Setting: FFX, Guadosalam
Theme + Number: Slip(ping) (45)
Summary: Lulu starts putting two and two together.
Something had slipped. Lulu knew it, wondered how the others could have missed it, but Lord Jyscal's macabre visitation had tyrannized everyone else's attention. They had not noticed the imperturbable Guardian's collapse or his strained voice urging them away, away from that damned portal.
Was it her imagination, or had a few wisps of pyreflies trailed after them? Tidus was yapping questions again. Certainly Lord Jyscal's appearance demanded answers. Except that Lulu had the feeling they were slipping away from their whole purpose here, not only because of Seymour's proposition. The party debated the matter with excited horror, until Auron's gruff pronouncement, as usual, backed up her surmises with grim authority.
"He died an unclean death."
Ginnem's blood strewn from wall to wall came back to Lulu in a flash. She cast a sidelong glance at him, for his voice still sounded ragged. His eye was squeezed shut -- no, no, that was the one he could not open, and not for the first time she wondered how he had come by that scar. But his whole face was clenched and ashen, just as it had been when Yuna had banished Jyscal back to his proper plane. The mage was not given to gestures of familiarity, least of all towards the senior Guardian in the party, yet she felt an odd urge to touch the bare hand he kept propped outside the fold of his coat. In sympathy? Or to assure herself that Jyscal's was the only form that had slipped after them when they exited that mysterious membrane?
Enough, enough, the Farplane had unsettled her. Thoughts were swimming around her skull like pyreflies in a sphere. When Yuna insisted on entering the mansion alone to give Seymour her reply, Lulu found herself pacing away so that she would not encroach on the comfortable boundaries that she and Auron had established between one another, a barrier of aloof mutual respect. She found an arched walkway leading up to a mezzanine where she could keep watch over the front doors of the Maester's house. Tidus trailed after her, pestering her about Yuna's marriage, obliquely unburdening his young heart.
Glib answers came so easily. All you need is determination. As long as you have that, you don't need love. Lulu guessed she was saying it just to irk him, perhaps since her more customary target, Wakka, was out of range. Meanwhile she found herself gazing out across the weirdly-illuminated tendrils and branches of the living city, down to the red-cloaked figure standing beside the gate. She exhaled. Tidus was obviously not going to give her the peace to set her thoughts in order, and she was feeling kindly enough towards him now to deal with him patiently instead of driving him off with a verbal thunderbolt. At last, she gave up and retraced her steps back to the mansion's front yard. Tidus tagged after her. What was taking Yuna so long?
As the young blitzer continued to interrogate her, Lulu found herself circling back on her answers in contradiction, trying to deflect the naive boy from Yuna's affections while secretly yearning to cement the two of them together. They could be happy, then, if only Yuna would ever willingly be happy for her own sake instead of Spira's. Lulu knew her too well to hope for that, however. She didn't want to talk about this anymore. (Why was she still talking?) She almost laughed when Tidus turned the whole ridiculous conversation on its head and made a clumsy pass at her.
Now that, at least, was something she knew how to deal with. "I could add you to my list. Good luck, little boy. You'll need it." The scuff of Wakka's sandals on the flagstones as he turned towards them agape nearly brought a smirk to her lips.
With another musical laugh and head-shake, Lulu abandoned Tidus and glided over to Sir Auron, bestowing him that beseeching look that occasionally elicited an amused snort. "Assessment?" she asked, glancing towards the doors of the Guado residence.
She found herself gratified that Auron had bothered to answer her rhetorical question. In the satisfaction she felt at the one gruff word, an inner leap which never reached her cool, poised features, she had her answer.
"Trouble," she agreed, mimicking his snort. Lulu cast an appraising gaze over the swordsman's trim, solid figure, and felt the same gnat's sting of gratification as a moment before. Trouble indeed. Apparently Tidus and Wakka were not the only idiots in the party.