Water...good old water. I hardly felt its difference from air - I could have been floating.

There was little sound, save for the shift and flow of the tide. The water was pungent, salty. That caught the attention of my brain, still in half-sleep mode. Slowly the senses awoke - taste, sight, hearing. There was a distant roar of cheering, the roar of a crowd.

Memory.

Yuna.

I stretched slowly and then headed for the surface, for air.

*I'm...alive?*

*Why?*

*How? Where am I...?*

Zanarkand? ...Doubtful.

My head broke surface, and I took a deep breath, eyes closed. I wasn't sure if I wanted to open them at all, because I wasn't sure I wanted to know where I was. But I knew I had to.

And I saw. Cool blue water around me, and a little bit off into the distance, a ferry.

And then the smooth white of the Luca piers, and the monstrous spherical curves of Luca Stadium.

*Huh?*

Two old fisherman in overalls walked by, carrying poles and bait. One stopped and peered down at me - suddenly I felt scrutinized, as if I had been caught doing something I wasn't supposed to.

"You a blitz player?" He asked.

"Uh huh."

"Hey...so aren't you an Auroch?"

"...Yeah."

"Well then why aren't you in the stadium? It's almost halftime! And if High Maestress Yuna - if the entire Stadium - has to wait for you, you'll never hear the end of it, boy!"

"M...Maestress Yuna?" I felt as if I'd suddenly gone braindead. Yuna, a maestress?

So she was here, and well, and hopefully, happy.

The old man's face crinkled up, glaring down at me. "Are you deaf? Kids these days...egh. Yes, High Summoner Yuna, appointed Maestress - thus, High Maestress Yuna. Don't tell me you don't know who *she* is,"

The other one began to laugh. "As if all of Spira didn't just hear her coronation speech. You kind of feel bad for her, you know?"

"Nn. Yeah."

"Why's that?" I couldn't help asking, my voice hotter than I meant it to be. "She just saved all your lives, and all you feel is pity for her?"

"Jeez, where've you *been*? She lost two of her companions in the final battle, if you haven't forgotten."

The second fisherman's voice was wispy, almost sarcastic. "They say...they say that two sacrifices were made for Spira. Yuna lost Tidus, bless the brave boy's soul, and the world lost Sir Auron. How very romantic. Come on, Jaff, let's go. The fish won't wait, hm?"

"Ya. Get your wits about you, boy, and go watch some blitz. Maybe you'll even see Lady Yuna!"

They meandered off at that point, leaving me stung.

So they knew. Everyone. All of Spira knew what had passed between us.

That didn't bother me - I couldn't have cared less what everyone else thought - but it was that Yuna was clearly bearing the pain from it. That wouldn't do. And yet...in some twisted way it was good to know she missed me, at least.

All I knew was, I had to see her.







"What do you mean, I can't get into the locker room? I'm the star player of the Besaid Aurochs! I *have* to get in there!"

I was fighting with the bulky, apparently muscleheaded brute now guarding the Aurochs' locker room. Zesh had been replaced, apparently, and I faintly wondered why.

"Boy, if you were the star player, why weren't you here in the first half? I don't care if you're Tidus' ghost and you'll haunt me for the rest of my days, I'm not allowed to let you in. Rules, kid. Now get back to the stands, the second half is starting soon."

"But..." I paused to think of a good argument, then punched the wall in frustration with the knowledge that he wouldn't believe me. *Oh well, at least I tried...*

"I *am* Tidus!"

He paused, and there seemed to be a glimmer of hope.

Then, he started guffawing so hard that I was surprised he could still breathe.

"You expect me to believe *that,* boy? If you've forgotten, Tidus is dead. Gone. Boom. No more, game over, met his maker."

"Not quite yet!" I couldn't help the triumph in my voice. It was the feeling of being alive when you shouldn't - when you can feel every beat of your own heart, every rush of blood, and it feels damn wonderful.

"Kid, get back to the stands, will you? You're not getting in."

A last desperate attempt to wiggle past the giant failed miserably - he grabbed me by the shoulders and lifted me up as easily as he might lift a feather, thudding out to the hustle and bustle in the front of the stadium, and personally tossing me into the nearest concrete bench. I hit it hard and it knocked the breath out of me, leaving me stunned for a moment or two. Luckily, blitz training had taught me two things: to recover quickly from blows, and that if someone's strong enough to whack you that silly, get the hell away from them and do your blitzing on the other side of the sphere pool.

There was a young woman sitting not too far away from where I made impact, and she came over to me, looking concerned. I noted from her eyes that she was Al Bhed, then tried vaguely to remember the language.

"Yna oui ymnekrd?" She asked. 'Are you alright?'

"Oayr...E'mm pa veha, dryhgc." 'Yeah...I'll be fine, thanks.'

"Rana, mad sa... . . .fyed. . . oui'na...." 'Here, let me... . . .wait. . .you're....'

Her green eyes went wide, and she backed away a step. "Tidus?"

"Oayr. Mecdah, E haat du cbayg du Yuna. Tu oui ghuf ruf E lyh caa ran?" The words just spilled out, hastily but fluently. So what if the world knew I was Tidus - I needed to find a way to speak with Yuna, and damn whoever tried to hinder me.

Her eyes went even wider, as she stepped back towards me. "E tu hud ghuf ruf oui lyh cbayg du ran, pid E ghuf ouin vyla. Oui yna ehtaat Tidus! So hysa ec Ranna."

