Aeon's Heart

BY : SPWP
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 960
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

Wakka looked around the room in front of the Chamber of the Fayth at the Kilika Temple, wiping his brow. It was like a furnace there.

“Hey, Yuna… you be careful in there, ya?”

"I will," the summoner glanced over her shoulder and nodded, slipping through the door to the Chamber, which somehow managed to be even hotter than it was outside. She didn't hesitate this time, just knelt gracefully before altaaltar and cupped her palms, one above the other. After a moment, a tall, thin figure materialized behind the altar.

“You summoned me,” he asked, resting his hand on the hilt of the slender sword hanging at his hip.

"Yes," Yuna nodded, straightening herself but remaining on her knees. "I did."

“So you are the newest Summoner,” he said, looking her over appraisingly, as though he was trying to gauge her worth somehow. “You have been to Besaid already?”

"Yes, I have," Yuna nodded again.

“Then you must be the one Valefor spoke of,” he mused. “What is your name, young one?”

"I am Summoner Yuna," she replied, realizing that dropping her formality towards the other Fayth might not be wise. "From the Isle of Besaid."

“Then you are the one,” the Fayth said with a slight nod. “Valefor has high opinions of your potential, Summoner Yuna. What is it you seek, by calling on our power?”

"Um," Yuna hesitated. "I suppose I seek to destroy Sin…."

“You suppose? You are aware of the price a Summoner must pay to defeat Sin, are you not?”

"All too well, I'm afraid," she nodded slowly. "If the majority of my Guardians had had it their way, I would not be here."

“And yet you are unsure of why you are here? Of why you risk that price? Destroying Sin is a noble cause, yet few are the Summoners who seek it alone. Not even your father’s goals were that simple.”

"There are a few other reasons," Yuna admitted. "None quite so major, but…. Everyone in Spira has lost much to Sin. My father, though it was his choice, Chappu, my mother… I suppose I do want revenge in a way."

“You don’t strike me as one to seek vengeance,” the Fayth said, actually chuckling slightly. “But you are making progress. Sin’s defeat is a means to an end, for the vast majority of Spira. Revenge, a lust for glory… many reasons, all accomplished by a single goal. Your end is something you will need to find, to give real meaning to the sacrifice you intend to make.”

"I do have reasons," Yuna remarked with a self-directed frown. "I'm just not sure exactly what they are. But… if I didn't have a real reason to do this, I wouldn't have stood with it when they argued, because I couldn't have."

“An excellent point,” the Fayth conceded. “And what will you do if your cause, when you find it, is not truly worthy?”

"It's clearly of enough importance to me," she pointed out. "And this is my sacrifice to make. The rest of Spira will benefit, but at the same time I'm doing this for myself."

The Fayth was silent for a few moments, considering her answer. “And do you intend to finish your quest after you reach Zanarkand? To face Sin, and use the Final Aeon as it is meant to be used?” Yuna just nodded, other agreements exhausted.

“If you fail to hold up your end of the bargain,” the Fayth warned her, “there will be a price to pay. Better to turn back before Zanarkand than after. However, if you wish to press on, then I will aid you in your pilgrimage.”

"Very well," Yuna nodded. "I will."

“I am called Ifrit, though you have the privilege to choose what you would call me.”

"Ifrit's fine," Yuna replied with a small smile.

“Very well,” Ifrit nodded. “Call on me when you require my aid, Summoner Yuna. Now, I suggest you be on your way before your potential Guardian causes trouble.”

"What," she questioned, raising an eyebrow. "…Tidus?"

“Yes,” Ifrit nodded. “He is in the Cloister, though through little fault of his own.”

"Yes, I probably should," Yuna nodded with a slight frown. "Just the way things worked out, being here at the same time as them."

“Remember what I told you before, Yuna,” Ifrit said. “The means do not always justify the ends, nor do they necessarily make one a good person. Take care on your pilgrimage, for the sake of yourself, and for those who care about you.”

"I will," Yuna nodded, rising and turning. "Thank you."

