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

Chapter 10

by animeangelash 0 reviews

What if he failed? What if it didn't work? What if it were a hopeless plan right from the start? But what if it wasn't?

Category: Final Fantasy X-2 - Rating: PG-13 - Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama, Romance - Characters: Lenne, Shuyin - Published: 2006-06-06 - Updated: 2006-06-07 - 4681 words

Disclaimer: All characters and settings belong entirely to Square-Enix (excluding Yasuo of course, though that's hardly worth mentioning). I do not claim any sort of ownership over them.


As the video within the sphere came to life, its sub-par image quality quickly became apparent. The footage fizzed and hissed, and the picture was likewise blurry. Adding in the shadows and grayish hues that dominated the screen, it seemed as if the video was of no more than a gray blob with a few sharp edges neatly drawn in.

However, a moment later, the camera angle changed completely, showing a much different and clearer picture. Slowly, the camera began panning up what looked like a meticulous engraved statue. The ridges and curves on its surface were plentiful, deepened by the scene's dim light and the consequently deep shadows. Then, even more quickly than before, the camera switched again, this time to a scene where the statue wasn't present at all. In its place was a helmeted man walking stiffly down a platform, the echoing sound of his footsteps almost startling after the past few moments of utter silence. In the background were vast, domed walls, strange blue symbols blinking in and out of sight all along them. Slowly, the camera panned to follow the man, an ominous (and by now familiar) gray mass beginning to creep into the picture.

Before even half of it moved into view however, the picture changed yet again, focusing instead on two stationary men almost identical to the one in the previous frame. The footage was clearer this time, making their thick military style helmets, industrial goggles, and liberally placed armor starkly apparent, as well as the outmoded but nonetheless intimidating rifles that they held rigidly across their fronts.

Then, after one more shot of a slow-moving guard (who, like the previous two, bore no physical dissimilarities to the first man), a new sequence began; one that quickly revealed the video's primary focus and, due once again to the area's eerie light, increased the spine-pricking terror that the object already conveyed. At first glance, it appeared to be some sort of fearsome creature; giant, menacing tusks reaching out from the sides of its head and teeth bared formidably. However, its more apparent likeness to a statue quickly became clear, particularly when its immobility was taken into account. As if to prove this, the camera switched again, panning from the intricately carved statue of the second frame to the menacing face of the previous one. Giant, curling horns that had not been nearly as apparent from the camera's prior angle could now be seen perched upon the statue's head, making it that much more menacing. A few strange, gigantic objects resembling insect legs surrounded the statue's body, as if it were awkwardly curled in upon itself.

Then, the camera switched one last time, zooming in close enough for the light gleaming off the statue's disturbingly human teeth to be noticeable. Gradually, the camera panned to the side, moving to focus on the dark hollows that served as the statue's eyes. They were seemingly blank, but not empty and vacant like the eyes of a statue should be. In truth, they resembled those of a sleeping beast more than those of a lifeless artifact. In addition, even as empty as they seemed, the curve of the statue's brow helped to give it a sharp, chilling glare. It was almost as if it were glowering at the camera, like anyone watching the footage being recorded was somehow an intruder in its domain, and would be dealt with in due time.

This was the exact feeling that Shuyin was left with when the video ended with the same fizzle and crack as it had begun.

"What . . .what was that thing?" he stammered, holding the sphere away from him as if bringing it any closer would evoke the statue's wrath.

"Vegnagun," Yasuo responded simply, taking the sphere from Shuyin and rubbing it with his sleeve. "I really should have cleaned this before we watched it. Sorry about that."

"But what is it?" Shuyin growled, more than a little frustrated with how calm Yasuo was in comparison to himself.

"Think about that name for a second, Shuyin. Vegnagun. What do you think it is?"

Just as he was about to violently elbow the other man in the head and hopefully knock the sarcasm clean out of him, Shuyin paused, slowly letting a relieved smile replace his grimace. "I get it," he said, chuckling a bit under his breath and stretching out languidly. "It's all a prank. That's it, isn't it? I mean, if that were real,"-feigning blasé, he gestured toward the newly cleaned sphere in Yasuo's hand-"you wouldn't even have it anymore."

"Oh really?" Yasuo replied, giving Shuyin a sideways glance. Though his expression still contained a decent amount of humor, it wasn't the sort that Shuyin had expected. Instead of the resigned look of a man who had been caught in a joke, he continued to look smug, and worryingly accommodating. "Why's that?"

His composure slipping some, Shuyin shook his head. "Oh come on, Yasuo," he said impatiently. "If that sphere were real, you would have handed it over to Yevon by now. Do you think I'm stupid or something?"

