Author's Note: Time moves fast, doesn't it?

Incurable Affection

Chapter Eight: The Angel Weeps

"It's alright," Tidus soothed. Somehow it didn't seem sufficient. If she was driven to tears like this, there was nothing alright about it. Still, he had to say something.

"No," Yuna sobbed into his shoulder, "no."

The blonde couldn't even begin to understand what she was talking about. Ironically, all he could think of was how she would perhaps look when he died. Perhaps her grief for him would be equally powerful.

It was a selfish thought and he pushed it far from himself.

Tidus was suddenly acutely aware of how close she was pressed to him as she cried. He didn't mind in the least, but was surprised by the outburst. This emotional reaction was something that he had come to expect from Lenne and, at times, Rikku, but Yuna had not yet broken down in front of him.

He himself cried more than he should, he knew that, but each time he had cried in the past several years was in private, or in the company of someone that could comfort him. From what he knew of her, Yuna was a strong person, perhaps stronger than he could ever be.

Rikku had given him only sparse details of her cousin's reasons for moving to Zanarkand. He knew from experience that it was the perfect place to blend in. Years ago, he had wanted to disappear too.

Sitting there, Tidus played with the idea that Yuna and him were more alike than either realized. He tried (and sometimes failed) to put on a brave face. Jecht and Shuyin didn't bother him in the least, he liked to tell himself. But it was a lie and the pain of his father's disappointment and his brother's callousness returned. It was true that Tidus was ashamed of that part of himself, he longed to discard it all and never look back.

But he couldn't do that. Whether he liked it or not, that was part of him. If he ran to the ends of Spira, it would still return. Now it looked like whatever Yuna had been running from had caught up. As badly as he felt for her, Tidus couldn't help the small bit of pride that swelled in him. She chose to show this side of herself to him.

"Come on, let's get out of the cold," he murmured, trying to stand, but her arms were locked around his neck, preventing him from moving more than a foot. Tidus paused then, waiting for a reply from her. When nothing came, he sighed lightly.

"I'm scared," Yuna insisted.

"Of what?"

"Of…" her voice faltered and disappeared quickly.

"It's alright," Tidus said just as quickly, on an impulse. "I'll protect you."

The arms around his neck loosened just enough for the girl to pull back and look him in the eye. She was silent, but there was something like gratitude on her face.

It warmed him, even as they sat shivering on the steps. The feeling stayed with him as he led the girl away from town and to his apartment. She didn't speak, even when they passed the flat that Rikku and her shared. She only clung to his hand.

It was as if she trusted him.


"It is as you said, my Lord," Tromell drawled. "We have located the girl." He bowed as he came into the presence of his better.

"Excellent," Seymour Guado stood from his perch at the hotel room's desk. "You have done well. Your reward in the Farplane will surely be great."

Tromell's face remained expressionless, but the deep bow he sank into made it clear that the other man's words carried quite a bit of weight, "It is only because of you, my Lord. You told us that she was in Zanarkand and, lo and behold, here she is." His head raised a little, "If I may, how did you know?"

Seymour's mouth drew into what must have been meant to be a smile. It looked more like a snarl. He placed a finger on his lips, his words coming slowly, "The Pyreflies only talk to the worthy, Tromell."

The servant nearly gasped, worried that he had offended his master, and bowed his head again, "I should not have asked, my Lord. Forgive my impudence."

He turned to the long window and ran a hand through his long blue locks, "It is no matter. In any case, we will need to stay here longer." Seymour paused, then reached into a pocket and withdrew a golden card. He flicked it in Tromell's general direction, "There is no limit on that. Pay the room for a month."

Tromell scrambled to pick up the card, "That long, sir?" Getting a room at the Zanarkand Villa was all but impossible for a normal citizen…but keeping a room for a month…

"Yes, a month. This place is not bad and we will need time."

"Time, sir? But we already know where she is."

Seymour turned back to his servant, his eyes suddenly smoldering and a hand grabbing something beneath his suit's jacket, "Do you question me?"

"N-no!" Tromell cowered, fully aware of what was holstered beneath the fine pinstriped fabric. "Never, my Lord!"

The blue haired man abruptly calmed, returning his gaze to the window, "We need time, Tromell. It is not enough to kill her. Her father died and what did that serve us?" His smile returned, predatory and unsettling, "After all, it takes a long time to purify a sinner."


Shuyin was in the middle of warming up a can of soup on the stove when Tidus returned, that girl from the café in tow. From what he could see, the girl was greatly distressed, but his brother didn't give him much opportunity to see her at all.

Tidus entered, saw Shuyin and pulled the woman (Yuna, Shuyin remembered) swiftly into the other room.

It wasn't long until Tidus was back out in the kitchen and headed straight for his brother. Shuyin was glad to note that the man didn't look angry, or guilty in the case of him being the cause for her distress. If anything, he looked concerned, and that concern made his statements short and to the point.

"First of all, take the soup out of the can before you do that," Tidus grumbled.

Shuyin frowned and took the pan off the stove, the can falling over in it, "Couldn't find the can opener."

"Couldn't find it, or haven't had canned soup in years?"

"I resent that."

"Right now, I don't care," Tidus pinched the bridge of his nose briefly.

"What's wrong with Miss Yuna?"

"That's what I'm trying to figure out and…"

"…you need me to clear out to do it."

"Exactly," he sighed.

Shuyin placed the pan, can and all, in the sink, taking the time to run cool water over it, "Does her crying have anything to do with you?"

"No!" Tidus burst out vehemently, then he seemed to consider what he had just said. "You…didn't tell her, did you?"

The other man looked over his shoulder, "I was wondering when you'd get around to that. And no, I didn't."

Tidus suddenly looked anxious, "What if she found out somehow?"

"I don't see how. Baralai…"

"My Physician's Assistant."

"Right. Your PA doesn't know about your love interest."

Tidus's neck reddened a shade at that, but he chose to say nothing.

Shuyin turned off the water and pulled his coat off the rack. He gestured vaguely toward the common room, "She's waiting for you."

"I know."


Author's Note: A rather short chapter for a very long wait. I apologize. I wanted to also let you, the reader, know that this story will be finished. It is true that I'm busier now than I ever have been, but I hate leaving things unfinished. I need to straighten out the plot (or lack thereof) and figure out where this fiction is going, but, that aside, another chapter will be up as soon as I find a spare moment.

Take care,