sleep, the illness that had been plaguing her since as long as I could remember finally taking it's toll.

A year after that, a fiend took the life my sister along with seven other people in the village, including the parents of my childhood friend, Lulu.

That was when I saw my second summoner.

He arrived in the village the next morning to perform, the beginning of his pilgrimage, his two guardians standing proud, and never too far away. The older of the two guardians held the strongest memories, he smelled different than anyone else I'd ever met, or would ever meet until the year I turned 20. When HE came...

But this guardian, I always found myself watching him, the way he acted for those few days he and the other two had stayed in our village.

I knew he was going to be a part of something big.

And for our little village he was.

He handed Wakka and Chappu their first blitzball.

I cried during the sending, because I couldn't understand why everyone was leaving me, why my sister had been chosen.

It was the guardian, that big mysterious man who brought me the smallest bit of comfort.

He told me that my mother had called Evah to her.

And all I wanted to do was go with them.

And destroy Sin.

The adults of the village tried their best to keep the children as far from the thought of Sin as they would from the creature itself.

But deep down, we always knew. And we always pretended how we'd all become guardians and save the world.

My friends; Wakka, Lulu, and Chappu.

Lulu always stuck out in my mind the most. She'd been born with a thirty year old trapped in her head and was always the first one to pull out of any games we'd played once we started some trouble.

Wakka was always the one who tried to take the blame off of us when we got caught, because he was the oldest, and I guess it was also because he felt that Chappu wasn't the only sibling he had, that we were the ones he needed to take care of as well.

And Chappu...well...Chappu caused most of the trouble to begin with.

For the longest time, or what seemed so, it was just the four of us.

And then the Ronso came.

It was just after Braska's Calm. He'd seemed so big to us, a towering giant over the meek little children we were.

One of which he carried into the village with him.

Lulu had been delighted, as much as we could tell, to have another girl to add to the group. As for the rest of us, Yuna was just like us, an orphan who hated Sin and had just as much reason as the rest of us.

For a few years it was great, the five of us doing everything together.

And suddenly, I was the outsider. When they went off the play their blitzball or do...whatever girls do...I went off alone, and kept the ocean company. I learned to swim better than anyone else in the village. I'd spend hours just floating on my back, looking up at the sky, or dozing off, letting the waves rock me.

I guess I chose the ocean because my mother had always loved it. And the warmth of the water reminded me of her, the waves lapping up against my cheeks like the years of kisses that had been stolen from me.

For years the ocean became my place of solitude, where I went when the others drifted off.

Yuna began her apprenticeship as a summoner. Lulu began to study magic, Chappu and Wakka headed the blitz team.

And I had the ocean.

Then, as quickly as she'd come, Yuna was gone, studying to become a summoner.

It was the four of us again. Lulu still had her studies and Wakka and Chappu still had Blitz, but I didn't feel as isolated as I did before. Not that I was blaming Yuna for anything. She'd needed the support probably more than I did.

But one night, after most of the rest of the village had long since gone to sleep, we all stayed up on the beach and watched the stars appear. And, for a moment, I felt like I belonged.

"Fine, Chappu," Lulu's dark eyebrow arched and I grinned to myself, knowing it was bound to be a good show, and the poor fool had brought it on himself. "What interests you more? That foolish game, or me?"

Chappu's cheeks flushed to the color of his hair. "Aw, come on Lu...Those are two completely different things. It's like comparing apples and oranges."

The eyebrow went higher. "So, now I'm a fruit."

I was biting my lip so hard to keep from laughing out loud that it was near bleeding, and I was relieved to see that Wakka was in a very similar state, just in case the bane of Lulu's fury would suddenly turn to us for finding the conversation so amusing.

"I'm leaving the village." Lulu suddenly admitted a moment later. "I've accepted a guardianship, I leave in two days."

Wakka and I turned to her, both of us in a similar state of shock. We never assumed that Lulu would stay in the village forever.well not unless she married Chappu.but she could have at least given us more warning.

Chappu, however, didn't seem the least bit surprised. His eyes remained locked on the water, his toes curling and grabbing up the sopping wet sand.

There were a few moments of silence, Wakka seemed to be digesting the idea, and Chappu...well...who knew what was going through Chappu's head....

So that meant it was up to me.

"Congratulations Lu. I'm glad all that studying you did paid off. You really deserve it." I offered my best smile, not even sure myself whether or not I was faking it.

She didn't quite smile at me but her expression softened. "Thank you, Gatta...It means a lot."

"So....." Wakka finally muttered. "Who you guarding?"

"Lady Ginnem." Lulu stood, brushing herself off. "I should rest now. I'll see all of you in the morning, we'll discuss this more then."

With that she picked up the bottom of her dress and strode across the sand toward the village.

"Hey, You're not goin' after her?" Wakka nudged his brother lightly.

Chappu shrugged and looked out at the waves.

It was my cue to leave.

"Look, I'm gonna head home too okay?" Chappu didn't look at me but Wakka gave me a knowing and apologetic look.

Being an only child for so long I wasn't familiar with the need for brother to brother moments, but I wasn't completely stupid. As I walked off, my footsteps tracing over the smaller ones Lulu had made only a few moments before, I began to miss Evah even more.

And a month later things got worse again.

Lulu was gone. Wakka and Chappu were in Luca getting ready to lose yet another Blitz tournament... It was just me and the ocean again.