Yasuo's smile broadened as his hand went to his forehead, a laugh that Shuyin at first mistook for a hiccup resonating from his throat. Realizing anew that he had called Yasuo's bluff, Shuyin could feel relief spreading through him, easing the tension in his nerves like warm water on a sore muscle. However, the feeling was promptly sapped away when Yasuo turned toward him and said in guttural voice, "You really don't get it, do you?"

Slowly, Yasuo leaned forward, his so gaze sharp that Shuyin felt he might be cut up by it if the other man leaned in much closer. "I was born in Bevelle, Shuyin," he said firmly, the smile that seemed as much a part of him as his eye color or the shape of his nose having long vanished. "I'm not Bevellian. I hate that place. I'd love to see it blown to bits as much as anyone else in this city. But they wouldn't care about that. Those people who run our government? Yevon and his little band of officials? They wouldn't give a damn that Zanarkand is my home, because my information has 'Bevelle' written under birthplace."

By now, the normally calm, steady Yasuo that Shuyin knew so well was gone. In his place was a small, fidgety, angry man; one with lips pursed tightly enough for them to bleed and hands that shook like they were somehow possessed. In an apparent attempt to quell his anxiety, Yasuo got to his feet and began slowly pacing while staring at the far wall. "I'm a nobody, Shuyin. Maybe I'm a blitzball player, but what do any of those people in the crowd know about me? They know that my name is Yasuo. That's it," he said, somewhat frightening Shuyin with his lack of humorous annotations. Normally, Yasuo would throw in something like, "well, that and that I'm the best player on the team," at the end of a declaration like the one he'd just made, and the absence of such was at the very least vexing.

"The way things are, the government has no reason to bother with me," Yasuo continued. "An ordinary blitzball player like me isn't worth their time; not when they have a war going on and a city's worth of people to keep track of. I'm way down there on their priority list. But if I showed them this,"-he turned toward Shuyin, holding the sphere up so that it might be seen-"then they'd get suspicious of me. They'd wonder how an insignificant little nobody like me managed to get top-secret information from the most ruthless city in the world. Then, they'd look me up, and they'd find out where I'm from. Do you have any idea what they'd do to me then?"

From somewhere off in the darkness of the early morning, Shuyin could hear a group of partygoers shouting jovially back and forth to one another. From somewhere closer, the indistinct thump of bass-heavy music could just barely be heard. At that point, he could even swear that from where he sat pressed into the couch cushions in shock, he could hear the electric hum from the streetlights several stories down. Right then, the silence in the room was so absolute that it really didn't seem all that outlandish.

"T-then why did you show it to me?" Shuyin stammered carefully, silently bracing himself for another potential wave of volatile anger.

Thankfully, nothing of the sort came. Instead, Yasuo quickly shook such anger away, laughing sheepishly at his outburst and all in all looking a great deal more subdued than before. "I wanted someone to be crazy with, I guess." Wearily, he staggered back to the couch, sprawling across it like he had just been put through some sort of grueling exercise. "You know, prove to myself that I wasn't just making the whole thing up."

"But why?" said Shuyin, the volume of his voice slowly rising as his confidence and previous state of irritation returned. "Why me?"

"Why you?" Yasuo parroted, scratching his neck and looking off to the side to stare rather intently at nothing at all. "Well, if memory serves, you're the only one here."

"Yasuo, so help me-"

"And you want Bevelle gone," Yasuo quickly finished, raising his voice to speak over his aggravated friend. "At least, that's what it sounded like you said. I could be wrong."

"And that-," sputtered Shuyin, pointing at the small orange globe, "that-whatever the hell that was is supposed to help me?"

"That's the concept, yes."

". . . How drunk are you?"

"I controlled myself, thank you very much," Yasuo said indignantly. "I wanted to help you."

"And this is how you do it?" Shuyin barked, tugging at his hair in frustration. "By showing me this thing so that I know just how much worse things are going to get? This is helpful? How is this helpful?"

"Use it," said Yasuo exasperatedly, gesturing toward the sphere.

"What are you talking about?"

"Use it. Blow up Bevelle. You just said you wanted to. It's right under the city anyway."

"If it's right under-" Shuyin started before freezing mid-sentence and throwing his arms up with a shout of frustration. "You know what? Go to bed. You're drunk. You're going to go to sleep, and I'm going to go to sleep, and hopefully we'll wake up and realize that this never happened." Before Yasuo could argue, Shuyin put his foot behind the man's shoulder and gave him a violent shove, sending him tumbling off the couch with a heavy 'thud'. With a harsh, "Goodnight," Shuyin flipped over on his side, glaring at the cushions and ignoring Yasuo's slurred griping (which became difficult after a few minutes, when Yasuo resorted to throwing a blitzball at Shuyin's head in an attempt to get his attention).

