A continuation of an overdone series. Yuna's life becomes too drab for her until an appearance from her ex-husband threatens Spira once again.
She watched him with a smile as he practiced with the Aurochs. They looked like a group of old buddies, as if he'd never disappeared, as if he'd been in Besaid all this time. It warmed her heart to see it. She watched them practice all afternoon, and by the end of it, her heart had grown cold. This was how her life was going to be, day in and day out. The Calm was eternal, Shuyin was destroyed. There was no more need for a High Summoner. New Yevon and the Youth League had resolved their differences, thanks to her, and Spira was finally at peace. It was everything she had ever wanted. Somehow it was a lot easier to accept it all when she'd thought she wouldn't live to see it.
Yuna had never realized a very important truth about herself until it was too late to change anything. She loved adventuring, she lived for it. It was her very purpose in life. Nothing made her happier than fighting evil and saving the lives of the people of Spira. Paine and Rikku had been right. She did like to play super-hero. True, the first two years of her calm had been wonderful, peaceful, and she'd delighted to see that everyone was finally at ease. But when the chance to save the world had popped up again, she was more than happy to jump back into action. However, all the villains were defeated now. There was no one left to fight.
Every now and again, Buddy would call her on the commsphere, tell her that they'd found new sphere waves and ask her if she wanted to join their investigation of it. True, the need for sphere hunters had died down rapidly, but it was still intriguing to find more pieces of Spira's mysterious past. She went, every time, without fail, and he followed her. She didn't want to ask him to stay away. She was supposed to welcome him always with open arms, after she'd endured so much just to find him again, but it when he followed, everything felt so awkward. Paine didn't warm up to him well at all. She didn't like his attitude, she'd said. Not that she minded him acting so care free, but she didn't like how protective he was of his summoner. Those times had passed, as she'd told Yuna, and she didn't prefer to relive them when he was around. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that though the thought was sweet, it was actually rather annoying. She'd fought against horrors he couldn't even have imagined and won. She had paved the road to Spira's future with her blood. She had earned her right to battle on her own. Yet, every time they ran across so much as a Flan, he jumped in front of her, eager to protect her. What did he know anyway? Shinra had been nice enough to form dress spheres for him, and he hadn't even mastered his Gunner class yet. It made her so mad at times that she wanted to scream. But she could never scream at him, not her true love. Not after what she went through. It wouldn't be right. Besides, everyone (except Paine) agreed that they were the perfect couple. Who was she to complain?
Lulu sat beside her, Vidina in her arms, half asleep. The boy was almost a year old now. She remember seeing him after he was just born, and all the trouble Wakka had coming up with a name. It lightened her mood to see him. Lulu saw the trouble look on her face and sighed. She'd notice that Yuna had been somewhat depressed for a while now, and try as she might, she couldn't find the source of it.
"What is the matter, Yuna?" She asked quietly, hoping the boys wouldn't over hear her. "I can tell something is wrong. Why don't you talk to me about it?"
Yuna smiled softly, an immediate reaction to questioning, she supposed. "It's nothing really, Lulu. I just wonder about the future, that's all."
"We wouldn't have a future if it wasn't for you. What could be making you so sad lately? Did something happen between you two?"
"No, I mean, we're fine. I love him, he loves me. Nothing could be better. I just. . .I wonder about our future together. I don't know how I'll ever get used to a normal life. And I wonder. . . Lulu, how did you know that you and Wakka were right for each other?"
Lulu chuckled softly. "You're not trying to tell me that you've been having second thoughts about him, are you? Certainly not after the fuss you caused to get him back."
Her mouth dropped and her eyes widened. Quickly the ex-summoner shook her head. "No, it's nothing like that. I just wish he'd give me the chance to show him that I'm strong all on my own, not just around him. I was just wondering, anyway."
Her friend and former guardian frowned. Yuna wasn't telling her everything, but she wasn't going to pry it from her. She'd speak when she felt like it was time. "No, I never really knew that he was THE one," she answered, hoping she gave the answer her friend was looking for. "I guess, you never really know. But it feels right to me, and I have no regrets. Maybe that's all that counts."
