Spoilers: FF X
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by Square (Squaresoft, Square-Enix). No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Summary: A redux version of Final Fantasy X, but with added slash. Tidus is certainly more than a dream, and comes to find out there's a certain price to be paid for that.
Notes: I've always found it a bit much to swallow that a dream of the Fayth could become real enough to not only go on a pilgrimage, but become a Final Aeon, and then scamper off to the Farplane. So, I've decided that Jecht being touched by Sin made him really real, and in turn, the same for Tidus. In other words, Tidus isn't going to disappear at the end of this particular retelling of FF X.
Now, since the story is the exact same up to a certain point, I don't see the point in retelling that. If you've never played the game there is a game script over at GameFAQs by Shotgunnova, which I have used to some extent in writing this. However, it's not like I'm going to be annotating every time I use quotations from the script, since it all belongs to Square anyway, though I strongly admire anyone dedicated enough to actually type out the script as they play through.
I'm also going to be very blunt about including spoilers, so if you have started the game but not finished it, I suppose you might learn more than you would prefer. I'm not even going to pretend I can keep these people IC. Maybe I will, but that'll be chance, not dedicated effort.
Also, I've borrowed a very popular concept from Harry Potter fanfics and twisted it enough to suit my liking.
— Chapter 1, First Glance —
Seymour waited patiently as the Grand Maester spoke a welcome and an introduction. They had, between them, planned many things since the death of his father.
"People of Spira, I thank you for your generous welcome. Rise, Maester Seymour. And all of you as well. I present to you . . . the son of Maester Jyscal Guado, who departed for the Farplane a fortnight past. As some of you already know, he has been officially ordained a maester of Yevon."
Seymour rose and stepped forward, letting his gaze sweep over the assembled people, then said, "I am Seymour Guado. I am honored to receive the title of maester. In life, my father Jyscal worked to foster friendship between man and guado. I vow to carry on his legacy, and to fulfill my duties as maester to the best of my abilities."
Internally he was scoffing over the supposed need for any introduction to label him as guado. Any fool with eyes to see could tell he was not fully human, though he admitted to himself that he had gained the best attributes of both races in his birth.
His father had married a human woman for power, as an entry into the circles of governance in Spira. A Yevonite woman of good name became his bride and she birthed him a son, for all the good that resulted of it. Jyscal had promptly ignored the both of them, content with his more empowered role of leadership in the world, and the lessening of animosity toward his people as a whole.
Not once had the man defended them, having left them to be ridiculed for simply existing within the insular guado community. They didn't so much mind being on a more even footing with humans, but recoiled at the idea of breeding with them, or suffering their presence on a daily basis within their sanctuary.
In time those suffocating attitudes had lessened, but by then Seymour's mother had already sacrificed herself to give her son a way to fight back, and that sacrifice was evident in the torture of her coming whenever she was summoned. Seymour might have given up as a summoner, but he had other, more interesting plans in mind. A summoner's journey was over far too soon, after all.
He shook himself mentally, mildly annoyed that he had tranced out briefly, and swept his gaze over the crowd again as he straightened up from performing the traditional Yevon prayer. And then he spotted her, the daughter of High Summoner Braska, a summoner herself.
"Let us go," murmured Mika.
"A moment," he murmured back, then sensed as the Grand Maester followed the line of his gaze.
A moment later the elderly man nodded and said, "Very well, but do not dally overlong." And with that Mika moved away, his contingent of guards and followers moving with him.
Seymour gestured slightly to his own, then stepped down the gangplank and onto the dock to begin a stately progression toward Summoner Yuna and her guardians. Her eyes widened as she must have realized his intent, or at least his goal, and performed the prayer herself as he drifted to a stop a few steps in front of her.
"Lord Seymour," she said breathlessly.
"Lady Yuna," he replied, having already planned in his head the flowery and flattering speech he intended to spout. He was brought up short by a scent that set his body aflame, and his mind was immediately taken back to an old journal he had once stumbled over and read.
He had scoffed at the time, considering it to be the insane ramblings of a half-guado with a penchant for perversity, but now he was not so sure. Someone among the summoner's party was going to become very important to him, and he suspected it was not Lady Yuna.
That journal had gone on endlessly about the man's belief that the melding of human and guado produced a creature that required a mate. Not just a wife or husband that could easily be ignored, but a mate that stood for life itself, or death if not obtained.
