Author's Note: I have no excuse for being late; sorry I'm such a bad updater, but thanks for sticking with this story. It WILL be finished. Ready for a wedding?
Chapter X: Caution to the Wind
Tidus wiggled his toes in the white sand and was promptly smacked upside the head by his father. Tidus saw stars and nearly tipped over into the sandbank before turning back to glare at his old man. Jecht returned the glare; even though it was his only son's wedding day, Jecht refused for it to be treated differently than any other day. He hadn't even seen fit to wear a shirt or shave.
"Dare I ask what that was for?" Tidus asked, his head throbbing. He was wearing his only set of dress clothes, but the shoes no longer fit his feet, so he had chosen to go barefoot.
"Don't fidget." Jecht snarled.
Tidus' wedding was a small one. His guests included the Crimson Squad, Rikku and her family, Lulu, Wakka, Kimahri, Auron, Lord Braska, and Jecht. As the parents of the bride and groom, Jecht and Braska stood at the head of the small congregation to give their children away. Tidus stood beside them, waiting for Yuna. It was still dark outside.
In Spiran tradition, it was considered lucky for the bride and groom to meet at sunrise and Tidus found his eyes glued to the horizon more often than not. Even Rikku was completely silent, so the only sound was the rhythmic tide. Tidus dug his feet deeper into the sand.
As soon as the slightest tinge of pinkish-orange hit where the sea and the sky merged, the torches set up in a circle around the congregation lit with a crackling fire. Tidus' heart skipped a beat. He felt the heat as the horizon behind him slowly became brighter and brighter…or maybe it was just the heat emanating from his body. He felt as though he might burst into flames.
It happened as if by magic. In the western darkness still touched by night, there was a whisper of movement, and the elderly Yevon priest walked out of the shadows, appearing literally out of nowhere. And following him, white and delicate and perfect as those lilies that bloomed in the night, was his Yuna. Her smile showed him that they were both in tandem: nervous, blissful, and disbelieving all in one moment. It may have been his imagination, but he thought he heard a sniff from his old man.
The two of them walked slowly, for it was custom that the bride and groom join hands exactly as night and day touched. Normally Tidus would be bouncing with impatience, but he was so awed by his angelic bride, that he could barely move.
Strands of tiny white flowers were roped around her head and neck and she held white hibiscus in her hands. Her dress was also like a flower, with the white skirts layered like rose petals and white ribbons were tied around her bare ankles. The Yevon faith did not necessarily believe in angels, but there was no other way to describe her. She was an angel.
Tidus could not keep the wide, goofy grin off of his face, and Yuna returned her (much cuter) version.
They reached each other at the perfect time. As Yuna reached out her hands for him, Tidus was in the light of the sun and she was still in the shadows of the night. As soon as his hand clasped around hers, the both of them were bathed in light as the sun rose up higher in the sky. He rubbed her hands with his thumbs; they seemed a little cold to him.
"Ready?" She whispered, squeezing his hands in reply.
"Ready." He replied.
The Yevon priest opened the dusty old tome in his hands as Tidus and Yuna turned to face the sun. He began to recite ancient verses, a practice that would have normally bored Tidus to tears, but now he was intent to hold every word. These ancient verses were contacting the aeons, the Farplane, and Spira itself, telling the entire planet that Tidus and Yuna were about to become partners. It gave him such unspeakable joy, that he stood at rapt attention. Even when the torches' fire flared from orange to blue to silver, he didn't flinch and neither did Yuna. Their hands were locked around each other.
The priest of Yevon snapped the book closed, causing nearly everyone in attendance to jump; apparently, they had also been just as transfixed.
"Now," the elderly priest said, with a smile, "Is there anything you would like to say to one another, before the deed is completed?"
Yuna turned to face him and Tidus was once again struck by just how…beautiful she really was. Words failed him. But they didn't fail Yuna. She took two steps toward him so that their chests were almost touching and buried her toes in the sand to match his. Slowly, she lifted her arms up around his neck and pulled his head down so that her lips were directly next to his left ear.
Her cool breath tickled his ear.
"Thank you," She whispered.
Tidus couldn't wait a second longer. Before anyone in attendance could process what should have happened next, Tidus swept Yuna up in his arms, lifting her completely out of the sand and into the air. She grabbed two giant fistfuls of his gold hair, knowing what was about to happen, and pulled his face towards hers. The torches blazed up in indescribable colors sending multicolored sparks shooting into the sky as Tidus and Yuna took the wedding into their own hands. Their lips met with switched passion: Yuna crushed her lips up against his, while Tidus brushed his as lightly as he could.
The priest threw his hands up the air, perhaps realizing that he was no longer in control of the event and Jecht rolled his crimson eyes in disbelief. However, everyone else in the audience was touched and began to clap as loudly as they could.
