Silver Wings

By: AJay James

DISCLAIMER:  I do not own any locations, characters, or names associated with Final Fantasy X or Final Fantasy X-2.  I do, however, own this story.

DO NOT COPY MY STORIES!!

If anyone wants to post this story or "Silver Wings: 1000 Confessions" anywhere else, please just ASK and then give me credit for writing it.  Please email me at yugiohyamimarik@yahoo.com with any requests. 

Author’s Notes:  After playing Final Fantasy X-2, I became very enamored of the young couple Shuyin and Lenne and wanted to know more about their story.  Unfortunately, it isn’t exactly like you can look them up in a history book, so I’ve decided to write my own version of their love story to explain what I believe happened to them both as well as what lead up to the idea and ultimate creation of “Dream Zanarkand.”

Spoiler Alert:  This story WILL CONTAIN SPOILERS for Final Fantasy X-2.  If you haven’t played the game until AT LEAST Chapter 4 (although I recommend beating the game first, preferably with 100% completion so you are sure to know Shuyin’s connection to the “Cave of Woe”) then I advise you to not read this story unless you love spoilers as much as I do.  I will be using a few specific Shuyin/Lenne lines from FFX-2 in order to advance the story somewhat.  This story will also contain some “FFX like” scenes.  Since it is my opinion that Tidus is the “dream version” of Shuyin, it is likely that some of the romantic little scenes from FFX between Tidus and Yuna were also done between Shuyin and Lenne. 

Please a review and let me know what you think of my story.  Should I keep going?

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Chapter One:  She Said Yes!

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Night was when Zanarkand really came alive.  Lights shining from every window in every building gave the impression of mid-afternoon no matter how late it truly was.  He could hear the shouts of his fans just outside of his home.  They were lining the streets like they did before every game in order to talk to him, or get his autograph. 

< Time to go and great them. > he thought as he opened the door and stepped into the cool, Zanarkand night air.  The sounds of cheering and shouting urged him on and he approached a crowd of his fans.  Waving and smiling at the attractive girls to his left, he made a move toward them but was stopped by a small group of children. 

"Can you sign this?" asked one, holding a blitzball in his tiny hands.

Although he wanted to talk to the cute girls, he knew he couldn’t turn down this little boy so he nodded.  Grabbing the pen the child held in his other outstretched hand, he said, "No prob!" and scribbled his name and number on the ball.

# 4, Shuyin…

"Please!" cried another child.
 
"Alrighty." Shuyin replied, scribbling his signature on another ball.

"Me, too!" shouted a third. 
 
Shuyin took the ball from the child and laughed, "Take it easy."

Once he was finished with the children, Shuyin sauntered over towards the girls.  His piercing blue eyes and blond hair set an amazing contrast to his deeply tanned skin and the girls giggled as he grinned at them. 

"Can I have your autograph?" the girl with a pink shirt asked.
 
Shuyin shot her his most charming of grins, "Of course!"

"Good luck tonight!" the girl in blue said to him.
 
"Nothing to worry about!" Shuyin replied as he signed the girl’s blitzball.  He smiled widely and spun the ball on his finger before giving it back to her.  They giggled at the trick and he inwardly congratulated himself. 

Maybe he’d have two dates for tonight? 

At their expectant gazes, Shuyin decided to seal the deal with a trick he knew girls couldn’t resist.  He leaned closer to them and said, "Oh, if I score a goal..." he began, trying to stifle his urge to laugh at his use of the word if, "I'll do this!" he raised his hands high in the air and gave two thumbs up.  The girls grinned, “That will mean it was for you, okay?"

The girls giggled again and Shuyin suddenly began to get a little annoyed.  How stupid were these girls anyway?  He shook away the thought and continued, "What seat?"

"East block, in the front row!" shouted the girl in pink.

"Fifth from the right!" the girl in blue clarified.
 
