DISCLAIMER: I do not own FFX or FFX-2 or any of the characters or places associated with it. I do, however, own the twisted idea for this story.
DO NOT COPY MY STORIES!!
If anyone wants to post my stories anywhere else, please just ASK and then give me credit for writing it. Email with any requests.
I have had problems with my fics being stolen. Reviewers of the Silver Wings trilogy know all about the situation. Please keep an eye out for this story or any of my others posted on any other sites. I only post here and I only use the name "akksgurl". If you think my story has been stolen, please contact me so that I can look into the situation. Thanks a lot in advance for your help.
To my reviewers of the Silver Wings trilogy, forget all that you know. This is
a new story that will have no ties to Silver Wings except for the fact that
it's Final Fantasy X/X-2 and therefore any of those characters can
reappear. To my new reviewers, thank you for reading and I hope you
Let me give you a brief synopsis of this story. Basically, it is an AU in which Yuna is transported back to Zanarkand where she meets Tidus. Tidus is NOT a dream. Neither is Yuna. The Zanarkand she is transported to is the REAL Zanarkand and therefore some real people from real Zanarkand will make appearances. There are also going to be summoners in real Zanarkand. She arrives a few months before the Zanarkand-Bevelle war breaks out. A few things have changed since Tidus was never with her on her pilgrimage. Auron was not there either (though that doesn't mean he's not in the story! wink wink). Seymour did go nuts, but he wasn't killed so Yuna and her friends never found out that all of Yevon was a lie. Also, I will attempt to keep the characters as "in character" as I can, but of course since this is an AU there will be times when the characters will be very OOC. I just wanted to let you all know now so I don't get flames saying that the characters are OOC.
Okay…enough blabbering from me…
The story begins just before Yuna and her group go to speak with Lady Yunalesca…
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoy!
Chapter One: We're Not In Kansas Anymore, TotoThe sun was beating at her back causing sweat to drip down her spine and tickle her during the travel. She was really beginning to loathe the outdoors. She hated the bugs, she hated sleeping on the hard ground, and she hated waking up at dawn with the sun shining in her eyes. But most of all, Yuna hated knowing that there wouldn't be a return trip…at least, not for her.
She was going to die…
She'd known that starting out, but somehow it had seemed so distant and improbable back at Besaid. Wakka and Lulu had tried to talk her out of it. Kimahri had grunted his displeasure. Rikku had gone so far as to try and have the Al Bhed kidnap her, but nothing had changed her mind. She had been firm in her resolve to sacrifice herself so that Spira could have a few brief moments of calm before Sin reappeared. It was worth it. That's what she kept telling herself. Yet, with every step she took toward the destructed city of Zanarkand – the end of her journey – Yuna became less and less sure. She was missing out on so much of her life. Did she really want to die without falling in love at least once; without having children; without experiencing everything life had to offer?
But did those people in Kilika experience life to the fullest?
The answer was a resounding no and it caused Yuna a moment's guilt. Her death would mean thousands more would live. Of course it was worth it. How could she have even questioned it?
She paused on the rocky cliffs overlooking the city of Zanarkand. This was where it had all started. This was where Sin was born. In the midst of the Zanarkand-Bevelle war of 1000 years before, the sins of those that lived at that time and their dependence on machina had caused that giant creature to form. The sins had been so deep, so powerful, so all consuming that even after 1000 years the citizens of Spira had yet to atone for them.
Sometimes Yuna wondered if they ever would.
"We can turn around if you want to, ya." Came Wakka's voice from just behind her. The red-headed blitzball player's eyes showed his weariness. Wakka had been a fantastic friend and guardian to Yuna and she knew it pained him to know that his job would soon be coming to an end – marked by the tragic demise of the one he guarded. Yuna shook her head and slowly started the descent down the incline leading to Zanarkand. The city of the dead was calling her. It was here that Sin was born and it was here she would gain the power to destroy him. It was the only way. She couldn't turn back now. Too many were depending on her.
As she made her way carefully down to the remnants of the main road, Yuna wondered what Zanarkand had looked like so long ago. Was that pile of rubble to her left a home or a shop? What color had the water been? Blue? Green? A mix of the two? What stories would the residents tell her of life in the great city if they could talk to her? Was the night-life as exciting as the tales she'd heard. Was Zanarkand truly a city that didn't sleep or were those tales embellished to create a sense of wonder about an otherwise desolate and depressing place?