Yuna smiled. "You're right, Lulu. Thank you."
She stood, content for the moment, and brushed her half-skirt off. After another glance at the man she loved, she nodded to Lulu and was about to leave when a familiar buzzing filled the air. She grinned as she turned to face the commsphere, and Buddy's image appeared. This was wonderful. Another sphere hunt would take everything off her mind, and maybe she could convey to her lover that she was strong enough to take care of herself.
"Yuna?" Came Buddy's voice intermixed with the static. "Yuna, are you there?"
"I'm here, Buddy. What's up? Did you and Brother find some new sphere waves?"
"No, it's not that. Lord Tromell wants to talk to you. He says he's found something that he thinks you might appreciate."
"Oh," she said, hoping she didn't sound too disappointed. Tromell was a good friend of hers, and she had every wish to see him again. She'd just been hoping for a little more action.
If Buddy noticed, he didn't say anything. "Are you ready to board the Celsius?"
Suddenly Buddy's image disappeared, as though he had been pushed aside. Paine's face came into view, and Yuna's gasp turned into a chuckle. "Hello Paine."
"Hey Yuna," she returned. "Don't look so down. Brother and Buddy haven't picked up any waves, but I think I know a good place to go sphere hunting after Guadosalam."
Instantly Yuna perked up. "Wonderful. I can't wait. Count me in."
"Are you bringing him?"
Yuna frowned and looked to her lover, who waved back to her, grinning from ear to ear. He knew she'd gotten a call on the commsphere, and he was waiting until it was over to approach her and ask her what the new mission was. She couldn't tell him no, but. . . "Yes, he's coming."
Paine all but pouted. "Yuna. . ."
"Don't worry, Paine. I'll talk to him."
The Celsius landed in the waters next to Besaid Beach. Yuna waved to the ship and ran that way, her love in tow. The doors slid open, and Rikku jumped down to greet her, capturing her in a huge hug. Paine stepped onto the beach and waved to her, ignoring the man by her side. Yuna pretended not to notice. Besides, once she explained everything to him, he would be more understanding, and then she was sure Paine would like him. Rikku finally let her loose, and stepped aside. She didn't have time to blink before a blur of blue and yellow catapulted from the ship and grabbed hold of her. She gasped as the figure bent her over in a head lock. Her former guardian ran forward, screaming to the man to let her go. Her capture laughed, and she recognized the voice right before he gave her a noogie.
"Relax," Gippal said as he let Yuna stand up straight. "It's only a little friendly rough-housing, right Yunie?"
She chuckled and pushed his shoulder. "Right."
"So, this is the guy you kept telling us all about, huh?" Gippal looked him over and then shook his head. "Nope, I'm sorry. This guy just won't do. He doesn't measure up, Yunie."
"Watch it," he replied, the heat obvious in his voice.
Rikku slid between the two, her grin plastered on. "Cut it out, Gippal! No need to worry. He's with me."
Yuna's eyes widened. "You mean, the two of you are back together?"
"You bet. And I heard a certain 'Noojie-woojie' left his over possessive girlfriend. That would mean he's on the open market, Paine."
The silver haired warrior shook her head. "Don't start with me Rikku. You're already down to thirty-nine points."
"Oooh," Rikku whined, "that can't be good."
They laughed, just like old times. He stood in the back ground, watching their mirth from a distance. He didn't fit in anymore. Sure, he'd found a place with Wakka and Lulu, and Khimari had always been distant, but she and Rikku had moved on. Y-R-P was more than a silly group name, it was a friendship, a very close one. They had their inside jokes, secret looks, and mysterious gestures that no one else in the world could understand. He just couldn't be a part of that. She wished he would understand.
"I thought you were going to talk to him," Paine whispered to Yuna as Gippal picked Rikku off the ground.