He gave himself another mental shake, ruthlessly pushing aside the desire coursing through his body, and said, "It is a delight to meet you and see you looking so well, Lady Yuna. These are your guardians, I trust?"
She nodded quickly and replied, "If it pleases you, I will introduce them, but I know you must be very busy."
He gave her a half smile. "By all means, do. I am always happy to meet those so dedicated to the protection and welfare of Spira."
Yuna complied, though he tuned out most of what she said while nodding in all the right places. But when she finished he frowned faintly; there was one present she had not yet accounted for, a man with sun-kissed hair and skin, and eyes like the bluest ocean.
She must have noticed for she added, "And this is Tidus, presently traveling with us in search of some of his friends. He washed up on the beach at Besaid after a Sin attack."
Seymour eyed the young man for a moment, taking in his peculiar style of clothing, flicked his gaze to the one with gravity-defying orange hair briefly, then said, "A blitz player, I presume? Should we expect you to be playing today alongside your friend here?"
Tidus looked unaccountably nervous for a moment before he nodded. "Yeah. Wakka is nice enough to let me play for the Aurochs."
Another perusal of the young man brought his attention to the jewelry he wore. "Such an interesting symbol," Seymour said smoothly, his memory easily supplying him with where he had last seen it. The flush he received in response spoke of more than something like embarrassment, and it made him raise a brow.
Seymour turned back to the party at large and smiled again. "You are correct, Lady Yuna, my time is unfortunately short. Yevon's blessings on you and your guardians," he said and performed the prayer again, receiving it in return from all but Tidus, who continued to look uncomfortable and out of place.
He gestured to his guards again and moved along the dock, past the summoner's party. As he swept by that same scent threatened to overwhelm him; his head turned sharply to the side, his gaze meeting with that of a startled Tidus, and then he was beyond them, headed toward the stadium.
The walk afforded him time to ponder his recent encounter with the bizarre. Life was supposed to be simple. He would woo the chosen summoner—she had been picked mainly because of her father's accomplishments—and stand at her side throughout much of her pilgrimage, eventually becoming the one most dear and the one to personally help her defeat Sin. Well, and become Sin. After all, the spiral of death must go on. It was inevitable, was it not?
Besides, he had years of anger to unleash on a people who had treated him and his mother like dirt until Jyscal had managed to bring about a new understanding, and Seymour himself had demonstrated his power. And yet, he was presently tripping over a belief from a crumbling old relic of the past, something he had discarded like many a broken dream. Was it possible? He certainly had never expected for his body to betray him in such a complete and abrupt fashion, and he wasn't even certain which of them was causing it.
Seymour flitted up the stadium steps and made for the balcony box set aside for dignitaries—in this case, the maesters, celebrating Maester Mika's fiftieth year in service to Yevon. 'If only they knew,' he thought as he seated himself with a nod to Mika. It would be a short while before the tournament actually began, giving him unwanted time to wrestle with his thoughts.
Eventually that time arrived, and Mika rose to open the tournament. Seymour, however, was distracted by one of his people whispering in his ear. Once the Grand Maester retook his seat amidst the cheers of the onlookers Seymour leaned to the side and murmured, "Lady Yuna has been kidnapped by the Al Bhed."
Mika glanced his way, his expression unreadable for the moment. "And? Should her guardians not be capable of protecting her, that is all the more reason she should come to accept you. And if they fail, I have little doubt you can track her down and bring justice to her kidnappers. Gratitude is . . . powerful, is it not?"
"So be it." Seymour nodded and turned his gaze back on the blitz sphere. He was half asleep by the time the final match was about to begin, between the Luca Goers and the generally ill-fated Besaid Aurochs. That they had even made the finals was a miracle.
He sat up a bit straighter when he realized that the captain of the Aurochs had been replaced by Tidus. For some reason he seemed to be fascinated by the young man, though he would prefer to believe it had nothing to do with the possibility of a mate. He had plans, plans that could not be casually tossed away for a half-baked theory regarding the consequences of interracial breeding.
He resisted the urge to massage his forehead; a headache was developing from thinking too much and arguing with himself. Seymour ignored the announcers as he watched the players, absently admiring the strategy employed by the blond replacement. Tidus was keeping the ball well away from the other team, working diligently to get his team set up.
