Author's Notes: This story contains spoilers for the entire game. If you haven't finished it and at least most of the side quests, I would highly suggest not reading this story until you do it will spoil you all kinds of rotten. Also, this story will contain shounen ai/yaoi implications. If that's not your thing you probably shouldn't be here. Standard Disclaimers apply as usual. ^_^
Castle in Spain
Prologue - Where Dreams Go to Die
He was floating.
That much he was fairly clear about. One of the very few things he was particularly clear about at this point.
He hadn't actually imagined that this was what ceasing to exist would feel like. Not at all really. Was this truly where dreams went to die?
He wasn't sure, but it wasn't a completely unpleasant way to spend eternity. Just floating in warm, comfortable silence. Sure, it was a little boring maybe, but not entirely unpleasant. It wasn't really awful at all except... except...
He missed his father and his friends and most of all... her.
Where was she now? What was she doing? Was she happy?
He hoped so. More than anything he wanted her to be happy. He wanted them all to be happy, because just the thought of them was enough to make him happy. All the time they'd spent together. Wakka's easy acceptance. Lulu's bold smile. Rikku's cheerful face. Auron's gruff exterior. Kimarai's watchful silence. And Yuna... There were so many images of Yuna. The night in the lake. Fighting beside her. Talking with her. Yuna smiling. Yuna crying. Yuna laughing. So many faces she'd shown him and her words as he'd left.
"I love you."
It was all he'd ever wanted to hear and it meant all the more coming from her. I love you... Such simple, nice words. The remembered sound comforted him in the silence of his fate. Of course, it was getting hard to hear that echo with all the whistling...
Why did the silence seem to be whistling all of a sudden? That was strange. Whistling...
"If you ever need me just whistle... like this..."
Had he really said that? Was that her whistling now? Or just his imagination? Hard to tell.
It's getting cold.
The water is so cold.
Water? Where had that come from? He was floating, but... was he in water? Why hadn't he noticed that before? And why was it suddenly getting so cold and... wet.
Tidus opened his eyes slowly, unfolding his long legs and looking around in confusion. He was in the water. Deep, dark, cold water. Frowning, he glanced up and through the darkness he thought he could make out the barest hint of light somewhere above. Still more than a little confused; Tidus spread his arms tentatively and began to swim in the direction of the light.
His muscles ached as if they hadn't been used in a really long time. When he broke the surface, hauling in his first gasp of water and blinking his eyes against the dimly lit sky above. It was colored a rather nauseating pink, which wasn't at all the way a sky should look. The sun, if you could call it a sun, shone down through a think layer of purple clouds, casting diluted white light over the surface of the water. Taking his gaze from the sky, Tidus spared a glance around his surroundings.
Ruins. Broken buildings and rocks burst from the water at awkward, impossible angles as far as he could see. It was reminiscent of his first glimpse of Spira, but this wasteland had a completely different feel to it. It felt strange... unnatural... almost sinister. The way the broken buildings towered over him, broken windows leering down at him as if they were laughing. Tidus couldn't suppress a shiver born half of the freezing water and half of the buildings and rocks which, seemed to be tossed about like a giant's broken toys.
"Great," Tidus murmured, forcing his arms and legs into motion. His muscles screamed as he swam slowly across the surface of the water, his gaze skimming the surfaces of the buildings in search of stairs or something... Anything that would help him get out of the frigid water. It seemed like hours passed in this fashion before he found a set of crumbling stairs leading into one of the less monstrous buildings.
Slowly, Tidus pulled himself from the water and onto the relatively dry stairs, his chest heaving painfully. For a long moment he merely laid there, starring up at the pink sky and wondering what strange twist fate had thrown at him this time.
"You made it." A familiar voice rasped and a moment later Tidus found himself blinking up at the strange child fayth which had once shown him the truth behind his own life. He was sitting on the edge of ledge; somewhere high above where Tidus lay, looking down at him with a curious gaze. "I wondered if you would."
"What is this place?" Tidus asked, not bothering to get up from where he lay.
"The graveyard of broken dreams," the fayth answered, lifting his shadowed face to survey the world about them. "It's a sad sort of place, don't you think?"
"I was going to say 'strange' or maybe 'creepy', but sure... whatever you say." Tidus responded, shrugging.
"Do you think so? I suppose it is in a way. Many dreams are not nice dreams." The fayth murmured, his gaze drifting back to Tidus. "Are you... wondering why you're here?"
"The thought did cross my mind."
"Well, you touched Sin. Sin made you something more than a dream. You could not disappear completely when Yu Yevon was destroyed, but you had not been a part of Spira long enough to make it to the farplane with your father."
"I remember seeing him."
"In passing, yes, but you could not stay where he was. So you are here. If you can make it through this place, you may be able to reach Spira." The fayth seemed to smile, but the shadows that hung determinedly around his face made it difficult to tell.
"Spira? As in I'd be..."
"Alive, yes. We heard your wish, your longing to be with the people you care for. You have done so much for us that we wanted to give you this one chance. Cross the graveyard, return to Spira, and we will use the small amount of power we have left to help you."
Tidus smiled tentatively, "Thanks, but... it can't be that easy, can it?"
"No," the fayth rasped, shaking his head slowly. "The graveyard is fraught with peril and it is a long journey. You will find assistance, but you will not enjoy the form in which it comes and the true dangers of this place come in familiar packaging. You only have seven days from nightfall this evening."
"Right," Tidus nodded, pushing himself slowly to his feet. His legs were still weak and unsteady, but they seemed to be working well enough. "I'll see you on the other side then?"
"I hope so," the fayth murmured, his tiny form shimmering briefly before vanishing completely. Tidus gazed a moment more at the where the fayth had sat before turning his gaze towards the stairs before him. "Okay, feet. Let's get going." He mumbled, trudging up the stairs with slow steps. Nothing could have prepared him for the sight which greeted him at the top of the stairway. For the first time he was able to get a good look at the graveyard and his gaze widened in shock. "BUT THIS PLACE IS HUGE!" Tidus shouted into the wide, open air.
His voice echoed back to him as he took in the broken buildings and stones, which seemed to be laid out in a rough path across the board expense of water. Somewhere, far ahead, he could see the line of land and beyond that sickly green mountains. Was this entire thing the graveyard? He truly hoped not. Seven days to get across this? Maybe he should have just stayed in the water and frozen to death but then... there was Yuna to consider. Yuna, Wakka, LuLu, Kimarai, Rikku and all the others. To see them again...
"I'm going to make it!" Tidus shouted into the silence, a grin slicing his face. "I'm gonna WIN!"
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