Summary: (AU) The fayth have a funny way of doing things. Instead of waiting for a summoner to free them, they send in their own to do the job. Enter Tidus, the unwilling participant, as he takes on the task of saving Spira from itself. Oh dear.

Author's Notes: The world needs more Auron/Tidus multi-chaptered fics with an actual plot. So I thought I'd make a contribution. Now let's see if anyone actually reads it, ehh?

Pairings: Tidus/Auron, Tidus/Seymour (one-sided), Belgemine/Luzzu, Lulu/Chappu (past), Lulu/Wakka (hinted).

Warnings: This story will be dealing with the following issues: violence, foul language (thank you, Tidus, Jecht and Ifrit) and totally screwing with the plot and characters of FFX. Beware.

Disclaimer: I do not own any characters featured in this story. They all belong to the inventive Square Enix.

There are no words to describe how it is to be a fayth. A spirit bound in stone whose only connection to the outside world is through dreams. Awake and aware, yet unconscious with dulled senses. Living on through others only to bring the dreams alive.

Dreaming, dreaming, dreaming.

The fayth dream up dreams for the summoners to summon. Over and over, the parade goes on until the fayth began to get weary of it all. They grow tired of going through the same endless play where only the actors change while the roles stay the same. Finally it comes to a point where the dreams begin to blur together, and they began to forget what they were protecting.

Tired, tired, tired.

It never ends. The summoners cannot see the fayth's desire; all they can see are the dreams. They are blinded by the lies and secrets that have made up what they believe to be their history. They cannot bring them an end. So the fayth are left with nothing but their dreams.

End, end, end.

So it was to their dreams that they turned to for help. Only a dream could end their dreams. To break the pattern they would have to go back to the source. Their beginning would be their end.

Beginning, beginning, beginning.

Part IStranger

Part I: Chapter One

My life changed during the middle of a blitzball game. I think there's a pattern in this because all the major turning points in my life seem to have happened when I'm in contact with blitzball in some form. The news that my old man disappeared came when I was thinking of how to get a new blitzball; Auron found me when I was watching a blitzball game; my mother died when I was practicing blitzball; and finally the fayth and Sin came to me during a blitzball game.

What's funny about all these events is that they were all tragic. Even meeting Auron was a bittersweet sort of event because of all the hurt and misfortune that it caused was thanks to our relationship.

Still, despite what history has taught me I continue to love the game. But, like most things in my life, it's a love-hate relationship. I love blitzball because it's my one true calling; yet I loathe it as well because it's so intertwined with everything my old man stood for.

I think there's a lesson in this somewhere, but I just haven't found it yet.

Anyway, I'm getting off track here. My life changed during a blitzball game. Or more accurately it was torn apart by a giant whale and sewed back together in a completely different way by some ghosts.

My team was winning by a long run with our opponents struggling to catch up. It was the second half so they had a chance, but we were cutting them off at every turn. The Zanarkand Abes weren't the best team in the league for nothing.

I had just shot the ball off to Haru, who was in clear shot to make a goal. The ball had barely left my fingertips when it happened. The giant sphere dome trembled before going still for a second. Then, complete chaos as it blew up; shards of glass and a flood of water flying out towards the audience before anyone could blink.

I don't think I will forever forget the sight of the audience after the dome broke. The mangled bodies of men, women, and children that were hit by the projectiles of ragged pieces of glass is something that still made me retch even after I started killing fiends. The hysterical family and friends as they struggled to save their loved ones in a sea of blood and water was nearly worst.

The only good side of all this is that I didn't have to stare at it for long. After the dome broke the players either flew out with the tide of water, or hit the ground. I was lucky because I was one of the ones that hit the ground; the greatest injuries I got were a few scrapes and bruises.

Some of the other players weren't so lucky.

I think I hit my head and blacked out for a few minutes when I fell, because when I opened my eyes it was to the sight of the stadium crumbling around me. The ground was shaking and there were screams and screeching coming from somewhere off in the distance. I was also one of the few people alive that was still there.

I can't really remember much after this. I know I got up and stumbled out of the wreckage and into the city, but it's all kind of blurry. It doesn't really come back into focus until I saw Sin.

Yes, Sin. The horror that plagued Spira for centuries that could only be vanquished by the great (hah!) powers of a summoner. Of course when I saw it I didn't know any of this; hell, I didn't even know its name. All I thought was that there was a giant whale destroying Zanarkand. Only not, because whales did not grow to that size or shoot lasers from their bodies. Or at least no whale I had ever seen.

I think I should have paid more attention in my oceanography classes.

I probably spent a good few minutes just standing there gawking at the overgrown creature as it tore Zanarkand apart. It seemed particularly fixated on abolishing the remains of the blitzball stadium in a (passionate?) frenzy.

I guess it doesn't like blitzball.

