Good sweet insanity. I just spent an entire Sunday writing this thing. Like a whole 12 hours without a break. With that in mind, I do apologise for grammar and spelling errors that may pop up in this chapter. I did go through it but I probably missed some things, I can hardly see the screen anymore.
BW: Serves you right for not updating sooner (nods)
FB: But BW, I wrote most of this chapter like twice but scrapped it because it wasn't good enough! This is an important chapter!
BW: SHOW NO MERCY! (has Braveheart war paint on her face and an army of Scotsmen to command)
FB: (runs for the hills...and her bed)
Alex's Battle Notes: It's useful to be able to lie convincingly.
Fire and Ice
There were colours, people moving around me and my own fear. They moved in closer as the voice in the sphere warped into dots that clouded my vision, made nausea well up inside of me. My fear squatted there with them, the elephant in the room, a silent warning that I was forbidden to put into words.
I stayed in the back, in the shadows trying to hold myself together though I could feel pieces of me tugging outwards, threatening to explode. Was it my soul abandoning ship like rats in a disaster?
"I implore you to stop Seymour...stop my son."
The sphere went dead and as the sound of the sphere shutting down replaced that desperate voice, my heart lurched. It took all of my willpower to stop from crouching down to throw it up.
Auron was the first to straighten, his glasses flashing as the sphere died.
"Wonderful," he said, voice dripping sarcasm. I flinched, don't you know you're about to die?
"Will Yuna be alright?" Rikku asked worriedly, glancing over at the exit to the little room.
"Without us, no," Auron confirmed, turning to look at her.
I watched her soft green eyes harden, expression of concern replaced with a look of grim set determination. Behind me, I heard the soft padding of feet as Kimahri bolted out of the door, an automatic response to the idea that his charge was in danger. Rikku wasted no time in following.
"Where you goin?" Wakka threw at her back as she disappeared.
"You saw didn't you?" Tidus accused, already half way to the door after Rikku, "Seymour's bad news!"
"But...but he's a Maester," Wakka protested feebly.
I felt my arm twitch and jerk towards him. Some kind of empathetic reaction to Wakka who seemed to be showing the most appropriate amount of fear for the trouble we were all in. I wanted to say something to him but my voice was lost. Out of the corner of my eye, I could feel Lulu's intense gaze on me.
Tidus' eyes flashed angrily, he was wasting time.
"Fine, stay here if you want," he shouted before legging it out of the door after Rikku and Kimahri.
Wakka was left staring disbelievingly at the doorway like Tidus might come strolling back in laughing, telling him it was all some kind of joke. Lulu, with a meaningful side glance at me, took that as her cue to step up. A soft whimper escaped my throat. Everyone was leaving, rushing off to face him...Seymour was getting closer and closer.
"Come on Wakka," Lulu said, "let's a least hear him out."
"This can't be happening," Wakka decided, groaning as he took off after the others.
Just me and Lulu left.
Lulu strode purposefully towards me, her red eyes glinting in the light of the ice.
"Alex," her tone was ominous, I tried not to crack under the pressure of it.
"You know something," she said, an accusation? Or a plea...
I tried to maintain eye contact with her, tried to keep the poker face in place but my heart was sent careening against my chest. I was too scared, too sick and I desperately wanted to share the truth with somebody before we were all smeared on the temple floor like some unsavory road kill.
I opened my mouth, closed it again as the lump formed.
I couldn't tell her that I'd sent them to their doom. Call it what you will, fear of the unknown, automatic behavior...I'm sure that this response correlates with some text book psychological reaction to this situation. The only explanation I can give for not spilling the beans at the last moment is, that aside from the fear of the unknown which was somehow more stressful than knowing we were about to die by Seymour's hand, somehow I didn't want to render the choice that I'd made to continue with the storyline of the game as though nothing had changed null and void.
I didn't want all this stress, all this irritation and misery to be for nothing.
