Chapter 15- Fight to the Finish

Regaining consciousness, Tidus groaned in pain and rubbed the back of his head. He began to hurt even more after touching the large bump caused by the hilt of Gatta's sword. He slowly sat up and examined his surroundings. "Where am I…?" he mumbled. Then the guardian's mind drifted back to the Crusader's betrayal, and his anger rose dramatically. "I'm gonna kill that guy!"

Tidus athletically leaped to his feet, but began to feel dizzy and placed his hand on his forehead. He stumbled toward the exit of the small building, his feet scuffing along the stone floor. As he tried to push the door open, he discovered that it wouldn't budge due to some heavy resistance. He struggled with all of his strength to force it open, but soon realized that it was a hopeless endeavor.

"Hey! Is anybody out there?!" the blitzball ace yelled, but there was no reply.

Sighing, Tidus slowly sauntered over to the opposite wall. He leaned his back against it, and gradually slid down to a sitting position on the floor.

(Great…I came all the way to Zanarkand, and now I'm stuck here. I wonder how long I was out cold. Yuna might even be married to that Adonijah guy by now. I should've known something was up with Gatta. He was so willing to come with me, and he knew about Ronau even though nobody else did. I was so stupid not to see that.) he thought in self-reproach. (Barthello's dead, and Ronau's gonna…)

The blond guardian's eyes widened as he remembered the dire circumstances. "…Kill Yuna!" he finished aloud. "I gotta find a way outta here!"

Tidus quickly returned to his feet and stared at the exit. He charged at full speed, and then jumped forward with his left leg extended. He collided with the door, but even the force of the impact barely nudged it. As he landed, the sphere he picked up in the Macalania Woods dropped out of his pocket and landed on the floor. It automatically began playing, causing the Zanarkand native to take notice. His father Jecht appeared in the image with nothing else in the background other than rain. It looked like the same place that Seymour's father Jyscal had recorded his sphere from beyond the grave.

"Huh…? This isn't the same sphere," Tidus stated.

"Hey," his old man said with a slight wave. "I guess if you're watching this, then you made it back to Spira safely. I'm sure you're wondering how you managed to get back there and all. I'm no good at this, but I'll give it a shot and try to explain what happened. You see…The thing is…Uhhh…"

The blitzball legend and famous guardian hesitated momentarily and scratched the back of his head. He ran his hand through his hair as he thought. "…The Farplane is the place of the dead, the fayth, and their dreams, but you're not a dream anymore. Me and you, we became real when we touched Sin, but since your place was back in Zanarkand, you were sent with the rest of them. Confusing, I know. I don't get it myself, but I think I know someone who could do this better than me."

His father took one step to the side as a man garbed in right with dark sunglasses that attempted to cover a scar on his right eye stepped into view. "Auron!" Tidus exclaimed in surprise.

"Listen, what Jecht has been trying to say is this…" he began. "You were sent to the Farplane because you were originally a dream of the fayth, even though you are much more than that now. However, you don't belong here with us, but on Spira. You helped rid the world of Sin forever and ended the fayth's dreaming. They owed Jecht and you a debt that they could never forget. Being a fayth himself, Jecht was able to convince them that you deserved another chance, and his request was granted. That's why you are watching this right now. We are unable to join you, but they did allow us to create this sphere to explain your fate. Just think of all this as Jecht's way of saying he loves you."

His father began to blush considerably, turning his entire face a bright red hue. Then he spoke to his son again. "One more thing before we gotta go…Make the most of your second chance. Don't take it for granted. I know you're strong enough to handle things without cryin' now, but don't let life get ya down when things don't go your way. Be good…Goodbye."

Then the projected image disappeared, and the blue sphere remained still. "Thanks, Dad," Tidus said gratefully as he picked it up and placed it back into his pocket.

Suddenly, he was startled by some loud noises just outside of the building. After a few moments, the door swung open, revealing a familiar face.