Finally, after a few patience-testing minutes, Yasuo sighed in resignation, returned Shuyin's "Goodnight," (admittedly with more sincerity), and flicked the lights off. This left Shuyin with nothing to do but wait for sleep, and hope that come morning, he would realize that the lunacies of the past hour were all just a very vivid and linear nightmare.


Unfortunately, as Shuyin found out several hours later, luck was not on his side with this matter.

"Hey, Shuyin. You awake?"


"Aw that's too bad. I might just have to throw something at you then to wake you up."

"Touch me, and I throw you out the window."

"Hmph. Somebody's grumpy. And after all that help I gave you yesterday. I practically let you cry on my shoulder, and I didn't laugh at you once. And what do I get for it? Nothing. Not a single thank you. I'm feeling unloved here, Shuyin."

Groaning in exhaustion and resignation, Shuyin flipped over, looking off in the general direction that Yasuo's voice had come from. To his immense displeasure, the first thing he saw after spotting the other man sitting languidly upon his mattress was a familiar orange ball in his hand, sunlight shining through it and giving it a warm glow.

"Aren't you hung over or something?" Shuyin snapped, flipping back over and curling into himself in what he later realized was probably a rather pathetic-looking manner. "Why aren't you still asleep?"

"I told you I held off last night," Yasuo said cheerfully. "The light's getting to me a little, but other than that, I'm good. Your concern is touching, by the way."

"Screw you."

"There's that grumpiness again."

Heaving a sigh, Shuyin shook his head in weary aggravation. "Yasuo, please put that thing away."

"What? This?"

"The sphere, Yasuo. I don't want to see it again."

"Hm. Suit yourself. But you know, I just gave you what you wanted by showing it to you."

"Oh yeah, definitely," Shuyin spat back, huffing under his breath.

"I did!" Yasuo replied with the slightest bit of resentment. "You wanted a way to get rid of Bevelle, and I gave one to you."

"And this is your idea of giving me options?" Shuyin responded heatedly, sitting up and glaring at the other man. "Showing me that thing? How am I supposed to get at it if it's under Bevelle, Yasuo? And even if I could get down there, it's probably not even there anymore! In fact, Bevelle's probably going to be using it on us!" Almost immediately, Shuyin regretted the brash statement, as the realization that it would probably be used on the summoners first struck him like a blow.

"I don't think you need to worry about that," said Yasuo with a shake of his head. "When gramps had mom and me leave Bevelle, he told us that this thing was still really unstable. Wanted to be honest with mom, I suppose. According to him, it could sense emotions, and it lashed out at anyone that was even afraid of it. And trust me, a lot of guys were afraid of it."

"Wasn't that something like twenty years ago?" Shuyin said exasperatedly. "You'd think that twenty years is plenty of time to get bugs like that sorted out."

"If they had, they'd probably be showing the thing off a little more. It'd sure make diplomatic relations a little easier for them," Yasuo pointed out.

"Okay, fine," said Shuyin, holding his hands up and shutting his eyes in an attempt to ease his frustration. "Say this thing is still down there. Even say that I somehow manage to get out of Zanarkand without getting caught, let alone get into Bevelle. There's still the little issue that I don't know how to use the thing! I seriously doubt there's an instruction manual taped to the control panel or something."

After a short, charged pause, Yasuo got to his feet, the mattress's aged springs screeching at the shifting of his weight. "There are more ways to find this kind of stuff out than just an instruction manual you know," he answered. Walking over to the couch and handing the sphere over to Shuyin (and then tossing it onto the cushions with a shrug when the blonde refused to take it), he sauntered over to the half-opened closet, pushing the objects that obstructed the door to the side. In a much more orderly manner than the previous night, he started searching through the morass of objects, muttering indistinctly under his breath as he did so.

After watching for a few moments and making sure that he wouldn't have to dodge anymore airborne objects, Shuyin turned away and dropped his gaze, settling it upon his shoes. He could all but sense the sphere beside him, and he had the sudden urge to shove it clean off the couch and kick it to the other side of the room (where it would hopefully deposit itself in a corner he couldn't quite see, or break). However, before he could muster the will to even look at the object, his thoughts were interrupted by a proclamation of, "Here we go!" from Yasuo.