The thought made an insane giggle rise up in my throat, and I had to bite my bottom lip to keep it from getting out. Ever since I was a kid I had a bad habit of laughing in the face of a crisis and/or tragedy. It's a very annoying but amusing quirk to have. Annoying because laughing makes it a bit hard when you're trying to kill an eight-foot fiend with a bad habit of hitting you with poison. Amusing because the looks people give you when you laugh during a moment of misfortune is priceless.

Laughing in the face of Sin is one of those annoying moments. It was not the time to start giggling madly. I needed to figure out a way to get out of there alive.

"Maybe it won't come over here," I muttered, walking backwards and trying not to trip and fall. "Zanarkand is pretty big. Maybe it will get bored after awhile and go away."

Kid, don't be an idiot, Jecht's voice scolded me in my head, popping up (like always) at the worst possible moment to mock me.

Shut up, I snarled back, not in the mood to listen to him. I kept moving back while watching the whale shoot down another building. I figured if I could get away from it then I would be better off. But since my luck is generally complete crap, I ended up tripping on some rubble at the exact moment the whale turned in my direction.

I don't know how it managed to pick me out with all the people and all the ruin around, but it did. The whale saw me and began descending towards my direction like the great vulture of doom it was.

I, naturally, scrambled up and took off in the opposite direction. My feet pounded the pavement as I ran as fast as I could to avoid becoming another corpse on the streets. I did not want to die at seventeen, victim of a mutated Godzilla whale.

I'm dreaming. I'm dreaming of one of those cliché monster films that always come on late at night. Yeah, just a dream; just a stupid and weird—

Sin shot off a few bolts of energy that destroyed a nearby building. The building—which was monstrously huge—fell onto the road and destroyed it. I only had a few seconds to watch the cracks in the road make their way towards me before the ground I was standing on crumbled, and I was falling. On reflex, I reached out and grabbed the nearest thing, which turned out to be a piece of iron sticking out. It was sharp and dug through my glove and into my palm making a nasty slice that nearly made me release it.

So, there I was, literally hanging on for my life. It's funny to me now, but at that moment I really did think I was going to die. My life was ending after only seventeen (short) years. The thought honestly scared me. I was afraid to die.

I wasn't hanging there for very long—though it certainly felt like forever at the time—when a gloved hand reached down and grasped the black of my hoodie to pull me up with ease. When I saw who had saved me, I was overjoyed.

"Auron!" I cried as he set me down on my feet. I wavered for a moment as another blast rumbled across the street, and automatically reached out to grasp my guardian's arm for balance. He held me steady until I could stand on my own again.

"You okay?" he asked, scanning me up and down.

"I'm alive," I answered. I wasn't going to lie and tell him I was fine because the truth was I wasn't. I was scared, confused, hurt, and a bit on the edge of a hysterical breakdown. Yeah, I wasn't 'okay'.

"Hmm," was Auron's reply, but it told me enough.

Now, people seem to think that because Auron doesn't speak a whole lot, that means he doesn't communicate. This is a big fat lie because he actually does say a lot if you just know how to read the signs. That's why I, who spent ten years with the man, am fluent in Auronese; which basically consists of sighs, grunts, snorts, and body language.

Right then Auron was telling me that he knew what I was thinking, and he could understand. That was something I always loved about Auron. He always understood me.

"What is that… that thing?" I asked, trying to find a word to describe the monster destroying my home and failing.

"Sin," Auron replied, turning around and beginning to walk down the remains of the street. I quickly followed, not about to be left behind.

"What's Sin?" I asked, sidestepping a hole in the ground.

"You'll find out."

I was about to ask what the hell he meant when strands of tentacles smashed out of a nearby building. Hundreds of small pods were ejected from the tentacles, landing on the ground. They turned into odd, deformed bugs that surrounded us.

I turned to Auron since he was the one with the weapon. "What now?"

"We fight," he answered, pulling out an unfamiliar sword from Yevon only knows where. It was crimson and jagged and looked like it had seen its fair share of bloody history. He handed it to me. "A gift from Jecht."

"My old man?" I said, surprised. I think I had a right to be. I can't remember ever getting a gift from Jecht. Ever.

"I hope you know how to use it," Auron said dryly as I struggled with the blade.

I flashed him a dirty look before charging one of the bug creatures. I swung the blade a few times—I had never used one before—and managed to take out one.

I turned to Auron to find he wasn't that impressed. He pointed to the other two bugs and said, "These ones don't matter. Cut through them and run!"

And we did. We went through a cycle of running and cutting down bugs for a couple blocks before Sin finally caught up (where it was all this time I have no idea), and decided to blow up the bridge we were running across.

I made a running leap and grabbed onto the edge of a broken part of the road and actually managed to hold on. Of course, Auron had to go one-up me and actually manage to leap and stand on the floating piece of concrete.

"Auron!" I yelled, panicked and desperate. I was having a hard time hanging onto the edge. "Auron!"