Shuyin nodded and made a mental note of their location, "Got it!" He took a step away from the girls and went into the middle of the large crowd that had formed in front of his home, "Well, gotta go! Cheer for me!"

"...two, three!" came a shout from the kids.  Shuyin turned and looked at them just as they shouted, "Teach us how to blitz!"
 
Shuyin hid a scowl.  He never did like children.  They were annoying little creatures.  Incredibly pushy and rude.  He shook his head, "Hey, I got a game to play!"

"Then teach us after!" begged one.
 
He looked at the girls and sighed.  If he turned these kids down, he knew that he could throw away his chances of getting laid so he relented, "Maybe tonight...um...well..."

<Shit!  I promised Zaon I’d hang with him tonight…>
"I mean...tomorrow." Shuyin said.

"Promise?"
 
"Promise!"

With his promise having placated the children, Shuyin began the half mile jog to the blitzball stadium.  It was a wonderful way to warm up and to get out excess energy so that his mind was focused entirely on the game.  As he jogged up the main street, he heard people congratulating him and wishing him good luck.  He nodded and smiled at them as he passed by.  He didn’t feel like signing autographs anymore.  He needed to get his game head on and focus on beating the Duggles from C-South. 

The blitzball stadium was where Shuyin had spent many happy hours as a child.  His father had taught him to blitz as soon as Shuyin was old enough to walk and he had been playing ever since.  It was the one thing in the world that he loved.  After the death of his parents four years ago, Shuyin had put all of his energy into becoming the star of the Zanarkand Abes from A-East and he had succeeded.  Now 19, he openly admitted to not caring about much else besides the game and where he was going to get his next piece of ass.  It was a personality flaw that his best friend, Zaon, didn’t understand.

Shuyin had grown up with Zaon and if there was one person that Shuyin trusted in the world, it was him.  Zaon had been there for him after his parents’ death and had watched out for him in the subsequent years.  A few years older than Shuyin, Zaon was now almost 22 and ready to settle down with his longtime girlfriend, Yunalesca, providing that he asked her this weekend.  That was the plan, but Shuyin had seen Zaon clam up and instead ask Yunalesca if she wanted to go ice fishing in Macalania too many times to hold out much hope.    

Shuyin groaned as he saw the entrance to the stadium surrounded by his adoring fans.  He loved being the center of attention, but he hated when they would grab onto him like they would likely do as he tried to enter the stadium.  He slowed his jog down to a quick walk and started to push his way through the screaming mass, "Make way, make way!" he cried as he gently shoved some people out of the way, "Coming through, sorry!" he cried as he accidentally knocked a woman onto her back.  Another woman with a really large bust and equally big hair grabbed his hand.  Shuyin backed away in disgust, "Hey, I'm gonna be late!" he hissed at the woman, "Hey, let go of me!" He pulled his hand away roughly and forced his way through the rest of the crowd until the doorway was in sight.  He took a deep breath and made a break for the doorway. 

He let the door to the locker room slam behind him and he sighed.  He hated having to dodge the crowd, but they were the reason he was able to survive in Zanarkand by himself.  They paid his bills.  That was the only reason he put up with them – except for the opportunity to sleep with a few of his more willing fans. 

“It’s about time you showed up, Shu!” cried his teammate, Skirp.  Shuyin laughed and dodged a towel snap from him as he made his way to his locker.

“Sorry, but I had to fight them off with a stick again.” He replied.

Goalie, Bruttam peeked from around the corner, “Any cuties tonight?”

Shuyin shrugged, “I suppose.”

Skirp pulled on his shorts and poked Shuyin to get his attention, “Coach is out today.  We’ve got that damned substitute again.”

“The one that keeps telling us about stuff that’s happened ages ago?” Shuyin asked.  At Skirp’s nod, Shuyin moaned.  Whenever their coach, Wargna, was out sick they ended up getting his brother as a substitute coach.  He didn’t know anything about blitzball and usually spent most of the time boring the players on the bench until they could barely keep their eyes open.  The man was abnormally obsessed with history and felt that he should give everyone a history lesson all the time. 