"Barthello!" the blond guardian exclaimed in surprise.

"Where's Gatta?" he asked curiously.

He hesitated briefly before answering and sighed. "He betrayed us. He's probably in the dome somewhere."

The muscular guardian's eyes squinted in rage. "I thought you were dead! How did you get here?!" Tidus asked.

"It'll take more than a couple of puny men to finish me, but we've wasted enough time. Let's get Gatta!"


They dashed into the dome, hurrying into the deeper regions where they believed Yuna to be located.

Meanwhile, in the Great Hall, beyond the Chamber of the Fayth, where Yunalesca resided, waiting to greet summoners at the end of their pilgrimages, High Summoner Yuna and Grand Maester Adonijah were awaiting the wedding reception to begin. Final preparations were being made to the appearance of the very old, destitute hall.

A long, red carpet extended from the top of the stairs to the doorway, and it was the path that the bride and groom would walk on. Three rows of five chandeliers apiece hung from the ceiling, and the multiple candles inserted into them provided most of the lighting in the room. A priest stood at the top of the stairs as Adonijah's selected Yevonites helped arrange the room to make it look fashionable.

Yuna stood on the left side of the room with Rikku and Lulu, while the maester was on the other side with Wakka and Kimahri. The floor beneath them was slightly dirty, but had been cleaned up to look presentable. Banners of Yevon adorned the walls with various scriptures written on them, each in a different color to make the room look brighter.

It wasn't the fanciest wedding a woman could've hoped for, but Yuna had her will set on having it set in Zanarkand. Her dress was a sparkling white, which barely avoided touching the floor, and the top was sleeveless and cut just above her chest. The veil covering her face touched the bottom of her chin and her light brown hair was tied back.

Lulu wore a black dress that was low cut and the bottom of it easily dragged along the floor. She had swept her raven black hair out of her eyes. However, Rikku wore a frilly pink dress with puffed sleeves that was cut just below the neck and barely touched the floor. It seemed to be too big for her, and the Al Bhed felt very uncomfortable wearing it. She was constantly fidgeting and shifting.

The High Summoner was shaking with anxiety as she watched the Yevonites methodically work, while Lulu appeared casually unconcerned, as usual. However, she was becoming impatient because of the long wait due to their sluggish pace.

On the opposite side of the hall, Adonijah had begun to sweat from nervousness. The small droplets of perspiration slowly slid down his face. His normally messy and spiked hair had been sliced back, and he was constantly running his hands through it. He wore a dark blue maester's robe, which had one wide white stripe running down each sleeve and around the neck. It barely skimmed along the floor and it had a hood attached, which the Grand Maester elected not to wear.

Wakka was wearing a black tuxedo with a white, buttoned shirt and a black bow tie. It was very tight on him and he felt very stiff whenever he moved. It was difficult to prepare a custom-made outfit for Kimahri, so he was dressed in his normal attire. The Ronso stared straight ahead at the priest with his arms crossed while Wakka conversed with Adonijah.

"Calm down. Don't be so nervous, eh?" the Aurochs coach said.

"Calm down? Wouldn't you be nervous if it was your wedding day?" he retorted.

"'Course I would, but you need to tone it down a little. You're sweatin' like crazy."

"Yes, I am. I can't help it though," he said.

"It's almost time. You'll do fine."

Once everything was completed and ready, the Yevonites lined up around the staircase, signifying that it was time to begin. The bride and groom stood side by side on the carpet, while the others took their places as well. The couple slowly walked forward, stepping up one stair at a time until they stood before the minister.

As he began to read from Yevon's scriptures, Gatta and Kinoc awaited their opportunity to assassinate them in the next room. The Crusader had been given a gun, which he was unsure of how to use. It had been explained to him, but he was hoping he wouldn't mess up. The two Ronau members laid low, trained in espionage to avoid being seen by others, even if they were nearby.