Does that make me selfish?
I breathed in deep for a couple of seconds. Lulu's eyes bored into me but somehow, with a gargantuan effort, I managed to keep myself together enough to weave an elaborate lie.
To start with, I shook my head.
"No, I don't know anything," I told her, crossing my fingers behind my back and hoping to God or Yevon that I was doing the right thing.
Lulu's eyes practically bugged out of her head.
"What? Then why the sudden reaction when we entered the temple? I thought you were going to pass out," she snapped at me, making me wince.
I shook my head again, all I could do.
"No, it's not that...it's just...Seymour terrifies me."
Kane, ever the lying expert, had taught me that to weave a good and convincing lie, there always had to be some element of truth. Thank Thu for my brother.
"Ever since the...operation Mi'hen...he's terrified me." I told her, trying to ignore the bad taste in my mouth.
Lulu's brow furrowed as she absorbed this.
"But...you were fine when me met him in Guadosalem...absolutely fine."
"That's because..." I lowered my eyes, tried to fight the stab of pain in my chest and gulped as I tried to respond.
"Because...Hunter...was there with me," I told her.
Realization dawned in her eyes and I let out an inward sigh of relief. She believed me.
"Alex...I'm so sorry for interrogating you like that. Come, we have to hurry to catch up with the others."
She grabbed my hand in her icy grip and dragged me towards the door, urgent to proceed now she'd cleared up the suspicion that I'd be able to impart some cosmic wisdom.
As we climbed the stairs to the Cloister of Trials, I tried to fight the tears that pooled in my eyes, staring up at the intricate artwork of the ceiling as we passed under the threshold of the doorway but it was no use, they fell down my cheeks leaving delicate snail trails in the cold.
Auron, Wakka and Tidus were waiting for us inside. Tidus gave me a worried look when he saw the tear tracks and his deep blue eyes followed the path of a single tear as it fell from my chin into the ice below.
He walked forward and I could see the intent to ask me what the matter was in his expression. I shrank back from it, my back pressing against the hard wood of the now closed Cloister of Trials door.
To my surprise, Lulu stepped in front of me and shook her head at Tidus. Around her shoulder I could just make out Tidus' quizzical look. He'd need an explanation later.
"Kimahri's up ahead," Auron told him, motioning with a shrug of the shoulders. "Go!"
Tidus didn't need telling twice, he vaulted forward, shoes clopping on the hard ice as he travelled into the last place I knew, the last place on Spira that my 'future sight' would ever work.
"We will protect Yuna from anyone, even a Maester," Auron said into the air. Everyone knew that he was talking to Wakka of course.
Wakka for his part was probably having just as hard a time as me...he seemed utterly lost standing there.
"This can't be happening," Wakka muttered to himself, reaching back to scratch his hair. An unnecessary movement that was somehow completely necessary.
If I'd had the capacity, I probably would have felt quite sorry for him. First all that business with Rikku and then this, Seymour and the insanity that came with him.
"If he is truly at fault, it must be done," Lulu told him, a comforting thought in its way I suppose.
Wakka just nodded, like me, unable to protest further. They started up the tunnel together and I was left to make my own way forward.
Strange how every step was a challenge. Stranger still how I didn't just give up and pass out like I would have at the beginning. Oh, how I wish I could just give up and pass out.
With the promise of death so close, my senses seemed to become...heightened. I could feel the crunch of my geta on the ice and the cold through the little socks I had on to protect my toes. I could feel, however weird this may sound, the hot blood pumping through my system and I was painfully aware of just how small I was, how fragile my skeleton was and how easily it could be crushed.
I could smell the cold in the air, could pick out the shining particles in the ice walls around me.
I wondered, if by some miracle I could survive this, if it would always be this way now, if I would always be so aware.
The light at the end of the tunnel engulfed me as it were, and the scene opened out into the final standpoint.