Auron ignored me in favor of staring at the massive swirling hole of colors that was opening up in the sky next to Sin.

"You are sure?" he asked, and I realized he was actually talking to Sin. Yeah, I was hanging on for my life and he was busy chatting up an overgrown Goliath.

What a guy, huh?

I guess Sin must have given him some sort of answer because he (finally!) turned down to me. "This is it," he declared, reaching down to pull me up by the collar of my shirt. "This is your story. It all begins here."

Then we were sucked up into the strange wormhole and my story really did begin.

I was in Zanarkand. Only not because this wasn't my Zanarkand. It was… it was something else, I just didn't know what.

"Where am I?" I asked out loud, looking around the (un)familiar docks. There was no sound, no breeze, no form of life anywhere near me. I felt like I was in a picture or a painting; a fake mirror image of something real.

"It's a dream."

I whipped around in surprise. Behind me, blurry and dressed in purple, was a little boy. "What did you say?"

"This place is a dream. Just like you."

I shivered. The voice that spoke was flat with a current of wisdom and power under the surface. It made me want to get as far away from the kid (?) as possible. "Who are you?"

"A dream. A dreamer. A fayth."

"I don't understand." And I didn't. I didn't get any of this. What was going on? Why was I here?

"You don't need to understand yet. Everything will become clear in time."

"But why in time? Why not now? Why don't you tell me now?"

"You are not ready. But you will be. We will help you understand. We will guide you through it."

The words made me feel uneasy. "Guide me through what?"

"Through the beginning to the end."

The uneasy feeling grew worse. "I'm afraid."

"Don't be. We will not let you fail."

The words did not reassure me.

"It's time to wake up. Wake up, and begin your journey."

Before I got to ask what that meant, I was roughly jerked back into my body in the land of the living.

I woke up on a slab of rock in the middle of the ocean. My mind was foggy and unclear, and it took me nearly a minute to piece together my scattered thoughts so things made sense.

Game. Zanarkand. Whale. Zanarkand. Attacked. Zanarkand—

I sat up in a flash and immediately regretted it. My muscles burned and I felt like I had swallowed all the water in the blitz sphere. The world swayed in my vision for a moment before righting itself again.

Whoa. I think I'm going to be sick…

I pulled my knees up to my chest and braced my head on them. I found out as a kid that the best way to get rid of nausea was sitting like this. After awhile, when I began to feel better, I decided to chance another look at my surroundings.

I was in the middle of some sort of ruins or something. Looking over the edge of the rock, I could see that they extended out under the sea.

Where am I? Is this… is this Zanarkand?

No. No, that wasn't possible. This place was too quiet, too old, too haunted to be my home. I must have gotten swept out to sea or something by the whale.

But where to? I don't remember there being any ruins near Zanarkand…

I was beginning to feel the stirrings of panic bubble inside me. I tried to reassure myself that everything would be fine; that help would be coming soon. There would be rescue boats sent out for the people swept out to sea. One was bound to show up near me eventually.

Oh please; you know you're going to be stuck out here forever. After all, who would know you're missing? Jecht's voice taunted.

Auron would, I countered, and the voice shut up at that. Not even Jecht could fool me into thinking Auron didn't care. Auron, who stayed with me even longer than my parents, would never leave me to die.

He'll find me. I know he will. And… and if he doesn't then I'll just wait for nightfall when I can see the city's lights and swim back, I told myself, trying to stay optimistic. If I could survive a freakin' special effects gone wrong (aka: Sin) who single-handily took out nearly all of Zanarkand, then I could survive being stranded in the middle of the ocean.

"Just gotta stay positive," I muttered, lying back on the stone with my hands crossed behind my head. I closed my eyes and prepared to wait.

I didn't wait very long before someone did arrive. Only the one who did arrive wasn't the one I was expecting.

"Gemm ed! Ed'c y veaht!" (1)

I opened my eyes to find a group of masked faces standing over me. I shot up quickly, overjoyed to find that help had finally arrived.

"You found me!" I exclaimed, ready to hand over my trophies, favorite blitzball and the deed to my boathouse to my new saviors. "Man, you have no idea how happy I am to see you guys."

"Fryd dra ramm ec ra cyoehk?" one of the masked men replied. His tone didn't sound very friendly.

I felt my pleasure waver. "Uhh, excuse me? I don't understand you."

The group ignored me.

"Fru lynac? Gemm ed ymnayto!" another man snapped back to the first man who had spoken. He sounded angry and a bit fearful. I carefully took a step away from him, and the gun I just noticed he was holding.

"Yna oui cina? E'ja hajan caah y veaht muug mega dryd pavuna," the man replied, sounding skeptic.

A third man finally spoke up. "Syopa ed'c y haf geht. Aedran fyo, E drehg fa cruimt gemm ed zicd du pa cyva."

Two men suddenly cocked their guns and pointed them at me. Before they could fire and I could react, the fourth and only female member stepped between them.

