The path had grown ever harder for us since we had taken down Seymour back in Macalania Temple. We had been branded traitors of Spira; heretics of Yevon. There were few plaes we could go without the risk of being persecuted for our 'crimes.' All because we had taken down a lunatic bent on manipulating those weaker than him. Rikku's home had been destroyed. Wakka's faith in Yevon had been shattered. I don't think Auron or Lulu had really cared what Yevon thought of them in the first place; only that justice had been misplaced. Khimarhi Was still a mystery to me. I can never figure him out. The one who had been hit the hardest, though, was Yuna.
Right after we had rescued her from a forced marriage, and had escaped to Macalania Woods to recuperate and rest, she had gone off into the Woods. Khimarhi, always the one by her side, had gone with her. Everyone seemed to think it better to just leave her be. No one seemed to be able to find words that would offer her solace. As for me
Well, it just hurt to see her so
Sad. She hadn't seemed like the Yuna I knew; the one who smiled in the face of adversity, the one who comforted everyone else. I may not have known the right words to comfort her, but, at least I could listen.
I ended up finding her in the same place I had found a sphere of my old man. It had been just as difficult to get as it had been to deal with him. She was just standing there in the middle of the lake, looking up at the sky.
"I always thought that this would be easier somehow." She started softly, probably when she heard me stop at the water's edge. "I thought that everyone would help me, with all my friends together, beside me. I've been trying so hard
" Yuna paused, and I started to walk out to her. Neither of us spoke a word.
You're trying too hard." I stopped just a little behind her, so I couldn't see how she reacted to anything I said. "They told me everything."
"Everything?" Yuna started to turn toward me. I nodded, and she turned away.
"Well, so then, you know."
"Yeah." I started walking again, slower this time. "I'm sorry." Yuna started to turn to me again, looking a little concerned. "It's just; you know all those things I said. Like, 'let's go get Sin!' and, or, about Zanarkand. I didn't know what would happen to you, Yuna. I guess
. I hope it didn't make you sad." I felt kind of dumb just standing there. What was she thinking? Did Yuna think it was stupid that I was apologizing for what I had said? "Forgive me
" I finished quietly. Yuna shook her head a little.
"I wasn't sad. I was happy." Yuna replied quietly. I didn't know what to say, so I just took a breath, and dove under water. I came up a little ways away from her, and then just let myself float. What could I really say?
Don't do it!"
"The pilgrimage?" She sounded a little doubtful. I stopped floating, and stood upright, having no trouble reaching the bottom of the lake.
"Well, yeah. That's right. Forget all about Sin. About being a Summoner. Forget all that." I swam toward her, and then stood upright. "You know. Live a normal life. Come on now, Yuna. Whaddya say?" Yuna seemed to actually consider it. I started to get a little hopeful.
"Maybe I will." She said with a little smile. I couldn't believe it.
"Wouldn't everyone be surprised?"
"Yeah, except Rikku. She'd be with you. Lulu and Wakka wouldn't hold out long."
"Khimarhi would say yes, too, I know, but, Sir Auron
"I'll make him understand, Yuna. It's the least I can do for you." I interjected quickly, trying to keep her hopes up.
"No, I should tell him. He deserves it." I could only nod as she started to walk farther into the lake. What was she thinking now?
"What'll I do if I give up my pilgrimage?" She finally questioned, after a period of silence.
"Mmmm. Zanarkand! Let's go to Zanarkand! Not the one in Spira. The one I'm from!" She gave a little chuckle. "Yeah! We could all fly there! Everyone can go! Then we'll have a big party at my place!"
"And then we could see Blitzball!" I kept going. Yuna finally seemed to be getting excited about this whole giving up her pilgrimage idea.
"Your Zanarkand Abes would play?"
"Yeah!" I was really starting to get excited now.
"We could all watch you play. In the stadium, all lit up at night, I'd cheer and cheer until I couldn't cheer anymore!" Yuna's hands splashed the water a little, emphasizing 'anymore'.