The room itself was beautiful, a fitting final resting place I suppose. The walls were intricately carved of ice and blue stone, spiraling upwards into a dome above out heads which created space for a dazzling chandelier to light the chamber. I didn't need to be told that this was the heart of the ice berg, the exact centre. There was something spiritual about it and I wondered if this wasn't in fact the heart of the entirety of Lake Macalania.
The floor was made of a polished reflective stone that resembled marble and the group was gathered there, facing him.
The cascading blue hair was somewhat lost in all the ice. With the blue, free-flowing robe, he was almost camouflaged, a dangerous status for any predator to be in.
As soon as I saw him, my body froze. I stood stock still, drawn into that childhood assumption that if you didn't move, then the monster wouldn't be able to find you. A stupid reaction, a childish reaction.
On either side of the staircase up to the Chamber of the Fayth, I could see Guado guards looking intently down at the group with stoic expressions.
"Seymour!" Tidus' voice called out angrily. There was a challenge in that voice and Seymour decided to patronize it.
"Please be silent," the sakura blossom voice demanded. "Lady Yuna prays to the Fayth."
Although I couldn't see Tidus' face, I could imagine the expression there and my mind screamed at him to keep his mouth shut.
"Make me!" he shouted, rising to Seymour's bait.
Seymour turned and even that simple action caused shivers down the back of my spine. He descended the first two steps to the floor, smirking at Tidus the whole way. The action was slow, controlled. He was completely exposed to attack, showing us that he thought we were too insignificant to warrant protection.
If he was going to do anything to make Tidus 'be silent' we never did find out. The door to the Chamber of the Fayth opened and Yuna staggered out looking pale and sweaty.
"Yuna!" Tidus called, Seymour temporarily forgotten.
Yuna glanced down at us all in surprise, a hurt look crossed her features.
"We saw Jyscal's sphere," Tidus told her, their eyes interlocking.
"You killed him," Auron said to Seymour, unperturbed when the corners of Seymour's mouth flicked up.
"What of it?" he asked, the ghost of a laugh hanging on the last word. Like it was something so trivial. I cowered.
Seymour turned, still slowly and precisely towards Yuna. Tidus growled almost imperceptibly below them though I could hear it in the acoustic echo of the room so Seymour probably had as well.
"Surely you knew of these things, did you not?"
Yuna looked down at the floor and made a non-committal noise that Seymour seemed to take as a yes.
"Well then why have you come here?"
Yuna stepped down towards us and turned to face Seymour with her back to Tidus, it was quite the spectacle, this changing of sides.
"I came...I came to stop you," she told him, holding her staff out in front of her in a defensive stance.
"I see," Seymour said, the smile unfaltering on his face. "You came to punish me, then."
You don't have to sound so delighted about it there buddy.
He started coming down the steps to meet us on the floor, arms open wide, a perfect target. Instinctually, Yuna backed away so her guardians could surround her. Tidus, of course, took up the front.
Carefully and quietly, I shifted myself until I was standing behind Kimahri, trying not to hyperventilate. A couple more lines. A couple more lines of dialogue and I'd be as clueless as the rest of them. Would I really be any use to the Ao Guardians after that? Or...or did they only plan to use me so far as I knew the game...
It was a sickening thought, I doubled over behind Kimahri and fought back the vomit. The breeze in the heart of the ice berg helped.
"Ah, of course," Seymour was saying. "The code of the guardians, 'protect the summoner even at the cost of one's life', how admirable."
He motioned to the Guado standing at the sides of the room and they loped in closer, flanking him, a signal that combat was to start soon.
"Well...if you're offering your lives...I will have to take them," Seymour said with the air of someone long suffering.
"Maester Seymour, I trust my guardians with my life," Yuna said, "but they are also my friends. I will not stand by and watch them be hurt."
She raised her staff higher, an attacking position now more than a defensive position.
"I will fight you too!"
Tidus turned to beam at her, a ray of sunshine in this cold place.
