Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X > Necromantia

Guardian Etiquette

by TrekQueen

Getting to know a fellow Guardian can be quite the challenge.

Category: Final Fantasy X - Rating: NC-17 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Fantasy, Romance - Characters: Auron, Lulu, Tidus, Wakka, Yuna - Warnings: [!!] - Published: 2006-04-13 - Updated: 2006-04-14 - 2704 words

Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Final Fantasy game worlds and will not make any financial gain from what I write. It is all for my own insane self-indulgence.

Chapter One: Guardian Etiquette

"Wakka, go long!" Tidus yelled.

"Throw it now, ya?" the Besaid native called out as he ran backwards ahead of the Zanarkand blitzball player.

Lulu sighed to herself as she watched the two in front of her. The Mi'ihen Highroad spread out before her; flat lands as far as she could see with a few hills marking the landscape. The place seemed peaceful but it had a deceiving nature underneath the serene façade. Wakka still was in his blitzball mentality after playing in the tournament so she could not fault him for playing around with Tidus. Although, she hoped she need not remind him that he sought to stay true to his promise of being a more faithful guardian. Especially this time.

The blue ball flew through the air as Tidus threw it up. Doing an acrobatic flip in the air, Tidus made a well-placed kick to send the ball hurtling toward Wakka further up ahead. The orange-haired guardian jumped up and retrieved the ball easily with a triumphant grin. Yuna clapped happily by Tidus' side as he beamed in her direction, his chin held up and his hands on his hips.

"Stop showing off, ya?" Wakka yelled back at him. "I didn't see none a'that at the tournament."

"That was serious and this isn't," Tidus said waving a hand in the air at his explanation, and then realized he made a mistake. "Well, you know what I mean. This pilgrimage is serious but we can still have fun, right?"

"Right!" Yuna said in agreement. "Come on, Wakka. Why don't you do something like his kick?"

"Aww," Wakka said, rubbing the back of his head. "I guess I could."

Lu shook her head as she followed onward, the three goofing off before her did bring a little warmth to her heart. However, the purpose of the pilgrimage still weighed heavily in her mind and very much so in Yuna's as well, she assumed. Yet, the young summoner was still able to keep her happy mien. She's unique in that way/, Lu thought to herself, /she will not let it overwhelm her while it may break others.

"Hmph, kids," came a gruff voice suddenly beside her.

Glancing to her side, Lu found the heroic, legendary guardian walking at the same stride as she while also watching the scene before them. She peered at him through the corner of her eye, not quite looking at him but still stealing a glance. Auron had been an interesting addition to the team of guardians and one she welcomed willingly once Yuna had accepted his offer to become one of her protectors. They had spoken for a while but not at length and Lu wondered if Auron had seen through her attempt to learn him.

Auron may not have realized it but Lu had been a mere pre-teen the day he had arrived in Besaid ten years before with Lord Braska at the start of the High Summoner's pilgrimage. Being an orphan cared for by the temple, she had been spending time in one of the enclaves when the guardians and summoner had come. She had hid herself behind one of the statues, watching as they conferred with the monks before heading into the Cloister of Trials and reaching the aeon. Always the inquisitive one, Lu studied them from afar keeping every memory locked in her mind.

The summoners and guardians were important to her because she knew that one of the traveling groups that passed through their temple would be the one to defeat Sin and bring the Calm. She wanted to see the faces of those who would bring comfort and safety to the people and destroy the one who had taken those most dear to her when she was but a young child. Auron had been strong and proud, very disciplined in his demeanor as was the way for the warrior monks he had once been a member of before joining Braska's pilgrimage. His eyes told the story, Lu knew. She learned early how to read one's soul through their eyes and in Auron she could see he was determined and set on his path. His vigor and hard-set features told her he would be the one beside the summoner who would defeat Sin. She would not forget that face or the fire in his eyes.

Suddenly, there he was again in front of her offering his services to her summoner. If this was not a good omen, Lu did not know what could be otherwise. Yet, she found herself troubled when she contemplated him anew ten years later as they stood face to face in Luca. Auron had aged as anyone would over the course of a decade and he still held the same discipline and strength she had remembered, but time seemed to have taken its toll. His once well-groomed, dark-brown hair was now growing gray and white at his temples and was slightly more untamed than his youthful years. His visage was also marred, one eye shut with the jagged scar that ran down the length of his face. His bearing had become less strict but he still carried an air of seriousness around him as though the weight of the world were on his shoulders.