"Yeah, right on!"
"Well, what about after the game?"
"We'd go out and have fun!"
"In the middle of the night?" She sounded a little skeptical about the idea. I guess she really hadn't had the chance to live the life I was used to. I chuckled.
"No problem! Zanarkand never sleeps!" I paused, looking up at the sky.
"Let's go to the sea. Before the sunrise. The city lights go out one by one, the stars fade, and then the horizon glows, almost like it's on fire. It's kind of rose colored, right? First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky, then to the whole city. It gets brighter and brighter, 'til everything glows. It's really
Pretty." I had the urge to add on 'like you,' but, I didn't. "I know you'd like it." She hummed a little response.
"I'd like to see it, someday." I turned to her. That last response had seemed
A little hopeless.
"Well, you can Yuna. We can both go." I saw a tear fall from her face, and hit the water. "Yuna.."
"I can't." Yuna replied, looking at me. "I just can't. I can't go!" She started crying a little harder. I moved a little closer, not sure what to say. Was it my fault she was crying? I put a hand out, gently putting it on her shoulder. My other hand followed suite as I took a step closer.
" I spoke softly. She looked up at me, tears falling from her eyes. I still can't recall what compelled me to do it, but I leaned foreword, my lips landing on her in a full blown kiss. Her body immediately stiffened up in surprise, and I moved my arms to just below her shoulders. Yuna relaxed shortly afterward, returning the surprise kiss, her arms gently finding a place just above my waist.
It was a magical feeling, that kiss we shared. It felt as though we were floating, the laws of physics stilled for those few moments as we seemed to be able to breath underwater. Our hands intertwined as we pulled away to look at each other. I held her close, a little afraid that if I didn't, this moment would end like a dream. She drifted away, our hands still connected. Yuna smiled at me; a smile that was happy. Not the reassuring ones I had grown used to. I couldn't help but smile back. I pulled her a little closer, running the back of my hand softly against her cheek, brushing through her hair gently, with my chest feeling fit to burst with emotion. Yuna's touch felt like air as her hand was brought to my cheek. We pulled each other close again, our minds and hearts seemingly as one as our lips met again.
I don't know how much time had passed as we sat there on the beach, gazing up at the stars together. It must have been long enough for Yuna to realize that maybe the others were starting to get worried.
"I'll continue." Those words brought both hope and worry. "I must." All I could do was hum in response. What was I supposed to say?
"If I give up now, I could do anything I wanted to, and yet, even if I was with you, I could never forget." I frowned. I didn't fully support the decision she was making. I didn't want to lose her, I really didn't. I could see where she was coming from though. I glanced at her, looking away as she looked at me.
"I'll go with you. I'm your guardian." It hurt a little to say that, but, what else was there to say? I certainly wasn't going to leave her now. Not this far into it.
Fired?" She chuckled quietly, shaking her head.
"Stay with me, until the end. Please." Yuna did a little bow while she was sitting. I smiled.
"Not until the end. Always." She nodded her face glowing warm with certainty.
"Always, then." Repeating it seemed to be more of a reassurance for her, than for me.
"Maybe you should head back to camp first." I stood up, like the faithful guardian I was. I still had some reservations about her decision, but, I was going to support her, no matter what.
"Roger." I looked down at her, and her up at me. We stayed that way for a few, brief moments, and then I turned, and walking away, gazing up at the stars as I went. My heart skipped a couple of beats as I heard her whistle. Was she in trouble? I turned on my heel, and ran a few steps around the corner, only to be greeted with a smile.
"Wait." Yuna said, putting a hand up. "I'll go with you." I nodded, and turned, heading off back to camp once again. I heard her hesitate, and then run a couple steps. I felt her hand grab mine, and I paused momentarily, looking back at her.
I could have sworn I saw a knowing smile on everyone's faces, even Khimarhi's, when they saw we had returned. Together.