Sequel to: A Question of Honor
Part of the Final Fantasy: Clouded Horizons Storyline
In you and I there's a new land… where fears and lies melt away.
The echo of booted feet careened violently with the sound of fierce battle; of blades and gunfire and magic explosively crossing his path. Thousands battled around him, the horrible intonation of death and decay flowing through the normally peaceable corridors and commons of Trabia Garden. Under siege for almost six hours, the fierce conflict showed no signs of victory, or a side gaining dominion over the other.
All of the work, the fierce preparation, the hours of briefing and training was quickly shown not to be for naught. Instead, those arrangements had kept the allied forces alive against the incredible threat they were facing. This was a good omen, but he knew that if they didn't get a foothold, or a critically successful hit on the enemy soon that all their work would be in vain. Soldiers would begin to weaken and tire, the severe injuries would increase… they would be routed, and the enemy would win.
However, Liam Bayloh knew more than this. He knew as much as this was his plan that Katanas DeValle had a plan as well. Liam would do everything in his power to ensure that Katanas' plan did succeed.
"Bayloh! Liam Bayloh!"
He quickly whipped his head around, looking for anyone who would be trying to get a hold of him. Peacemaker was in his hand, in case the one who summoned for him was not an ally. However, he quickly caught sight of a tuft of blond hair, and a dark blue bandana. "Cole! Over here!" he called out, raising his blade to note his location. He supposed they were both lucky; this corridor hadn't seen much action recently and was being used as a medical post until sickbay could be retaken.
The man in question ran up to him, a sheet of sweat covering his face. His SeeD uniform, which was normally ruffled anyway, showed signs of prolonged combat, but his face and his cerulean eyes were still bright. He still believed.
That alone was enough to bring a smile to Liam's face.
"Locke, have you seen Yuna?" he questioned, looking around for the first time since he'd entered the long ingress. Locke shook his head, sighing deeply.
"We entered Trabia together, but we were separated somewhere around corridor C, right outside the library. I'm sorry, Angel; I haven't seen her since," Locke replied, looking to the ground. Liam reached out and grabbed the man's shoulder, shaking it.
"She's a tough woman. She's just fine; I know it. Where were you en route to from here?"
Locke shook his head. "Headed to the main concourse; figure if I'm gonna get messy here, it might as well be in the thick of it," Locke answered. "Why?"
Liam closed his eyes, bracing himself for what he was about to ask. "Locke, I need you to find Katanas DeValle. If he knows you're looking for him, he'll find you. He'll be someplace on the outskirts of Garden, if I'm correct."
Locke's eyes stopped looking around, darting straight to Liam's. "I'd have to go through the worst part of the battle to get there, you realize that…. Of course you do. Why me?" he questioned.
Liam smiled. "You know the answer to that. I trust you with this. If it doesn't reach Katanas, we'll have a much worse problem on our hands than we already have. It's of the utmost importance that he is ready."
Locke nodded, realizing the gravity of what he was being ordered to do.
"What's the message, Headmaster?"
"I'm going to face off against the General the second he steps on the battlefield. And I'm going to bring him to Katanas. He'd better be prepared, 'cause I'll only get one shot at this."
The orders were simple, the intent was clear. Locke nodded, before sticking out his hand. Liam grasped it firmly. "Headmaster…. Angel. They won't touch me, and I promise you Katanas will be ready," he started, then looked over his shoulder at the carnage in the distance, visible through a window in the hallway. "You going to find Yuna?" he asked as he took out his blade and a cloth, cleaning it.
Liam nodded. "It… might be the last time I get the chance. I need to make sure she's all right."
Locke turned his gaze back to Liam and re-sheathed his blade. With his right hand, he saluted. "Go to it, then. Apparently, we've got a war to end," he replied before dashing off without another word. Liam smiled before he himself ran off in the opposite direction. Remembering his time at Trabia, he knew that he could take a number of side corridors and hopefully reach where Locke had last seen Yuna.
With the fighting as intense as it was in most of Garden, she would still be there… one way or another.
He grimaced as his mind slipped to the worst scenario. Yuna had been working on him, helping him realize that every situation could have a bad outcome, but it didn't always have to occur. It was ingrained in him, however, and her work was cut out for her.
He only hoped that he was able to get to her in time.
Dashing around a bend in the hall, he entered into the very bowels of hell itself. The emanations of battle were thick here, as few in this hallway remained alive. The few that did were surprised however by the Headmaster's entrance, and were quickly cut down as he tore through. Veering to the left as the passage did, he came to a stop at a junction. As he made a quick decision to move through the right archway, however, a noise caught his ear from the left side.
Cr-crack. Cr-crack-cr-crack cr-crack.
