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Ficlet: "A Season Too Short"

(X-Posted, sorry Flist!)

Originally posted here in ff_couples  community challenge in which we have to incorporate the first line, "I'd love to live in _____" plus a bunch of words from a list.

Final Fantasy: X
Title: A Season Too Short
Characters: Auron/Lulu
Rating: K+
Word Count: 500

Warning: Spoilers to Auron's secret.


I’d love to live in truth and not in seeming.

Do you want to waste time wallowing in your own regrets, Auron?


Not really.

I didn't want to die, either.

She is waiting for my answer. The grain of our losses is much the same, except that, Yevon unwilling, she'll keep walking into the light when I have faded into the Farplane's shadows.

Why does she reach for a fading candle to warm her hands? This woman is wise. She understands I am no hero, just a man driven by oaths beyond life's ending to keep plodding forward. She doesn't believe in legends.

"Autumn," I say.

"I thought so." She smiles coy victory. Only Lulu could make me succumb to small talk in the grey hour before dawn, while our fellow guardians doze. "You come from Bevelle, where the leaves blaze brightest before they fall."

For a moment I do not understand, and then I remember: "Besaid has no winter."

"There are the storms. I learned most of my magic in the rain."

I catch a glimpse of the girl she was, standing at the edge of the temple platform, raptly watching armies of black clouds rolling off the ocean. Lightning drills atolls in the distance. Her eyes flash. She raises white arms, daring the thunder to find her. Her black hair trickles down her shoulders, braids undone by pounding rain.

Pyreflies. They hold my battered frame together. They also distract. It is not always my memories they mirror. That one, so vivid I can taste the scent of rain-slicked jungle, must be hers.

We have more important matters to worry about. Pilgrimage. Guarding a summoner who confounds Yevon and guardians alike. Fighting a Spira bent on killing us.

But still I am arrested by her alabaster shoulders shining in the hollow light before dawn. Unbowed. Young. A statue of beauty, a will-o-wisp to tempt one who has no business pondering such things.

"And you?" I say, willing away distractions. "Which is your favorite season?"

"Winter, of course." Her hand folds over my own. My flesh is cool beneath her touch, and that should be warning enough. She is no fool.

"I'd think you would be tired of endings."

"Perhaps." Her chin lifts with bleak pride.  I realize with a chill that she has accepted her own death sooner than I have mine: she does not expect to outlive Yuna. "But there is the lightning. It burns brightest just before it's gone."

I draw her wrist to my lips. Her fingertips brush my cheek, tracing the buckled scar on the right side of my face.

It would be so easy to pretend I were still alive. Damn the woman for tempting me to try.

"The lightning dies." I release her hand. "But you will see the spring."

I feel her eyes on my back as I walk away, seeking Kimahri to rouse him for the next watch.

The sun is rising. It belongs to her, not to me.

 

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jlsigman
Feb. 10th, 2010 11:41 am (UTC)
Oh, this is beautiful and painful, just like Spira.
samuraiter
Feb. 11th, 2010 03:11 am (UTC)
Those two are doomed to be perpetually bittersweet as a couple. Makes them great to read. :-)

And ... a new community to join! *berzoing*
muggy_mountain
Feb. 12th, 2010 12:59 am (UTC)
This is breathtaking. But y'know, weak spot for poetics.

I like this exploration of Auron's pyrefly existence. It's a tantalizing concept.

And first person! It sounded wholly like Auron. Sparse, mostly ungarnished language loaded with meaning.

One question, though: who is thinking those opening lines? Is it Auron? Some combination of Auron/memory/pyrefly physics? Any reason for the italics, beyond emphasis?
auronlu
Feb. 12th, 2010 09:27 am (UTC)
It's all Auron; this challenge required first person POV.

Italics wasn't really well-thought-out, but I think I did it to indicate Auron arguing with himself (two different voices within an internal dialog) and/or Auron quoting himself at himself ("Do you want to stand here listening to her regrets?!" -- Macalania, under the lake).

The idea that Auron's pyreflies may occasionally echo strong thoughts of those around him, since pyreflies generally tend to reflect/record/project people's thoughts and dreams, was a total accident, since I had to have the whole thing from Auron's POV. Weird idea. Powerful idea. Possibly twinky.
Or it may explain why he seemed a heck of a lot more perceptive than his younger self.

Edited at 2010-02-12 10:34 am (UTC)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
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