Kinoc gave him a signal, ordering him to get ready. He was familiar with ancient Yevon rights, and knew when his partner would have an open shot. Gatta aimed the machina weapon and lined it up to implant a bullet into Yuna's forehead. As the former maester was about to give him the sign to fire, a loud noise interrupted the ceremony in the hall. Barthello had removed the door from its hinges and the pair entered the room.

"Wait!" Tidus screamed. Everyone turned around and stared at him, wide-eyed and jaws dropped, as if they'd seen a ghost. "Yuna, get down from there now!"

However, she stood still, unable to move due to the shock. The guardian knew that he would have to take it into his own hands. As Kinoc heard what was going on, he quickly turned to Gatta.

"Fire!" he cried in desperation.

The Zanarkand native bounded up the stairs and grabbed the High Summoner. He pulled her away as the Crusader released the bullet from its chamber. It cut through a lock of Yuna's hair, narrowly missing her head. It hit the wall and the sound of the impact reverberated in the room. The priest hurried down the stairs, with the other three following him. However, the minister continued to run, followed by Adonijah's Yevonites.

"Gatta! Kinoc! Come outta there now!" Tidus demanded. "I know you're in there!"

Those in the room were still utterly confused by the suddenly arising circumstances. It was all happening so quickly, becoming hostile in a moment after it was joyous. The two Ronau members showed themselves and stood before them fearlessly.

"You may have foiled things for now, but we're not finished yet. I'll just have to kill you all now," the leader said.

Tidus and Barthello stepped forward, beckoning them to bring it on with a gesture of their hand. "Not if we can help it!" the blitzball ace said.

As Kinoc was preparing to descend the stairs, Gatta put his arm out to stop him. "Let me take care of these two. They shouldn't be a problem," he insisted confidently.

The former maester simply nodded and returned to the room beyond them.

Wakka placed a hand on Tidus's shoulder. "Hey! How did you get here?!" he finally managed to say.

"No time for this now! You gotta take care of Kinoc!"

"Man, I knew somethin' like this was gonna happen, but nothin' this big!" The Aurochs captain ripped off his tight tuxedo, revealing his usual attire below. He grabbed his blitzball that he had stowed away near the stairs.

"Let's do it!" Rikku exclaimed, tearing off the uncomfortable dress, and she was also wearing her normal clothes beneath.

Kimahri drew his spear and led the charge as the Al Bhed, Wakka, Lulu, and Adonijah followed, brushing past Gatta and leaving the three alone. As the blond guardian reached back to draw his sword, he realized that it wasn't there.

"Looking for this?" the former Crusader taunted with a chuckle, holding the Brotherhood out with one hand.

"I won't need it!" Tidus said, almost overconfident. "Come on, Barthello! Two's better than one, right?"

"And two swords are better than none," Gatta countered, clutching his broadsword in his left hand.

He held it out steadily in a defensive position, while the bright blue blade was held behind him, ready to strike them down. The Zanarkand native charged unarmed to the top of the stairs fearlessly, rage evident in his eyes. The Ronau member sliced through the air with Brotherhood, but the agile blitz player ducked. Then he instantly performed a backwards somersault, his feet kicking the right arm in an attempt to make his opponent drop the sword. However, Gatta's grip was firm, and he held on as he staggered back from the attack.

As soon as Tidus landed, he immediately rushed his opponent while he was off balance. He kicked the dark-haired man in the chest, knocking him to the floor. Feeling humiliated, he quickly returned to his feet and began slashing haphazardly with both swords. As the guardian began to back away, he tripped on the top step and tumbled to the bottom, landing on his back. He had a gash on hire forehead from the fall, and the blood began to flow down his face.

Unrelenting, Gatta jumped from the top of the stairs and lined the Brotherhood up with his neck, attempting to decapitate him. His eyes widened, and Tidus managed to roll out of the way as the blade scraped across the floor. Without hesitation, he swiped at Barthello, who grabbed the hilt of the sword to halt its progress. The Ronau member struggled to free it from his mammoth grip, but to no avail. He tried to use his broadsword, but the muscular guardian placed his other hand around his foe's wrist.