She was just stepping out of the Chamber, and noted that Tidus was indeed present, when she felt a rush of dizziness. Ifrit was joining with her, and the force was notably stronger than it had been with Valefor. She stumbled, this time not so forcefully as she had after obtaining her first Aeon, and landed on her knees. Lulu and Wakka ran up to her, but she waved them off, taking a moment to catch her breath before they headed back out….

~~~===~~~

“Hello, Sister,” Shiva said calmly as she sensed a presence in her Chamber. “Come to pay me a visit?”

“After a fashion,” Valefor nodded, materializing in the frigid room. Shiva’s Aeon-form dwarfed her own human body, but the last thing she was going to do was shift to hers in here. “Yuna and her Guardians have left Kilika with Ifrit’s blessing.”

“And you want to make sure I won’t cause any trouble for your pet Summoner,” Shiva asked with a slight smirk.

“More that I want to be sure you won’t cause her any undue trouble, Sister,” Valefor corrected. “If she isn’t ready, then she isn’t, though I would question your judgment. As would Ifrit,” she added quickly. “However, if you make things more difficult for her because of our…arrangement, there will be hell to pay.”

“And why would that be, Valefor,” Shiva chuckled. “What is so special about this Summoner that makes her so important to you? Besides the obvious, of course, since you seem to want me to leave that out of the picture.”

“What do you think Bahamut’s response would be to finding out that you were letting a petty rivalry with me get in the way of his plans for the dream-child?” Shiva snorted, her breath forming a light mist as it drifted away.

“If you think his plan is any more likely to work than his last one did, I think you’re as mad as Ixion and the Sisters are,” Shiva said with a light, musical laugh, brushing her hair back. “His ‘plans’ consist of adding one random element after another, and it’s never quite enough to finish the job. The cycle continues, as it always has, and as it always will.”

“Something has to change sometime, Shiva,” Valefor sighed. “Bahamut’s exhausted, Ixion and the Magus Sisters are losing their minds, Yojimbo doesn’t give a shit any more…. How long do you think it will be before the rest of us fall prey to time? Ifrit’s already beginning to give up, after what happened with Seymour. One of the most powerful Summoners to meet with Yunalesca, and look what happened there.”

“That’s another point for you to consider, Valefor. Seymour. The last time a coddled little brat of a Summoner reached Zanarkand, the Final Aeon was created and squandered. What will your precious Yuna do with hers, I wonder?” Fire flared behind Valefor’s eyes, and the air around her started to heat up.

“I have already told you, Shiva. All I am here to get from you is your promise to treat Yuna fairly, not your promise to serve her. You and Bahamut are the only ones left who might turn her down, and I know that I can trust Bahamut. You…I’m sure you can understand why I’m not so quick to trust you.”

“Of course I can,” Shiva smirked. “Don’t worry, Sister, I’ll treat your Summoner fairly. After all, I’m sure you’re right; Bahamut should throw a fit if I interfered with his precious little plan. Besides, look at it this way. If Yuna reaches Sin, then she will die, one way or another. If I were really as petty as you seem to think, then wouldn’t I be best served by sending her on by, whether she was ready or not?” Valefor’s expression darkened, but she took a deep breath before responding.

“You remember what I said about you *not* being a bitch when Lord Braska came through and you didn’t give him any grief about his entire party being misfits and outcasts?”

“Yes,” Shiva asked, with a too-sweet smile.

“I take it back,” Valefor said crisply, before fading out and returning to Besaid, while Shiva leaned back and laughed musically, the sound echoing from the icy walls of her Chamber….

~~~===~~~

Yuna slipped out on the deck, not for any particular reason but to sit in the fresh air rather than the musky dampness of her quarters. It became apparent that she was not alone, however, when a surprised shout from Wakka pierced the air.

"Whoa! What's that called?!"

"Doesn't have a name," a calmer, though slightly bothered voice replied, and a shrugging Tidus came into view along with Wakka and the rest of the Besaid Aurochs. "Anyone can do it if they try." Wakka looked at a couple members of the team, then back at Tidus.

