Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X. Seymour, Tidus, Yuna, and all other characters belong to Squaresoft. I make no money from this. Insert witty comment here.

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"Metronome" by code epic.

Rating: PG-13.

Word Count: 2,800.

Warnings: Implied yaoi, but the het balances it out.

Spoilers: Goodness, are you kidding me? The whole freaking game.

Archive: Ask, and ye probably shall receive.

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Metronome

To an infinite series why was it for me
To add another integer? To the vain
Hank that is spun out in Eternity
Another cause or effect, another pain?


- Jorge Luis Borges, "The Golem"

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There is no Sending in this world that can compel me, he says, and there is no memory on the Farplane that can hold me.

But Yuna's face is pale and solemn, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

In the struggle for great power, there is always the chance to fail . . . Sick from being wrenched out of their original framework, the words grow heavy in his mouth, swelling like cancer nodes and sliding back down his throat. Ever wary of an unseen rival, you devise silly plans to protect yourself. Pause to enjoy the moment, and you risk being overrun. But now . . .

But now Yuna is a mourning dove, white sleeves whirling all about her while in the distance burnt-out husks of aeons fall from the night sky, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

I no longer worry, for I have my sleep eternal. Death is a sweet slumber. All the pain of life is gently swept away.

But Yuna has become a metronome, each dip of her staff marking a second lost, a second regained, a second made meaningless in this twilight realm where space and time come crashing together and where mothers' faces melt into fathers' faces, their distorted running-wax mouths uttering prayers to Yevon, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

There is no Sending in this world that can compel me, he says again, voice shrill with desperation, and there is no memory on the Farplane that can hold me, but your murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity they

spin out oh Yevon oh they murmur out across eternity footfalls and murmur across and across and

across until

until

-

Tidus turned over onto his back and stretched one arm above his head. His hand flopped down lazily beyond the pillow while Seymour watched him. Somewhere a phonograph was playing Tartini's Il Trillo del Diavolo which he admired for its splendid, vervy contrast to the sun-washed heat of the Besaid atmosphere. Indeed, he could see over Tidus' bare chest to the open tent-flap window that framed a triangle of solid blue so dazzling he couldn't tell whether he was looking at the ocean or the sky. Then, as the sonata shifted from the first into the second movement, Tidus spoke suddenly.

"You're completely gone, aren't you?"

The record skips - there must be a scratch on it, appalling - and Seymour ignored it. "You should thank me. Your death means your father's life."

"Fathers." Tidus paused. "Funny how they keep popping up in your story."

Seymour opened his mouth to say how if that was the case, then Tidus' story must be very similar to his own indeed, but the blond went on, "Once you have become the next Sin, my father will be freed again."

"You're only a dream." A memory hit Seymour like vertigo. The fayth of Macalania Temple, weary of waiting for a hero conjured up from the future, once sighed verses to him when he was a teenager, verses he realized presently were meant for someone else. Should the dreaming end, you too will disappear - fade into Spira's sea, Spira's sky. But do not weep, nor rise in anger. Even we were once human. That is why we must dream. Let us summon a sea in a new dream world. A new sea for you to swim in. Lies.

Tidus laughed, and Seymour wanted to both hit him and make him utter that sound again. "And you're the one dreaming me, so what does that make you?"

"You don't trust me?"

Tidus frowned in puzzlement. "No, not you." Seymour gestured impatiently. "Him."

Standing at the foot of the bed, round face pinched, Kinoc sneers at him. "Would you trust a man who murdered his own father?"

He rose to his feet, one clawed hand holding the sheets fast around his waist, then said, "Very well. As you wish."

Seymour, maester of Yevon and destined savior-destroyer of Spira, strides out of the chamber and toward the Highbridge to await any who may survive the Via Purifico. Trailing after him not unlike the heavy hems of his ceremonial robes which drag over marble walkways, then richly embroidered carpets, and now intricate floor mosaics crafted by talented Bevellese artisans, are the reverent voices of two Guado Guardians proclaiming their ruler's leave in low, awed syllables.

Lord Seymour's orders are absolute, and we will ever obey.

He has spoken, and even though he is dead, we will obey . . .

-

When his mother went away, he began catching pyreflies and keeping them in jars. For hours he would lie on his stomach, chin propped on knuckles, with a jar before him and watch the orbs of light tumble up and down the glass walls. Separated from crowds and their memories, the pyreflies would gradually dim until they became wispy, inert lumps of carbon at the bottom of the jar. Then Yuna will take it away, shaking her head. "You would pity me now?" he will ask his betrothed. "You can't run from your fate," she will answer, fine brown hair hiding her downturned face while she struggles with the jar lid.

-

Beneath him the Mortiorchis whinnies, a delicate sound like flesh tearing under a blade of watered steel, and Seymour Flux reins his mount in. Allow me to say something to the last Ronso before I leave.

Yours was . . . truly a gallant race.
The guardians stir uneasily, bodies realizing before minds the insinuation behind those words uttered with alien compassion. Only the Ronso stands still while above his head the spear tip of the shaft harnessed to his back trembles minutely. They threw themselves at me to bar my path.