As Gatta struggled to get free, the silent fighter slammed his hard head against his face. The former Crusader loosened his grasp on the weapons, and Barthello held onto the Brotherhood, while letting the other weapon drop. It clanged loudly against the floor as he walked over to hand the sword to Tidus.

"Thanks!" He assumed a fighting stance while Gatta slowly stood up, hands covering his busted nose. "Now we're even!" the Zanarkand native said as he wiped the blood from his forehead.

Kinoc stood still with his back to the group. "So you're the one who's been behind those mysterious terrorist attacks!" Wakka exclaimed, but the former maester was silent to his accusation.

"And then you tried to kill Yunie!" Rikku added, but still no reply.

"Why..? Why did you do this?!" Yuna asked, but he didn't say a word.

"Answer us!" Adonijah demanded. "You've disrupted the order of Yevon!"

Kinoc began to laugh loudly, as if finding the statement absurd. "The order of Yevon? Do you have any idea who you're talking to, boy? The destruction of Sin disrupted the order of Yevon! It thrived on a destroyer, but now it doesn't have one. I plan on being what restores Yevon and Spira to their former glory! You don't realize it now, but it is floundering. It needs people like us!"

"Lies! Yevon is based upon peace and the truth!" the Grand Maester retorted.

"Then why did we allow summoners to die in vain just for Sin to return anyway? We all knew it would come back, and yet we never searched for another method. Why did we use machina in secret while telling the rest of the world that it was forbidden? It's always been like that, and Yevon embodies unchanging consistency. Don't think you can do anything about it either!"

"I've heard enough of this!" Wakka said angrily.

"Yuna, send him," Lulu said calmly.

The High Summoner pulled out of her staff, but as she began to dance, she felt some strange resistance that prevented her from completing the ritual.

"I'm afraid I can't allow that," Kinoc said as he casted a lightning spell, striking Yuna and forcing Nirvana from her hands.

She dropped weakly to one knee while Adonijah rushed to her side. Kimahri stepped in front of the Ronau leader with his spear, ready to attack.

"I guess we gotta fight him, too! A guardian's job is never done, ya?"

"So you wish to fight me? Hit me with all you have. I'll show you the power of death!" The former maester said.

He began to transform, his body becoming much taller and slimmer than usual. Its substance seemed to change from flesh and became metallic, and it turned a dull gray color. Triangular-shaped wings sprouted from his shoulder blades and his two legs melded together. Kinoc's arms stretched out and attached to the wings, and his body began to hover slightly above the ground. The eyes, nose, and mouth seemed to completely disappear, leaving his head mostly featureless. Finally, a thin rod slid out from the top of his head.

"This reminds me of all those times we fought Seymour," Rikku commented.

"And we'll make him a goner like Seymour, too," Wakka said confidently.

"You compare that wretch to me? You don't stand a chance!" the Ronau leader exclaimed.

"We'll see about that," Lulu said. "Thundaga!"

The small Onion Knight mimicked her movements as she unleashed the most powerful lightning spell upon her foe. However, the rod on top of Kinoc's head absorbed the spell, and returned it to her. The black mage cried out in agony as the bolt struck her.
"Let me help!" Yuna insisted, stepping forward. "Curaga!" The healing magic immediately took effect, and Lulu was restored to full strength.

"That rod absorbs my magic," she stated.

"Then we'll just have to knock it off!" Wakka exclaimed, winding back his World Champion blitzball and aimed for the thin bar.

He released it and the projectile sped toward its target. Kinoc raised his wings and covered the rod, preventing the object access. It bounced harmlessly off of the hard exterior and returned to its owner.

"You weren't expecting it to be that simple, were you?" he mocked.

Kimahri stabbed at the unsent enemy fiercely with his Spirit Lance, but it could not pierce the metallic layer of armor-like skin protecting the terrorist. He retaliated by hitting the Ronso with the hard wings, lifting him off of his feet and knocking him back.