"Oac, E ys. Rammu, Ranna." I nodded to her, then took a slow breath and sat up straight.

"So pypo cecdan Rikku dymgc ypuid oui y mud. Cra cyoc oui yht luiceh Yuna fana mujanc, hu?"

I paused, soaking that in. The last remark stifled me, almost embarrassed me, but the pride in it was greater. "So you're Rikku's big sister, eh?"

"Oac, Tidus."

"You understand me?"

"Ar...y meddma. Cra cyoc cra fyhdc du lmyf ouin aoac uid vun mayjehk luiceh Yuna. Oui't pacd cdyo yfyo vnus Rikku vun huf," she chuckled. I was slow translating that, but then winced when I did. 'She says she wants to claw your eyes out for leaving Yuna. You'd best stay away from Rikku for now, no?'

She continued, "E lyhhud ramb oui dutyo, pid E tu ghuf frana dra rusa uv dra Myto Cissuhan ec. E lyh dyga oui drana, pid ed'c megamo fa fuh'd naylr ed ihdem dusunnuf sunhehk."

'I cannot help you today, but I do know where the home of the Lady Summoner is. I can take you there, but it's likely we won't reach it until tomorrow morning.'

"Well then let's get going! Mad'c ku!"

She laughed. "E ryja y vaf drehkc du tu pavuna fa mayja, ev oui tuh'd seht. Zicd y meddma crubbehk." 'I have a few things to do before we leave, if you don't mind. Just a little shopping.'

"No problemo. Hey, Ranna...Fro'na oui rambehk sa, yhofyo?"

"Palyica so vydran ec knydavim du oui, so meddma cecdan lynac vun oui, so pnudran bmyoc pmedw fedr oui yht so luiceh mujac oui - bycceuhydamo. Hud du sahdeuh oui cyjat Spira - E vekinat E cruimt tu ymm E lyh du ramb eh nadinh."

"E teth'd cyja Spira ymuha, oui ghuf." 'I didn't save Spira alone, you know.'

"Ur, yht sutacd duu!"

I had to laugh. 'Oh, and modest too!'

"Yeah, I try. So what errands are you running before we leave?"

She paused, then looked perplexed. "Fryd?"

"Cunno...E ycgat fryd annyhtc oui ryt du nih pavuna fa mavd. E's zicd aykan..." 'Sorry...I asked what errands you had to run before we left. I'm just eager...'

"I have to...buy thing."

"Oh, go shopping?"

She shrugged, obviously struggling. "Buy...tools? With to make Home...again."

"Ohh, I see. You need equipment to rebuild Home."

She nodded halfway. "Perhaps...in month, two, perhaps, you come help? I...know...you need with Yuna be, but per...haps after time?"

I nodded. "Sure, I'll help. Let's go, okay?"

We went.







With all Luca's shops, it took some time; but Ranna finally found what she needed, and we boarded the S.S. Winno.

"We're stopping in Kilika first, aren't we?" I asked the blonde Al Bhed woman, once we were well out to sea. She must have been twenty-something, for the way she carried herself and the lack of childishness in her manner. Ranna nodded, tinkering with some hand-crafted tool she had in her lap.

I stood up, walking over to the edge of the ship and looking at the whitewater hugging the ship's hull.

*I'll get to see Yuna soon.*

*I'll be...home...*

Yes...Spira was home, now. And even if I could go back to Zanarkand...I didn't think I would. That is, unless I could bring Yuna; I'd miss her too much, as I missed her now. There was little in Zanarkand that I couldn't have in Spira, though the flavor was different. I was a star Blitz player in both worlds; this one rural, the last one technological.

Out of boredom, I tried to imagine how Yuna would look, dressed in Zanarkand's attire. Quiet, strong Yuna...just the thought brought a grin to my lips.

Dark khakis, revealing slim legs and sleek thighs. Then a body-hugging tank top maybe - definitely white - letting the occasional glance take in the soft skin of her stomach.

Then I realized that she'd look just like my mother that way, and felt a twinge of emotional pain. Yeah, I hated my dad, but mainly because he took away what I loved - my mother.

And he almost took Yuna...

Almost.

I didn't count it against him - he couldn't exactly help it. All it did was make me want to be with Yuna even more - there were no imminent critical dangers, so it would make me all the happier to protect her from the little nothings; just to be with her would be enough.

The sky was turning from pure periwinkle blue to just a hint of sunset orange - I remembered the first sunset I'd shared with Yuna out on Mi'ihen Highroad, and how good it had been. Just to sit with her, just to talk to her, to see the shift of her hair and her body as she talked.

With luck, I would share the next coming sunrise with her; and every sunrise, or sunset, after that.





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AN: Ok, don't mind all the Al Bhed, there won't be that much later on :P If you can't understand it, I've found a teeny-weeny, handy-dandy spiffilicious translator, which you can download at http://www.telefragged.com/thefatal/albhed.zip (by the way it's not mine o_o;)

I promise, it's teeny! Less than 1 MB! And really cool too *Rikkuish dance* XD I give it a ten! - because I don't use any Japanese characters. If you need, or want, a translator that can do that, I can give you the link to one - just email me! blarghness@hotmail.com

Also, my fanfiction is now available on a website which is listed in my profile. Give it a peek please! :3