Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X-2 > Unwavering Symphony

Chapter 6

by animeangelash 0 reviews

Nothing good lasts forever.

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance - Characters: Lenne, Shuyin - Warnings: [V] - Published: 2006-06-06 - Updated: 2006-06-07 - 5139 words

Disclaimer: I am in no way affiliated with Squarenix, and in no way own the characters or settings used in this work of fiction.


By the time the sun had risen the next morning, the storm had already long passed; a gloomy sky and the remaining still water its only lingering aftereffects. It was to this sight that Shuyin woke, rubbing the sleep from his eyes and staring at the gray beyond the mist covered window. After turning on his side and nearly falling off of the couch, he had spotted Lenne, sitting at the side of the bed and staring at the ceiling in contemplation.

After the requisite "Good morning," from both and a few minutes of silence, she had turned to him, eyes filled with the same anxiety that had been there the night before. "Are you absolutely sure about becoming a guardian?" she had asked, scooting to the foot of the bed as to face him. "It will be a lot of work, you know, and it will take time."

As certain of his decision as he had been the previous night, he had nodded confidently. "I'm sure."

"It'll be dangerous," she had added, trying futilely to change his mind. However, his answer had remained the same. After a few more seconds of contemplative silence, she had conceded. "All right," she had said. And thus, with her hesitant blessing, his training began.

Officially becoming a guardian had been surprisingly easy. "Emperor Yevon only has to initiate new summoners," Lenne had explained as the two strolled across one of the crowded bridges a few days later. "Guardians aren't under his direct jurisdiction."

"I thought the summoners were independent," Shuyin had commented, absently running his fingers over the guardrail.

"We were, up until Emperor Yevon's reign," she had clarified. "He's a very powerful summoner, and he took far more interest in us than his predecessors did. Now we work under him, and he provides us with funding for medical supplies and temple upkeep."

"All right," Shuyin had answered, turning to look at the artificial waterfall that fell past them onto the level below, wondering to himself why they temples were so shabby and there were so few supplies to be had.

However, where his initiation had been painless, his actual training had been another matter entirely. Since Lenne was admittedly rather ignorant as far as sword fighting was concerned, she quickly employed another, more experienced guardian to school Shuyin in its intricacies. It only took a few sessions of torn clothes, scored skin, embarrassing trips, and overbearing condescendence before Shuyin grew to strongly dislike the man.

Lenne, fortunately enough, had been a much more pleasant tutor. Her patience apparently inexhaustible, she had taken on the task of educating him in the finer points of magic casting (as expected, she got remarkably good at ducking whenever necessary). In addition, she spent quite a bit of time teaching him about the temples, summoners, and the workings of their collation.

One of the first things she had explained to him was the summons. She'd brought him to Zanarkand's southern-most temple, a run-down, dome-shaped affair with arches that jutted rather pointlessly outward from its roof. She explained the situation of the various temples to him-that there were eight, that each was set in one of the eight directions of the compass, etc.-before moving on to her explanation of their purpose.

"They house the Fayth," she had said, brushing a bit of hair behind her ear, only to have it fly back into her face a moment later. "Back when Zanarkand was just starting out, a few of our ancestors gave up their souls to be sealed away in stone. That way, they would remain behind, even after their bodies were gone, so that they could protect their home and families."

"And . . . being stuck in a rock helps them protect Zanarkand?" Shuyin had asked, blinking in confusion.

"That's where we come in," Lenne had explained, lacing her fingers behind her back. "A summoner will pray to the Fayth with all their hearts, and if the Fayth see that they truly want to protect Zanarkand, the hearts of the Fayth and the summoner join together. That's where the aeons come from."

"And that's what that dance is for, right?" Shuyin had replied, snapping his fingers with this realization.

"Dance?" Lenne had asked. "You don't mean the Sending."

"No, not that," he had said, waving his hands. "That dance thing you do when you summon something," Backing up a bit, he had tried to replicate what he had seen at the shore weeks previous, specifically what he had seen from Lenne. He had quickly ceased however, turning his head to the side and kicking at the ground self-consciously, when had he noticed Lenne fighting back giggles. "Does that get their attention, or something?"

