Author's Note: Possibly because I'm a masochist, I've started writing 2 multi-chapter stories; I must have a death wish… Anyway, this is an idea I got for another Tidus/Yuna fic, so I hope you like it; in this Spira, Sin doesn't exist (just a heads up), so have fun figuring out the rest!
With Reckless Abandon
Chapter I: Eyes to the Moon, Idiot
"Wake up you ass!"
Tidus rolled over to face the open door. The sunrise was impressive this morning. Starting from the top of his doorframe, it was a very light bluish-purple, like the crystals on Mount Gagazet, followed by a deep fleshy pink, and then orange and yellow, so bright with the promise of the fire of a new day that Tidus had to squint against it. However, the magnificent sunset was blocked by the large and conspicuous presence of his father, Jecht. He stared down at Tidus with something very similar to dislike.
"Wake up you ass! Worthless kid!" He barked again, in case Tidus hadn't heard him the first time.
Tidus had heard him the first time. It had been impossible not to. He had slept very poorly that night and his ears and temples throbbed at the noise, there was a tinge of nausea in his stomach, and his throat and eyes felt as though they had been thoroughly massaged with sandpaper. In short, he felt like shit.
"You're back early." Tidus croaked, tossing his tan legs over the side of his bed. "I thought you were supposed to celebrate for another three days."
"I thought you were supposed to as well, much less show up at all." Jecht said sharply, glaring. Tidus averted his eyes. "And yet, here we are." Jecht gave a sigh that rippled through his muscled body. He was tall, tan, and muscular, like Tidus, but his long hair was the most luminous black and his eyes veritably glowed red. Those red eyes were downcast. "Look…there's been…an incident…"
Tidus looked up in confusion, his brain still a little bit asleep. Jecht sighed again, and scratched his head as if deciding how best to go about breaking the news to his only son. No doubt, it would probably be the bluntest way imaginable.
"I'm not going to sugar-coat this," Jecht said gruffly and Tidus rolled his eyes; how unusual..."There's been an assassination…"
Tidus had been halfway through taking a breath, when it froze in his throat. In fact all of him seemed to be frozen solid and, like an ice cube, he felt cold sweat break out on his forehead. Jecht gauged him for a reaction and Tidus noted the distressed set to his father's jaw and the dark circles under his eyes. He tried to get some air inconspicuously, but his throat seemed to be swollen shut.
"Is she…is she…?" Was all he could gasp. The sunrise hurt his eyes and his heartbeat was painful.
Jecht pinched the bridge of his nose. "No. It was him. She's fine." Tidus sighed in relief and his head felt light as a feather. He crashed back down against his bed, throwing one long, dark arm over his eyes. His heart slowed. She was ok. Thank Yevon…
He waited before sitting up again. "W-What happened?"
"That's why I told you to get up, you lazy bastard." Jecht said poisonously. "We're having a meeting. The whole guard. Everyone is back here in Besaid, hiding out in case of another attempt. Now get up. This is something you can't bow out of."
Tidus had no intention of doing so, but it wouldn't do any good to try and explain that to his father, who thought Tidus' sole purpose in life was to try and get out of any obligation. Already Jecht had left the house altogether, leaving Tidus alone with his thoughts as he laced on his black boots.
When he was fully dressed, he ran out into the humid Besaid morning, where the rising sun had stained everything either pink or orange. Already it was extremely warm, but the village was still sleepy. Little did they know…
Tidus ran through the empty square, quietly as he could, toward the training grounds for the royal guardians. But training, and even being a guardian, were the last things on his mind.
He was worried about her. So, so worried…
When he came skidding into the training grounds, all of his fellow guardians were there, and he took his place next to Wakka. Upon further inspection, they all looked equally, if not more so, tired than Tidus, most likely because they had probably been drinking before the celebration and had then spent all night traveling back to Besaid on high-alert. He felt bad for them. Still Wakka managed a pat on the back for Tidus, along with a reassuring smile.
Tidus was one of the thinnest guys in the group, although all of him was tough, wiry muscle, and he was also the shortest and the youngest, at eighteen. This made him feel like he needed to prove himself to his comrades, although mostly they were a laid-back bunch, and often teased him for his boundless energy.
"Is she ok?" Tidus whispered to Wakka.
Wakka yawned, showing off his bright teeth. "A little shook up, but who can blame her, you know? She didn't love the guy but…she didn't want him dead. Especially not like that…" Wakka looked sorrowful. It was he who had been the last to try and convince Tidus to come with them, but had understood when he refused outright. "Lord Braska is really scared. Thinks someone might be targeting her too. That's why we came back from Luca so quick…"
Tidus burned with resolve. "Let them try."
Everyone fell silent as their two commanders appeared: Sir Jecht, who didn't give Tidus so much as a glance (if anyone thought he was given preferential treatment for being the son of the commander, Tidus would have laughed), and stony Sir Auron. He was more of a mentor than Jecht had ever been, and gave Tidus a small nod in recognition. He too looked tired.
"Well ladies," Jecht said loudly, digging his bare feet into the dust. "Let's recap, shall we?"