"Alright!" he said, cheering her on.
This development seemed to send Wakka over the edge a bit.
"Maester Seymour!" he shouted, stepping forward imploringly. Seymour ignored him.
"So be it," he hissed.
I recognized it as a signal to start combat and experienced a surreal moment where my mind seemed to separate from my body. I was looking out of my own eyes but my body moved of its own accord. I heard myself shout:
"WAIT!" at the top of my lungs and felt the sensation of movement in my legs, completely involuntarily. Had this turned in to Harry Potter? Had I been placed under the Imperius curse?
"This...this is stupid," my voice rang out over the room which had suddenly gone deathly silent. Seymour was looking at me as though I had grown an extra head and sprouted wings.
I stared at him, felt my eyes widen as I implored him to listen to me.
"You, all of this...it's all real...you don't have to do what your programming tells you to do!" I told him, hearing the slight manic tinge to my own voice.
"You don't have to kill us here, you can do what you want! You can be something complete-
I saw him raise his hand and felt my expression darken in horror. His arm fell gracefully downwards and with it came an experience I don't think I'll ever forget.
There was a flash of light and pain exploded through my system as his Thunder magic connected. The breath caught in my throat, my legs crumpled beneath me until I was nothing but a heap of uselessness on the ground. The sobs welled up inside me and were choked out as my limbs seized up. It felt like every muscle in my body was trying to betray me, fighting against the prison of flesh that was my body, intent on breaking free. I squirmed, only vaguely aware that the battle had started in earnest above me, that Kimahri had swooped down to pick me up and drop me back to safety.
Only, after Yuna's healing touch could I comprehend anything. As the green glow of Cure enveloped me, the pressure on my chest lessened, my muscles calmed. I gasped in breaths of air, re-vitalizing myself and scrambled up as soon as I could, taking my place next to Tidus in the line we'd formed against Seymour.
No one questioned me, no one gave me any side long glances, fearful that I'd gone insane under the pressure. Could I explain myself if they had? No...all I can think is that, for a moment, I'd tasted what those poor storm chasers on the Thunder Plains felt every day of their lives.
As I faced Seymour now, though I was afraid, it was a different kind of fear. The waiting period was over, the fear of going forward to face death whilst I had the power to run had dissipated, was replaced by something much more manageable. The anger that I'd felt before was back and it fuelled me, drove me to dart forward and take the first slice at the Guado standing on Seymour's right.
I was angry at Seymour for daring to attack me, I was angry at Tidus and Wakka and everyone else for blindly going forward like lambs to the slaughter and most of all I was still so very very angry at him for leaving me to do this by myself, for carefully lying to me and concealing the truth, for revealing it just when I'd started to trust him.
We were going to beat Seymour this time and I was going to kick his ass when he turned up again, like I knew that he would somehow.
No one mentioned my lack of instruction as they moved forward to fruitlessly hack away at the two Guado lackeys that constantly healed themselves with a deft bandage applied here or a hastily drank potion there. It took Rikku's innovative thinking and her darting forward to steal the medi packs and potions that one of them was about to use for the others to work out what to do. The Guado men looked unperturbed by the loss of resources, faceless and mindless as they worked to cast protective spells on Seymour.
Seymour for his part barraged us with the strongest attack magic I had ever seen. Lulu's spells paled in comparison. When he cast a water spell, a tsunami washed over us, flooding our side of the great hall, when he cast fire, the fire was uncontrollable and everything burned including the intricate stone hall that we were standing in. The ice dripped from the ceiling.
The only thing that kept us safe was Yuna's nullify magic that she had to cast every chance she got. I knew that eventually, she would get tired and Seymour would be able to hit us freely, I just hoped to Thu we could find a solution before then.
