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
Chapter Two - The Nature of Silence
"Stop doing that," Tidus grumbled, shooting a glance back at the man behind him.
Seymour just looked back at him with a slight smile, "Doing what?"
"Starring at the back of my head. You have that 'oh, I'm so creepy and I'm going to kill you when you're sleeping' glare and it's really annoying. Can't you walk beside me or something?"
Seymour's smile only widened, showing startlingly white teeth. "I don't know what you're talking about."
"You're not funny," Tidus muttered, slowing his pace until he was even with the summoner. "You do that on purpose, don't you?" He accused, earning another smile from the man beside him.
"It's a highly developed skill that I've been working on for the past two hours just to annoy you," Seymour answered smartly, his eyes twinkling with amusement and his voice practically dripping sarcasm.
"Wouldn't surprise me. Are you going to be like this for the entire time?"
"Probably. I don't like you very much."
"No one is making you follow me, you know. You could have just kept lying in the dirt."
"No," Seymour murmured his expression suddenly serious. "I had to go with you. I've been waiting for you for too long not to go with you."
Tidus stopped dead in his tracks, grabbing Seymour's arm and pulling him to a stop as well. "What did you say?"
"I've been waiting for you," Seymour responded softly, prying Tidus' fingers from his arm. "I've been waiting for you for a long time."
"You... you knew I was coming here? How...?"
Seymour laughed his voice mocking. "I didn't know YOU were coming here. I meant that I was waiting for something to happen. YOU just happened to be the something that happened. Stop being paranoid, Tidus. I can't see the future, you optimistic twit." He stomped off towards the mountains, leaving Tidus to stare at his back. Was Seymour actually angry? He could never tell if Seymour was really angry. Everything about the man was just too unpredictable. His laughter, his anger, his smile, his strange sense of humor. They'd only been together for a couple of hours and already he was driving Tidus completely insane.
"ARE YOU COMING?!" Seymour called, turning around and planting his hands on his hips when he realized that Tidus was not following him.
"You're the one who left me!" Tidus called back irritably, jogging to catch up with the summoner. "What's your problem, anyway?"
"My problem? You're my problem. You're the one freaking out." Seymour responded evenly, resuming his pace now that Tidus had caught up with him.
"Me? You're the one saying strange things! I've been waiting for you? How did you think I'd react to something like that and don't say you didn't think about it, because don't say anything just on impulse."
Seymour raised an eyebrow in Tidus' direction, "Oh? Don't I? You know me so well?"
"Oh, come off it. You know its true." Tidus replied, folding his arms behind his head as they continued down the path. Seymour just remained silent, apparently deciding he'd rather not say anything at all then concede that Tidus was right about something. "Fine. Be that way."
They walked in silence for a long time, side by side down the path, neither speaking. It wasn't an entirely uncomfortable silence and Tidus found that strange. He cast a sideways glance at the summoner beside him. If he were completely honest with himself, he'd say that he was glad for the man's company. The walking was much better when you had someone just to walk beside you.
Seymour turned his head slowly, meeting Tidus' gaze. "The snakes are going to eat you, you know."
Trust Seymour to ruin a perfectly good bonding experience. Tidus sighed, turning his gaze back towards the mountains or, more specifically, the ground just below the mountains. He still couldn't take looking at the mountains directly; they made him feel sick every time he even thought about them too much. "What did you do anyway? So, that I can see the mountains, I mean."
"Traditional Guado bonding ritual," Seymour responded as if Tidus should know exactly what that long, complicated title meant.
"Ah... that's nice. Wanna expand on that a little?"
Seymour gave a long-suffering sigh before launching into his explanation, which sounded remarkably like something straight out of a textbook. "The ancient art of bonding has been a tradition passed down through the generations from Father to Son in Guadosalem for the duration of recorded history. It is most often used between humans and the Guado to seal a pact or bond between a Guado and a human. The bonding ritual is performed through the mixing of blood and the speaking of the sacred words and from that day forth the human shall bear the mark of the Guado in his blood."
"O.... kay. I'm not sure what that has to do with seeing mountains, but it sure sounds pretty damn creepy. I bear the mark of the Guado in my blood?"
"It sounds more complicated then it actually is. These days it's most often used in marriage ceremonies."
"I thought you'd appreciate that," Seymour smiled, raising a hand to trace a razor sharp fingernail lightly over Tidus' cheek. Tidus shivered, jerking away from the strange caress and grimacing when he realized that was exactly the point of Seymour's gesture as the summoner laughed. "Calm down. All it really means is you'll be able to see as well as I do and so on and so forth. As you pointed out earlier, I am only half-Guado. The bond is not as powerful as it might be if I was not half-human. It's nothing to worry about overmuch."
"That makes me feel SO much better. Why didn't you mention any of this before you did it?" Tidus grumbled.
"You wouldn't have agreed. You're too stupid to understand how absolutely necessary the bonding was," Seymour replied, turning his head to smirk at Tidus.
"Fine. You're a jerk. So what did you get out of it?"
"Many things," Seymour murmured, his smirk disappearing as if it had never been there at all. Tidus felt a chill run up his spine and it was only made worse by his memories of the older Seymour's madness.
Night fell too quickly for Tidus' liking and he soon found himself sitting on the ground opposite Seymour engaged in a starring contest of epic proportions. Neither had spoken a word since their early conversation about the bonding ritual Seymour had performed and Tidus' unease had only grown in the hours that followed. When they'd come to the unspoken agreement to end their journey for the day, they'd merely sat down opposite each other and started starring at one another in silent irritation.
