A/N: At 2 a.m. one morning, I began pondering parenthood. I don't really know why, but perhaps it was because Mother's Day had just passed by and I sent a card to my mother. Either way, my thoughts got entwined with my FFX thoughts which resulted from rewatching the FMVs. And thus, the inspiration for this was born. I wanted to explore the possibility of Yuna and Tidus becoming young parents, and the way they would cope with this new – and unfamiliar – challenge. It's hopelessly fluffy, but I hope to achieve more with it than that. As for their daughter's name, I found it interesting how the Final Fantasy games mix names from all different cultures. So, I looked up some different cultural names, and found Kelsi, which is a Norse name for "victory at sea; island." I find the sea rather important to the Tidus/Yuna relationship, as it brought him to her – twice. As for the island, well, that is obvious. .-
This can be taken as a sequel to my previous FFX-2 fic, but it does not have to be. All parts in between periods are flashbacks.
Someone Like Us
How many hopes and fears, how many ardent wishes and anxious apprehensions are twisted together in the threads that connect the parent with the child! - Samuel G. Goodrich
Yuna had once harbored a vain wish for her child to inherit her husband's wheaten gold locks. It was a silly desire, she knew, but one she often imagined in her mind when thinking of their future – a little one with hair that outshone the sun. In reality, when the time came for her daughter to be born, the tiny girl instead bore the dusty brown tresses of her mother.
Kelsi's eyes, however, were that of her father's, and not just in their crystalline blue color. One had always been able to see Tidus' world by looking in his eyes. They shone with pure happiness, widened in innocent confusion, tightened in bitter sadness. The looks he sent could cause someone else to feel the same as he did, could make their spirits rise or sink. He wore his heart on his sleeve, and it was that more than anything that had warmed him to the timid summoner, who had trained since childhood to keep her emotions to herself. Truly, Yuna was glad that Kelsi had inherited that vitality.
Overwhelmed with the feelings that accompanied her transition into parenthood, Yuna did not even remember her old wish until later. The High Summoner had spent one of the first mornings after her daughter's birth sitting propped up on pillows and gazing into the tiny child's eyes. It was a short, welcome break from visitors and friends clamoring to see the new baby. Tidus lay beside her, arm tossed across her lap just beneath the small bundle, also lost in thought. The silence was broken when she heard him mutter under his breath, "…I kind of wanted her to have your eyes."
There was a pause while Yuna stared at him, shocked to hear he had held the same type of silly wish she had, and then she had started laughing. Her body shook helplessly with unbridled hilarity and she had to calm the suddenly stirring baby. Her laughter only intensified at the look of adorable bewilderment on her young husband's face. "No, no," she gasped, catching her breath and placing one hand on his cheek. "She's perfect."
The confusion melted from his face with the appearance of his smile, and he leaned into her palm. He didn't understand the reason for her amusement, but he certainly agreed with her comment and, as always, took delight in her happiness. "Yeah."
And she was. Although, not everything was perfect.
Yuna and Tidus were young parents. They had gotten engaged soon after their reunion, and married a few months later. In the whirlwind of it all, they hardly had time to sit and figure out their life together. Not more than a year afterwards, Yuna had become pregnant.
This was wonderful… but also downright terrifying. While the concept of raising a child together was a pleasing one, Tidus did not have particularly fond memories of his parents, and Yuna's had died when she was young. While Yuna had been proposed to countless times since the defeat of Sin, she had never seriously considered accepting, nor what would happen after she did. Her mind had been too caught up in what she had lost, and after Rikku whisked her away to be one of the Gullwings, having a family simply was not a concern.
Now, all it once, it seemed to have fallen into her lap, and she was unsure and slightly frightened. Lulu saw her predicament and gently took the younger woman under her wing, having her spend as much time around her and Vidina as possible to get her accustomed to the care of a child. Tidus, on the other hand, spent much of his time worrying about his capacity to be a father, much to the exasperation of his wife.
It was a quiet night on the Celsius, and Yuna lay on top of her sheets on her bunk, staring at the metal ceiling. One hand rested on her slightly bulging stomach, and every once in a while she pressed down gently to reaffirm herself of the child's presence, before becoming paranoid and worrying she might harm the growing baby if she applied too much pressure.
It was just so hard to believe that she was going to be a mother. A year ago – two years ago, even – she would have never believed she would be doing what she was. Marriage had been an unpleasant concept, for to her it meant foreign noblemen with cold faces and a desire to use her to strengthen their political power. Children had never even come into her mind.
