Someone wrote in [community profile] fuckyeahfinalfantasy 2010-09-29 06:24 am (UTC)

FFX, Auron/Lulu: o speak, bright star (1/2)

Bevelle is always lovely, but Lulu loves it best in the summer. The air is scorching and the streets are full of people, all happy, loose, carefree. Lulu remembers when it wasn't so, when Bevelle meant quiet, reflection, and lies, when it felt like a city of mourning on loop. She doesn't miss it, even at the price that was paid. That Bevelle is three years gone.

"Lulu."

She turns from the open balcony doors and smiles. "Praetor."

"I've told you before to call me Baralai, please," he says, stepping forward to take her hands. "It's lovely to see you. How is Wakka, and Vidina?"

"Vidina is troubelsome, and Wakka annoyed that I agreed to another stop before coming home," she says. "But your message intrigued me; I have never been asked to contribute to historical documents directly."

Baralai stepped back toward his desk, which was a mess. Lulu hadn't expected that — the Baralai in her head was calm and tidy, and all the new discoveries she was making about him only let her sink even further into her enjoyment of the Bevelle of her present. "Ah, yes. I did ask Yuna to come, as well, but she and Paine are with Gippal, apparently in the dessert somewhere, digging up trash."

"She would be put out at that," Lulu says. "But it's very true, they don't find much anymore. Is this project something you need us both for?"

"No, I imagine you'll do quite well yourself," he says. "A long time ago, Gippal met a man in the desert."

"I don't know many Al Bhed, Baralai," Lulu says.

"He wasn't Al Bhed," Baralai said. "I've decided that it's time for people to know what he did — the whole story."

Lulu nods. "I will help however I can, but again..." She pauses when Baralai holds up a hand.

"You are actually the best to ask," he says. "I want you to tell me about Auron."

Heat blooms in her chest, old but familiar. None of them talk about Auron — he is unspoken, but there, at rest, and in his peace, they have it as well, but it is an ache that will never go away, she knows. "I see."

Baralai gestures to a chair. "Will you? I only ask for things you wish to share, of course."

Lulu smiles.

----

Lulu doesn't know what it is, but as they flank Yuna and walk forward, ever closer to the end she both hopes for and dreads, his words echo. Braska asked me to, he had said in Luca. Braska asked me to.

Over and over, and the Highroad is long and the phrase spirals hundreds of times in her head. She tries to poke through it, eyes on Yuna's straight back as they walk forward. Auron is behind her, silent in voice and step, but loud in how he inhabits the space, as if his presence alone is a sharp clap of noise in the solemnity of prayer, a sacreligious word in a temple full of priests.

"Your thoughts are loud," he says.

The surprise shows; of course it does. She doesn't stop walking, or falter, but she catches her moogle tighter to her. "I apologize."

"No need," he says. "You should ask, if you are so curious."

They are far enough from the others that it wouldn't hurt. She keeps her eyes ahead. "High Summoner Braska asked you to lead his daughter down this path."

"That was not a question."

Lulu risks a look back. "You are as clever as they all say." She looks away, because it almost hurts to look at him, a legend. Her mind is flailing away from the truth of him and she doesn't understand why. "Was your High Summoner a clairvoyant, then, to know the future?"

Auron snickers and she almost does stumble then, his voice deep and amused. "No such thing," Auron says. "He was a know-it-all. Even you can admit that's worse."

Lulu's questions have no answers, but she suddenly feels comfortable in a way she hadn't. The phrase keeps spiraling, over and over, but she's not going to find the solution, she thinks. Not yet.


---

Baralai's laugh is full and rich. "He sounds wonderful."

Lulu resists the urge to roll her eyes. "He was not wonderful the first few weeks. he was like that all the time, upside down answers, distractions to put you off the scent of anything you might want to know."

"I could have used a teacher like him." Baralai lifts his tea cup. "What did you think when he joined the group?"

"I wondered if Sin's toxins had rubbed off on me from Tidus," she says. "Even though I knew that was ridiculous. I don't know how to paint a fair picture. We were all awed, and maybe me more than most."