Deep down, I knew the reason I stayed in the village. The rest of the younger men and women in the village were planning on making a life for themselves in other places in Spira. I stayed, I guess, to protect my home while the others were away, so if Sin attacked there would be at least one person there to help protect.

That was when I started to take up fighting lessons, I was 15. By the time I was 17 I'd already mastered four different forms of hand-to-hand combat and eight weapon styles. The instructor was quickly running out of things to teach me, so I began to focus on learning spells, from the same instructor who'd taught Lulu.

Magic, as it turned out, wasn't my strong point, and at the end of one year I'd only successfully learned five spells and had managed to keep myself, the instructor, and the village intact..barely.

The Magic Instructor moved out of the village shortly thereafter.

I don't really blame her either.

*

In the summer of my 18th year, only a few days after Wakka and Chappu had boarded the boat to Luca, word came that a team of Crusaders were being stationed in our village and to make accommodations for the five initial members.

The Inn in the village was hardly used with the exception of when summoners came to visit the temple, and even then they almost never stayed overnight. So the Inn was transformed in the Besaid Crusader's Base and the villagers eagerly awaited the arrival of their new guardians.

During all of my ventures into the deeper areas of the village waters I'd been visited by a small group of local dolphins.

One in particular seemed to take a liking to me. More than a few times when I was floating on my back I would find myself sprawling in the water a few seconds later from a playful nudge or two.

Today she was keeping me company while I went shell hunting. I did this often but usually never kept what I would find or what I did find I'd give to a few of the local kids.

When I surfaced I did it empty handed, waiting for my friend to follow.

She did a moment later, swimming in a circle around me as I smoothed my hair away from my eyes and prepared to dive down again. I only had about twenty minutes of decent light before the sun was too low on the horizon.

The dolphin looked back at the shore for a moment and I spun around, treading water.

I didn't recognize him, but his hair blazed in the glow of the setting sun, darker than Wakka's.

I could feel his eyes on me even from the distance I was from the shore.

I heard a splash and turned in time to see the dolphin disappear under the waves, ending our swimming session.

I tossed her a light wave and glided toward the shore.

The man moved back a few steps, briefly looking behind him as if panicked, then looked back at me.and kept watching.

I emerged from the water, brushing my sopping hair away from my face and walked up the sand toward him. My pants created puddles with every footstep I made.

He didn't move, his eyes following me as I came closer. They trailed over me and suddenly I felt more exposed than I was.

"I thought you were a spirit of some kind." he laughed lightly, his gaze falling to the sand as he rubbed the back of his head. "I've never seen a wild dolphin take to anyone like that before."

I stood there, dripping, looking equally as sheepish I imagined. "You know a lot of dolphins?"

He blushed, which made me blush too knowing that somehow I'd caused it. I'd only met him but for some reason it seemed very out of character. I guess that made me feel a little proud as well. "Well.no."

We stood there, not saying a word, not looking at one another, but neither of us moving away.

There was no reason for me to act the way I was. I didn't know this..man. But for some reason.

The vibes that were coming from him were.

Incredible.Intoxicating.

I could feel his eyes on me, studying me, and I wondered if he felt the same thing.

"Do you swim?" I found myself asking.

"Yeah."

In a bold gesture I couldn't quite control I reached out and brushed my hand against his, and gestured for him to follow me into the water.

He jumped as my damp flesh touched his and laughed. "You ARE real."

I smiled. "I'm Gatta."

He smiled, his green eyes reading mine, and suddenly I felt warm. "Luzzu."

*

We finally came back onto the shore as the sky began to lighten and the lights in the village began to dim.

He lay on the sand, quite close to me, using his discarded shirt as a pillow, letting the warm rays of the rising sun warm him back. It was pale, unlike his arms and face, which only proved to me that he really hadn't been around the ocean long.

"You're a very loud swimmer." I laughed. "You don't swim often do you?"

"It's really that obvious?" he gazed at me through locks of fiery red hair, his smile was gentle, like the breeze that blew against our skin. "How long have you lived here?"

"All my life." I replied, smiling at him and stretching lightly. I felt pretty good for not having slept in over twenty-four hours. "I never asked you what brought you to the village."

"I'm stationed here.along with four others."

I blinked, my smile fading. "You're a Crusader?"

He nodded.

"Have you..fought Sin?"

He nodded again. "On a few occasions. It never amounted to anything. We mainly deal with fiends..." He tilted his head. "What's THAT look for?"

"What look?"

"Like I have three heads."

"It's just." I ran my hands over the sand, looking up at the sky. ".I don't know. I've never actually SEEN Sin.We've all got personal issues with it. We all want it gone. And I guess.." I trailed off. "Nevermind."

"No, it's okay. I joined because I was sick of seeing innocent people getting hurt needlessly."

"But you can't BEAT Sin."

"But think." Luzzu sat up a little, gesturing with his hands. "If we can steer Sin away from just a few villages, that's hundreds of people we've already saved. We can't stop Sin, but we can still protect those who otherwise wouldn't stand a chance. It's not our mission or goal to destroy Sin. It's to preserve the people of Spira."

I watched him as he talked, so passionately, and knew that he truly, honestly believed in what he said.

I thought about it for a moment. "If that's the case, we should have had you here years ago. Back when everyone was dying."

"Did you lose someone too?." He rested his head on his arm.

"Who hasn't." I replied. "I don't pretend to be the only one who's lost someone to Sin. But that doesn't make it any easier." I looked him in the eyes and smiled. "I've thought about becoming a Crusader before. But that always meant leaving the village. This is the only place I've ever known as my home. I figured, if I should be protecting anything, it should be this."