“Show us one more time, ya?”

Tidus nodded mutely, then his gaze settled on the blitzball. One of the Aurochs - Botta, Yuna thought, tossed it to him and he launched into a routine that was vaguely familiar to the Summoner. It was when he settled into a spin that it hit her. Jecht. /Well,/ she thought, /I suppose Sir Jecht must be his father../ Tidus finished the shot perfectly, the ball spinning off into the distance, then arcing back in for Wakka to catch it. The Aurochs went running off to the front of the boat, presumably to practice, as Tidus walked over to Yuna.

Yuna greeted him with a short flick of her wrist. "That was the Jecht Shot, wasn't it," she questioned, tilting her head curiously. Tidus looked at her, clearly surprised.

“How do you know that?”

"Sir Jecht showed it to me when I was a child," she replied, then giggled. "He called it the 'Sublimely Magnificent Jecht Shot Mark III.'"

“Stupid name, huh,” Tidus asked, shaking his head slightly. “You know what,” he asked, moving away from her a bit, leaning on the railing. “There is no Mark I or Mark II, you know? My old man said the name Mark III was just something to hook the crowd. He said they’d come back every night, expecting to see the Mark I and Mark II. And they really did come back. I used to get so mad….” Yuna giggled slightly, and Tidus sighed, hanging his head.

“Is he alive, you think,” he asked after a few moments of silence.

"I don't know," she answered honestly, frowning slightly. "But.. Sir Jecht /was/ my father's guardian…."

“So he’s famous here too?”

"Yes," Yuna nodded with another short laugh. She noticed the blitzer's somewhat dejected posture then and added, "so if anything happened to him, I should think word would get around fast."

“Uh huh,” Tidus said, still slumped over the railing of the ship.

"What… would you do if you found him," she asked after a moment, recalling his earlier less-than-fond remarks of Jecht.

“Who knows,” Tidus shrugged, shifting off the rail. “I thought he died ten years ago. Well…. I’d probably smack him one,” he said, punching the air. “After everything he put Mom and me through…. And because he was famous, I was always…. Well, you should know, Yuna. Your father’s famous too. Everyone in Spira knows him, right? Ain’t it tough?”

"It," Yuna hesitated uncertainly. "It is hard to follow in his footsteps as a summoner," she admitted.

“Sure,” Tidus nodded, pretty sure she knew what he was talking about.

"But… the honor of having a father like him surpasses all that, I think…."

“Well, there wasn’t much to honor about my old man, that’s for sure,” Tidus said bitterly after a moment to try and make sense out of what she’d just said.

"You shouldn't talk about your father like that," Yuna scolded, frowning slightly.

“I’ve got the right,” Tidus shot back defensively.

"I guess you do," Yuna admitted after a moment. As if on cue, a blitzball flew in from the front of the boat, hitting Tidus in the head. The blond turned to see Wakka and the Aurochs waving him over.

“Hey, show us that move again,” Wakka shouted.

“Yo,” Tidus yelled back, apparently back to his cheerful self as he started off for the other blitzers.

Yuna turned on her heel, shaking her head and laughing a bit. Something was telling her she wasn't going to get much peace sitting on the deck. She made her way back to her quarters, pulled her sash from her robes and settled into bed. As she was beginning to relax, she heard Valefor’s mental voice.

“Yuna, are you free to talk for a bit?”

"Valefor…?"

“It’s me, Yuna,” the voice confirmed, with a mental nod of sorts. “Can you Summon me? You don’t need the full Summoning, but I’m afraid I can’t just appear at will there.”

Yuna nodded uncertainly, sat up in her bed, and muttered the Summoning spell quietly.

“Thank you,” Valefor said, in voice this time ae she shimmered into being in Yuna’s quarters. “How are you doing?”

"Quite well," the summoner replied quietly. "And you?"

“Well enough,” Valefor smiled. “Better now that I’m here. It sounds like things went well with Ifrit today.”

"Yes," Yuna nodded cheerfully. "They did."