When Tidus finally set his widely grinning bride on the ground, the tiny assembly was crowded around him, Brother attempting to beat him to death, thinly disguised as a simple pat on the back. Lord Braska had an embrace for his daughter and his son-in-law, but Jecht could only manage a one-armed hug for Yuna and a clap on the shoulder for his son. Tidus expected nothing less.
When the well wishing died down slightly, Rikku bounced up into the forefront of the group.
"Are you ready for your gifts?" She asked, squeezing Tidus and Yuna's hands. "I'm so excited for you to see them!"
Truthfully Tidus wanted to wish all of the guests a good life and escape with Yuna to…anywhere really. Just so long as it was the two of them. But he decided to be gracious and patient on his wedding day, and ruffled Rikku's wild golden hair.
Rikku got a strange glint in her already wild green eyes and turned back to rest of the wedding guests. Deftly, she fished Gippal out of the crowd and began dragging him down the jetty; perhaps realizing her intent, the rest of the wedding party began to follow her. Tidus shrugged and took hold of Yuna's hand.
"She's a wild one isn't she?" Yuna said, tickled by her cousin's obvious excitement. "I'm honestly a little worried about what they got us. I told everyone that we didn't need gifts." Tidus had also been worried about that bit; had their wedding been public, he and Yuna feared that they would be overwhelmed by pointless, expensive gifts. Still, his curiosity was piqued.
Tidus felt his jaw drop as he rounded the corner and Yuna began to laugh.
"How the hell did you know?" Tidus gasped.
It was a small sailing boat; made from light, smooth wood, with soft, silken blue sails and suns, moons, and stars carved on the hull. It was the perfect size for two or three people and Tidus could see provisions stacked on the deck. This was it. The boat he and Yuna would sail away in. They would see the world together, just the two of them.
Yuna also seemed to remember as she pressed her hands to her mouth and laughed in nervous excitement.
"How the hell did you know?" Tidus repeated, to everyone, although his gaze was focused firmly on Rikku. She definitely had a hand in this, because she was beaming like a fool.
Rikku scuffed her bare feet through the white sand. "Erm…remember that night when you couldn't find me, Tidus? When you and Yuna were walking alone on the beach and talking?" Tidus and Yuna looked at each other in silent shock, both of them blushing up to their hairlines as they recalled the intimate nature of the conversation that had taken place. Rikku continued, looking very sheepish. "I was erm…listening in the bushes when I heard something about the two of you wanting to sail away together." Tidus clenched his teeth to keep a groan from escaping, but Yuna looked to be on the verge of hysterical laughter.
"Anyway," Rikku continued, undaunted. "I thought the two of you were just being silly, until I heard you were engaged, and I sort of remembered. I explained to everyone this dream of yours-of sailing off into the sunset…I mean, well, I guess it's sunrise-but, anyway we all chipped in and…are you angry with me?"
Her expression looked sadly apologetic, but Tidus could see the smile hidden in the green spiral of her eyes.
"I'm angry." Tidus said at the exact same time that Yuna dashed forward and threw her arms around her cousin.
"I love it!" She exclaimed, leaning back so that she could kiss each of Rikku's dimples. Rikku beamed and Yuna looked back to Tidus; her smile was such that, Tidus felt his annoyance die down. "It's just like I imagined!" Her smile was so infectious that even stoic Jecht and Paine cracked a grin. "When are we leaving?"
Wakka scratched his red hair before (not so subtly) putting his arm around Lulu's shoulder. She glanced at it once, perhaps considering flicking him away, but decided against it. "Me and the guardians, we already loaded 'er up last night. You two can leave whenever you like. There's enough in there to get you to the bottom of the map and back."
Yuna walked back over to Tidus and nudged her way back into his arms. She was visibly moved, a little mist forming in both of her eyes. "I'm…I'm so thankful. For what all of you have done. Thank you."
Tidus shrugged when all eyes turned to him. "If she's happy, then…so am I."
Rikku nearly knocked Gippal over, she moved so quickly to grab the two of them. "Well come on then! I know you both aren't big fans of parties! If you start now, you'll be halfway to Luca by evening."
"Wait, wait!" Tidus brushed her off gently. "We should at least say goodbye first."
Theirs was an unusual wedding. Usually half of Spira would be invited and the festivities would last for days. The bride and groom would not be alone for at least three days. But Tidus and Yuna hadn't wanted that. They wanted to do whatever they liked together. But Tidus had no idea when the two of them would return and he at least owed everyone the proper thanks that was due.