Shuyin was just glad that he was rarely on the bench.

“Shh…here he comes.” Hissed Bruttam as he finished dressing and pointed toward the entrance to the locker room.  Shuyin followed Bruttam’s point and, sure enough, there was Wargna’s brother.  The man was wearing a large green hat and long green robe that made him look like a deranged elf.  It also prematurely aged him.  Although he was no spring chicken – he was 55 – his choice of clothes made him look almost 90. 

“Gentlemen!” came the voice of the elder man, “We have a difficult fight ahead of us.  Let us draw upon our knowledge of the difficult fight our land Zanarkand faced during its inception almost 500 years ago when….”

Shuyin rolled his eyes and made a face causing Skirpa and Bruttam to stifle laughter.  Pulling on his yellow shirt, Shuyin clipped his necklace around his neck and focused attention back on the “coach” as he finished, “And that, as they say, is that.” He stopped and thought for a moment, “Well, maybe not all of it.” He motioned with a wrinkled hand at the entrance to the blitzball arena, “Well gentlemen, good luck.  Let us go and beat those…Duggles!”

Shuyin didn’t need to be told twice and, with a leap and a holler, led his team out to start the game. 

Shuyin and his teammates took their places sitting on the sidelines as the Sphere Pool filled with water.  He closed his eyes and began picturing victory.  It was a technique that his father had taught him while Shuyin was still learning the basics.  His father had said that if he sat before a game for just a few moments and visualized victory, then victory would be his.  Shuyin had visualized victory before every game and the technique had proved it’s worth every time. 

Shuyin had never lost a game. 

He also never let people forget that fact.  Shuyin called it pride, Zaon called it conceit.  Whatever it was, though, Shuyin had lots of it.

At the sounds of the crowd getting louder, Shuyin opened his eyes and stood.  His fans cheered louder and louder.  His blue eyes surveyed the area.  The stadium was packed full of people to see the two best teams in Zanarkand battle it out to see who would be the champions of this year’s blitzball season.   

When the ball was completely full of water, the Abes and the Duggles dove in and took their positions.  The water was colder than Shuyin liked, but considering that the weather had been abnormally chilly, that was to be expected.

Blitzoff!!

Shuyin swam up and grabbed the ball away from the grasping fingers of his face-off opponent.  Diving down quickly to swim under the man’s legs, Shuyin threw a pass to Skirp who swam as quickly as possible to the goal only to be tackled hard and lose the ball. 

The Abes cornered their opponent and the young man dove under them and passed the ball to his female teammate on the other side of the sphere pool – right near the Abes goal but the shot was blocked by Bruttam and the ball was back in the hands of the Abes.

Time ticked away during the 5 minute period and when the bell sounded to end the period, the game was a scoreless tie.  One more period would determine who would win.  5 minutes.  That’s all the time they had. 

Blitzoff!! 

Shuyin wasn’t fast enough this time, and the Duggles center grabbed the ball and threw it quickly to a teammate. 

Shuyin intercepted the pass, and threw the ball toward Skirp while weaving through the other team's players with ease. Shuyin motioned for Skirp to throw the ball back to him but the ball was intercepted and the player made a break towards the Abes’ goal.

Shuyin swam closer and closer to the ball carrier, diving underneath the man and popping up in front of him, obviously startling the player. Ramming hard, the player released his grip on the ball and Shuyin claimed it.  He saw Skirp indicate for Shuyin to do his patented Bicycle Kick and he nodded.  Shuyin passed the ball to Skirp for the setup and as he saw the ball burst into the atmosphere just above the Sphere Pool, Shuyin burst through the surface of the pool, flying upwards, and turning over in mid air.  He focused on the ball as he saw it from his upside down position and kicked hard. 

