Designed To Fade

BY : tuatha
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 477
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.

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I moved away from the others, leaning against the wall where I could
observe them. Yuna had led Tidus off and they were leaning over the
balcony that overlooked Luca. Already a connection had formed
between the two. I'd seen it happen once before, between Braska and
Jecht, so it was no surprise that their children seemed to share the
same strange yet natural affinity for each other.

Tidus began to laugh, a forced sound that contained little humour.
Yuna was watching him with a startled look in her eyes. Wakka
scratched the back of his head. "Sin's toxin, ya think?"

The woman, Lulu, gave him a scathing glance that made him shrug and
close his mouth.

"Ha ha haha, ha ha ha ha haha!"

I turned a sharply assessing stare at Braska's daughter, who was now
echoing Tidus's strange laugh. Then bot the them turned in
synchrony, facing away from us and began again.

"Ha ha ha haha ha ha ha ha!"

After that they both dissolved into natural giggles before they
begantalktalk quietly to each other. Even Lulu wore a look of
consternation at their behaviour, but I shrugged mentally. It didn't
really matter, even if they were both raving lunatics, as long
as...I put the thought on hold. I knew what needed to be done, so
dwelling on it was a wasted effort. The rest of the group around me
seemed to content to bide their time, waiting for our summoner to be
ready to resume her pilgrimage. I waited too, it was something a
guardian quickly became used to.

XxxxxxXxxxxxX


The hymn became a gentle buzzing in my ears as my head fell forward,
then I snapped awake once more. I shifted a little, stiff from
crouching against the wall of the temple. Braska was within the
chamber of the fayth and Jecht and I waited outside.

"So how long is this going to take again?"

"It will take as long as it takes." I told him, again.

"Can't you even guess? I mean, is it going to be all night? Two
days? A week?"

I shook my head. "Just wait."

He wandered off, and I let my head fall back against the wall. I was
tired, so tired from my sleepless night and the long trek up the
temple steps.

"Aaaaaaahhh!"

I started upright at the sound of Jecht's cry, to see him on the
ground, cradling his forearm as he writhed with pain. I ran to him
and knelt beside him. "Fool! You were told not to touch anything!"

I gripped his forearm hard. In this temple, dedicated to fire, there
was no water to be had at all, and Braska was the only one who could
heal the man. I could take him out past the trials again to see one
of the priests but I couldn't leave Braska here alone.

I unstoppered my tokkuri, and began to trickle the little water I
carried carefully onto the raised welts on his palm and fingers.

"Shit, man, I'd rather drink it!" Jecht complained.

"It's water, nothing more.
"
"Ahhhh...all this time, I thought you were holding out on me." He
seemed a little better, and I examined the injury. The skin was
neither charred nor broken, but raised red welts that would
undoubtedly continue to swell and blister until treated. Braska
could be hours still, and the water I had was insufficient. "C'mon."
I pulled on his arm while I considered options, I didn't even have a
cloth I could dampen. "Got a hankie?"

"Nahhh..."

"Hmphh." I took off my coat and gave it to him. "Put this on."

"Why the hell...?"

"You'll see." I told him, and for once he complied without further
question. No doubt the pain had clouded his mind. I took his arm
carefully and unbuckled the straps on the sleeve, removing them, and
then gently placed the fabric over his palm. I began to soak the
cloth with the water, leaving a little in the bottom of the jug for
later. "Alright. How's that?"

"He, he, clever. You're teal eal Mr-fix-it-man, aren't you, Auron?"

I gave him a sharp look, but didn't say anything. After a time he
began to doze off, his body's natural reaction to injury, but I was
now sleepless. I'd been derelict in my duty, and I was
mortified at myself for it.

When we'd first entered the trials Braska had begun the arduous
process of transporting the elemental spheres, calling on all his
spiritual reserves to do so without suffering injury. Jecht had
wandered over to a pedestal and reached out to touch one of the
brightly glowing spheres that rested within its recess and I'd
slapped his hand away, warning him not to touch. But like an
obstinate child, Jecht's curiousity was impossible to contain, and I
should have known and guarded against it.

Finally there was movement, the grating sound of stone on stone as
the door to the chamber of the fayth began to open. I hurried
forward up the steps to meet Braska, who fell into my arms, his face
glistening with sweat. "My lord!"

"Auron..." His hands clutched my bare arms as I led him down the
steps. Jecht was huddled against the wall in my coat. I hated to
tell Braska, but it must be done.

"My lord, Sir Jecht, is...injured. He touched the sphere." I
gestured to the orb that glowed bright orange/red in the doorway. "I
can carry him out, if you can walk by yourself."

"No...I'll, let me see." He gathered his strength and knelt beside
Jecht, taking up the wet sleeve and exposing his palm.

Jecht stirred under his touch. "Finally made it, huh?"

"Yes, finally. Didn't Auron tell you not to touch anything?"

"Yeah, but you were...so I thought...anyway, I'm okay, Auron looked
after me."

"It's alright. Hold on." His hands were infinitely gentle as he
cradled Jecht's hand in his own, then he brushed his fingers over
his wrist, running down over the stretched and angry skin on his
hand. I was standing close enough to feel the 'glow' of warmth that
emanated from that touch and could see it reflected inht'ht's face.

There was a touch of awe there as he looked at Braska, finally
understanding some of a summoner's power. He looked down to where
Braska was still stroking his skin, his hands finally coming to
rest. Braska smiled. "Better?"

"Ah...yeahhhh..." He looked up at me then back to Braska again, then
down to his hand once more. "How'd you...do that?"

"Don't you have healing arts, in your Zanarkand?"

He rose, and I helped him up, and he in turn held a hand down to
Jecht who took it and also rose. "Yeah, but not like that. More like
Mr fix-it here." He waved at me.

Braska gave me a look of amusement. "Mr fix it?"

"I did what I could." I was uncomfortable speaking about it and it
showed. Braska turned away and staggered a little and I moved to his
side.

"Lean against me."

He complied, putting his arm over my shoulders and I supported him
until we reached the main section of the temple.

"We should rest here for the night, I think." I told him and he
nodded, and so we made our way to the rooms set aside for visiting
summoners. Once Braska was resting Jecht took off my coat and handed
it to me.

"Thanks. I'm sorry...about..."

"It was my fault." I decided it was time to explain, so he would
understand. "I'm supposed to protect you, and I failed. I
apologise."

"Wha...? But you're Braska's guardian."

"Yes. Yes I am. And Lord Braska told me to protect you."

He frowned. "Am I missing something here? When did he tell you that?
And why?"

"When we met you. As for why, you should ask him yourself."

"I don't get it. He tells you to do something, and that's it? No
discussion will be entered into, you just do it?"

"Pretty much."

He shook his head. "So if he said, 'Auron, stand on one foot and
jump up and down on the spot' you're gonna do that?"

"If he ever asked me to, yes. But he never would, so you can forget
about hoping to record it on a sphere."

Jecht started to laugh, and slapped my shoulder. "You can be a real
funny guy sometimes, when you're not being a total grouch."

I was feeling pretty gro now now, but decided not to mention it.
"C'mon. Bring your sword."

"Where're we going now?"

I didn't answer, but led him to the armoury of Kilika temple,
wandering around until I found the weapon grounds. A priest there
came over and bowed low. "Sir Guardian..."

I bowed in return, although not quite so low. "This man is guardian
to Summoner Braska. He requires instruction."

The priest bowed once more, this time in Jecht's direction who
looked at me inquiringly. I shrugged, then left him there with the
priest to let them sort things out together. Back in the room with
Braska I collapsed into the other bed, and was soon soundlessly and
dreamlessly asleep.


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