"No, but it does help to attract the pyreflies," she had answer, gently swaying from side to side. "Though, it's really more for our benefit. It helps us to concentrate. We can summon without it, but it's a lot bigger strain and takes a lot more focus." Turning to face him and noticing his still embarrassed disposition, her eyes had taken on an apologetic-though still amused-look.

"Come on," she had said, walking up beside him and waving for him to follow her. "I'll show you the temple I'll be praying at soon."

Even with all the help he received from her, and all the training he endured, his entrance into guardian-hood had still hardly been spectacular. At least, not in the way he would have hoped. Yasuo occasionally liked to comment on how nearly setting the northern temple on fire was rather spectacular, right before Shuyin punched him in the head. Needless to say, he hadn't been much help when the Bevelle forces had returned for another assault.

"Look out!" Lenne had shouted at him as he tried to recover from losing his footing. She had thrown the top of her staff in front of his face, a bullet clanging off of it not a half-moment later. He stumbled again, tripping over himself in shock.

Pulling the wand back toward her, she had held her it between the palms of her hands, much like she had done during Bevelle and Zanarkand's previous clash at the shore. Then, she had brought her hands apart, a shield spell flashing once around him before disappearing.

"Be ca-" she had started, but had been quickly silenced when a thunder spell crashed atop her head, transferring the charge to each limb and finger, and sending her reeling to the ground.

"Lenne!" he had screamed in horror, scrambling to her side as she struggled to right herself. Keeping one eye trained on the Bevelle soldiers (though there was admittedly not much he could do if they decided to attack, save for acting as a human shield), he had done his best to help steady her. "Are you all right?" he had inquired rather fitfully as he helped her to her feet.

"Yeah," she had breathed, blinking rapidly to right her vision. "Yeah, I'm fine." Pulling herself away from his steadying grasp, she held her staff high above her head and gestured for him to step back. "Let's be a little more careful," she said jokingly as she began to spin the wand, though there was still obvious tension in her voice.

Needless to say, by the time Bevelle's forces had completely disappeared beyond Gagazet's icy slopes, he had found himself to be rather unpopular with the rest of the group. "He's the guardian," he had heard a clergy member whispering rather loudly to a few of her comrades. "Lady Lenne shouldn't have to be protect him." As a result, he spent the rest of that day not only berating himself, but also nursing a shattered ego.

Still, Lenne's patience surpassed his early ineptitude and personal disgrace, and she had continued to suffer him with a smile on her face (and occasionally a fearful eye during his more prominent moments of stupidity). Accordingly, though his magic casting skills never did get beyond mediocre, his swordsmanship had begun to steadily improve. It even got to the point that he could come out of his training sessions bearing only a few minor scratches (however, though minor as they were, they still did quite a number on his self-esteem).

Eventually, as he had begun to grow more comfortable with his position and abilities, he in turn started to further customize his fighting style. It was, to say the least, unique, which became particularly apparent when he presented Lenne with his new weapon of choice: a combat-equipped blitzball.

"Um . . . how safe is this, exactly?" she had asked, holding the menacing orb as if it might detonate at any time. Meanwhile, her eyes had been nervously trained upon the metal spikes that protruded from it, the light having made their sharpness unnervingly apparent.

"As safe as anything else, if you know how to use it," he had answered, plucking it from her hands and holding it as casually as if the spikes were non-existent.

"I don't know, Shuyin," she had said, eying the weapon apprehensively. However, after he had proved its usefulness by taking out a cruiser's-worth of Bevelle combatants, that uneasiness had faded, though it had taken a while to completely vanish. All in all, as the day that marked four months since their initial agreement had drawn nearer, it had become clear that their partnership had been a worthy gamble.

And, even as these events were taking place, other parts of their lives had begun to undergo changes of their own.

Yasuo, it seemed, had become more perceptive as time passed. "You're seeing someone behind my back, aren't you?" he had said rather dramatically (and just as jokingly) on one occasion, to which Shuyin responded with a look of utmost confusion and disgust. However, his curiosity obviously hadn't been quelled by his own observations, and he had almost constantly ask about "the girl in the white robe." Every time, Shuyin had truthfully said that he wasn't seeing anyone, and that the girl in question was his summoner (his position as a guardian being the only thing he had conceded to explain). Thankfully, with their practices becoming both longer and more frequent, he had been able to easily brush the question off with a comment about "needing to practice," time and time again.

