Hail the Thief
Far Waters

For the crown of our life as it closes
Is darkness, the fruit thereof dust;
No thorns go as deep as a rose's,
And love is more cruel than lust.
Dolores (Notre-Dame Des Sept Douleurs)
Algernon Charles Swinburne


This is her Magnum Opus. This is her Piece de Resistance. This is her masterpiece; this thing created from an act of heaving blood and bone and flesh and fluids. This child is her greatest gift; her greatest sacrifice. This is the thing that she will do only once in her lifetime, and only for him. And only because she loves him, the hero, and she is the nameless girl. For this moment-in this act-he is hers.

But this is not enough. Not nearly enough. She knows this and she wants to scream. She wants to give him her very flesh and blood because she doesn't know what else she has to offer. She wants to make herself his in everything, and that is why she does it.

She gives him a child because she thinks that this is the greatest thing that anyone can be given: a gift of living flesh. She wants to make him happy and joyful and she wants him to look only at her . . . But he won't, he doesn't, and it doesn't matter anyway because nothing is right, and she doesn't care anyway because he doesn't.

Then he leaves.

Jecht leaves. He leaves and is gone like the morning after. He's gone and there is nothing left behind. There are no mementos. There are no gifts. There is nothing. There is just the child and the ache in her flesh.


A man comes, eventually. He is tall and pale and dark and he looks at her with sad eyes because he knows that Jecht is gone.

He comes when her child is still a child and he watches the two of them, this strange silent man. He cared for Jecht, even a blind man can see that, and it's left him heartbroken, just like everyone else who's ever cared for him.

He comes to them and he loves her son, because he is Jecht's son as well. And he loves her because he loves Jecht, and when she looks at him she knows that Jecht is not coming back.

She does not want to believe him. She does not want to listen to his please's and his sorry's. She does not want to hear them and she fights the cage of his arms and she cries and weeps and-eventually-becomes like the stone that lies underfoot. Inert. Hard. Broken.

It's slightly incomprehensible. She doesn't believe but she does, and nothing will ever be right again. And he left. If he hadn't left-


It was not enough. She was not enough. He left and by all rights she should hate him. Except, well, she doesn't. She just wants him to come back.

But they all know he won't.

She hears them talk, her son and this man. There is something heart-rending in this sad man's voice; the strange accent blurring the words. They talk of birds, and drowning, and nothing.

Is she all right? I don't know what I'd do if she died.

She isn't sure who spoke them, these words. She isn't sure if it's her son or this man who loves her because he loved Jecht; this man who loves her because Jecht is no longer there.


It surprises the man now, she can tell. Because he'd first only loved her because she could tell him what no one else on the planet could. Because she could tell him what it felt like to have Jecht leaning over her; to have him pressing his long flesh into hers. She knew what it felt like to have him against her mouth in a salty, careless kiss.

But he has come to love her because she is herself; her nameless self, and she has never experience this from any man before. He seems as surprised as she. He didn't expect to care for her except for the fact that Jecht had cared for her. She didn't expect him to care for her except for the fact that Jecht had cared for her. But he does, and neither of them is quite sure
what to do about it.

But even then-the way he cares for her is gentle, tender even. It is not love, but a close approximation. A desperation. A recognition.


This is her Magnum Opus. This is her masterpiece. This is what she tells herself. The more she tells herself, the more she believes it to be true.


She wonders – sometimes – how it would have been to be loved by another man.

She wonders what it would have been like to have carved another child out of her living flesh and given it to him instead. She wonders how it would have felt to have never known Jecht and his glory and his arrogance and his passion.

She wonders, but she does not pursue.

And it is then that she thinks she might hate Jecht. That she might hate the memory of his brown hair and his dark eyes and his laugh and everything about him. This frightens her because she loves Jecht, and that is how she defines herself. This frightens her because if she didn't love him then she would just be that nameless girl. No: she'd be less.

