Chapter 4

The summoner, the black mage and the angry kitty

It was just after lunch and Jack had ended up sharing it with the little girl's family who had continued to bombard him with questions as some of the other villagers had until he cited his desire to explore the village on his own for a time. He still felt odd in the robes given to him to wear so he went by Wakka's hut long enough to snag his clothes, the jeans were still a touch wet but he'd worn them that way before and let his body heat dry them. Rather than run the risk of Wakka seeing him in the hut again before dinner, Jack opted to go to the temple and change in one of the back rooms. Most of the villagers were still curious about him but were polite enough not to stop him and ask questions when they saw that he was heading for the temple.

Inside it was quiet as a church should be, well except for the chanting song in the background. When he'd first heard it back home he thought little of it, after hearing a far more chilling version of it when Yuna danced on the water of Kilika to send the souls of those who died in Sin's attack, he disliked it somewhat. But that was years ago when the game was still new, he'd gotten over that now and found himself humming it softly to himself, it was rather comforting really. "Ah, hello again Jack." The head priest suddenly spoke to him and broke him out of his silent musings with a quick shake of the head. "Oh, uh hello."

"How are you feeling? Much better now that you've had some rest?" The older man asked and Jack nodded. "Oh, yes thank you. I just came by to return these robes since my clothes are dry, can I change in a back room perhaps?" Jack asked and the priest nodded with a smile, guiding him to a room in the back while telling him to call should he need anything. Once Jack finished changing he took a moment to look down at himself and sighed. Those robes had made him look well, not quite so large. Perhaps he could ask the priest to let him borrow them a while longer yet?

He spied a mirror nearby and went over to look at himself, once he did he scowled. His hair was frizzled from the ocean water and lack of combing. "Geez….I look like I stuck my tongue in a light socket…….." After he combed his fingers through his hair, he grimaced again. It didn't help much but it was better than nothing. I'll just have to ask Wakka if he has a comb I can borrow, I mean c'mon that hair style CAN'T be natural. I don't care if it IS a game. He lifted his chin to look at the light growth of a beard, he'd shaved the morning before he and his father started to fight, so it must have been a few days since then due to the growth. "Hmmmm….well…I suppose it couldn't hurt to let it grow a little…"

On impulse he struck a body builder pose and looked at himself with a grin. "Oh yeah….I'm studly…" He laughed a little then continued to strike various poses while making the odd grunting noises that body builders always made until he heard female laughter in the doorway. Jack spun quickly to face the source of it and froze. Yuna stood there with one hand over her mouth and her eyes partly closed as she tried to contain her giggles at his antics. Once she managed to control herself, she bowed to him. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to walk in on you. When I saw someone in here I tried to leave, but you started making those funny poses and I just couldn't help myself." Again she started to giggle, not as much as before but still she smiled as she did while her eyes sparkled.

Jack stood stone still, unable to speak while his mind raced with all the velocity of a slug.

"Are you alright? Oh, I hope I didn't offend you!" She said, suddenly worried at his lack of response. Jack had never blushed in his life, instead he just sort of froze and went wide eyed with surprise while his mind tried to start up again. Finally his brain shouted at him. Say something you ass! "Uh, no…no….you didn't offend me….I uh….er….um…..I was just changing my clothes….that's all….." Jack said as he started to relax and look less wide eyed. Seeing Yuna on the screen, in pictures and in his mind was one thing but actually seeing her with his own eyes in the flesh was something else altogether. She was just as stunningly beautiful as he'd thought she was, more so now that she was flesh and blood rather than pixels.

"Still, I apologize for interrupting you….perhaps I should go…" She said as she started to turn away, Jack all but leapt at her. "No! No, it's ok. I was just goofing off really, I'm finished now so you don't have to go. I'm Jack, it's nice to meet you miss…?" He said, waiting for her to finish. "My name is Yuna, it's a pleasure to meet you Jack." She said with a smile and bowed. "The pleasure is mine miss Yuna." He replied before going on. "May I ask you something? Are you by chance a Summoner?" She blinked at him in surprise before speaking. "Y-yes, I am. Well, a summoner in training at least…." She said softly. "But how did you know?"