The first half passed quickly. An easy thing, perhaps, watching the young man speed through the water like he was born to it and play with a passion that rivaled those playing for the Goers. It wasn't until part way through the second half that anyone scored, and at that it was Tidus, using a blitz technique that nobody seemed to recognize.
Shortly after that a time-out was called and the blond disappeared to be replaced with the captain—Wakka, if the chanting of the crowd meant anything. Seymour lost interest at that point, his mind moving on to what would happen once the game was over. Mika was giving him a look out of the corner of his eye and Seymour gave him a faint nod to signify understanding and readiness.
The crowd went wild as the buzzer sounded and the announcers seemed quite stunned as well given that the Aurochs won their first game ever, and against the favorites for years running. As Tidus reappeared in the sphere to congratulate his teammates Seymour gestured, a gesture that was seen and acknowledged by many guado. And then, the fiends came.
Chaos was probably a good term for what happened next, in Seymour's opinion anyway, but that was rather the point. The guards surrounded the maesters in order that they might be protected, but Seymour could still see that the guado in the stands, who had at his behest instigated the current pandemonium, had all melted away from the scene of the crime, just as they were supposed to.
Seymour rose to his feet as he noticed that the players had exited the blitz sphere and were attacking the fiends in the stands. One such incident that caught his eye involved a garuda, Tidus, and a man Seymour well recognized as Sir Auron, one of High Summoner Braska's guardians. How peculiar.
He acted then, to bring an end to the violent confusion encompassing the stadium, and summoned Anima.
It wasn't until the next morning, as he traversed the docks that he might gain his ship, that he saw any of the group. His guado, ever loyal, said nothing as he motioned them into hiding so he could eavesdrop on the obviously private conversation.
He was in time to hear Auron say, "Jecht asked me to."
"Is he alive?" Along with the sound of the young man's voice came that now familiar scent, curling around Seymour like incense.
"It depends on what you mean by 'alive.' He is no longer human. But then . . . I felt something of Jecht there in that shell, couldn't you? You must have felt him when you came in contact with Sin," Auron's voice continued.
"It can't be. . . ."
"It is. Sin is Jecht."
Seymour shook his head slightly and turned away as Tidus exploded in denial. As he continued on toward his ship he could at least he could be sure that Sir Auron was not the cause of his unrest. Still, it meant his increasing fascination with the young man had a reason behind it.
— — —
Mushroom Rock Road
They disembarked with little trouble. Not far to the south was the gateway between this place and the Mi'ihen Highroad, where the Crusaders grouped briefly before heading onward toward the command center high up on one of the cliffs that overlooked the ocean, or to the beach itself.
Seymour found Mushroom Rock to be both depressing and strangely appealing, but he supposed that was of little importance in the long run. A rapid series of commands sent his people scurrying about their assigned duties, which left him and his personal guard to make the short, but annoying journey to the command center.
In fact, it was mildly trying, despite being a master black mage with guado at his side willing to do anything to keep him alive. Much as he wished to deny it, his health had been failing him in the short time since Luca, and he felt like his life was slipping away one slow drop of blood at a time. That being the case, he was relieved to finally reach his destination.
Crusaders all over Spira were gathering up what sinspawn they could lay hands on, bringing them in for the operation to come. And the Al Bhed were working tirelessly over their machina weapons. Seymour knew it wouldn't work; it was common knowledge among those in charge, but it gave the common people the hope they they could make that difference.
'And,' he thought with a chuckle, 'it will send more of them to their deaths.' A sharp stabbing pain brought him up short, making him glad he was alone in the tent. Death indeed—more like his own if he wasn't careful, and much, much sooner than he had planned for.
— — —
He was returning from an inspection of the troops bivouacked down in the open area of the Old Road when he saw his prey clustered near the gateway to Mushroom Rock Road. He approached, his guardians flanking him, and said, "So we meet again, Lady Yuna." That he nearly staggered being in the presence of his alleged mate was not a weakness he showed.
"You look troubled. Is there anything I can do?" he asked, his eyes straying briefly to Tidus before seeing where Yuna was looking. "I see."
A crusader interrupted. "Maester Seymour. You will be needed shortly at the command center."
Of course, but that did not quite suit his plans. "Hold. I have a request."