Perhaps after defeating Sin she could ask some of the residents in the Farplane. Her curiosity could be sated then. It was that thought that put a slight bounce in her step. For as long as she could remember she'd been fascinated by Zanarkand – especially by the stories the mysterious Jecht had told her whilst claiming he was from Zanarkand. When her father, Lord Braska, had defeated Sin and perished 10 years earlier her interest peaked into an obsession. She had hungered for any information she could find and it was through this research that she had discovered her calling – The Summoners' Arts.
It hadn't been easy to learn. Summoning was an art that required intense concentration and an absurd amount of faith in a religion she – for the longest time – had blamed for her father's death. It was, after all, the religion of the residents of Zanarkand with the Hymn of the Fayth having been a Zanarkand victory song before it had been adopted as a way to show respect to the fayth of the Yevon religion.
Yuna paused in her thoughts just outside of the only building in Zanarkand that was still mostly standing. It had been the main Blitzball stadium of Zanarkand's most popular team – The Abes. However, now it was where she would gain the final aeon and with it, the power to destroy Sin. She turned and smiled at her guardians one at a time.
Wakka was like a brother to her. When her father had died, she'd been taken to live on Besaid instead of remaining in Bevelle. Wakka had practically adopted her in that instant. Now he gazed at her with unshed tears glistening in his eyes. He couldn't bring himself to say goodbye. Neither could she. It was too hard.
If Wakka was her brother, than Lulu was her sister. Lulu's black magic had come in handy on the journey and Yuna was certain it would come in handy during the final battle. Lulu didn't show much emotion – as was common in black mages – but Yuna knew that no one loved her more than Lulu. She also knew that no one supported her more than Lulu. She was the one who had managed to convince Wakka that Yuna knew what she was doing when she chose to become a summoner. If only Yuna had been that certain…
Kimahri was her father-figure and had been for the last 10 years. A member of the Ronso tribe, the giant half feline was stern and emotionless, but protected her with a ferocity that belied his stoic demeanor. Oh how she loved him for it.
And then there was Rikku. Yuna had only discovered recently that the spunky Al Bhed was actually her cousin. Yuna's mother had been an Al Bhed and married her father against the Al Bhed's wishes. Her mother's brother, Cid, had promptly stopped speaking with her, but when Yuna needed him he was willing to help. Rikku, being Cid's daughter, had joined as a guardian even though the Al Bhed didn't believe in the Yevon religion. Yuna knew that Rikku hated what Yuna was doing, but she also knew that Rikku would support her through it. She was so grateful for that.
Summoning courage she didn't really feel, Yuna smiled at them, "Let's go everyone."
The inside of the stadium was as broken and destroyed as the streets outside. The remnants of a bridge led the way toward their destination deep within the bowels of the stadium. Yuna moved her booted feet slowly over the cracks and bulges of the path, making certain not to fall. She ignored the fayth shadows of past visitors to this sacred place. Being reminded of all those who had died wasn't something she needed at that moment. She needed a clear head so that she could focus all of her faith into Yevon.
Her fear was great the closer they came. Yuna felt her dissolve begin to falter again but she focused on her father. Braska must have felt the same thing when he reached Zanarkand and yet he continued on so that Yuna – and the others of Spira – would be safe from Sin's ravages. She would be letting not only Spira down, but her father down as well if she gave up in fear now.
She wouldn't let them down.
At the base of the elevator was a small room. Kimahri – in his never ending quest to keep her safe – entered first and them motioned for the rest to follow. A large glass encasement was on the floor and Yuna gazed down at fayth encased in the glass case and felt a rising strength and determination inside of her. With this fayth, she would defeat Sin and save Spira from his ravages. A time of peace would be upon them – perhaps even an everlasting Calm.
She smiled at that thought…
She could do it if she set her mind to it. It was possible. Anything was possible if you just believed.
"That statue lost its power as a fayth long ago." Came a mysterious voice. Kimahri stepped in front of Yuna quickly as an elderly man emerged from behind the energy curtain leading into the next room. He pointed down at the fayth encased below Yuna's feet, "It is Lord Zaon, the first fayth of the Final Summoning. What you see before you is all that remains of him. Lord Zaon is...his soul is gone."