Meanwhile, Lenne's popularity had been steadily increasing, the attending crowd growing larger and larger with each concert. This made getting a ticket increasing difficult for each event. However, Yasuo and Shuyin had made a point of attending whenever time permitted.

Having people stop her on the street had become gradually more and more common, even when she had dressed in her summoner attire for concealment's sake. Shuyin had witnessed it for himself on one occasion, when a jittery man that looked about two years his junior had picked her out amongst the crowd and asked for a handshake.

"Looks like you won't be able to disguise yourself for much longer," Shuyin had commented, watching with a raised eyebrow as the man wandered away, muttering into a sphere recorder with a mix of disbelief and bliss.

"It does seem that way," Lenne had replied, flattered, though at the same time slightly uneasy.

Before long, she had even attracted the attention of Lady Yunalesca-the emperor's daughter-who had supposedly claimed that she was quite eager to see this songstress for herself. Lenne had tried to appear as calm as possible when she had found out about this, but her fretful pacing had quickly given her away.

However, even with these new stresses there to fill their hours, the two were by no means displeased with the changes. As time passed, it appeared that a heavy burden was lifted from Lenne's shoulders, one that had been eating away at her happier moments for quite a while. When Shuyin spotted her during moments of quiet contemplation, her eyes were far less likely to hold the apprehension that had become far to familiar to them. She smiled just as much as she always had, but as time passed and the burden slowly became less and less, each was more apt to be genuine. Though he couldn't say for sure, Shuyin hoped that he had something to do with it.

Shuyin's happiness, meanwhile, was one of a more discrete nature. Though the majority of the time he didn't spend sleeping was divided between his ongoing training as a guardian, and Nirui's agonizingly long blitzball practices, he somehow didn't feel the need to gripe. Despite the humiliations that he had to endure for his swordsmanship training, he grudgingly admitted that it bettered him. Not to mention that, as his skills improved, so did his ability to succeed as a guardian. The blitzball practices, while even more annoying at times (thanks in particular to Yasuo and Nirui), had their benefits. For instance, without the extensive preparation, they wouldn't have even stood a chance in the match they were currently in.

"And a brilliant interception by Abes captain Nirui!" the commentator exclaimed as Nirui threw herself in front of the streaking blitzball, gathering it to her abdomen and taking the full force of the hit. From where Shuyin was floating, he watched her back-flip through the water a few times, her eyes crossed and a look of agony painting her face. "Looks like she'll be feeling that one tomorrow, folks," the commentator added, a bit too smugly.

Ducking around one of the opposing team's defenders, Shuyin watched as Nirui righted herself, wiped the look of pain from her face, and feverishly scanned the sphere pool for her comrades. As the opposing team rapidly advanced upon her, Nirui reeled back and let the ball fly. It went sailing over Shuyin's head and settled in the hands of Kilea, who was but a few feet from the goal.

An instant and a disgustingly audible crack later, a dazed Kilea was virtually wrapped around the goal post, the ball now held securely in the hands of an opposing team member. Boos rang from the Abes' side of the stadium, mingling with heated chants of "foul," which went ignored by the referee.

Casting a quick look at the scoreboard, where the count still read 4-4 and the clock was ticking down from one minute, Shuyin launched himself forward, barreling toward the player in question. Parallel to him was Yasuo, his heavy strokes carrying him just as swiftly as his comrade. With a force that would later be compared to that of a charging shoopuf, the two slammed into the player head-on, sending him lurching backwards as the ball tumbled away.

Diving rapidly and knocking another opposing player out of the way with a strategically placed shoulder, Shuyin grabbed the ball, barely letting its bumpy surface graze his fingertips before he shot it heavenward, right into the waiting hands of Yasuo.

