Setting: In Game, AU.
Theme + Number: 13) Alternate universe/reality, 56) Loyalty, 61) (Guilty) conscience, 84) (Dis)trust, 88) Long (time)
Pairing/Character/Friendship: Auron and Yuna
Other Characters: Rikku, Tidus
Warnings: AU. OMG. Spoilers.
Summary: Auron and Yuna get the chance to talk about the things they never talked about. Some speculated backstory.
Note: Crossposted to ff_flashfic
Datta: what have we given?
My friend, blood shaking my heart
The awful daring of a moment's surrender
Which an age of prudence can never retract
- T.S. Eliot, “The Waste Land”
Note: “Datta” is Sanskrit for “give” or “charity”. Allusion to the Upanishad... essentially it’s fancy smancy stuff that only an English poet could pull off.
You just have to sit down until he starts talking. It’s easy.”
“It is? Isn’t that a little... rude?”
“Yunie, take it from an expert at pestering. It’s only rude if you’re a meanie about it. And you’re never a meanie. So just go sit down and ask him about your dad. That’s what I’d want to do if my dad wasn’t already a big blusterbox.”
Yuna put a hand over her mouth as she laughed a little. She was glad that her cousin had joined them, even if they had to keep from Wakka the fact she was an Al-Bhed. Maybe if he took enough of a liking to her, his natural prejudice would fade...
Right. She was going to pester Sir Auron.
Tidus was doing a first rate job of it himself, but the boys and men always had an understanding that Yuna could never get through. Maybe it had to do with things of male and female that she still hadn’t completely figured out. She could barely look at Tidus sometimes, because of that sort of thing.
But this wasn’t about Tidus. No need to be distracted.
“We must prepare.”
“Look, I know you’re serious and all, but could you lighten up for a minute? I was just asking if you watch Blitz. One of those things people do when they’re not pilgrimaging? I mean, I know you didn’t in Zanarkand, but you’re on your home turf now. It’s a simple question.”
“An irrelevant one, too.”
“See, there you go again. Geez.”
Auron noticed her first, with a quick flick of his eye, as if to say hello and then go back to his seriously amused expression. That wasn’t a qualifier, he was serious about being amused.
Rikku was a great help.
“Hey hey Tidus! Can you show me that Jecht Shot again? I was thinking about making this...”
They proceeded to fall into Al-Bhed. Tidus was a fast learner. She liked the effect Rikku had on people, even if there were sometimes gaps in between her laughs and smiles. But then, she did that too. She couldn’t blame her.
“Sir Auron, I-I have a request.”
“Tell me about my father. About his pilgrimage.” She didn’t mean it to come out so demanding, but Rikku had worn off on her a bit. Not that she was demanding but...
Auron sat down.
His first instinct was to tell her there was nothing extraordinary to it all. Which was in some ways a true statement. In this world, there had been thousands of summoners. He knew there had once been a kingdom of them.
That wasn’t what Yuna was asking about, though. This was a little girl who had barely known her father and respected him. She respected all of them, perhaps a bit more than they really deserved. No, she wanted to know a little about her father. Not Lord Braska, High Summoner.
“What would you like to know?”
Her surprise rippled through the air, and he couldn’t help but feel a little pleased with it. He’d never had a family, so he’d never known what giving a little girl a present was like.
But would she like the present?
Yuna bit her lip. After all this time thinking and wondering and pondering... she really didn’t have anything specific she wanted to ask. She laughed a little in that forced laughed she’d practiced with Tidus. Auron responded with that short grunt of a laugh which he used when fighting fiends.
“Well... did you like my father?”
“He was a good friend.”
“What is your favorite memory of him?”
He leaned back in his seat.
The first thought that came to mind was not appropriate and in the line the Jecht’s humor. Yuna was not a child, but he didn’t want to expose her to certain things. Particularly that her father sang falsetto when sloppily drunk.
Such a stiff.
Well, he supposed that he might as well start talking.
“The Thunder Plains. Lord Braska always liked thunder magic and enjoyed watching Jecht hop around and use the most colorful metaphors when struck.”
She giggled. He allowed vivaciousness to dig further.
“Ridiculousness aside, I think it was his capability. I can only use the most basic of magic. It was kind of like...”
Having a thunder god around that could drink a far too casual egomaniac and a far too structured monk under the table.
“...understanding without doing it?” She smiled that polite smile as she finished his sentence. Well, both of the children had wormed their way into his mannerisms.
It was an odd feeling.
“And the head priest... he gave Jecht this look. Braska could barely keep a straight face, and he just set the statue’s head down and turned to the guy. And he said,”
If her father was anything like Auron said he was, she could understand why he’d chosen this rather taciturn man as a guardian. And Sir Jecht, too. But she had already fallen in love with the idea of Sir Jecht, in a way.
She was thankful Tidus was one part an echo of Sir Jecht, and many parts himself.
That short humorless laugh. “He said, ‘I think this one’s a fake. You might want to get a better antique dealer, they ripped ya off good.’”
She could tell there was something else to the story he was withholding, but she didn't press. There was laughter on her father's pilgrimage. Her father was powerful and a little strange and good. Yes, she could say her father was a good man.
She'd always wanted to think that personally.
Auron never talked about himself, and that was alright too. Sir Jecht was entertaining, and her father was warming. There was laughter on that pilgrimage.
For now they could both pretend it all ended--and will end--happily.
He noticed the sun was setting. None of the others had bothered them, and he had been talking. There was a desperation in that which he didn't want to recognize. But there was also a desperate edge to the lilt in Yuna's laugh when he said something amusing.
They were prolonging the inevitable.
"Auron," not sir, "Tell me honestly. Were you happy?"
A question about himself, as she looked curiously at him with her mother's eye. Al-Bhed eyes were chaotic and unnatural, and never made him feel at ease. Her mother was clever and energetic. He wondered why she never asked about her. But he himself was guilty of the same sorts of things.
He nodded. She could interpret that as she wished. No person is miserable their entire lives. Even now, he is not miserable.
He missed not being a legend. When he was surrounded by gods and stars. Yes, he missed being called simply 'Auron' or 'Stiff' or whatever colorful thing Jecht and Braska would concoct.
He knew then that maybe it was dangerous giving her this much hope and ability to let go. But that was the boy's job. The boy would keep Yuna alive. Things would go as intended this time. The damnation of all or not.
"I-I think I am happy." He inclined his head to her simple statement. He wondered if she knew that she was storm goddess by birthright. Water and thunder. The result of two opposing forces. He liked to think he had a eye for such things.
And your humor sucks too.
"It is late."
"Yunie! You have to come see this!"
And just like that, he dissappeared to wherever he went off to at night. Yuna forgot to ask that. She had forgotten a lot of the things she'd wanted to ask. But then, she'd gotten just what she wanted. Hadn't she?
But for now there was laughter, as Rikku proudly demonstrated what she had done with Tidus. He wobbled unsteadily on the machina stilts, but there was no fear in his face. She laughed genuinely.
"I'd like to see those fiends get me now! I'm king Tidus! Ruler of these lands!" Ridiculously happy.
The older ones would be around soon enough; maybe Lulu had already scolded Tidus and Wakka had elbowed Rikku about her machina. Maybe there had been a lot of things that had happened when she backtracked into stories.
Maybe she should have trusted that her father was a good man. Then again, sometimes she didn't trust that in herself.
"No, don't go THAT way! You're going to break a piston and those are trick to find!"
"Uh oh. Rikku! Get these off me!"
No, for now, this would suffice.