"I will," she replied, "just when the time is right. Wait until we go on your sphere hunt. Then I can show him what I can do."
/I wasn't ready for what Tromell had in store for me. I didn't want to face that part of my past. But there was nothing else I could do. I had to see it all through. There were so many questions that had been left unanswered, so many things that the spheres we'd found would never know. With all that we knew, I felt like we only had half the pieces of the puzzle. I wanted to know everything. I wanted to see the whole picture. I couldn't just stand by and wait or ignore it. I had to do something./
The only thing that had changed about Guadosalam in the last three years was all the different people who inhabited it. The Guado still lived there, but now humans inhabited it as well, along with the musicians from Macalania Woods. She walked towards the mansion in the center of the town. Leblanc had given up the syndicate and let Tromell return to his home. Each step that brought her closer made her shiver just a little more. The place was full of bad memories, the whole town was, in fact. She hoped that soon new memories would replace those from the time of Sin.
The doors were opened for them and they were led to the gathering room. Tromell turned and was pleased to see them all here. He rushed forward to greet Yuna and her friends, delighted that she'd chosen to come. She'd never refuse his invitation, and besides that, she was a little curious to see what he had for her.
"Welcome, Lady Yuna," he said, smiling. "I see you've had the fortune of finding your friend. It is a pleasure to see him alive and well."
"You have no idea," he joked, winking at Yuna.
She laughed quietly. "It's good to see you again, Tromell. How are things in Guadosalam?"
"Everything is well, Lady Yuna. The Guado are happier than ever before, and finally we can call ourselves a true part of Spira."
"I knew you'd be a wonderful leader. So, what did you call us for? Did you find another sphere?"
He shook his head. "Nothing like that, I'm afraid, just something I thought you might want, especially with the news that you and the young man have taken to each other so well."
Yuna blushed as Rikku exclaimed, "Oh, I think he's giving you an early wedding present, Yunie."
"You may call it that, if you wish to, Lady Yuna. This belonged to you, and I see no reason why anyone but you should wear it."
Her eyes widened as he reached into a chest by the table and pulled out a snow white gown. It was fitted to her body type, made only for her. The bottom was lined with beautiful, white feathers and the veil for it was long enough to drag the ground behind her. It was her wedding gown, the one she'd worn at Bevelle, when she had married Tromell's old lord, Seymour. Maester Seymour Guado had fooled all of Spira with his benevolent acts of kindness. He'd been evil. He had killed his father, Lord Jyscal, and his plans had been to become her final Aeon, so that he could merge with Sin and destroy Spira. At the final battle with Sin, she'd defeated him, and she'd sent his spirit, so that he could rest in peace. After that moment, she hadn't thought about him. Not until now. It was strange to think it, but by all rights and laws he was her husband. Would that make her a widow now? Of course, when they'd been married, he had been unsent. Surely that didn't count.
Tromell frowned. "Lady Yuna, you seem most distraught. Has my gift upset you?"
"What were you thinking?" He cried. "You gave her the same dress that Seymour forced her into! How could you do that?"
"Stop, please," she said. "Fighting won't solve anything. Thank you, Lord Tromell, for the dress. I love it, I really do. But . . . there are some things that I need to find out, and you have reminded me of that. I thank you for that, too."
"I am always glad to be of service to you, Lady Yuna."
"With your permission, Lord Tromell, I would like to enter the Farplanes. There's someone in there that I really need to speak to."
Paine placed a hand on Yuna's shoulder. "Is it such a wise idea to return there, Yuna? What if Shuyin comes after you again?"
She shook her head. "I buried Lenne's dress sphere after we fought him. He's at peace now, Paine. He won't bother us any longer."
"You should still be careful, Yunie," Rikku said. "I don't trust pyreflies. They're far too dangerous, if you ask me."
"I agree," Gippal nodded. "Pyreflies carry too many emotions with them. It's a bad idea to interact with them. Just stay away."
"No, I need to go in. Maybe I can talk to my father, find out if there's any more he might have learned. I need to know something. Please, just trust me."