Lu could not help but let herself search him with her gaze each time he crossed her path. She wanted to know him and understand the change even if it meant she would have to glean it from little telltale signs he gave without acknowledgement. What she wanted to know the most was whether this journey would have the same impact on her as it did for him.

"I suppose it doesn't hurt to let them play for a while before the reality of the pilgrimage impacts them," she answered in response to his short comment about the three ahead of them.

"Perhaps," he answered stoically. "I would prefer they kept a better watch out for fiends. This road is not devoid of the creatures."

"Of course," she agreed, her eyelashes darting upward as she took in another cursory interest in his form. "However, I believe Kimahri has that covered."

Lu saw his good eye glance over his sunglasses to where the Ronso guardian stalked in the nearby grasses at the edge of the road. Auron hefted his sword onto his shoulder in a better position before turning his gaze to the road in front of them again.

"I don't doubt his abilities but one guardian cannot do all the work," he said.

"Then what of the summoners with only one guardian?" she asked pointedly, attempting to strike up a conversation despite both of them being typically aloof with others yet not so much with each other as if there was an unspoken understanding. "Is it unwise for them to not have more?"

"I did not mean it that way," he said, a slight crossness in his voice. "A summoner puts his or her trust in those who are guardians to them. Be it one or twenty, they all should do as they have sworn in their oath."

"I agree," Lu replied.

"Then I do not need to remind you or the others of that unfortunate slip-up in guardian duties," Auron said.

Lu thought she could almost detect a hint of amusement in his voice but it was like a strand of spider web dancing on the wind, barely visible as an image that quickly disappears almost as soon as one notices it.

"As long as we don't give you reason to remind us," she answered, letting her own personal way of amusement show through the tone of her voice. "Otherwise, go on ahead if we deserve it."

"Gladly," he said, accompanying his usual smirk.

/Little steps at first/, Lu thought to herself as she realized she might be getting to know the man behind the legend.

"I will make no excuses for that error but you also must realize Yuna is like family to me and Wakka. We will not let anything terrible happen to her," she added. "I think it is also a guardian's duty to remain loyal to what is required of a friend."

Lu felt his dark eye land upon her as she kept her own staring straight ahead on the road. She could feel him studying her much the same as she had during their conversation earlier.

"It is something one cannot avoid becoming along a journey such as this," he answered after a short silence. "That can also become a difficulty later on."

Opening her mouth to respond, Lu stopped as she heard a familiar howl. From the opposite side of the road Kimahri was patrolling, a Fang wolf pounced from the high grasses and came between the two conversing guardians and the three ahead of them. Without needing a prompt, both Tidus and Wakka were ready with weapons in hand and taking a defensive posture in front of Yuna. Kimahri soon joined the other guardians around the summoner but the wolf was not alone. A chattering and heavy clomping noise caught their attention as a Raldo rumbled towards Lu and Auron from behind. Auron steadied his sword as he went to dispatch it quickly. The pyre flies from the deceased, armored monster floated from its diminished body.

Having changed his direction, Auron did not catch sight of the White Element that suddenly materialized next to him as he had finished off the Raldo. He caught a glimpse of the rotating creature but it immediately exploded into flames. As the fire burst forth, he held up his arm in protection as he felt the intense heat grow then diminish. Looking behind him, Auron found the outstretched fingers of the black mage pointing toward the place the magic fiend had once floated.

"Good aim," he mumbled as he walked past her.

Blowing a little air over her still warm fingertips, Lu followed him toward the others who also had victory over their ambushers. Fighting alongside the legendary guardian, Sir Auron/, she thought to herself, /this should prove an interesting journey.

The Travel Inn on the Mi'ihen Highroad was quiet after nightfall since not that many traversed the road in the dark of night with unseen dangers lurking. The lamplights were dim and barely a glow lighted the main lobby where shadows danced across the walls and shelves of items. Auron sat back in the chair he lounged in as the night carried on. The other guardians occupied all the rooms but he did not mind resting in the front area of the inn. If anything were to happen, he wanted to be ready and on his feet immediately.