"Gone!?" Wakka squealed, pumping his fists rapidly in the air as if that'd make the words untrue.
Rikku frowned, "You mean, there is no Final Aeon?"
"But fear not." The man answered. Yuna noticed that he never actually answered Rikku's question and briefly wondered why, but ignored it as he continued to speak, "Lady Yunalesca will show you the path. The Final Aeon will be yours. The summoner and the Final Aeon will join powers. Go to her now. Inside, the lady awaits."
As quickly as the man had come, he disappeared and Yuna found herself alone with her guardians again. The silence was almost as deafening as the shouts at the Luca blitzball tournament. Yuna's heart beat in her ears. The fayth…was gone. How would Lady Yunalesca give the Final Aeon if the fayth for it was gone?
It must be possible. Her father had done it. The summoners before he had done it. There had to be a way.
"Yuna." Kimahri growled low as he stepped up to her back.
"I'm not going back."
"Kimahri knows. Kimahri goes first. Yuna is safe. Kimahri protect."
Yuna smiled gratefully up to her friend. She had thought he'd try to talk her out of it. She wouldn't have been surprised. Any one of them would have had the right. Why risk your life if what you've journeyed for isn't there? That's what they would have asked her. And she wouldn't have been able to answer…
However, she knew there was no turning back. No matter how many second doubts she was having, or how many sleepless nights on the ground, Yuna knew she needed to do this. It was her destiny to defeat Sin. She wouldn't rest until she had.
And then she'd rest eternally…
Kimahri was the first to pass through the energy wall. Wakka and Lulu followed. Rikku stood firmly in her place for several seconds after and looked at Yuna. She could see the fight inside of her cousin's eyes. Yuna knew that all Rikku wanted to do was take Yuna from this pilgrimage and forget about it. Rikku had suggested more than once during the nights on the road that they could stop and just let Sir Isaaru or Lady Dona do it. They were older. They'd lived more life. Let them die instead. Rikku's green eyes shone with unshed tears, but she took a deep breath and walked through the energy curtain.
Yuna was grateful…so grateful.
"Someone's coming!" was Rikku's greeting to Yuna. She had just come through the energy curtain to hear her cousin screeching those two words.
Yuna gazed up as a beautiful woman came from the Chamber of the Fayth and slowly descended the stairs toward them. Long blond hair dragged the floor behind her. Pyreflies floated out from and around her. Yuna stepped forward passed her guardians, "Lady Yunalesca."
It wasn't a question…
"Welcome to Zanarkand. I congratulate you, summoner." The woman replied, looking only at Yuna. It was almost as if Yunalesca could see through Yuna – much like Yuna could see through Yunalesca. The deceased High Summoner continued, "You have
completed your pilgrimage. I will now bestow you with that which you seek. The
Final Summoning...will be yours. Now, choose. You must choose the one whom I
will change...to become the fayth of the Final Summoning."
The silence after her statement was punctuated with shocked gasps from those around her, and yet Yuna wasn't surprised. The man had said that the fayth was Lord Zaon and yet from history books Yuna knew that Zaon hadn't been a fayth his whole life. He'd married Yunalesca. He'd even dabbled at blitzball a bit. Yuna didn't react. She just wanted to finish hearing what Yunalesca needed to say to her.
"There must be a bond, between chosen and summoner, for that is what the Final Summoning embodies: the bond between husband and wife, mother and child, or between friends. If that bond is strong enough, its light will conquer Sin." She stepped toward Yuna and the girl reciprocated – taking a step as well to close the gap between them, "A thousand years ago, I chose my husband Zaon as my fayth. Our bond was true, and I obtained the Final Aeon. There is nothing to fear. You will soon be freed of worry and pain. For once you call forth the Final Aeon, your life will end. Death is the ultimate and final liberation. Your father, Braska, chose this path."
Yuna gazed from one guardian to the other. It was enough knowing that she would sacrifice herself for Spira, but knowing that she was going to need another to do the same was too much. Inside three sets of eyes, she saw pleading.
Don't do this…
Let's just go…
Yet in Kimahri's eyes, she saw determination. She saw the eyes of the Ronso who had come to her after her father had died and taken her to Besaid as per his wishes. She hadn't asked at the time how he knew her father – or even why he knew she was to be taken to Besaid. She just trusted him. His appearance had frightened her, but his gentleness had showed her there was nothing to fear. And now, in a time when she was her most frightened, Kimahri was her rock once again. She wondered if he was silently offering his soul to help her. The answer was in his eyes.
