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Fanfiction ► Silver Wings 3: Back Into My Arms

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A Chagrined Fool.
Aug 3, 2005
People's Fragile Dreams, Relinquished from Anixiet
Me: T_T I'll miss this fic when it ends! T_T
Gem: Oh yeah, since Golden Heart claimed to be the first new fan of your unwritten fan fic,
Nanala: We shall be the official second new fan of that fic!=^_^=
EDIT: I'm not sure sadly if it would be best if I nominated your fic since ofthe fact GoldenxHeart did, and they would probably only want one entrance.. thing.. for each fic!o_O Sorry!
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A Chagrined Fool.
Aug 3, 2005
People's Fragile Dreams, Relinquished from Anixiet
Me: Lol. yeah! I agree!.. Hey, I jsut realized something, I'm not sure but, isn't there only ten options for a poll?o_O
Gem: We shall vote for RedHarry's definatly!=^_^=
Nanala:.. I never realized that our name looks like this emotion kinda,"T_T"o.o


a wanderer
Dec 23, 2004
in a world of small minded people
lol i <3 you guys! you rock! BEST FANS EVER!

Okay, I know I said the story would be over in one chapter after this one, but I was wrong. So here’s how it’s going to work. This chapter is part one of the end. The next chapter (which I’m currently working on) is part two. The chapter after that will be the final chapter. Which brings me to another important piece of information. There will be TWO different endings to this story. I had these two in my head from the moment I started this story, and I figured that once I got to this point it’d be easy to choose between them, but it’s not. So therefore I will post both of them on the same day and you can read them both and decide which one you like best for yourselves. Sound good? Good! Love you all!

SILVER WINGS 3: Back Into My Arms

Chapter Thirty-Three: Awakenings, Reunions, And A Vengeful Al Bhed​

With Gippal’s ridiculous theory and the doctor’s less than enthusiastic outlook on his recovery, the fact that his blue eyes were gazing into hers gave Yuna a real reason to smile. He seemed a little confused, but she was expecting that. Without his prompting, Yuna explained everything that had happened – omitting Gippal’s outlandish theory. He leaned back onto his pillow and seemed to be digesting everything. She kissed his fingertips gently, “You’re gonna be just fine, Shu.”

He looked at her with almost a startled look but it was quickly gone. He gave her a weak smile, “I guess you saved my life, huh?”

“Yeah,” she replied with a light blush. She hated when people made a big deal over her actions. To her, she was just doing what anyone with her ability would do if they were put in her shoes, “I used Curaga on you several times. The doctors said that’s probably what kept you alive until we got you here. It also helped to heal the organs that were damaged.”

His eyes scanned the room and finally fixed on the window at the far side. The sun was shining through the blinds that were half opened to allow in the daylight. He took a deep breath, “When do you think I’ll be able to get out of here?”

“I don’t know.” Replied Yuna as she got to her feet, “I haven’t even told your doctor you’re awake. I’ll go do that now. The sooner we get you out of here, the better. We need to handle Seymour as soon as possible.”

He didn’t say much while the doctor probed him and poked him. He just allowed the examination, never once taking his eyes off of the window. Yuna began to notice that he seemed to be avoiding her gaze. She tried to convince herself that it was just her imagination, but when she stepped into his line of view for the fifth time and for the fifth time he looked away, she realized that it wasn’t a coincidence.

Something was wrong…

“You’re in surprisingly good shape, Mr. Rayor.” The doctor said, catching Yuna’s attention as he spoke, “I’d like you to stay for observation, though.”

“Do I have to do that?”


“Then I’d like to leave. I’ve got some things that I need to take care of.”

The doctor frowned but nodded, “If you insist. Just don’t aggravate the wound. I’m surprised it healed as quickly as it did. Must be Lady Yuna’s magic that caused that.” The doctor smiled at Yuna, “I’ll have his release paperwork ready within the hour. I’ll need it filled out before we can let him go.”

Yuna nodded at the doctor as he walked out of the room. Blue eyes focused on her for the first time in over an hour, “Did you register me as Tidus Rayor?”

“Yes,” Yuna replied, “I figured there would be less questions asked. It would be a little strange to say that Shuyin Bacohl is currently inside the body of Tidus Rayor and they’ve been stabbed…” she giggled a little to herself, “It was hard enough explaining what happened without mentioning Seymour.”

“Why didn’t you mention him?”

“I didn’t want to start a panic.” She responded, sitting down on the mattress next to him, “Rikku’s already going on about flesh-eating zombies. I didn’t want the entire world to start thinking like that.”

“Understandable.” He replied, eyes focusing back onto the window.

Yuna frowned and scooted closer to him on the mattress, “Shuyin, are you angry with me?”

His eyes flickered over her face for a brief moment before going back to the window, “No.”

“Then what is it?”

“I’ve just got a lot on my mind.”

“Tell me. Maybe I can help.”

He shook his head, “No you can’t. I don’t even understand it myself.”

Yuna knew when to stop pressing for information. Shuyin was closed off to her for some reason and she’d have to be patient. He’d come to her when he was ready to talk. Until then, she’d have to just wait.

It certainly wasn’t going to be easy, though. Something was obviously bothering him, but instead of talking to her, he shut her out leaving her to assume that whatever it was involved her in some way.

Was he upset because she hadn’t told him about Seymour? Was he upset that she was – although only in name – married to the blue-haired devil?

She sighed and stood, “I’m going to go and see about your release papers. If you’re up to it, I’d like to go to Zanarkand and get the book I borrowed from Dona. I’m hoping it might explain why Seymour is back.”

He nodded, taking his eyes from the window long enough to ask, “Where are my clothes?”

Yuna had forgotten he was currently clad in a standard issue hospital gown. His clothes had been badly bloodied in the aftermath of his stabbing. Gippal had taken them to see about getting the stains out. She walked to the closet and pulled the spare clothes that Gippal had dropped off for Shuyin to use in lieu of them, “You’ll have to borrow these until we get the stains out of the others.” She replied, laying them at the foot of the bed, “Gippal’s a bit taller than you so they’ll probably be long, but they should be okay otherwise.”

“Thanks.” He replied softly. She could feel his eyes on her as she walked to the door and as she touched the knob he suddenly asked, “If Tidus never came back, would you be happy?”

She spun on her heels, eyes wide with shock, “What kind of question is that?”

“Just answer it.”

“I’d be heartbroken.” She said, honestly, putting a hand over her heart, “He and I may be having our problems, but I still love him.”

He smiled warmly, “I was hoping you’d say that.”

“Why? I mean…I thought…” she stopped, biting her lower lip as she did.

She stood frozen in place as he gently slid himself out of the bed, placing his feet firmly on the floor. He gripped the table for support as he rose slowly and stiffly. He shuffled toward her until he was mere inches from her. She could feel the heat radiating off of his body, his breath gently caressing her face. He trailed his fingers softly through her hair and along her cheek and jawline. Lips touched lips gently at first, and then more demanding as he pulled her body taut against his own. Yuna didn’t respond at first, but soon found it beyond her to deny him. His heart pounded in time with her own and she found herself caught up in the kiss.

Then suddenly his lips were gone from hers. She opened her eyes slowly to find him backing slowly back to the bed and sitting on the edge. His eyes seemed to probe into her and she suddenly felt as though he’d seen all of her secrets. For having wanted to avoid her for so long, he was certainly making up for lost time. His eyes flickered from her lips to her eyes several times before he whispered hoarsely, “Are you sure you love him?”

Yuna’s spine stiffened, “Of course I’m sure.”

He shrugged in a nonchalant way and leaned back on his elbows, “Okay.” He said, “Don’t you have some paperwork to fill out?”

Yuna frowned, but didn’t reply. She didn’t trust what she’d say. As angry as she was by his audacity, she was afraid that she’d unwillingly admit what he had been implying. It was a feeling she’d been trying to hide deep inside of herself for the past few months. She wasn’t about to admit it now. Once this mess was solved, Tidus would be back with her and this thing with Shuyin could stay buried.


Clunky green hands and feet.

A big fake green head.

Paine stared dejectedly at Tromell’s “idea”. For some reason he thought a dime-store Guado costume would fool the people she and Seifer would have to pass on their way to Yuna. She desperately wanted to thank the man, but turn down his idea. However, the thought of tipping Seymour off frightened her. She couldn’t risk that mad-man doing something drastic.

And so she would suffer the costume. If only her counterpart was as diplomatic.

“You’ve got to be joking!” shrieked Seifer as he gawked into the mirror, “I look like fiend vomit!”

“Nobody will suspect you.” Tromell retorted, motioning toward the other costume in the corner, “Or would you rather go as a moogle?”

Seifer frowned in thought for a moment, “I suppose vomit isn’t too bad…”

“I thought so.”

Paine sighed and took the mask off to get a clearer view of Tromell, “Are you sure Yuna is at Luca hospital?”

“As far as I know. That’d be the closest hospital to take Tidus to. If she’s not there, you might want to check around Luca. I know Nooj has a town home there. They might be using that.”

“Lord Tromell…” came a sheepish voice from the doorway. A young Guado woman was standing there, ringing her large hands together in nervous consternation, “The Al Bhed leader, Cid, is here to see you, sir.”

Tromell nodded, “Tell him I’ll be with him in a few moments.”

The girl nodded and left the room. Paine slipped the mask back on, “I think we’d better get a move on. Cid will squeal if he sees us and that’ll just give Seymour a heads up.”

Seifer glared at the mask in his hands before sliding it over his head, “Let’s go. The faster I get out of this thing, the better.”

Tromell said his goodbyes to the duo of faux-Guado and then buzzed the young woman, “You can send him in, now.”

Cid sauntered into the room like he owned the place. Tromell wished that he was living in a larger home instead of the small three room house just northwest of Lord Seymour’s old home and LeBlanc’s current chateau. However, there was nothing he could do about it at the moment so he resigned himself to accepting the man’s less than impressed glances about the room. Tromell rose to greet his visitor, “What can I do for you today, Cid? You don’t usually come to Guadosalam.”

Cid snorted, “With good reason. You destroyed Home and killed my brethren.”

“Then why are you here?”

“Gots a question for you.” Cid replied, spinning the chair in front of Tromell’s desk and sitting down backward upon it. Tromell sat down in his own chair across from Cid and waited for Cid to speak. It didn’t take long, “I got a strange phone call earlier.”

“What does that have to do with me.”

“Well, I’m looking into finding out who’s behind the attack on Home. I know the Guado carried it out, and that Seymour came up with the idea, but there had to be someone who gave them directions to Home.”

Tromell’s hackles rose and he leaned back in his chair, “What do you want?”

“The person who called said you could tell me who it was that led the Guado to Home. Is that true?”

“Perhaps.” Replied Tromell. He was trying his best to be evasive in the hopes that Cid would give up. It wasn’t Gippal’s fault that Seymour had the Guado follow him. Gippal hadn’t done what Seymour had demanded. Only Tromell and Seymour knew about the order which meant that Seymour was the one who called Cid. Of course, Tromell couldn’t tell Cid that.

“Who was it?”

It was a direct question. Tromell’s first instinct was to lie, but then he’d have to come up with a name and when Cid went after that person, Tromell would have to deal with the guilt that came from framing an innocent person. Yet, if he told Cid the truth it would destroy Gippal’s life. Tromell didn’t know Gippal well, but he knew him enough to know that he was a good person and one of Nooj’s closest friends. Tromell swallowed hard, “I’m afraid that’s classified information.” He replied, hoping that would be enough.

