AUTHOR'S NOTE: I'm so sorry that this took so long! Blame school and homework :-D Hope you enjoy this! Please read and review.
DISCLAIMER: Final Fantasy X, its characters, locations and plotlines are owned by Square Enix. I do not claim to own any of these. However, I do own my original character Sakura, also known as Suki. If you wish to use her in any form of media then please ask my permission first.
Chapter 3 – Memories of the Past
This was the definition of an awkward silence. Tidus hadn't spoken in three minutes, and Rikku and I were trying to not stare at him.
"Ok, I've got an idea", I started. Tidus and Rikku looked up at me, both desperate for the silence to be broken. "Why don't you ask us something?"
Tidus frowned. "I thought I was meant to be telling you guys stuff."
"And that's really working well isn't it?" I grinned.
Rikku and Tidus both smiled.
I figured that Tidus was one of three things: he was either making it up that he was from Zanarkand, he was crazy and thought that he was when he really wasn't, or somehow, he really was from Zanarkand, maybe even a Zanarkand from another world - seeing as he hadn't known about Al Bhed - and although that wasn't likely, it was still a possibility. So I figured that he'd want to know stuff about where he now was.
"Well…how old are the two of you?" Tidus asked. "You both look a little young to be working, or are child labour laws different for the Al Bhed?"
Rikku grinned. "It's not different, it's just cause my father runs the ship. I'm 15."
"And I'm 13", I chipped in.
"You two aren't sisters are you?"
I shook my head. "No, we're cousins. My mother and Rikku's father were brother and sister, but my parents died when I was still tiny, and Uncle Cid's been looking after me ever since, so we are kinda like sisters."
Tidus looked guilty. "Sorry, I didn't mean to bring something like that up."
I smiled. "It's ok. I've never known anything else other than living with these idiots."
As expected, that got me a slap to the back of the head from Rikku. Tidus burst out laughing, soon joined by Rikku and me.
After a few moments of this, I turned to Tidus. "Our turn to ask a question now."
His face fell slightly, but he needn't have worried.
"How old are you?"
He sighed quietly with relief. "I'm 17."
This question-and-answer session went on for quite a while, with Tidus finding out more about the Al Bhed and us finding out more about him, all the while still leaning on the railings.
It was Tidus' turn to ask the question. "So, what's this place called?"
"What, the ship?" Rikku asked. Tidus shook his head.
"No…" Tidus looked sheepish. I got what he meant though.
"This world's called Spira. Right now we're pretty much in the middle of nowhere."
Tidus looked really embarrassed.
"I…I guess it's your turn again", he muttered.
I looked at Rikku and she nodded. I knew we had to ask this. I took a deep breath.
"Where're you from?"
"I told you, Zanarkand."
Rikku and I locked eyes again. He didn't sound like he was joking, so that ruled out one of three of my theories. Tidus walked a little away from us.
"Both times I've said that you've acted weird. What is it?" He turned his head back round to look at us. "The Al Bhed got something against people from Zanarkand?"
"No, it's nothing like that, it's just that…" Rikku trailed off.
Tidus turned back to us. "It's just what?" he asked, his voice slightly raised, his face starting to border on anger.
I stepped defensively in front of Rikku. "Don't shout at her."
"Then tell me!" he yelled, throwing his hands up in despair. "What is it about Zanarkand?"
"It's been in ruins for 1000 years!" I shouted back, Rikku practically having to hold me back so I didn't slap him.
Tidus' face quickly changed from angry to confused. He took a step back.
"What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, frowning.
Rikku stepped forward to stand next to me. "Just that. Zanarkand was destroyed by Sin 1000 years ago. Nobody lives there anymore."
Tidus started shaking his head before Rikku finished speaking. "That doesn't make any sense. I saw Sin destroy Zanarkand. You're saying that happened 1000 years ago? No way!"
I stepped between them again. "Look, just start from the beginning", I said to him, trying to calm him down. "We won't interrupt you till you're finished."
Tidus nodded slowly. "Ok…"
He walked back over to the railing, staring out to sea, looking deep in thought. Rikku and I slowly walked over to join him.
"I guess it all started before the Blitzball game", he began. "I was chatting to some of the fans, just getting them excited before game, you know." He smiled. "There were two girls who wanted an autograph. I told them I'd wave at them if I scored. They were sitting…" he frowned in concentration, "in the East block in the front row, fifth from the right. They were giggling like little kids.