"You seem different from the other people here, I mean aside from the way you dress of course. You just seem different, something about you says "I'm a summoner!" Ya know?" He said with a little bit of a shrug as if that explained it all clearly. Yuna tipped her head to one side slightly and watched him curiously for a moment before speaking. "Yes…." She started slowly. "….I think I understand what you mean." And nodded to herself as she stepped into the room fully, taking a moment to brush something off her dress and fussing with her belt sash so that the cords on it fell just so. That's when Jack realized that she was nervous about something.

Is she nervous about talking to me? Or perhaps she had something to ask? I'd better break the ice before she figures out a way to put on her clothes without putting on her clothes……wait a minute….that didn't even make sense! C'mon man, get it together! "So, was there a reason why you came in? I'm not in your room am I?" Jack asked with a bit of a smile on his face to try and relax her or at least get her to stop fidgeting with her clothes. "Oh! Of course, I almost forgot. I was curious about you, so I thought perhaps we could talk and get to know each other?" She said, a hint of a blush forming in her cheeks that the somewhat darker interior of the temple almost hid. Uh-oh….better be careful, I dunno how long it'll be till Tidus shows up and I don't wanna steal his girl. Besides, she isn't my type.

"Uh sure, that sounds good. How's about we go outside and get a little sun and walk around, I'd like to get my legs properly stretched." He said and the two of them departed, keeping respectfully quiet as they walked through the temple and into the village. "So, tell me about yourself!" Yuna said excitedly once they made it down the steps and onto the packed dirt. "I'm afraid there isn't much to tell about me since I really can't remember much about my life. All I really know is that I'm far from home and that I'm getting that "grand adventure" I've always wanted." He made that last sound as if he were merely joking and breathed a sigh of relief internally when Yuna giggled and nodded. "So, tell me about you. I've heard a little about who your father was but almost nothing about you aside from the constant praise and how much you like to play with the kids."

For the next hour and a half Jack listened to Yuna tell him about herself, from her life as a child in Bevelle and was utterly fascinated by it. This place was beginning to feel less and less like a game and more like a real living, breathing world. When Jack had played the game before he didn't have much interest in the history of Yuna, but now as he watched her talk about her life and the things she did as a child he couldn't help but hang onto her every word. The pair had walked about the village the whole time, stopping every so often when Yuna spoke of something particularly interesting or talked about something silly she'd done that left them both in laughing fits.

"Wow, Yuna. That's probably the most fascinating, funny, and interesting thing I've heard in…..oh heck it's the most fascinating, funny and interesting thing I've ever heard. I think you'd make a great story teller." Jack said at the end of her tale, her response was to turn red and laugh a little. "You really think so?" She asked and Jack nodded in response. "Oh heck yeah! Er, I mean of course, I really think you'd be able to make a great story teller." Before Yuna could respond, the voice of an older woman sounded behind them.

"Ah, so this is where you've gotten off to Yuna. I had wondered what could keep you from your studies for so long."

Both of them turned to face the voice, Yuna took on a deeper shade of red than Jack had thought possible for being caught out while he went pale in the face. The voice belonged to Lulu, the resident black mage of Besaid village and like Yuna she was just as beautiful as he'd thought, even more so in the flesh and oh the flesh he could see! GET…..YOUR….HEAD….OUT….OF….THE….GUTTER! He screamed mentally and pulled his eyes from the view before him. Thankfully it seemed that only a moment had passed since Lulu spoke, thus her attention was still on Yuna and not his wandering eyes. "I'm sorry, but I was curious about the stranger, I mean Jack here…." She said apologetically.

"I see, so this is the young man that Jassu managed to knock out for two days." She said in a slightly amused tone of voice as she brought her gaze to him. Jack couldn't help but feel like she was weighing his worth in her eyes, he could only assume that she did this with anyone she met and most especially with someone who'd been alone with Yuna for so long. Her gaze became more and more intense as she looked him up and down, Jack began to fidget, shifting his weight from one foot to the other until Lulu nodded to herself slightly. "Yevon seems to have smiled upon you and granted you good fortune in arriving safely on Besaid, I welcome you Jack." Though her smile was warm Jack couldn't help but shiver, why did she look at him like that? Had he done something to offend her?

"Come Yuna, you must return to your studies." Yuna nodded and looked at Jack. "Goodbye for now, I hope we can talk again sometime." Jack nodded in return as she walked away towards the temple, Lulu's hand on his shoulder startled him to the point of jumping slightly. "If there is anything you need while you are here, don't hesitate to ask. Though I must ask you not to distract Yuna too much from her studies" She said but not unkindly and Jack could understand. Yuna needed friends on her up and coming journey but she still had a ways to go before she was ready and needed to prepare. "Yes, of course Lulu I understand."