It wasn’t.

Cid leaned in closer, tilting the chair up on its hind legs, “It was Gippal…wasn’t it?”

That was something Tromell wasn’t expecting. Cid had figured it out on his own. He didn’t know what to say. His mind was racing wildly. It wasn’t until Cid stood that he realized his chance to deny the accusation had passed him.

His silence had condemned Gippal.

Cid twisted the chair back to its original position, “Thanks for your time, Tromell. I found out all I needed to know.”


Nooj’s head was pounding, but he found strength enough to stand and try the door. It was locked just as he knew it would be, but it had been worth a try. The room was dark but he thought he could hear breathing, “Is anybody there?”

A small gasp, followed by some scuffling and the sound of chains connecting with the stone walls answered him. He saw a shadow move, “Noojie…?”



Nooj bounded toward the sound of her voice and fell to her knees before her, reaching out in the darkness to touch her hair and face. He pressed feverish kisses along her forehead and cheeks, “I was so worried…I thought…”

“Another guest for the party, I guess.”

Nooj spun to the sound of the voice and saw another shadow, “Who’s that?”


“What are you doing here?”

Squall’s shadow shrugged in the darkness, “I don’t know. Rinoa brought me here. Psychotic bitch.”


LeBlanc touched his arm gently, “She’s working with Seymour. Seymour brought me here under her orders. She got Squall and then Seymour, obviously, got you.”

Nooj felt the chains on her feet and wrists as he kissed her again and he frowned, “Are you chained up too, Squall?”


How was he supposed to get them out when he was the only one not chained? He didn’t have a key or anything to pick a lock with. This wasn’t looking good. He asked, “Can you guys free yourselves?”

“Don’t you think we would have done already if we could?” snapped Squall. He growled in his throat, “Sorry, I’m just edgy right now.”


“So what do we do, Noojie? We can’t just sit here and wait for them to finish with us.”

Nooj nodded, “That’s true. I’m not sure what to do, though. I don’t have my cane and Seymour stole my phone. Even if he hadn’t, I doubt I’d get service down here. Shouting wouldn’t work.”

“So we’re stuck, then?” Squall stated, the chains clanging as he squirmed.

Nooj thought for a moment, “We can just wait until they come for us. They’ll need to untie you in order to move us. We’ll make our move then.”

“And if they just kill us without unchaining us?” questioned Squall.

“Let’s just hope that doesn’t happen.” Nooj replied. He could feel LeBlanc tremble against his elbow and he wanted to comfort her, but there was nothing he could say that would take the fear away. He was afraid too…


Gippal sighed, “Are you sure, Wakka? Okay. Thanks.”

“What is it?” Rikku asked as Gippal hung up the telephone and collapsed on the sofa, “We can add Squall and Rinoa to the missing and presumed dead list.”

“Oh no…” Rikku wailed, sitting down next to Gippal and putting her head on his shoulder.

“And nobody has been able to get in touch with Nooj for the last three hours.” Continued Gippal, “So…”

“We don’t know for sure what happened. He might just be taking a well deserved rest.”

“Or Seymour got to him…”

Rikku frowned and pulled her knees to her chest, “This is freaking me out, Gippal.” She whispered, hoarsely, “It’s like Revenge of the Body Snatchers or something!”

Gippal smiled at her, “What is it with you and horror movies lately?” he asked, “Zombies? Body Snatchers? What’s next, Dracula?”

“Are you making fun of me?” she cried, feigning a wounded expression.

“Never m’lady!” joked Gippal.

“Good!” she announced triumphantly, curling up closer against his body. He wrapped a protective arm over her shoulders and she sighed contentedly. If things weren’t so messed up, life would have been perfect. But, it was as perfect as it could be at this point so she was willing to take what she could get.

A pounding at the door ruined the mood and Gippal removed his arm from Rikku and rose to answer it. He raised an eyebrow at the sight of two grotesque Guado staring past him and into the house, “If you’re planning to case the place, it’s usually done when the residents aren’t home.”

The smaller of the two Guado’s head shook in disagreement, raising the large hands to lift the head off. Gippal was about to let out a shriek when a familiar shock of gray hair caught his attention. The taller Guado did the same – but this time it was blonde that seemed familiar.

“OMIGOD!!!” came Rikku’s shout from just behind him as she shot passed him and jumped into Paine’s arms, embracing the girl in the tightest hug Gippal had ever seen in person. But just as quickly, Rikku pulled away and backed up to Gippal. She eyed Paine, “You’re not a flesh-eating zombie, are you?”

It was then Paine’s turn to eye her friend strangely, “What?”

“Ignore her.” Gippal said, reaching out to poke Paine’s arm, “I can’t believe this…”

“Believe it. You can thank Baralai for us not being burnt to crisps.”

Rikku asked, “What did Baralai do?”

“He pulled us into the Farplane Glen when everything started to explode around us,” Paine explained, “We waited out the situation down there.”

Seifer leaned against the doorframe, scowling he asked, “Can I get the **** out of this suit or am I going to have to be a Guado forever?”

Without waiting for an answer, Seifer marched into the room and stripped out of his Guado costume in the middle of the floor. Gippal was eternally grateful he wore clothes under it. Otherwise that image might be scarred into his memory, and not in a good way.

“So, care to tell me why you went to the Farplane in the first place?” Gippal asked Paine once she had taken off her costume as well and was sitting across from him and Rikku.

“Well…” Paine began. It was an exceptionally long story, but she knew he needed to hear all of it. She explained about Seifer’s cryptic message from the fayth and their need to discuss things with their fayth, “He said the merger wasn’t real. That there never was a merger. Then we heard this strange chanting and Baralai pulled us into the Glen.”

“No merger?” whispered Gippal, “Then what’s going on?”

Rikku rolled her eyes, “What, already given up on your theory?”

Gippal opened his mouth to retort when Paine interrupted, “What theory?”

“Gippal thinks Tidus has multiple personalities!” she sighed, “Isn’t that stupid?”

“Not at all.” Paine replied, “It’s actually really close to what’s going on.”

“It is?!” cried Rikku, shock in every word she uttered as she stared wide-eyed, first at Gippal and then Paine and then back to Gippal again.

Paine nodded, “The fayth didn’t want to talk to us, but we kept going at him until he finally relented. He explained that the “merger” we thought was occurring isn’t exactly what’s going on. There is a merger, but it isn’t between Shuyin and Tidus and it has nothing to do with their souls.” She paused, squirming to get more comfortable, “1000 years ago when Lenne was killed, Shuyin was thrown into that cave and left to die.”

“And he got pissed and tried to destroy Spira…we know that already!” interrupted Rikku, “Tell us something we don’t know.”

“I’m trying to!” Paine snapped, effectively quieting her disruptive friend. She sighed and continued, “It turns out that Shuyin didn’t do anything to us. He was in the Farplane the whole time. Jecht, Auron, and Braska backed that up. All three of them met Shuyin quite a long time before Vegnagun was activated.”

“Then what happened?” asked Gippal, “Who was the guy that activated Vegnagun?”

“The fayth says he doesn’t have a name. He’s the shadow.” She looked pointedly at Rikku, “Do you remember just before we reached the Glen, the fayth spoke to Yuna and said that Shuyin’s feelings began to act on their own and that he’s now only a shadow?”


“It was the shadow that we were fighting.” She explained, “The fayth said that when Shuyin was trapped in the cave, he was so angry and guilty and upset that he forced himself to forget everything that had happened so that he could focus on trying to survive. However, those feelings had to go somewhere so the shadow was created in the deep recesses of Shuyin’s mind.”

“Like another personality…” Gippal spoke, quietly.

Paine nodded, “Exactly, but it’s not another personality. This shadow only feels anger and guilt and hungers only for revenge. When Shuyin died, his spirit went to the Farplane, but the shadow stayed behind – bent on getting that revenge.”

“So it wasn’t Shuyin that attacked us in the cave that day…” whispered Gippal.

“No, it wasn’t.”

Rikku bit her lip in thought, “So…then Shuyin is Tidus?”

Paine shook her head, “Not exactly.” She stopped to think for a moment before continuing, “Tidus is a dream of the fayth just like we were told. That wasn’t a lie. He was created with the intention of defeating Sin because by that point Sin was the biggest threat to Spira. The shadow wasn’t. The fayth said that if Shuyin hadn’t died, he would have been the one to defeat Sin. He and Lenne’s original destiny was to face Sin and defeat it, but hardheadedness and stubbornness changed that so they had to do it again 1000 years into the future.”

“But I’m still confused.” Said Rikku, “How come Shuyin killed Baralai? How come he knows about all the stuff the shadow did while he was in the Farplane? Why is he inside of Tidus’ body? Why’d they create Tidus instead of just bringing Shuyin back?”

“I wondered that too,” admitted Paine, “but it actually makes a lot of sense. Shuyin was destined to defeat Sin, but Shuyin was split into two – the good Shuyin in the Farplane, and the shadow. The fayth knew that there would be too many problems bringing Shuyin back at that point. He’d merge with the shadow, remember Lenne…it just wasn’t something they could deal with at that point. Sin needed to be defeated first. So they created Tidus as a duplicate of Shuyin. This way he was fulfilling his promise to Lenne as well as completing Shuyin’s destiny without screwing anything else up.”

“Then what happened?”

“When Sin was defeated, the fayth stopped dreaming and Tidus disappeared. It was then that the shadow started to really act up. When we defeated him, he calmed at the sight of Lenne since both he and Shuyin feel the same way about her. Then he went to the Farplane and he also merged with Shuyin. This way Shuyin was complete again. Shuyin then remembered all the things the shadow did and convinced himself that he had done them. He hadn’t, but he thought he had.”

“But wouldn’t Shuyin be able to remember Tidus’ stuff too?”

“Well, no…” explained Paine, “What happened was that when Yuna asked to have Tidus back, he was sent almost immediately. Shuyin, at this point, hadn’t met the shadow and didn’t really care but once the merger with the shadow had take place, that evil part of him was furious that Tidus was getting to live again. The shadow was the one in control of Shuyin’s body when he was doing all those horrible things, but the difference was that this time Shuyin was consciously aware that he was doing these things, he just didn’t know why. He couldn’t control himself.”

“So Shuyin did kill Baralai…” Gippal muttered.

“Indirectly, yes.”

“And that explains why he’d want Yunie turned back into Lenne.” Stated Rikku.

“Well, Shuyin would have wanted that too, but he wouldn’t have done anything about it. The shadow would have. The fayth said that the shadow did the things Shuyin didn’t have the guts to pull off himself. It’s his…his evil side. We all have one. His just manifested itself into something he simply can’t control.”

Seifer cleared his throat and spoke for the first time since this conversation had begun, “Why don’t you tell them the really fun part?” he asked, sarcastically.

Paine sighed and frowned, “Oh yes. The shadow is becoming stronger than Shuyin and Tidus combined. The fayth said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the shadow overtakes Tidus eventually and makes him do things he wouldn’t normally do.”

“…like hit Yunie…” Rikku said in a whisper. She blinked firmly several times and leaned back against the sofa cushion, “This explains so much…”

“He hit Yuna?” Paine repeated, as if testing the words for truth, “I’d say that was definitely the shadow’s doing.”

“Is there a way for them to overpower him?” Gippal asked.

“The fayth said that only Shuyin can defeat him. He exists because Shuyin can’t forgive himself for what happened to Lenne. He’s there because deep inside Shuyin wants him to be there. He has to forgive himself, or the shadow will remain and will keep getting stronger.”