Tidus already knew the events leading up to the tragedy.
He was a very dear friend with the daughter of Lord Braska, Lady Yuna. They had practically grown up together as Jecht was the commander of the guardians who protected the family and, even though he was common, by birth, Yuna treated him as no less than her greatest friend and confidant. But, since she was royalty, it was inevitable that one day she'd have to marry a fellow Lord, much to Tidus' dismay. That day had been yesterday, but apparently something at the wedding had gone terribly wrong…
Jecht cracked his neck before beginning. "As most of you know, yesterday evening as young Lord Kinoc was walking down the aisle to marry our Lady, he was assassinated by a sniper in the adjoining building. Lord Kinoc was killed instantly and the assassin poisoned himself in suicide before we could question him. So…we have no leads, no hunches, and perhaps another assassin targeting our own sweet lady."
There was a murmur of dissent amongst the ranks and Tidus saw dark looks amongst his comrades. They would never allow any harm to come to their dearest Lady.
Jecht noticed with a slight smile and Auron continued where he had left off. "As of right now, we are on high alert. We'll be running double shifts, just in case, and any visitors will have be under constant surveillance. It's just the way it has to be. The Lord Maester of Luca is also conducting his own investigation and he will alert us if they find anything." It was the most any of them had ever heard Auron speak in one sitting. He was obviously passionate about the topic.
Tidus was practically bouncing in place as the speech faded off into silence and they waited for orders. He bit his lip before exploding.
"Is Yuna ok?" He asked. Jecht picked up a small rock from the ground and studied it intently, before launching it at his son's face. Tidus hit the ground full-force, moaning as he rubbed the sore spot on his forehead.
Jecht spit. "That's Lady Yuna, to you, idiot. And she's in her room. She's had the most stressful day of all of us. The man she loved was killed in front of her eyes." Jecht adored Yuna more than his own son. And Yuna had not loved Lord Kinoc.
Tidus got up, a massive feat, as his world was spinning. "I'm going to see her."
"Like hell you are!" Jecht spat. "Did you even hear us? We're running double shifts! You included!"
"I'll take the first shift protecting her!" Tidus took off as he spoke, and though Jecht was stronger, Tidus was faster. Much faster. "I'll take first shift. And technically I am running!" He heard his father shout something else, but Tidus ignored him. He'd get hell for it later…but he didn't care. Amidst this chaos, no one had probably even taken the time to take care of her.
He knew the way to Braska's estate by heart, and even though the villagers were still asleep, the small manor was somewhat alive, although the mood was grim. Unlike the villager's houses which were mostly huts of bamboo, the Lord's house was carved from cool, white rock so that it resembled a seashell in it's curving shape; appropriate, considering their close proximity to the sea. You could see the ocean from most windows in the house.
Tidus was a welcome and frequent guest; the guards there were so well acquainted with him that they didn't even blink as he passed by, at full sprint. He was under no suspicion whatsoever, even as he ran to the direction of Yuna's quarters.
He slid to a halt right outside her door to face her 'bodyguard/lady-in-waiting' of sorts: Lulu.
Lulu, though not of high blood, had been raised with Yuna like an elder sister, and as such had the pale skin of royalty, skin she showed plenty of. There was no one like Lulu in all of Besaid. While most people took care to remain as cool as possible, by wearing light clothes and cutting their hair short, Lulu took no part in trying to avoid the heat. She had black hair, braided down to her ankles, and not only did her dress have long sleeves, but it was also made of black leather and trimmed in fur. Tidus was often amazed by the fact that she did not sweat, much less bake in the unforgiving Spiran sun.
She trained her piercing red eyes on him. "Hello, Tidus."
"Lulu." Tidus nodded. "Is she awake?"
Lulu nodded; she was also not the most talkative individual. "She is. With strict instructions from her lord father that no guests are allowed at this point." Tidus felt his shoulders slump in defeat, but Lulu sighed and continued. "…Except for you. Somehow we knew you'd come tearing through here, so Yuna begged. But only you."
Tidus could not help but smile broadly as he sidestepped Lulu and knocked gently on Yuna's door. He pressed his ear against the smooth wood.
"Who is it?"
Two days ago, he thought that he would never hear her voice again, and now that he knew the feeling of loss, he cherished the sound more so than ever before. Her voice was soft, barely audible, and smooth, like the tide, kindness in every word. It raised the flesh on his skin and he sighed in contentment.
"Yuna?" He asked, as though he still couldn't believe it.
He heard a small gasp through the door before it was yanked open and she stood in front of him. He felt his chest ache in recognition at the first glimpse of her face. He knew it so well he could have described her from memory.
She was beautiful, even with her eyes red from crying and lack of sleep. She had pretty full lips and different colored eyes: one blue and calm as the deepest depths of the sea; the other lively and green as a jungle. Her brown hair stuck up in all directions, but Tidus didn't care; he was just glad she was safe. Yuna broke into a smile at the sight of him and pulled him inside her room, shutting the door behind her.
Tidus leaned over her immediately, stroking her hollow cheeks and the dark circles under her lovely eyes. "Are you ok? Are you hurt?" Her skin was smooth and cool, like marble in comparison to his. "I should have gone. I should have never let you go alone. I should have never stayed behind. I'm so sorry. Please forgive me."