He and Yuna started with Cid and Brother, the latter who hugged Yuna just a few moments too long in Tidus' opinion. Luckily the same courtesy was not offered to him. The rest of the Crimson Squad was next; Baralai and Nooj both offered their sincerest of congratulations, but Commander Paine remained aloof and could only manage a one-armed hug for Yuna and a mumble of congratulations for Tidus. He was amazed at her ability not to sweat in the heat; all the love seemed to make her more uncomfortable.
Kimahri also had few words for the couple, although he did fondly stroke Yuna's cheek with one enormous paw before patting Tidus gently on the forehead. Auron, also the stoic type, forewent his usual personality and openly embraced the two.
"I wish you nothing but happiness." He said, his gravelly voice sounding a bit choked. "And remember, always follow the pyreflies when you sail. It's good luck."
"Thank you, Sir Auron," Yuna also sounded close to tears with every passing farewell.
Wakka absolutely crushed the two of them in his enormous dark arms, and he sniffed loudly as he let them go. "You be safe, you hear? And Tida, I'm expecting some little ones soon. Gotta keep things lively, ya know?"
Lulu punched him hard in the shoulder as Tidus and Yuna both turned crimson at the thought. Although her face was a perfectly controlled mask of serenity, her violet eyes danced with happiness. "Don't listen to him. Just enjoy your time together. And do have a safe journey. I will watch the horizon for you."
Lord Braska took the both of him in his arms and Yuna finally started crying a bit. Her father wiped the tears away. "I have…I will…I am very proud of you both. Be safe."
Tidus let out a deep sigh as they approached his father and Yuna rewarded him with a watery laugh. Jecht looked insulted.
"You look as though you're being forced to hug a cactuar."
"I think that would actually be preferable." Tidus replied quickly, earning him a short bark of a laugh from Jecht. Before he could even comprehend what was happening next, Jecht's dark arms shot out and crushed Tidus and Yuna up into an awkward hug; the only one Tidus could ever recall receiving from his old man.
"I'm also…oh, damn it, I'm no good at this shit…What I mean to say is, you did good kids. Tidus…you've got yourself…one hell of a wife…" Yuna was grinning widely as Jecht let her go, but he yanked Tidus back for one more bit of advice. "If you lose her, not only are you the biggest idiot in the universe, I will also kill you."
Tidus twisted his lips. "You give great compliments, old man."
"So I've been told."
Yuna let the tears flow freely as she turned to her beloved cousin. Rikku also looked to be on the verge of crying. "Rikku-."
"You are a pest." Tidus finished, and Rikku began to sob, launching herself into Tidus' open arms. He patted her tiny warm shoulders. Pesky Rikku. They owed so much to her.
"I-I'm so…happy!" Rikku sobbed, rubbing her wet cheeks on Tidus' dress shirt. "I am…b-but I don't know w-why I'm crying s-so hard…" Tidus shrugged at Yuna and continued to comfort his new cousin.
"Hey, listen." He took her face in his hands and tilted her head towards him. "We will be back before you know it. And we'll all come back and celebrate, ok?"
"Ok." Rikku bawled, the whites of her eyes turning red. "I'm s-so happy!"
Tidus laughed and kissed her on the forehead, before transferring her over to Yuna.
When almost everyone in attendance had succeeded in calming Rikku down, the entire wedding party moved to surround the boat, Tidus hopping deftly over the smooth railing. Heedless of her dress, and obviously thrilled at the coming adventure, Yuna ran into the surf, her skirts skimming the foamy water as they billowed about her ankles. She reached up her hands and Tidus caught her around the wrists, hoisting her up into the air, over the railing, right where she belonged: next to him. She grinned up at him, her cheeks flushed with excitement, and he could not help but plant another kiss on the corners of her mouth.
Lulu used her magic on shore to pull the tide in closer and everyone on the beach braced themselves on the wet sand as they pushed the wedding present into the open ocean, dress clothes be damned. The first hint of wind unfurled the silk sails; at the tops they were dark as Yuna's blue eye, before they faded into the same blue green of Tidus'. As the boat bobbed merrily in the open ocean, Yuna wove her hand through Tidus' and they turned back to look at the beach, waving with their free hands.
It was a long time before their loved ones faded into the horizon, and even longer before Besaid was no longer visible.
When it was finally just the two of them and the gentle rhythm of the ocean against the hull, finally Yuna let go of his hand. Childlike, she ran to the railing and leaned over the edge, watching the ocean race by. When Tidus joined her, she looked up mischievously.
"So…where should we go?"
Tidus bit his lip and looked up at the sky.
As if on cue, a pyrefly floated lazily in the endless blue expanse above them. Yuna saw it too. Tidus looked at her in excitement.
The breeze blew her brown hair hither and thither. "Always." She replied.
Author's Note: This is the end of the main story, but I'm working on an M-Rated extra chapter right now. Thanks everyone for sticking out this story with me. It only took me a year!