"How so?"

Lulu takes a drink of her own tea, sweet and flowery. "I had met him before, when the High Summoner came to Besaid. He insulted my moogle and told me to go be annoying somewhere else." She doesn't bother keeping the fondness out of her voice. "He was so young — and I even younger, and cowed. I never quite got over that. He fascinated me, even more than the Summoner, because he was so...brash."

"Did it change?" Baralai asks. "So many months with him, all that time protecting and wondering..."

"It did," she says. "More quickly than I could have imagined."

---

Her hands are still shaking, a potion is trailed across her skirt and the ground and she has already cursed herself for never taking the time to learn even the cursory cure magics. She was always relying on Yuna, whose healing magic was so warm and comforting, so unlike hers, which is more like salt water, quenching a thirst in all the wrong ways.

"Let me," he says.

Lulu freezes. The sand is cold underneath her legs where she had fallen, and her arm burns.

He bends beside her. His hand is warm, when it cups her elbow, and he uses water to clean the wound. It drips, staining the sand under them red. He follows with a potion that's cool as he pours it along the gash, and then his hands, green and red smearing together under his fingertips, stinging, and she holds her breath and looks at him.

"I fell," she says. "The rocks."

"You hit your head." His reply is soft, all the gruffness gone. "We need to regroup, and go care for Yuna, before she dances herself to death." The tone is wry, but there's sadness there that any other time she was try to pluck out. Not now, though, not not, maybe never. She feels sick.

His thumb brushes along her arm, rubbing away the black of the potion, revealing white skin and a jagged red line. "Time," he says. He hasn't let go yet.

"I'm not afraid of scars," she replies.

"And you're smart enough to know what I mean." He rises. "Yuna, now."

She watches him go, and Yuna needs them now, it's time, but she still takes a moment to press her face into the soft belly of her moogle and think of the tears she will not cry.


---

The afternoon sun turns Baralai even more golden. He's staring out the window as she finishes, and her voice doesn't break.

"That was the first time, of course," she says. "It's funny, back then I thought I was so wise, with all my years, and I really knew nothing. One small comfort and he had me."

"But he was not a charismatic man?"

"He could be when he wanted, but in general I think he prefered to be an arrogant jackass," she says, lips twitching. "I didn't realize it at the time, and maybe not even immediately after, when he was gone, but..."

"No pressure, remember," Baralai says, gently.

"No, it's fine." She stares out the open balcony again as the day inches down toward its rest. "Yuna and Wakka and I spoke about it, a year later. I think, for each of us, he filled a need we had, a void we didn't even know was there. For Wakka, he was always so solid. I am not sure Wakka would have handled the shock of learning the truths of Yevon without Auron to anchor him. Yuna knows what he was to her, but she kept that secret."

"Never told you?" Baralai asks. "Or are you just not at liberty to share?"

"She has secrets," Lulu says. "Her time with Auron is explicitly tied to her time with Tidus, and losing them both, forever..." Lulu shakes her head. "She might tell you, if you explain why you want to know, but I don't know myself."

"What was he for you, then?" Baralai's eyes sparkle, like he's found a treasure. On his desk, the lit sphere recording their conversation sparkles in the late afternoon sunlight.

"We think of Unsent in harsh terms," she says. "We expect them to be monsters, joyless, soulless, cold. It's why it's a children's taunt — who wants to be that?"

Baralai's gaze is straightforward, and Lulu imagines they both have a history, penned in cruel lines across their hearts, of that insult, hurled in immaturity and anger. "And he wasn't?"

Lulu curls her mouth into a smile. "I was leading the sister of my heart to die, and that was a cold knowledge. Only he knew that I was leading her to live and be free. He was my warmth, and I didn't even know it."

Post a comment in response:

From:
Anonymous
OpenID
Identity URL: 
User
Account name:
Password:
If you don't have an account you can create one now.
Subject:
HTML doesn't work in the subject.

Message:

 
Links will be displayed as unclickable URLs to help prevent spam.