Tromell sighed. "If it is your wish to go in, Lady Yuna, by all means, you are welcome to it."
Yuna smiled. "Thank you, Tromell."
He stood beside her, forcing Paine to take a step back. He hugged her tightly in his arms. "If you have to go, let me go with you. I'll protect you from Shuyin, or anything else that might come out."
Paine rolled her eyes, but Yuna smiled softly, shaking her head. "No, please. I need to do this on my own. I can take care of myself, I promise you. Just let me do this. I'll come back in one piece, I swear it."
"We'll give you an hour," Paine said before he could argue. "If you haven't come back by then, we'll come in after you."
She nodded. "Fair enough."
/ From the second I set foot in the Farplanes, I could tell that something was wrong. Something just didn't feel right. I had to keep going though. There was so much I realized that I still didn't know. I hoped that this trip would give me some answers./
Yuna waved to the others as she stepped through the shields that protected Spira from the spirits of the Farplanes. She wrapped her arms around herself as a sudden cold hit her, just a quick breeze. Funny, she never remembered it being cold in the Farplanes. Her stomach flipped just a little at the thought that something must have been wrong, but she kept moving forward. She still wanted answers, and there was only one man she knew of that could give them to her. She reached the edge of the plain and took a deep breath. It was now or never.
"Seymour," she whispered his name, and the pyreflies around her began to react. A figure began to form in front of her and she took a step back. She saw his cyan hair, the majestic robes that signified him to be a Maester and High Summoner, the incredibly long fingers that signified his heritage to the Guado. A shining image of the man she'd been forced to marry appeared before her, and though transparent, she could make out his every feature, from the blue of his eyes, to the intricate tattoos on his chest.
"Hello, Seymour," she said. "I hope your spirit is finally in peace. I'm not sure if you're just the pyreflies, or if it's really you, but I have questions that I hoped you could answer. In the last two years, we've learned so much about Spira's past, but there's so much we still don't know. I know you studied our histories greatly, and I know that you know many secrets we could only dream of. Would you please give me some answers?"
The figure opened its mouth, as if to speak, but no sound came forth. Yuna sighed. She supposed Rikku was right. The pyreflies couldn't summon the spirits of the dead, they just held on to memories and emotions. She should have known better, but a part of her still wanted to believe that something in the old teaching had been true. This Seymour wasn't real. The true descendant of Guadosalam was gone. She looked up, maybe to say goodbye or maybe for one last look, but whatever might have passed from her lips was silenced by what she saw. The figure's face twisted like it was in pain. Its mouth opened suddenly in a silent scream, and for a moment, nothing more happened. Then she could hear it. Seymour was screaming. The image before her shattered. She cried out in shock, and before her, Seymour Guado appeared, as real as she was. As far as she could tell, he looked alive, though in far worse shape. His robes were frayed and torn, barely clinging to his body. His cyan hair fell all around him, dirty and wet. Bruises had formed all over his chest, scars old and new blended with them. He fell to his hands and knees, gasping for breath. He coughed and blood spattered his hand.
"S-Seymour," Yuna gasped, kneeling beside him, "what happened to you?"
It took five tries, but he finally managed to speak. "It's in. . .the Farplanes. . ."
She blinked, not understanding him. "What is it, Seymour? What is in the Farplanes? Are the fiends there?"
"Some. . ." he replied. "It's war. . . in there. Something. . . is killing everything. . . all the spirits. . . are disappearing."
"What do you mean? Is it Shuyin? Did he rebuild Vegnagun? Is he the one causing the war?"
Seymour shook his head. "Shuyin. . . fights with us. I don't know. . . what it is."
