Request: Yuna, the fayth of Bahamut and the memory of Tidus
Characters/Pairings: Yuna, Lulu; Yuna/Tidus implied
Feedback: Yes, please, always. Any and all feedback, including concrit, is welcome.
Spoilers: For the ending of FFX
Word Count: 2920
Notes: Many thanks to lassarina, official FF_EX sponsored beta, for her help! Also to heyheyrenay for playing sounding board.
Yuna dreams about him every night.
Not the usual sort of dream, where she's playing blitzball with Lulu and Luzzu and Grand Maester Mika, and when Kimahri scores the winning goal they all surface and go to the beach where Chappu is waiting with a pot of tea, and then suddenly she's walking through the forest and she's not quite sure where she is, but her father (it looks like the woman who weaves the best cloth in Besaid, but she knows that it's her father really) is leading her out, and then she wakes up and it all collapses into the incoherent jumble of memories that she knows it to be, even though it all made perfect sense at the time.
She doesn't have that kind of dream anymore. Neither does she have the prophetic dreams that the fayth would send her from time to time. The first one came the night after she began her summoner's training and showed her the moment of her first meeting with Rikku on the Moonflow. There had been a few others over that next year, all true, although some didn't become clear in meaning right away. But they had disappeared when the fayth did, along with the more typical hodge-podge of people and places and images that had once come to her most nights.
Instead, she dreams of Tidus. Sometimes she relives a memory, often their night together in Macalania, or the afternoon in Luca, laughing freely and learning to whistle. The memories aren't always pleasant, though; she fights Maester Seymour at his side again and again, and faces down Yunalesca, and watches him weep over Jecht's body. Other nights, she dreams about the future, sees the two of them living in their cottage in Besaid, or traveling the world together, or sitting in the stadium in Luca cheering on their blitz-champion daughter. No matter what the setting, he is there, and the images are vivid, real in a way that stays solid, even upon awakening. And every morning she has to remind herself that it was just a dream, that he was always just a dream, and that she will never see him again in the waking world.
Some days she wakes up with tears on her cheeks, and then she wonders whether she shouldn't just sleep forever.
"You look tired," Lulu commented as Yuna slid into the seat next to her on the bench, a bowl of porridge in her hand. "Still having the dreams?"
"Yes." Lulu was the only person she had told about her nightly visits from Tidus -- it seemed too personal to talk about with Wakka, and Rikku would have wanted to dissect every moment for some sign that he might be coming back someday. Yuna wasn't sure she could bear that conversation. She set the dish on the table and sighed, leaning forward on her hand.
"If only they would give you a break for a night or so." Lulu gently swept the hair out of Yuna's eyes. "How can you be getting enough rest if you feel exactly as though you're awake while you're sleeping? It's been months now, and you've been so busy, with all these visitors; you need your rest."
Yuna looked up and pulled away from Lulu's hand, her smile genuine if a bit weary. "I'm all right," she said. "I don't mind meeting with pilgrims, really. It's just been a little more intense the last few nights."
Lulu shook her head. "I wish we knew what was causing it. But I'm not even sure who to ask." Yuna shifted in her seat; Lulu glanced at her. "You have an idea?" she asked.
"Well." Yuna folded her hands in her lap. "Recently. These dreams I've had the last week or so, the ones that are keeping me from resting properly? They all take place in Bevelle."
Lulu frowned in thought. "Memories? Of your visits there during the pilgrimage?"
Yuna nodded. "One in particular. I've been dreaming about the conversation we had with the fayth after we defeated Yunalesca, when the three of us came up with the plan to beat Yu Yevon. That was the first time Tidus hinted that he might not survive the destruction of Sin. His words to the fayth preyed on me then, and they still do. Maybe that’s why I'm so tired lately...." The words trailed off, then she gave her head a quick shake. "But that's not why I mention it. Something about this memory... I feel like I'm being called. Back to Bevelle. To the Chamber of the Fayth." Sitting up a little straighter, her voice strengthened as she went on. "I know there's nothing there. The fayth are gone. I go to Valefor's chamber and there's only stone. But I have to go, to see for myself. If there's some chance that the fayth can explain what's been happening, it's worth a trip."
For a moment Lulu sat, thinking, drumming her fingers against the tabletop. Then she rose with a decisive nod. "Well then. Bevelle it is. How shall we get there?"
Yuna's mouth dropped slightly open. "We?"
Lulu crossed her arms. "You didn't think I'd let you go without me. It's a long trip, and you'd have a hard time against fiends now that you can't summon."
Yuna waved off the concern with a smile. "Oh, I'll be safe. My uncle told me that if I ever needed to travel, I should just contact him, and he would send a ship my way."
"Ah." Lulu considered this for a moment. "Well, I'd like to come anyway, if you'll have me. I haven't been off Besaid in months, and I'm as curious about this mystery as you are. There's nothing here that won't keep for a little while."