"Hu! Ed luimt zicd pa y hunsym risyh puo," she yelled, holding her arms out like she meant to shield me from the bullets. Considering that she only came up to my collarbone, it was kind of laughable.

"Yht ev ed'c hud?" the third man asked.

The girl shrugged. "Drah fa gemm ed. Vun huf fa pnehk ed fedr ic."

The two men lowered their guns and the girl turned around to face me.

She leaned in close to me and whispered, "Cunno," before she felled me. As I collapsed back into unconsciousness (yet again!), I couldn't help but feel a bit insulted.

After all, I just got knocked down by a girl smaller than me. How sad was that?

Back in the not–Zanarkand place again. This time though I wasn't in the docks, but at the blitzball stadium.

"Am I dreaming again?"

"You are the dream."

I turned around and found the same boy from before standing there. "What does that mean?"

"It is not important. For now you must simply get Anima. She will guard you for the time."

"Who's Anima?" I was still terribly confused about everything, but I didn't think that was going to change anytime soon.

"A fayth. An aeon. She will be the first of many. Help her and she will help you."

"How do I find her?" I asked, deciding to humor the kid.

"Baaj Temple. It is nearby."

"And where am I exactly?"

The boy smiled in a way that made my skin crawl.

"You're about to find out."

I woke up to a booted foot slamming into my side. I gasped and rolled into a ball, clutching my wounded side. I heard someone yell but wasn't sure who it was before the girl from earlier was suddenly kneeling beside me.

"Are you okay?" she asked, her words now understandable.

"What do you think?" I gasped, opening my eyes to give her a dirty look. Really, what a stupid question.

The girl sighed before reaching down and tugging on my arm. "You need to get up. My brother wants to talk to you."

I wondered if this 'brother' was the one who kicked me, and if so could I return the favor. After a brief struggle with my legs, I managed to stand while leaning on the girl. She didn't seem to mind; she wrapped her arm around my waist in return to help me steady.

A man a few years older than me stepped forward. He was taller than me and had blond hair styled in a way that made it look like he got in a fight with a buzzer and lost. Even though he was wearing goggles, I just knew the guy was glaring at me.

"Ymnekrd mecdah ib! So cecdan ryc tasyhtat dryd E cbyna oui vun naycuhc E lyh'd esykeha. Nydran dryh mecdah du ran freha, E ryja yknaat. Pid eh nadinh uv ouin meva, oui'na kuehk du ryja du aynh ouin gaab po fungehk. Rikku, dnyhcmyda!" he barked at me. (2)

"You do realize I can't understand you, right?" I asked, resisting the urge to roll my eyes. I didn't think that would get me any brownie points.

"He said that if you want to stay here then you need to earn it by working," the girl translated. I thought she had left some parts out there but didn't call her on it.

I shrugged, not seeing any point in arguing. If I did then they may decide to hit and/or kick me again. I wasn't too fond of pain. "Fine. What do I have to do?"

The girl pointed out to the sea and I noticed only now that we were on some sort of ship. "We'll be salvaging the underwater ruins. That is, if you can swim. You can swim can't you?"

"Of course!" I cried, feeling insulted.

The girl grinned widely. "Great! In that case, let's get you ready."

"I feel like an idiot," I declared after the girl—Rikku, she said her name was—had given me a blue and black wetsuit to wear with black boots and goggles.

Rikku rolled her unusual green eyes at me. "You look fine. You'll be thankful when you get in the water. It will keep you a lot warmer than your other clothes."

I just shrugged as the guy from earlier returned. He looked me up and down before turning to Rikku.

"Ec ra nayto?" he asked. (3)

Rikku nodded. "Oac."

The blond nodded too. "Kuut. Drah dyga res fedr oui yht dno hud du kad gemmat."

"Brother!" Rikku cried in a mixture of exasperation and amusement. She shook her head while turning back to me. "Alright it's time to go. Just follow me, 'kay?"

I gave her a two-fingered salute. "Aye, aye, captain."

Rikku rolled her eyes in return as she pulled her goggles down and dived off the ship into the water. I followed her with a leap and landed in the water with a small splash.

The first thing I realized when I hit the water was that it was cold like Rikku had said. I had never swum in such cold water before. The water around Zanarkand was usually very warm, and the only cold water I had to swim in was the water in the blitzball sphere. But even that felt like a damn Jacuzzi compared to the ocean I was in now.

Why did I agree to this again? I wondered, swimming down to what looked like a sunken ship. Rikku was in front of me, leading me down into the dark depths with graceful ease. Nearby the ship's anchor descended with us; a metal bread crumb trail for us to follow back to the surface. I found it very reassuring.

It was when we were nearly to the ship that something strange happened. Three vicious and freaky looking fish appeared from inside the ship. Their scales were rough and spiky and their teeth as sharp as razors. The black liquid that leaked from their bodies was oily and thick looking and not helping their image at all.