To anyone who didn't know, they would've heard just another automatic handgun. To his ears, however, it was the sign of joy, because only one set of firearms were that distinctive. Peacemaker in his hand once again, he began to sear his way through.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, but in reality could have only been moments, he came in sight of a SeeD squad. Calling them over, he quickly ordered them to accompany him, as he heard it again.
Cr-crack cr-crack. Cr-crack cr-crack cr-crack cr-crack.
The journey, and ensuing battles passed in a blur; his thoughts only remaining on his wife, her bullets a chorus to the cacophony of battle around him. Soon, however, his personal fog of determination cleared. Down the corridor he'd entered, he saw her dive into a side alcove as a regiment of SeeD cleared the area, leaving the bodies of their enemies behind.
Directing his squad to follow them, he ran to the recess.
Inside, his wife was kneeled over the body of a SeeD, someone he recognized but not someone he could name right off. Yuna didn't look up, so Liam stooped down, putting his hand on her shoulder. "You all right, love?"
Her eyes turned to meet his. "I… want this to be over. I don't like it at all! Why haven't we won yet? Isn't SeeD supposed to be the best?" she babbled, and he pulled her to her feet and into his arms in one swift motion. With soothing pats, soon her words were silenced. Finally she pulled away from him, her eyes meeting his.
He didn't flinch from her gaze. "I'm going to end this, soon. One way or the other, I am going to finish this. But…" he paused, searching his heart and mind for the words… "I couldn't without seeing you once more."
Her eyes looked into his eyes inquiringly. "Once more…? Angel. No. You.. you're not going to d…." she started, her voice dropping off. His tender smile was sad as he pulled her close.
"I'll come back to you. I promise."
He brought her face to his and soon their lips touched in the truest expression of love; the seal of a promise spoken that moment and spoken almost two years previous. The echo of that promise and his lips were on her as the energies of the Planeswalker took him.
Despite that promise, and the hope that it brought her… she couldn't help the tears that came to her eyes.
wonk uoy naht noitceffa erom deen I
A day had passed and Trabia Garden had been secured.
With the general and his leading team gone, it only became a matter of time as to when SeeD would successfully retake the Garden facility. The last of the enemy forces had been either killed or locked up and the non-Garden allied forces were nursing their wounds back at Esthar Garden. The losses had been heavy on both ends, and the allied forces had taken heavy casualties, but the simple fact was that they had won. Liam's plan had worked.
Yuna forced those thoughts from her head. She couldn't think about him when he wasn't here; not when she wasn't sure she'd ever see him again. He'd never lied to her, but this… was different. How could he keep a promise like this? She didn't know where he was, but she had a very sudden, very real sense of loneliness that she could not easily cure or ignore. So she was focusing on helping clear debris and bodies. It was the least she could do, especially since she'd been ordered to do so.
'Widowed at twenty-one. Not many can say that,' she thought as she picked up a load of drywall from the floor, intending to put it the trash receptacle behind her. She turned, and immediately bumped into someone.
"I forgot to tell you that I loved you. Forgive me?"
Her knees buckled, and she fell to the ground, staring at the legs in front of her, not looking any farther for fear that she was hallucinating.
"I know I have nice legs, but…" the voice said, then the owner of that voice, her husband, kneeled down. "I've been told I've got a dreamy face."
She said nothing, just staring blankly forward into his chocolate brown eyes. Liam waved a hand in front of her eyes. "Yuna? Are you-" His voice was cut off as she slammed into him, her arms wrapping around him, and her lips meeting his in the ultimate reassurance of quelling fears. She pulled away a moment later, still embracing him, her head on his shoulder.
"You forgot to tell me you loved me, meanie."
Despite himself, he chuckled, flashing back to a conversation they once had. "Meanie? Really?"
She giggled into his shoulder. "Yes! You're a big meanie, and I don't like you at all!"
He kissed the top of her head. "You don't have to like me to love me, dear heart."
She pulled her head from his shoulder, meeting his eyes. "Say it again."
He nodded. "I love you."
He smiled weakly. "I love you, Yuna."
She beamed, and folded her arms around tighter. "You're not too bad yourself."
Liam whimpered. "After all that, you won't even tell me the same?" he asked playfully. Her lips touched his, and then she pulled him to his feet, taking his hands in hers. And for just a moment, she could've sworn that she felt true warmth from them. Her soft lips curved into a true smile, her eyes sparkling in tender way; the way that only a woman in love could have.
"Of course I love you, Liam."
And it's a wrap. Slightly a song fic, in that I borrowed some lyrics from Sanctuary by Utada Hikaru, thought it's not particularly important to listen to the song while reading.
I'm dedicating this to two people. One, a friend who thought that maybe there should be a bit more to the Question of Honor storyline. I agreed. Hopefully you see this before your exams today, friend.
Second and most importantly, this is dedicated to another friend who I am very fond of. You know who you are, and I hope someday to express to you that you are my Yuna.