Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy, or any of the characters used in this fic. They all belong to Square Enix and their respective designers. I only own any of my original characters that I choose to include, as well as any of my own original plot ideas.


"You're going to get someone killed."

Tidus scowled, clenching his teeth as the sand was cleaned out of the wound, griping to himself as the old man lectured him again. He didn't need this. Every lecture, every pep talk, somehow turned right around and into the past, bringing that bastard Jecht back into it all. As much as he hated this, he couldn't think of an accurate way to express said hatred.

So he sat on the shore in silence, biting his lip.

What with the injuries sustained in the Operation, they'd been sitting in the sand for a few days, and had run right out of supplies. He'd been trying to do everyone a favor, going out to join in the hunt. He'd thought that his help would be welcomed; that he'd be able to make it to the temple to ask for help.

Aside from a handful of Crusaders, they had been the only survivors, and Yuna was still too weak to do any healing.

But, instead of appreciating his efforts, the others were firm on his case. Especially Auron.

"I was trying to help," Tidus grumbled, wiping sand from his face. "I just..."

"Don't listen."

He groaned, glaring at Auron. "You know, you're sounding a lot like my old man."

"And you're acting a lot like him, getting yourself into trouble like this." The man looked up at him, tightening the cloth around Tidus' ankle. "You never learn, do you?"

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Auron sat back, silently instructing the boy to leave his foot by the fire so the salve would dry. "When you were small, you used to think that you were in charge."

Tidus said nothing.

"Seven years old, and not even half my size." Auron laughed. "Still, you thought that you could bully me into letting you do whatever you wanted."

He leaned back into the sand, trying not to smile. "I think I remember," Tidus sighed. "I started swearing after I heard it on the sphere, and you wouldn't let me watch that show anymore, right?"

"You thought that you could make me leave if you behaved badly enough."

Of course he had. Tidus hadn't wanted Auron to be around, to try and take the place of his mother. He knew better now, but, as a child, he hadn't been able to understand that Auron had stayed with him because of a promise; because he cared about what would happen to an impulsive, helpless little boy.

"My old man would make fun of me now, wouldn't he?" Tidus asked, with a half smile.

"Probably. I don't think Jecht every really stopped being a child."

"Does that mean I'm more grown up than he was?" the boy laughed as Auron walked past him.

The swordsman paused, seeming to take a moment to mull the question over.

"You have the same temperament," he said, ruffling the his charge's hair, "but you're well on your way to being a better man than Jecht."

Tidus grinned as Auron trudged away, leaning back on his hands as he stared out at the ocean with wide blue eyes, laughing to himself.

"I hope you heard that, old man."

He lay down peacefully in the sand as the roar of the ocean called back to him. Jecht had heard him, all right. And he sounded proud.