Rikku wrinkled her nose, “Well that’s just dumb. I don’t like that ending! I was hoping for some serious blood-shed!”

Gippal laughed, “Now we’ve entered the genre of action movie…”

“Meanie!” Rikku cried, sticking her tongue out at him.

Paine laughed at her friends and then nodded, “I agree, Rikku. I don’t like it anymore than you do. I’d like it a little more cut and dry, but look at it this way. We still have good old Seymour to deal with.”

Rikku grinned broadly, “Blood-shed here we come!”


A Chagrined Fool.
Aug 3, 2005
People's Fragile Dreams, Relinquished from Anixiet
Me: YAY! We got complimented! lol.
Gem: ... Paine and Seifer make a cute couple..o_O
Nanala: How interesting, there's going to be two endings.. YAY!.. But still.. it's still sad that this will end soon..
Thea:... You know, the fact they're wearing a costume, reminds me of when Yuna had to dress up as that moogle mascot...


New member
Jan 14, 2006
Somewhere over the r.a.i.n.b.o.w
:sniffle: It's actually coming to an end!
I'm so sad! :(
Well, at least it's a long ending!
And there's two! I'm so0o uberly excited! =D
It's awesome so far; this chappy explained a lot!
Your such an amazing writer red. :jealous:
Can't wait for the next part...chappy...ending...thingy...?
<.< >.>


a wanderer
Dec 23, 2004
in a world of small minded people
i'm still excited about KH2..but i kinda recked it for myself...watched acouple scenes...u_u ANYWAYS..um.....must.resist.posting.last.chapter.....must.....RESIST! ok i could ether post the second to last chapter now...or on tuesday......hmm.....hmm hmm hmmm :rolleyes: *thinking*.......you decide!


a wanderer
Dec 23, 2004
in a world of small minded people
Pretty long chapter, but necessary since this is the last chapter before the duel finale. Thanks to all my loyal reviewers. I appreciate it so much! Anyway, here is chapter 34!

SILVER WINGS 3: Back Into My Arms

Chapter Thirty-Four: Three's Company​

Are you sure you love him?

His words rung in her ears in a mantra as Yuna and Shuyin made their way out of the Luca Hospital and to the ship bound for Macalania. They rung in her ears as they made their way unhindered through the abandoned woods and into the Calm Lands. She heard them as they crossed Mt. Gagazet and finally reached Zanarkand. She wished they had just taken the airship, but she wasn't quite sure where Gippal had put the keys and she wasn't about to waste time looking for them. It only took a few more hours anyway, but it was a few more hours in which Shuyin could pointedly ignore her – favoring, instead, to play absently with the blade of Tidus' sword - and Yuna was forced to hear that scathing suggestion repeating over and over.

Are you sure you love him?

Two years ago, she would have said yes without a second thought. She wouldn't have ever questioned it. Yet, with everything that had happened since her pilgrimage, she wasn't so sure anymore. She missed him desperately and yet she was scared of him. She was scared of what he'd do to her if she saw him again. Her hand unconsciously went to her cheek where the bruises were fading fast. The last time she saw him, things didn't go so well. Maybe that was when she had started questioning their love.

And yet, she knew she loved him. Deep inside, buried deep down under her disappointment, her anger, and her resentment she knew she loved him. She loved his crooked smile, his bright blue eyes that were filled with the kind of life she had always longed for. She loved how he crinkled his nose when he laughed and how in the right sunlight his light splattering of freckles lit up on his cheeks. She wanted to see that now, but whenever she looked over all she saw was Shuyin. It was Tidus' body, but it wasn't Tidus. She didn't even see Tidus next to her anymore. Whenever she looked at the blonde next to her, her mind's eye flashed to a tall and muscular blonde that she knew so long ago. The same blue eyes, but minus the freckles. A bit taller and a lot more conceited, but with a kind gentleness that had forced her to ignore the former. She didn't even see Tidus anymore…

And that's what scared her.

Would she ever see him again, or would she forever be haunted by the visage of Shuyin Bacohl even after he went to the Farplane to rest?

Lenne's house was in the distance, and Yuna silently trudged toward it. Shuyin was a few feet behind her, but he might as well have been a few miles. It was strange to have gone this long without a word, but she knew instinctively that he was angry with her. She just didn't know why.

"Where'd you leave it?" he asked gruffly as he followed her into the house.

Yuna bent down to retrieve it from the floor where she had dropped it in a panic just a few days earlier, "Here it is."

"Fine." He snipped, "Let's go."

Yuna frowned. She'd had enough of this. She didn't know what his problem was, but she was determined to find out, "What is your problem, Shuyin?"

He didn't reply, but she saw him tense even though he didn't face her. His back muscles tightened and she swore if it was possible, steam would have come out of his ears.

What was wrong with him?

"Shuyin…? I asked you a question." He still didn't reply and she took a deep breath and spoke again, "Shuyin…"

"STOP IT!!!" he suddenly shrieked, spinning around wildly. Yuna jumped, afraid he was going to hit her but then she noticed tears hiding in his eyes that he was afraid to let fall.

She frowned, "Stop what?"

"Stop calling me Shuyin." He hissed, stuffing his hands in the pockets of Gippal's pants and frowning.

Yuna raised an eyebrow, "What do you want me to call you?"

"How about my name?" he snapped, sarcastically.

Yuna gasped and took a massive step back. She eyed him in shock, staring at him until she noticed that she wasn't breathing, "…Tidus…?"

"Are you disappointed?"

"No, of course not!"

Tidus shrugged and gave a disbelieving grunt. Yuna watched him as he turned from her and suddenly everything made sense. She suddenly knew why he had asked her if she'd be upset if Tidus never came back. She knew why he had been ignoring her during their trip.

She stifled a gasp. That was why he had kissed her.

Are you sure you love him?

"Tidus…" she began, stepping toward him.

He lifted a hand to keep her away, "Just leave me alone, Yuna. I'm really…confused right now."

She didn't listen. She just started speaking without thinking, "If you would have just spoken to me. I mean…it's not like I wouldn't have known. I'd know you anywhere." She giggled uncomfortably, "Well, unless someone is doing a really convincing job of being you. But you do a convincing job of being him too. I especially liked the angsty part. You could be an actor. I mean, I would really…"

"Stop it." He ordered, firmly but quietly. He looked at her then and she felt even more stupid for not realizing the difference. Even through it all, Shuyin's eyes still shown with this confidence that never faded. Tidus' eyes always lacked it. They lacked it even more now.

"Tidus…I'm sorry for not realizing."

"It's not your fault." He replied with a sigh, "I didn't even realize it at first. I'm still not quite sure."

Yuna bit her lip, "I'm sorry, but I don't understand."

He pointed to the front door, "I was looking for Zaon. You had just moved in here and let me come in. We hadn't seen each other since their wedding where I'd made such a mammoth fool out of myself with those two girls but you let me in anyway. Then you asked me if I liked cheese…" he smiled a little and the sighed.

Yuna let her mouth fall open but she didn't say anything as Tidus began to pace around the room. He stopped in front of the sofa, "You jumped on me here after our first date, but the first time we actually…" he took a ragged breath, "Allyn was spying on us."

"…how…?" managed Yuna.

"I don't know." He replied, "I know more than that. I know about a life I don't think I ever lived. The life of the guy I'm based on."

Yuna just stared at him as he continued to pace, but say nothing. None of this made any sense. Was Gippal right? But that was impossible. Maybe the merger had completed? That had to be it. There was no way Gippal was right. That would be too ridiculous to comprehend.

She was shaken back to reality by the realization that Tidus was talking again, "The last thing I remember clearly is trying to find Shuyin. I could sense that something bad was happening, but I couldn't find him in the dark. I heard him shouting at something and I followed his voice to find him yelling at this dark figure that was trying to convince him to go somewhere. I was so scared for you, so I screamed for Shuyin's attention. He ran to me and when our hands touched, I woke up."

"You woke up remembering his life…"

"Yeah." Tidus said, lifting his eyes to hers, "Do you think the merger happened? Do you think it's all over?"

Yuna shrugged, "Maybe, but that doesn't explain that figure. Do you know who it was?" she silently hoped that he did but when Tidus shook her head she frowned, "Gippal has this theory…" she began quietly. She hadn't wanted to tell him or Shuyin about this, but if it was true than they deserved to know.

"So do I…"

Yuna was surprised by this, "What's your theory?" Maybe it made more sense than Gippal's?

"I remember that I…" he paused with a frown, "Shuyin was really upset. He couldn't deal with everything that had happened so when he was alone in the cave, he started talking to himself. He would plan out the perfect ways to get revenge once he got out of the cave. The one he really liked was using Vegnagun to blow Bevelle away. He thought it'd be really funny irony for him to destroy them with the weapon they'd killed Lenne to protect. He thought of it as a way for Lenne to get her revenge too."

Yuna nodded, "That would have been ironic…but where's your theory?"

"I'm getting there," Tidus said in a half tease, allowing his mouth to form a small smile before returning to it's frown, "I remember that I…Shuyin over the few weeks he was trapped started to talk – not only to himself – but also to Allyn and Reiber's corpses. Finally, he started hearing this voice in his head. This voice telling him that all he needed to do was say the word and it'd be done. There were times after that when he'd pass out in one place and wake up what felt like moments later in another. And when he died, it felt like half of him was missing when he crossed into the Farplane." He stopped and looked at her, "What's Gippal's theory?"

Yuna's eyes widened in surprise, "I thought we were talking about your theory."

"But I want to hear Gippal's first."

She frowned but answered, "Multiple Personalities."

"I think so too."

Yuna wanted to scream at him but realized that if Tidus believed it too, than there had to be a reason. She stifled her urge to shriek and simply said, "Gippal thinks you're just one of the personalities."

"Well, we both know that's not true. I'm a dream of the fayth." He answered simply, "I was the fayth's answer to his promise to Lenne." He reached for her hand and pulled her close to him, "This is what I think. Shuyin couldn't deal with it and created that other person – the guy he was yelling at – so that he could hide away and not have to deal with anything. When he died, the guy didn't go along because he wanted to do what Shuyin had only dreamed about doing. The fayth made me to send to you because Shuyin was only half a person and they couldn't send broken goods to you." He let out a pained smile and then continued, "I'm the dream of Shuyin before everything went to hell and back. Before he couldn't deal with it."

"But that doesn't explain how Shuyin knows the stuff that he did. How he killed all those people. Or how you know Shuyin's life!

"Well, we know from what I told you that the guy Shuyin was yelling at is back in his head. It'd stand to reason that Shuyin would suddenly "remember" doing all those things, even though he didn't. Kinda a 'mini-merger'." He shrugged, "And the same goes for him and me."

"So now you remember three different lives?"

"No…I don't know anything about that guy. Just Shuyin and me. I know the stuff that guy made Shuyin do and what Shuyin thinks he did, but anything that Shuyin doesn't know, I don't know. Like, I don't remember that guy coming into existence, but I remember the Crimson Squad massacre like it was yesterday."

"Did that guy control you?" she asked, immediately wishing she hadn't. What if he hadn't been controlling Tidus? What if Tidus had hit her on his own? She wasn't sure if she wanted to know that.