He turned back to the water and nodded. "I can see why you'd want to. It's very beautiful here."

"And I'd like to keep it that way."

We sat in silence, watching the water rush over the sand, only a few feet from our toes.

His eyes moved back to me. "Look," he looked at his hands. "I'm not usually this forward.and never with another man.but, would it be completely out of line if I.asked if I could kiss you?"

My mind blanked. I'd never been kissed before. EVER, Let alone by a man.

"Alright." I muttered.

And suddenly he was bending over me, looking down, his arms on either side of my head.

When his lips met mind, something in me changed, the feeling that had been growing in me since we'd met only hours ago melted away. His lips moved slightly against mine, but it remained chaste and gentle, and when he pulled away I still felt them there, refusing to open my eyes until the feeling had passed. It didn't until the second kiss had come and gone.

When they did open I looked up at him and murmured, "How long are you staying again?"

He laughed quietly. "A while."

I nodded. "Good."

*

By the time Wakka and Chappu returned from Luca I'd already decided to join the Crusaders. To me, it was just making me an official guardian to the home I'd already sworn to protect. We'd had three fiend attacks, one of which gave me the cross shaped scar on my cheek.

Luzzu was my commander, nothing more had gone on between us since that night on the beach. I saw him watching me from time to time, but other than that we kept things extremely professional.

Almost TOO professional.

Even though we hadn't known each other long it was hard to remember not to call him by his name when I was on duty, after a while I made it a habit to say "Sir" after almost everything I said to him just so I would remember.

I had a feeling it irritated him half the time but he said nothing.

Of the two brothers, it was Chappu who found my decision the most surprising:

"You're in the ARMY?"

"No, the Crusaders." I laughed. "It's completely different."

"Howso?" Chappu raised an eyebrow at me and folded his arms over his chest. "You enlisted, you got a rank, a weapon, and commanding officers. They tell you what to do and where to go and if you don't do it you get bumped."

"Gee, sounds a lot like Blitzball." I tossed him a look. "Anyway, and I get to stay here." I shrugged. "It's exactly what I was doing before, only now it's official."

"Yeah, and if they decide they don't need you here anymore then they'll ship you off someplace else!"

I frowned. "Why are you so against this?"

Wakka sighed. "Well, maybe you shoulda thought about this'a little more, is all. I mean, it's nadda BAD idea, ya?"

I folded my arms over my chest and frowned deeper. "Well I guess it's a good thing I didn't ask for your permission BEFORE I signed on."

Chappu scoffed. "Would it have made a difference."

I looked him in the eye. "No."

Neither of them said another word.

*

"Gatta! Get him!!" Luzzu shouted.

I was doing the best I could, but the darned Dingo just kept dodging. Luzzu was having his own problems with a trio of water flan's.

"Oh, screw this." I huffed, slicing and missing one last time before I Thundaga'ed the damn thing to oblivion. I turned to see if Luzzu needed any help, but he'd already dispatched of his foes.

With out rounds done we headed back toward the village.

Lulu had returned a few days prior, her summoner dead, killed in the Calm Lands. She hadn't spoken much of it, but most of us were just glad she was home.

Chappu didn't leave a doubt in anyone's mind that he was ecstatic Lulu had returned. He barely left her side now.

She didn't seem to mind one bit.

Luzzu always seemed to walk closely beside me whenever it was just the two of us. Not that I minded. I liked the company, and frankly I just liked being around him.

I hoped it was mutual.

"They're developing plans for an attack on Sin near the Djose shore." He told me as we traveled along the path towards the village. "Which means some of us might be transferred there."

"What are they planning, Sir?" I blinked and stopped walking.

"Gatta." he smiled sweetly. "Leave the formalities at the base. You know better." He nudged me lightly. "Anyway, I'm not exactly sure. But they're trying to get as many new recruits as they can. Apparently for what they have planned at the moment if they were to set it up there wouldn't be anyone left to guard the villages."

I started walking again, slower this time. "Will you be going Si- uhm.Luzzu?"

"Probably." He looked up at the sky. "Hm.looks like rain."

I didn't bother to look up. "Would you want to go? I mean, leave Besaid?"

He sighed. "Well, I love it here. You know I do. I love everything about this place. I'd stay here for the rest of my life if I could. But we have this one chance to destroy Sin. And if we do it, then we can enjoy the beauty of it without fear."

"I guess.."

"You guess?" He looked back at me, stopping in the middle of the pathway, and me, not watching where I was going, almost ran into him. I looked at him expectantly, waiting for him to start walking again, but he just stood there with his arms folded over his chest, watching me. "What do you mean you guess?"

I looked down. "I don't know.maybe you shouldn't go."

His face softened a bit and he smiled a little. "Gatta, you know it's not up to me."

I strode ahead of him, walking backwards to watch him. "But if it was you'd stay right?"

He tilted his head. "You already asked that."

I pointed a finger at him. "No, what I asked you before was do you want to go. What I just asked you is if it was up to you would you send yourself or send someone else and stay."

He frowned at me. "What answer do you want from me?"

"I.." I sighed. "I don't know."

"Do you want me to stay?"

"Yes."

He smirked. "Why?"

I turned around and faked a stretch, still walking. "I don't know, I guess I'm just used to having you around."

He paused before laughing. "Alright, I'll tell you what. If I can help it I'll stay. Deal?"

I raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Are you negotiating with me?"

He nodded a little. "Sure."

I grinned. "Why?"

He winked. "Because I can."

"Fine," I shrugged. "I accept."

With that we both entered the village, heading toward the base to rest up. We went in different directions, our shoulders brushing as we separated.

And I smiled all the way back to my room.

*

"Gatta! You gotta talk to Chappu!" Wakka grumbled, striding toward me. "He's actin' all crazy!"

I blinked, swallowing what remained of my lunch and stood up from the table. "What? What's wrong with him?"

"Talk to him and see for yourself!" he began pacing around the room. "You have to talk him out of it. You're the only one who CAN."

"What makes you think that?"

"Well I tried talking to him and it didn't work." The husky redhead huffed.

I sighed. "Great."

*

"I'm quitting Blitzball." Chappu sighed, looking at me. "I'm enlisting with the Crusaders."

I turned and looked at Luzzu, he wasn't looking at me, but at some point on the floor, and I knew he had something to do with it. But right now my first issue was with Chappu. I looked back at him and blinked. "But they'll send you out, they're sending ALL the new recruits out."

He nodded confidently. "I know, but I figure, that if I quit blitz I can do it AFTER the tournament. I mean right now their sending a lot of Crusaders to Luca so I'll probably end up there. So maybe this year I can play in the tournament."

"What about Lulu? What about all those plans you made with her? I thought you were-"

"-going to propose..yeah.." he looked down. "I still plan on it Gatta.I really do. I love her more than anything else. I don't think you can even begin to understand. But you know, being with your girl is good..but keeping Sin far away from her is better."

My heart lurched, and for a second I thought of Luzzu, who was only standing a few feet away. I said nothing, but nodded at his words.

"I have this chance Gatta.their planning an attack at the Djose shore, all the new recruits are being sent there. They need every guy they can get." He looked back up at me, his gaze was defiant. "We can kill Sin. And if we do that, if I'm a part of that, then I can say I'll be more worthy of Lulu than I am now. Because now I can protect HER for a change."

No matter how much I wanted to, I couldn't argue with that.

*

Dusk.

I finally got away and snuck down to the beach, sitting in my old spot, just watching the waves.

The dolphins hadn't been around in a while. I think after a while when I stopped showing up they'd given up on me.

I sighed, looking back at the village. I smiled a little and looked back at the water.

Eh.Why not.

I stripped off my clothes, laying all of them near the shore and walked into the water.

It seemed like it had been forever since I'd felt the water, I'd missed it like an old friend. I floated on my back, sure that no one from the village would see me, or if they did, wouldn't be able to get a close enough look to see I wasn't wearing anything, and drifted.

I closed my eyes, folding my arms under my head, listening to the waves and the wind and the night birds on the shore.

I lay like this for a while, just basking in the glow of the moon, letting it take me in.

And suddenly I was being pulled, for a moment I thought it was the dolphins but instead of a rubbery nose poking me in the shoulder, strong arms pulled around my waist, dragging my lower half down under the water so I was treading again a warm naked body.

"Hi." A soft voice purred in my ear.

I smiled reflexively. "I didn't even hear you."

"I've been practicing." His nose nuzzled against the side of my head. His hands slid across my abdomen, his lips meeting my neck as our legs brushed in an effort to stay afloat. I was the first contact we'd made since the day we'd met, and frankly, I welcomed it.

"Something I can help you with, Sir?" I sighed and leaned back against him as his hands drifted over my flesh.

He pulled on my chin lightly, kissing me. "No more formalities, Gatta..." He slide his nose down the side of my neck. "Is this alright?"

"God, yes." I managed, arching lightly as he touched me.

"Do you want to head back to the beach?" He whispered in my ear, sliding against me.

I bit my lip, shuddering slightly at his arousal before responding. "I know a better place."

*

I yawned as light shown through the wood separations in the dock above us, grazing across my face just enough to wake me up.

I was warm, snuggled between Luzzu's arms and the blanket we stole from the fisherman's shack. The dock was only used when boats were coming and or going, so we were safe for a few more hours. No one used this side of the beach except for blitzball practice so there was no worry of being caught.

I moved closer on the mattress of our discarded clothing, wrapping my over his abdomen under the blanket, nuzzling my cheek against his shoulder.

He murmured something quite incoherent and rolled closer, sliding his foot in between mine and moved into his side, sliding his arms under mine and wrapping them behind me.

By the time I was almost asleep again, I knew he was awake by the change in his breathing and the sound of his heart, I sound I could very much get used too.It could quickly become one of my favorite sounds.

Right next to hearing him moan my.

*

.By the time I woke again, the sun was low on the horizon, early morning, the sun shining directly onto my face.

And I was alone.

I pulled the blanket around me, looking for Luzzu, I didn't see him but I figured he'd return in a few minutes. His clothes were gone so he'd probably just gone to get some food, or.something..

I waited an hour before dressing, folding the blanket and making my way back to the village.

When I returned to the base he was there, talking with the rest of the Crusaders, who were packing.

I stood in the doorway for a few moments.

He said nothing to me, nor did he look my way.

I'd begun to wonder what I'd done wrong.

"Where are we going?"

"We've been summoned to Djose." He said simply. "We're getting Sin." He looked at me. "You're staying here."

My eyes widened. "But."

"We need someone to stay and protect Besaid." Chappu appeared beside me, patting my shoulder. "You gotta hold the fort."

My gaze never left Luzzu. "I didn't know you were going.."