I'll be your fayth…
She turned back to Yunalesca, determination flowing hot and fast in her veins, "I chose Kimahri has my fayth."
"Very well." Yunalesca replied, turning slowly and moving back toward the stairs. It was implied in every movement that Yuna was to follow her with Kimahri. The Ronso moved to her and held his arm out, indicating that he'd – once again – go first and protect her.
She looked up at him, "I love you, Kimahri. You're the best friend I've ever had."
"Kimahri knows." Was his reply, "Kimahri loves Yuna also."
Silence – except for their footsteps – accompanied Yuna and her remaining guardians on their journey back to the Calm Lands. It wasn't the same without Kimahri's stalwart determination and confidence. Without him, it was like their heart was missing.
Yet he was still with them.
All Yuna needed to do was call for the Final Aeon, and Kimahri would be with them – however briefly. He'd kill Sin…and then he'd kill Yuna. It was ironic. He'd kill Yuna, when for the last ten years he'd been so adamant about protecting her.
The Calm Lands were much like they had left it on their journey through it just a week before. Wide and open – just the perfect place to defeat Sin.
The perfect place to die…
That's how Yuna saw it. This place – lush and green – would be the last place she'd see with mortal eyes. She would never see the beaches of Besaid again, or the stadium at Luca. She'd never watch another blitzball game, or read another book. She'd never laugh again, or cry.
Her life was coming to an end.
Did she really want it to?
Did she really have to do this?
She didn't want to…
She wanted to live…
She stopped in mid step on one of the hills that lined the Calm Lands and turned to her friends. The sadness in their eyes stopped her. They were sad for so many reasons it was hard to count them, but one for certain was that Kimahri was gone. He'd sacrificed himself. He'd sacrificed himself so that Yuna could defeat Sin using him. If she stopped now, his sacrifice would have been in vain.
How could she even have thought about it?
She gave them each a weak smile and turned back to continue on the path. She walked while consciously trying to keep herself from thinking. Thinking led to wishing to live, and wishing to live led to mourning for those who didn't, and mourning for those who didn't led to guilt for wishing to live. She couldn't deal with the myriad of emotions anymore.
She just couldn't.
A loud roar echoed over the hills and Yuna froze, her eyes drawn silently to the cliffs at the far end of the Calm Lands. Sin rose above them like a monstrous tsunami over the ocean. His eyes – millions of them it seemed – all were focused on Yuna, or at least it felt like that. He roared again and came toward their small party.
This was it…
Yuna took a deep breath and tried to remember what Yunalesca had told her after she'd turned Kimahri into the fayth.
"In order to gain use of the final aeon…you must first sacrifice your other aeons. Only then will the final aeon have the power to defeat Sin."
Yuna smiled what she hoped was a confident grin but what she feared was an ugly grimace and lifted her wand, "Valefor!"
The giant winged beast flew down from the heavens. How many times had Yuna called him before? How many battles had he helped her win? He would help her again.
"Strike!" she shouted and Valefor obeyed, flying forward and striking Sin on one of his eyes. The giant shouted in pain and struck forth against Valefor, flinging the bird to the ground with such violence that the pyreflies appeared around him almost instantly.
However Yuna didn't have time to feel sorrow, "Ifrit!" she called forth. The hell beast rose from the depths at her feet and flung her affectionately upwards with him, keeping her safe with his huge claws. She patted his head gently. She waited with patience as Lulu sent an Ultima attack Sin's way. The monster shrieked and lowered himself to the ground – most probably for a better reach to his enemies. When the dust cleared from Ultima, Yuna pointed to Sin, "Strike!" she commanded.
Ifrit lunged forward and walloped Sin hard across the front forearm. The monster lashed back, striking with the affected arm and forcing Ifrit to the ground. The aeon was weakened, but not defeated and Yuna commanded another strike. He did so on Sin's other appendage, but he wasn't so lucky with the return attack this time and Yuna watched the pyreflies evacuate Ifrit's body.
She sighed, "Ixion!"
Sin was waiting for this aeon. Yuna realized this as the monster let loose an almost instantaneous Watera spell against the lightening-based Ixion. He was gone before Yuna had the chance to command him.