Rikku tossed a grenade, hoping to be able to damage him with it. After the object made contact with its target, it exploded, sending a blast of fire and plumes of smoke into the former maester's face. When the screen of flames had disappeared, he was unfazed.

"Pathetic!" he insulted. "Can't you do any better than that?"

Lulu was preparing to cast another spell when Wakka stopped her in her tracks.

"Lu! What're you doing? He'll send it right back at you!"

"He can't reflect Ultima," she said with assurance.

She charged up as the Aurochs captain stepped out of the way. She unleashed the most powerful black spell upon her enemy. She was astonished to see it taken in by the rod.

"Uh oh…" Rikku muttered dreadfully, knowing what was coming next.

Kinoc had caught it, and then reciprocated the destructive spell. All of them were hit with massive blasts of energy, weakening them severely. None of them had enough strength to stand up on their own and they collapsed. The Ronau leader laughed psychotically.

"Auron can't save you now! You can't hope to win this one!"

Gatta's nose was bleeding profusely and pouring into his mouth as he breathed heavily. He lifted his broadsword from the ground and assumed a battle stance, ready to fight.

"Why are you with them, Gatta? Why?!" Tidus asked.

"You held me back…" he uttered.

"What…?" He didn't understand what the former Crusader was saying.

"During Operation Mi'ihen that day…All of you held me back, and you let Luzzu die! You wouldn't let me fight! You wouldn't let me prove myself! The Crusaders…Yevon…Everyone…You were all stopping me from being the best I could truly be! But Ronau…They won't hinder me. They don't get in my way. They let me fight! I've always had the desire to become a great warrior. It's been a dream of mine ever since I was a child, and now I've risen to that plateau!"

"But you're not a warrior! You're just a murderer!" Tidus shouted. "Don't you realize what you're doing is completely wrong?!"

"Right or wrong, who cares?! We didn't care in Operation Mi'ihen, did we? It was by any means necessary, and if that means killing people, so be it. Nobody's gonna stop me!" Gatta yelled with determination.

"I am! I'll end it right here, right now!" the young guardian exclaimed.

"Bring it on! This should prove to be my best challenge yet!"

The Zanarkand native charged at the former Crusader and slashed furiously at his head. He effortlessly ducked, and then swiped at his opponent's stomach. Tidus quickly jumped back, and then leapt forward with a downward slice. The Ronau operative blocked it, and then pushed forward, trying to overpower him. The guardian pushed back, gritting his teeth as he struggled and slowly began to seize control.

However, Gatta lifted his knee and shoved it into his stomach, catching him off guard and knocking him backwards. The blitzball star desperately tried to regain his breath as his foe aggressively pushed forward, attacking relentlessly. Tidus barely managed to defend, but was unable to counter because he couldn't breathe.

After a few moments, he could filter air into his lungs again, but the current lack of oxygen made him weak and lacking energy. He had no time to rest with the former Crusader's flurry of attacks. Gatta sliced high, forcing his opponent to duck, and immediately swept low with one fluid motion. The young guardian jumped into the air and his enemy stabbed at his chest. He knocked the blade off course with the Brotherhood, and then landed on the ground again.

The Ronau operative swung downward at his shoulder, forcing Tidus to duck and hold the bright blue blade in front of him in order to impede the sword's progress. Gatta used his leverage advantage to push down on him, making him squat. He struggled to shove him away, while droplets of sweat mingled with his blood. The former Crusader's blood dripped from his chin and landed on his broadsword. There was an area of dried blood around his mouth.

Tidus breathed in deeply as the former Crusader continued to hold him down. Taking a chance, he swept his right leg along the ground, tripping Gatta and sending him crashing to the floor. He slowly took a couple of steps backwards, never taking his eyes off of his opponent who was lying on the ground. The dark-haired man slowly stood up, his free hand clutching the back of his head with a grimace.

