There are better things than to be saved by a summoner. Yuna, on the beach, elbows-deep in Sin's aftermath.
by Lauren / revised May 2005
"Tell me about the Farplane."
He's so young and so brave and so utterly stupid that she cannot speak for a moment -- so overwhelmed by the massacre, the chaos, and the scents of blood and fresh decay that her voice simply stops. She finds it, and some kind of courage, in the next moment, tapping a resource of strength that she always prefers to forget. Rememberance means the end of peacetime, and certainly they are nearer to war than she has ever imagined. "You'll find everything you've ever wanted there," she tells him.
"And in the morning the sun always shines -- "
" -- and at night the moon is full." How he can stand to remember those old fairy stories is beyond her reckoning, but peace sparks in his eyes.
She examines him as best she can: He is handsome. Tall, well-muscled, fair-haired and dark-eyed, but somehow lackadaisical: his armor doesn't fit him properly. His head is in her lap. His body is unnaturally still; he doesn't want to move and she can't blame him. Everything seems to be broken, crushed or splintered bone and angry gouges patterning his torso, colouring his pale skin. That he is talking to her is a miracle. He's choking on his own blood -- his own bile.
His own bravery.
"If I die," he says in that choking voice, "will my mother be there?"
"If she was Sent."
He smiles at her, revealing several missing teeth and a mouthful of blood. His limp fingers are long and stained with ink, smudged across the flat of the palm as though he picked up his quill without thinking. She tries to think what he might be: A scribe. An artist. A poet.
"Is it very beautiful?" His ears are bleeding sluggishly into his hair, onto the sand.
"I haven't been there yet." The prospect of her pilgrimmage seems dark and hopeless in the middling light.
Fingers in his hair. /Curaga, Curaga, Curaga/. Ease the pain a little. Most people don't realise that curative magics depend more on the user than the spell. The magic knows what the giver wants and what the receiver needs. It's strong in her fingers, bright along the lines of her hands, a glow that is strong without being harsh, firm without being blinding.
"If I die, will Yevon accept me?"
Her own hands brushing away the blood pooling at his mouth. It's not beautiful. It's ugly, brutal, and so unnecessary. Her square hands on his jaw, his chin, his cheek, where he can feel them, seem redundant. Red runs almost freely over her hands; so for once she forgets about the people of Besaid, who brought a tailor from Bevelle to fashion her summoner's robes and paid the equivalent of a man's yearly salary to buy them for her. She wipes her hands on her thighs, and stains the silk. All of that is less important today, and they would understand.
"Yes. Yes, of course," she says.
She knows that her eyes and her tone and her hands are gentle. Sometimes she wonders how this comes so easily to her.
Spira thinks that summoners and life are synonymous. Spira's wrong.
Summoners rarely see life. It's so precious to them because of its rarity, those moments standing above the sea with someone's arms around you, those brief gentle times when you are not surrounded by a flood of iridescent whispering light.
Summoners are there at the beginning, calling magic to their fingers, and summoners are there at the end, sending souls to the Farplane.
"Thank you, lady."
"There is no need to thank me."
But the look in his eyes says he does; he understands, this stupid little soldier, and he is still grateful. Her fingers work through his hair and she whispers her magics, soothing away the pain. She can do this. It is not beyond her; the magic is there, pooled inside and glazing her skin. She has a vast well to draw upon, a lifetime's training, experience, and more than a lifetime's share of prayer.
There are many things she doesn't want to do. Doesn't want to think of him with his chest bare and his eyes open and his soul raw, ripped apart by forces very much - exactly - like this one. Doesn't want to think of her father in his last moments, his final battle against Sin, where his fear of death must have been so strong, must have been like this young man's. Doesn't want to continue and doesn't want to stop, because either one means that she will hurt somebody, somewhere.
She wants to do this. She can do this.
In a sense, it's what she was born for. "You're very kind." His voice is hoarse. Her stomach turns.
"Good-bye," she tells him quietly, and then: The final, brutal crack, and she is the only witness to the dimming of his eyes. She whispers a Sending to him and watches his soul float into the air, destined for a place she will visit soon. Her pilgrimmage is not over; her fate lies further down this road. Many deaths lie ahead: Some of them, perhaps, more tearing than this.
She turns her mind from those thoughts, and watches the pyrefly float as though suspended in time. It might be. Something twists her mouth and pulls air sharply into her lungs - almost a laugh, but for the grief carving itself impermanently into the planes and lines of her face.
Spira thinks that pyreflies are beautiful.
Spira's still wrong.