"Yes, Your Grace?"
"I need to have Summoner Yuna and her guardians let through to the command center."
"But, Maester Seymour, sir."
"Do not worry. I will take full responsibility," he assured the nervous young man.
"Very well. They may pass."
Seymour turned to Yuna and said, "It is done."
"Thank you, Your Grace."
He performed the prayer of Yevon and continued on as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened. When he reached the turn-off to the cliff access he paused and surveyed the large gathering of troops preparing themselves to head to the beach below the command center.
"All hail Maester Seymour!" shouted a crusader.
Seymour paused again, until all attention was focused on him, then said in ringing tones, "Brave Crusaders of Spira, protectors of all Spira. Believe in the path you have chosen, let faith be your strength! I, Seymour Guado, maester of Yevon, will bear witness to your deeds today."
Seymour nodded and glanced around, arrested briefly by the party clustered together a short distance behind him, then approached. He raised one brow and said, "Ah, Sir Auron. It is an honor. I would be most interested in hearing what you've been doing these past ten years."
"I've got nothing to say about it," Auron responded curtly, then walked away.
"I . . . see. Sir Auron must be a great asset as a guardian," Seymour said to Yuna.
"Please, there's no need for formalities," he said smoothly. His plans might rapidly be falling apart, but he could afford to be gracious, and if what he thought was happening was, he needed the trust of these people.
"Excuse me . . . Maester Seymour?" said the one he remembered as Wakka. "Why is your Lordship . . . presently . . . present here . . . sir?"
Resisting the urge to sigh he responded, "Please, speak as you normally would."
"Isn't this operation against the teachings of Yevon? Aren't you gonna stop them?"
"It's true. . . . I should. However. . . . Both the Crusaders and the Al Bhed truly wish peace for Spira. This Operation Mi'ihen was born from that wish they share. Although it may be sacrilege to Yevon, their intentions are pure. And I, Seymour Guado—the person, not the maester of Yevon. . . . As a denizen of Spira, I wish them well in their endeavor."
"But, using machina. . . . That's bad, isn't it?"
Seymour quite nearly smirked. "Pretend you didn't see them."
"Beg your pardon, but that's not something a maester should say!"
At that he did smirk. "Then, pretend I didn't say it."
Seymour cast an intense glance at Tidus, then walked away with his guardians in tow. He rested briefly once on the upper level, then emerged from his tent looking perfectly composed. The operation was soon to begin, but he had a few things he wished to do before that point, if it was possible.
That Tidus was nearby was making him feel less ill, though he supposed it could merely be wishful thinking on his part. He still did not want to believe that old man, but either way, even if those ramblings were falsehoods, there was no point in passing up such an opportunity, no matter which way his plans fell out.
He found them within the command center itself rather than in the outlying artillery base. With them was Maester Kinoc, looking entirely too interested in Sir Auron. At any rate, preparations were almost complete.
"Lord Kinoc. . . ."
Kinoc appeared to be mildly startled. "Oh, yes. Proceed."
"That Kinoc, a maester?" Auron murmured.
"I heard that, Auron. A lot has happened in the last ten years. What were you doing, and where?"
"Fulfilling a promise I made to a friend. I still am."
"Just tell me one thing: Have you seen Zanarkand?"
Auron made a show of clearing his throat, the only reply he would give.
Yuna, looking very uncertain, said, "I kinda . . . think we don't belong here."
Seymour took that as a signal to advance his own plans. "Lady Yuna, perhaps you and your guardians will walk with me until the preparations are complete?"
She glanced around for a second, then nodded, allowing him to lead the group away, and closer to the tents set up against the cliff wall. "I trust your journey along the Mi'ihen Highroad went well."
"Yes, well. . . ."
"Aside from that chocobo eater," Tidus said unexpectedly.
Seymour raised a brow, inwardly pleased that the young man would speak up. "You must all be somewhat weary. As it is, you will not be able to continue on to Djose until after the operation, so please, allow me to offer you refreshments." He waved one elegant, long-fingered hand at one of the tents.
As the group filtered in he moved to subtly block Auron's passage.
"What I have to say is not something the others should yet hear," Seymour replied, well aware from the intensity of the scent in his nostrils that Tidus was lurking just the other side of the doorway. "We both know you know more about this entire situation than we tend to let on, wouldn't you say?"