Swiftly, Yasuo turned on a heel and walked up to Shuyin, dropping his finding on the couch and thankfully covering up the offending orange orb with it. It was a stack of what looked like old newspapers, roughly a few inches high and piled rather haphazardly. Upon noticing the heading on the topmost issue, Shuyin promptly slapped a hand over his forehead in exasperation. "You've got to be kidding me," he groaned, looking at Yasuo as if he were a few levels past insane. "The Inside Track? What is wrong with you?"

"It's not just the Inside Track," Yasuo pointed out, shifting the first paper to the side to reveal a few of the ones below it. "I've got some others here too. You can't really get reliable information if you only use one news source."

"You can't get reliable information from them anyway!" Shuyin shouted, mere seconds away from jumping to his feet and waving his arms around like a mad man. "They're conspiracy newsletters, Yasuo! Tabloids!"

"Hey, don't start doubting them that fast," Yasuo advised, trying to organize the pile into something resembling orderly. "See, there were more guys guarding that thing than just gramps, and they were all sworn to secrecy. That, and they weren't ever allowed to leave Bevelle. Their higher-ups didn't want them blabbing about the secret weapon, after all. But, as bad as that place is, there are still a few people that come out of there that don't want to shoot you. A couple of them have morals.

"So, some of them tried to get information out to other places, to warn people about what was going on. Not many of them got out of it alive, though. It was kind of a waste too. They made the mistake of not coming out about it all at once. One guy would have the gall to say something, and he'd get shot to death for treason. A few years later, after everybody'd forgotten about the first guy, another guy would grow a spine and tell somebody right before the same thing happened to him. That, and they never went to the same people to tell the story. Since they did it like that, everybody thought it was just one crazy guy telling the story, so nobody believed it. At least, none of your 'credible' news sources, Shuyin. These guys,"-he knocked a fist against the stack, then quickly moved to steady it when it started to topple-"were the only ones who would publish the stories."

Slowly, Shuyin looked down at the stack once again, hesitance and dismay curling the corners of his mouth. On the cover was an artist's depiction of the weapon, wherein the 'artist' apparently felt the need to add a gratuitous amount of extra spikes to the weapon (as if, someone, it weren't threatening enough on its own). Squinting at it, he did his best to put himself in Yasuo's mindset and seriously consider what useful information the paper might contain. However, he found such nearly impossible, thanks to the picture and headline in the sidebar that claimed that the emperor's daughter was actually some sort of abysmal demon in disguise. Quickly, his hand returned to his head, massaging it fruitlessly.

"You know, you're the only person I ever told about this," Yasuo said digressively, stretching his arms over his head in a very languid manner. "I'll bet that makes you feel special."

Slowly, as if the weight of the situation were weighing upon him physically, Shuyin looked up at the other man, shaking his head. "You only told me because you were drunk."

"Yeah, you got me there," Yasuo admitted with a chuckle. Picking up the stack of papers and the sphere, he set them down on the floor, thankfully behind the arm of the couch where Shuyin wouldn't have to look at them. "It's horrible how chatty I get when I'm drunk. This isn't the first time it's gotten me in trouble either. Oh man, this one time, Kilea wouldn't speak to me for weeks."

"Is that why you're so paranoid when you're drunk?" Shuyin interjected. "Because you know about . . . that thing?"

"When I'm drunk?" Yasuo parroted, chuckling some. "I'm paranoid all the time. It's just when I'm drunk that I get a little too gabby. I'll whine about whatever was on my mind while I was sober, and that's what gets me in trouble."

"Hmm." The two fell to awkward silence then, the conversation swiftly and effectively brought to an end. While the papers and sphere were now completely out of sight and Shuyin would just as soon never look upon them again, he couldn't help but let the smallest bit of morbid curiosity creep into his mind. Slowly, he let his eyes drift about the floor, stopping at the corner of the couch around which he knew the objects were hidden.

It was stupid, really. Even if this weapon did actually exist and was still underneath Bevelle after supposedly twenty years without use, thinking that it would be possible to get anywhere near it was nothing short of delusional. Even trying to convince himself that it was impossible by bringing up all the other issues involved with such an undertaking (the airtight security of both Zanarkand and Bevelle, his completely and utter ignorance of how to operate something of such a capacity, and the at best feeble information that he had to go off) seemed ludicrous. He shouldn't have to try to rationalize why it was so ridiculous; it just was. Still, he couldn't help but feel the slightest, most minuscule hint of eagerness, like smoke at the end of a candlewick. Even as he scrambled once more for new reasons that it couldn't possibly work, he couldn't help but wonder.

What if it could . . .?

"That's what I was hoping would happen with you, too," Yasuo said suddenly, jerking Shuyin from his thoughts. "But of course, you had to be a little wimp and not drink. Can't get you to talk about Lenne when you're sober for anything. You know, I don't believe for a second that she's 'just a friend'."