Tidus frowned, "Yes." He admitted, "I couldn't control myself and all I felt was this horrible sadness and this uncontrollable anger." He reached out to touch her cheek gently, "I'm so sorry…"

Yuna collapsed into a heap on the floor, more out of exhaustion than relief and Tidus sat down next to her, "This is just so confusing…" she whined, rubbing her temples firmly to forgo the headache that was beginning between her eyes, "I just…I don't understand this. Why is Seymour back? Why is this happening to you? Why?"

"Asking why is pointless." Tidus said with a tender smile, "We've got to focus on how. How are we going to make this mess go away?"

"Can it?"

He shrugged and kissed her forehead gently, "I love you," he replied quietly, "So yes…it can. We can do anything if we do it together."

(omg i love tidus! so hunky! just a big pile of hunkyness! *sigh* lucky yuna >.<...srry.....on with the CHAPTER!)

Rikku jumped up excitedly, "Let's go kick some Seymour booty!"

"Not yet, Polly-Anna," Gippal teased, pulling on one of Rikku's braids gently until she plopped back next to him.

"Who's Polly-Anna?"

Paine grunted in annoyance, "That's not important right now, Rikku. What is important is trying to figure out who brought Seymour back. Even if we beat Seymour, this person would just be able to bring him back again if we don't take out the source."

"We've got to get some help." Seifer stated simply, scratching his cheek in thought, "As much as I hate to admit it, Puberty-Boy and his motley crew are good. We should get their help."

"Puberty-Boy?" Rikku asked, "Who's that?"


Gippal frowned and lowered his voice, "I hate to tell you this, Seifer, but Squall and Rinoa have gone missing."

Raising his eyebrow, Seifer asked, "Gone missing? How? When?"

"We're not sure. Wakka just called and said that Zell, Quistis, Irvine, and Selphie can't find them anywhere. There are signs of a slight struggle where Squall was sleeping, but nothing else."

"Just a slight struggle?" asked Seifer, suspiciously. He shook his head firmly, "Squall would have put up more than a slight struggle if some 'bad guy' tried to take him out." He ran a finger thoughtfully over the scar that went between his eyes, "Trust me…I know…"

"Well, I'm just delivering the facts."

"And I'm telling you that there's more to this than an abduction." Seifer stated, "Squall had to have been taken by surprise. By someone he trusted. And he certainly wouldn't have let someone hurt Rinoa without putting up a major fight." He sighed, "He's got a one track mind when it comes to that gi…"

Seifer sat up suddenly, jaw dropping. He lifted his hand to his mouth in shock. It suddenly made sense. Paine stared at him, "What?"

"I know who's behind this…"

It was Rikku's turn to sit up suddenly, "You do?!"

"I can't believe I didn't realize this sooner…" Seifer hissed quietly, shaking his head as if to curse his own stupidity. He lifted his eyes to the group, "I always thought Ultimecia seemed familiar to me. When she had me under her control, I felt like I knew her. I think that's why I went with her so easily. Normally I'm a stubborn son of a bitch but for some reason I wasn't that time."

"Who is she?" asked Paine, completely ignoring Seifer's admission and going straight for the heart of the matter.

Seifer questioned, "Do you remember what I was told? Not about Tidus, but about the blind lion?"


"The blind lion catches no owl." He sighed, "When I first met Rinoa, she was working with a resistance group called…The Forest Owls."

Rikku squealed, "Rinoa is Ultimecia!!"

"I think so." Seifer said with a sigh, "And Squall is the blind lion. He can't see what she is. Well," he paused with a smirk, "Considering the fact that she probably kidnapped him, I'm sure he sees now."

"We've gotta find Yuna and Shuyin...er…Tidus…er…the blonde guy!" Paine said, tripping over not only her words, but Gippal's sneakers which were strewn in the middle of the room, "They've got to know about this. If Ultimecia took Squall, there's got to be a reason."

"Do you think it's the same reason she took LeBlanc?" asked Gippal as he stood up too.


The quartet rose to their feet. Gippal quickly pulled his sneakers on and then they walked to the door, "We'll contact Kimahri. Maybe he's seen her."

"If not, we'll try Tromell." Suggested Rikku.

Gippal nodded and reached for the doorknob, "And if that doesn't work we'll…"


Cid was staring menacingly at Gippal. He was accompanied by four burly Al Bhed men. The five of them were standing on the doorstep, obviously just about to knock when Gippal opened the door.

"Pop!" Rikku shrieked, "We don't have time for this right now. We have to go!"

Cid raised an arm to stop her escape. His eyes traveled to Paine and Seifer and opened in surprise but then he focused back on Rikku, "You and…the undead…" he said, motioning toward Paine and Seifer, "may go. Gippal cannot."

"And why not?" Rikku demanded, arms akimbo.

"Because he's under arrest."

Gippal felt a sense of cold dread go down to his toes at the look in Cid's eyes as he said those words. It was a sense of triumph. He had found something out and the only way that was possible was if Seymour had talked. Tromell wouldn't have willingly ruined him. He couldn't speak, but Rikku certainly could and at that present moment was making full use of her vocal abilities.

"Are you insane?" she asked her father, pushing at his chest to clear the way, "We've got more important things to worry about than your pathetic grudge."

"More important things that seeing that the man who destroyed home suffers for what he's done?"

Rikku groaned in exasperation, "Gippal didn't have anything to do with that!"

"Actually, he did." Cid said, smirking triumphantly at Gippal, "I received a telephone call today telling me that if I wanted to find out who lead the Guado to Home, all I needed to do was talk to Tromell." Rikku paused and Cid continued, "Tromell didn't oust Gippal on his own, but when I asked him if Gippal was responsible, Tromell's silence spoke volumes to me."

Rikku's momentary silence was gone as quickly as it had come, "You're being stupid. Gippal wouldn't do anything like that." She grabbed for Gippal's hand and pulled him a few steps forward, "Tell him he's being ridiculous!"

Gippal wanted so badly to lie. He wanted to deny the accusations until his last breath. But he couldn't. The more he lied, the worse it would be when the truth came out. He hadn't meant for anything to happen. It just had. He sighed, "It's true, Rikku. I led the Guado to Home."

He heard Paine's gasp and Rikku's yelp as she wrenched her hand from his as if it was burnt. She fixed her wide green eyes on his, "…what…?"

"He just confessed, Rikku." Cid stated, motioning toward his burly Al Bhed, "Arrest him, boys."

Gippal raised his hands to ward them off, "Wait a minute Cid." He said, causing the men to pause, "We've got the potential end of the world on our hands. We're just going to try and find Yuna and Tidus. Seymour is back. So is this psycho sorceress. We've got to deal with that first."

"You deserve prison time!"

Gippal shrugged, "You've waited two years. What's a few more hours?"

Cid was thoughtful for a moment and then he called his men off, "On one condition, murderer. We come with you and arrest you as soon as this is over."


"Well then…" Cid said with a smug smile, "Let's go."

Paine and Seifer followed Cid and his burly men out but neither Gippal nor Rikku moved at first. She was still in shock and Gippal saw that, but he also knew if she would just let him explain then everything would be okay. He reached out to touch her shoulder, but she backed away, lifting tear-reflected eyes to his, "Please…don't touch me…" she whispered before she turned to follow the others out of the room leaving Gippal no alternative other than to do the same.


Light shone into the small room and awakened Nooj abruptly. He felt LeBlanc stir beside him but he gently put his finger over her mouth to keep her silent. The outline of Seymour was blatant and behind him was Rinoa/Ultimecia.

"Wakey wakey!" the female said in a Rikku-esque voice, oozing perky out of every word, "It's almost time! We've got to get the three of you ready!"

"Ready for what?" Nooj demanded.

She stared at him in the dark, "You don't remember me, do you?"

"Should I?"

She shrugged, "No matter. You'll remember me – and our love – soon enough."

Nooj seriously doubted that. He'd never seen this woman before in his life. Yet…maybe she wasn't referring to this life, but another. It didn't really matter, though. Nooj wasn't going to leave LeBlanc and shack up with a lover from a past life. It just wasn't going to happen.

As Seymour made his way toward them with the keys to release Squall and LeBlanc from their bonds, Nooj waited for his chance to strike out and carry out the plan the three of them had laid out.

Their escape depended on what was going to happen within the next few minutes.

Seymour stopped just short of Squall, standing an equal distance between the former and Nooj and LeBlanc. He looked over his shoulder at the woman behind him and she nodded, lifting her hands, "Sleep…sleep….sleep…." she chanted quietly.

Nooj wanted to curse loudly at his bad luck, but instead he felt his eyelids drooping and he couldn't fight to keep them open. He sank into oblivion…

The next thing he remembered was feeling his arms and legs in shackles. He lifted his lids to find that he had been chained to a wall. He quickly located Squall and LeBlanc – both starting to wake up – chained to two cement slabs that lay in the middle of the room. The next thing Nooj realized was that he was in the Zanarkand Chamber of the Fayth. He didn't have time to figure out how they had gotten there or even where the cement slabs had come from. He didn't even think much when he saw Seymour come around the corner wielding a gigantic sword, twice his size. Ultimecia was behind him, but she wasn't carrying anything. Yet, her presence was even more frightening than the sight of the sword.

"Why are you doing this to us?" LeBlanc shrieked, squirming against her chains.

Ultimecia smirked and walked toward her, "Shut up, or I'll have Seymour dice you before it's time for that."

"If you're going to kill me anyway, why should I be quiet, love?" snipped LeBlanc back.

"Because, when I plan on killing you it will be swift." Replied Ultimecia, "If you make me have him cut you now, it'll be slow and tortuous so that you'll die exactly when I need you to."

LeBlanc wisely shut her mouth.

Ultimecia went to Squall then, and ran a hand gently over his face, "I always loved your face. So handsome…" she whispered and then sighed, "It's too bad your soul isn't the right one. We might have had some fun if it was."

It was in that instant that Nooj realized what was going on.

LeBlanc and Squall weren't going to make it out of this mess. But he was. Because he was the soul she longed for. He should have figured it out long ago. Everybody else seemed to have a past life. Now he realized that he did too. And Ultimecia was going to sacrifice the two people before him so that he'd get that life back.

With that realization, Nooj realized that he needed to distract her. There had to be a way to keep her from carrying through with her plans until his friends could find them. He knew that they must be looking for him. He just needed to give them more time.

"How did I die?" he asked her, quietly. He was trying to give the impression of suddenly coming awake after a long sleep. He wanted her to think that he was beginning to remember. When he saw her eyes light up, he knew he was doing a good job.

"Are you beginning to remember me, my love?"

Nooj kept himself from cringing at the 'my love' remark and forced himself to nod, "I'm not sure. I think so…"

It seemed to be working. He was so grateful that she had momentarily forgotten about everything else, but he had forgotten about Seymour. The man grunted gruffly, "You've got to be joking. You can't honestly believe him. He's just trying to get you to let them go."

Nooj wanted nothing more than to jump down the man's throat, but to his surprise Ultimecia did it for him, "Don't talk about him like that!" she shouted, "You don't know what he's remembering and what he's not remembering."

Seymour threw the sword on the ground, "I won't watch you do this. You're just throwing everything away and I won't be a party to it!"

"Fine, go! I don't need you anymore anyway!"

Seymour glared at her, "Fulfill our bargain, and I'll be happy to go."

She groaned and lifted her arms to him, "Fithos…lusec….vecos…venosec…." she hissed quietly, her fingers moving in time with the words. Nothing appeared to happen and yet Seymour smiled.

"Thank you." Seymour said, touching his chest in an almost reverent way, "Now that I'm back to normal, Yuna will pay for what she's done."