"My turn now!" Tidus said with a smirk.

Catching Gatta off guard and giving him very little time to react, the speedy swordsman charged and furiously slashed at his foe. The strength of the attack knocked the Ronau member off balance, since he didn't have time to grasp his weapon with both hands. Seizing full advantage of the situation, the Brotherhood sliced across his chest. The former Crusader cried out in intense agony and fell to the floor once more.

The blood began to flow and stained his garments. His breaths were short as he stared at Tidus with hatred. He knew that he had been bested, but he still had one act of desperation remaining. With the guardian only about a foot away, he quickly launched his broadsword at him. Using his quick reflexes that he had developed as an athlete, he flipped over the top and then delivered the finishing blow. He impaled Gatta through the chest, and his body went limp and lifeless. Tidus wasted no time brooding over the situation and hurried into the next room with Barthello following behind.

The group was struggling to stand up as Kinoc was preparing to end it. "Is that all you have? I expected more from the vanquishers of Sin."

His wings began to glow and a current of energy visibly flowed through the rod as he charged up. Suddenly, a bright blue blade came careening in his direction, forcing him to abandon his attack and defend against the sword. It clanged resoundingly as it made contact and bounced off of the impenetrable wings. It slid across the floor and stopped at the feet of Tidus. He knelt down and picked it up.

"Not so fast! It's not over yet!"

His friends were still unsure of how to react to his return and remained silent as they rose to their feet. The Zanarkand native gazed over at Yuna, whose blue and green eyes were full of confusion and sadness. Seeing the pain in her face made him frown and sigh.

"It's been a while, guys," he commented, "but now we're together again. I know you don't understand what's going on. I don't get it either, but right now, we've got other things to worry about."

Tidus fixed his stare on Kinoc and assumed a fighting stance.

"So you defeated Gatta. Impressive, but he's merely a shadow of my power," the unsent said egocentrically.

"And you're nothing after what we've been through," he retorted. "Come on! Let's do this!"

Wakka and Kimahri stepped up and stood by him. "We need to take out that rod on his head. It absorbs out spells and seems to power him up," the red-haired guardian informed.

"No problem!" Tidus said confidently.

He rushed forward and swung at the rod. Before he could make contact, Kinoc's wings sent him flying backwards and he landed at the Ronso's feet. He picked him up wordlessly but gently.

"It's not that easy, or we would've already got it, ya?"

"So what do we do?"

"I have an idea," Rikku intervened with a whisper. "But I'll kinda need to sneak up on him."

"You want us to distract him, right?" Tidus said, catching her drift.

"I know it's a lot to ask…"

"Don't worry about it," Wakka waved off. "We'll take care of it. You just do what you gotta do."

The three male guardians charged at the Ronau leader, with the Aurochs captain tossing his blitzball at him on the run. It harmlessly bounced back into his hands. Kimahri stabbed at his chest, but like before, even the sharp tip of his lance couldn't break through the tough exterior. Kinoc attempted to smash him between his wings, but the powerful Ronso managed to avoid the attack.

Then the unsent knocked them down with an invisible shockwave of energy. The wings began to glow again as he prepared to unleash his destructive attack upon them. However, Rikku had managed to sneak around and get behind him. The perky thief hopped onto his back and broke the rod off of his head. She jumped off and ran back to her friends. The other three guardians scrambled to their feet and joined them.

"See if it works now, Lu," Wakka said.

"Burn," she said contemptuously as she casted a Firaga spell.

It hit its intended target and Kinoc groaned in pain as the flames surrounded his body.

"All right! Let him have it!" Tidus exclaimed enthusiastically.

Yuna stepped forward. "I've been practicing black magic," she stated. "I can help, too."

She hit the former maester with a powerful Flare spell, racking his body with pain again as he was left defenseless.

"Let's all three cast at once," Adonijah suggested.