The beautiful ice queen appeared and Yuna instantly commanded a Blizzaga spell against Sin. The beast wasn't weak against ice, but it still did damage to Sin's main body and Yuna commanded it again before Sin could retaliate.
Sin stilled for a moment and Yuna took that opportunity to take a much needed breath. Lulu ran to her, "Yuna! His overdrive!"
Yuna realized it then too, as Sin's brief respite came to an end and he used his powerful overdrive against Shiva, who promptly collapsed into a heap of pyreflies.
One more aeon left. Then she'd use the final aeon and die.
With a heavy heart, Yuna shouted the final name, "Bahamut!"
The monstrous aeon appeared by her side and Yuna gazed up at him. He was, by far, the hardest one to get. The machina chamber in Bevelle had surprised her. Machina was banned by the religious leaders based in Bevelle, and yet Yuna assumed that the chamber had been created well before the ban. Therefore it was okay.
"Overdrive!" she shouted at Bahamut. She had prepared Bahamut specifically for this battle. Yet she knew that by commanding that, she'd sentence him – and herself – to a sooner death. Bahamut couldn't move for several minutes after his Overdrive. He had to recuperate.
She watched in awe as he prepared his "Mega Flare" attack. It blew a powerful hole in Sin's main body as the monster shrieked in pain. His retaliation was swift and hard, knocking Bahamut's head off with a powerful arm.
Yuna caught Rikku's eye as Bahamut disappeared in pyreflies. This was it. This was when she was going to die.
She took a deep breath and lifted her wand, "I call upon the final aeon! Kimahri! I need your help!"
Her former guardian appeared to her in an even more monstrous form than she had mentally prepared herself for. There was still a resemblance of Ronso about him and yet he also appeared almost robotic. He was carrying a giant sword almost three times the size of Sin and was growling low and steadily which caused Yuna to wonder if it wasn't so much growling as it was a low rumbling as the earth shook beneath their feet at his massive presence.
Even Sin seemed affected. He visibly backed off as the final aeon waited calmly for Yuna's direction. She took a deep breath and pointed to Sin, "Strike!" she shouted.
The final aeon lifted it's huge sword and Sin backed further away, causing Yuna just a moment's sympathy for the monster. Its time was up, just as hers was.
The last thing Yuna remembered was Sin moving above her as the final aeon lifted his sword and brought it down…hard.
Yuna was brought forcibly to consciousness when a hard object connected with her head. Her eyes flew open and she squinted in the sudden light that invaded them. The first thing she noticed was that she was laying on the ground. It wasn't grass, though. It was cement. The ground around her was littered with garbage of various kinds littering up and down the back of the building she found herself leaning against.
The next thing Yuna noticed was that she was being watched. She felt it instinctively without having to turn around. Years of being her father's daughter had given her that ability. She'd been gawked at and practically worshiped for 10 years. She knew when someone was staring.
Yuna slowly turned her head to see who it was and had to force herself not to let her jaw drop. Before her was, quite possibly, the most attractive man she'd ever seen before. His bronzed skin was visible down to the waist of his shorts, revealing a muscular torso. He was wearing a shirt, but it was open down the middle, leaving a large silver necklace visible as it hung down below his chin. Shaggy blonde hair hung loosely in his face and eyes…bright blue eyes which, Yuna now noticed, were watching her rather quizzically. Yuna straightened her spine and rose slowly, slight dizziness taking over as she stood. She swayed slightly but the man didn't move. He just kept staring. She took a deep breath to steady herself and lifted her chin, "Can I help you with something?"
"I could ask you the same question." The man replied. Yuna liked the sound of his voice. It wasn't deep, but it wasn't high-pitched either. There was something soothing about he way he spoke.
Yet, right now was not the time to ponder his voice. More important things needed to be pondered…like where exactly she was. This certainly wasn't the Calm Lands. Her first thought would have been that it was the Farplane, but she seriously doubted the Farplane looked like an unkempt and dingy alley. She swallowed and spoke, "What did you hit me for?"
"It's not like I did it on purpose." He replied, walking toward her quickly. Yuna jumped back and lifted her fists as if that would frighten him off. Cute or not, she didn't know him or what he wanted with her. He looked at her oddly for a moment as she pumped her fists before her body and lifted an eyebrow, "Swatting flies?"
