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January 25, 2023 9:37 pm  #1

Tears on the Farplane

So, to preface, this is going to be a fanfiction slash fic. I've recently begun replaying through a lot of the old RPGs I played as a teenager. Final Fantasy X happened to be the first one I restarted, so I was inspired to write a comfort story. This story will assume familiarity with the plot and characters, so apologies to those who haven't played it if it's hard to follow at all. This takes place late in the game, after our heroes' showdown against Lady Yunalesca, now amidst the uncertainty going forward of how to complete their objective...

Whether or not they were branded as traitors no longer mattered at this point. Lady Yunalesca was dead, Maester Mika's spirit no longer wandered amongst the living, what was left of the Spiran power structure lay in tatters. Needless to say, the mission had not gone as anyone had expected when they left Besaid Island, twisted up with nerves and anticipation.

Tidus leaned uneasily against the airship's windshield, looking out over the green patchwork of the continent peaking out between banks of clouds rushing below. The team were heading for Guadosalam, making a detour at Lulu's request. Tidus thought he knew why, but he couldn't be certain.

"So what are we gonna do now, eh? Think maybe we can blind Sin with a blitzball in the eye?" Wakka walked over and stood beside Tidus, anxious and pensive.

"I don't know, Wakka. After all this time, you'd think I might know my old man better."

"You know, when you first told me that monster is your father...I thought, that's it, you finally lost it, ya? But then I thought, how many times you told me something that sounded crazy, and it turned out to be the truth. Shows how much I actually know about the world."

"It's not your fault, Wakka. You did as best you could. When this all started...I didn't understand anything either. I still don't know if I understand anything."

"Everything's gone topsy turvy, ya know? I guess if solvin' Spira's problems were simple, people would've done it by now."

Their bodies swayed as the airship began to lose speed, lurching unsteadily as Brother attempted to center it over Guadosalam.

"We're here," Cid growled from the starboard side navigator's seat. "Whatever your errand is, be careful and try not to take all day. As far as I'm concerned, this is still enemy airspace!"

Lulu stepped forward from the bridge corridor where she'd been waiting in silence. "Thank you, I won't be too long, I hope." With a look toward Tidus and Wakka, she nodded slightly and touched the sphere oscillo-finder, vanishing in a burst of light.

Tidus thought back to the their meeting with Lady Yunalesca in the ruins of Zanarkand, when Lulu had found out the truth that, despite theirs or anyone's best efforts, the cycle of death and destruction that had wracked the continent for a millennium would continue unchecked. It was the first time he'd seen the black mage genuinely stunned. He couldn't forget the desperation that suddenly welled up inside her, hoping against her now better knowledge that the pilgrimages weren't just another waste of life.

Tidus worried about her. "Think she'll be okay?"

"Lu will be okay, sooner or later. I guess we're all a little broken up right now, ya?"

"What do you think she's doing down there?"

"I got a feeling she wants to visit someone."

"I have that feeling, too." Tidus sighed. "Maybe I should go, too. This may sound funny, but...I'd kinda like to see my mother again. I don't know why I think that'd help me, but..."

"Mmm. You wanna see someone from your Zanarkand? You wanna feel like maybe your memories aren't just memories? Hey, it's okay. I get it, brudda. And keep an eye on Lu."

"Thanks, Wakka. I will." The two embraced for a moment, with a fraternal slap on the back and a fist bump. Tidus stepped up onto the upper bridge, and took a breath. Nodding at Cid, he reached his fingers to touch the sphere oscillo-finder. He felt a tingle that made his hair bristle, like the anticipation of a lightning strike, and then the world dissolved in white light as he felt the singular sensation of his body seeming to accelerate in all directions at once. In a moment, when his senses felt whole again, he saw the twisting wooden limbs and shades of the Guado tree city.

He began to walk up the sloping path toward the Farplane portal, not caring about the curious looks and stares of cold hostility that the Guado folk cast his way. The era where that would have mattered was over in Spira. He felt a knot in his gut as he approached the entrance to the realm of the dead. The Al Bhed were probably right, he thought, that the apparitions of the Farplane were merely the memories of visitors conjured into what they had once been in life. But he also believed that the dead truly did walk there, somewhere in the distant deeps and skies.

Tidus ascended the stairs to the celestial platform as the rest of the world faded beyond compass and a new, vaster world took its place. The atmosphere was cooler, drier and thinner, like a mountaintop on a summer day. Lulu stood off to his right, opposite the ethereal form of Lady Ginnem, right where Tidus had expected to see her. The sound of Tidus' footsteps made Lulu turn.

"Oh! You're here, too?"

"Yeah, I had someone I wanted to see, too. I'm sorry if I'm interrupting."

"No, no, I understand. I just...I wanted to see her here with my own eyes."