Was there a toxin dump or something? Because this is the second demented looking thing I've seen today, I mused, pausing a few feet from the fish things. I turned to Rikku to see what she wanted to do, and found that she was still swimming towards the fish.

At first I thought that she hadn't seen the ugly little things, and was about to swim after her. But then I noticed her reaching for something on her belt. It was a small black oval shaped container that she threw at the deformed fish without hesitation. The thing blew up the moment it reached the mutant creatures, leaving behind only chunks of green and gray flesh, and small rainbow colored lights.

Whoa. That was pretty cool.

Rikku turned around and waved at me to follow her as she descended into a giant hole in the ship. I followed her quickly, eager to see what would happen next. This little adventure suddenly didn't seem so bad anymore.

After fighting with more mutated fish and playing around with the sunken craft we went back up to the ship. Rikku immediately disappeared with the shave-head from earlier, and left me behind to fend for myself. I tried to follow the other strangers inside the ship but they just yelled something in their bizarre language, and pushed me back out.


I don't know how long I was out there before Rikku came back with a tray of food. I immediately forgave her for ditching me earlier and promptly launched myself at the food. Not ten seconds later I began choking from attempting to inhale my meal. Yeah, not one of my brightest moments.

"Hey slow down!" Rikku cried, smacking me on the back a few times then handing me a jug of water. I took it gratefully, and between the bottle and the plate, I finished my dinner in a matter of minutes.

"Oh yeah, that hit the spot," I commented, patting my stomach. I felt like the cat that had gotten both the Canary and the family's pet goldfish, Gill. Food always did make me feel better.

Rikku rolled her eyes and sat down in front of me. "You're a very odd boy, Tidus."

"Nah, just one of a kind," I said, winking at her.

She giggled and shook her head like most girls did whenever I said something cute or clever.

"So did you guys find what you were looking for?" I asked.

"Yes. We should be able to salvage the ship," Rikku answered, tapping her bottom lip in thought.

"Cool." I nodded my head before finally asking a question that had been bugging me for some time, "So who are you guys, anyway?"

Rikku looked surprised. "We're Al Bhed. Can't you tell?" Then she suddenly tensed up and looked at me suspiciously. "Wait. You're not an Al Bhed-hater, are you?"

I snorted and shook my head. "Please. I don't even know what an Al Bhed is."

Rikku relaxed and regarded me now with curiosity. "Really? Where are you from?"

"Zanarkand. I'm a blitzball player. Star player of the Zanarkand Abes!" I cheered, raising one arm in victory.

Rikku didn't seem as shocked or awed like most people were when I told them what team I played for. She actually looked like someone had just told her the moon was made of cheese, and that men could have babies.

"Did you hit your head or something?"

"Um, you guys hit me," I reminded her. I decided to be nice and not mention that they also kicked me, kidnapped me, were forcing me to work for them and kept treating me like I was a very contagious, very gross disease.

Rikku at least had the decency to look ashamed. "Oh, right. Do you remember anything before that?"

I shrugged. "Sure. Got a few days?" Then I told her. I told her everything there was to tell about Zanarkand. About life there, blitzball, and Sin's attack… and about how Auron and I were engulfed in this light.

I left out the dreams though. They didn't seem important enough to mention at the time. Actually, I figured they were just part of my very overactive imagination. If I could envision my dead father degrading me every time I did something stupid, then the fayth dreams really didn't seem that far off.

At the end of it, Rikku was looking at me so solemnly that I had to ask, "Did I say something funny?"

"You were near Sin," she said slowly, like she couldn't believe it. "They say your head gets funny when Sin is near. So maybe you just had some kind of dream?" Then she perked up, trying (and failing) to comfort me by saying, "But don't worry, you'll be better in no time."

I just looked at her like she was the one who was batshit insane. "Are you telling me I'm sick?"

Rikku nodded. "Because of Sin's toxin, yeah."

"You sure?" I pressed.

"Yeah, there is no Zanarkand anymore. Sin destroyed it a thousand years ago. So… no one plays blitzball there. Sorry." Rikku gave me a sympathetic smile.

I shook my head in denial and jumped to my feet to pace. "No. No that can't be. I saw Sin attack Zanarkand. I saw it! And, and that boy, the fayth, he said it was meant to be!"

"Wait, did you say fayth? Like, the fayth fayth? That fayth?" Rikku asked, also rising.

"I don't know; I just know what he told me," I said absentmindedly. I wasn't really paying attention to her. I was too busy trying to get my head together. That was kind of hard because my mind felt like a color wheel at the time. When it was still or slow, things were separate, like primary colors: I live in Zanarkand… I had parents… I have a childhood… I play blitzball… I have Auron…

But then, when it sped up, the colors blended and everything became a blurry mess. Zanarkand was destroyed a thousand years ago by Sin… Sin destroyed Zanarkand in front of me just yesterday… Zanarkand is gone

"This makes no sense," I muttered, tearing at my hair and nearly pulling strands out. "No, no it can't be real. Am I dreaming again?"

