Thank you! This big thank you is for all the positive and constructive feedback you guys left. I treasure each and every comment.
And an even bigger Thanks to my beta reader, your work made this fic far better than it would ever have been otherwise. :)
TWO WEEKS LATER
Yuna pulled her knees up and rested her chin on them. Down the beach in front of her, Tidus was trying to teach Datto, the second best shooter on Besaid's team, how to execute the Jecht Shot. Her smile was a little wistful. There were still so many holes in his life. Sometimes Tidus would remember things, like Blitzball moves or his locker combination from Zanarkand. The things he remembered were usually technical, almost unimportant. He still couldn't remember any of her pilgrimage or even his family. She tried to return those lost things to him. She told him about their adventures, about his daring sometimes-impetuous antics. Her careful descriptions were no substitute for years of living. They just weren't the same.
Tidus turned his brilliant blue eyes her way and smiled. Datto almost immediately knocked Tidus upside the head with a wild blitzball and they resumed their lesson. All the marks of his stay in the Al Bhed mining facility were fading. His hair was almost blonde again and there was a healthy glow back in his skin.
"I wish you could remember it, our adventure, your life," Yuna whispered. "This is better than nothing though. This is so much better than nothing at all." Yuna laughed at herself, complaining about her miracle. "Tidus is happy. I'm happy. I won't wish for things that aren't important. I don't need anything else."
Yuna wasn't the only one watching the Blitzball lesson. Wakka, a jumbo bag of rice seed at his feet, smiled and tried not to envy the kids their game. Yuna had her happy ending, Tidus had a life, and he had his farm. A simple happy smile crossed his face. "And the naive optimists keep racking them up."
That elicited a snort from his right. "It can't stay this perfect. Life isn't perfect," Lulu said. Wakka nodded and turned to his friend. Her hair was piled in her signature mass of braids but she was dressed down in navy blue sundress. It's simple lines and scooped collar dripped off her curves like liquid. "So you're going out to the old homestead today?"
"Yeah, it turns out, I won't have to wait for the ferry either. Rikku gave me her boat," Wakka said. "Outta nowhere."
Lulu stared at the single Jenquo ship in Besaid's harbor, the Solomon. "She probably had some odd motivation."
"So." Wakka stared at his feet for a long moment. "You want to ride out with me? It could be fun."
Lulu hooked her arm into Wakka's. "Why not. Nothing like a trip to a deserted farm to make you appreciate city life."
Aldon sighed and reluctantly faced the facts. It was time to leave. The Solomon had to turn a profit, and it couldn't do that sitting in Besaid. The men were ready to go, the coffers were getting low, but that had been the case a week ago and still he lingered. "Jenquo wander," Aldon hissed to himself. "They don't hang out in ports and moon over skinny Al Bhed girls."
"I hope you didn't just call me skinny?" Rikku said. She was craning her neck from the dock and mock-scowling. "I have you know I'm quite well proportioned."
Aldon would have blushed, if he was the type, but his dark complexion saved him from that embarrassment. "Taken up eavesdropping now, girl?"
"I'm not a girl. I'm a full-grown woman, thank you very much. Permission to come aboard," Rikku said. She threw out another one of her sarcastic salutes and grinned.
"If you put it that way, who am I to refuse a full-grown woman permission for anything?" Aldon said.
Once Rikku was on board she seemed a little nervous. Aldon was too close. She could smell him spice and sweat. "I need your help."
"Really? Do tell," Aldon said. He didn't even try to contain the grin that split his face. This spitfire belonged at sea. She was wasted on a town like Besaid.
"Remember that horrible mine? It has to do with that. I wanted my dad to implement some official guidelines for those operations, to protect the ocean and the miners, but he couldn't," Rikku said.
Aldon frowned. "Why couldn't he? I thought he was your leader?"
"Technicality. The guidelines already existed. We just haven't been able to enforce them, stretched too thin and all that." Rikku pulled a printout from behind her back and offered it to Aldon. He came closer to examine the contract and Rikku shivered when their hands brushed. What was wrong with her? "It's a contract, hiring the Solomon and her crew as Al Bhed enforcement officers, under my supervision of course. The Al Bhed would provide the training and weapons, and your whole crew would be on payroll."
Aldon leaned in close, very aware of Rikku's discomposure. "I think it's a wonderful idea."
Below deck, scrawled unnoticed and unread on the wall, Old Mother Ina's last bit of warning went unheeded.
Life went on.
On Cheating Death
Death is a beautiful mistress
She offers rest and peace
Death is a silent warden
Her charges, souls she keeps
To steal from death is folly
Cheating her is a sin
You may succeed for a moment
But in the end she always wins
The End - This resurection fic is officially over :)
That's all folks. Any Comments? Criticisms? Let me know.
One Final Note: A chapter 12 exists. The reason it never made it to my beta reader? It pushed the story past the ending I found with 11... with no end in sight from 12. Anything could have happened... Who knows when another ending would have presented itself. I'm happy with the story as is and I hope some of my fellow FF10 fans enjoyed it as well :)
Peace, Love, and Lolipops to you all:) :)