"I think I get what you mean." Tidus approached the edge of the platform, and peered into the great endlessness where all that had ever been eventually came to rest. Slowly, an image of his mother formed before his eyes. She wore a slight smile, the warm look of one who found contentment without needing to seek it.

"Mom..." Tidus took a deep breath and exhaled it through pursed lips. "Mom, I miss you. I guess I wanted to say, I'm sorry for the times I got so mad at you."

Lulu couldn't help but watch out of the corner of her eye. Ever since he'd arrived in Spira seemingly out of the empty sea one day, she'd been curious about the strange young man and what he meant when he said he was from Zanarkand.

"I just wish that...I wish that you and Dad understood. All I ever wanted was to feel good enough. Just to hear him say that I was the son he wanted, just to hear that once would have..." Tidus had to stop himself. He couldn't let himself shed a tear here, not even in front of the memory of his mother. Once again he inhaled deeply, sucking his feelings deep down. "Anyway, I really miss you. I miss Zanarkand. I remember the first time you took me to the stadium to watch Dad play. I didn't even understand what was going on. Just that Dad was doing something that made the whole crowd happy. I was glad. I was proud to have a Dad who could make people happy. And I wanted to make him happy in return. I don't know why it was so hard for him just to accept that. I don't know why he had to get that from a bottle instead of me..."

Hearing this made Lulu's heart ache for Tidus. They'd spoken before, of course, but she'd never heard him discuss his past so openly. Her eyes met Lady Ginnem's again as she thought to herself, we all have a story.

Tidus had to compose himself again. "I guess what I wanted to say, Mom, is that I love you. Even if we weren't a perfect family. And I'm working really hard to keep my promise to Dad. I know he wants this to be over. I promise I'll find a way to free him."

He turned his gaze away, and the image of his mother faded once again into a sparkle of pyreflies.

"I'm sorry," Lulu said, her voice soft.

"It's okay. I've accepted what's happened. I can only change what goes on from here."

"No, I mean, I'm sorry that I didn't trust you sooner. I admit, I wasn't the kindest to you when we first met. I didn't know what to make of you. But you've been through an awful lot, haven't you?"

Tidus nodded sadly. "This wasn't how I thought anything would turn out for me."

"I guess, we were all a little foolish starting out," Lulu said, again regarding the apparition of her former summoner sadly.

"The part that really tears me up inside is that...I get so confused sometimes. I thought I understood my life. Everything was so simple in comparison. All I had to worry about was the next game and where the after party would be. And if I'd have to listen to someone comparing me to my old man again. And then one day, suddenly I'm here, and everything's all different. Like I don't even know what's real anymore." Tidus thought back to what the Fayth had told him on Mount Gagazet. What did it all mean, that he is and always was only a dream? Was he simply a ghost conjured from someone else's memories? "But the thing is...I met all of you guys here. And I don't know what to make of it all. Back in Zanarkand, there were so many people hounding me for autographs, so many girls throwing themselves at me, and I think back to that first game watching my Dad. Did they really only like me because I scored for the team? Honestly, Lulu, you, all of you, Wakka, Kimahri, Yuna, Rikku, even Auron who I've know the longest of anyone, you guys might be the only real friends I've ever had. But so much has changed. Sometimes I think...I still wish this never happened. And I feel so guilty for thinking that. But sometimes I just want to go home, and not know anymore, because it all gets too hard to think about. I guess maybe ignorance really is bliss. It's all so confusing."

Tidus hung his head. Lulu stepped a little closer. "You may not believe it, but I think I know what you mean."

Tidus looked up to regard Lady Ginnem with Lulu. "When we started on our pilgrimage, I was a girl. A girl who thought she was going to help save the world. I thought I would become a great guardian like Sir Auron. I thought I knew what was in store for us, what kind of sacrifice it entailed, but..." She shook her head. "I needed to see her here. I know Yuna performed her sending. But I've spent so long wondering what became of her spirit, I couldn't trust it unless I saw it with my own eyes. And I'm glad you're here to witness it with me. Maybe now I can finally believe she's at peace."

"I'm sure she forgives you, Lulu. Sometimes things just don't turn out like you thought. You're still a great guardian. I'm sure Yuna would agree with me."

Lulu let out a sad chuckle. "Someone told me, before Lady Ginnem and I began our pilgrimage, that things always turn out worse than you hope and better than you fear. I tried to always keep that in mind. But somehow things turned out worse than I feared. I watched her die, powerless to stop it. But now, I'm wondering if it even would have made a difference."

Lulu turned toward Tidus, and Lady Ginnem faded back into the ether. "I can't stop thinking about what Lady Yunalesca said. I've tried so hard, we all have, but still...I've seen so many people die, and I...I..."

Lulu's voice broke slightly. Tidus was again taken aback to see the usually collected mage so genuinely at a loss. He was unsure what to say. Lulu had never been the warm, affectionate type, but in the moment, all Tidus could think to do was hold his arms out, awkwardly gesturing to offer a hug. Lulu, without words, returned the embrace, clasping herself to Tidus so tightly that he was surprised by it.