"My point, Sir Auron, is that there is something of particular interest to me, and I need your trust to explore it. If that means revealing more than I would wish, so be it."
Auron gave him a sharp look, his entire body appearing to stiffen without actually doing so. He shifted abruptly after that, ending up closer to the entrance to the tent.
"Would it help," Seymour murmured, "if I told you I know the truth of Sin? The same truth I know you have more than an inkling of? The others do not. Not even the son of Jecht knows the whole truth."
Tidus appeared as if by magic, his expression uncharacteristically closed.
Auron's hand shot up in warning, to silence Tidus. "This, from a maester of Yevon?"
"This from a denizen of Spira," Seymour stated quietly, "one who bridges the spheres of human and guado. This from one who recognizes within the greater good of Spira what is in his own best interests, and yours."
Auron snorted softly and turned his gaze on Tidus. "Get something to eat for now and rest."
Auron just stared until Tidus ducked back inside, then nodded at Seymour.
"My personal tent should do," he said, then turned and led the way. Once inside he waved Auron to a seat—it was ignored—and took one himself. "We both know," he began, "that the summoner's pilgrimage always ends in sacrifice. Jecht and Braska were that sacrifice the last time, for barely a decade of peace. And, of course, a sacrifice for Lady Yuna, growing up without either parent."
"Get to the point."
Seymour exhaled in mild irritation. "You know the truth of the pilgrimage. You know should Lady Yuna complete it that she will die, along with one of you. In fact, it is very rare that any guardians survive, for one reason or another. However, given who my father was, and who I have become, I have access to the truth of the journey, and it's origins.
"I know you're aware of what sacrifice is called for, and I know you're aware of why Sin always returns. And"—he paused to inhale deeply—"we guado are keen to the scent of the Farplane. You, Sir Auron, no more survived that journey than your companions. You are an Unsent."
Auron grunted and shifted his weight.
"Like Maester Mika, actually," Seymour tossed out casually.
Auron chose to take a seat, finally, though he did not relax. "Again, get to the point."
"You could never be a politician," he said with a deliberate sigh and shake of his head. "As you wish. A long time ago I came across a book," he began, then gave the twice-over guardian a summary of what he had learned from it. "As it is, I fear those words are true, and if that is the case, all that I have been charged to do, the plans that revolve around me, are quickly being ripped to shreds.
"If I do not act out of self interest I will die, long before those plans ever come to fruition. Granted, you yourself have proven that an Unsent can accomplish much, but I find that I am, against all previous reason, beginning to believe there ought to be another way."
"Then you've decided one of the group is your . . . mate?" Auron ventured.
Seymour nodded. "And no, it is not your Lady Yuna. Even were it, I never had any intention other than assisting her on her pilgrimage. I have wanted her to succeed since she began her journey, though my reasons behind that are changing."
"Why, your young friend. The son of Jecht. Somehow I do not think I could spirit him away without retribution. Something tells me that he is too well liked for the others to simply ignore it, despite his youthful excitability and lack of understanding."
"You still do not reveal what you know," Auron stated flatly.
"True. Forgive me, but, you are no priest of Yevon to listen to my confession of past misdeeds. In the short time I have known your young charge, however shallow that knowledge may be, I have been forced to recognize that there might be something more to be gained from life than to sink even more deeply into vengeful plans long in the making.
"Something for something, Sir Auron. From you, cooperation. And if that young man is agreeable, perhaps enough information from me, traitorous as it may be toward Yevon, for a way to defeat Sin without any more deaths, and no further summoners and guardians called to sacrifice."
"And if he isn't?"
"Well, that's the question, is it not? If he isn't, I suppose I shall simply have to convince the Lady Yuna to use me as her sacrifice, should I live so long, and I will have my vengeance." It pained him deeply to be so blunt. Still, Auron must understand that Seymour could reveal his deception, and he could, should he be inclined, attempt to send the guardian against his will.
Auron grunted and stood up. "Then talk to him. But know this. . . . Yuna and her guardians will not accept the truth about the treachery of Yevon"—the word was spoken as a curse—"without seeing it for themselves. I expect that you will refrain from speaking of these matters to them until the appropriate time."
Seymour rose as well and nodded, producing a half smile. "Then we understand each other."