She was so beautiful, standing on the hill, watching the sun dip below the horizon. It wasn't the kind of beautiful I'd seen before either. It wasn't like the girls back in Zanarkand, screaming after a close match. It was different. She was so strong, facing such an unbeatable foe. How did she stay so strong? Just the thought of my old man sent me off the handle, cursing and hating him all over again. I couldn't imagine what she was dealing with—possible death.

"What you thinking about?" Wakka came up behind me, heavily putting a hand on my shoulder.

I didn't even turn to look at him. "Yuna," I replied absently, almost dreamily.

"Hey," Wakka began roughly, "don't get any ideas, ya?"

"Huh?" I turned to him. "You too?"

He narrowed his eyes. "Yuna has a job to do, you know. You shouldn't interfere." He stood still, arms crossed, staring at the young summoner.

"Maybe she needs me to interfere," I said with a smirk.

It had been a joke, but Wakka didn't think it was very funny. He grabbed me by my shoulder and pulled me aside. "I won't hear you makin' any more jokes about Yuna, ya?" he growled. "She's a summoner and you'd better respect that!"

I pulled myself out of his grip. "All right!" I don't know what happened to him, but the fun-loving, laughing Wakka that I used to know was gone. He was beginning to sound like my old man, and when he turned around, I made a crude gesture. He wouldn't have understood it even if he'd seen it. It was from Zanarkand.


I jumped, yelping like a frightened animal. I had still been in the process of the rather elaborate gesture.

"Sorry," she said quickly, casting her eyes downward.

"It's okay." I scratched my head, a little embarrassed. "So…how are you…holding up?"

"I'm fine." She smiled.

I narrowed my eyes. "Now is that a real smile or one of those manufactured ones you showed me how to do?"

She laughed a little, but didn't answer my question. I suppose she didn't have to. I already knew she wasn't fine. How could she be?

"Um, what were you and Wakka talking about?" she questioned, suddenly looking into my eyes again.

I shrugged. "You know Wakka; he can't keep his big nose out of other people's business."

"What do you mean?"

"Erm…it's not important." I ran a hand through my hair, turning away from her. "He's always worrying, y'know? About how close I got to Sin's toxin, about how close I'm getting to y—well, he just needs to stay outta my business."

"I understand," she said, nodding.

"You do?" I asked, puzzled.

"Mm-hm," she said with another nod of her head. "Sometimes I get so tired of everyone fussing over me. I know they're all trying to help, but I'm looking for something…different, something more…comforting." I stared at her, trying to control how wide my eyes became. She was practically begging me to kiss her.

"Sometimes all I want is to be treated like you."

"Me?" I repeated, flabbergasted. "You want to spend all day getting pushed around and told how crazy you are?"

"You're not crazy, Tidus," she said, a frown forming on her smooth lips. She took my hand for a moment. "I believe you—nothing else matters."

I pulled away, scratching my head. I was blushing, but she wasn't. "Thanks, Yuna. It means a lot." She nodded, smiling again. "Are you coming inside?"

"Not yet. But you go ahead." I placed a hand on her shoulder gently, before walking away.