She glared at him and moved her hands from a fisted position in front of her to her hips, "No. I'm preparing to beat you off of me."
"Uh…huh…" he replied slowly and monotonously as he stared at her oddly, "I don't force girls…if that's what you think I'm going to do to you."
Yuna didn't reply as he leaned over. Her eyes were inexplicably drawn to the seat of his pants that were rounding quite nicely over his bottom. She bit her lip and blinked a few times. What was wrong with her? One minute she's afraid he's going to jump her and the next she's ogling him like she's never seen a man before. She groaned at herself. Lulu was going to smack her when she got back to Besaid. He stood straight again and Yuna took notice of what he'd lifted.
She stared at it for a moment and then lifted her eyes to his, "You play blitzball?"
This was obviously the thing to get him smiling. He flashed her the most amazing smile she'd ever seen and she noted that he had a small dimple on his right cheek. He lifted his head proudly and puffed out his chest, "Do I play blitzball?!" he scoffed and gave her a fake hearty laugh, "I'm only the star player of the Zanarkand Abes! Didn't you recognize me?"
Yuna suddenly felt like she was in a tunnel. All the sounds around her – from the birds chirping, to the people talking and laughing from the other side of the building – seemed distant and disconnected from where she was. All she could hear repeating over and over again was one word…
Her breath came in short little gasps as she gaped at him, "This is…Zanarkand…?"
His smile faded and he resumed his odd expression as he lifted an eyebrow and leaned closer to her. His face was a few inches from hers and he was staring into her eyes as if trying to examine them, "What's the matter with you? You don't know where you are?"
"Just answer the question." She demanded, sounding more firm than she felt.
He stood straight again and hooked the blitzball under his left arm, "Yeah. A-East to be exact. You're behind the blitzball stadium." He frowned then asked, "How did you come to be asleep back here anyway? Drink too much at Irvine's?"
Yuna widened her eyes indignantly and glared at him, "I do NOT drink!"
He sneered at her and rolled his eyes, "Oh sure you don't." he replied with a smirk, "I mean, every sober person decides to curl up in the fetal position next to a dumpster to sleep."
Yuna's mouth opened and closed like a fish. She couldn't believe the sheer audacity of this man to imply that she was some sort of a lush. What was next? That she sold her body for money? Oh, if he implied that she'd kick him. Cute guy or no cute guy, he was turning out to be quite the asshole. She decided it would be best not to deign his implication with a response. Instead, she lifted her nose regally, "Can you please direct me to the nearest boat. I need to get back to Besaid."
She wasn't sure why she wanted to go to Besaid. The only logical thought that kept running in her head was that somehow she'd survived defeating Sin. That somehow she'd destroyed him permanently and that Spira was rewarded with getting Zanarkand back exactly as it had been. Perhaps the people had been in limbo somewhere and the defeat of Sin had brought it back. Yes…that had to be what was going on. She'd get back to Besaid and find Wakka, Lulu, and Rikku worried sick about her. That's what would happen.
The blonde before her lifted his eyebrow again and it caused Yuna to have the ridiculous thought that if he continued along this path he'd have wrinkles on only one side of his forehead as he aged, "A boat? Why would you take a boat to Besaid? That'd take forever."
"How else to you propose I get home?" she asked. She hated sounding so snobbish, but this man was bringing out the worst in her. She couldn't wait to tell Lulu and Rikku about him. She'd eviscerate his worst qualities – which seemed to be all of his qualities. The only thing nice about him was his looks and there was nothing worse than a good- looking jerk.
"The airship station." He stated as if it was the simplest answer in the world.
Yuna's mouth gaped again, "Air…ship…?"
He rolled his eyes at her again, "You sure you didn't drink a tad too much last night?"
She glared at him and spun on her heels, walking at a brisk pace toward the street visible slightly from the alley. She heard him laugh behind her quietly and it was then that Yuna realized she had absolutely no idea where she was going. She regretfully turned back to face the arrogant man, "How do I get there?"
He walked up to her slowly and when he reached her side, he pointed, "Just follow this road straight until you get to the intersection. Take a left and then the first right. You can't miss it." She nodded and took a step away when he grabbed her arm and held her firm. She tried to shrug him off but he held tighter. Her eyes must have shown her sudden fear because he released her, "I'm not trying to hurt you." He said, the first true sincerity she saw in his eyes showing then, "I just want to make sure you're gonna be okay. Do you need help?"