"It was a really big game: the Jecht Memorial Cup" He seemed to spit out the word 'Jecht'. I wanted to ask him why, but I'd promised to not interrupt, so I made a mental note to ask about it later.
"There was a lot of pressure on us, especially on me. We were the favourites to win the game, and I'm the star player; we didn't want to disappoint the fans."
I smiled at the way he said 'star player'. It wasn't like he was bragging like he was before; it was more like he was stating fact: that everyone already knew he was the star player.
"Everyone was really revved up. I had to push past a huge crowd of fans just to get into the arena!
"It was electric before the game. The crowd were screaming like mad, and when I stood up to jump in they screamed even louder." He smiled again. "Everyone loves Blitz in Zanarkand."
I smiled yet again. It wasn't just people from where Tidus was from. I didn't know anyone who didn't love Blitzball. Our team, the Al Bhed Psyches, usually do quite in the underwater ballgame, and Rikku, Brother and I always try to get to Luca any time they get to the final.
"I'd just shot out of the water after the ball to slam it into the goal. I was flipping upside-down, when I saw…it looked like a huge wave rising over the city, but with some kind of…balls of dark energy or something shooting out of it.
"The energy balls stared destroying the city, and the giant wave was causing a flood. I managed to grab onto one of the railings of the arena, but I couldn't hold on."
By this point my eyes were wide and my mouth had dropped open. Rikku must have looked the same, because Tidus stopped his story suddenly. "Don't worry, nobody was hurt. Miraculously"
I unconsciously breathed a sigh of relief. I have a habit of getting too involved in other people's stories.
Tidus carried on. "I found myself outside the arena. Everyone was screaming and running scared. That's when I saw Auron."
Seeing out confused faces, he explained. "Auron's a friend. Well, I guess you could call him that. He's seemed to always be there, looking out for me. He's a good guy.
"Anyway, he was standing outside of the arena too. Said he'd been waiting for me." He shook his head. "Sometimes I don't understand that man.
"I followed him to one of the bridges when suddenly, everyone stopped moving. Not like they just stopped running, but they literally froze where they were. It was like time stopped or something. The only people I could see still moving were me and this little kid who appeared out of nowhere. The kid said something, I can't remember what, then suddenly disappeared and everyone started moving again.
"I literally had no idea what was going on, or where I was going. I saw Auron at the end of the bridge, and started running towards him, when I realised that I was running in the direction that everyone else was running away from!
"I yelled Auron that we were going to wrong way, when he told me to look up. That's when I properly saw Sin for the first time."
I involuntarily shivered at that word. Sin. That monster was responsible for everything that was wrong with Spira. I had never seen it myself, and I sincerely hoped I never would.
"It was…hideous. It was huge and had these weird tentacle things, and it was shooting out little black blobs. They landed in front of me and Auron and turned into monsters. I tried to swat them away, but that didn't work very well, as I'm sure you can imagine. That's when Auron gave me the sword I showed you. He told me…" he looked away, his voice tinged in anger, "…he told me it was a gift from Jecht. My old man."
That answered a few questions right there. So, apparently Tidus wasn't a big fan of his father. And seeing as the blitzball tournament was called the Jecht Memorial Cup, it seems his father was dead. So how did the Auron guy have a present for Tidus from him? Had he known Jecht before he died? I really wanted to ask all these questions, but I held my tongue. Tidus wasn't finished yet.
"We cut through most of the monsters, fiends did you call them?" he asked Rikku, and she nodded, "but they just kept coming. I tried to make Auron turn back but he just kept running ahead. He said we were 'expected' whatever that meant.
"We came to a huge group of fiends, and it didn't look like we'd be able to get through them. There was a weird electric thingy, and Auron got me to whack it a few times. I did, and it fell over the side of the bridge and exploded, which made a huge building fall onto the bridge, crushing the monsters, and nearly crushing us too.
"We had to jump off the bridge quickly cause there was a bunch of other explosions. I tried to jump onto another platform, but there was another blast right under me. I lost my footing and ending up dangling by my fingertips again. Auron was standing over me, but he wasn't pulling me up for some reason. There was some weird portal-like thing hovering over the city, and it was sucking up some of the taller buildings. I was pulling myself up, and Auron was looking up at it. I think he said something, but I couldn't hear what.