Rikku interrupted my trip into loony lane with a soft call. "Tidus…"

I turned and stared at her with unmasked irritation. I wasn't in the mood to talk. I was trying to figure out if my life was a lie or not. "What?"

"When you mentioned fayth… do you mean Yevon's fayth?" she asked slowly, like she was trying to figure out the correct words to phrase her question.

I shrugged uncaringly. "I don't know. He said he was a dream and a dreamer. Whatever that means."

Rikku's eyes went wide and her mouth opened to form a small O. She stared at me like she had never seen me before. "A-Are you a, a summoner?"

"A what?" I shook my head. "No. I don't even know what a summoner is."

"A summoner is someone with the ability to summon aeons to fight Sin," Rikku quickly explained.

"Aeon?" I repeated. That was the only important word I had caught in her explanation. "Then that's what he meant when he told me to get Anima. She's an aeon at Baaj temple. It's supposed to be around here somewhere."

Rikku was silent for a moment before finally speaking up again. "Hey, listen, why don't we go there? To Baaj temple, I mean. If we do then maybe we can find some answers to your questions. What do you say?"

I thought about the idea for a moment. It probably would be a good idea to go visit this Anima and get some answers, but I gotta admit that the idea scared me. If I went there that meant answers, which meant more questions, which equaled more confusion. I was having a hard enough time now dealing with the idea that my home was possibly destroyed a thousand years ago. I didn't want to deal with any more than that.

Being a little pussy again, huh? Why don't you ever face things like a man? Jecht sneered at me, and suddenly my previous hesitation was gone, and I was making my choice without thinking about it.

Fuck you, I snarled back, and turned to face Rikku. "Do you know where it is?"

Rikku nodded slowly. "I think so. I mean, I have an idea of where it might be."

"Good. Then take me there."

If I had to pick one word to describe the Baaj Temple, then I would have to pick creepy. Actually I don't think creepy did it justice. Spine-chilling, old, haunted, bizarre, irritating… those words are more appropriate terms.

The temple turned out to be underwater, which is what I found bizarre. Why was there still a temple under a bunch of rubble and water? I could only wonder.

The thing that was irritating was the temple was guarded by a big-ass fish thing that we barely managed to get away from. When we finally got inside the damn place I was already beginning to regret going to it.

"What are those things that keep attacking us?" I asked Rikku as I shook water out of my hair.

"Fiends. They say that when a person dies and they don't have their spirit sent then they become fiends," Rikku told me, sticking close to my side. She was nervous about being in the temple. I didn't blame her. I was nervous too.

"So have you ever seen an aeon before?" I asked as we made our way up the old stone steps to the looming doorway.

"A few times from a distance. There are a lot of different aeons so it's hard to place them all," she answered. She jumped and wrapped her hand around my forearm as the door screeched open at our presence. I was suddenly strongly reminded of a scary horror movie.

"Okaaaay. That was very creepy," I mumbled, feeling goose bumps rise over my flesh. Rikku whimpered next to me, and wrapped her other hand around my arm as we entered the temple.

If I thought the outside was creepy than the inside was even worse. It was cold and haunting and a bit… well, a bit sad. Some untold sorrow hung in the air of the forgotten temple like a ghost never laid to rest.

"So do we go through that door?" I asked my companion, pointing at the door protected by a strange set of markings.

"I think so… but we need to open it first. I think we do that with those spheres," answered Rikku.

I looked to see what she meant and noticed that in front of each statue lined up on the sides were different colored orbs. I dragged Rikku with me over to a yellow one and reached out to touch it. The moment I did it began to glow brighter and brighter before disappearing completely; leaving behind a set of markings that floated behind the statue.

Rikku and I stared at it in mute shock before looking at each other in silent agreement to do the same with the other spheres. The quicker we talked to Anima, the quicker we could leave the place.

When all the spheres were gone the strange barrier protecting the door shattered into little shards of rainbow lights. I was halfway to the door leading to Anima when Rikku caught up to me, and resumed her previous occupation as my leech.

The chamber that held Anima is something I remember vividly. I think maybe it's because it was the first chamber of the fayth that I had ever visited. Or maybe it was because Anima became so important to me. I don't know. Maybe it's a mixture of both.

Anyway, the chamber. It was big and built in the shape of a circle with a tall ceiling that didn't seem to end. Runes I didn't understand decorated every surface of the room. In the center, trapped under a clear surface built into the ground, was a statue of a dark haired woman being encased by what looked like a giant Venus flytrap.

"Is that Anima?" I asked Rikku, looking down at her.

Rikku nibbled on her lower lip in thought. "Maybe. I'm not really sure."

I turned back to the odd statue-thing. "Well. Only one way to find out."