“Good,” Valefoddeodded, coming over to sit down next to the summoner. “I hope they go well with Shiva as well, when you meet her.”

"Thank you," Yuna replied, "but I'll be meeting with I nex next."

“He’s generally agreeable, when you know how to talk to him,” Valefor smiled. “Shiva’s anything but, most of the time. With Ixion, just focus on sticking to the letter of the rites, and you’ll be fine.”

"I'll remember that," Yuna nodded slightly. "But… Valefor… Was there some reason you came here?"

“Mostly, I wanted to see you, know how you were doing,” the Fayth smiled, putting an arm around Yuna affectionate “It “It’s been a long day, for both of us.”

"Yeah," Yuna admitted, curling into the embrace slightly. "Sorry."

“Don’t be,” Valefor said quietly, leaning her head against Yuna’s shoulder. “You’re still new to a lot of things, this among them.”

"Mhm," Yuna admitted somewhat inarticulately.

“Tired?”

"Comfortable," Yuna corrected with a small smile. "Maybe a bit tired, but I did take a nap earlier."

“Good,” Valefor smiled. “I don’t want to keep you up too often, after all. It’s nice, though, being able to spend time with you like this.”

"Yeah, it is," Yuna nodded, as Valefor rubbed her side slightly.

“Yuna…be careful, okay? I have a feeling things are going to get harder fairly quickly.”

"I will, Valefor," Yuna smiled warmly, laying a hand across the Fayth's stomach.

“Good,” Valefor sighed contentedly, snuggling up to the summoner better, turning her head to kiss her gently. “It’s probably nothing, but I don’t want to take chances.”

"There's no room for mistakes, anyway," Yuna frowned slightly. "But hopefully I won't need to remind myself."

“Just don’t be too hard on yourself, okay? Burning yourself out won’t do any good either.”

"They wouldn't let me, anyway," Yuna shook her head, a smile returning to her face.

“You have good guardians,” Valefor agreed with a smile of her own. “And good friends. Any further thought to what I saiout out Tidus?”

"Sir Jecht is his father," Yuna replied, though she knew that wasn't what Valefor had meant. "It looks like Lulu thinks he's a bit off, I'm not sure if Wakka believes him, and Kimahri…. Actually, I don't really think Kimahri minds him."

“What he has said is true,” Valefor said quietly. “I think they’ll warm up to him in time, given the chance. What do you think of him?”

"He doesn't belong here," Yuna replied softly, then seemed to realize what she must have sounded like. "N-Not that I don't like him, but…. He was happy where he was. Here… I don't know, he seems cheerful enough here… but he's not happy, you know? It'll get better once he's adjusted to not being in Zanarkand, but adjusting to Spira…" Yuna paused and collected herself. "Like in Kilika yesterday."

“Sendings weren’t common where he came from, no,” Valefor agreed quietly. “No need for them, really…. The world we all fight to have again.”

"It's not just that, but yeah," Yuna nodded. "I do like him, though."

“Good to hear,” Valefor smiled. “I think he likes you, too.”

"I asked him," Yuna remarked, then added, "to be my guardian."

“And what did he say?”

"He didn't exactly understand, then Lulu cut him off…. I don't think she likes the idea."

Valefor chuckled slightly. “I know the type, she’s just concerned for you. Once she knows that you’re serious, and that he won’t be getting in the way, I think she’ll warm up to it.”

"Well," Yuna giggled a bit. "From the way she talks, it's almost like she thinks we're babysitting Wakka…."

“I don’t know much about him, but what I do know suggests that might not be too far off,” Valefor smiled. “He’s very much a child of Yevon,” she said with a slight sigh.

"It's really kind of funny," Yuna laughed. "Anyone who didn't know them would think they hated each other or something. Not sure if I'd call it the exact opposite, but they get along a lot better than you'd think, usually."

“They’re both still breathing,” the Fayth chuckled. “That has to count for something.”

"Sometimes I wonder just how many times they have Chappu to thank for that, though."