It was nothing short of a brutal frenzy after that. As the clock reached thirty seconds, players were shooting heatedly about the sphere, lunging through the water with whatever strength they still had left. It was warfare amongst the players, who did whatever possible to keep the ball away from their opposing team. Feet were haphazardly slammed into ribs, well-situated elbows were smashed into unguarded faces, and one of the opposing players started screaming for referee intervention when Kilea sunk her teeth into his hand. At twenty seconds, Shuyin spotted the ball as it landed squarely in the hands of an opposing player not arm's length away. Promptly, he kicked the man in the face, and hastily snatched the ball away. Sixteen seconds.

A quickly as he could, Shuyin released the ball, mustered what remained of his strength, and delivered to it a brutal kick, sending it spiraling for the goal. A moment later, he was viciously rammed from the side by another player and sent spinning, quickly choking back a shout of surprise and ache to avoiding inhaling a lung-full of water. Twelve seconds.

Regaining his composure and ducking under his attacker's arm, he watched as the ball sailed toward the goal, leaving a trail of bubbles and horrified opposition players in its wake. Eight seconds.

However, instead of gliding into the back of the net as he hoped it would, it bounced harshly off of the goal post, ricocheting back into the sphere pool. "You've got to be kidding me!" he shouted in frustration, though it came out completely incomprehensible.

Then, the ball was in Yasuo's hands again and, his jaw set and eyes determined, he pulled back and let it fly once more. Six seconds. The goal-keep launched toward it, but despite his best efforts, the ball was soon tightly nestled in the back of the net. The horn blasted, announcing the goal to the entire stadium. In the time it took to sound, the last four seconds ran out, leaving the scoreboard empty but for the 5-4 tally.

A second laden with disbelief ticked by, and then the Abes' section of the stadium exploded into earsplitting applause. Likewise, the players themselves went into a flurry of elation, most clinging to their closest teammate in the form of a victory hug. Nirui, for her part, was sobbing with glee into Yasuo's shoulder, complimenting him profusely and promising that she would never make him swim laps again. The rest of the team affixed to them like iron dust to a magnet, drinking in the sweetness of this season's first victory before breaking apart and gliding toward the locker room.

One game would not get them to the finals, however. Shuyin knew that, and he could tell that the rest of the team knew it as well. Come next practice, Nirui would be screeching at them once again, making them work twice as hard to make up for the championship that they had let slide by them. Still, right then, none of that mattered. The Abes had finally won a game, and by the looks on their faces, not a single one of the players could have been happier.

As they pushed open the locker room door and stepped out into corridor, animatedly chattering all the while, Shuyin couldn't help but notice a familiar white silhouette waiting by the stairway. Turning away from her inspection of the designs on the wall, Lenne quickly spotted the joyous band as they poured into the hallway. Catching Shuyin's eye, a delighted smile lit her face; one that silently said everything that the shouts of ecstasy within and without the sphere had said. In addition, there was a sort of sureness about it, as if their win tonight, though delighting her, did not surprise her in the least. Shuyin felt a smile creeping onto his own face at the sight of it. As they stood there, the euphoria of their first victory still in effect, every problem forgotten, and Lenne's serene smile still in place when he went up to greet her, it was safe to say that life really couldn't get much better.


A few days before another of Lenne's concerts, Yunalesca made good on her supposed word. The message quickly got back to Lenne that two box seats had been reserved for some 'important guests'; ones who had made the request to have guards accompany them to the affair (the fact that permission was so quickly granted only helped to prove the assumption. After all, who would deny the city's heiress what she wanted?)

Lenne, to say the very least, was frenzied. As soon as word reached her, it seemed as if all her spare time was spent practicing. On more than one occasion, she found herself mouthing the words to a song as she and Shuyin wandered about the crowded streets, and more than once he had walked in on a rehearsal when he came to see her. Even now, as she and Shuyin stood beneath the stage, the energized crowd hidden from their eyes by the thick corridor walls, she was far from composed.

"You've got to calm down," Shuyin said to her as she paced back and forth, wringing her hands and groaning anxiously. "It might not even be her, you know."

"I know," she reiterated, her fingers tightly laced together and her eyes shifting about erratically, though they never once left the floor. "But still . . ." Another fretful moan, and she grew silent, stewing in her own tense aura.

Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Shuyin turn away, rubbing the back of his head rather bemusedly, as if the friction would help create some sort of mental spark. That left Lenne to pace, as well as listen to the click of her own shallow heels echoing about the empty hallway as she muttered half-audible remarks of, " . . .have to calm down . . ." and "But it's Emperor Yevon's daughter . . ."

Above, the lights flickered, dying completely for a moment before popping back to life. Lenne looked up at them, realizing that they must be working with the main circuit to dim the stadium lights. The show would be starting soon, which only helped to increase her already severe anxiety.

"Hey," Shuyin said after a few moments, his own shoes scraping against the floor as he turned to face her. "This might help. Yasuo was showing this to me earlier. I thought you might want it."

For a moment, Lenne paused in her fitful pacing, turning to acknowledge him. "Hm?" she said questioningly as he came up beside her and lightly placed a video sphere into her hand. "What's this?" she asked as she held it up to eye-level, her unease momentarily replaced by curiosity.

"It's a video of your last show," he clarified as the recording began to play. Behind the bit of static that accompanied the footage, she spotted something that, to her unprepared eye, seemed rather strange. There was her own miniaturized image, swaying to music that could just barely be heard, even in the hallway's virtual silence. The microphone-which was barely visible, given the size of the picture-was held to her lips, her own voice dominating the recording. She was moving with a sort of eccentric liveliness, as if there was nothing else but the audience and the show. All the while, her smile (a genuine one, if she remembered the night correctly) never once left her face.

"Just do that," he said, pointing at the sphere as the image within it died away. "Like you always do."

Blinking, Lenne closed her hands around the small globe, turning a smiling face toward Shuyin. "That sounds good," she agreed. "Thank you."

Suddenly, a stagehand called out to her from the end of the hall, announcing that the show was set to start within the minute. Her attention now back on the matter at hand, the anxiety began to rise in her stomach once again. This time, however, she quickly forced it down, taking a deep breath to further calm herself.

"Don't worry," said Shuyin, resting his hand upon her shoulder reassuringly. "You'll do great. You always do."

"Thank you," Lenne repeated as he pulled his hand away.

"I'll see you after the show, all right?" he asked over his shoulder, his stride quickly picking up speed.

"Sure," she called back. As he disappeared around the corner, she too turned away, jogging down the hallway in the opposite direction. Then, after handing the video sphere to the confused stagehand and taking one last, calming breath, she confidently stepped out into the familiar darkness and noise, ready to put on a show.


"About time," said Yasuo as Shuyin plopped down beside him. "I was this close,"-he held his thumb and index finger up, the distance between them barely noticeable-"to pawning off your ticket."

"On pain of death?" Shuyin retorted, an eyebrow raised. "I paid for these, remember?"

"That hardly matters," Yasuo replied, absently tugging at a thread on his sleeve. "Why let you have a spot that you're not going to appreciate? Think of it. Some poor soul is probably outside right now, trying to think of some way to get in here to see Lenne. Why do you deserve a seat more than him?"

Shaking his head and not bothering to respond, Shuyin turned his attention to more important matters. Looking upward, he started scanning the boxes that were situated above the higher-level stadium seats, eyes flicking from one set of chairs to the next. Finally, just as the lights were beginning to dim, he spotted the person he was looking for. Just as the rumors had claimed, there was Lady Yunalesca, leaning unperturbedly against the box's metallic ledge. She lazily twisted around her finger a few strands of her long, silver hair, which flowed down both of her shoulders and stretched far past where Shuyin could see. Lord Zaon was close at her side, his own expression a strange mix of that which his wife wore, and that of the stern-faced guards that stood at the ready behind them.

Just as Shuyin was beginning to detest the sentinels' presence (why couldn't reminders of Zanarkand's state of affairs stay outside the stadium?), the lights went out completely, throwing the stadium into near darkness. Confused mutterings began to resonate through the stands, but were quickly stemmed when a soft hum began to sound from the hidden amplifiers.

