In Loving Memory
By Thí Lady Shadow



     Sounds of laughter, shades of earth are ringing
     Through my open ears inciting and inviting me
     Limitless undying love which shines around me like a
     million suns and calls me on and on
     Across the universe



Itís been...strange, since Sin was defeated.

A week has passed, and I confess I think Iíve been in a state of shock or something, blindly riding the time like a helpless gull. I did lock myself away for a while, simply not wanting to bear dealing with another person, but I missed the sunshine. So, though alone, I write this entry, this first notation since Sinís death, on the far side of Besaid where no one resides. Itís so peaceful, and my own sorrow doesnít seem to touch me so much here, and so I can smile.

I guess itís true Ė time heals all wounds. But everything concerning me seems to be rushing forward, far too fast for my own liking. Iím becoming unwittingly wrapped up in this can of worms concerning politics and religion Ė imagine, no one even knew that Sin was Yevon himself! Their religion goes on as usual; they simply donít know that their god is dead. I chose to keep it that way. For sure, the Maesters knew, but they are all dead now, and Ė bless their souls Ė good riddance. Spira now has a chance to settle into a system that doesnít reek of corruption.

But you know what?

For some reason or other, I canít bring myself to care all that much about Spiraís political and religious issues. I donít want that spotlight on me any longer. Itís not that the job is too difficult or anything, simply...that particular chapter in my life is over now, you know?

Tidus... is over now.

There are several sphere-recordings of us in Luca that the press made during the last tournament, in which the Aurochs won for the first time Ė to go back into that spotlight would inevitably bring up the question of where he is, where he has gone, and why he isnít with me now. I donít want to say the answers to those questions out loud. Iím almost afraid to touch his memory now, in case I change it in my mind, in case it loses its beauty, in case by speaking of him aloud I taint him somehow. I know that will pass with time. I know that when Iím old and grey Iíll look upon him fondly and thank him for all that he did. I thank him now, but the gratitude is too tinged with grief. The last thing I want to do now is have to watch those spheres and see myself giggle, stumbling over a single whistle, something that comes as naturally to me as breathing now, and to see him smile at me. Right now, that would be too much. I know that when Iím older, Iíll treasure it. But now, I simply need to recover.

Even with my self-induced seclusion, no one seems to have forgotten me, and that has certainly helped my emotional state. People send flowers Ė letters Ė everything from condolences to congratulations to wedding proposals, which Lulu and I read together, giggling despite ourselves. She has stayed by my side this whole time, remaining within earshot almost constantly. She seems to be grieving too, but when I try to get her to speak to me about it, she only touches my cheek and says that her sadness is just because I am unhappy. But when she leaves I watch from my window and, seeing how she kisses Wakka in greeting, I know that her heart sings. We all have our masks, and Lulu may feign sadness for my sake, but I donít mind.

And itís true, I am unhappy. The child in me throws constant tantrums and screams and beats her fists against my heart for unhappiness, and I admit that I still cry far too much and far too easily.

Then again, all I need is time. Anyone would grieve as I do for such a loss. Progress is being made. I donít sob for angst, lock myself up, and refuse to eat anymore. Life goes on, no matter what you do. Iím happier now, almost content with life. I have my peace, and itís beautiful and fragile and eternal. I have a beautiful isle, my adopted home, overgrown and wild with jungle and sea. I seem to be living a dream, at least for the moment, and thatís totally, perfectly, fully alright with me. After the pilgrimage, itís what I need.

I can watch the ocean, and itís very soothing.

I can watch the ocean, but whether Tidus comes back or not is up to him and the powers that be.

Thinking about it Ė itís strange Ė every day of my life in Besaid, before the pilgrimage, during my childhood and teenage years and right up to the day before he came, was lived in an entirely mundane fashion. I never minded it. In fact, my personality reflected it.

But you know...without knowing it, I hated it. Thinking about it now, I craved the pilgrimage. Needed it, whether to fulfill my father Lord Braskaís legacy or otherwise. I wanted something that Besaid couldnít provide, and it wasnít adventure.

I wanted something that would change my life. I wanted something to make me laugh until my sides hurt Ė to cry, even, to experience true joy, true sorrow, the true love for Spira that my father lived for. To discover that, at the end of my life, my sacrifice would be well worth it, and that when the time came I could look my Final Aeon in the eyes while my companions wept...and I could truly smile.

No matter what, I had accepted certain inalienable truths. I would not live long enough to fall in love. Love was a forbidden subject, and even if the opportunity arose, it was to be shunned and discarded, as it would only cause unnecessary pain for both partners when I left. I would not live long enough to marry or have children. I would throw my life away before I was even twenty to offer Spira just a little peace. Being a priestess of Yevon, as everyone who raised me in the Besaid temple hoped I would do, would be an ambition I would have to forget.

It turned out that I learned all I wanted to learn, wept until I was blind and laughed until I cried. Fell in love, both with Spira and Tidus, for once casting away my inhibitions, and Iím forever glad for it. I know now that life is too forego love simply for fear of pain. The pain is there, but it passes, and when it does, the love isnít gone. Itís still there, and it can still be the sole thing keeping a heart beating...itís he thatís gone, and I canít blame that on him, can I?

Not when he traded his life for mine and left my heart so full I could have wept for joy.

So maybe Iím still learning to accept that Tidus is gone. Itís still a fresh wound, still painful, but even writing this...I know...

Whether he returns to me or not, or whether thatís something I can even hope for, Tidus changed my life. I told him I wanted my pilgrimage to be full of laughter, and he made it so. I wanted time, once we reached the final leg of the journey, and I cried for the beauty of his vision of Zanarkand and the time he wanted to give me. Cried for how easily he could create dreams like those, which were so scarce in Spira. And yes, I want him to return. Desperately. But...thatís out of my hands. All I can do now is hope, and wait, and dream.

I can watch the ocean, hoping, and waiting, and dreaming, but I also have to live. So I will.

And I know that Tidus wouldnít want it any other way.


A/N: Well, well, this just sort of...came out, semi-inspired by all those positive vibes coming from the direction of FFX-2! I hope you enjoyed it. Call this an extra smidge of a present (the actual present will be posted sometime soon I hope...) for my favoritest person in the world, No One! Check out his fic Akin to Sin, itís simply incredible. Much love and thanks go out to him for continually making it very clear that I needed to get my butt in gear and start writing again! And many thanks to Evil Neko, Noelle (you know that the italics went BOOM just for you! :D), Chris Poirier and again, No One for being my sounding board on this piece. Tally ho!

Song excerpt comes from the Beatlesí ďAcross the UniverseĒ (though this was mainly written to Fiona Appleís version...) and Evil Neko aka Aly-chan (uv tuus!) gets credit for helping me think up the title! THANKUUS!