"Go." Ultimecia stated, pointing at the door, "I don't want to look at you anymore."

He shrugged, "Fine by me. But don't say I didn't warn you. He's a shrewd one."


Nooj said a silent thank you as Seymour stormed from the room. Now he only had to convince Ultimecia to let him go and that'd be one problem out of the way. She pressed her body up against his and Nooj stifled a groan of disgust. She ran her tongue over his ear, "Tell me what you remember…"

Nooj cursed in his mind. He didn't remember anything. He was making it all up. He stared at Squall in panic, pleading for help. Squall nodded and mouthed two words. Nooj quickly said, "Falling stars…"

Ultimecia pulled back and smiled, "The falling stars on the night we met. It was so romantic."


"Anything else?"

Nooj decided to push the envelope a bit and leaned in to whisper, "Release me, and I'll show you…"

Ultimecia pressed eager fingers against his waist, "I don't need to untie you for that."

"But it'd be better, don't you think?" he hissed back, trying to hide his disgust, "I want to touch you, hold you, hug you…"

"Do you remember the first time you hugged me?" she asked as she let his arms loose.

He peered over her at Squall, but this time she noticed and spun in time to see Squall mouth the word 'Timber'. Her eyes were flashing in fury as she turned back to Nooj, "Seymour was right. You are lying to me!"

Nooj was in a panic. He felt his heart was going to beat out of his chest. This was not good! He opened his mouth and stammered, "It's not like you think, my sweet. Squall was just…helping me…supplying me with the …uh… information so you wouldn't be disappointed."

Her fury calmed for a moment, "So you do know who you are…?"

"Yes!" he cried, pouncing on that hope, "I just am a little rusty on the details."

She gave him a weak smile, "Well, once this is over you won't be rusty on any details."

"What are you going to do?"

"You're going to be getting your body back once I perform the chant and stick a sword through this little bitch's gullet." She turned to walk away from him, but Nooj grabbed her arm. She turned her angry eyes on him, "What are you doing?"

Nooj put on his most disarming smile, "Let's wait for that for a little while." He suggested, "I just can't wait another minute to touch you."

He saw jealousy flash in LeBlanc's eyes but had to ignore it as Ultimecia came sauntering seductively toward him, "You really can't wait just a few more minutes?"


She was within his reach now and he grabbed her with both arms. His first instinct was to snap her neck, but his legs were still in shackles and the key was on the other side of the room. He needed her alive to reach it. So, stifling a groan of disgust, Nooj pulled her into a passionate kiss.


Tidus held Yuna firmly in his arms for several minutes. It was almost as if he was afraid of letting her go. Yuna was content to be in his arms again. It felt like an eternity since he had held her like this.

She looked up into his eyes and answered his smile with one of her own. She still wasn't sure what was going on. Tidus was holding her, and yet Shuyin was holding her as well. Inside Tidus' eyes she could see the pain of two lifetimes, although he hadn't lived one of them. So, in some strange way Lenne had gotten Shuyin back.

"What are you thinking?" he asked her.

She nuzzled his neck, "How much I love you."

"I love you too." He replied, pulling her closer to him and kissing her neck softly, "So much…"

Reluctantly loosening his grip on her, Yuna gazed up into his eyes, "This isn't over yet, you know. We still have to deal with Seymour." She grinned, ruefully, "Not to mention that I have a few choice words for a certain fayth…"

Tidus laughed quietly, "Eh, leave ol' Bruttam alone. Everything'll be fine. He can't change what's passed."

"But look what he's done to us!"

"But we're together again." He retorted, "It's all worked out okay."

Yuna nodded, "We are together…but for how long? An hour? A day? A week? When will I lose you again?" she sighed and stood, stretching her long limbs against the growing tenseness, "We need to get rid of Seymour if I'm to ever stand a chance of having you forever."

"I know we need to get rid of Seymour," Tidus conceded, rising with her, "but he's not the reason this is happening again. Ultimecia is the one that brought Shuyin back. The shadow did it the first time, but Ultimecia did it this time. She's the one we need to get rid of."

"But…she's dead!" Yuna cried, turning in frustration and pulling on her hair, "Shuyin was saying the same thing to me, but you killed her. I just don't understand."

"Yuna…we both know that the dead are capable of controlling the bodies of others."

Yuna nodded, "I know you mean Rikku. I mean…it makes sense, I just don't know who she'd be using now. Or what her plan would be."

Yuna sighed again and sat down on the arm of the sofa. Her mind was going a mile a minute and showed no signs of stopping. She just wanted this to be over, but knew it wouldn't be until she could unravel this mystery. Her mind traveled back to when she had met Lady Ultimecia for the first time in Bevelle. The woman had made her uncomfortable, mentioning Tidus like she knew what it was like to lose someone.

Yuna remembered seeing Tidus kill her. Rikku had passed out just seconds afterward, so it stood to reason that it was then that Rikku was possessed. Yet, Rikku was fine now. Everybody around her seemed fine. So who was Ultimecia using? Was she using Seymour? Yuna shook her head in answer to her own question. Seymour wasn't the type to be used. If he was helping her, he had his own reasons for it.

Why would Ultimecia want LeBlanc…? It just didn't make any sense. She was obviously from the dream world, so why didn't she take Squall, Rinoa, Zell, Selphie or any of the others…?


Yuna gasped. Why hadn't she realized it before? She had noticed the startling similarity between the two, but had pushed it from her mind without really thinking about how strange it was. She turned her eyes to Tidus, "Rinoa…"

"Rinoa? What about her?"

"I should have paid more attention to it." Yuna replied, standing and walking toward him, "They look so much alike…like…they're the same person."

Tidus lifted a brow, "The same person?" he frowned in thought, "I remember seeing her with Seymour back during your pilgrimage when we were in Luca. I thought Rinoa looked like her too the first time I saw her." Then he paused, "Shuyin…Shuyin saw her too…"

"He did?!"

"He saw her briefly at a party for Squall. Squall was dancing with her."

Yuna bit her lip and began to pace. She had long since noticed that pacing helped her think and she employed that practice now, "Bear with me. I'm thinking out loud." She said to Tidus as she began to talk, "If Shuyin remembers seeing Ultimecia with Squall, then that means that Ultimecia is from real Zanarkand and is over 1000 years old!" she stopped, "But that would mean that Squall is 1000 years old too…"

"Not necessarily." Tidus suggested, "Maybe the Squall we know is a dream of the one that lived a long time ago. That's what I always thought."

"You're right…" Yuna said, shaking her head at her own stupidity, "I looked Squall up. He and all the other people you were with are dreams of the original group. They were Yunalesca's guardians when she fought Sin."

Tidus smiled, "Quite a crew."

"Quite…" Yuna agreed, continuing her pacing, "So then Ultimecia never died? Maybe being a sorceress gives you that ability. She never died, but Squall – her love – did."

"And she is back to get him back!" Tidus finished her thought with relish, pumping his arms in the air, "I think we got it!"

"I think so too." She said, happily, but sobered, "But how is she going about it? Why not just take Squall and go? Why do all this?"

Tidus frowned in thought, "She wouldn't want the Squall we know. He's not the man she loves. He's a dream. He's different. She'd want the one she fell in love with and she'd also want to look the way he would remember her. So she must be controlling Rinoa's body. And she would need Squall's body."

"And she needed Shuyin because he knew how to bring souls back…"


Yuna bit her lip, "But he didn't help her."

"So she got Seymour…"

"But what does Seymour know about this?" she asked.

"Probably nothing," Tidus replied, "But all great evils have a Plan B. He was probably hers. I mean, maybe with Shuyin's help the switch would have been clean, but now it has to be messy."

"Maybe…" conceded Yuna, "but the question now is, who would Squall be in this time?"

Tidus leaned back against the wall and sighed, "Well, considering that both of us ended up being very similar to the way we used to be, I'd wager that it'd be the same for him. Squall is a quiet…"

"So was Baralai…Nooj is that way…Gippal definitely can be when something is bothering him…Brother…Buddy…"

"Squall is a loner…keeps his thoughts to himself mostly…"

"That fits Nooj, Buddy…heck, even Isaaru!" she sighed in exasperation, "We need to go about this another way. Everybody has at least one of Squall's characteristics and the person with none of them just might be the guy we're looking for."

"Who says it's a guy?" teased Tidus.

Yuna glared at him good naturedly, "You really want to make things difficult, don't you?"

He came toward her and pulled her into a tight embrace, "I'm just trying to make the best out of a bad situation." He replied, kissing the tip of her nose gently.

"I know…"

He pressed his lips gently against her own and Yuna stifled a moan as a loud curse echoed just outside the house. Tidus and Yuna dropped to their knees and crawled silently to the window, peering carefully out.

Seymour was bending to lift an errant boulder which he had slammed his foot against in his hurry across the road. Yuna bit her lip. He certainly seemed angry, but she couldn't figure out why. Had he been dismissed by Ultimecia?

He cast an angry glare back in the direction of the old blitzball stadium before continuing his angry pace up the hill and out of their sight.

Tidus looked at Yuna and she at him before they both smiled. Tidus grabbed her hand, "I think we know where to find our sorceress…"

"I think so too." She replied, turning and quickly retrieving the borrowed book she had come to get. She grinned at Tidus, "Just in case we need it…" she explained and at his nod, she followed him quietly out of the house and toward the stadium.


It was a tense hour in the cockpit of the Celsius. Cid's burly guards kept their guns focused on Gippal's head as if afraid that he'd suddenly attempt to run. It wasn't like he had anywhere to go. Without wings, he'd just plunge to his death. He'd rather take his chances in the Al Bhed court than die a coward.

He tried to catch Rikku's glance, but she kept her eyes firmly away from his own as she sat stiffly on Shinra's chair. Her back was ramrod straight and her face was partially masked by a shadow that cascaded across her right side, but Gippal could see that she was struggling not to cry. He hated knowing he'd upset her. He wanted nothing more than to rush to her and explain it all away, but he didn't think she'd listen.

And even if she did, he'd be shot before he could get up…

Why hadn't he just told her before? It was a question that had been plaguing him since they had boarded the Celsius to search for Yuna. But it had the same answer as the question about his parentage…because he was scared. He still hadn't discussed how he came to be Baralai's brother or who his parents were. That too hung between them in unspoken question. He had to make things right…

Without paying much heed to the burly Al Bhed, Gippal leaned forward, "Rikku…" he whispered to gain her attention.

Cid glared at him, "Sit up! Leave her be. You've done enough."

He caught Rikku's eyes and pleaded silently for just a moment of her time. He just needed to explain, and then if she didn't forgive him he'd understand. He just didn't want her to damn him without an explanation. She stood slowly, her eyes never wavering from his own, "It's all right, Pop. I think he does owe me an explanation."

Cid glowered at Gippal but told his men to let him stand. He pointed a finger in Gippal's face and Gippal had to stifle the urge to bite it, "I'll be right here. Don't think I won't hear her scream."

"Do you actually think I'd hurt her?" retorted Gippal, more stung by the accusation than angered by it, "I love her…"

"Bah!" was Cid's response. Gippal didn't even bother to continue the argument. The man was incorrigible and it was best to just let the subject drop. The person he needed was Rikku. She was the only one whose opinion mattered.

He followed her silently up the stairs and into the hall just beyond the bridge where she stopped. The look in her eyes told him that she wouldn't deal with any bull-shit. She wanted the truth and that's just what he was going to give her.

"I know what you must be thinking…" he began.