The battle progressed and it seemed to take an age. I remembered, a lifetime ago, when I was sitting in front of my TV screen thinking that this had taken forever. Of course, here in Spira, it was much more exhausting than I could have ever imagined. Though we kept cutting at the Guado henchmen, they only fell after what felt like hours of painstaking work and only because Tidus and Auron made such an effective team, Auron going in for the front attack and Tidus following up behind him with something swift, giving them no time to try and recover.
I would have thought that the death of his companions might have at least shaken the monster of a man before us but he remained as calm as ever, that creepy smile fixed firmly in place. I started pulling out all the stops when it came to him, feeling like a dancer as I twirled around him, driving my twin blades into his body from the front and the back so they met in the middle and I could slice up and down simultaneously in an ability called 'Cross'.
When I withdrew the elaborate costume he wore was smothered in blood but he didn't really seem to notice.
"What else can we do against him?" Tidus hissed out of the side of his mouth at me and I panicked, what could I tell him?
I shrugged and grinned, completely clueless.
"Not a clue mate," I told him flinching as another ice attack bounced off of Yuna's nullifying shields and one of the little lights orbiting my body faded away.
Tidus smirked, a grim expression given the situation.
"So he's that strong? As if it matters..."
He vaulted forwards, somersaulting through the air and tumbling, moves I knew to signal that he was about to perform a Spiral Cut. His body was so graceful in the air, just like it was in the water when he played Blitzball and I could see the influence of the game in this move. As he landed before Seymour and brought his blade smashing down onto Seymour's frame, Seymour actually moaned and fell to one knee beneath him.
My jaw fell open.
Tidus hopped back to us, a look of triumph on his face but I knew what was coming.
Seymour stood, the smile wiped from his face but the eyes still completely calm.
"Feel my pain, come Anima," he whispered, moving his hand up until it was pointing towards the dome of the great room.
The room started to rumble and shake. The vibrations rippled through my feet and up through my body throwing off my balance. Beside me, Tidus widened his stance and I tried to copy but the result was that I just fell back onto my butt.
From my place on the floor, I could see the dark portal above us in the centre of the dome pulsating with malicious energy. I watched as the great anchor fell from the portal and landed in front of us, creating another portal in the floor to drag Anima up with. A dark mist emanated from the newly opened portal in the floor and anchor retracted, pulling the face of Anima up with it, the one bright eye circling the room.
It was much more terrifying up close, alienating and huge, a picture of sinews and bandages. The chains that held it together looked flimsy, like a stupid measure against something so hellish. When the eye fell on me, I felt myself shrink under its gaze.
The huge wings remained folded around the body, protective...or stuck that way, I couldn't tell.
"Yuna, the new aeon!" I heard Tidus call over the din of the shaking temple.
Yuna didn't need telling twice. The others cleared to give her room.
"Alex!" A pair of strong arms jerked me backwards and my eyes flicked up so I was staring into Tidus' anxious face. The blue of his eyes seemed to provide something calming.
We watched as Yuna raised her staff above her head and felt how the temperature in the room plummeted. When I breathed I could see the breath rolling off into the air and I shivered under my jumper. Ice particles started gathering around the little ornaments on Yuna's staff which were splayed out and frozen in place. The ice particles glinted in the light giving the atmosphere in the room an ethereal feel. Yuna guided her staff down, concentrating and swept it to one side. Following this motion, huge ice formations appeared in the air and flew in to a spot several inches behind her as though drawn by a magnet. When they hit the ground, they ploughed right into the marble floor, showers of ice fell over everything.
The ghost of a woman descended through the air, a floating, translucent shape heading for the ice formation that would be her dressing room. She slipped into the ice and in the reflective surfaces we could see as she gained solidarity. When she clicked her ice blue fingers, the ice broke revealing Shiva, a beautifully powerful woman aeon.
The two aeons faced each other and it began again, that horrible monologue, the sound that I wish I could block from my mind altogether.