Yuna closed her eyes in contentment, placing her small hand over Tidus'. "Don't be silly. Even if you had come…you wouldn't have known. And I'm safe…I'm fine…I'm just…" Tidus noticed instantly as her voice hitched, he was so attuned to her. "I'm just a l-little shocked, is all."
He knew she would do this. He had known that she would stay strong and calm as everyone else around her panicked, just to try and convince everyone that things weren't so bad, that they didn't need to worry about her. But Yuna was a caring and empathetic person, and even the death of a stranger would sadden her deeply; she would hide it though, and be strong for everyone else, while she kept her sorrow bottled up inside. He knew she would do this…
Disregarding every acceptable social behavior between a highborn lady and a guard, Tidus yanked her up against his chest so she could cry as she liked. Her thin shoulders shuddered pitifully and Tidus squeezed her, feeling his own eyes welling up. He hated this for her.
"It was so t-terrible!" She sobbed, her voice a little muffled against his chest. He felt her warm tears hit his bare skin. "O-One minute he was w-walking towards me a-and the next…H-he screamed and w-when he fell, t-the back of his h-head was gone!" She crumpled up again at the sheer thought of it and Tidus shifted his weight so that he could hold her up.
He was trembling with some emotion, maybe anger or sorrow that his dear friend had gone through such a traumatic event, but either way…
"Shh." He whispered soothingly, patting her brown hair. "You don't have to tell me anything else, ok?" She nodded against his chest and sniffed.
He tilted her head up so he could wipe the tears and mucous running from her pert little nose. It was quite the role reversal. When they had been kids, it was Tidus who would run to Yuna crying, snot running down his face, and his latest cuts and bruises stinging something horrible. Little Yuna had smiled at him, wiping his face and sores with a cool, wet cloth before finding him some sort of candy. Tidus smiled a little at the memory as he used his own jacket to dry her cheeks.
"Have you slept at all?" He asked her, noticing the dark circles under her eyes. Yuna had also been sleeping poorly as of late and Tidus severely doubted that she had been of a stable mindset to sleep that night. She shook her head.
"No…I just…Whenever I close my eyes…I see it…"
Tidus sighed at the unfairness of the world. Why had someone so naturally sweet been cursed with such horrors? He patted her cheek.
"You should really sleep. Do you want to try? I can sit with you…if you want."
Yuna thought for a moment before nodding softly. Her eyes were still a little teary and her nose was bright red, but Tidus still thought she looked incomparably cute. He smiled and ruffled her hair softly, acting sunny in attempt to cheer her. She turned her back to him so he could untie the intricate obisashi at her waist and after doing so he turned and closed his eyes, giving her privacy as she changed.
"Tidus. You can turn around."
Yuna's luxurious bed was like an open oyster, with a scalloped headboard opening into a bed layered in blue silk. And the whole thing was protected from insects by a fine net. Yuna had already nestled into the sheets and Tidus sat by her feet. As children, he often slept in this bed more than his own until it hadn't been considered proper. He hated being proper. He wanted to curl up beside her and hold her close so that nothing in the world could ever attack her again.
She closed her eyes and her brow furrowed almost instantly.
Tidus scooted closer so that he could clear the hair from her eyes and she relaxed immediately at the touch of his burning hot fingers.
"I missed you." He murmured. "So much. You were only gone one day and I could barely stand it. I'm happy to have you back, Yuna." Usually loud and boisterous, Tidus made every effort to be soft-spoken and gentle. "I'm so happy to see you again. I won't leave you again, I promise."
She smiled and her breathing evened out in relaxation. "Tidus…will you stay with me until I wake up?"
She was hardly ever selfish and this was a request he could grant easily. He would stay up all night if he had to. After all, he was supposed to be running a double shift. "If you want me to…"
Her eyes fluttered open for a split second, and it was enough time for him to see the acute need there. She wove her fingers through his and his heart skipped a beat. "Please…please stay. Please don't leave me alone anymore."
Tidus felt his heart catch in his throat. He had been so selfish in the past weeks, only caring about nursing his own emotions when Yuna had probably been just as distressed. But she was benevolent and she cared for him, so she had let him distance himself. He hated it. Gently, very gently, he rested his forehead against hers and closed his eyes.
"I won't. I'll be right here. I won't move an inch."
Yuna smiled a little before her breathing became slow and steady, her hand still clasped around his. He rubbed her hand with his thumb, pleased to see that it was not trembling anymore. He was her guardian. He would protect her with his life.
When he was fifteen and realized that he was in love with her and that he could not love her, he had joined the guards, just so he could still protect her. Even now, he was so happy, his heart felt swollen and painful. So even though it was not 'proper', he slid up closer so that he was stretched out next to her. Almost instantly, she turned in her sleep so that she was pressed up against him. Tidus smiled and stroked her brown hair. She was so precious to him…
"Wake up soon." He whispered, leaning his head against the bed as he continued to rub her hand and her hair. "When you do, I'll make you smile again."