She shook her head, "No. I don't think you do."

"You think I'm a killer…" he continued, frowning as the words poured from his mouth, "A liar, a fraud, a user, a cheat…"

Rikku shook her head again and then, to his surprise, took his hands in her own, "I'm thinking that you're the man I love." She said, gently, "I'm thinking that I'm furious with you for not telling me, but I figured it was the same as your being half Yevonite. You were ashamed of your part in it." She touched his cheek gently, "I know you wouldn't have done it on purpose. Seymour had them follow you, didn't he?"

"Yes." He admitted quietly, lowering his eyes as shame took over him at the memory of that horrible day. He had to tell Rikku the whole truth before it burned a hole inside of him, "It was my first – and only – assignment as a Crimson Squad member. I was to intercept Yuna and her guardians as they made their way through her pilgrimage. I was supposed to kidnap Yuna and take her to Seymour, then…" he paused and swallowed hard, "…kill her guardians."


Gippal nodded sadly, "I said I'd do it, but realized as soon as I walked out the door that, order or no order, I couldn't kill you or anybody else." He sighed and leaned his weight against the nearby wall, "I made my way back to Bikinel and when I got to the Moonflow, I felt like I was being watched. I stopped and looked around, but saw no one and kept going. I think that's when they started following me."


"I spoke to Auron at Bikinel and told him what I'd been ordered to do. Then on of the panicked workman came running up, shouting that Home was under attack."

Rikku took in a ragged breath and leaned into his chest, her forehead firm against it. He felt her shake her head, "I can't believe Pop is determined to get you for something you didn't do." She said, "You couldn't have stopped them from following you. They would have found us anyway if they were determined." She sighed and looked up at him, "We should just tell Pop what you told me. He just has to understand."

"He won't, Rikku." Gippal replied, pushing a stray strand of her blonde hair behind her ear, "We both know he won't."

"So we're just going to let him arrest you?"

"Let's just get this whole mess taken care of first, and then we'll deal with your father."

Rikku groaned but nodded, "I suppose you're right. One thing at a time…"


"Hey you two!" Paine's head shot in from the door, "We're over Zanarkand. Yuna and Shuyin or Tidus or whoever are heading toward the blitzball stadium."

"Let's do this." Rikku cried, "Time for some bloodshed!"


"Shhh!" came the hissed command and the rest of the group was silent. Crouching down low, he peaked his head into the stadium entrance and saw nothing but black. He turned back, "They must be in the Chamber of the Fayth." He whispered, "We've gotta be quiet and quick about it."

The woman next to him nodded, "I agree. We have to take them by surprise if we're going to save the victims."

Footsteps came from just beyond the hill and he pulled on her hand and waved for the others to follow. Rushing quietly into a corner, they waited in the dark for the intruders to show themselves. The sunlight was shining from their backs, but he distinctly saw a blonde head, followed by a brunette. His eyes caught on shining light from the hip of the blonde and he gasped.

Chappu's sword…

His brother's sword…

Tidus and Yuna made their way down the rocky incline, holding onto each other for balance. The small group was still hidden in the darkness and it was obvious to him that they hadn't noticed. He stood slowly and made himself known to them.

Yuna gasped, "Wakka! What are you doing here?"

"We could ask you the same question…" came Lulu's response as she extricated herself from the darkness as well. Behind her, slowly and almost hesitantly, came Irvine, Selphie, Quistis, Laguna, and Zell – the remnants of Tidus' dream world residents who weren't missing and presumed dead.

Wakka eyed Tidus suspiciously, "Eh…which one are you now, ya?"

"I'm back to normal, Wakka…" Tidus replied with a grin, "Well…mostly."

"What do you mean mostly?" asked Lulu with a raised brow.

"He remembers being Shuyin, which is weird but then again, I remember being Lenne." Answered Yuna.

Laguna shrugged, "I don't know what's going on." He said, "All I know is that I want to get this mess over with." He lifted his gun and Irvine did the same, "Let's get going."

"Are you sure they were heading this way?"


"Well I don't see them."

"Will you shut up?!"

Yuna spun around, the sound of the voices shocking her when she recognized the stern tone of Paine. Her eyes had to adjust to the light, but she saw her then. Paine – looking no worse for wear than she had been the last time she'd seen her. Just behind Paine was Seifer and Yuna could tell from the shocked gasps, that the dream residents had held about as much hope for Seifer as she herself had done for Paine.

Rikku, Gippal, Cid and two Al Bhed's she'd never seen before completed the ensemble. She grinned, "Reinforcements…"

"Yunie!" shrieked Rikku as she fairly flew the rest of the way and held her cousin in a tight hug, "I'm so glad you're okay. We didn't know where to look so we started flying everywhere and then we saw you and Shuyin heading this way so here we are!"

Yuna extricated herself from the hug, "It's not Shuyin…" she said with a huge smile, "It's Tidus."

Rikku gaped at the blitzer, "For how long this time?"

"Hopefully it'll be permanent." He replied, giving her arm a squeeze, "I'm much like Yuna now. I remember Shuyin's life so hopefully he won't be taking over completely anymore."

Yuna tuned out the rest of the conversation as she slowly approached Paine and Seifer. For having been 'dead' in the Farplane for over two weeks, her friends looked surprisingly good. Yuna stared at them and then finally managed, "…how?"

"We've got Baralai to thank." Explained Paine, "He got us into the Glen just in time."

"But…why were you…?"

"We wanted to talk to the fayth. And we did. We found out some very interesting information about Tidus and Shuyin, but it can wait. We've got to deal with the end of the world as we know it first."

"I think Rinoa is Ultimecia." Yuna said.

Seifer shrugged, "Then that makes two of us."

Yuna hugged Paine, "I'm so glad you're okay. You too Seifer." She smiled and then turned to Wakka and Lulu, "So how'd you two end up here?"

Wakka smiled, "Lu's pretty smart. Just told her what we knew, and she figured it out all by herself."

"Impressive, Lulu."


Yuna gazed from one face to another. The old, the young, and the in-between. All of them had come for one purpose and for one purpose only – to stop Ultimecia from doing whatever she planned to do. Yuna felt like laughing. Every time she saved the world, she had a bigger group of people to rely on. What would happen the next time? Would she have an entire city?

She hoped she'd never have to find out.

She took a deep breath. Everyone was looking at her expectantly. It must be the time for her 'let's go get 'em' speech. She spoke slowly and determinedly, "We don't know what Ultimecia's plan is. We don't know what Seymour's plan is. We don't know if the missing people are alive or dead? We don't know if Rinoa really is Ultimecia or if it's just a coincidence. Heck, sometimes we barely know one another – or ourselves. But we do know one thing…" she grinned and gazed from one face to another once again before she finished, "It ends here."


A Chagrined Fool.
Aug 3, 2005
People's Fragile Dreams, Relinquished from Anixiet
Me: YAY! Awsome chapter either way! (HUZZAH! Yuna gave one of her speeches again!=^_^=)
Gem: Hey.. what DID happen to the dream Rinoa...?o_O
Nanala:... I really do hate Cid now, ever since he though Yuna and Gippal were trying to kill Rikku and Tidus... I think... Or whatever his idiotic mind thought...
Thea:... I kinda feel sorry for Ultemecia..


a wanderer
Dec 23, 2004
in a world of small minded people
THE LAST CHAPTER! :( i'm glad that i posted this story. having you guys as fans was awsome. i love you all! :D

Okay, here’s what I’m calling the “Happy Ending”. I’m not planning on doing a Silver Wings 4 at this point. I think I’ve driven this idea into the ground. I don’t even know what I’d do with a Silver Wings 4. I hope you like the endings.

SILVER WINGS 3: Back Into My Arms

Chapter Thirty-Five: The Moment You’ve All Been Waiting For (Ending One)

Though she understood why he was doing it, watching her Noojie kissing the woman who was determined to kill them all filled LeBlanc with blinding white rage. She strained against the ropes that held her bound to the cement slab and, to her surprise, they loosened a bit. Ruefully, she realized that Seymour must never have been very good at taking hostages. He probably preferred killing them instantly instead of having witnesses.

She turned to Squall and whispered so low it was almost silent, “I think I can get loose.”

Squall nodded his understanding and kept one eye trained on Nooj and Ultimecia while his other watched LeBlanc. The blonde struggled silently against her the ropes, the twine burning into her wrists and ankles. She tensed against the pain and continued her maneuvering. With a stifled yelp, her left hand was wrenched from the ropes.

“What are you doing?!” Ultimecia’s shriek echoed in the room. Nooj saw instantly what LeBlanc had managed to do, but grabbed at Ultimecia’s wrist to gain her attention before she could see.

“Why are you pulling away?” he asked sweetly, pulling her closer to him by the waist, “I’ve missed you.”

Ultimecia smiled at him, giving LeBlanc enough time to slide her wrist back into the loose rope before the probing brown eyes were back upon her. The woman wearing Rinoa’s skin eyed her suspiciously before turning back to Nooj, “I’m sorry, my love. I’m just a little suspicious of her. She does think she’s your girlfriend after all, and jealousy can cause a woman to do stupid things.”

Though it killed Nooj to say so, he spoke, “She’s a fool. I’ve never loved her.”

He saw LeBlanc’s eyes moisten over Ultimecia’s shoulder, but she nodded her understanding of why he said it. He pulled the brunette closer to him, holding her close against his chest. Over Ultimecia’s shoulder, he mouthed, “I love you.” to LeBlanc.

“I know.” She mouthed back, removing her wrist from the rope again and proceeding to untie her right hand.

Nooj pressed his forehead against Ultimecia’s to ensure he had her full attention, “So what’s the plan, darling?” he asked, hoping he was giving LeBlanc enough time to free herself and Squall. He didn’t dare glance up to see how they were doing. He didn’t want to tip Ultimecia off.

“All we need to do is sacrifice the stupid girl and then you will have your body back.” She grinned up at him, “Although…I do like this body too.”

With her feet freed, LeBlanc silently slid off the cement block and released Squall who crept just as quietly behind her. Their weapons had been taken, so they had to do this by hand. Going against a powerful sorceress with just their bare hands wasn’t something they relished, but they figured that they must do what they must do.

“So…” Ultimecia was saying, “How stupid do you really think that I am?”

Nooj froze as did LeBlanc and Squall. Ultimecia freed herself from Nooj’s grip and turned to stare icicles into the two formerly tied individuals behind her, “Did you actually think that I didn’t realize what you three were planning?”

“Don’t pull me into this, sweet.” Nooj started in an attempt to salvage some of their escape attempt.

Ultimecia turned and snapped, “Don’t even start with me. I’ll get even with you later.” She threatened, slapping him hard across the face, “But that’ll just have to suffice for now.”

“YOU BITCH!!!” shrieked LeBlanc. The thin blonde lunged at the shorter brunette, knocking her to the floor and rolling her underneath. LeBlanc punched her hard in the face before she felt herself being lifted by unseen hands. Ultimecia’s hand was extended ahead of her and Nooj realized she was some sort of spell to lift LeBlanc in the air. He went to lunge for Ultimecia himself but realized that he was still chained by the feet to the wall.

Squall took a step toward her and Ultimecia glared at him, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you, pretty boy.” She hissed, lifting LeBlanc’s whimpering form higher, “I’ll drop her if you do.”

“So what?” asked Squall, hoping a bluff that he didn’t care would make Ultimecia look for another way.”