He refused to look at me. "I found out yesterday morning."

Oh.NOW I get it.

My chest heaved. "Chappu, can I speak with Luzzu a moment please."

"No time." Luzzu replied. "We're late as it is."

Chappu took a brief moment to look from me back to Luzzu before he took his own leave.

Luzzu watched him go and sighed.

I stood there, just watching him as he packed, waiting for him to say something, anything.

He didn't, so I did.

"Did I do something wrong?"

"No, you did nothing wrong." He stated it like he was some form of machina, a soulless drone.

"So what," I swallowed, fighting the tightening sensation in my throat. "I wasn't good or something?"

"I didn't say that."

"You didn't say ANYthing!" I growled in frustration.

"There was nothing I felt that needed to be said."

My mouth opened and didn't close. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe.

"Now if you'll excuse me," He muttered, brushing past me. "Crusader."

I grabbed his arm harshly, still not looking at him.

"Gatta, don't.don't make me pull rank on you.."

I bit my lower lip until it bled. "W..Why..?"

He stood there, looking at the door. He said nothing, and only waited until I released my grip and let him leave.

"You might want to say goodbye to Chappu, I don't know when we'll be returning."

Then he was gone.

I followed him out and watched as he walked past Chappu and headed up the hill with the other Crusaders. I couldn't look at him as he walked away.

"Chappu." Lulu sighed. "Don't do this. Stay here, with your brother."

"Hey, don't go getting all grumpy on me again." He smirked and touched her chin with his thumb and forefinger. "I'll see you in Luca when I get back from Djose. I promise."

"Chappu, you're not takin' the sword I gave you?" Wakka blinked.

"I won't need it where I'm goin'." Chappu replied, patting him on the shoulder as he slung his bag over his shoulder. "Keep it self until I come back, right?" He started to walk off backwards up the path, waving. "I'll be back soon! Wish me luck!"

"Hey! We'll pray to Yevon every day!" Wakka promised. "And don't forget to pray at the statue on your way to the boat!"

"No time!" Chappu shouted as he turned and jogged up the path, still waving. He laughed. "I'll do it when I get back!"

I stood in the shadow of the base watching him as he got smaller.

At the top of the hill he turned and looked back. "Take care of everyone Gatta! Or I'll come back and beat the snot out of you! And don't you even think I won't!" He tossed me a cocky grin before tossing a thumbs-up directly at me.

I nodded in response.

And then he was gone.

Nine days later we received word.

Chappu was dead. Killed by Sin on the Djose Shore.

The attack had failed miserably.

Wakka was in Luca at the time..he'd heard before us. The Auroch's lost another championship and returned home the next day. Wakka didn't say a word as he came back into the village, but strode right to the temple and remained there to pray for days afterward.

Lulu.

Lulu left the village without saying a word. She took on another guardianship, for Yuna this time while the young apprentice summoner prepared in Bevelle.

Luzzu and the others returned two weeks after the message was received.

I had nothing to say to him. When I was alone, I cried tears of relief.

But from that moment on, I never let him touch me again, I never called him by his name, it was always "Sir" or "Commander".

And from then on, I stayed out of the ocean.

The feelings remained. They'd never go away.

*

When Lady Yuna returned to Besaid a year had passed, and with her she brought Lulu and Kimahri.

And by that time Wakka had brought a mysterious stranger to us. A young blonde man, who'd been affected by Sin's Toxin and remembered nothing of the ways of Spira.

Yuna had seemed to take a particular interest in him, for reasons I wouldn't understand until much later.

But for Wakka..

Wakka took Tidus under his wing, gave him food, a place to stay, a place on the team.

And Chappu's sword.

For the first time in a year, Wakka was opening up again, and I didn't know whether or not it was a good thing.

Tidus seemed nice enough, but there was something about him.something that reminded me of the guardian that had visited the village so many years ago with Lord Braska. And I knew they were tied together.

Lulu saw Wakka as trying to replace Chappu.which, even she knew, would never be true. But Lulu had changed since Chappu's death. I saw it in her appearance, heard it in her voice, felt it in her stare.

She lost more than love that day.

*

The night Yuna became a summoner I came across Lulu and Wakka talking in the middle of the darkened village.

I stayed hidden, but found myself listening in on their conversation.

"He does look a lot like Chappu. I was surprised, too, the first time I saw him. But no matter what he looks like, he isn't Chappu. You shouldn't have brought him here in the first place!"

"Yeah, but...he needed our help!"

"Excuses again?"

"Yeah, but..."

"That's it. No more. Enough, Wakka!"

I pretended to be walking from the base as soon as their conversation had ended, figuring no one would suspect anything.

But Lulu has senses like a demon bloodhound.

"Hello, Gatta."

I turned in time to see her come toward me.

I'd been caught red handed.

"Lovely night isn't it?" I smiled sheepishly.

She gave me a small smile. "Yes, perfect for eavesdropping."

I sighed. "I didn't mean to overhear, Lulu. I just.needed some air."

"Walk with me." It was command not a request, even thought sometimes, with her, it was hard to tell the two apart, not that it made much difference. You did what Lulu said, or she'd more often than not zap you in the rear a bit with her thunder attacks.

I offered her my elbow and was surprised when she took it. We walked up the path, toward the beach and were halfway down the path before she spoke again.

"Wakka's worried about you."

I blinked at her, surprised. "Worried? Why?"

