Awakening



"You know how to whistle, don't you?

Just put your lips together and blow."



She had been standing on the dock for a little over a half-hour now, her shrill cry piercing the calm sea air over and over, never growing weaker despite the strain it put on her throat and the fact that it went unanswered. She had a speech to make shortly - it was only a matter of minutes before either Wakka or Lulu came to fetch her – so she redoubled her efforts, bringing the air from deep inside her out through her lips in the loudest whistle yet. The sound echoed across the water briefly before fading back into silence.

She inhaled for one more attempt, but was stopped short by the soft tinkle of jewelry and rustling of belts. It was Lulu who had come after all.

She left with the black mage, listening to the older woman's briefing on the audience that had assembled to hear the former summoner speak while keeping an ear open for the sound of parting waters. She wasn't sure why – maybe it was because of blitzball or maybe it was that the last time she had seen him, his specter was falling to the blue depths – but she knew that he would come back to her through the ocean.

Then he would swim around her, playful as an otter, telling her of Zanarkand and spinning the dreams that had all too literally proven to be the core of his being. But this time, they would not be dreams. Fantasy would have passed into a reality as pure and unquestionable as the bliss their future together held.

Always. That was his promise to her that night in the woods of Macalania. Her father had taught her to never fail in the promises she gave and she had not once broken that trust.

And so Yuna held Tidus to his.

~~~~~

He couldn't say for sure where he was. He couldn't say for sure if he was.

There were vague sensations. Sounds and feelings that washed over him and moved on, leaving him to question if he had felt them at all.

The lights were his anchor. They danced through the air, shifting in course and color continuously, but never fading. If he focused, the lights would coalesce into shapes he could recognize. He extended the hand of his consciousness towards a cluster that his soul identified as "Auron".

And passed through it. The lights swirled and passed by him, giving him the distinct feeling that he had tripped and fallen. He willed himself back to the cluster and was surprised to see that it had become solid.

"I thought you prided yourself on how quick you are," the figure in red and black said.

"That payback for calling you an old man?"

The figure smiled to himself and responded, "We are all timeless here."

Tidus returned the smile. Cryptic answers when all that was required was a simple "yes" or "no"? This was no illusion but the true Auron. Normally, he would have asked him how he was feeling or what he wanted, but normalcy and the Farplane were unacquainted terms. He waited for Auron to speak.

"I came looking for you," Auron announced.

"Still checking in on me for my old man, huh?"

"Jecht can see you for himself now. No, I came because you aren't listening to me."

"Not listening to you?"

"How many times did I tell you? Stay with Yuna…"

~~~~~

The speech had gone well. She could still hear the applause from the crowd though she was well away from the stadium. She had a boat to catch, another town to visit, more people to imbue with the strength and hope that only the words of High-summoner Braska's daughter and the last, perhaps greatest, summoner in her own right could give. Yuna had a new pilgrimage now.

Rikku, no longer a guardian but serving the more important role as ambassador for the Al Bhed, bounded up beside her and began to give her own commentary on how her speech had been received.

Yuna nodded her head in time with Rikku's excited utterances and did her best to avoid her cousin's wild gesticulations as she walked along the pier with her. It was hard to do as Yuna's main attention was directed to the water and not where she was walking.

A light tap on her arm was followed by, "Whoops. Sorry, Yunie."

"It's all right, Rikku."

It was all right. Young as she was, Rikku had been indispensable in Yuna's mission to bring unity to Spira. Though Yevon had fallen, the old enmity towards the Al Bhed still lingered. The presence of the vibrant girl alongside a summoner went a long way to dispelling the myths about those people and some of that anger with it.

And Yuna didn't want her to be anywhere else. So many people had walked out her life already. She clung to the small group that remained.

They were met at the pier by Wakka, who informed them that the boat would not be leaving on schedule. "Just some minor maintenance on the engines," he assured them. "We'll be back at sea in no time. But we got a few hours. Um, Lu and me were gonna get something to eat."

"Oh, that sounds – "

"Rikku," Yuna interrupted. "Why don't you get Kimahri and see if you can help with the boat. You know the mechanics of boat engines and Kimahri can be…persuasive…in getting them to hurry."

"Yeah, sure. Whatever you say." Rikku didn't sound convinced but a grateful look from Wakka let Yuna know that her instinct that he would prefer a private dinner was correct.

Yuna waved to them as they left, then hoisted herself atop a box of cargo that had yet to be loaded. She had made a list of mental notes of things to change with her speech and was now setting about to write them down.

She whistled while she worked.

~~~~~

Stay with Yuna. It was a simple order. One he had readily followed. One he couldn't follow now. The fayth of Zanarkand were at rest, free of the dreaming that had kept them awake for a millenium. He had no existence outside of that.

Stay with Yuna. "Don't you think I would if I could?!" he shouted to the lights. They shimmered in response. Auron had vanished in typical manner. Having already proffered his advice, he left Tidus to figure it out on his own.

Stay with Yuna. "I can't! I can't hold her! I can't touch her! I can't speak to her! I can't…"

Stay with Yuna. "I would give anything…anything…to see her again…to hear her voice again…"

He expected to hear Auron's words mock him again, but they were replaced by a low keening. Tidus flailed in the void. He didn't know what the noise was, but all of his senses knew it was important.

He shut out all other perceptions and listened. Notes filtered through to him. It was a song. No, not a song, but a hymn. The Hymn of the Fayth. And it wasn't being sung. Someone was whistling, breathing the music out from within for an audience of one.

"Yuna…"

~~~~~

She had been a summoner. She had prayed to the fayth and the fayth had answered those prayers by giving her the gift of her aeons. Those aeons had served her, not out of force, but because they had bonded to her. Summoning was nothing more than drawing that piece of her soul out.

She missed their presence. The frightening roar of Bahamut, the cold beauty of Shiva. They were a part of her that was now empty. Whistling the Hymn of the Fayth reminded her of that.

It also reminded her of how whole and complete she had felt then. Their absence now could not take away the memory. On a whim, she dug down inside of herself in search of the warm feeling that had blanketed her each time she had received an aeon.

She could feel a taste of the fire of Ifrit. A breeze, not from the outside world, but the wings of Valefor caressed her skin. She knew it was reminiscence and nothing more, but Yuna still reveled in it.

She feel deeper into her nostalgia. Something else was there. Something large, lively. The Magus Sisters? It couldn't have been. This was a single presence.

She reached in further. It was growing, whatever it was. It was growing and it was something far more significant than an aeon. In her confusion, she stopped whistling.

The presence receded immediately. She began whistling again and it returned. That was all she needed to know.

She leapt from the cargo box and ran to the edge of the pier. She placed her fingers on her lips and let out a clarion call of sheer longing. The sound reverberated across the ocean, into the air and through the planes of existence.

~~~~~

It was all Tidus could hear now. He could feel the sound penetrating his being, working its way through his body, his heart, his soul.

The lights changed color once more, flaring brightly enough that Tidus had to close his eyes and then turning a shade of blue. He could feel them weaving together around him to form the familiar pressure of water.

Tidus opened his eyes. His lips parted in a wide smile. He was in the water. He was back on Spira. He was home.

The whistle was coming from just above him. Without another thought, he pushed his way up to the surface.

"I'm coming, Yuna."

~~~~~

Author's Note – Eh, I'm not sure if that opening quote is entirely accurate. Feel free to let me know if it's not. Anyway, I fully believe that last shot of Tidus was of him returning. This is just my little offering as to how. Now all I need is a way to bring Auron back…