He coughed again, more violent this time, and blood stained the ground beneath him. The world swam and he fell forward. Yuna caught him, doing what she could to hold him up. He shook off the sudden sickness and met her eyes. Looking down at him, he seemed so fragile, so broken. He was in a lot of pain, and if it was at all possible, Yuna could swear he was dying. What could it hurt, just to make sure. She chanted the words that she'd learned what seemed like forever ago and placed her hands on him. He gasped, but his wounds closed, and the blood in his mouth disappeared. His hand grasped her shoulders, and together they managed to pull themselves standing. She could feel his flesh, his skin. He was alive.
"How can this be?" She shook her head. "How can you be alive?"
"It's only an illusion of the Farplanes, Lady Yuna," he replied. "You know I am dead. You are the one who sent me."
It sounded almost like an accusation more than a fact, and before she caught herself, she whispered a small, "I'm sorry." She sighed and continued. "What was I supposed to do, Maester. . . Seymour? You didn't leave us any choice. I couldn't let you destroy Spira."
He chuckled. "I thought it was impossible to defeat Sin. I thought all the teachings of Yevon were ridiculous, especially since he was the enemy. And so I figured, why not enlighten the world? Why not end their suffering?"
"Was that really your reasoning?"
"No, there was more than that. But why should I explain myself any further? What's done is done. Now, if you have no more to ask of me, I have a war to return to."
"Wait!" She cried, then calmed herself. "Seymour, if you lose the battle, what will happen to the Farplanes?"
He smiled wryly. "They will be destroyed, and then whatever it is we're fighting will come after Spira."
"So Spira is in danger again. . ." she frowned, then nodded. "Very well, then we have to put a stop to it. Seymour, I know you know a lot about Spira's past. Come with me. Together, maybe we can put a stop to this."
He blinked, watching her for a moment as if he didn't believe her. Finally, he said, "Yuna, you are not seriously suggesting that I return to Spira with you, are you?"
She nodded. "I tried to tell you earlier that we have collected many spheres that explain parts of Spira's past. Many are from two years ago, and even a few are from a thousand years ago, but there is so much time in between and before that, so much more we don't know. Maybe you can help us fill in those gaps and we can figure out what this thing is before it gets too powerful."
He frowned. "It's nice to see you haven't changed, Lady Yuna. Still desperate to save the world, I see. To be honest, I would be foolish to pass up a chance to return to Spira. I hate it here. Every moment that passes causes me to lose a little bit more of myself."
"What do you mean?"
"I keep losing my memories. Every day that passes in here, I become less and less aware of who I am, or who I was. These pyreflies that summon us, they can remember only what those who knew us remember, nothing more. If it wasn't for this war, there would be no way I could have answered you."
"What's happening to your memories, do you know?"
He nodded. "From what I can tell, the memories that escape us become pyreflies themselves. I don't know how I can get them back, but I'll try what I can, anything to get out of here."
"Good. Let's see, I was able to heal you in the Farplanes. Do you think I could bring you back to life as well?"
"I'm not sure. It's never been tried before."
"Well, I can't see the harm in trying it now." She braced herself, praying silently that what she was doing was truly the right thing to do, and relaxed her body. The energy that possessed her magic flew to the surface, surrounding her, engulfing her aura. She drew out all the power she had, and at the same time she cast "Full-Life", she cast "Full Cure". Seymour gasped, his body convulsing in spasms as he collapsed. Yuna cried out. Maybe this had been a bad idea after all. He was undead. What if she'd just managed to hurt him worse?
Seymour lay still, finally, his last breath taken from him in a whoosh of air. He didn't move at all. After a few minutes, Yuna walked over to his body and knelt beside him, her breath caught in her throat, afraid that her next action would reveal she'd managed to kill him again. Hands shaking, she leaned over him, two fingers extended to try and find a pulse in his throat. Just before she could touch him, he coughed, and she jumped back. Warily, he pulled himself to stand, and she stood with him. He looked down at his hands, over to her, and back again. Finally, he wrapped his arms about himself and said, "I don't remember it being this cold in the Farplanes."
She smiled brightly. "You're alive! I can't believe it worked. Come on, we have to go and tell the others everything."
He blinked, then cleared his throat. "Um, Yuna. . ."