The sound of the buzzer rang out just as Shuyin’s kick forced the ball through the opposition’s goal.  The shouts of the fans were muffled by the water, but Shuyin could still tell that they were as thrilled as he that the Abes were once again Blitzball champions.

1-0… 

1-0…

Shuyin had one more reason to be proud of himself.  If it hadn’t been for the one goal he’d scored against the Duggles in the last quarter, the Blitz season would have ended in a tie.  He smiled to himself as he followed Skirp and Bruttam into the locker room.  His clothes were soaked and dripping, but he didn’t care.  Once again he’d proven why he was the star of the Zanarkand Abes.

“Shuyin, my son.” Came the voice of the “coach”. 

Shuyin swallowed the urge to tell the old man that he wasn’t his son and forced a pleasant smile on his face, “Yes, Coach Maechen?”

“Young master Zaon is here.  He says he must speak with you immediately.” Maechen paused momentarily as if trying to remember something, “Perhaps you should speak with him.”

Shuyin frowned for a moment before grabbing his keys and bursting from the locker room without stopping to dry off.  Zaon never stopped by the stadium to see him unless something had happened. 

The last time was when Zaon had stopped by four years ago to tell him that his parents had been killed by fiends outside of Zanarkand…

Shuyin’s mind began frantically trying to figure out what could be wrong. 

Was it Yunalesca?  Could she be ill? 

Maybe it was her father?  Yu Yevon hadn’t seemed well the last time Shuyin had been invited to the mansion for supper. 

Or maybe the war had started.  Bevelle and Zanarkand had been at odds for as long as Shuyin could remember, but recently the animosity had developed into a passionate hate and talk of war was flying all over Zanarkand.  Those who wanted the war were adamant about stopping Bevelle tyranny while those who were against it demanded this craziness stop.  Bevelle’s machine would surely destroy Zanarkand – and their front line defense, Summoners - along with them. 

Yunalesca was a summoner.  If the war started, she would be sent to the front lines.  Could that be the problem? 

Shuyin stepped up the pace and burst into the night air.  He caught sight of Zaon standing with his back to him just a few feet away.  He ran up to him, “Zaon, what’s wrong?”

Zaon turned to him and Shuyin was surprised to see joy – not sadness – in his best friends’ eyes.  Zaon grasped him tightly and pulled Shuyin into a hug that almost choked the life out of the blitzball player, “She said yes!” he shouted so loudly that Shuyin was sure he’d lose the hearing in his right ear. 

Zaon then let go of Shuyin and gave him a puzzled look, “Why are you so wet?”

“I just got finished playing blitz.”

Zaon laughed, “Sorry, I forgot.”

Shuyin shook his head and smiled.  Zaon was never a blitzball aficionado and didn’t care much for the game although he did come to a few just to make Shuyin happy. 

Then the realization of what Zaon had just shouted hit Shuyin and he playfully punched his friend, “Wait a second!  I thought you were going to ask her this weekend!!” 

Zaon grinned and pushed his light blue hair from his eyes, “I had the courage to do it so I went to her house and I asked her.  If I had waited, you know she and I would be ice fishing again!

“But ice fishing is fun!” joked Shuyin as he made a fishing motion with his hands.

“But getting married and spending the rest of my life with the woman I love is more fun.” Replied Zaon with a sincerity that Shuyin almost envied.  There were times when he wished to find someone he could love like Zaon loved Yunalesca, but then he thought about having to be faithful and he shrugged the thought off. 

He liked having his pick of women too much to settle down. 

Zaon grabbed his sleeve and rung out some water, “Go dry yourself off, man!  We’ve got to go out and celebrate my engagement!”

“You mean mourn the end of your life as you know it!” Shuyin corrected.

Zaon laughed, “Call it whatever you want,” he replied, “but she said yes!!!”

SPOILER WARNING!!!!! 

