Waves crash.

Water pools around their feet. It gurgles as it explores their ankles, swelling just a second before sucking back. The tide is gentle here, but the sand that has been ripped from beneth swirls around them, insignificant specks of dust that, in this moment, she takes the time to notice.

She takes the time to notice, because suddenly every single thing has weight. Never before has his robe seemed so heavy. Never before has she felt like the silk around her arms might drag her down, down beneath the shore, and suddenly she wonders if, if you can burrow beneath the sand beneath the ocean - will you stay dry? No, she thinks, because water always finds a way to wriggle down between the cracks and soften the core.

Never before has she spent so much time staring at her feet, her head too heavy for her neck to ever support.

Behind them, Mushroom Rock Road rises up. Its teeth and hollow coves and caves graves for the hundreds who have long since died. She wonders if they hate her, if they hate them, if the howling wind is their objection.

Long before her neck can start to crack and her body fall between the sand and sea, she takes the time to look up.

His face is a mess of battlelines. Trees do not grow in the ocean, she reminds herself, and stares at the bark that runs long and hard over his eyes and across his forehead. His lips are broken, cracked, jaded - but it is his eyes that show the wound pooling black like a flower.

"You'll be happy here," she says, and despite the shivering beneath her eyes, despite the quivering that moves on her lips, there is not a single crack in her voice. She clings to her strength, her hands sitting on his upturned arms - his spider-hands clasping her elbows and swathed in the silk that binds her arms. It must be so hard, to hold her up like this. The strain is hidden by the smile he somehow wears (he lies, just like her, just like her), and through it all, she has one too.

"I promise."

It is the softess of movements that mark his distress. He's learned to cry by the tilt of his head, to weep by the glance of an eye, to scream and shout and rant and rail by the tiniest purse of his lips. He's shown her a foreign language that she must trace like the battlescars, but no matter how well she knows the canyons and the crags and the blue, blue rivers - she doesn't understand, in this moment, what it means for him to bow his head and to move his arms back by his sides.

"Goodbye, Lady Yuna."

Must he always be so formal?

She laughs, and plays along.

"Goodbye, Your Grace."

They both bow, break and bend and shape their backs, bringing their arms and hands to curve like opposing rivers, and they bow and she laughs because the space between those never-crossing rivers is just like them. If her hands were to touch in that ancient bow, well, how untidy it would be, how insulting would it be, how frivilous and childish and stupid and how very chastised by the entire world, would she be. And though he'll never understand her laugh - he seems very much aware of how little sense this all makes and he laughs too.

And that is that.

Because now he's not laughing, anymore. And neither is she.

They listen to the wind, and through her two-tone eyes she watches the violent waves crashing in this distance. She feels the water round her ankles, running, pooling, pushing with the tide. He dislodges himself from the sand, and lets himself be pulled away by the sea. His back to her, he lifts his head - and she will never see his face.

She watches as he moves, and not once, not ever, does he turn around.

No matter how long she stares out towards that sea - she could never place a face on him. She could not tell if he dared to let himself finally crack, if those hard worn lines gave way and he split and spilled and cried as he had done for years without telling anyone. Or maybe he didn't let go of that laughter, and maybe - maybe as he ran in to strike against the white winding waves, maybe he was shouting, whooping, laughing a full blown laugh that the howl of the wind never let her hear.

Her beads clack when her delicate fingers run through her hair.

And through it all, she smiles.