One . . . after another . . .
The Ronso is blind with anguished rage, but Auron sees through Seymour.

"Spira is no playhouse," he says as he hefts in one hand the great Masamune. "A moment's diversion may amuse an audience, but it changes nothing."

"Even so," Tidus steals Seymour's words again, "the actors must play their parts."

"Lord Seymour is the child of a Guado and a human. He will be the tie that binds our two races together." Teetering on the edge of the snowy precipice, Tromell puts his distended hands together in welcome and bows to the guests. "But that is not all, I think. Lord Seymour will surely become the shining star that lights the way for all the peoples of Spira."

That is enough, Tromell. Must I always endure such praise? he says over his shoulder as the last Ronso screams and hurls his spear through the cold, clear mountain air at him.

-

She does not let him touch her in those last moments, only keeping a gentle hand on his thin shoulder. "No! Mother, no! I don't want you to become a fayth!"

There is no other way. Her tone is loving and dreadful. She glances away in the distance, at the glowering sunset-fragment through the broken dome of the Zanarkand Ruins. Use me and defeat Sin. Only then will the people accept you.

"I don't care about them! I need you, mother! No one else!"

She never - I don't have much time left - looks back at him. Glory has come rushing down. She gasps once, grimaces at the sudden fall of a white rapture upon her face, so brilliant and pallid it burns Seymour's pupils, then the whole world is transfigured. Reality sluices off of the descending form of a deity with quicksilver hair for wings and amethystine eyes that shatter spacetime wherever they happen to glance.

He cries out again for his mother who is being taken up into the crucible surrounding Yunalesca, but his child's voice gets pulled underneath those of two Guado Guardians, their silhouettes weird against the convulsing sky, while they cast echoes across the stonescape in a hymn as perpetual as the ticking of a metronome.

Lord Seymour's orders are absolute, and we will ever obey.

He has spoken, and even though he is dead, we will obey . . .

-

He cares not to remember the look on Yuna's face when he asked for her hand in marriage. But still she is there along the edges of his memory, all in white with face pale and solemn, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

But you know, the fayth whispers in Tidus' ear, there is no such thing as eternity if you end it, is there?

-

Sin is a whole world unto itself, with unfamiliar continents and eerie oceans that are not subject to Grand Maester Mika's decree that all things must perish. At the edge of the Sea of Sorrow, in the long shadow of the Tower of the Dead, he sees their approach and raises himself up to greet them.

Sin has chosen me. I am part of Sin. I am one with Sin, forever.

His voice goes forth from him and out under the overcast sky to the horizon. The wheels at his back, swollen with elemental power, begin to turn.

Immortal.

The summoner and her motley guardians should be keeling over, struck dumb by the glory inherent in that one word. Instead, Tidus shakes his head. "You're completely gone, aren't you?"

The scratched record skips, and Seymour Omnis falters only briefly. I will learn to control it, from within. I have all the time in the world, for indeed . . . time is meaningless now.

Storm and inferno, ice and plasma spit out from his fingertips and the whole heavens seem to bend in toward himself, metal-gray clouds twisting along new vectors, as he brings his full wrath down upon the heretics that are mere ant-like figures dodging in a fog of Nuls and Dispels and Curagas, but they are also fighting with a fury while it seems like Tidus is talking, "Auron told me about the spiral of death. Summoners challenge the bringer of death, Sin, and die doing so. Guardians give their lives to protect their summoner. The fayth are the souls of the dead. Even the maesters of Yevon are unsent. Spira is full of death . . . Only Sin is reborn, and then only to bring more death. It is a cycle of death, spiraling endlessly," talking still as he spins Caladbolg, all blue lightning and sleek pain, up against a wheel and now the black mage has drawn a bead on his elemental configuration, and is brutally Doublecasting spell after spell which bite through his defenses, then the Al Bhed ducks out from under the arm of the blitzball-wielder - he didn't even see her coming - and flings a grenade. Dark matter explodes all round him.

He is driven to one knee, armor bowing him down. He realizes Auron is now standing over him, Masamune balanced across his own shoulder like a scale, and he lowers his head respectfully. "I beg your pardon. We Guado are keen to the scent of the Farplane."

Auron shifts the weight of Masamune forward. "Apology accepted. Although Kinoc was not the man I once knew, he was still my friend."

Then he deals the deathblow. The impact of the thick sword's edge is like a hammer blow, and Seymour Omnis feels himself cleave open violently from left collarbone to heart.

There is no Sending in this world that can compel me, he says as Yuna's feet begin their soft, not-quite-silent dance, and there is no memory on the Farplane that can hold me.