Lulu started it off with the devastating Ultima spell. As the multi-colored energy began to explode, Yuna placed another Flare spell into the mix and the flames combined with it. Finally, the Grand Maester topped it off with the rarely learned spell, Meteor. An enormously large rock crashed on top of Kinoc's head. As the chaos concluded, he was on the brink off death. Once everything cleared, he was on one knee in human form again.

"Send him," Lulu ordered.

Yuna pulled out her staff and began to dance, performing the ancient ritual for both Ronau members. Their bodies faded away and the pyreflies floated away harmlessly. Then all eyes were on Tidus.

"How…did you get here?" the High Summoner inquired curiously.

"It'd be easier to show you," he replied.

He withdrew the blue sphere from his pocket again and played it back for them. They all watched intently as Jecht and Auron explained how he had returned to Spira due to the wishes of the fayth. Once it was finished, there was another question yet to be answered.

"How did you get here? How did you know we'd be here?" Rikku asked.

Tidus told them his story, from the moment he returned in the waters of Besaid up until the current time, reciting everything that he could recall from memory.

"So you're back for good?" Wakka asked to clarify, and the blitzball ace confirmed it with a nod.

The Aurochs captain was still unsure of how to react about the miraculous return of his friend after two years of absence, and it was the same for the others. Patting him on the shoulder, he said, "Good to have ya back, bud."

Then he walked out of the room, knowing that he would want to speak to Yuna privately. The others thought of the same thing and followed him, including Adonijah. Once they were alone, the two were silent for a few moments before Tidus spoke up. He began strolling around the room anxiously.

"Yuna, I came all this way to see you, and you know that. I didn't come to crash your wedding or anything, but there's something I gotta ask you."

She had been staring at the ground nervously, but she quickly looked up at him. "Y-Yes?"

"Uh…No offense, but can you really trust this Adonijah guy? I mean, after all that we've been through with Yevon, it makes you wonder."

"I know it's hard to believe. It was hard for me at first to believe that his intentions were noble, but…I trust him with my life, like I trust you," she said with full sincerity.

"So…you love him," he stated.

"But I love you, too."

Tidus immediately halted and stared at her while she met his gaze. "What now though? Did I…ruin everything?" he wondered.

"I can't turn away from Adonijah. I made a promise to him," she said.

"Yeah…I understand," the guardian said dejectedly.

"I'm sorry," she apologized.

"No, don't be. It's your decision, and I won't stand in your way. I'll be by your side all the way," he said supportively.

"Thank you," she said with a smile. This time, it wasn't a façade to hide her sadness like it had been during the pilgrimage. It was out of true happiness.

"You gotta tell him you're ready."

Lulu and Wakka were in the corner of the Great Hall, talking alone. "So what do you think's gonna happen now?" he asked.

"I'm not sure. It will be very difficult for Yuna. This negates all of the time it took for her to move on. It will be hard for all of us to adjust as well, but especially her," she answered.

"Will she call the wedding off?"

"I don't know. She'll do what she feels is right."

Tidus and Yuna emerged from the room beyond, and everyone turned to face them.

"Find the priest. We need to finish the ceremony."

"I'll get him!" Rikku volunteered and hurried out of the room.

Barthello approached his traveling companion as he descended the stairs. "I'm leaving now," he stated.

"By yourself? You sure you'll be okay?"

The muscular guardian nodded, and then extended his hand. "It has been an honor."

Tidus shook his hand with gratitude. "Same here. Thanks for all of your help," he said with a brief smile.

Barthello smirked and then left silently.

Shortly afterwards, the Al Bhed thief returned with the priest and they finished the wedding. The Zanarkand native looked away during the ceremony, not wanting to see anything. After it was over, he spoke with all of his friends and learned of all of the events that had transpired while he was gone. He even associated with Adonijah. Even though he had to let her go, he was still happy. Tidus was home again.

Author's Notes: And that's the end of my story. Thank you all for reading this story and giving an author like me some encouragement. God bless.