The door opened, and she felt Tidus slip onto the bed beside her, curling around her and burying his face in the fall of her hair. Warmth flooded into her, and Yuna allowed herself a small smile. "Hey you," she murmured fondly. She lifted her head to glance over at him, and saw her smile reflected in his.
"Hey," he whispered back. "What're you thinking about?"
Yuna shifted, freeing her arm from where it had been trapped between their bodies to bring it around him, joining her hands behind his back. "I'm sure you can guess."
His expression sobered, and he moved to press his face against her shoulder. "Yeah, I can. I've been thinking about it, too."
She wiggled her hips to bring herself lower on the bed so that her forehead rested against his. He opened his arms a bit more to allow her to get comfortable, and she enjoyed the feeling of his breath on her lips before he spoke again, voice barely audible. "Yuna… we can do this, right?"
Yuna stiffened, and leaned back a bit to look into his eyes. They were lowered, and she felt a stab of panic. "Tidus, do you… do you not want this… with me?"
His gaze flew up to meet hers, open and earnest. "No! That's not what I – I mean, I just don't, I always – we, ugh… I mean, my life-"
Seeing him trying so sincerely to reassure her and failing to find the words allowed her heart to slow down to it's normal rhythm. When his babbling didn't stop, she chuckled under her breath and removed one hand from his back to press it to his lips, cutting off his spiel. "Darling, hush. Stop and think of what you want to say. It's okay, I can wait."
He obeyed her instantly, relaxing in her embrace and closing his eyes in concentration. When he reopened them, Yuna nodded and removed her fingers. "Ready?"
Tidus took a deep breath. "Yeah. Yuna, really, you have to believe that – that no matter what I might say about this, or myself, I don't regret it. Not with you. Ever."
She moved her fingers to his hair, gently brushing it out of his eyes, which glittered like gems in the dim light. "So, what are you worried about?"
His hold on her tightened slightly. "I – I just… don't know if I'll know what to do. I mean, so much has gone on, I just never… never thought about a kid, you know? I was too caught up in everything else. And I mean, it's not like I have any experience with how to take care of a child, I mean, my dad didn't, and my mom… well, you know. I didn't exactly have the most… responsible… life. I just don't think that I could be a good father… someone like me…"
"Someone like you," Yuna repeated, and uncertainty flashed in his eyes. She kissed his forehead, gliding her palm down his cheek reassuringly. "Someone like you, who believes in life. Someone like you, who refuses to let people give up on their dreams, on their futures. Someone like you, who knows how to find even the smallest light in the darkness. Someone like you, who loves so much it gives others the strength to go on. Is that the someone you mean?"
He frowned, bewildered. "No, I -"
"Tidus," she cut him off. "I'm scared, too."
His eyes widened. "You are? But Yuna, you'll be the perfect mother! I mean, you just seem to have it in you, everyone loves you, you're always so kind and caring…"
"And you're not?"
He stopped, and looked to the side. "It's not the same."
She shook her head. "Tidus, that isn't true. I may be strong to the people of Spira… but… for myself?" A wry laugh. "Oftentimes I don't even quite understand who I am. How can I raise a child if I am not sure of myself? My parents…. I loved them, but it's been a long time. I don't remember all that much. And, you know… I hadn't really thought about it, either. So, I'm sorry…"
"No, don't be sorry, there's nothing to be sorry for," he reassured her hastily. "I'm probably worrying too much, I'm not exactly used to worrying…"
That made her smile, and she continued to play with his hair as his explanation slowed and they fell into a comfortable silence. When he gave up and moved to capture her lips in his, Yuna took strength from the knowledge that no matter what happened in this new stage in her life, at least she had him. A cold, uncaring face was something Tidus would never be.
Worried or not, the time came. It would be a lie to say the two settled easily into the role of parenthood. The love for their child came easily; it was plain to see the two were immediately smitten with the little life that they had created.
However, actually caring for Kelsi was an entirely different matter. They made mistakes; there was no dodging that fact. Sometimes they gave too much, or too little, were too paranoid or too careless. They would find themselves at odds with each other about what should be done, and several times their friends intervened to help with advice and reassurances. But, over time, together, they learned. They messed up, and forgave each other for their slip-ups. Most importantly, their daughter always forgave them, too.
Kelsi was too young to hold their blunders against them, her attention flitting from one thing to another more quickly than they could keep up. And if there was one thing they made sure she always knew, it was that they loved her. Eventually, with her childish trust, that made everything okay. Yuna and Tidus hoped that by the time she grew out of it, they would have learned enough.