Shuyin, Lenne, Yunalesca, Zaon, Yu Yevon, and Maechen all lived in the REAL Zanarkand that existed 1000 years before Yuna/Wakka/Lulu/Kimahri..etc.  When the war between Bevelle and Zanarkand broke out, Yu Yevon (who was the leader of Zanarkand) knew that his city had no chance against Bevelle’s machina, but he fought the war anyway – sending Summoners to the front lines.  The only summoner he didn’t send was his daughter, Yunalesca.  She and her husband Zaon were spared and then fled on the eve of Zanarkand’s destruction by Sin.  Lenne didn’t flee and went to war where she was held as a POW.  Shuyin was desperate to save her and tried to destroy Bevelle and end the war by using Vegnagun but it didn’t go so well and they both died. 

Meanwhile, Yu Yevon realized that Zanarkand was going to lose to Bevelle and be wiped off of the face of Spira so he devised a plan to “save” Zanarkand as well as exact his revenge upon the rest of Spira.  He sacrificed all residents still residing (therefore Yunalesca, Zaon, Shuyin, and Lenne were not involved) in Zanarkand and turned them into fayths for the summoning of Sin and “dream Zanarkand”.  The fayths made dream Zanarkand “similar” to real Zanarkand .   

Certain aspects of Zanarkand were omitted.  None of the “dream” residents knew of the war between Bevelle and Zanarkand.  (In fact, the way Tidus referred to Zanarkand – it was almost as if Zanarkand was its own world and that he had never even heard of Spira.)  Another thing omitted was songstresses and summoners.  This is why no one looked like Lenne or Yunalesca.  Blitzball was the only “entertainment” that dream Zanarkand had.

Now let me explain the Tidus/Shuyin connection.  Since Shuyin was a very popular blitzball player, most people in real Zanarkand would have known who he was.  Therefore when the residents were sacrificed and turned into fayths, they wanted to “recreate” this popular blitzball player and did so in Tidus.  That is why some of the scenes involving Shuyin will be similar to scenes involving Tidus because I believe that some of the things Tidus may have said or done was because he was technically Shuyin.

Getting back to the main story…The fayth started singing the “Hymn of the Fayth” (as it came to be known.)  The Bevelle soldiers who were traveling over Mt. Gagazet heard the song, panicked, and retreated.  Later, they journeyed over and found the remains of Zanarkand and caught their first glimpse of Sin.  The fayth had afterward gathered on Mt. Gagazet where they remained (this is where Tidus passes out and the little fayth boy tells him that he is a dream). 

Meanwhile – back in Bevelle – everyone is panicked about Sin.  Rumors flew that Yu Yevon was responsible and that the former residents were the fayth calling Sin.  Even after Yunalesca and Zaon defeated Sin using the final summoning, people in Bevelle and the rest of Spira were still fearful of Yu Yevon’s wrath.  In hoping to save themselves from Sin’s ravages, the Yevon faith was born and taught all throughout Spira.  Over the years the fact that Yu Yevon was actually an enemy of Bevelle and Spira was lost to only those in the upper ranks of the religion (AKA:  Maester Mika). 

Also, the song heard on Mt. Gagazet by the soldiers (The “Hymn of the Fayth”) was originally a song sung in Zanarkand to “make fun of” Bevelle.  When the Yevon faith was created, that song was forbidden but when those who hated the Yevon faith (the Al Bhed, for instance) began to sing it, Yevon had no choice but to add the song to it’s faith.  That is why it was sung all over Spira during Tidus’s journey.   

Dream Zanarkand was existing at this time as well, but without any knowledge of the true fate of Zanarkand.  Dream Zanarkand was so cut off that Tidus didn’t even realize that Zanarkand was part of a world.  When he would refer to Zanarkand, he would act as though he didn’t realize there was a world other than Zanarkand.   

The fayth was unhappy and wanted to rest, so I believe that they are the ones that sent Sin into dream Zanarkand.  First they attempted to end their dreaming by using Jecht and pulling him from Dream Zanarkand and into Spira.  When their plan failed and Jecht just continued the cycle by becoming the Final Aeon and eventually Sin, they then allowed Tidus to be pulled from Spira by Jecht. 

