by Talya Firedancer

The fayth had their long dream, and now are given rest.

Dawn is breaking. Only as long as a month ago, she thinks, they doubted Spira would see dawn again. The rocky shoreline is cloaked in early-morning fog that turns a soft rose as light fills up the bay. The sparkle of the waves in the fog is an aching reminder of the pyreflies swarming through the clouds. It reminds her of another dawn breaking over Spira while a slender woman danced high above the clouds, performing her last mass sending. Fiend, fayth, and...

Somewhere on a sandy beach, a young girl whistles. She puts her fingers to her lips as she was taught and lets loose a shrill blast of sound. It's a lonely sound because it has no answer. If you call me, I'll come.

I promise.

She waits. The sky lightens by degrees, spreading flame across the end of the ocean, pre-dawn light making everything softer, less real. For a moment even she believes that he might come. A sea breeze tugs her skirt to flap and tangle about her slender legs. One hand brushes hair back from her face.

"Yuna." Lulu's voice is patient. She's been through this before. It has, after all, been over a year since Chappu was taken by Sin. "We're to speak at the temple of Besaid within the hour."

After a moment, the slender girl turns. "Yes." It is hard to believe that rebuilding an entire world rests on such fragile shoulders. Yet, like a ship just launched, her supports have been struck away and she still stands. She can weather the storm. She has not cried. She summons a smile, the only thing left she has power over. "I know." Her pleated blue skirt swirls around her ankles as she falls into step with Lulu, and they pick their way up the sandy path.

Lulu takes a breath. With Wakka she was harsh, perhaps unnecessarily so, but only because her own grief was so fresh. With this little-sister-but-not, she's afraid of saying too much yet not saying enough could leave Yuna's pain untouched. She doesn't know if there is any way to help.

"You know..." Yuna starts, then hesitates. She smiles in that reflective way she has assumed frequently since her announcement in Luca. Yuna had stood where the Maesters presided in years past, and she had told them that Sin is gone for good, and she refused the mantle of Maester of Yevon in order to turn Spira's destiny over to its people. "You know they offered to put my statue in Besaid's temple, as the last high summoner."

Unsaid was the fact that it was not because Sin was gone, but the fayth as well. There would be no more songs to call forth the living will made flesh from stone.

"That's..." Lulu stops for a moment, as her throat closes over the words. She remembers calling him 'the boy.' She remembers Yuna telling a haughty summoner that she only had as many guardians as she had people she could trust. She remembers sharply questioning Yuna the first time the girl asked Tidus to be her guardian. All this time, not one word escapes Yuna's lips. 'Do not forget them.' And that was all. Her own smile in return is not as firm as Yuna's. "And what did you tell them?"

"Hmm." Yuna stretches her arms before her, interlacing her fingers. "I told them that I'm still alive. I think they understood."

"Oh..." Lulu resists the urge to lift her hand and pat Yuna's head, as she did when the girl was still a girl, and again the first time she'd summoned Valefor. Yuna had grown so much.

"I did the right thing, didn't I?" For a moment, she was the girl again, leggy and awkward, an oddly adult child who skinned her knees on the hiking trails; who had not cried but tucked her head into Lulu's shoulder when Wakka had yelled and stormed off after seeing her apprentice summoner robes.

"I think so." Lulu gives her a nod, small and decisive. Now her smile is genuine. "I think your father is proud of you, Yuna."

Sunshine breaks over the horizon, casting aside lingering wisps of fog in the hollows, wreathing the rocky outcroppings above the shoreline. Above them on the trail, Wakka appears, waving.

She remembers that day three months gone, when Yuna had shocked them all. "I want to begin another pilgrimage."

"You - "


"This one won't end in Zanarkand. That's where we'll begin. But it's not where our story ends."

"Yuna." There were many things they could have said. Lulu remembers herself saying, "Are you sure?"

"Yuna, Lulu, come on! Everyone's waitin, ya?"

"Yes!" Yuna lifts her arm in reply. "We're coming!"

They had come home.


In the deep, where the violence of waves pounding the shore have smoothed to a deceptive calm, the last flickering pyreflies rush above the surface of bottle-green waves that foam and toss at dawn, headed for the shore. This is where the water runs fathoms below, where coral reefs could catch and tear anything but Sin. Now Sin is gone and the worldsong remains, setting its own stories in motion.

Somewhere beyond a sandy beach, bubbles rise to the surface.

The fayth speaks its last, a child's voice small against the greater song that dissolves into the background, the harmony of a thousand deep earthen songs interwoven. //The world has been destroyed and we give you a new one. The dream of the fayth is gone, but humans will bring another. It is time for the fayth's stories to end, and yours to begin.//

A breath. A gasp. A heartbeat.

//I will give you a new lifetime, and I mean the one you have earned.//


//These aren't questions that matter. Our dreaming has power for one final fantasy, one that is real enough for you, for a lifetime.//

A sleek head breaks above the bubbles, and a whistle, carried beyond the shore by a sea breeze, is heard.

"If you call me, I'll come. I promise."

And that's enough.