"He's told me you've changed in the past year, since Chappu's death." She chose her words carefully, but precisely, like always.

"We all have." I replied quietly.

"It's not only because of Chappu though, is it Gatta." She stopped, removing her arm from mine to fold her hands in her sleeves in front of her. "Wakka says you've given up the ocean." Her head tilted slightly. "Is this true?"

I looked out at the water, so close to us I could almost feel the waves reaching out, calling us in. "I've just.drifted I guess."

"Because of Luzzu?"

I turned to her, my eyes widening. "What are you-"

"I'm not a fool, Gatta." She interrupted, her eyes turning to slits. "Don't treat me as if I am one. I'm not Wakka, I will not pretend that everything is alright when it's not. You of all people left dear to me should know that."

She walked toward the beach, heading for an overturned rowboat. I followed, sitting beside her on the cool wood.

"Now," she turned to me again. "Tell me what happened between you and Luzzu."

"Why do you assume it's Luzzu?" I asked.

She merely glared at me.

"Right, you know everything." I sighed.

"I don't pretend to know anything at all."

"Again, because you already KNOW everything." I winked. "Don't deny it, I've known you long enough."

She smiled, something I hadn't seen in years, since long before Chappu passed away. "We'll not turn this into a discussion on me. You're trying to change the subject."

My smiled disappeared and I looked at my hands. "I love him."

"I know, Gatta. I know more than you might think. I don't pry, but I see. And what I think is that you and Luzzu, for whatever reasons you may have, need closure." She stood and brushed herself off and turned her back to me, preparing to walk away. "And just remember, things aren't always as they seem. You'll trust me on that, yes?"

"I'll always trust you Lulu."

She nodded, smiling again. "That's good to know."

*

For days I thought about what Lulu had said, contemplated it, analyzed it, but came to no conclusion.

Closure, I thought.

But, I guess, part of me was afraid to give up on it.

Then the day came when a boat arrived to take is to Djose shore.

They were going to try to defeat Sin again, this time with the help of the Al Bhed and the Chocobo Knights.

And we were all invited.

And it was on the boat, that I decided to test what Luly had said.

He was sitting alone on deck next to the railing, just looking out at the ocean.

He eyed me oddly as I walked up, leaning on the railing beside him. "You've.never been off your island have you.."

I shook my head. "Nope."

He said nothing but stood with me a little while longer. I guess just having him nearby made me feel a little better. I guess he was almost like a piece of home for me.

"You..don't get sea sick do you?"

I looked at him and realized he had quite and odd expression on his face. "No but you do don't you?" I smiled a little.

He sighed. "I have since I was a kid."

"Maybe you should be below deck then." I offered but he only shook his head.

"I've tried that, it only manages to make things worse. The fresh air does me some good."

I paused. "This is nice.."

"Actually, it's quite unpleasant."

"No no no." I laughed a little, feeling slightly guilty at his misfortune. "I mean, just talking. Setting the ranks aside. It's been a while."

He smiled, looking out at the water. "It has...not since." he trailed off.

I bowed my head. I didn't admit that I'd been thinking the same thing.

"I've been.thinking about that a lot actually." his expression turned serious. "I'm.glad that it happened.but.it's wrong to dwell on it. It would greatly complicated things."

That wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for, but I nodded anyway.

We stood in silence, and I was amazed that no one else on the ship had decided to intrude on it. I half wished they would so I could stop concentrating on what he'd said, or what might have happened if he'd said differently.

"What are you thinking?"

"It's getting cold." I managed, pushing myself off the railing and wrapping my arms around myself to add effect, I refused eye contact. "I'll see you below deck."

"Gatta. Wait."

"Yes, Sir?" I emphasized the last word, turning my head in his direction but not looking at him. I could almost feel him wince.

"Nevermind." He sighed after a moment. "Dismissed."

I stopped, my fists clenching at my sides. "You can think nothing happened that day Luzzu.if you want to I'll accept it.if it was nothing then I'll leave it at that. But I'll know you're a damned liar."

He made no move to stop me as I went below deck.

*

I didn't think it would bother me so much.

But seeing his place, even though I'd never been there, it burned a hole in me.

We stood on the cliffs overlooking the beach, peering down at the word for our God's-Eye-View. The sea was endless, the cliffs were sheer and demonic looking.

I shuddered.

I didn't want to be near him, but, at the moment, he was all that was keeping me sane.

"..this is where it happened..this is where Chappu died.."

He turned and looked at me, then back at the water. "...I know.."

I closed my eyes. "I can't..I don't know if I can."

"You won't have to do anything, Gatta.You're stationed here."

"What?!" I turned and gaped at him. "That's fucking CRAZY! You need everyone you can GET down there!"

He eyed me, and my blood ran cold. "You're forgetting your station again, SOLDIER."

My chest tightened. "Luzzu..SIR.."

"I'll be down on the beach with the Chocobo Knights, leading the Crusader teams. I'll need you up here."

"Who else is commanding?"

"Just me." Calm, and point blank.

"Why only you? I want to fight, too!"

"Orders are orders." No emotion at all.

"I'm not a cadet anymore!" I spat, glowering at him. "Let me go with you, and I'll prove it to them!"

"Guarding the command center is important too, you know." Nothing.

"But I came to fight SIN! NOT sit on the sidelines while you get your ass kicked!"

"An order's an order. To your post, CRUSADER!" He finally looked at me, his face stoic, his eyes burning coldly into mine.

I swallowed, confused, hurt, and panic-stricken. "Luzzu..."