"HA, MERE MORTALS, PATHETIC SPITS OF FLESH AND SINEW. SHIVA CANNOT STOP ME, YOU SHALL FEEL MY PAIN, FEEL MY PAIN."
Shiva for her part said nothing and I found myself staring at her like she was from another planet...which she probably was.
My attention was forced back to Anima when the monologue turned angry, ominous. I held my head and willed myself not to get too caught up in what was said by this great heathen god.
"HOW DARE YOU THREATEN MY SEYMOUR, YOU WILL PAY, I HATE YOU, FEEL HIS PAIN."
I could feel the change of the pressure in the air as Anima threw its head back. The exposed eye started to glow and I winced as Shiva was hit with the first wave of Anima's empathic attack.
She crumpled onto one knee and for a moment I thought I saw a glimmer of a tear in her eye.
The battle between those two godly giants was an epic affair. Once Shiva had recovered she launched a counter attack in the form of a Heavenly Strike that turned the temple room into a barren, frozen desert. All that seemed to do was make Anima angry, and it barraged Shiva with attacks until the ice aeon dispersed on the air, pyreflies reflecting in the ice to make it seem as though we were standing under a sky full of moving stars.
As soon as Shiva had finished dispersing, we all moved back in, closing ranks around the huge aeon.
"I HATE YOU ALL, I WILL KILL YOU ALL, THE END COMES NOW."
Suddenly, everything slowed. Though the monologue continued unabated, the sound of my own heart beat hammering against my chest drowned it out. I could feel my eyes flick towards my comrades, all standing, all thinking that they were ready for what was going to come upon them.
"Oh God..." I whispered through the nausea that was rising up through my system.
"Alex," Tidus said beside me.
Anima reared up as though it was going to perform another empathic attack but at the same time, darkness spread out from the floor like a parasite beneath our feet. I wanted to run but my legs were numb, I wanted to scream but the only thing I could do was breathe, short ragged breaths to keep me alive.
I could feel the heat of fire, embers charged up from nowhere and ignited on the air before us as we were pulled down into the other world. On a reflex, I grabbed Tidus' hand and held on, taking something from the comfort that hand provided. So what if he was in love with Yuna already, so what if they were destined to be together. It wasn't an action of sabotage, it was about something else entirely and it stopped me from going mad with fear as we were pulled down into a writhing mass of colour.
As soon as we were below the floor, we were assaulted with a pulsating magnitude of interweaving colours and textures that seemed to be far away and close up all at once. The assault took its toll on my grip of reality, I couldn't figure out which was up or down, if I was close to the edge of the world or far away. The only real thing that I could comprehend to give myself a sense of direction and purpose was the second form of Anima, the upside down (or so I thought) figure beneath the floor.
This figure had no bandages though, like its topside counterpart, there were shackles around its wrists, chains around its depleted body. As I watched, squeezing the hand I kept clamped to mine, it struggled.
And as it struggled, I expected to hear a continuation of the monologue I had heard topside but instead, all I could hear was a ghastly white noise piquing to a crescendo as the shackles shattered.
"Ah!" I shrieked and threw away Tidus' hand to cover my ears.
Oh how I wish I hadn't thrown away that hand. Once the creature was free, it opened out, unfolded to meet us, huge hands encircling us menacingly. I couldn't see the others through the sea of colour though I could hear their screams over the white noise. I reached out blindly through the colours, stretching hopelessly into nowhere to grasp Tidus' hand again, the hand that bound me to sanity but Tidus had long been absorbed into the mess.
Knowing there was only one possible thing I could do, I turned slowly to look into the blind eyes of the creature, its face inches from mine, teeth longer than my body bared.
It's hands pulled back, formed into fists and I feebly braced myself for the explosion.
Of course, it wasn't enough.
Again and again pain ripped through me, and each time I was hit, the white noise film over my head intensified until I thought my head would literally split open so my brain would float away to intermingle with those nauseating colours. At those moments when those fists flew towards me and broke all the bones inside of me, ruptured all of my organs and the white noise threatened to end my life, through it all, I thought I could hear laughter.