I untangled Rikku from my arm and walked over to the circle to kneel down next to. Without thinking, (I tend to do that a lot) I reached out and touched the clear surface.

The moment that my skin touched that smooth surface a shocking cold was running from my fingers up my arm to engulf my entire body. Then the heat came and pulled me back to my senses, and I was instinctively pulling away.

"Damn," I cursed, falling back on my behind with Rikku coming to my aid.

"Tidus!" she cried, touching my shoulder. "Are you all right?"

I didn't get the chance to answer her. There was a flash of white light that momentarily blinded the two of us before fading away to reveal the one we had come to see.

The first thing I noticed about Anima was that she was a human woman who was see-through. The second thing was that she was very beautiful and elegant looking with a long blue and white dress, and gold jewelry. The final thing I noticed was how sad her lovely blue eyes were.

"Are you Anima?" I asked without thinking. Once again, I do that a lot.

"I am the fayth of Anima," the woman corrected, her voice sounding like an echo of a woman's.

"Is there a difference?" I wondered.

"No," the not-sort-of-Anima said.

I tried to figure out the logic of that statement and failed spectacularly.

"Will you tell me your name, child?" asked the maybe-Anima, patiently.

"Huh? Oh, I'm Tidus and this is Rikku," I introduced, pointing to the girl trying to mold herself into my back. "We're here because I was told by this boy in my dreams to come to you for help."

Anima seemed to tilt her head to the side in a curious manner. "Oh? I suppose I may grant you a piece of my power to protect you, summoner."

My mind went blank at her statement. "What? I'm not a summoner."

Anima blinked at me. "Yes you are."

"No, I'm not. I'm a blitzball player. See, my necklace even proves it," I said, holding up the blitzball pendent I had worn since I was ten as proof.

Anima smiled at me like my one of female teachers used to whenever I said something incredibly stupid, but in a cute way. I hated that look. "Tidus, only a summoner could call me forth. You are a summoner."

"I knew it!" shrieked Rikku, making me jump. For a moment, I had forgotten she was there.

"Knew what?" I asked, looking back at the blond.

"I had a feeling you were a summoner and I was right!" Rikku shouted triumphantly. She seemed very pleased with herself over this fact. I decided to be nice and let her bask in her victory for a short while before stealing her thunder.

"Sorry, girlies, but you're both wrong. I can't be a summoner since I'm not even from… where am I again?" I looked to Rikku for help.

"Spira," she supplied.

"Yeah, Spira. I'm not from Spira. I'm from Zanarkand. See? So I can't be a summoner," I explained, believing my logic to be sound.

"Um, actually Zanarkand is in Spira," Rikku informed me, totally shattering my 'sound' logic.


"Zanarkand," repeated Anima, catching our attention once more. She stared down at me hard for a moment until something seemed to click in her mind. "Ahhh. So you're the one."

"One? One what?" I asked, feeling my stomach coil uneasily. I knew coming to this stupid temple was a bad idea. Seriously, the creepy décor should have tipped me off that something was wrong with it. Tidus, why don't you ever think these things through?

Anima looked at me with what seemed like a mix of pity and sympathy. "The oldest of the fayth have decided that Sin must come to a permanent end so that we all may finally rest in peace. They have chosen you to be the summoner to bring about that end."

Rikku and I stared back at the transparent woman in silence as our brains tried to make sense of the information. Finally Rikku let out a whistle and said, "Wow! So you're like a Super Summoner or something, huh?"

I ignored the awestruck girl next to me to continue staring at Anima in disbelief. "What? What do you mean I was chosen to be a summoner? I never agreed to that! I wasn't even asked!"

"I'm afraid you don't really have a choice in this. If you wish to go home then you must complete the task given to you."

"But that's not fair!" I cried, knowing I was whining and not giving a damn. "I don't want to be summoner! I just want to go home!"

"And in the end you will," promised Anima as she raised her arms high. "Now come, summoner. I will bestow you with my power of the Dark Aeon, Anima. Use it to destroy Sin, and free us all."

A dark ball of energy was formed between Anima's hands that she aimed towards me. I didn't have a chance to run when it was shot into my chest with a force that sent me flying back. I hit the floor with a solid 'thud' while Rikku screamed my name in the background. My body tingled as her power rushed through me and linked us together in the most intimate way possible. Finally the strange invader (or was it aeon?) settled in a corner of my mind, and I finally felt sort-of normal again.

"Oww," I hissed, sitting up and rubbing the back of my head. Rikku kneeled down next to me and tentatively touched my arm.

"Are you, I mean, I can't believe that—" Rikku seemed to be having a hard time getting her words out in complete sentences. "What just happened here?"

"I think," I said with more calmness than I actually felt, "that I was just forcibly given an aeon."

When Rikku and I got back to the ship it was dark and drizzling. Neither of us spoke as I pulled off my goggles and tossed them to the ground uncaringly. I marched over to the other side of the boat and leaned against the rail to stare out at the dark, bleak sea.

