sexychocobo ([personal profile] sexychocobo) wrote in [community profile] fuckyeahfinalfantasy2010-09-27 01:43 am


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(Anonymous) 2010-09-27 11:45 pm (UTC)(link)
FFX, Auron/Lulu, unrequited

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

(Anonymous) 2010-09-29 06:24 am (UTC)(link)
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.


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 "But your message intrigued me; I have never been asked to contribute to historical documents directly."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."

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

(Anonymous) 2010-09-29 06:24 am (UTC)(link)
The airship hums underneath her feet, and she has broken all her rules, one tear that became two that became many. She doesn't need to hear his footsteps, because she never hears them, but the air changes around her all the same.

"Don't," she says. "Just don't say it."

"You believe you can read minds now. I'm impressed."

She startles when he walks behind her. He smells like spice and rum, like sweat and the heat on metal. His hands come up to rest on her shoulders. She tenses for a moment and then and relaxes.

"Do not take Tidus's words to heart."

"He's right. I'm taking her to die and pretending otherwise, never voicing it, it's...." The ocean drifts past far below, blue flashes through fat clouds, heavy with rain. "It is the wish of her heart to do this, but it—it broke me, and I haven't found all the pieces yet."

"We'll have Rikku find them," Auron says. "She likes puzzles."

Lulu turns, and wants to laugh and cry all at the same time. His gaze is steady on her, and she thinks of late nights and warm campfires, waking to bright stars and Auron, Auron, Auron, always watching them all. Always watching her. "How can I do this thing?"

"You have already decided," he says. "Yuna will die, and so will you." He tilts his head. "But are you sure that's how it will go?"

"There's no other way," she whispers. "Yuna believes. Yuna loves. She can do this." A tear drips down her nose. Her rules are ruined, five years of none, wrecked in one moment by a broken-hearted boy. "Oh, Yevon, I do not want her to do this."

Auron rubs a thumb across her cheek, wiping through the tracks. "You are not wrong. She will do this." Auron rarely smiles, but here is it, and it's as intimate as if he's pressed her into the window behind them and kissed her. "She is strong. But so are you, and she will need that, because she is going to do something much harder than die." His words are a rough whisper. "She will have to kill herself time and time again, and you must stand besides her."

Lulu doesn't know what to say. "I—"

His fingers cover her mouth. "Trust me."

Lulu finds, as his fingers lay scorching against her skin, that she does.


The remains of their dinner sit spread across the disaster of Baralai's desk. He doesn't seem to care, so Lulu doesn't either. "I did trust him," she says. "It was the hardest thing I ever did, but here we are."

"The machinations of it all fascinate me," Baralai says. "Do you think he told anyone else before that?"

"Maybe Tidus," she said. "Tidus was so angry, and I could never understand why, but perhaps Auron shared more with him in the very beginning. Yuna may know, but I have never asked. But otherwise, I like to think no. It wasn't even telling, it was another one of those frustrating hints he loved so much." She shrugs. "It was a selfish thing, because I had fallen in love with him, you see."

Baralai gapes.

Lulu holds back her laugh. "It was...a surprise. I was so level-headed, as all people think they are at any age, but he always caught me when I was at an impasse, off center. He was a great warrior in so many ways, not least of all in knowing how to read people. In how to earn them."

Baralai glances toward the sphere. "Is this...okay?"

"I wouldn't have shared it if it wasn't," Lulu says. "It's not something that needs to be hidden; I'm not ashamed. Kimhari knew before I did. Yuna and Wakka guessed, and toward the end I think Rikku suspected, because she was so young, and Auron was special to her, too. Like recognizing like." She sits back. "We all loved him, and we all had something to lose by finding out the truth."

"How did you find out?"

Lulu does laugh now, making Baralai jump. "In the worst way possible."


Zanarkand is nothing like she imagined it would be. It is both better and worse than she thought, and Lulu is terrified of it. The size of it all, and not just the city, but the feeling. Her magic itches and won't stop, crawling along her spine like a trail of spiders, a constant reminder than this place feels skewed. The camp is quiet behind her as she walks away. Everyone has taken time today, away from the group, but for Yuna, who wants to be close, but is still silent, focused inwards.