A child's laughter.
How long did it go on for? It felt like forever but I suppose even forever is just a unit of measurable time and has some sort of plausible ending. I thought I had died, I honestly thought I'd been knocked so hard that I'd been shot straight into the afterlife but the colours faded and were replaced with the view of the great ice hall as we were dragged upwards, back before the topside Anima. The white noise died out and my legs buckled out from underneath me so I was forced to lay sprawled out on that same temple floor.
Just as my characters had been in the game.
How different it was...to be there right along with them as the party died. How strange and surreal it felt to remember something that no longer felt real, to remember something that was happening to me.
Above us all, Anima howled a howl of triumph and that was it.
Except it wasn't a howl of triumph.
"YOU DISGUSTING MAGGOT OF A BEING, YOU WILL PERISH. I WILL MAKE YOU FEEL THE WRATH OF HELL. I WILL PULL YOUR SPINAL CHORD OUT THROUGH YOUR EARS, YOU WILL NOT LAY A HAND ON MY SEYMOUR...MY SEYMOUR..."
"How dare you hurt me..."
From my place on the floor, I could see Anima's side. Ever so slowly, I turned my head so I could see a little more. Something glinted a sharp silver in the light and there was a crunch of metal on flesh. Someone was attacking Anima. It howled again.
"FEEL. MY. PAIN."
Anima's attacker groaned and their weapon was lowered into visual range. A scythe, a beautifully intricate silver scythe with a black handle.
I know this is stupid, I know that I was lying there because I had nothing left to give, I know that it was only a matter of time before I faded away...but my wasted heart actually jumped.
Hope, however dangerous, blossomed inside of me.
'Get up Alex.'
I fought to remember where my hands were, to get them to move so I could sit up and see. I could feel the signals being passed along my system from my brain to my hand and my hand responded. It twitched.
"WHY...WON'T...YOU...DIE?' Anima was screaming, launching pain attack after pain attack. The scythe did not reappear and I could hear the sound of it cleaving the great aeon without a break.
My arms felt like lead but somehow I managed to lift myself so my butt was in the air. From there it was just a case of rolling sideways and lifting my head so I could see. As I sat up and the angles of the fight changed, I could see Seymour standing in the back looking decidedly less happy. The smile on his face was long gone, his eyes were betraying the madness that lay behind them.
And in front of Anima there was a flash of black hair as Hunter lunged forward to finish it.
The aeon screamed. The sound had me whimpering, threatening to crumple again but I had to watch as it dispersed. I had to see the pyreflies swimming around the great hall, floating out through the dome to freedom.
Once it was gone, Seymour faced Hunter.
"That power that defeated Anima, it will be mine."
Hunter was standing with his back to me, scythe held erect. He was wearing the same black and silver get up he'd worn the first time I met him. I knew it was him. I willed him to turn and look at me.
Instead of advancing on Seymour, scythe arcing through the air, he stood tall and held out his hand. There was a flash of gold and a beautiful gold glyph appeared before him.
Then he did turn and it was his fiery eyes that met mine. It really was, honest to God, him.
He gave me a long, intense look before taking off, running lightly across the stone floor to Yuna's unconscious form. I could see the haze lingering on the sides of my vision squirming and my ears were starting to ring. I wouldn't be conscious myself for much longer but I was afraid that if I took my eyes off of him then he would disappear again.
I watched as he used a Phoenix Down on Yuna and she was engulfed in a warm red glow. I managed to follow as she stood and started casting her nullify spells again.
I speculated as he went through each of the party members seeing to their medical needs until at last he got to me.
"Alex," his voice was a comfort that I never knew I could experience again.
I tried to say something to him, anything but I was dead, just a huge pair of eyes and the will to remain awake.