For the first few years of Kelsi's life, Yuna had started taking contraceptives that Lulu obtained for her. They had their hands full as it was in their new role as parents, the last thing they needed was another baby. Eventually, yes, but they wanted to focus on doing the right thing for their first before allowing for a second. She had worried that Tidus might have been disturbed by it, but it turned out to be for nothing – he understood, and agreed quickly.
Kelsi certainly had a huge family, one that encompassed Spira. There was probably not a more well-traveled child in all the world. Her mother was constantly being called to meetings with leaders of different cities and groups – the High Summoner continued to be in demand, even after settling down. Initially, she had left Kelsi with Tidus and made the trips on her own, but the separation was hard on parents and child alike, so they began to make the journeys together.
The crew of the Celsius also considered the little girl one of them. "Auntie Rikku" delighted in babysitting, allowing the young parents some much needed privacy. At first, Tidus had had his reservations about leaving Kelsi in the cheerful Al Bhed's care, but Rikku had merely made a face at him and said that if he could raise a child, than she certainly could look after her for a short while.
Even Paine seemed to smile more when the child attached herself to her legs, looking up at her with an almost impossibly-huge grin that the woman insisted had to be inherited from her father. Shinra tended to try and ignore her, but Kelsi's never-ending curiosity had made the young genius a perfect target. Buddy indulged her by letting her ride in the cockpit at times, and she found Brother amusing, if not crazy.
They would see Gippal, Baralai, and Nooj during several of Yuna's trips – and it had been very entertaining to see LeBlanc try, and fail, to maintain a scornful face when confronted with the cheerful young girl. At least Kelsi served to make the strange woman act more warmly towards her mother, as she had seemed to figure that since Yuna was now a parent, then she was no longer a potential threat to her and Nooj's relationship. Gippal was completely at ease around the child, much like Rikku had been, and though it took a while longer, Baralai also learned to relax.
Even though Yuna still traveled a lot with the Gullwings – and battled, whenever the opportunity arose– she had began to tone down her outfits with her pregnancy. They were nowhere near the robes she had worn before, but they were more comfortable and covered more skin. She had said simply that she felt silly as a mother to dress in such a way.
She stood in front of the mirror on the ship, judging her new outfit. Rikku had helped her pick it, as usual, and she found herself liking it more than she might have expected. Her light top had a much higher neckline than her pink and white one, but it wasn't bulky – the cloth was soft and gave easily to accommodate her changed form. It was still white, but it covered her shoulders and traveled part way down her arms with broad, elegant stitching.
Yuna pulled on the loose ends that dangled over her elbows, and moved to try and make herself look a little less… well, huge… in the mirror. Her attempts were in vain, however, and she gave up and let her arms fall to her sides, brushing against the linen of her knee-length pants. Even those weren't plain, as somehow Rikku had gotten ones that cross-stitched in a unique pattern across her thighs, but were still practical for the soon-to-be-mother.
A flash of light caught her eye, and she fingered the silver cuff she had taken to wearing. It was simple in its beauty, a slim band of metal that dipped in a V from her wrist over the back of her hand. Cid had found it – apparently it had once belonged to Yuna's mother. Somehow, starting to wear it during her pregnancy seemed… appropriate.
She was so caught up in thought that she didn't even notice her husband's presence until she saw his hands on her hips in her reflection. Yuna spread her arms to the mirror so that he could fully see the clothes. "What do you think?"
"They're very nice." His tone was sincere, but lacked enthusiasm. She looked up at the glass and saw that his azure eyes were slightly veiled.
"Tidus?" she began to turn, but his hands held her in place, fingers moving to lightly trace her bulge through her shirt. "What's the matter? Do you not like how I look?"
He snorted from where he had buried his face into her shoulder. "You look great no matter what you wear, Yuna."
Now she was confused. "Then… what's bothering you?"
"Did you… did you feel forced to change your clothes?" he saw her puzzled expression, and tried to explain. "I mean, did you feel you had no other choice but to change? Yuna, I don't like that I… that I may have caused you to leave a lifestyle you enjoy so much. I know you love your other outfit. I just feel like I'm forcing you into choices you may not want."
She was shocked. "Tidus, out of all the people in my life… you are the one who has pressured me the least. It was you who showed me that it was okay to make my own choices. And this," she said, motioning at her stomach, "is no different. I do not feel hindered." Yuna loved her life with the Gullwings, yes… but a having a child with Tidus? How could she feel sad about that? Scared sometimes, yes, unsure, but never sad or regretful.