She saw right through it and flipped her wrist, causing LeBlanc to spin so that her feet were above her head, “Do you still not care?” she asked, lifting LeBlanc another five feet from the ground.

LeBlanc sputtered, unsure whether she was furious at the way she was being treated, or mortified that her lacy pink panties were now in view. She struggled to hold her purple robe in place but then decided that it would be better to be mortified now and still alive than dead. She needed her hands to cushion her fall if Ultimecia decided to drop her.

The cock of a gun echoed in the silent room. All eyes turned to the door to find the dream crew, Lulu, and Wakka standing at the door. Irvine’s gun was trained on Rinoa’s form, “I’d put her down if I were you.”

“I’d definitely listen to him” came Yuna’s voice as she, Tidus, Rikku, Gippal, and the trio of Al Bhed bound through the door. She grinned at Ultimecia, “I’ve heard that he’s crazy…”

LeBlanc hissed angrily, “Um…hostage still floating in mid-air!”

Attention was brought back to Ultimecia and LeBlanc. Irvine’s trained eye was still focused on the woman in Rinoa’s body, “Put her down, nice and gentle-like and you won’t get hurt.”

“Why not just shoot me?” questioned Ultimecia, her lip curling into a sneer, “Oh, why that’s because if you did, I’d drop the prissy little bitch on her head and the dream bitch I took this body from would die as well.” She smiled triumphantly and lifted LeBlanc ever higher, “I’m the one in control, Irvine.” She stated simply. Imitating his slow drawl, she said, “So why don’t you put the gun down, nice and gentle-like?”

Irvine did so, holstering the weapon and glancing askance at his friends as if to ask, “What now?”

“I told you not to trust them…” came Seymour’s voice from the entryway. He marched right passed the group of do-gooders and toward Ultimecia, “Didn’t I?”

“Are you here to rub it in, or help me?”

Seymour shrugged, “I suppose I’m here to help you.” He replied, turning to gaze at Yuna, “I saw my lovely bride heading this way, so now I figure I can do both things at once.”

“First things first.” Ultimecia hissed, using her powers to maneuver LeBlanc over the slab she formerly inhabited. She let the girl drop onto it, temporarily shaking the girl up so that she couldn’t move, “Tie her up.” Ultimecia ordered.

Irvine made a move for his gun, but the sorceress was quicker, using her powers to yank the gun from his hands and throw it across the room. It cracked into several pieces against the wall just above Nooj’s head. The broken pieces bathed him in a shower of metal. Ultimecia flicked her wrist and Yuna found herself dangling above the group she had just momentarily been ensconced in.

Tidus jumped to grab her ankle but missed, “Yuna!” he shouted, trying again and again to get to her.

Ultimecia laughed, “Don’t be pathetic. Do you actually think you pulling on her ankle would bring her back down?” she winked up at Yuna, “Just a little insurance, dearie. No hard feelings?”

Yuna spat down, the liquid landing on Ultimecia’s nose and trailing down her cheek. The sorceress glared up at her, “Fine.” The snapped, spinning Yuna several times in the air, “You want to play rough, you little bitch? Then we’ll play rough!”

Seymour’s hand on her shoulder stopped Ultimecia’s next move, “Leave my wife alone. I’d like to take care of her, if I may.”

Seymour nodded and grabbed Yuna’s arm as Ultimecia lowered her. He pulled Yuna hard against his chest and hissed in her ear, “Soon, darling, you’ll know the price for betraying me…”

Ultimecia retrieved the huge sword and walked toward LeBlanc menacingly. She glared up at Nooj and then back at LeBlanc before hissing in the blonde’s ear, “Don’t worry about this traumatizing him. He won’t remember you in a minute.”

Ultimecia’s chants started low and grew louder and louder. Nooj felt strange but not nearly as strange as Squall must have felt. The man had collapsed to his knees, wheezing as if he couldn’t breath. Nooj bent down, hoping to unclasp his legs, but found that the chains were firmly in place. There wasn’t anything he could do.

Seymour held Yuna firmly, a small blade nudged at her hip. That fact didn’t escape the blitzer who was watching fiercely – so fiercely that Nooj realized Tidus was once again inhabiting his body.

There had to be something he could do…

There was…

Nooj let out a pained scream and clutched his chest, letting himself collapse into a heap on the floor. Ultimecia stopped her chanting and dropped the sword, rushing toward him and rolling him over, “Oh no!” she shrieked, “Not now!”

“He’s faking it!” Seymour shouted, pushing the sword a little harder against Yuna’s hip. The girl moaned in pain.

Ultimecia ignored Seymour and quickly released Nooj’s feet. With his feet unshackled, Nooj just waited for the perfect moment. He stayed completely still as Ultimecia lay her head against his chest. He felt her breath a sigh of relief when she heard it pounding steadily. Her body moved higher until he could feel her breath against his cheek. He knew she was close enough to grab now, and that’s what he did. Lunging with a massive power, Nooj gripped the sorceress’ neck in a vice-grip and forced her to her feet.

He looked at Squall, “What do you want me to do?”

Squall inhaled sharply. This wasn’t the woman he loved, but there was a chance he could still get her back. Yet, at what cost? Would his Rinoa become an evil sorceress down the road or was this just a chance encounter never to be repeated?

Rinoa had made him swear once that if she needed to be killed, it would be done only by him. The least he could do was obey her wishes. He walked toward her.

Seymour felt like his world was shattering as he saw Squall stepping toward the sorceress. It would only be a matter of time until he killed the sorceress and all of Seymour’s plans would go up in smoke. Taking a breath of courage, he hissed, “Not so fast there.” He pushed the blade a little harder into Yuna’s hip. A trickle of blood escaped just past the hip but Yuna’s mind was made up. She squirmed slightly to gain access to her holster in which she had wedged the small book.

Seymour didn’t notice her maneuvering. His focus was on the man standing mere inches from Ultimecia. The man who was reaching for the sword the sorceress had dropped to use in lieu of his own. Seymour glared at him, “Don’t even think about it.”

Yuna reached the book and moved as quickly as she could manage. Stopping her left boot down hard on Seymour’s foot, she was released just enough to elbow him in the face and run back into the safe embrace of Tidus’ arms.

Seymour’s nose was gushing blood and he shouted obscene words at her, moving lightening fast to grab the weapon from Squall’s hand. He stalked toward Yuna, his intent clear in his eyes, but she just smiled calmly and pulled the book from its hiding place. He stopped, mouth gaping, as she opened to the page she and Tidus had found earlier.

“Discedo antiqua tempastas.” She said, grinning at Seymour before turning her duel colored eyes at Ultimecia.

Seymour turned to follow her gaze and saw terror in Ultimecia’s eyes. He gaped at Yuna, “What are you doing?”

She smiled again, “It’s an incantation I found. It sends dead sorceresses back where they came from.”

Seymour didn’t know what to do. He had to think quickly. He hadn’t used his own powers in quite some time. He just hoped they still worked. His eyes connected with Tidus’ as he repeated the incantation Ultimecia had taught him, “Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei. Excitate vos e somno, liberi mei . Cunae non sunt. Excitate vos e somno, liberi fatali. Somnus est non. Surgite. Inventite hortum veritatis.”

“Don’t listen to him.” Yuna commanded as she tried to find her place in the book again.

Tidus glared back at Seymour but didn’t rise to the bait. Seymour was getting frustrated. It should be working by now. Maybe he just wasn’t powerful enough. Yet he couldn’t give up. If he gave up, he was as good as dead and so was Ultimecia.

“Ardente veritate. Urite mala mundi. Ardente veritate. Incendite tenebras mundi. Valete, liberi. Diebus fatalibus.”

“Ignore him!” commanded Yuna again as she finally located her place in the book, “Vocatum spes, beneficium…”

Tidus put a hand over the book, blocking her view of the words, “Stop.”


Wakka groaned angrily, “Gimme the stupid book. I’ll do it!”

Seeing his goal getting closer, Seymour stretched his arms wide and completed the chant with relish, “Fithos lusec wecos vinosec. Fithos lusec wecos vinosec. Fithos lusec wecos vinosec.”

Something flashed in Tidus’ eyes as Wakka reached for the book. He quickly grabbed the blade of his sword and swung up, slamming the handle down upon Wakka’s outstretched fingers. The book slipped from Yuna’s hands and the group gaped at him.

“What are you doing?” Yuna demanded.

“Come here, boy.” Came Seymour’s voice from where he stood, his arm outstretched toward the blitzer, “Join us and we’ll make sure your suffering wasn’t in vain.”

Yuna’s panic rose to new heights as Tidus nodded and walked to Seymour. She took a step toward him, “Tidus!”

He stared at her without a readable expression. Seymour grinned at her from over his shoulder, “My, my, my how the tables have turned.” He said with a smirk, “Even with your gaggle of do-gooders, there’s nothing that can stop us. You won’t risk killing either him, LeBlanc, or the body Ultimecia is possessing.” He placed a hand on Tidus’ shoulder and pulled him backward, using him effectively as a human shield. Tidus had no emotion. He was almost robotic in his movements.

Yuna wanted to cry. What had Seymour done to him? It certainly wasn’t Shuyin that he had conjured. The shadow even had more personality. Then she saw it…

A wink…

Tidus had winked at her!

She had to stifle a cry of glee and maintain her fearful face as she waited to see what Tidus would do. Seymour stopped when he was within reaching distance of Squall. He relieved the young man of the sword he was holding and pointed it at Nooj’s face, “Let her go.”

Nooj glanced around uncomfortably, unable to make a decision about whether to listen or not, but when Seymour placed the point of the blade mere centimeters from his right eye, the decision was made. He released Ultimecia slowly and she drew away from him, fire in her eyes as she kneed him in the groin. Nooj doubled over in pain but she just glared down at him, “After this, I don’t know if I even want you back. Maybe I should just let you die. Of course, I’d have to let you watch your precious blonde bimbo die first…painfully…bloodily…agonizingly…”

“There’s time for that.” Seymour said, motioning toward Tidus, “I’d like my revenge first if you don’t mind.”

Ultimecia smiled, “Not at all. After that impressive display with the chant, I’m willing to let you have your way.”

To Yuna’s surprise, he handed the blade to Tidus. She had feared he’d lunge it through his chest. Tidus held onto it, still maintaining his robotic stance. Seymour bent to hiss in his ear, but instead spoke in normal tones. He pointed directly at Yuna, “Kill her.”

“NO!” Rikku shrieked, running up to cover her cousin, “Tidus don’t!”

“Rikku!” Gippal cried, trying to reach her, but Cid’s hand was there.

“You stay away from them.” He hissed, “I don’t want you dying now. I want to watch you rot in jail.”

Gippal glared at him, “Is that all you can think about right now?”

“Yes. It’s all I’ve thought about for two years.”

“Well keep thinking about it.” Gippal retorted, pulling away from Cid and joining Rikku in their blockade of Yuna.

Ultimecia laughed and took a stand next to Seymour. Without breaking a sweat, she used her powers to push Rikku and Gippal aside and pull Yuna forward, mere feet from Tidus, “There you go.” She said sweetly.

“Do it…” Seymour commanded.

Tidus’ eyes flashed – with excitement or sadness Yuna couldn’t be sure – and he lifted the blade. For a brief moment she thought she’d imagined the wink. She was certain she’d lost him forever. Certain that he’d plunge that dark blade into her chest and end her life. But just as quickly as he’d lifted the blade, he twisted it in the air and plunged it backward under his arm and into Seymour’s chest with a furious crack. Ultimecia let out a shocked cry and was quickly gathered in Squall’s arms and held firm. Tidus smiled down at Seymour as the blue-haired devil gasped his last breaths, “The bleeding nose told me you were very much alive. So…tell me…does it hurt?” he sneered down at him and as Seymour took his last breath, Tidus blew him a condescending kiss, “See ya later, asshole!”

