It was reaching dusk in the Zanarkand Ruins, and the sun was beginning to set. It set in a calm, golden glow… as it always had there. But Yuna was especially grateful for it that evening. Everything was quiet… and peaceful… And she could spend it with him for as long as she wanted to. For as long as she needed to, in order to assure herself that this wasn't all a dream.
They were standing together on a little outcrop that looked out over the sea surrounding Zanarkand. Yuna was behind him, watching him as he watched the horizon. They had spent the entire day talking about their pasts… and their memories…
One thousand memories…
But it was okay. The Gullwings had determined their roads would each stretch before them and not behind. But as Nooj had always believed… it was the past that shaped the future. And it was okay thinking back on it every once and awhile… especially when you had someone to share it with.
"I have a theory," Tidus suddenly proclaimed, glancing back at Yuna over his shoulder. "I think maybe the Fayth gathered up my thoughts and put 'em together to bring me back."
Yuna stared at him silently, considering. It was the first time since their reunion that either one of them had addressed the issue of his return. Because it was a frightening issue. They didn't know how long Tidus would be allowed to remain in Spira.
"Maybe…" he whispered, looking back out to sea. "Something like that." Yuna didn't say a word, but just kept on watching him think in content. He shrugged. "Or maybe… I'm still a dream."
It hurt… but Yuna found herself asking anyway… the one question she feared the most. "Are you going to disappear?"
He hesitated, and then looked back at her sadly. "Cherish me, Yuna. And I'll cherish you. All right? We gotta stay together." He looked back out into the sunset. "That's what we have to do."
She smiled happily and rushed towards him, throwing her arms around him again and embracing his back. "Is that what the Fayth told you?"
"Nah," Tidus shrugged, glancing over his shoulder at her calmly. "But I like it."
She nodded, breathing him in. And she found that… not even the fragrance of the flowers in the Farplane could compare to him. He was perfect.
Smiling, she ran her hands across his back… and then pushed. Tidus cried out in surprise as he suddenly toppled over the edge of the outcrop and fell into the water below. There was an audible splash, and Yuna giggled.
He rose up quickly and shook the water out of his golden hair. And then he stared up at her with a raised fist. "That's not cherishing!"
She shook her head, savoring this peaceful bliss. "You didn't disappear."
She was right, Tidus admitted, regarding her admiringly. She hadn't changed as much as he had originally thought, after all. She was always the same old Yuna. He had fallen in love with the Yuna who had raced up the steps of the Temple in Kilika two years ago against Wakka. He had fallen in love with the Yuna who had, according to Kimahri, jumped off the back of a shoopuf several times for the sheer enjoyment of it. He had fallen in love with the Yuna who could now live in happiness, and wasn't burdened with anymore thoughts of Sin or Final Summonings.
She had found a lot of such happiness in the last two years. But in the last few weeks, she had found a lot of pain, and heartache, as well. She had told him about her struggle with Shuyin and Vegnagun… and Tidus honestly didn't know what to think… about bearing a resemblance to that other man.
But what he did know, beyond a doubt, was that he loved Yuna. And he always would. That much would never change.
He lifted his arms up towards the sky and stretched. And he was thankful to be back.
As Yuna was, to have him back. She remained standing on that little hill, gazing out into the sunset over Zanarkand for as long as she could, before nightfall set in. One day, she thought, this moment would make a beautiful memory. But it would only be one memory out of many.
If even a fraction of those many memories made her as happy as this one did… than Yuna longed for the chance to make them. And for the chance to live them with Tidus always at her side. It was their story now. And it was only just beginning.
A/N: See? I knew I'd finish! I only hope it meets everyone's expectations – it certainly met mine. I've already written the novelization to FFVII, and if you ask me, I did a lot better writing this novel than I did writing that one. But for those of you who haven't reviewed, please do and let me know what you think. And for those of you who have, thank you so much! It's really motivational getting positive feedback, especially for pieces I've worked this hard on and care so much about. It's been fun… and I don't know what I'm gonna do with my mornings anymore… Sometimes, ending a work of fiction can be bittersweet in itself. So! Keep reviewing! And thanks so much! LOL!