Tidus is the one that broke the cycle, defeated Yu Yevon, saved Spira and ended the fayth’s dreaming.

A lot of this information you can get from Maechen throughout the game.  One location is Mt. Gagazet before going to fight Sin.  You will see him standing near the save point.  Talk to him and he will tell you about the destruction of Zanarkand as well as about Yunalesca and Yu Yevon. 

Then two years after Sin’s defeat, Shuyin awakens and decides to exact his revenge on Spira.  Yu Yevon exacted revenge through Sin, but Shuyin wants to exact revenge using Vegnagun.  He’s hoping to make up for not saving Lenne 1000 years before.  My story won’t get into that because this is a story of Shuyin and Lenne’s life and will end with their deaths.  I won’t be getting into FFX-2. 

I hope this explains any questions.  This is only my opinion but I believe that this is what happened.  

Below is chapter 2.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Two:  First Glimpse

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The beauty that was Lady Yunalesca Yevon sat staring at the large Macalania diamond that now sat on her finger.  She couldn’t stop smiling and had to resist the urge to call her father, Yu, at the presidential palace to tell him.  It was far too late for that – almost 3 am – and she didn’t want to wake him up.  The news would just have to hold until the morning. 

After dating Zaon for almost 6 years she was beginning to think that he was never going to propose – instead opting to ask her to go ice fishing at every opportunity.  She laughed to herself.  He had finally gotten up the nerve and looked almost shocked when she accepted.  After shouting happily and kissing her, he’d run out to tell Shuyin who was the only other person in the world Yunalesca knew would still be awake since he’d just played a blitzball game.

The sound of the doorbell caused her smile to fade slightly.  She couldn’t imagine who would be at her door so late.  Creeping over quietly, Yunalesca glanced out the window and her smile was immediately back on her face.  Flinging the door open, she embraced the woman standing there, “Lenne!” she felt the hug returned as she continued, “What in Spira are you doing here this late?”

The embrace ended and Yunalesca suddenly noted a small suitcase next to her friend and a look of sadness in her brown eyes.  Lenne sighed deeply, “Can I stay here for a while?  I just to evicted from my apartment.”

“Of course!” agreed Yunalesca as she gripped the bag and motioned for Lenne to enter.  As the petite brunette sat down, she buried her face in her hands and groaned.  Yunalesca sat down next to her and put an arm around her friend, “What happened?  I thought you were living the high life in C-South.  You’ve been doing concerts left and right, haven’t you?”

Lenne nodded.  Being a songstress – and an incredibly popular one throughout Zanarkand – had started out as a wonderful career.  Now, though, the 19 year old girl didn’t know what she was going to do.  She looked at her friend and sighed, “My manager wasn’t putting my money into accounts like he said he was.” She finally said, “He was spending it all on booze and whores.”  Lenne heaved herself off of the sofa and dug in her suitcase for a small piece of paper, “This eviction notice was on the door of my apartment when I got there.  I went in and everything was gone except for this suitcase with all of my clothes.”  She kicked the bag in anger and her eyes flashed with rage, “The damned apartment complex sold all of my belongings to pay back rent that I didn’t even know that I owed!”

“They didn’t give you any warning?” Yunalesca asked in shock.

Lenne shook her head and let her brown hair fall over her shoulders, “Apparently they were giving my information to Berdent who was supposed to be paying the bills.  He never told me and just continued to suck me for all I was worth.”  She collapsed on the floor with her legs crossed, “I don’t have any money and no where to live.  All of my concerts and appearances have been cancelled because Berdent is no where to be found and nobody wants anything to do with me since I’ve got all this bad publicity now.”  She let herself shed a few tears before wiping them violently away as if furious with herself for letting them spill, “What am I supposed to do, Yuna?”