"If you're sure." Yuna took one last bite of her porridge, then stood. "All right. Yes, please join me. I'll get started on my message to Cid right away."
Two weeks later, Lulu and Yuna stood on the bridge of an Al Bhed salvage ship as it steamed into the docks of Bevelle. Yuna leaned against the railing and watched the walls of the city pass by, water falling in endless streams from the grates built into the ancient stone. Looking up, she saw the bridge leading between the city and the mainland soar overhead, and she marveled at what the world used to be a thousand years ago, that her ancestors could have built such impressive structures.
"I've not arrived in Bevelle by sea before," Lulu said, pulling Yuna from her reverie. "It looks so different. I forget that there's a whole city here."
Yuna nodded. "Me too. I barely remember living here. It's always just the temple in my memory." The ship docked with a small shudder, and the captain joined the two women at the rail.
"Never been here," he commented in thickly-accented Spiran, looking around with curiosity and a little suspicion. "So strange, to dock at city of Yevon."
Yuna smiled at him. "Thank you for bringing us here," she said.
The captain nodded briskly. "Anything for Lady Yuna," he answered. "You saved Al Bhed from Sin also, yes?"
Yuna ducked her head with a slight blush. She was never sure how to respond to such accolades, especially when the contributions of her guardians were not recognized. This wasn't her Calm alone; it belonged to all of them. But she was too tired and nervous to fight that particular battle today. "Do you need us back by any particular time?"
"We came in with tide, we leave with tide also." The captain checked the sky. "Return by sunset, that's fine. Or we wait for morning. No rush, but we leave sooner, not later, if we can. You understand."
"Of course." Lulu dipped her head in thanks. "We will return by sunset if we can. Yuna, are you ready?"
The girl took a breath and looked at the city again. Her memories of this place were not happy ones. Best to get this visit over with quickly. "Let's go," she said in answer. With one last nod to the captain, the women walked down the gangplank of the ship and into the bustle of Bevelle.
"Lady Yuna!" The priest scurried forward through the door into the inner temple and into the courtyard, practically prostrating himself at her feet in his eagerness to bow. "What a surprise, and an honor. What brings you to Bevelle?"
Yuna stood tall and projected all her authority. "I am here to visit the Chamber of the Fayth."
The man straightened with a look of surprise. "My lady, I am sorry, but the Cloister has been sealed off in memory of the fayth who have left us. No one is to be allowed in."
Lulu stepped forward and raised her visible eyebrow. "Not even the High Summoner?" she asked.
He turned toward her, his skin turning slightly pale under her imperious gaze. "My apologies, ma'am, but it is quite impossible, I assure you."
"We'll see about that." Lulu crossed her arms. "Who is in charge here?"
"Ah." The priest looked nervously between the women. "That's, ah, a rather complex question at the moment. Let me see if I can find someone for you to speak with." Before either woman could reply, he turned and walked away, the door to the temple closing behind him with a decided bang.
Lulu looked at Yuna, less certain now. "You are sure about this?" she asked.
Yuna nodded. "I have to see for myself."
"Well then." Lulu walked to the edge of the courtyard and lowered herself to the ground, sweeping her skirts out of the way as she sat. "We'll wait as long as it takes." Yuna followed her and settled down, legs crossed beneath her skirt, and closed her eyes, willing the time to pass quickly.
"When it is all over, we will wake, and our dream will end. Our dream will vanish."
Tidus replies slowly, with just a tinge of sadness, and something about his words catches Yuna off-guard, makes her curious. And worried. "Yeah. You've been dreaming a long time, haven't you?"
The fayth nods, reluctant. "I'm sorry."
Tidus shakes his head firmly. "I'm grateful," he says as the fayth disappears...
"Yuna?" A soft hand shook her shoulder. "Yuna, someone is here for you."
"Oh!" The girl woke with a start, Tidus's last words to the fayth still ringing in her ears. Disoriented, she turned to see Lulu looking at her, face soft with concern. Yuna blinked the last of the sleep from her eyes and stood, turning to face the newcomer -- another priest, this one a bit older and flanked by two warrior monks.
"My lady." The man bowed with a flourish. "My name is Pala, and I am here to invite you into the temple. We have discussed the issue of your visit, and have decided that you, as High Summoner, may be allowed access into that holy sanctum, the Chamber of the Fayth."
Yuna bowed politely to the priest, although she did not make the old symbol of prayer with her hands. "Many thanks," she replied. "My guardian will also be allowed inside?"
"Of course!" Pala said, a little too heartily. "Whatever my lady requires."
Yuna exchanged a glance with Lulu, who shrugged, then toyed with her magical doll in such a way as to make it highly visible to the priest and his guards. It seemed that she didn't understand the sudden change of heart either, but was not inclined to argue. Still, Yuna was glad to know that Lulu's guard would be up. "Thank you," she said again. "Lulu?"