“I can’t be sure,” Valefor admitted, “but I am sure he’d be glad to see that they were still close, as hard as it is to see.”

"Probably," Yuna nodded, and then frowned. "Think that was the only time I've seen him mad at her, though."

“Grief can do horrible things to people, and to their relationships,” Valefor said with a tone that suggested she knew it too well from experience.

"Yeah," Yuna nodded. "In this case, no, but… you sound like you know what it's like…. What happened?"

“There’s some bad blood between Shiva and I,” Valefor said softly. “From before we became Fayths. It’s a very long story, but she’s never really forgiven me for how things happened, and when I’m around her…well, I don’t exactly think like I probably should.”

"Oh," Yuna replied simply, frowning a bit.

“That’s part of what I was up to today, acly,”ly,” Valefor sighed. “She’s anything but easy to deal with, if she doesn’t like you.”

"What did you do?"

“Just secured her promise that she would treat you fairly,” Valefor said quickly. “Nothing more than that, Yuna.”

"Oh," Yuna said again. "Okay."

“I’m not trying to get them to treat you any differently, Yuna,” Valefor assured her. “I just want to be sure that things are handled fairly, I wasn’t sure if Shiva would. The others aren’t going to be trouble that way.”

"All right," the Summoner nodded. "In that case, thank you."

“You’re welcome,” Valefor smiled, nuzzling her gently. “You’re going to be in Luca soon, aren’t you?”

"Yes," Yuna affirmed. "Tomorrow morning."

“I wish your friends luck in the tournament,” Valefor murmured. “Though, from the sound of things on the deck, they’re certainly planning on having enough skill to balance things out if they don’t get it.”

"Wakka's good at it, I think," Yuna remarked after a moment of listening to the shouting coming from above. "And it sounds like Tidus knows what he's doing."

“He certainly should,” Valefor chuckled. “After all, it was as much an obsession in Zanarkand as it is here, and there was less need to focus on things besides the game for him.”

"People probably expected it from him, too…. After how well Sir Jecht did, anyway."

“I suspect it was more to spite Jecht, but the end result is the same,” Valefor nodded. “Those two are odd, in many ways.”

"He doesn't seem to like his father much," Yuna frowned. "I can't see why, though I suppose I didn't know Sir Jecht long."

“Dreams are not always pleasant,” Valefor sighed slightly. “Nor are lives, I’m afraid. Especially not Jecht’s and Tidus, much of the time.”

"What do you mean," Yuna asked. "I imagine I know what you mean about Tidus, but…. Is Sir Jecht alive?"

“After a fashion,” Valefor said after a moment to think about it. “Much as we are, Unsent, but not entirely a Fiend.”

"Um… I… Don't quite understand."

“You know that we, the Fayths, are Unsent, by choice. Yet we haven’t become Fiends despite hundreds of years, though some of us are starting to lsomesome of the will that has allowed us to maintain that strength. Well, Sir Jecht is in a similar position. It wasn’t meant to work that way, but…” Valefor sighed again. “I probably shouldn’t explain too much to you, Bahamut could do so much better.”

"…Okay," Yuna agreed after a moment, slightly reluctantly.

“It’s…complicated,” Valefor said softly. “And very much contrary to the teachings of Yevon, in ways. I’m not entirely sure you’d want to hear it, at this point.”

Yuna nodded mutely, looking confused.

“Maybe you should get some rest before tomorrow,” Valefor said quietly, giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek.

"I probably should," Yuna agreed. "I guess I'll just have to hope they keep it down up there."

“Unless you want me to stick around and help you drown it out,” Valefor said with a slight giggle.

"Hm," Yuna questioned, raising an eyebrow. Then a look of slow recognition crossed her face and she broke into a poorly restrained laughing fit. "Valefor," she shook her head, the exclamation quiet but still admonishing. She paused and, with a self-conscious smile, added, "I think… I'd like that, though."

“Then let’s see just how sturdy this ship-furniture is,” Valefor smirked, shifting to kiss Yuna heatedly as the two leaned back on the bed….


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