Hardly expecting anyone to be up and about due to the late hour, other than the innkeeper, Auron was surprised to see the growing shape of a silhouette coming from the hallway leading to the rooms in the back. The slight jingling of metal signaled to him who passed otherwise silently through the building. Lu caught sight of him once she entered the room, the shadows and light playing off her pale skin with a yellowish glow. She knew he was not feigning sleep or even attempting to hide, Auron was simply there with no other purpose or reason but to rest.

"I did not expect anyone out here," she said quietly, keeping her voice low.

"Where are you going?" he asked, not acknowledging her first comment.

She shook her head with a deep sigh before turning her crimson gaze back on him.

"Nowhere worth mentioning," Lu answered.

"I see," he said, his voice deeply resounding as he tried to keep his volume low. "Looking for trouble, then."

Her eyes flashed at him, "Why would you think that?"

"Why not?" Auron replied. "You prefer to continuously practice your skills."

"And you would probably join me," she countered, getting a grunt of a chuckle from him in response. "Didn't you say you wished to rest here?"

"I am," Auron said without moving or shifting from his spot in the cushioned chair, even after she settled in the seat across from him. "I am on watch for now so that Kimahri could sleep."

"And ready to travel again once the morning comes," Lu replied, then paused a moment.

"Why do you hesitate?" he asked.

"With what?" Lu asked curiously, wondering if she was that obvious to Auron.

"Your question," he answered, his brown eye hidden behind his darkened sunglasses and the shadows draped across his scarred face.

"What makes you think I had one?" she asked, trying to still figure him out and how he had observed so much in the little time she had spent in the room with him.

Auron shifted in his seat, pulling himself forward and leaning an elbow on the chair's arm. Lu raised a curious eyebrow as she watched him push his glasses further down his nose so that she could see a little light reflecting off his one good eye.

"Both of us can play games with each other," he said gruffly. "But that will get us nowhere."

"Have you always been so to the point?" she questioned.

"Sometimes," Auron replied simply but did not divulge more than he cared to give. "Have you always made it a habit to ask manipulated questions to mask your deeper purpose?"

Lu narrowed her eyes at him and her brow furrowed. If his words had come from any other man, he would have regretted uttering them. However, Lu could see Auron was challenging her just as much as she had been doing during their discussion earlier in the day. The fact that the comment came from Sir Auron only enticed her more and came across closer to being a compliment. No more games//, she thought to herself, //we can be candid with each other.

"There are many questions," she began. "However, I suppose you already know them having been aware of my intentions."

"Perhaps, but you seemed to be having fun in the game," he countered.

Auron seemed to smirk when Lu let a soft chuckle slip past her lips, the first he had heard from her.

"That proves it then," Lu decided out-loud. "You have changed much in ten years. You did not seem the type to have 'fun' back then."

The very subtle glint of surprise in his eye was not missed by the black mage, but the rough, outer-shell was back in place within moments.

"Am I mistaken in thinking we did not meet before?" Auron asked.

"No," she shook her head slightly. "But I did see you with Lord Braska and Sir Jecht in the Temple of Besaid."

Auron nodded slowly, "And what did you see, that day?"

"The one who would help defeat Sin," Lu said.

Regarding Lu silently after her answer, Auron leaned back in the chair again to the position he had been in upon her entrance into the room.

"That is the first time I've had that response," he said, no emotion lining his voice and causing curiosity for Lu as to what went through his mind at first. "You never did ask me your question."

"Ever mindful," she said with a sigh as she stood and walked toward him purposefully, looking down at him. "That day when I asked why the great Sir Auron wished to be Guardian to my Summoner: why did you take my curiosity as refusal? It is not everyday a Guardian of a High Summoner returns for a second battle."

"Have you ever had anyone inquire as to why you became a Guardian?" Auron asked.

"What does it matter?" she answered, her crimson irises darkening.

"Why would one ask another why he gives his loyalty freely when it is in the name of the same cause?" he queried, pausing to see if she understood before speaking again. "Satisfied?"

"Hardly," she said, a slight mimic of his smirk on her face as she turned to leave the room, heading back to her quarters for the night.
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