Again, sorry this took so long! BUT, the good news is, this is the LAST chapter! Exciting, huh? Yup, so make sure you review on this one!
Both shut their eyes. The prayer, which they had started reciting quietly, grew louder and louder with every unrecognizable word that flew by. Just as Kana was pulling herself to her feet, for what she thought would have been perhaps one last push for victory, Lulu and Aya's voices, which had grown to almost a shout, abruptly stopped. Both sets of eyes shot open, and an erupting roar split the uneasily quiet air. The successfully cast ultima spell enveloped Kana, and before long, her earsplitting screams could no longer be heard.
Moments later, the roaring of the spell ceased. Aya felt Kana's magic drop from the room, and informed Lulu quietly, "Dead."
"I thought so," Lulu responded quietly.
Both stood there for a minute, in a thick silence. There was no body. If there had been, Aya wouldn't have wanted to look—it would have been completely mangled. They both gazed upon the last spot that Kana ever stood, neither entire sure what to say. Aya's mother's killer was gone, and Lulu's boyfriend's kidnapper was gone… either way, it was a murder, no matter what reasons they had done it for.
The important thing was, they had saved more people from future agony. And that was enough for Aya to tear her gaze away from the spot, and say, "Let's help the others."
Aya felt her radio going off in her pocket. Surprised, she pulled it out, and said, "Yeah, who's calling?"
"It's Yuna," came Yuna's voice. "We all just woke up, and we're not hurt or anything, but we're not sure where we are…"
"Stay where you are, Lulu and I will come looking for you."
"Is the fight over already?"
Aya was silent for a moment. "Yeah."
Yuna didn't reply. Aya and Lulu set out the way they had come through the cave. Before long, sitting a little ways down the passage, they found Yuna, Rikku, Paine, Ryuen, and Meena.
"How'd you guys get back here?" Lulu asked.
"It's likely she transported us," Ryuen said. "And I'm pretty sure she had a spell on all of us, because we woke up once she had died, I think."
"You're sure clued in," Meena commented. "Were you really even knocked out?"
"Yes," Ryuen said, scowling.
"We're… you know… sorry we couldn't really help," Rikku offered timidly.
"It's okay," Lulu said, smiling. "You're all still bloody, though, let's get you healed up!"
She and Aya took ethers, and then healed every one of their injured friends. When Aya was healing Ryuen, he said, "You used ultima, didn't you?"
Aya didn't reply.
"I can tell," Ryuen replied. "It's a hard spell to witness."
Aya slowly nodded. "It is. I was surprised."
"I'm sure mom is happy you survived," Ryuen said, smiling.
Aya's straight, somber face finally cracked into a smile. "Now that you mention it, I'm kind of glad I survived. I must just be lucky or something."
"No, I think you're just powerful," Ryuen said with a chuckle. "Thanks, by the way," he said, once Aya had finished healing him. "I'm really happy you're okay, too."
Aya couldn't remember ever really hugging her brother before, but at that moment, she did. "Thanks, Ryuen."
"I worry about you, though," he said. "So, just be more careful. You're only 16, after all." He ruffled her hair.
"I know it's messy already, but no need to make it worse," she whined of her nearly falling out pigtails.
Ryuen laughed. "Sorry. Habit, you know."
Aya kicked him, and moved on to heal Meena.
Once everyone was all patched up, they set off to find Wakka and Tidus. Since Aya knew her way around the cave, it wasn't that difficult. She wasn't quite sure how to find the jail area, but they found it without too much of a problem.
"Lu!" Wakka yelled, reaching through the bars. She grabbed his hand, and nearly started crying.
"I'm so happy you're alright," Lulu said, still fighting back tears.
Yuna had attempted to hug Tidus through the bars; it hadn't worked all that well. They rushed Aya to the door of the cell. She placed her hands over the lock and blew the door off its hinges. Yuna and Lulu rushed into the cell, flattening their respective guys with hugs and kisses.
Wakka and Tidus were perfectly fine, and didn't need any healing, so they all walked together out of the Cavern of the Stolen Fayth. Aya led the way, head held high, and not looking back on the place that had tortured everyone for so long.