His gaze softened. "Just go."

I watched him before turning, almost running into Lulu, Wakka, Yuna and the others. Lulu tilted her head at me, I merely caught her eye and looked down.

She closed her eyes and sighed as I walked past.

"They let you through, huh?" I heard Luzzu call to them.

"Gatta deserves better..." I couldn't agree more with Tidus at that point, but as their voices faded I stopped caring.

The last thing I heard before I entered the lift was Wakka.

"At least there's no chance he'll get hurt."

I closed my eyes as the lift went up, making sure I was out of earset before I started to cry.

*

When I saw the group again they arrived without Luzzu, and for a moment I was thankful. "The operation will begin shortly.. Please check all your equipment.."

Wakka eyed me warily. "Um.you okay?"

I glowered, looking at the ground, swallowing heavily. "Of COURSE not.I came to fight Sin and they stick me HERE."

"If you want to prove yourself."

"Huh?" I turned to where the last voice had come from, the oldest of the guardians. Sir Auron.I remembered him.from when Braska visited Besaid.

He watched me carefully. "first you must complete the tasks you are given.."

I closed my eyes, feeling Lulu's on me. The rest of the group walked past me into the command center, but I could feel that she stayed behind.

I looked up at her.

"Remember what I said, Gatta."

"I haven't forgotten." I told her.

She nodded before brushing past me to follow the others.

I looked around before leaving my post, making sure first that there was at least one sentry behind to watch.

I stood at the edge of the cliff, watching the container of the Sin Spawn as they tumbled and fought with each other.

"Sin always comes back for it's spawn." I heard one of the soldiers say.

But THEN what would we do. The guns were big and shiny and all, but for some reason I knew this would end badly,

Just like it did for Chappu.

It made me feel slightly better that at least Yuna and the others would be safe.but I belonged down there, fighting.

I belonged with Luzzu.

Suddenly, out of nowhere, alarms began blaring. Everyone was dashing toward the fiend container.

It was wide open.

And suddenly all the Al Bhed cannons were going off.

Through the sea of soldiers and looked down the cliff at the water.

Something was drifting toward us from the open ocean.

The ground was shaking as the mass came closer. I could only sit there and watch as the ribbons of black shredded along the water.

They'd been right.

"Oh, God." I muttered.

Slowly, the shadow in the water grew, the water building up in a giant mountain of liquid black.

Sin.

Below I could hear the Chocobo Riders assembling.

I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, the very blood in my veins seemed to stop.

Lady Yuna stood nearby, beside Maester Seymour. The guardians, the Al bhed who were operation cannons, Maester Mika, O'aka.We all stood there and watched.

Watched as Sin released it's spawn into the water, jettisoning them toward the shore.

The Crusaders, the Chocobo Knights, the Al Bhed..

With a thunder of war cries, the army poured over the hill toward their awaiting foes. The creatures lunged at their oncoming attackers with such a force that they soldiers were nearly knocked back against the cliffs. They came in swarms, destroying everyone and everything in their path.

Friend or foe, it didn't seem to matter.

The soldiers advanced as much as they could to keep from being driven against the cliffs

And endless sea of creatures and soldiers covered every inch of the earth below us. They merged over the ground for miles in every direction, from the base of the cliffs to the shallows of the water all the way to the base of Sin itself.

It was hard to tell them all apart from the height we stood at. A giant mass of screams and death.

And somewhere down there was Luzzu.

"Oh god..oh god please protect him."

And the Sin was moving again..glowing.

Charging.

Suddenly a wall of light pushed from the giant beast and waved out from it, propelling from it's form and toward the shore.

I heard Yuna cry out in terror, Wakka shout, the Al Bhed screaming.

The barrier pushed through and suddenly everything below seemed to melt away.and the sky went white..

*

I don't know how long I remained there, all of my senses had dulled down to nothing. All I knew was the brightness, and the high pitched screaming sound..

I didn't know if I was dead.if I was dying.

When I returned, I found myself lying flat on my back, looking up at the sky, alive.

I heard voices, people shouting.

I pulled myself up into a sitting position and gave myself a once over.

I was all in one piece, but not unharmed.

The force of.whatever it was.had thrown me against the cliffs. My left forearm was open and bleeding, there was a deep cut down my left thigh, and who knew what else.

But that didn't matter to me.

I stood, bracing myself against the rocks and turned to look out at the ocean.

All I could see was Sin, turning away from the beach, heading out toward open water.

It had failed, it had all failed.

I closed my eyes, holding onto the cliff as I made my way down the path toward the beach.

With all of the soldiers that had been fighting, there were so few bodies.I imagined that many of them had been destroyed, some of them had been dragged into the ocean by the fiends.

Yuna was there.

Sending.

I wandered senselessly up and down the ruined beach, searching the faces of the countless bodies, trying desperately to find him, hoping I wouldn't among those that were being sent.

I hated him for leaving me behind to wait for him, knowing that when he showed up I'd end up screaming at him for forcing me behind the lines when he knew damn well I should have been with him.

I hated myself, thinking back on the last things we'd said to one another..

"Gatta?"

Wakka.It was Wakka.He had my shoulders in his grip while my eyes still searched feverishly around. "Gatta, snap out of it!"

I finally focused on him as best I could, my eyes blurred with what I suddenly realized were tears. "I can't find Luzzu! Have you seen him?! I need to find him Wakka, I HAVE to find him!!"

