Setting: FFX, in Besaid slight AU --see A/N below.
Theme + Number: 1. 13. Alternate Universe/Reality
Pairing/Character/General Relationship: Auron/Lulu
Summary: Auron as a retiree on Besaid, eight years after Braska's pilgrimage.
A/N: I've decided to try and answer auronlu's challenge in aulu with a (hopefully) brief three-parter. Thus, it will be an Auron/Lulu fiction in the next section. It's set in a not-quite-alternative-universe, but alternate nonetheless. This fic assumes that Auron never went back to face Yunalesca. At this point in time, a few things have changed due to this fact, but many have not.
Comments all welcome and appreciated.
Ixion. The lightning stallion. Not a simple beast. He studied the arch of its horn, trimming away slivers cautiously, his thumb guiding the small blade expertly. They say this one was a sailor, a captain with some renown and honor in his day. A sad irony, then, that a man so taken by the sea in his life should commit (some say commited, some say stolen) his spirit to its opposing force.
Since laying down the sword, Auron had taken to carving the likenesses of the aeons from the native Besaid lumber. Intended for the roadside shrines around the island, the carvings earned him no gil. However, Auron never cared for gil and the islanders were too happy to have a supposed legend in their midst to ever allow him to compensate them for use of the hut. They'd offer to put their beloved hero up in a palace, if he'd ever agree to let them build it.
There. That would be acceptable. Cleaning the sawdust from the figurine with a huff, he placed the horse gingerly in its place next to the three others like it on the mantel. Tool maintenance next. After that, Valefor. He pulled the waterstone near, sprinkling half a handful of water over it so that red surface of the brick glistened. Auron paused, chisel aloft. The sun had filtered in through the fabric door just enough. He could see his face reflected, in the thin film of still water. He frowned.
What would the obedient, devout young monk think of this old man? Or the hard-headed, devoted guardian? Was the lethargic, dulled gaze better suited to his face than his former tight-jawed scowl? Not that this face resembled much the visage of his younger days; on this calm island of few threats, he had let the sword-heaving muscles fall slack and had grown gaunt in all the wrong places. Grey dappled his dark hair at the temples now and became more noticeable with each day. He would have glared at his reflection if his eyes could conjure the intensity anymore –as it was, they sat shallow and muted, as appealing as two dried-up mud puddles. Ugly. He thrust the chisel at his waterstone, breaking the unwelcomed mirror into chaotic concentric circles. Diligently, he set to sharpening, scraping the blade across the stone which sent up a hoarse whining sound that had always made him grimace. The little grey trails left behind contrasted starkly with the clay-red stone.
Some things are made more useful by deconstruction.
Startled at the sound of a frantic rustling and someone breathing hard behind him, his hand jerked and the wet edge of the blade went into his index finger as he glanced behind him. The obnoxious neighbor boy, son of a local fisherman, peered into the hut, pale copper hair damp on his forehead. Dammit. Seven or eight years ago Auron was a guardian and could not be caught unaware --anything more than a dead leaf falling a full three yards away would not have escaped notice. "Hey Sir Guardian, you making stuff?" Once Auron would have winced at the undeserved and obsolete titles, but he'd since grown complacent and the words since cheapened. "You should make us some swords someday. Or nun chucks," The boy continued breathlessly, "Anyway, I just come by to tell you that Lady Ginnem kicked the bucket and Lulu's back in town."
The boy left, loudly bringing the news to the next hut down, leaving the heavy cloth of the entrance to swing closed. Auron kept his eyes on the curtain for a while, noting every breeze that caused the thick weave to shudder, disregarding the stinging pain in his finger of which he had become dimly aware.
So the dead return.
A crumbling tremor of sorts seized his stomach and chest. Auron was a pessimist. As such, he had long accepted Lulu as gone the day he watched her boat leave until it winked out below the horizon of the sea. If not dead (Braska), then gone –unreachable (Jecht).
No. She was alive. And she’d returned.
Auron gazed at his hand. The laceration was not so serious, but it was deep and wide and not clotting. He would need to tend to it, eventually. The drops of blood that had fell from it had muddied the dirt floor in neat circles –like the first few raindrops at the beginning of a rainstorm.
He had thought about her, when she was gone. He had dreamt about her. In her absence, there was no need for shame. Now-- he was not certain.
Auron idly considered how one might gradually bleed to death through such an insignificant wound, with the body constantly regenerating itself. As slow as life? No. More likely to die of infection than blood loss with this one.
He couldn’t avoid her. Not on this tiny island, with its huts assembled in a cramped, communal fashion. With a furtive lift of a curtain, any given inhabitant might be able to see when one left their dwelling and easily discern to what manner of business they were attending.
He did not leave his hut that day.