It was true that she did sometimes feel pangs of longing, especially when Tidus had decided (in concurrence with Rikku and Paine) that when her pregnancy was far enough along, she had to take a break from fighting and sphere-hunting. It would be hard to not be able to participate, which is part of why she remained on the Celsius, so that she could at least travel. They wouldn't remain on Besaid until a couple of months before she was due, and considering how much Tidus hovered now, she didn't want to think about how paranoid he would be then. At least on Besaid Rikku wouldn't be teaming up with him to make sure her "Yunie" didn't cause herself any accidental injury.
She would be glad, though, after the baby was born, to be able to get back into action. Although, she thought, glancing at the mirror again and tangling her fingers with Tidus', the clothes will have to stay. Skimpy shirts and rough fabric would not be the best for caring for a baby.
It wasn't as though Tidus didn't end up changing, either. His Blitzball outfit seemed out of place, even to him, and after staunchly refusing Wakka's offer of extra clothing, he found some on his own. Yuna didn't know whether or not to be surprised at how successful he was – he now wore light, unrestricting linen pants and shirts, which provided him with as much range as his previous outfit did, but were much more conducive to wrestling on the ground with a hyperactive toddler.
More often than not his pants were rolled up to the knee, as he hadn't often worn anything other than shorts, and having the fabric around his ankles took some getting used to. His Abes necklace still dangled on his chest, his earring glinted under his hair, and some of his bracelets rattled familiarly on his wrists, but he looked more serene and, to the shock of many, a little bit wiser.
This served him well - as Kelsi, Yuna had discovered, was a Daddy's Girl. Where once the thought of this might have bothered her, in truth it brought her quite a bit of delight to watch her husband and daughter together. They even tag-teamed her, beseeching her with two identical sets of blue eyes to do what they wanted – be it play on the beach, or take part in a storytelling, or anything else that seemed appealing to them at the time. She thought them adorable, and was slightly ashamed that she was completely helpless when brought under the power of those stares.
Kelsi played and had fun with her father, true, but it was with her mother that she would ask questions. Yuna had spent countless nights awake with the ever-curious little girl, who had now just turned five. Kelsi wanted to know everything, and she actually cared about the answers. She would spend hours asking her mother to clarify points and give examples, and the topics ranged from inanimate objects to why some emotions feel the way they do. Sometimes she asked questions about her parents, and their friends, but Yuna did not know quite yet how to tell their story.
There was a lot to tell, and a lot of people who had taken part in it. It was at times like these that she recruited Tidus' help, and if he couldn't answer a question, he was quite good at diverting Kelsi's attention so that she forgot about it – for the moment.
Tidus continued to play blitzball, but not as part of a regular team. Every once in a while Wakka would entreat his help when a member of the Aurochs was unable to play, or when he needed someone to help him train new members. When Tidus did end up competing, Yuna and Kelsi went along. He enjoyed teaching his daughter how to blitz, but her attitude towards it was much like that of her mother's – she had fun and was fairly good at it, but she took more delight in watching him play against others. Yuna had learned how to blitz during their two years' apart, and it didn't take Tidus long to find out.
"Yunie! Hey, come on, play with us!"
Yuna raised her head from the message she was reading and smiled ruefully at her cousin. "Rikku, you know we can't beat him."
The blonde looked indignant. "Of course we won't win with an attitude like that! But we're good, we won in Luca, didn't we?"
"What?" Tidus gaped at his fiancée. "Yuna, you played blitzball?"
She promptly ducked her head as her old shy nature surged in her. Rikku barged on ahead, regardless. "Yeah, she did! We all did! She's great!"
Yuna kept her gaze to the ground, when suddenly a familiar pair of shoes came into her line of sight, and she lifted her face to see Tidus' eager grin. "Yuna, show me! I want to see how you play!"
His mood was infectious, and she soon found herself running on the beach alongside the other two, laughing in the carefree nature of the moment. The ball was hurtled at her, and she reflexively spun, kicking out and sending it spinning in the other direction.
Rikku's yell of victory turned into a whine of disappointment as Tidus skillfully caught it. "Damn," she muttered. "Not fair."
Yuna shrugged and smiled, and glanced at him to see his mouth hanging open. She blinked. "What?"
This seemed to snap him out of it, as he let out a laugh and positively beamed with pride. She recognized that look – it was the same one he had on after he had seen her fight against fiends during his first trip on the Celsius. "She's right, you are great! Yuna, that was awesome!"
She flushed with pleasure, and called back, "Then throw it again, why don't you?"