"He leaned down and grabbed my collar, pulling me up. 'This is it', he said. 'This is your story. It all begins here.' Then…" he looked down again, with a pained look on his face. "Then we both got sucked in.
"I thought about a lot of things", he admitted. "Like where I was, and what I'd got myself into. I started to feel light-headed…and then, sleepy. I think I had a dream; a dream of being alone. I wanted someone – anyone, beside me…so I didn't have to feel alone anymore." He was starting to look embarrassed, like he'd said more than he'd meant to.
He looked up at us again. "I woke up in the ruins you guys found me in. Nothing much happened till you did." He stood up properly and stretched. "That's pretty much it."
Rikku and I glanced at each other. I could tell we were both thinking the same thing.
"Did I say something funny?" Tidus asked, noting our look.
"You were near Sin!" Rikku stated, as if that explained everything.
"Uh huh…" Tidus frowned, clearly not understanding what she was saying.
She smiled up at him. "Don't worry; you'll be better in no time."
Tidus still looked confused, so I explained, "They say your head gets funny when Sin is near. Maybe the whole thing was a dream, not just the bit after Sin sucked you up?"
"You mean I'm sick?" he frowned.
I nodded. "Because of Sin's toxins, yeah."
"Yeah", Rikku agreed. "Like Suki said, there is no Zanarkand anymore. Sin destroyed 1000 years ago. So no-one plays Blitzball there."
Rikku walked away from the railings and stretched her arms above her head. Tidus stayed where he was, looking down and frowning. I bit my lip, trying to think of something to say. Luckily, Rikku came up with something.
"If you play Blitzball, you should go to Luca. Someone might know who you are, or you might find someone you recognise."
"Luca?" Tidus clearly wasn't familiar with the name.
"Uh…." Rikku hung her head in distain.
She started pacing around the deck, clearly trying to think of a solution. I turned round to lean my back against the rails, watching her. Suddenly, her face lit up. She trotted over to Tidus and tapped him on the shoulder to get his attention.
"Don't worry", she said, a big smile on her face, gesturing to me and herself, "we'll get you to Luca. Promise."
I grinned too and nodded in agreement. Tidus didn't look too convinced. Rikku put her hands on her hips and tilted her head, pretending to be annoyed.
"You'd rather stay here?" she asked, trying to hide her grin and failing.
"Nuh uh!" Tidus said without missing a beat, turning round to face her properly.
She nodded. "Ok, I'll go tell the others. You wait here."
She turned round to walk away, her blonde hair, scrapped up in a high ponytail bouncing about as she walked, before she stopped and turned back round.
"Oh, and one thing. Don't tell anyone you're from Zanarkand, 'k? Yevon says it's a holy place; you might upset someone."
"Oh…uh huh", Tidus agreed, clearly not really understanding what she said.
Rikku turned her back to us and went through the door to talk to Brother and the others. Tidus looked over at me.
"Yevon?" he simply asked. I rolled my eyes.
"Don't get me started on Yevon", I sighed. Tidus got the idea and didn't ask any more questions.
He looked down at the deck, his face thoughtful. I bit my lip again. I'm not too good in these kinds of situations; I'm always scared I'm going to say something wrong.
"Are you thinking about what Rikku told you?" I asked dumbly. What else would he be thinking about?
Tidus nodded, seemingly oblivious to my stupidity. "It's just…my Zanarkand? Some kind of 'holy place'?" He shook his head in disbelief. "Yeah right…Since when?"
"It must be a lot to take in", I sympathised. He nodded again, walking towards the door to the bridge and leaning against the wall next to it.
"Yevon, Sin, Luca?" He sighed. "I thought Sin just took me to a faraway place - that I could get back in a day of two – but 1000 years into the future?" He pushed himself off the wall, holding his head in his hands. "No way!"
He gritted his teeth, whirled round and kicked the wall.
At that moment the whole ship, and this is a huge ship remember, tilted harshly to one side. Tidus and I both lost our footing and tumbled down the deck, crashing into the railings.
"What the…" I started, but I never got to the end of my sentence.
Because at that moment, about 50 metres away, Sin erupted out of the sea.