AUTHOR'S NOTE: Just to let you guys know that I won't be able to upload another chapter for about two weeks. I'm away to London during half term (WOOT!) and I'm not taking my laptop with me. Sorry!
DISCLAIMER: Final Fantasy X, its characters, locations and plotlines are owned by Square Enix. I do not claim to own any of these. However, I do own my original character Sakura, also known as Suki. If you wish to use her in any form of media then please ask my permission first.
Chapter 5 - Confirmation
Tidus was very quiet on our walk up the hill after our conversation about what people think about us Al Bhed. Apparently Wakka had noticed too.
"You two're awful quiet back there. You okay?" he asked, turning his head.
"Actually…" Tidus started, causing us all to stop walking and Wakka to turn around.
"What's up brudda?" he asked, looking concerned.
"Um…it's true Zanarkand was destroyed, right? 1000 years ago? So it's just a big pile of rubble now, isn't it?"
I sighed. Poor Tidus, he still couldn't believe his home was no more; he didn't want to believe it.
Wakka nodded gravely. "Long time ago, there were a whole lotta cities in Spira, big cities, with machina, machines, to run 'em. People played all day and let the machina do the work. And then, well, look", he gestured around to the land raised up around the beach.
I'd seen the ruins scattered over the headlands when I'd been here as a child, but I'd never realised what they were. My eyes widened in realisation.
"Sin…" I murmured, and Wakka nodded grimly.
"Sin came, and destroyed the machina cities and Zanarkand along with 'em. Yeah, that was about 1000 years ago, just like you said."
He shook his head at the ruins, and my gaze fell on the other Aurochs team members who we could see practising down on the beach through a gap in the trees. "If you ask me", Wakka continued, "Sin's our punishment for letting things get outta hand. What gets me though is we gotta suffer because of what some goofballs did way back when! 'Course, we must always repent for our sins, that's important." He nodded to himself. "It's just that…it's hard to keep at it sometimes, you know?"
I glanced over at Tidus and saw that his face had fallen. He'd known that Wakka would just tell him the same thing that Rikku and I had, but he still wanted it to not be true.
Suddenly Wakka burst out laughing, and hooked his arm around Tidus' neck, pulling his head down. "But you from the Zanarkand Abes, that was a good one, uh?" he grinned, before shaking his head. "Hey, I'm not saying that team never existed, ya? But you gotta figure, a team living in luxury like that'd be pretty soft, eh?"
I started laughing too, unable to help myself, which earned me a glare from Tidus. Wakka ruffled Tidus' hair before letting him go and heading further up the path.
I punched Tidus in the shoulder as we followed Wakka. "You know he's just trying to cheer you up. He seems like a good guy."
He sighed. "I know, but it's hard to think about anything other than…" he waved a hand around in the air, gesturing all around us, "…all this. It all started with Sin."
I could see a light turning on in his eyes. "Maybe…" he started slowly, speaking quietly so Wakka couldn't hear him, "if I could find Sin one more time, I could go home."
My eyes widened. Did he realise what a stupid idea that was?!
"For now, I'll just live life till that time comes," he continued. "No more worrying about where or when I am."
He nodded to himself and ran towards Wakka without giving me a chance to respond.
Part of me wanted to run up and slap him. After what had happened to him, he should be trying to stay as far away from Sin as possible! If he really had been there when Zanarkand was destroyed, then he'd want to get away from that death and destruction, and if he hadn't been there, and he only thought he had been because he was under the influence of Sin's toxins, he'd want to stay away from it to avoid it screwing up his brain any more than it already had.
But I knew that slapping him wasn't going to help anyone, especially because I'd then either have to explain (or make an excuse) to Wakka, and that couldn't end well. So instead I ran to catch up with them and kept my mouth shut.
A few minutes later, Wakka turned off the main path and led us towards a beautiful crystal clear lagoon. As Tidus bent down to look in, Wakka slowly made his way to stand behind him. I glanced at him and he nodded towards the water, smirking. I grinned back and nodded, showing him that I got the message. I slowly joined Wakka behind Tidus, and we both simultaneously pushed him in. He screamed and splashed into the water. Wakka and I high-fived, both of us bursting out laughing. Wakka stepped back and took a running leap, diving cleanly into the water. I clapped as he surfaced.