"These 'others' you're speaking of wouldn't happen to be the same group of people who helped you kill me, would they?"
She blushed and lowered her head. "Uh, a couple of them, maybe. But it's been three years. I'm sure once they realize Spira's in danger again, they'll be more than willing to have your help."
/I could tell by the way he was looking at me that he didn't believe me. I couldn't blame him. Quite honestly, I wasn't sure I believed it myself. I knew that Rikku, Pain, Buddy, and even Brother would want to help save Spira again, and I knew that he would too. I wasn't sure, though, how they would react to Seymour's help. He wouldn't trust him. I knew it. It was my job to try and fix that./
Yuna was the first to step forward from the Farplanes. She wanted to be able to gage everyone's reaction to the news before he came out. She looked down at them all, and sighed deeply. "Everyone, I have terrible news. I've learned that Spira is in danger yet again. There's a mysterious force at war with the spirits in the Farplanes, and there are fiends there as well. No one is sure as to what has caused this, but this unknown army will destroy the Farplanes and then come after Spira. It's too dangerous for us to go against them now. We need to find out more about who they could be. I hope that by continuing our sphere hunts, we can find the information we need, but we'll have to act quickly."
Paine frowned. "But how are we going to figure out which sphere's are important, and which ones aren't? Maechen isn't around anymore to ask. Who else knows history that well?"
Yuna bit her bottom lip. "I could only think of one person who might have known almost as much as Maechen did. I hope you can forgive me, but I don't see that we have another choice. He was the same one who informed me of the war in the Farplanes."
She watched his reaction, watched as he tried to read her mind, to find out who it was she was trying to hide from them. Rikku wasn't half as patient. She demanded an answer immediately. "Who is it, Yunie?"
She gave a heavy sigh and stepped aside. Seymour stepped forward from the bright lights emitted by the Farplanes, and collectively the group gasped. He wasted no time. In a flash he was beside her. He pushed her back and drew his blue sword, the Brotherhood that Wakka had given him, and glared at the half-Guado. Between clenched teeth he said, "What do you think you're doing here?"
Seymour frowned, unamused and slightly offended. "I'm here to help you, you moron. These beings are destroying the Farplanes, and thanks to you and your little friends, that happens to be my home now."
"Well, I hope you're ready to go back. I don't know what you said to Yuna, but I'm not about to let you near her again."
Yuna marched over and stood indignantly between the two men. "That's enough," she said. "Please, I know you don't trust Seymour, and I can't blame you, but he's the only help we've got. We have to work together. Please, trust me."
He looked into her shining eyes, and his heart melted. He didn't trust the Maester, but for some reason Yuna did. He wouldn't ruin this for her, or for Spira if what Seymour said was true, but he would keep an eye on his former enemy. He had to. "All right, Yuna. I trust you. What do we have to do?"
"We've got to search for the sphere's we've missed, anything to give us a clue as to what's going on, and we have to find Seymour's memories as well."
Rikku cocked her head to the side. "His memories? What do you mean? It looks like he remembers us just fine."
Seymour nodded. "I can remember your names, and why we were enemies, but that's about all. I've been in the Farplanes too long to remember anything else."
Paine shook her head. "So, the Farplanes steal your memories? Is that what you're telling us?"
"Yes," he replied. "Once you've been sent, your memories slowly begin to fade. I held onto what I could, but as I concentrated on one memory, another one slipped away. That's what pyreflies are created from, the memories of the dead. Once people forget about them, the pyreflies cling to new memories, and so forth and so on."
Rikku shivered. "Ooh, that's creepy. I'm not so sure I want to be sent when I die."
/I couldn't have been more thankful that he was answering all of their questions so openly. It wasn't very much like him, at least from what I knew of him, but I wasn't about to complain. Maybe he was just grateful to be alive again, or maybe he was only being compliant long enough to gain our trust, I wasn't sure. I prayed that I could believe him when he said he wanted to help. After all, without him, we wouldn't know what to do./