"This can't be real," said a voice, the person speaking hidden deep within the shadows. Then, with the piercing crash of a drum, the lights sprang to life once again, simultaneously illuminating the stands and stage with a brilliant flash.

There was Lenne, standing nearly at the lip of the circular stage, two backup singers on the stage behind her. Before the shock of their sudden appearance was able to fade away completely, she was already moving, her steps quick and brief to fit the rapid beat of the music. Her voice, moving just as swiftly as her feet, was already flowing through the amps, a mixture of it and the music encompassing the now cheering crowd.

"Life can only be so good, that I've figured out," she sang, the two behind her echoing the last few words. "Nothing ever is as good as what I dream about."

Twirling in place and turning to Shuyin's side of the stadium, she raised a hand toward the hundreds of people there, as if she were singing to each of them alone. At least, that's what he thought it felt like.

"That's why I can't help but think this is a fantasy. Otherwise, you wouldn't be here, standing next to me."

She lingered that way for a moment, her hand held out to them, her smile and eyes serene, and the anxiety of a few minutes before seemingly forgotten. Shuyin leaned forward a bit, his chin resting in his palm, his grin very much similar to hers. Pricked by déjà vu, the memory of that first concert sprang to life, and he couldn't help but note the similarities between how she had been then, and how she was now. She still had the same brunette hair, which swirled about her as she turned to face a different part of the crowd, the same simple, hourglass figure, and the same good-looking outfit. However, even with this obvious consistency, he couldn't help but notice that there was something different about her.

A booming sound quickly pulled him from his revere, and he briefly looked up at the source, wondering why such a note was added to the fast-paced track. It hardly fit with those that it accompanied, given the song's upbeat tune. Disregarding it as the composer's bad taste, he turned his eyes back to Lenne.

The booming note came again, this time from a different part of the stadium. He noticed Lenne turning toward the noise just as he had a moment before, as well as one of the two backup singers. The note sounded a third time, louder than it had been before, and still not comparable with the rest of the music. Though she never paused in her singing, Lenne once again turned toward the noise, trying to hide the look of confusion that was beginning to surface on her face.

"Yasuo?" Shuyin said, looking at the other man out of the corner of his eye. A fourth boom sounded from behind them, louder still than the one before it. "Someth-"

And then the base of the stage exploded.

A scream of sheer terror-which, Shuyin quickly realized, was Lenne's-rang through the stadium, amplified by the microphone so that it became an unbearable screech. The three people on the stage were immediately flung down upon the platform, which was rapidly falling with the shattering of its base. Immediately, the stands filled with very similar screams of fright and horror.

"Lenne!" Shuyin shouted instinctively, jumping from his seat. Then, another explosion, this time from above them. Swinging around, he spotted the mangled remains of Yunalesca's box, bits of steel and brick coming loose and tumbling down onto the people below. A third, this time in the northern section of the seats, went off, sending people and chucks of metal flying through the air. Within the instant, they were raining back down again, crashing upon those fleeing for cover.

"It's an attack!" screamed Yasuo as a fourth explosion rocked the rapidly weakening stadium. Quickly, he hopped over the line of seats in front of them, quickly bypassing the congestion created by several rather panicked individuals in their row. "We've got to get out of here!"

Impulsively, Shuyin whipped around to face the stage once more. What remained of the base was groaning with the effort of holding up the platform, which was nearly vertical by now. Obviously, it wouldn't hold up for more than another few seconds. Lenne and the backup singers were nowhere in sight.

"Shuyin!" Yasuo shouted frantically, by now several seats away from his companion. Reluctantly tearing his attention away from the horror that was the stage, Shuyin quickly pivoted around and bolted toward Yasuo. However, before he could get far, the horrible noise of snapping and grinding metal met his ears, and another explosion blasted through the stands, this time in their section. Turning his head, Shuyin was only able to see a flash of fire and twisted metal before his feet left the ground, and he was suddenly, painfully, airborne. An instant later, he slammed with a sickening thud on the walkway below, momentum carrying him a few more feet before he was stilled. He was just able to see the stage base break clean in two with a screaming snap before everything went black.


A/N: Let's have a show of hands: who didn't see that coming? I'd like to gauge my effectiveness.
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