It's her turn, but she doesn't want to be alone.

She finds him around piles of rubble, the area behind it clear. Her fingers twitch when she steps behind him, as if her magic wants to escape. It's not even possible. Her blood still sings with it, though. She wonders for a moment, if she let Ultima fly, how strong it would be. She feels invincible, but she knows better.

"Auron," she says.

"Lulu." She wonders if she imagines the fondness in his voice, so different than how he talks to others. "Do you remember throwing a rock at my head?"

She flushes, feeling it all the way to her neck. "I was young."

"Ah, but there are much larger rocks here, and I know why you have come." He turns. "But Lulu, we can't."

Her world rocks, she is a ship in stormy seas, and his mouth is a sad line. "I don't understand." She really, truly doesn't. She hasn't missed these signals. It is the last night, and she made her choice, and he's in front of her telling her no.

"I think I can still love," he says. "I know I loved Braska and Jecht, loved them more than breath. I loved Yuna, the small, sad girl whose eyes never smiled. But I can't be sure I love anyone else, or if I am only imagining it. Projecting it, to hold on to something that I've lost forever."

Lulu steps forward, grips his arm. "Please," she says.

He cups her face with a warm palm. "Were I a man, I would say yes, because men love. But now, I can't be sure. I can't do that to you, with uncertainty. I would give you my all, if I were certain I possessed it."

Lulu holds him, and in the slow crawl of twilight, as she watches him, he shimmers. As the pyreflies are drawn to them, she understands. "No," she says, and her voice breaks. "No, no, please."

"In a different life, I would have loved you," Auron says. "Even if you did throw rocks at my head."

The stars are bright and pyreflies glow and drift, and when Lulu presses her face into his shoulder, he is warm, and solid, and real, and she loves him.

For now, that's all she can do.


"The rest of the story is very well documented," Lulu says. "Although I've left out a few details, I think for Auron and I, those are better left between us."

Baralai taps his fingers. "Did you throw a rock at him?"

Lulu smiles. "After I cried all over him, of course," she said. "But it was very small."

Baralai nods, and carefully leans over and turns off the recorder. "We'll pause there -- you're getting hoarse."

Lulu nods. "There's more I can tell you, not just about me."

"I would love to hear it," he says. "If you would be willing, I could see if Gippal would swing by and pick Wakka and Vidina up for a visit, since I am ordering him home. You could record, and they wouldn't miss out on seeing you."

Lulu likes this idea, of showing her son the city that he will never have to know as cold, nor foreboding. "That would be kind of you."

Baralai stands and comes around the desk. "I'll set you up in one of the suites," he says. "And Lulu," he touches her shoulder, "thank you."

"It was my pleasure," she says. "It was nice to remember him again."

After Baralai goes in search of a room for her, Lulu heads back to the balcony. Full night has fallen, and Bevelle is a kaleidoscope of color with all the new machina that's been adopted. She leans against the frame, and looks up at the twinkling stars.

She feels like she might dream, tonight.

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

(Anonymous) 2010-09-29 06:38 am (UTC)(link)
Prompter here, to say yay for getting the first fic on the meme, and for making it much more than I could have hoped for! I especially love the hints that Auron drops -- always mysterious, beginning to end -- and how Lulu finds out that he is unsent. The framing device is excellent, too. I like both the idea that Baralai is assembling a history and that he's asked Lulu to help him do it, it's such a wonderful thought.

Thank you! :)

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

(Anonymous) 2010-09-30 06:35 pm (UTC)(link)
Auron and Lulu are so real here. Heartbreaking and very well done.

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

(Anonymous) 2010-10-03 12:33 am (UTC)(link)
I liked this -- it was quiet but affective (and effective!). I like the insights into everyone sprinkled about, and I love the contrast between Lulu's "then" and "now" voices -- she sounds so young in the memories, even if she presents such a cool and adult facade (it's so easy to forget, in the game, that she's only 22!). And, of course, I really enjoy the premise of Baralai collecting a history -- I want more!