"What's the big idea?" Tidus grumbled, but failing at keeping the smile off his face.
Wakka turned round and looked up to the top of the cliff that I was still standing on.
"You coming in or what?" he called up.
I smiled and stepped back, about to take a running jump like Wakka had, when I heard Tidus shout, "Come on Suki! You're not scared are you?"
I glared in his general direction, even though I couldn't see him from where I was standing. I took a deep breath, ran towards the cliff edge and jumped off. Spontaneously deciding to show off, I did two forward flips before diving neatly into the water right next to Tidus, sending him backwards.
"Who's scared?" I smirked when I surfaced as Wakka clapped me on the back.
"You ain't bad kid!" he announced.
We swam around the lagoon together, Tidus and Wakka diving under the water to see who could hold their breath for longer. Wakka won most of the time.
"Nice one old man!" I smiled when he surfaced a full minute after Tidus.
"Hey! Less of the 'old man', ya? 24 ain't old!" he complained.
I was about to make a comeback, when suddenly, three fish-like fiends attacked us from underneath.
"Ouch!" we all cried simultaneously. The three of us looked at each other, nodded, and dove under the water to face the fiends. Tidus whipped out his sword, and a blitzball appeared in Wakka hand.
I felt rather useless, not having a weapon. Then I remembered that Brother, being obsessed with keeping me safe, had always told me to carry some grenades with me in case I ever got attacked by fiends, but I'd never had to use them.
I grabbed one from the back of my belt. As Tidus started slicing away at one of the fiends, and Wakka began hurling his ball at another, I pulled the safety tab off with my teeth and threw it at the third, causing all three of them to explode and sent the three of us shooting back up to the surface.
"Where did ya pull that from?" Wakka exclaimed, while Tidus spluttered out a mouthful of water.
I jerked my thumb behind me. "My belt", I stated simply.
Wakka blinked. "And…why d'you have grenades exactly?"
I shrugged. "My cousin's paranoid. He makes me carry them in case fiends attack." I smiled. "Guess they finally came in handy."
I was worried that Wakka was going to ask more questions about Brother, or about my family, but instead he just smiled back.
"It's good you got people lookin' out for ya."
I nodded, trying to keep my sadness from remembrance to myself. "Yeah…it is."
We swam about for a while longer, ducking each other and fighting fiends whenever they popped up. At one point, Wakka swam under the water towards Tidus before jumping up behind him and pulling his arm round his neck again, pulling him back.
"Lemme go!" Tidus squirmed. He spotted me out of the corner of his eye. "Suki! Help?"
I grinned evilly and shook my head. "You're on your own for this one."
Wakka chuckled and turned his attention back to Tidus. "Gotta favour to ask ya."
Tidus beat him to it. "You want me on your team, right?"
Wakka let go of him and smirked as Tidus lay on his back and kicked his legs to move himself slowly backwards.
"A major Blitz tournament's comin' up". Wakka announced. "All the teams in Spira'll be there! It's so huge, I'm sure someone there'll recognise you! And, you can go back to your old team, right?"
Tidus screwed up his face like he was thinking.
"It'll be fun! What'd'ya say, ya? Come on! Come on!"
"…Sure thing", Tidus muttered, turning over onto his front and slipping under the water.
Wakka chuckled. "Our team is gonna rock, eh?" he remarked to me.
I smiled. "Heck yeah it is!" I agreed, and Wakka and I started swimming after him.
I was a little worried. Tidus didn't seem all that enthusiastic about joining the Aurochs. I knew that this was a really strange time for him, but Wakka was just trying to be helpful!
I shook my head, angry at myself. I had no right to judge Tidus; from what he'd told me and Rikku he'd been to Hell and back in the past 24 hours. I swam frantically to catch up to him. I knew I needed to act more supportive to someone who'd seen Sin's destruction first-hand, and to his own home too.