But then, there is Auron. He too seems trapped in this juxtaposition of love/hate. She wants to ask him how it was: whether Jecht encompassed his life as easily as he did hers. She wants to know if – for this dark red man – Jecht is the hub of his small universe. She hopes not. It is foolish to be jealous, but she is and she wants to know. She wants to know everything, no matter how seemingly insignificant.

Only . . . She doesn't. She doesn't want to know what Jecht never thought was sharing with her, either deliberately or unconsciously. She doesn't want to find out what little idiosyncrasies they'd shared. She doesn't want to recognize well-adored little mannerisms in Auron. She doesn't.

She can tell he feels the same. He does want, but he doesn't. He doesn't want, but he does. This commonality is . . . troublesome. All the more, because she just wants Jecht, and this dark man – He is the Man-Who-Came and he calls himself Auron, and he looks nothing like Jecht.

She is the Girl-Who-Stole-the-Hero, but forever unknown, and she looks nothing like Jecht.

Perhaps, she thinks, this is why they cling to each other in the long dark. This is why they kiss each other. It's all in an effort to taste something too long dead.


In the before-times she watches her child grow. He is little, and scared, and she sees that Jecht is not impressed. So she tries to shape him with subtle barbs: just little things that a child's mind won't register. She wants this boy to be stronger, to be better. She wants this boy to be his father. And because this boy loves her, as his father never did, he changes and he does it for her.

He changes himself, and what he is, and she cries because this is what she'd wanted from Jecht. This is the kind of love that is indestructible because it is destruction.

And as she watches he becomes more like Jecht than he realizes, and she hates him and she hates herself, and she loves this boy all the more. She loves him because to not would be a blasphemy. She loves him because to not love him is to not love his father, and that is unthinkable.

She thinks sometimes, that if her son realized how like his father he was, he'd hate himself and so she cries again.


Her child grows, and she finds it's harder to be his mother than she'd thought it would be. All her attention revolves around Jecht, and what he wants, and wants he likes. She learns-quite surprisingly-that this is a tool in her hands. She uses it cunningly, shaping both her son and herself into people that Jecht would want. She molds her son into his father, and she remakes herself into his artesian. She wants to show Jecht that she and she alone can do this for him; she can give him himself. She can create for him a legacy.

But her attention is strung tightly to Jecht. When he is there, she can barely breathe if she's not in the same room as he is. She can't even string together coherent sentences to show him what she has done for him.

Then Jecht is just a ghost, and she clings to him more. Now, though, she can tell him what she's done.

It's then that she realizes that she may be mad.

She just doesn't care.


There is an art, she finds, to manipulation. A subtlety is required that surprised her, at first. Now she is the master of the craft and she finds that she has become something else entirely.


Her son is growing. He comes to be more and more like her than she'd expected. His attention too is bound tightly to his father, even if he doesn't admit it. He hates him, and he loves him, and he wants him to come home, only not because he also loves her, and Jecht would eclipse the both of them. Again.

So he submerges himself in sports and fights and fame, but he ends up being more famous for being Jecht's son than for being himself. It is a painful irony. She wants to tell him that she understands, but she doesn't.

Auron still trembles on the periphery of their lives. He still comes with his sad eyes and his rough hands and his goddamn never-ending guilt, and she wants to tell him too that she understands.

Only, she doesn't.

Maybe – she considers, kissing his mouth and imagining someone else – she can't.


There is an ending to everything. She knows this better than anyone else. In this too, she is a master.

Auron has spent less than a lifetime with them. During the entire time she was always counting the minutes until he left. It was unfair, perhaps, but it was all she knew. And while Auron was there, Jecht was not. Well – she rephrases. While Auron is there, he's between them because there's always this nagging thought that – perhaps – Jecht had cared for this sad man. That – perhaps – this dark man is a better thief than she is, and has managed to steal what she was never able to. Not really. Not even a little.

One night he asks her out-right. He asks her out-right to tell him, to please tell him while they cling in their sweaty embrace, what he doesn't know. To explain to him the one thing that she's always held close; to describe Jecht as Jecht was and would ever be.