"Open," he instructed, tilting my head back and slipping what felt like a pill into my mouth. He clamped a hand over my lips as I choked on the pill but somehow I managed to swallow it and green light became my whole world.
"No," I muttered, reaching forward and snatching at his clothes like a toddler. The green had completely obscured my vision of him and I wasn't letting him go anywhere.
A sigh from somewhere. The green was starting to fade and I was starting to see his outline again.
"Alex, I have to go and finish this."
I could feel myself shaking my head. Whatever he'd given me (probably a Mega potion judging by the glow), I felt completely different again, like all the emotions I hadn't felt when I'd been about to die were suddenly crushing down on top of me.
My name again and those amber eyes.
He really was beautiful.
My hand slackened on his shirt and he pulled away, keeping his eyes on me until he had to turn and face Seymour.
I simply sat on the floor and watched, falling back into the role of spectator.
Once Seymour had started casting his spells (why it took so long, I don't know), the emotions spilling through my systems were put on the back burner again.
I know, I can't explain it...
Most of the party was up now and slowly healing as Yuna cast her nullify spells. I glanced over at Seymour expecting to see something akin to his usual calm expression but apparently everything had changed. His eyebrows were furrowed, his eyes were wide in anger and his teeth were bared. The spells were coming thick and fast and...desperate.
Was he...was he losing?
For a few more rounds, Auron, Tidus and Hunter surged forward to attack him. I noticed that when Hunter swung his scythe, Seymour would cry out and sometimes stumble as though he was going to pass out.
The dangerous hope that had blossomed inside of me pulsed.
It was Tidus that had the final hit, swooping down in a final Spiral Cut to end it. Seymour toppled, clutching at his chest with those long nails. He coughed up a stream of dark blood that ran down his pale chin and dripped onto the floor beneath him. He watched its descent with fading eyes and laughed one ill humored laugh before falling back.
I couldn't quite believe it.
Carefully, Yuna approached him. She looked such a mess, everyone did.
I only stopped looking at Seymour when I was looking at Hunter.
What was he doing here? Where had he gone?
I wanted to get up and walk towards him, meet him standing tall but I still couldn't find my legs. As if reading my mind, which I suppose he was seeing as he's Hunter and all, he stepped forward. His boots made a muffled thumping noise on the smooth floor.
He crouched down before me and the expression on his face told me that I should just tell him what I had to tell him.
A million questions, a million confessions.
I opened my mouth.
"I hate you," I said.
I blinked in surprise, mortified and searched his face for a reaction.
Somehow, his face remained completely the same, there was even a lack of change in the eyes which I was sure would give the game away to what he was feeling, as they usually did.
I shook my head, feeling tears collect in my sore eyes. I hadn't meant to start with that. Hadn't meant to start with that at all. I opened my mouth to try again.
"I HATE YOU!"
The shout resonated through the huge hall and this time, everyone stopped to stare at me save for Yuna who was still looking at Seymour's lifeless face.
Again no reaction from Hunter, it was as though he was frozen, rooted to the spot.
Finding strength I didn't even know I could dig up, I stood on shaking legs. When he stood with me I advanced on him, feeling all the compressed rage release inside of me.
"How DARE you leave me like that! How DARE you make me face this by myself KNOWING WHAT I WOULD HAVE TO GO THR-Oh."
A weird feeling washed over me, sudden and completely over-powering. The darkness that had threatened my vision before Hunter gave me the Mega potion pushed at the corner of my eyes and slowly overtook my sight. I was powerless to stop it this time.
The last thing I saw before I lost all comprehension was Hunter's face as he stood above me and his lips, small, turned down at the corners mouthing something I couldn't understand.
So...wow...Alex actually managed to defeat Seymour and she got her confrontation with Hunter, will he be there when she wakes up or will he have disappeared again? How will she cope now she doesn't have future sight to rely on?
REVIEWS FOR ME MAKE HAPPINESS HAPPEN!