"Calm down, Gatta." His large hands squeezed my shoulders lightly, trying to settle me down. "He wasn't with the dead, that means he's probably wandering around here somewhere trying to find YOU. So just hang out in this area for a little while, I'm sure he'll turn up."

All I could do was nod, but his words did nothing for the knot in my stomach.

Wakka, Lulu, Yuna and the others made their way to the Djose Temple. I remained, walking the beach in a dazed state as the sun drifted across the sky.

I drifted by a group of Yevonites who were healing the wounded, several of them calling to me, but my own wounds could wait.

Hours passed, the tide changed, more bodies washed on shore.

More mixed emotions as I found none of them to be him.

The survivors of the attack were leaving now, heading to the temples, to the towns, anywhere they could lay and recover, and contemplate the rest of their lives.

And I walked the beach, waiting, keeping the ocean company.

The sun was setting when I finally found him.

I kneeled beside his still form trying to decide whether or not it was safe to touch him.

His legs were gone, severed from the thigh on both sides. The rest of his body was drenched with water and blood.

"I'm sorry...." I whispered, not wanting to look but unable to look away.

I should have been surprised when his eyes slowly opened. "...G...........Gatta....."

The tears formed quickly as I bent over what remained of his form, brushing my hand carefully through his blood caked hair. "I'm here...Sir...."

And for some reason that was far beyond me, he smiled, his hand moved, brushing weakly over mine. "Hey...what did I.... tell you about....formalities?"

"...L...Luzzu...I...."

His eyes closed for a moment and I panicked.

"Luzzu no!" I moved rapidly, cradling his head in my lap, afraid do to anything more than sit there yelling for him, letting the tears stream down. ".....Please no...."

"It's really.....beautiful.....isn't it....?"

My eyes cleared in time to see him looking beyond at the ocean, and the setting sun. I wasn't sure if he was aware at how bad his injuries were, but I was too afraid to look at anything but his face, that at any moment, if I looked away, he'd be gone.

"Yeah...." I replied, my voice cracking as I touched his face lightly with the tips of my fingers.

"....Sin's......Gone....."

"Yes..." I wanted to tell him the truth, that the entire operation had been a failure, but it was better this way...

"It was all........such.....a waste..."

I said nothing, but continued to carefully touch him, to make sure he was really still here with me.

He looked up at me, his green eyes bearing into mine with the same intensity they'd had only hours before. And for a moment, I had hope. ".....I should never have taken you from the island." and suddenly his face changed completely, into utter sadness and guilt. "I was selfish.I just wanted you with me."

I smiled down at him as best as I could, knowing it was a foolish attempt. "I would have followed you anyway."

"Gatta..I want you to promise me.....that you'll get away from all of this....that you'll go back to Besaid....and live...and show everyone beautiful things, like your island...so they can forget that horrible things happen...."

"Luzzu...."

"I shouldn't have waited so long...." he smiled up at me, his eyes welling as he reached up to touch me, his fingers tracing over the scar on my cheek. I caught it as it began to fall and brought it back up, running mine fingers over his. "....then maybe......I'd have been able to go back with you...so we'd have more time...

I smiled back, bringing his fingers to my mouth, letting the tears fall over his knuckles. "I would have liked that."

"......Do you promise...?"

"Y...Yeah......I promise...."

He nodded and closed his eyes, relaxing in my arms.

"Luzzu?!" I cried almost panick stricken. I knew I was going to lose him, but that didn't make it any easier.

"I love you....Gatta...." he sighed, his eyes reopened, but again, he wasn't looking at me, but back at the ocean, where the sun had almost completely dipped under the horizon.

"I love you too...." I whispered.

I sat there, long after the sun disappeared and the cold came, after his breathing weakened, and his hand drifted down with mine to rest on his chest, and, finally, he closed his eyes again.

I lay there, just holding onto him, watching the stars as they came out one by one. I cursed the sky for having such a bright and clear night while I sat there with my lover, cold in my arms.

After what had to be hours I heard footsteps and knew there was someone beside me. Still I remained where I was, unmoving, as if I was afraid that somehow.....I'd wake him.

And the person, whoever it was, waited so patiently, and after a few moments of realizing Luzzu was really gone, I began to weep and less than a moment later arms went around me.

My sobs became screams of agony that echoed all through the dark and over the water, and I didn't care who heard.

I cried, and I screamed until my energy drained and all I could do was curl up next to the cold, dead body beside me and wait.

He'd waited too. Whoever it was had long since released me and just sat there, waiting for me to stop.

But I didn't want to. Stopping meant I'd have to let go.

But after what seemed like a long time, a hand brushed the hair away from my forehead and gentle words called to me.

"I'm sorry, young one.....it's time...."

Another set of strong hands pulled me away, and I was too drained to fight.

The sun....was rising again....

There were three of them. A large man; who held me carefully beside him in a sitting position in the sand, a young boy; down by the water, skipping rocks over the waves....and a summoner.

The summoner knelt beside Luzzu, sillouetted by the rising sun, and all I could do was stare blankly at Luzzu's face.

He looked like he was sleeping, like at any moment he'd open his eyes, turn his head, and smile at me, just tell me that everyone was alright.

But the summoner was standing now, and beginning the sending.

I wanted to scream, to tell him to stop, that Luzzu wasn't really dead.

But I was so weak.

I would go back to Besaid, I would keep my promise, and I would live.

All I could do now was watch as the pyreflies floated upwards, and Luzzu disappeared into the sun.

The End