-

The innumerable heartbeats, all pulsating subtly out of sync, seem to swaddle him physically as he is drawn in ever deeper toward Sin's womb. The enslaved souls of the dead welcome the new link in this millennia-old chain mail, not knowing Seymour will bend this unholy armor to his own means. Yu Yevon was once a summoner, long ago. He was peerless. Or merely believes he will. The two are of little distinction to these sleepless unfayth. Thick wet strands wrap themselves around Seymour's body, and in the weighty dark he reminds himself they are only tendrils and not shackles. Yet now he lives for one purpose: only to summon. He is neither good, nor evil. He is awake, yet he dreams. But . . . maybe not forever. Surely this is worth giving Anima up for. Surely.

-

Seymour's throat is a closed glass jar and his words pyreflies struggling to escape. He chokes, tries again. Life is but a passing dream, but the death that follows is eternal.

"But I do not fault him. I could not protect him and his mother from the world and its cruelty." Jyscal's elongated fingers are wrapped around his son's wrists while Seymour strangles the life out of him. It is low tide, the moon a bare curve in the still-light sky, and the Besaid surf sputters around the two.

"I can feel flames of darkness burning in his heart. He is using Yevon, the Guado, and even the summoners. If he is not stopped, he will surely bring destruction and chaos to Spira." Tidus drags his tongue across his full lower lip, brazenly seductive, before noticing Seymour's hands around his throat. He raises an eyebrow in impish surrender.

"You have the weirdest dreams," he remarks, and then he is Jyscal once more, gasping, "I will leave this world soon, killed by my own son. But I do not fault him."

The scratched record skips again, right at the good part where the trill leaps onstage, and Jyscal's face is candlewax dissolving to reveal other faces underneath, Yuna's, Jecht's, Tidus' in an encore, then Seymour is screaming for the face is his mother's and he is letting her die a second time, fulfilling the fate she laid down sorrow after sorrow, all this out of a mother's love for her child so two Guado Guardians may stand along the shoreline chanting infinite lines that flail about on the landward wind.

Lord Seymour's orders are absolute, and we will ever obey.

He has spoken, and even though he is dead, we will obey . . .


-

Yuna's face is pale and solemn, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

Such a long face you have. He tries to comfort her, whether out of design or sincerity he no longer knows. But without times like these, Lady Yuna, we cannot become stronger. When these things happen, it is best just to let the sadness flow through you.

Now Yuna is a mourning dove, white sleeves whirling all about her while in the distance burnt-out husks of aeons fall from the night sky, and her murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity.

However, you are a summoner. You give hope to the people. His pitch rises, thin and wavering, as he gropes toward a truth which he must say so his little life may be rounded with a sleep and not too many regrets. He has hated and he has striven, he has grasped and he has fallen, and words are only cracked vessels for their sum. Until Sin is defeated, you cannot voice your feelings. But I understand your pain well.

Yuna has become a metronome, each dip of her staff marking a second lost, a second regained, a second made meaningless in this twilight realm where space and time come crashing together and where mothers' faces melt into fathers' faces - but now she is also falling away from him, falling out of sight, the vivid Bevelle sun striking the white feathers of her gown up into an explosion of pearlescent lights, for she believes she can fly.

There is no Sending in this world that can compel me, broken words, mortal words, spill forth from his lips, and they are a river that flows upward against oblivion like the impossible path of moonlight in Macalania Woods, and there is no memory on the Farplane that can hold me,

but your murmuring footfalls spin out across eternity all across it murmuring life life yet life oh until the footfalls they fill up eternity all of eternity across and across until there is no room

left

left for me across all

of eternity

none left oh all spun out until yet

-

"Don't wake up just yet," said Tidus, startling Seymour in the blue dark.

With the slowness of a dream, he sighed and burrowed further into the bedding. The arm around Seymour's waist tightened briefly, then slackened again as Tidus sank back into sleep.

Awake and propped up by pillows, Seymour tried to make out the shapes of familiar objects in their hut. But the tent-flap window had been drawn tightly shut, and the few opaque curves and angles were too vague not to hurt his eyes.

There was no music, he noticed. The needle had reached the end of the record. He sat in the dark with Tidus' heartbeat against his thigh and breath against his hip, wondering why he was unable to hear the ocean just outside, and considered whether he wanted to get up and put the sonata back on.

"I wasn't planning to," he told Tidus belatedly.

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A/N: Quite a few props need to be handed out here. Thanks to Wren for her devilish challenge, "Seymour, Besaid, and insanity," and for her suggestion of the Devil's Trill Sonata. Thanks to Baconfat whose, although she doesn't know it yet, brilliant Adel series partly inspired me to get off my butt and finally tell Seymour's story.

Here I used two sources for the in-game dialogue. The majority of it is from the official English version, as transcribed by Oliver Kong. The ever-delightful Rubykate kindly pointed me in its direction. There were some areas, however, where I felt that the official English version was unfortunately bland; in those cases, I substituted an unofficial fan-translation of the original Japanese version, done by Nathan Mallory and John Townsend. I edited further some of the fan-translation myself, and the hybrid is found mostly in the first and second-to-last sections, the Guado Guardians' refrain, and the question twice asked by Tidus. Nearly all the rest is from the official English version.

Reviews, feedback, and flames are appreciated. More of my writing can be found on my LJ, which is linked to in my author profile.