Her friend climbed off of the sofa and knelt in front of her, letting her pale blond hair caress the floor over her shoulders, “You’re going to stay here for a while.  You’re going to get a job and you’re going to get back on your feet.”  She gave her friend a smile, “Everything is going to be okay, Lennie.  I promise.”

Lenne gave Yunalesca a grateful grin and then her eyes suddenly caught something glittering in the light from the lamp.  Her eyes focused for the first time on the diamond on her friend’s hand and her eyes searched Yunalesca’s for some clue.  At Yunalesca’s smile, Lenne yelped happily, “He finally asked you??!!”

“Just a few hours ago.”

“Where is he?” asked Lenne as she climbed to her feet and straightened her blue shirt, “I want to congratulate him.”

“He’s out with his friend, Shuyin.  They’re probably getting drunk to celebrate, although if I know Shuyin they are probably celebrating the Abes win more than Zaon’s engagement.”  Said Yunalesca with only a hint of annoyance.  Although she thought Shuyin was fun to be around and could be very funny, his self centered personality annoyed her to no end.  She didn’t understand why Zaon didn’t smack the conceited little jerk sometimes.  She wanted to sometimes, that was for sure.

Lenne pouted, “I know.  The Duggles should have won.” She ran a hand through her long brown hair.  As a C-South resident – or, former resident as it was – she was a huge fan of the Zanarkand Duggles blitzball team, but every time they played the Abes, they lost.  She smiled, “If it hadn’t been for that cocky little blond making the shot at the last minute the Duggles could have at least ended the season with a tie.”

Yunalesca let out a laugh and gripped her stomach as she collapsed on the sofa, “You think he’s cocky too?”

“Of course,” replied Lenne as she sat down next to her giggling friend, “That #4 almost oozes conceit.”

Sobering slightly, Yunalesca said, “Well, #4…he’s…well…he’s Shuyin.”  Lenne’s shocked and apologetic look made Yunalesca laugh even harder and she shook her hand in the air as if waving away the guilt that Lenne was feeling, “Don’t worry about it.  Shuyin is funny but he is definitely conceited.  I don’t know why Zaon hangs out with him.”

“Neither do I.” agreed Lenne, “He always refuses interviews too.  I guess that’s why I really dislike him.  If he really wanted to be a good star, he’d interview as often as he could so that his fans could get a sense of who he is.”

Yunalesca grinned.  Shuyin was never one to pay attention to his fans unless they were willing to put out and she conveyed that to Lenne, “And what’s annoying,” she continued, “is that he’s so handsome he can get away with stuff like that.”

“So why does Zaon hang with him?”

Yunalesca shrugged, “They’ve been friends since they were kids.  Zaon has seen him through some tough stuff.” She paused, “Zaon is really the only person that Shuyin has left.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well,” Yunalesca stopped.  She wasn’t sure if she should convey Shuyin’s personal history to someone who had never met him, but she knew that Lenne would keep her mouth shut.  Lenne wasn’t the type to gossip about other people’s misfortunes.  She continued, “Four years ago his parents were killed by fiends while they were taking a stroll towards Mt. Gagazet.

“That’s horrible.”

“Yeah.  He was really close to them but especially his father.  His father was the one who taught him how to play blitzball.” She cast her gaze downward, “Zaon is the one that told him about his parents.”

Lenne frowned and a crease crossed her brow as she said, “So his behavior…”

“Yeah,” Yunalesca nodded, “It started after their deaths.  I think he’s been acting out since then.  That doesn’t excuse it though.”

“Well, conceit isn’t a crime, you know.” Lenne said with a laugh. 

Yunalesca nodded, “True, but he’s also a firm believer in the ‘Love ‘em and Leave ‘em’ mentality.”  Lenne cocked an eyebrow in confusion and her friend clarified, “He leaves as soon as his paramour is asleep.”