I was pissed. Actually I was pissed, lost, depressed, and a bit homesick. But mostly pissed. In my entire lifespan no one had ever forced me to do something that I didn't want to do. My parents never cared enough to make me do something, and even Auron seemed to let me do pretty much what I wanted. Well, granted that I stayed in school and didn't die. Those were the two main rules he gave me to live by. Oh, and to never touch his chocolate stash. The man was a secret chocoholic.

But of course the fayth had to be different and make me into something I'm not. Like I was their freaking puppet to control and manipulate. The nerve of them. The nerve!

"Tidus." Rikku came to stand next to me, trying her best to smile. "Tidus, come on. Don't be so mad. I mean, they only made you into a summoner. It's not like they turned you into a fiend or something."

"That's not the point," I muttered, folding my arms over the metal rail. "They turned me into something I'm not. Something I didn't want to be. And that's not right."

"Well you heard why. They want you to save Spira," Rikku reminded. Like that was supposed to make me feel better.

I shook my head. "Yeah, well, they picked the wrong guy. I can't save anyone. I couldn't even keep my goldfish alive for more than a week! How can anyone expect me to save a world I've been in for only, what, a day?"

Rikku was quiet at that. I glared down at the murky water below in disdain. I was really beginning to despise this dark world that seemed to pale so much when compared to my own bright one.

"You said that Sin destroyed your Zanarkand," Rikku said suddenly. I glanced at her to find her green gaze locked on the horizon with an unrecognizable look in them. "Well did you know that Sin has been destroying Spira for a thousand years?"

I stared at her in shock. "What?"

"Yeah. Summoners have been sacrificing their lives and the lives of their guardians for a thousand years in order to bring peace to Spira. But of course it never lasts. A few years of peace and then Sin returns to start another cycle of death and destruction again." Rikku turned her eyes to meet mine, and I found that I couldn't hold her gaze for long. There was something in her odd green eyes that made me feel unbearably guilty.

"But now you're here. A boy from a thousand years ago who the fayth themselves have chosen to end Sin once and for all. Don't you realize what that means?" she whispered.

I didn't reply. I mean really, what could I say to that? Luckily (or unluckily depending on how you looked at it) I didn't have to. Rikku's brother—the blond with the bad haircut—came bursting out onto the deck yelling something in their bizarre language.

"What did he say?" I asked Rikku, looking to her only to see the color literally drop from her face.

"Sin has been spotted nearby," she whispered, gripping the rail tightly.

"Where?" I looked over the ship into the dark ocean to see if I could spot it. All I saw was the same dark water. "Are you sure—"

I was interrupted in mid-sentence as the ship was pushed upwards from the other side. Since I was already on the side, I naturally went overboard. Rikku was a bit luckier since her brother grabbed her the moment the ship started moving.

I hit the water with a splash that was drowned out by the shrieking of metal as the ship was tossed around like it was nothing more than a child's toy. I only got a glimpse of the teetering craft and the emerging Sin before the water pulled me down into a whirlpool that dragged me off to my next destination.

I could only hope that it was Zanarkand.


1) "Kill it! It's a fiend!"

"What the hell is he saying?"

"Who cares? Kill it already!"

"Are you sure? I've never seen a fiend look like that before."

"Maybe it's a new kind. Either way, I think we should kill it just to be safe."

"No! It could just be a normal human boy."

"And if it's not?"

"Then we kill it. For now we bring it with us."


2) "Alright listen up! My sister has demanded that I spare you for reasons I can't imagine. Rather than listen to her whine, I have agreed. But in return for your life, you're going to have to earn your keep by working. Rikku, translate!"

3) "Is he ready?"


"Good. Then take him with you and try not to get killed."


Author's Notes:

Ahh, my first FFX fic. Mostly started on a whim after I read that all the inhabitants of Dream Zanarkand are summoners, and then got a mental image of Tidus dressed as Yuna. After I laughed until my side started to hurt, I began to consider the idea more seriously, and then began to wonder why the fayth didn't just send one of their own summoners to defeat Sin. So I began to play around with the idea and before I knew it, I was writing Tidus's adventure as a summoner. The power of fanfiction is scary.

I apologize if Tidus is a bit OOC since this is my first time writing him. I probably made him more sarcastic than he is in the game, but I think it kind of suits him. I mean, he's the optimistic and bright type so I figure he'd try to make serious situations more bearable with humor. Plus, he lived with Auron. You don't live with someone like him and not pick up the art of sarcasm. It's just not possible.

You'll also notice that this story does not follow the game's time/events sequence perfectly. That's because I need to change some things to make others work. For example, I sent Tidus into Spira a couple weeks earlier than in the game because… well you'll find out why later. I also changed some dreams/visions of his so that they would make more sense in this story.

Silver pup