Then she gave him that look again, not quite as intense as before but it was there then it was gone again when she pulled her hand away. "I must go now, Yuna will need my help in her studies but perhaps we can speak again at length. Meet me at the dock tomorrow morning after sunrise." The way she spoke and looked at him left no room to say yes or no, and even if he could she was already walking away.

Oh man… wonder she didn't talk much in the game…..she'd have everyone eating out of her hand just by using her voice! His thoughts were interrupted by the sight of Lulu walking away, though the back of her dress was quite thick it still didn't hide the shape of her body which was, at the moment swaying back and forth almost sinuously. Jack couldn't pull his eyes away though he did try and gulped audibly when she passed from view then muttered to himself. "Wakka is a lucky man……I only wish she and I could……" He shook his head to clear it of that thought. "No, I can't…..besides I'm probably not her type…..being so big and all….." He sighed softly then turned toward the forest and jumped at the sight of Kimahri standing not five feet away. What the? How long has he been standing there! Visibly shaken, Jack stammered out a greeting. "H-hi there… m-must be Kimahri. Yuna's told me so much about….." When he spoke her name, Kimahri rushed forward and cut him off at about with a growl as he picked up the shorter man by his shirt collar. Jack noted that though he was small for a Ronso, he had no trouble picking up his heavy body.

"Stay away from Yuna." He spoke in a harsh voice. It took Jack a moment to realize that it was his normal speaking voice and opened his mouth to argue then stopped and closed it. Arguing with a Ronso who has you by the collar and can tear you apart at will isn't a good idea methinks. Instead he merely nodded and was rewarded by being dropped to the ground and landing on his rump. The Ronso stalked past him into the village following Lulu's trail. "Ow….." Jack muttered. "….great….just what I need….I can't believe I forgot about him….I just hope I can get on his good side. Wait….does he have a good side?" He shook his head and stood carefully, dusting off his pants before heading back into Besaid village. He went straight for Wakka's hut and was greeted at the door.

"There you are, I've been wondering where you'd gotten off to." Wakka said and patted Jack's shoulder. "So, have you meet Yuna yet?" Jack glanced up at the slightly taller man. "Yeah, I met her. Nice girl, make a great story teller she would." Wakka grinned from ear to ear. "Ah, so you like her, ya?" "Well sure." Jack said, not seeing the obvious trap that Wakka had laid out. "She's a nice girl, fun to talk to and……hey, hey wait a second!" He glared at the man. "I don't think she's my type, ok?" "Aw, your no fun. Listen, I came out here to tell you that I can't let you stay here anymore. I don't got the room you know? The Crusaders Lodge should have lots of room, and you won't have to pay since you were affected by Sin's toxin and all."

Jack blinked. "Yeah…uh…thanks. Oh…..Wakka?" "Ya?" He looked toward the village entrance as he spoke softly. "I um…..that is….um….." With a frustrated growl he started again. "What I mean to say is that…well….I….don't really know how to fight and….I don't want to have to always ask someone to go with me if I want to leave the village, you know? Is there anyway you can teach me how to fight?" Wakka watched Jack speak and took on a serious expression as Jack voiced his request. "It's more than that, isn't it?" He asked after a pause. Jack blinked, had he been that easy to read in his request? "You don't just want to learn to fight, most people just learn when the fiends are out and avoid them instead of learning how to fight them, ya? You want to train to fight….so you can beat Sin, don't you?"

Well given the fact that I probably won't be able to go home until then, yes. He thought to himself. "Yes…..I do." He said softly. "You want to be a Crusader, don't you?" "Yes I….what? No! No, no, no, no, no I don't wanna be a Crusader!" Jack said after taking a step back and appearing horrified. "Oh? What then?" Wakka asked and looked surprised when the shorter man looked sheepish. "I….want to be a Guardian…." "A Guardian to Yuna? But you just met her!" Jack quickly put a hand over Wakka's mouth to quiet him. "Yes I know that! But… being a Guardian just feels….I dunno…..right somehow. Besides I'm not demanding it, I'll ask and she'll decide if she wants me with her or not. What's more, I really do want to learn how to fight. If I'm going to find my way home I'll need to learn to fight sooner or later, right?" After a few moments Wakka grinned and clapped him on the shoulder again. "Right!"