Setting: Djose, pre-canon.
Theme + Number: #4, "Whisper".
Rating:T? Maybe? Just because Jecht exists in the general vicinity of the story?
Warnings: NOTHING HAPPENS. NOTHING. Blah blah implied m/m/m relationship blah blah.
Summary: While Braska sleeps, Auron and Jecht have a conversation in which very few words are spoken.
When they came up the Moonflow road to Djose, Sin had just been there. The force of its attack had been weakened by the cliff's protective arch, but still there were not enough priests remaining who could Send all the dead. The people begged Braska to help. So, after some argument, did the remaining priests, since a summoner's Sending always worked, no matter how heretical he might be.
By the time Braska had danced the last spirit home, it was long after sunset. He was asleep on his feet when the three of them finally made it to the room the temple had offered them. Jecht and Auron between them managed to manhandle him out of his most uncomfortable clothes and onto the bed for his well-earned rest.
The two of them stayed awake. The day had been almost relaxing for them; the people of Djose took care of their own without the interference of foreigners. For a summoner to do what they could not, they would forget that he was not one of their own, but not for such a little thing as two more pairs of hands. So Auron and Jecht had had nothing to do beyond making sure that Braska ate and rested when he could, which, though a daunting enough task, was almost peaceful after the difficulties of staying alive on the road. They were not yet tired enough to sleep.
They talked instead, in whispers and gestures, unwilling to disturb Braska's sleep. The conversation moved in fits and starts that should have been, and yet were not, awkward, talking of nothing in particular. When they had nothing to say, shifts and sighs did as well.
They had an argument almost in silence over which of them snored more loudly--an argument that ended abruptly when Braska took it on himself to outdo them both with a snore that all but rattled the windowpanes, and they discovered all over again how hard it was to keep from laughing while watching someone else do the same. In the end, Auron gave in first, laughing silently until his eyes watered and Jecht joined him in quiet hysteria.
Jecht was easily bored. His first (mostly nonverbal) suggestion as to how they should pass the time was vetoed by Auron, on the grounds that if there was one time more than any other when Jecht was incapable of quiet, it was then, and he would end by waking Braska and probably the entire temple as well. Jecht was not entirely averse to the idea, but Auron quelled him with a Look that insisted that Braska had had a long, hard day and needed a full night's sleep for once. After that, Jecht pretended to sulk while Auron sat stubbornly in the opposite corner and stared at the wall. It was Jecht, unsurprisingly, who broke the ensuing silence, asking why the temple was so far from the town.
As the night drew on, their half-conversations grew even quieter and more full of gaps where there were no words to fit. Glances and brief gestures said more.
Jecht did not like Braska working himself half to death for a temple that would scarcely give him the time of day. Auron shrugged; he wasn't particularly fond of the idea either, but he was resigned to it. His own departure had been far less bitter, but he still could not see himself returning, even if--
"Yeah," Jecht whispered. Even if by some miracle Auron survived (and how many guardians had ever survived successful pilgrimages?), he would never go back to Bevelle. Neither would Braska, but for a different reason.
The way Jecht's eyes rested on Braska's slumbering form said everything. He had not known at the start what would come to the man he had agreed to guard with his life, but he would guard him all the same.
"I'm sorry," said Auron suddenly. He started to reach for Jecht, a short movement of his hand, but stopped himself. He had come because it was better than staying behind and not knowing what was happening.
"Shut up," was Jecht's only verbal response, but his eyes burned into Auron's. He would not, could not accept death. It was not the way of his world. Auron couldn't meet his eyes for long. He didn't try to argue that it was Spira's way and Braska's choice to make. It was in itself a confession: he did not believe as much as he knew he should, as much as Braska did.
When the long night turned at last toward morning, they slept, sprawled beside Braska on the bed that was really too small for three. When their summoner woke, they said nothing of what had passed between them in the midnight stillness. But they knew, and the knowledge colored all their days.
Caveat: There are some stories where, in the end, inspiration dies and you just have to slog through and get it over with. This was one of those stories.