Yuna wasted no time retrieving the book from the ground. She paged quickly until she found the chant she needed. She was unsure whether she could continue where she’d left off or not, so she started from the beginning.

“Discedo antique tempastas. Vocatum spes, beneficium, et probitas servatum.”

Ultimecia’s body began to jerk violently in Squall’s arms. He struggled to hold on, but in a flash of bright, white light he was forced to let go. She was wheezing on the ground when the lighting returned to normal and Squall eyed her suspiciously, “Rinoa…?”

Brown eyes gazed up at him adoringly, “Thanks, Squall. How many times are you going to have to save me anyway?”

“No more if you stop being stupid.” Came Seifer’s nasty reply as he stalked over to them, “I mean, how many times are you going to do something dumb and almost get yourself killed? Hmmm…?”

Squall glared at him, “This is really none of your concern.”

“The hell it is!” cried the blonde, “Not only does she almost destroy our home, but she almost gets all these other people killed too!”

“It wasn’t her fault!”

Seifer grunted, “Oh, and my being under the sorceresses’ control was?!”

Squall frowned and shrugged, “No…maybe not.”

Tidus slipped into the middle of the argument and smiled, “Guys, there’s no need to fight. We just saved the world. It’s time to celebrate!”

A derisive snort came in reply to Tidus’ proclamation. He turned to see Cid slipping handcuffs onto Gippal’s outstretched hands, “Speak for yourself.” The Al Bhed leader was saying as he snapped the cuffs in place, “I’m gonna have a ton of paperwork to do after this.”

“What are you doing?!” Yuna cried as she rushed over to Cid. She violently pushed his hands away from Gippal and pulled the taller man toward her and Rikku, “What’s the matter with you?! Can’t you just get over this?”

Cid glared at her and yanked Gippal back toward him, “He’s under arrest for the destruction of Home.”

Yuna rolled her eyes and pulled Gippal toward her again, “No he’s not! He didn’t do anything!”

“Yes he did!” shouted Cid, yanking Gippal backward.

Yuna yanked him forward, “No he didn’t!”

“He confessed!” Cid shrieked, pulling Gippal with all his strength and forcing the blonde off of his feet to land on his bottom at Cid’s.

Yuna gaped down at Gippal, “Did you?”

He nodded softly, “Yes, but I didn’t mean for it to happen. They followed me.”

Cid scoffed, “Sure they did…” he replied in a condescending manner. He motioned toward his guards and each took their places at Gippal’s elbows, lifting him easily off of the ground and to his feet. He nodded at the dream crew, Tidus, Wakka, and Lulu who were watching the exchange in silence. Then he turned and nodded at Yuna, “I’ve got a job to do. High Summoner or no High Summoner, you’re not stopping me from seeing a criminal get what’s coming to him.”

As he turned to leave, he saw a small trail of tears leaving his daughter’s eyes and he stopped, “Rikku…” he whispered hoarsely, reaching to touch her only to have her back away before he could make contact. He stiffened his spine, “One of these days you’ll understand. I can’t make special exceptions…no matter how you or I may feel about it.” And with that, Cid turned and led this men and Gippal out of the room.


The cell Gippal found himself in was the same one he’d been in after being accused of killing Baralai. He found it ironic that both times he’d been accused of crimes he didn’t commit, he’d find himself in the same cell. What were the odds of that?

Then again, what were the odds of being arrested twice for two different crimes of which you were innocent?

Pretty good, obviously…

Gippal’s mind traveled to that horrible day two years ago. Arriving at Home had mixed feelings for him then. He was relieved to be back where he belonged, and yet was filled with this mixed sense of duty. If he fulfilled the order he was given, he’d kill the only girl he’d ever love. If he went against it, than what had he suffered for all those months in Crimson Squad basic training?

He’d ended up defying the order. He had to. It just wasn’t in him to heinously kill for no reason other than to satisfy an order. He’d left the morning of the attack after hearing that Sir Auron and the other guardians had been spotted on Bikinel. And after he’d told Sir Auron of Seymour’s order…

He sighed and stretched out on the hard cot. He didn’t want to think about it anymore. If he was meant to live out the rest of his life in here, so be it. At least Rikku knew how he felt…and at least she felt the same way about him. That was something to live for.

A distant squeaking was Gippal’s only warning that he had a visitor on their way. He sat up quickly and ran a hand through his tangled hair. He figured it wouldn’t take long for Rikku to come and visit him. Even though he couldn’t look his best, he could at least look presentable when he saw her.

Yet it wasn’t Rikku that appeared in front of his cell…

“Cid...” it was a statement, not a question. Cid stepped closer to the cell and frowned at Gippal. Gippal didn’t know what to say. It made no sense to him that Cid would be there, unless he was there to gloat. That was probably it. Gippal sneered at him, “Gloating isn’t very becoming, you know.”

“I’m not here to gloat.” Cid’s voice was raspy and hoarse as though he’d come down with a bad case of laryngitis.

“Then what are you here for?”

“Rikku came to see me.” Cid admitted, pulling a nearby chair toward the cell door and sitting down to face Gippal. He rested his head on his hand, “She made me listen to her and what you say happened that day.”


“I’m willing to admit that I may have acted a bit…hasty.”

“Really?” was Gippal’s disbelieving reply. Cid never admitted when he’d done something wrong. What was he planning?

Cid nodded, “Yes, really.” He sighed and leaned back on the chair, “Look, when I found out you’d been lying about being a full Al Bhed, I started wondering what other things you may have been lying about and, I’ll admit, I got a little blind. Blind to the fact that you’ve been nothing but a loyal Al Bhed for as long as I’ve known you. Blind to the fact that you love my daughter and she loves you. Blind…to a lot of things.”

“Yes, you have been blind.”

“I just wanted to say that I’m sorry.” Cid said with a heavy sigh as he rose from his chair, “I’m sorry, and I’ve decided after a lot of soul searching – and some threats from my determined daughter – not to press charges.”

Gippal’s eyes widened in disbelief as Cid raised the keys to the latch and opened the door to the cell. He motioned with his hand, “Go on. Get out of here.”

“You mean it…?”

Cid nodded and smiled as Gippal walked out of the cell. He shut the door quietly behind him and spoke again, “This is the second time that I’ve arrested you when you haven’t done anything wrong. This is the third time I’ve arrested an innocent person. Quite frankly, I’m tired of looking like a moron.” He grinned and slapped Gippal good-heartedly on the shoulder, “I don’t approve of you lying. I don’t approve of you breaking out of jail the first time. I certainly don’t approve of your even considering doing what Seymour had asked of you. But if Rikku trusts you…” he shrugged, “…then I guess I’ll trust you too. What do I have to lose?”


One Year Later

It had been a long time since Yuna had felt safe and contented enough to relax and let her guard down. Yet that was exactly what she was doing at that moment. Tidus’ arms were wrapped tightly around her and her head lay gently on his shoulder. This was how it was meant to be.

The year had been an uneventful one and for Yuna that meant everything. After Cid let Gippal out of jail, he and Rikku had set about finishing the rebuilding of Zanarkand while working on their relationship. It was odd at times. The two fought constantly, but in the end they always made up. Gippal didn’t want the last words he spoke to her at night to be in anger. Deep inside he still felt guilty for having the last words he’d spoken to Baralai in the mortal world be that.

LeBlanc and Nooj had gone back to Guadosalam, but had soon discovered that they couldn’t live there anymore knowing what had happened. They were currently living in their townhome in Luca. Nooj was still working with the former members of the Youth League and New Yevon and formed a joint coalition that was currently running Spira through free elections.

The fayth had kept his word to Seifer and had given the dream crew the option of staying in Spira. It took some soul searching. Their first instinct was to go home to a familiar world, but in the end they had decided to stay. Squall told Tidus one night a few weeks ago that his decision was made when he saw how happy Tidus was in Spira. Maybe, Squall had thought, just maybe he could be happy there too.

Wakka and the Aurochs were currently working on teaching them the basics of blitzball…

Tidus kissed her cheek and shook her from her thoughts. She turned her head and smiled up at him. His hand trailed a path slowly from her shoulder to her forearm and wrist until finally it slid over the small diamond and matching band that adorned her left hand. She ran her thumb over his matching jewelry and smiled, “I still can’t believe we actually did it…” she muttered.

“It’s about damn time.” He admitted with a grin, “I’m just glad they weren’t too mad at us for running to Luca.”

“Rikku was beside herself. Gippal had to console her. Wakka and Lulu were upset they missed it. But I promised I’d let them throw us a huge party once we’re all moved into the house.”

“Sounds like a plan to me.”

Yuna sighed and leaned back upon him again. She still couldn’t believe how lucky she was. Her 1000 year wait was over. Everything had come full circle and for the first time in her life she felt complete. She didn’t feel as though she was missing something. She wasn’t waiting for the other shoe to drop. She wasn’t scared anymore of what may be around the next corner.

All that mattered was her…and Tidus…and the life they were building together. The shattered life they had in Zanarkand 1000 years ago was just a memory, but it was a memory worth keeping. Neither wanted to part with it completely. So, when Gippal and Rikku had presented a newly restored home to them as a wedding present they had accepted wholeheartedly. Shuyin’s house sat quietly beside the docks of Zanarkand. It held the ghosts of a past long gone and yet they weren’t bad ghosts. They were memories of a life that had promise, but was snuffed before its time and yet was given another chance. Tidus had said it perfectly when he had told Yuna that this was their chance to make right the mistakes of the past.

That’s exactly what they were going to do…


Right now, Yuna just wanted to enjoy being in Tidus’ arms and watching the beautiful sunrise that graced her with its presence on the first morning in their new home.

“The city lights go out one by one…” whispered Tidus, “The stars fade…then the horizon glows, almost like it’s on fire.” He kissed her ear gently, “It’s kinda rose-colored, right? First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky, then to the whole city. It gets brighter and brighter, till everything glows. It’s really pretty…” he winked at her, “I knew you’d like it…”

Yuna smiled and turned her head to whisper in Tidus’ ear, “I told you that I wanted to see it one day.”

“Yes you did…” he replied with a smile. Tidus ran his arms under hers and pulled her closer to him, cuddling her around the waist. He nuzzled her neck gently, “I want to stay like this until the stars fade and the world collapses around us. I want to stay like this until my last breath.” He kissed her softly, “I want to stay like this until time stops…until the end.”

Yuna shook her head, “Not till the end…” she whispered, twisting her head to gaze into his blue eyes, “Not till the end…always.”

Tidus grinned at her and kissed her softly. He pulled away and ran a hand slowly through her silky brown locks as he gazed lovingly into her eyes, “Always then…” he replied with a wink as he kissed her again.



Discedo antiqua tempastas. Vocatum spes, beneficium, et probitas servatum: Go away ancient tempest. We call hope, kindness, and honesty to save us.


New member
Jan 14, 2006
Somewhere over the r.a.i.n.b.o.w
Well, it was uh-maze-ing!
I totally luffed it =D
Really red, you are like, the most amazing writer I know.
Like, seriously.
Well, whenever you make your new fic, be sure to let me know!
I'm the first, 'kay? ;)
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