Yuna did understand, however, that blitzball was his area. While she didn't think he would stop her from playing – on the contrary, she thought he would encourage her – it did seem as through she would be encroaching on something that was his. For her it was an amusing pastime, but when he played, he lived it. That was why she stayed mostly away from that, preferring to cheer him and Wakka on whenever she had the chance to watch. And with Kelsi, she had someone to share the experience with. They both knew enough to be able to confer among themselves about the team's plays, to criticize or applaud them.
After all, he'd had to get used to the fact that she was the one who provided the most for their family. It wasn't that he wouldn't – it was rather that her position as High Summoner provided her with whatever she needed. She was secure in her position, and thus left Tidus with nothing he really needed to do. Of course, as he couldn't just sit around, either, so this meant he ended up doing whatever came up.
Oftentimes when they flew to different places in Spira so Yuna could meet with the officials, Tidus talked to the citizens, helping them rebuild after the disaster with the fiends and also bringing back news for his wife. Sometimes he would help Rikku and the Al Bhed with recovering ancient machina. He enjoyed learning, and the different tasks he took on often gave him plenty of opportunities to ask questions.
Yuna swore that Kelsi's insatiable curiosity had to be inherited from her father.
"Yuna? What are you doing back here?"
The world seemed almost to shimmer as Yuna was startled back into reality. She smiled to herself, and rose, holding the glowing sphere in front of her. Speak of the devil. "I just wanted to record some memories, you know? There have been so many..."
"In the storeroom?" Tidus made a face, blowing a cobweb out of his eyes.
"Well, it is where the spheres are."
"Yeah, but you think you would have taken it somewhere nicer to start recording. Like you did before…" he trailed off as the memory of the sphere she had recorded years ago returned to him, and his expression saddened.
"As I recall, you interrupted me that time, too!" Yuna stepped closer to the doorway and brushed the dust out of her hair with one hand. She smiled teasingly, and was rewarded by light returning to his eyes. "And it really was on the spur of the moment this time, I was thinking and had so much to say, and so when I got the sphere I just sat down and started right away."
"Not like last time, huh?" He pulled her to him with one hand and rested his chin on her head.
"No. Last time, I had been planning what to say for a while. Well – except for the part about you. That was… unexpected." Unexpected. Everything in her life she had expected – her duty, her death. Not him. He had changed everything.
"Well, I hope this one is different. I didn't really like how the other one sounded."
She laughed softly, affectionately, and lifted her head to give him a quick kiss. "I know. Don't worry."
His hand moved up to cradle the back of her head and he had started to lean in again when a high-pitched shout cut through the air. "Daddy! Where'd you go? Da-"
"Woah!" Tidus grabbed Kelsi's shirt just in time to keep her from careening into a particularly large spider web. The four year old didn't even notice her slim escape, continuing to babble without batting an eye.
"Daddy – oh, hi, mommy! – Auntie Rikku says that we're landing now, we're here in Belle, and let's go see-"
"Bevelle, sweetie. Bevelle. Not Belle." Yuna attempted to hold her daughter still as she raked her fingers through the child's constantly unruly tresses, trying to straighten them as much as possible.
"I said that - Belle! Come on, come on, they're waiting for us!" She reached with a small hand to grab her father's pant leg, pulling him along and shooting a beseeching look at her mother.
"Well, I'm certainly not going to complain about getting out of this dusty place," Tidus declared, and reached down to lift Kelsi and settle her on his shoulders. He winced as she automatically grabbed at his hair, reaching up to gently loosen her fingers.
Yuna chuckled. "Yes, you're right. Let's go. Ah, wait -" she looked down at the sphere. "You two go on, I'll be right there. I need to put this away."
"Alright." Tidus ran a hand down her arm and smiled before turning away and walking down the hall towards the others, exaggerating his step to make Kelsi squeal and laugh with glee. Yuna watched them go, eyes warm, before heading down another hall and entering their bedroom. She knelt down before her trunk and gently placed the sphere inside, and then rose to leave.
When Yuna reached the door, she paused and glanced back at the trunk. She knew Tidus would sneak into it to watch it himself – he always did. She didn't mind, they were as much his memories as they were hers. As she thought on this, a smile crept onto her face. She walked back to the sphere, picking it up and whispering one last message into it.
Closing the lid of the trunk again, she went out the door, shutting it quietly behind her.
You know… I don't think someone like you would have been the best for raising a child. However, I don't think someone like me would be, either. But someone like us? There – right there, we have everything.
Don't you think?