Giving Yasuo a look of both perplexity and annoyance, Shuyin said, "Has anyone ever told you that you act a lot like a twelve-year-old girl?"

"Yeah, I get that a lot," Yasuo responded, shrugging and playing at indifference, though it was betrayed by his amused grin.

"Really? Well, color me shocked," Shuyin answered.

"You're going to go see her after this, right?"


"Lenne," Yasuo explained, pointing at Shuyin near-accusingly. "Unless I'm mistaken, you told me you had a fight with her."

". . . Only you could manage to get 'fight' out of anything I said."

"Well, you could just call it a fight. Trust me: you'll love make-up-"

Sending Yasuo a scowl that could have melted the nerve of the most battle-hardened warrior, Shuyin said, "If you say what I think you're about to say, I'm going to shove this couch cushion down your throat."

"I'm not hearing an deni-"

Yasuo really did have a strange way of changing the subject. Then again, given the topic that he was managing to avoid thinking about, Shuyin only felt the need to complain over the topic that had been chosen. Though, since things like the weather and ruthlessly mangled gossip wouldn't have given him a reason to dispense to Yasuo his much overdue retribution, he did admit that it wouldn't have been nearly as effective.


"He has been here for over an hour," Shuyin heard one of the shopkeeper's hiss indignantly to the other. "I could've sold twenty of those things in the time it's taken him to buy one. No, no, not even that! Think about buying one."

"What do you want me to do about it?" The other one murmured, far more conscious than his co-worker that Shuyin could probably hear them.

"Get him to buy the damn thing, or kick him out! I, for one, want to close up."

"Just . . . give him a few more minutes."

From the other end of the shop, Shuyin continued to pretend that he hadn't heard them, which he had become remarkably good at over the past half-hour. Slowly, he ran the tips of his fingers across ivory keys, pressing down on one of them and letting a rich, deep chime ring out, resonating around the many drums and brass contraptions that cluttered the tiny, one room music shop.

He didn't blame the shopkeepers for getting aggravated with him. In truth, it should have been an incredibly simple purchase. Like many of the others in Zanarkand, this shop had been drastically affected by the lack of imports, and hence had only one keyboard in stock. However, the moral stigma that was attached to such a purchase unfortunately kept it from being as straightforward as it normally would have been.

Somehow, at the end of Shuyin's stay at Yasuo's, the newspapers and sphere had ended up departing with him. Though it had taken him quite a bit of time and a good deal of willpower, he'd finally forced himself to leaf through the stack of tabloids, (but not before taking the sphere and putting it somewhere where he wouldn't have to look at it). As could be expected, quite a few of the articles were rather useless and disappointing, rambling on about things like scandals long proved false and half-human half-Doomstones glimpsed through fuzzy sphere-recorder lenses. However, several of them actually seemed informative, and possibly even beneficial to him (if the information was true, that is). It was in one of these articles that he first found out that the weapon had no control panel, as he had previously thought. Instead, it was operated via a built-in electronic piano situated atop its 'head'. As ridiculous as it had sounded at the time, after finding the same information in more than three other articles, he couldn't help but submit to the idea. That's what found him in his current location, pondering whether or not he should concede to what felt like such a hazardous strategy.

On one hand, resting the hope of Lenne's survival on so flimsy a plan was nothing short of appalling. Somehow, he felt as if doing so were no better than if he were betting her life on a dice roll. The mere thought made him very fond of the notion of leaving the newspapers to the mercy of a good blaze, and introducing the sphere to the sharper part of his combat blitzball.

However, every time he thought of looking for a safer, more definite option, he would realize anew that he had exhausted every other one open to him. Even though the thought of throwing Lenne's fate to chance was horrible enough to turn his stomach and promise him another few weeks of self-loathing and regret, doing nothing at all left him with the distinct feeling of being repeatedly run through.

"Um, sir?" said the second shopkeeper timidly, obviously hassled into speaking up by his brasher colleague. "We'll be closing up in a few minutes. Did you plan on buying that?"

Slowly shutting his eyes, Shuyin took a deep breath and placed his hand atop a few of the black keys. They were warm beneath his touch, having soaked up the heat of the mid-afternoon sun as black things often do. Slowly, he ran the question through his head once more, letting it slowly morph and change as it merged with his many doubts. What if it was all really fake? What if he failed? What if it didn't work? What if it were a hopeless plan right from the start?

But what if it wasn't?

"Yeah," he finally said, the words echoing about in his head strangely. "Yeah, I do," he repeated. "How much is it?"

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