All her instincts were begging her to say yes. To tell him what she knew and see if he could figure any of this out. Yet her mind prevailed. She knew that all she'd get from her confession would be a raised eyebrow and a look from him that proved he thought she was a raving, total lunatic. She shook her head, "No thank you. I'm fine."
"All right." He said with a nod, "Have a nice life."
Yuna didn't respond as he turned and rounded the building, disappearing into the sun-glare as he did. Alone again, Yuna swallowed her fear and started the trek up the road. If this was truly Zanarkand, than it was as busy and bustling as she had seen in her dreams and as it had been in the stories Sir Jecht had told her before her father had left. People moved left and right, weaving between themselves and around her. Several times her shoulder connected with a shoulder of another and Yuna received a glare and a, "Watch where you're going."
Yuna trembled although it was warm under the sun as she reached the intersection and made a left. Her tiny link to hope that this Zanarkand was somehow Spira's reward for defeating Sin was vanishing quickly. Yet, she couldn't give it up completely. If she did, then she'd be lost. She needed her hope.
The blonde man hadn't been kidding when he had said she couldn't miss the airship station. It stood against the skyline like a giant. A giant with neon. The station was called Zanarkand Airship Station and Yuna ruefully thought it was very original. Quite an impressive marketing team they must have.
Sarcasm wasn't her strong suit and she didn't even like it all that much, but in times like this it seemed appropriate.
The line at the ticket counter to Besaid was short – four people stood before her – and Yuna quietly slipped into it. She wasn't used to having to wait in line for the tickets at the boating stations. People were just allowed on. It didn't even occur to Yuna that the tickets in Zanarkand would cost something until a middle-aged man stuck his head out of the cubby and hissed through yellow teeth, "15 gil!"
"15…gil?" she repeated, dumbly.
"It ain't free, sweetheart." Was the reply.
Yuna shivered as the man's eyes grazed her body slowly and leisurely before reconnecting with her eyes. She stiffened, "I…I don't have any money." And that was the truth. Lulu handled all the gil. Yuna had insisted that she hold it so that they would be certain to have it on their return trip.
The man sneered, "Well then you'd best be gettin' out o' me line, chicky. You're holdin' everybody up."
A hand extended from just over the roped queue and handed 15 gil to the man, "I got her."
Yuna turned her head and was struck to see the blonde man from before giving her a friendly smile. Though he was wearing something different than he had been 30 minutes before, he had the same dopey smile and blue eyes. She gaped at him, "Are you following me?"
He gave her that same 'are you crazy' look he'd been giving her behind the stadium, "No." he replied with a cocked eyebrow, "I have to pick somebody up."
She relaxed a bit and gave him a weak smile, "Thank you for the money." And she quickly grabbed the ticket from the yellow-teethed man and went for the airship before her strange blonde stalker could reply. No matter what his excuse, Yuna knew he was following her. If there was someone he had to pick up, why wouldn't he have offered to walk with her? Her mind responded without permission.
Because he's probably a serial-killer…
She forced herself to stop thinking about the attractive psycho as she walked slowly up the plank leading into the passenger section of the airship. It was spacious and the seats were plush. Yuna chose one next to the window so she could look out during the flight. With every passing second, she was beginning to realize that her trip to Besaid would prove fruitless. If her belief was true, than Wakka, Lulu, and Rikku were probably all out searching for her. They wouldn't be home.
The flight was short and bumpy. With the first sign of turbulence, Yuna was certain that if Sin hadn't killed her, this airship certainly would. She'd let out a frightened squeal and earned herself glares from those nearby to her. Though she'd sat next to the window so she could look out, she hadn't done so. Deep inside she was afraid of what she'd see. She didn't want to deal with it yet. She wanted to enjoy her flight as best as she could.
When the ship was firmly on solid ground, the people around her began to silently file out. Yuna followed slowly at the back of the line. There wasn't much she could see from the windows. They had landed with a view of trees on either side of the ship. Yet, her lack of view didn't last long. As Yuna walked down the plank to the ground, her jaw dropped.