Soon after that, we pulled ourselves out of the lagoon and sat in the sun for a bit to dry off before heading back up the hill towards Wakka's village. Eventually we reached a hilltop from where we could see the village beneath us. It was a great view.
"This is where I was born", Wakka told us. "I started Blitz when I was 5. I joined the Aurochs at 13, ten years ago."
He rubbed the back of his head, looking ashamed. "Ten years, and we never won a game."
I was surprised at that, and from the look on his face, so was Tidus. From what we'd seen of them practising on the beach, they looked pretty good!
Wakka walked towards us, to where we were standing a little behind him. "Well, after last year's tournament, I quit. Time seemed right", he shrugged, and, as he started to walk back down the hill, Tidus' stomach grumbled again. I giggled as we followed Wakka.
"So, after quitting", Wakka continued, "I got this new job, ya? But every time my mind wandered, I thought about the game."
"Ten years without a single win'll do that", Tidus agreed.
"Hmm…My first match last year was my big chance. But something else was on my mind", he admitted, stopping and turning to look out over the sea. "I couldn't focus."
"Nice excuse!" Tidus snorted, and I punched his arm.
"Ow! What was that for?" he exclaimed, rubbing where I'd punched him.
"Don't say stuff like that!" I hissed. "He's trusting us with this stuff! Don't disrespect that!"
"Okay, okay!" He turned back to Wakka. "Sorry man."
He shrugged. "Don't worry about it."
"So you wanna win the next tournament?" I asked.
Tidus nodded. "Yeah! Go out with a bang, right?"
Wakka turned back to us and nodded.
Tidus folded his arms and frowned in concentration. "So, what's our goal?" he asked.
Wakka shrugged. "I don't care how we do, as long as we play our best. If we give it our all I can walk away happy."
I smiled at his honesty, but Tidus had a different idea.
"No no no no no", Tidus shook his head, "If I say, 'What's our goal?', you say, 'Victory!'. When you play in a Blitzball tournament, you play to win!"
His enthusiasm was infectious, and I nodded in agreement, grinning. "He's right Wakka. If you really want to go out with a bang then winning's the only way to do it!"
"Victory?" Wakka asked in bewilderment as if he'd never heard of the word. "You serious?"
Tidus nodded, and at the same time Wakka began to slowly shake his head.
"If you two are gonna argue about it, can I politely request that we get some grub first?" I offered, my stomach grumbling on cue.
Wakka smiled and nodded. "Yeah, no problem. Let's go."
As we headed down the hill, we ran into two other people; both guys, one quite a bit shorter than the other. I realised they were the same people Wakka had been talking to on the beach as Tidus and I had been pulling ourselves out of the sea.
"Ah, the two from the sea", the taller one said.
"Be on guard", the smaller one warned, "there are fiends on the road today."
"After surviving your run-in with Sin t'would be a shame if something happened now", the first man remarked.
I tried to not smirk. Who said 't'would' anymore?
They both headed back towards the village before we could say anything to them.
"Who were they?" Tidus asked, watching them go.
"Luzzu and Gatta. Crusaders," Wakka replied.
"Huh?" Tidus remarked, turning round to face Wakka. "Crus-of-what?"
I turned round too. I'd heard of the Crusaders but I wasn't really sure what they were about.
"What, you forgot that too?"
Tidus nodded, looking angry at himself, even though he obviously wouldn't know who they were.
"Hey, sorry", Wakka said, looking guilty. "Don't worry about it. I'll help you out."
"Cool", Tidus nodded. "In return, come tournament time, I'll make sure we take the cup."
Wakka chuckled, before turning to me. "Suki, you know about the Crusaders I'm guessing?"
I screwed up my mouth. "Kinda…"
I was about to elaborate when Wakka stopped me.
"Well, don't say anything. Tidus can ask them himself," he grinned, and turned back to him. "They got a lodge in the village."
Tidus nodded, and the three of us headed down to Wakka's village.
Sorry that nobody new's really come into it yet. They'll be coming soon; promise! Pleasepleasepleeeeeeease review! All comments and critisisms are welcomed!