"Lulu, I'm sorry, I-"

"All I've ever wanted was to help bring peace. I wanted to live in a world without constant pain and fear. I was prepared to watch someone I love die for it. Was it all just a lie?"

She nuzzled the side of her face against Tidus' as she held on even tighter to him, her lips in a pout. Her voice quivered. "Were lies the only comfort we've ever had in this hopeless, stinking world?!"

Tidus felt Lulu's shoulders heave a single time and her belly move with a flutter. He was dismayed, but not surprised, to feel the wetness seeping between her cheek and his.

She's crying, he thought, and now it'll make me cry. That's just what I need. What would my Dad think? He's waiting on me to end all this, and I'm crying No. Why should I care about that? I didn't ask for any of this!

His thoughts were interrupted when Lulu took a convulsive, shuddering breath and nuzzled her wet face against his.

Jecht, he thought, you always hated showing emotion. And here you are, causing more pain and tears for more people than anyone. I know it's not your fault. This is all some crazy accident of fate. But I can't pretend like it doesn't hurt anymore!

Tidus felt the ache in his heart like a cold, sharp stone, and his face tightened up painfully.

"Damn you, Dad..." he whispered as his eyes squinted up to force out the tears. Lulu could no longer hold back, breaking into hard, bitter sobs and gasps that hurt her throat. She and Tidus collapsed to the ground, still clinging tight and leaning into each other, faces tucked into the crooks of each other's necks as they wept hot, angry tears that had seared them inside for too long. For the first time in his life that he could recall, Tidus cried without shame. No one was there to tell him to man up, no one was there to threaten him with a licking for being too weak. The souls of the dead were all far, far away in the solitudes of the universe. There was only himself, the weeping woman clinging to him, and the twinkling chorus of pyreflies.

As they sat in their embrace, they realized that they were not crying for the memories of what they'd lost, nor even for themselves, but for each other. In the moment they were two scarred souls in search of hope in a broken world, looking for a hint of salvation and absolution, for themselves and everyone else, amidst a hard and bleak reality, and the tears they cried were the wages of their bravery. They'd been strong for so long. Now they had a chance to strengthen each other by allowing themselves to be weak, and so they became a well of comfort for each other, catching the rain of each other's grief.

Neither one could keep any track of time, but eventually their pain had spent itself, and their agony and sobs faded to sniffles and sighs, and then to a silence that was not empty. So they sat, leaning against each other, their faces wet and puffy, their eyes reddened, feeling weary but renewed. Lulu was the first to break the silence.

"I'm sorry, I left quite a puddle on your shoulder," she said with a slight embarrassed laugh.

"I don't think I left you any drier, Lulu."

"Mmm. Thank you. I didn't even realize that I needed that."

"Me either, to be honest. I'm so used to trying not to let anyone see that part of me."

"Well...if you do want someone there, when it has to come out..."

"Thank you. Same goes for you, Lulu."

She nodded with a smile and still wet eyes. "We'd better get back to the airship. Cid didn't sound so pleased about having to stop."

"Yeah, he doesn't seem like the sort of person I want upset with me."

The two walked back down celestial staircase, out of the otherworld and back into their own. They knew the challenges that lay before them, and were prepared to meet them with clearer heads. They would see their mission through to the end, for Yuna, for Spira.

As they approached the sphere in Guadosalam and prepared to teleport back aboard the Fahrenheit, Tidus stopped for a second. "Lulu, I just want to say..."

"What is it?"

"What I said about missing Zanarkand and all that. I'm sorry if it sounded like I don't care. You guys have been great to me, and mother's dead, my father is Sin. I really need all the family I can get right now."

Lulu smiled again. "Having you wash up on the shore that day turned out to be a wonderful thing. I'll forever be glad that Wakka found you."

Tidus pulled Lulu in for one more hug. "Whatever happens, this is my story, here with you and everyone. It just took me a while to see it."

Last edited by NeedHerSobs (January 25, 2023 9:43 pm)

"Bless me now with your fierce tears..."

January 29, 2023 11:53 am  #2

Re: Tears on the Farplane

I love the trust and intimacy they have with each other, a cherry on the pie would have been if one of them (or both) gathered the courage to wipe the other’s tears from the cheeks.


January 29, 2023 2:57 pm  #3

Re: Tears on the Farplane

Amans lacrimae wrote:

I love the trust and intimacy they have with each other, a cherry on the pie would have been if one of them (or both) gathered the courage to wipe the other’s tears from the cheeks.

Mmm, I like the way their friendship develops through the story. The characters really do feel like family by the end. I thought about including more forms of physical touch but I wasn't sure if I wanted to give it the suggestion of being too "romantic."

Last edited by NeedHerSobs (January 29, 2023 2:58 pm)

"Bless me now with your fierce tears..."
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