Hundreds of people were meandering around Besaid town in bathing suits. The path leading up the hill to the beach was lined with half-naked tourists sunbathing, reading, and generally enjoying themselves in the wonderful weather. Yuna felt numb as she dumbly wandered down the path. She knew her mouth was hanging open, but she was beyond caring at the moment. The entrance to Besaid was lighted with a large neon sign welcoming everyone to Besaid. Huts were replaced by giant buildings that Yuna realized, upon second glance, were actually hotels. Where the temple stood, was instead a giant casino with a sign out front guaranteeing a winner every two hours.
Besaid was…a resort town!
Yuna collapsed down onto the stairs leading to the casino and put her face in her hands. Where was she? What was going on? Why was this happening? Question upon question formed in her head but no answers joined them. She had held out hope that everything else would be the same once she left Zanarkand, but that hope was dashed now. Wherever her friends where…they certainly weren't here. She took in a ragged breath and let it out again.
She had to remain calm.
Freaking out wasn't going to help anything.
But it was so hard…
All she wanted to do was scream as loud as she could. She wanted to kick and scream and throw a fit until someone was kind enough to put her back in her world. Or even better…until someone put her out of her misery.
Maybe this was the Farplane. The Farplane reacted to people's memories of their lost loved ones. It would stand to reason that the Farplane would be built out of the dead's memories as well. Yuna let a little smile form on her face. If that was the case then she could find her father and he'd make it all better again.
But how to prove it?
The dead didn't feel pain. She knew that for certain. Determined to test the theory, Yuna took her cheek between her thumb and forefinger and pinched.
"Ow!" she hissed quietly before frowning long and hard.
There goes that idea…
"Hey! Watch where you're goin', ya?!"
Yuna's head shot upward at that familiar dialect. Her eyes caught sight of a tall red-head standing in the middle of the road. His diatribe was directed at two young children who were chasing each other along the road, weaving in and out of tourists. Though his back was to her, Yuna was filled with hope. She lunged to her feet and closed the gap between her and the man quickly, "Wakka…?"
Though he had red-hair, the man before her wasn't Wakka and Yuna realized this as he turned around. She should have realized it sooner. He was thinner than Wakka and a bit taller, but his eyes held the same kindness. He shook his head at her, "Nah…my names Vicktru." He replied with a lopsided grin, "But most people just call me Vic, ya."
Yuna tried to hide her disappointment, but she knew it showed on her face. Yet, if the dialect was still there than maybe…
Perhaps her theory wasn't totally off. Maybe after the defeat of Sin, Spira was reverted back to the way it had been, but everyone living in her time was still around. She took a breath, "Do you know someone named Wakka? He lives around here. Or a black mage named Lulu? She had black hair and is dressed really elegantly."
Vic thought for a minute and then shook his head, "Sorry, ya. Never heard of 'em. There's a black mage 'round here named Vivianne," he said, pointing in the direction of the largest of the hotels, "She lives over there in the Besaid Grand Hotel. We own it together. Maybe she'd know this Lulu."
"It's not important…" replied Yuna quietly. Her disappointment and fear as beginning to take her over.
Vic watched her with a worried expression, "Looks like you've had a rough day, ya." He stated simply as he lowered his hand from the point. He used his finger to lift her chin, "You wanna stay at the hotel, ya? I'll let you stay for free if you want."
Though she was exhausted and was likely to pass out before she figured out what was going on, Yuna shook her head, "No thank you. I really should be going." Why was she saying that? She didn't have any idea where she was going and without money, she certainly wasn't going to get far. Vic was still looking at her as if he wanted to help and she caved in, "Do you have any money I can borrow?" she asked, hating to fib but realizing she was going to have to, "Someone stole my wallet."
Vic nodded and dug in his back pocket and retrieved two 20 gil notes, "There ya go. That'll get ya back on your feet, I'd think."
"Thank you." Yuna replied as she slid the two bills into her boot.
"You sure you don't want to stay?" Vic offered again.
He shrugged, "Okay then. Good luck miss…" he let the sentence trail off and Yuna realized she hadn't introduced herself.
She smiled at him, "Yuna. My name is Yuna."
Vic grinned then and extended his hand for a shake which Yuna accepted, "Nice to meet you, Yuna. If you change your mind about staying, just let me know. I'd be happy to give you a hand."
"Thank you, Vic." Yuna replied as she retrieved her hand from his and turned back toward the direction of the airship and its station. She had no idea where she was going, but she knew she couldn't stay there. People would ask too many questions and she didn't have an answers.
She needed answers…