She is furious.

She is beyond furious. But this is an ending. She prides herself on being a master at endings.

So she does it. She does it viciously because it's all she has left. She does it viciously because she was there first. She does it viciously because he cannot do this to her.

I will not.

She says three little words and not the ones that she'd always dreamed of saying, and it's sort of fitting because this isn't the person she's always dreamed of saying them to. Three little words, but so different than those other famous 'three little words.' She leans into his desperate face and she says she will not. The sound of something snapping is palpable, and for a
second she is almost regretful.

When he casts her away form him, she is both betrayer and betrayed.

She will not tell him, and her reason is two-fold. This is all she has left of her lover, certainly, but Auron will not share what he has either. And she will not ask.

He should offer, she rages inside. But she will not ask.

Fair's fair. An eye for an eye. Thief's honor. Tit for tat.

He leaves the next morning. Only, this time, he does it while she is still awake, still watching; still cradling her jagged heart. He leaves and there is a bitter taste in her mouth for days. She does not give explanations to her son. She does not give explanations to herself.

She knows that there was genuine affection for her within Jecht's dark man, and she weeps for its death. She knows that-had they been different people – they may have had something, though what she isn't sure. She weeps for that as well, for everything has an ending, and she is a master at endings.


Someday she thinks she will get tried of tears, but that day hasn't come yet.


This is her Magnum Opus. This is her Piece de Resistance. This is her masterpiece; this thing created from an act of heaving blood and bone and flesh and fluids. This child is her greatest gift; her greatest sacrifice. This is the thing that she will do only once in her lifetime, and only for him. And only because she loves him, the hero, and she is the nameless girl. For this moment – in this act – he is hers.

And he is not.

She realizes some months after Auron has left; some years after she's crafted her son's great resentment and his fame; some decades after she's first seen Jecht, that he was never hers. Not even for a moment. Not even when she'd loved him. Not even when she'd hated him.

She also remembers an overheard conversation between her son and Auron. She remembers that they'd talked of birds, and drowning, and nothing. She thinks they may have been talking about her.

She remembers cool nights and warm arms and long dark hair; whose she isn't sure.

She remembers water. And stars. And flesh.

She remembers that people had used the word, ensnare.

She remembers thinking that he was her beginning and her end.

He is her canvas, and she is his artist. Or, better yet, he is the treasure and she is the thief. He is the last thing that she will ever know because there is nothing else to know. He is her masterwork, her ending, for she is a master of endings.

Everything else drowns.

- - -

Disclaimer: I own nothing of the above . . . except for the bad grammar . . . Square Enix is God . . .


I've been knocking about this story for a while. But I realize that there are a few things that I need to clear up. And it should also be noted that these are just partial notes: for a full explanation of what I was thinking please check out my Live Journal page,

1. Jecht the Bastard. When I first posted this story, I got loads of response . . . Except it was all from rabid fangirls furious at how I was maligning Jecht. I thought it was sort of amusing (in a rather consternating way) that the story would be so very misconstrued. There is not one paragraph in this story that refers to Jecht as anything other than arrogant, passionate, and rather self-absorbed. And that's not a bad thing, in my opinion.

2. Auron. Now, while I'd originally intended for this to be more of a Jecht/Tidus' mother and an Auron/Jecht piece then anything else, it ended up being-quite surprisingly-more of an Auron/Tidus' mother story.

3. Choppy is for the ocean! Now, about the . . . abruptness of the story: I never saw this as an epic, or even very long. I always saw it as more of a fever dream from a tormented mind; tiny bits and fragments loosely strung tighter to create a whole. It should also be noted that it's written entirely from Tidus' mother point of view. All the thoughts and opinions are hers, not Tidus' or Auron's. So, if you think she's not seeing the bigger picture, then you're right. She isn't. She'd focused on the fact that Jecht
left, and that he couldn't have cared for her very much to leave her so easily, even if we all know that to be false.