The two women walked through doors and into the temple, a few steps behind the priest and monks. Yuna looked around and noticed that it looked much as it had the last time she'd been here, for the interview with Maester Mika and then the fayth. Even the old symbols and banners of Yevon had not yet been removed. The only real difference was the lack of the hymn. Always in her memory, whenever she entered a temple, she could hear the singing of visitors, priests, and nuns. And once she became attuned to the fayth, she could hear their song as well. But today the temples were silent, except for the occasional chant in the distance, and she found the quiet eerie and disconcerting.
After several minutes of walking, they reached the entrance to the Chamber. Yuna rested her hand on the door and took a deep breath.
"You are ready?" Lulu asked, her voice hushed, possibly out of habit.
"I am," Yuna replied, equally softly, and pushed the door open. They walked though the antechamber and paused again outside the inner sanctum. The heavy stone slab that had once blocked the doorway was lifted halfway, leaving more than enough room for Yuna to slip beneath if she stooped, but still she hesitated. "What if it falls?" she asked, casting it a doubtful glance.
"It won't fall," Lulu answered, too quickly. "Now go. I'll be right outside."
Yuna whirled around to stare at her former guardian. "You aren't coming with me?"
Lulu lowered her eyes. "I know it shouldn't matter anymore, but it just doesn't feel right, going into the Chamber. If you really want me to, I will, but…"
"It's all right." Yuna turned forward, squared her shoulders, and ducked her head beneath the open door.
The inner chamber was dark and still. A few dim lights hung on the walls, barely illuminating the statue embedded in the floor. Once the fayth's home had been brightly colored, but now it was gray stone, and the faintly glowing dome that protected it had become dead glass. A wave of disappointment crested and broke in her soul as she realized the bitter truth: there was nothing here, no answers to be found.
"No!" she whispered fiercely. "I won't let this be the end of it." She shut her eyes and balled her hands into fists, and with her mind she reached into the statue, searching for the fayth. She probed it, stretching out her consciousness as she had always done to summon, seeking the familiar presence of Bahamut, the dragon, king of the aeons. Reaching, reaching, finding….. nothing. Eons and eons of nothing, stretching out into an endless abyss, nothing nothing noth--
Something. A spark, no more. A tiny, familiar spark, shaped like a little boy wearing a purple coat. Far away, not in Bevelle anymore, but somewhere different, distant, strange.
You have come, he said. Not in words. Yuna could not describe how it was that the fayth was speaking to her. But somehow, she knew that he was.
"Yes," she answered aloud. "Did you call me?"
I did not call you. But yes, you were called.
Yuna's heart skipped a beat. "You mean--"
The presence hesitated, for what felt like an age. He was silent for so long that Yuna would have thought that the spirit was gone, or even that she had imagined it from the beginning, except that she could still feel it, waiting on the far edge of her mind.
Finally, she sensed a nod, and he answered. When the time is right, you will know. Go now. Go home and rest.
Yuna wondered why she didn't find this answer discouraging. "I will," she replied, a feeling of peace settling in her soul. "Thank you."
And the spark receded into the distance until it was so far away that it wasn't even a spark anymore, nor the echo of a spark. It was gone.
Yuna opened her eyes and sighed with relief, then closed them again as she fell into a dead faint.
"Yuna. Yuna? Yuna, wake up!"
Once again Yuna found that she was being shaken awake by Lulu, but this time she was sprawled on a stone floor. Lulu was kneeling by her side, her eyes even more worried than before.
"What happened?" Yuna asked as she sat up.
"You tell me," Lulu snapped. "You were in here for over three hours. Finally I got worried enough to follow you in, and I found you unconscious. I shook you and shouted for minutes before you even stirred!"
Yuna rubbed her eyes and yawned. "Sorry, Lulu. I didn't mean to scare you."
Lulu sat on the floor next to her. "It's all right," she replied grumpily. "You just won't do anything the easy way, will you?"
"Guess not." Yuna ducked her head. "Sorry," she said again.
"Hmpf." Lulu stood up and then gave Yuna a hand in rising. "Well, did you at least get the answers you came for?"
"Not exactly," said Yuna. "I'll tell you on the way back." She smiled a little. "But I think the dreams will be gone."
Lulu cast a careful look over Yuna's face as they exited the Chamber. "And that's all right?"
Yuna didn't answer right away, not until they had made their way out of the temple and back into the sunlight, the rays of the setting sun warming her pale skin. She walked to the railing, rested her hands there, and gazed out over the sea. "It's all right," she finally said. "He lives in my heart, and my memories. I don't need him in my dreams."
"I'm glad." Lulu rested her hand on Yuna's shoulder, and they stood together for a long while, watching the sun sink below the horizon.