It had tortured Kana. Her sister had died there, leading her on a never ending quest for revenge. It had torn two couples apart—Wakka and Lulu, and Yuna and Tidus. It had tortured Aya, even—being there, fighting, watching her friends and brother get hurt… and killing. She had a distinct feeling that none of them would be back to this place, ever, if they could help it.
Meena dashed to catch up with Aya. She walked next to her in silence for a moment. Aya was grateful Meena had noticed that something was bothering her—then again, Meena was probably Aya's best friend.
"Hey," Meena finally said after a moment. "Thanks for bringing me along… even though I didn't do much. It was fun."
Aya smiled a little. "Yeah… you're strong, Meena. You've worked hard."
"Yeah, I did work hard," she agreed. "But you! You impress everyone every day with your physical and mental strength."
Aya could feel a little color rising in her face. Ryuen called her a baby all the time, and she almost assumed that everyone else thought of her that way…
"So… what exactly happened?" Meena asked cautiously.
"Well… I beat her," Aya said, chuckling a little. "Lulu helped me. We cast ultima, and she died."
"Ultima, huh?" Meena said. "I'd sure have liked to see that!"
"No," Aya assured her, "you wouldn't."
Rikku radioed the airship, and before everyone knew it, they were back on board. Brother grew increasingly grumpy due to the presence of Tidus. Almost immediately when they had got back on the airship, Rikku and Paine had started the party.
The cabin had been decorated at lightning speed, and piles of food had been set out. Everyone was talking and having a great time, including Aya. Lulu eventually pulled her aside.
"How have you been holding up?" she asked her.
"Me? I'm fine…" Aya replied. "You must be great!"
Lulu smiled. "Well… yeah, I'm happy. But you seem sad. Is seeing that spell still bothering you?"
Aya shook her head. "Well… maybe a little bit." The real reason she was sad, however, was that she would soon be leaving the Gullwings. She was not looking forward to that at all... considering she at last felt like she belonged somewhere.
"That's why only old, wrinkled, really experienced mages know it," Lulu explained. "With the exception of you, me, and Kana. Though, I highly doubt I could have cast that on my own without severely injuring myself."
"When my mom was teaching me the prayer, I said the last line and then the stuffed animal that I happened to be looking at exploded," Aya said with a little laugh. "My mother told me I wasn't allowed any more practice on that spell."
"Did you listen?" Lulu asked.
"Absolutely not," Aya replied. "If I was ever in a life threatening situation, I figured it might be something that was good to know."
Lulu nodded. "It might. I was just making sure you were—"
"EXCUSE ME!" Yuna shouted over all of them. "Excuse me! Um, I've got an announcement to make!"
Everyone, confused, turned to face Yuna.
"Well," she began, "I've noticed that we have some… unique… visitors with us. In fact, they're pretty strong, and we've gotten to know them really well. And so, I had a talk with Buddy, and he said that this would work… what would you guys think if I told you that the Gullwings were thinking of… expanding?"
She cast Aya, Ryuen, and Meena knowing looks.
"Really!" Meena and Aya both exclaimed at the same time.
"Really," Yuna said. "Assuming all the other Gullwings are for it!"
Rikku squealed, and rushed over to give Aya and Meena hugs. Paine stared at Yuna for a moment. Her gaze flicked over to Meena for a moment, and then she nodded. The poor girl needed some direction, and she obviously wasn't going to get the right kind from Aya's soft brother.
"So, that means that you guys will stick around with us, go through some official training, and you'll be the newest branch of Gullwings!" Yuna said happily.
Aya smiled, and hugged Rikku again. She had a feeling that life was about to get a lot more interesting than it had been when she lived back in Luca.
YES, this is the end! Sequal available upon request, I suppose, otherwise I'm moving on to my next FFX-2 fic, which I've already started! It's a Rikku/Gippal, ofcourse XD It's called "Next Thursday", soo keep your eyes out for that! I just write Rikku-centric stories much better than anything else XD Anyway, thank you for reading! And for putting up with my slowness, and for reviewing, and all that.