"The snakes are going to eat you," Seymour commented finally, leaning forward with a menacing smile.
"Would you stop saying that? It's creepy and it's the fifteenth time you've said it today." Tidus grumbled, still refusing to be the one to flinch in their little contest of wills.
"Well, I only say it because it's true. The snakes ARE going to eat you and the only reason I'm coming along for the journey is to watch them do it. It'll be the best entertainment I've had in a LONG time."
Tidus leaned forward until his nose brushed against Seymour's, his expression absolutely serious. "If the snakes do eat me, I'll make sure they eat you too."
Seymour flushed darkly, "I'm not going to be eaten by the snakes."
"You're afraid of them aren't you?" Tidus inquired, grinning wildy. His grin faded as Seymour looked away from him, suddenly finding the dirt between them terribly interesting.
"No," he answered quietly, tracing lazy patterns in the dirt with his nails. Snakes, Tidus realized. He watched fascinated as Seymour created a near perfect replica of the mountains. "I'm not afraid of them." He whispered, wiping out the design with the palm of his hand the moment it was complete. "I'm not afraid of anything."
"See, now I know you're lying," Tidus commented, leaning back against his hands and glancing up at the now dark purple sky. "Everyone's scared of something, you know. I know I am. I'm scared of those mountains. I'm scared I'll never make it out of this place. I'm scared of what will happen when I do make it back to Spira."
Seymour remained silent, lost in his own thoughts or fears or both, Tidus couldn't tell. The silence between them grew heavy until Tidus decided he'd better say something. He'd probably pushed a little too far with that one. He sighed awkwardly, "I'm sorry...I..."
"I don't care," Seymour responded, his voice quiet as he glanced back up at Tidus with silent fury in his eyes. "I don't care what you're afraid of. I don't care what you think of me, but stop acting like you know me. Stop acting as if you like me. You don't know me any more then I know you." Seymour hissed, snaking out a hand to grab hold of Tidus' arm, his sharp fingernails digging into the skin painfully. "We are strangers on the same path. Nothing more."
"I... I didn't say we were..." Tidus murmured, his eyes wide with shock. Where the hell was this coming from all of a sudden?
"You think it." The summoner accused, his grip on Tidus' arm tightening. "The way you speak to me, the way you act around me. You are trying to befriend me. That is a very bad idea, Tidus."
"....why?" Tidus asked quietly, wincing at the small pains Seymour's nails were causing. "Why is that so terrible? Why are you acting like this all of a sudden? Two minutes ago you were teasing me and now this?! What is wrong with you?"
"What do you think I got out of the bonding ritual, Tidus?! Knowledge, you foolish boy. Why do you think I did it? I did it to find out what you knew. What you refused to tell me. I don't remember?! What a fabulous lie that was." Seymour spat bitterly, his hand shaking where it gripped Tidus' arm. "I can see it now. I've been sorting through it all day. The truth behind your lies. I can see fragments of your memories. Visions of myself. Visions of the things I did to you and your little friends. You know the things I am capable of and you hate me. I can feel it. Why are you pretending that you don't? Why are you acting concerned about me at all? Why do stay with me when you KNOW? I don't understand." Seymour was shaking badly now and his grip on Tidus' arm loosened before dropping away completely.
"I don't hate you," Tidus whispered, scooting across to sit next to Seymour and flinching as he raised his newly injured arm to lay a hand against Seymour's bowed head. His hair was softer then Tidus' had thought it would be, even softer then Yuna's had been. "I don't hate you, okay? I hated him. I hated him because of the things he did, but I don't hate you. You're different then he was. He was..."
"Insane." Seymour finished, starring off into the distance. "He was strange and awful and totally out of his fucking mind."
"Yeah, I guess so." Tidus murmured, threading his fingers through Seymour's soft hair as he spoke.
"What makes you think I'm any different?" Seymour whispered, pulling his knees against his chest and wrapping his arms around them.
"Because you helped me. You're devious, rude, moody, and just plain creepy sometimes, but you helped me, didn't you?"
"I only helped you so I could see what you were hiding," Seymour pointed out, closing his eyes and sighing softly. "One of the main purposes of the bonding is to enable the person who performs the bonding to see any deception which occurs. That's why it's used in marriage ceremonies."
"Huh. The Guado aren't a terribly trusting bunch, are they? I don't think that was the only reason you used it with me, though." Tidus responded thoughtfully, "I think you really were trying to help me. That's why you came with me, isn't it?"
"No," Seymour grumbled, frowning. "I just came with you because I didn't have anything better to do."
Tidus laughed, dropping his hand from Seymour's hair and earning himself a glare from the younger man. "Wh... what?"
"Why are you stopping?" Seymour asked, irritation evident in both his voice and his penetrating gaze. Tidus starred at him in surprise until Seymour's gaze softened.
"My mother used to stroke my hair like that when I was young. I've always liked it." He admitted quietly and they gazed at each other in silence for a moment before Tidus raised his hand and began sifting his fingers through Seymour's hair once more. The half-Guado smiled, dropping his head against his knees with a contented sigh.
"You miss her, don't you?"
"She's the only person I ever cared about." Seymour replied, softly. "She's the one who wanted me to become a summoner. She..." He paused, closing his eyes against an old and terrible pain. "I don't want to talk about her anymore."
"You don't have to," Tidus murmured, remembering the fayth that had once been Seymour's mother and the hellishly powerful summoning she had become in her misguided attempt to give her son strength. "It's okay."
"Thank you," Seymour whispered, sighing softly as silence fell between them once more.
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