Before Lenne could reply the girls heard voices coming from outside.  Rising from their seats and walking to the window, the girls saw Zaon and Shuyin standing outside laughing while two attractive girls hung all over Shuyin – one in pink, one in blue.

Yunalesca quietly opened the window and the two girls listened intently to the conversation.

“You sure you don’t want to come in and see Yuna?” Zaon asked.

Shuyin shook his head, “I’ll see you guys later.  She’s probably asleep anyway and I’ve got some important business to attend to.” He winked at the two girls consecutively and then grinned at Zaon, “You understand?”

Zaon let out a laugh, “Of course I understand.”

Shuyin put his arms around both girls.  He looked at the girl in pink, “Come on Lonna.” Then the girl in blue, “Lilly.”

The girl in pink frowned a little, “I’m Lilly.  She’s Lonna.” 

Shuyin nodded, “Of course you are.”  He smiled at Zaon as he escorted the women away from the house and in the direction of the hotel district. 

Yunalesca gave Lenne a pointed glance and Lenne nodded.  Shuyin was worse then she had imagined.  Treating women like they didn’t matter infuriated her, although he was really handsome.  If Zaon liked him, then hopefully there was some good in him…

Nah.

The door swung open and Zaon stepped into the living room with a grin on his face.  He turned to embrace Yunalesca and then stopped when he saw Lenne, “Hey Lennie!  What are you doing here?”

Yunalesca waved off the question, “It’s a long story, but she’s going to be staying with me for a while.”

Zaon nodded, “Sounds good.  I just stopped in to give you a passionate good night kiss before I wandered next door my little bungalow.”  True to his word, Zaon pressed his lips to Yunalesca’s and dipped her back.   

Lenne felt a little stirring of jealousy at the sight.  She wished to find a love like Yunalesca had but there had been no luck.  She’d had a string of unsuccessful relationships with men who only wanted her for two things – her money and her body.  Now that she had lost one of the only two things men found attractive about her, she knew that her chances of finding someone had decreased tremendously.  She’d just have to learn to live with that. 

Zaon grinned at Lenne as he let Yunalesca catch her breath, “Good night, Lennie.” He said, and then glanced at his fiancée, “Good night, my love.” 

“Good night, Zaon.” 

Zaon pulled open the front door and stepped out onto the porch again before turning and sticking his head back inside, “Start planning that wedding, ladies.  I don’t know if I can wait much longer

---------------------

Zanarkand slept but its leader did not.  Yu Yevon had already been up for hours pouring over his Summoner’s Arts books.  He was a short, potbellied man in his late 40s with a receding hairline and small, wire rimmed glasses.  He looked more like a library patron then a powerful summoner and leader of the largest machina city in Spira. 

Yu had become the leader of Zanarkand due to his status as High Summoner through which he was renowned as a master of his craft.  Zanarkand needed a powerful leader and Yu Yevon was most assuredly that. 

That morning, Yu was in quite a panic though he managed his best to hide it from those around him.  After hearing that the Bevelle army was readying its machina, Yu had begun preparing for the worst.  Relations between the two former allies had been tense for years but only recently had whispered talk of war begun to trickle through the leaders of Zanarkand and Bevelle. 

If war broke out, Yu knew that Zanarkand was doomed against Bevelle’s machina.  The man was determined to save Zanarkand – no matter what the cost. 

The clock nearby chimed 7am and Yu Yevon allowed himself a yawn and a stretch.  He’d been hunched over his books since 2am without rest.  He knew that the answer to saving Zanarkand was in one of his books, but he just hadn’t found that answer yet. 

A typical summon wouldn’t do anything against machina.  Those weapons would blow holes through Valefor, Ifrit, Shiva, and Bahamut.  Perhaps Ixion stood a chance since he was lightening based, but even still that beautiful stallion would eventually fall. 

There had to be a summon that could stop Bevelle – maybe even destroy it. 

“Sir,” came a tentative voice at the doorway.  Yu glanced up at his man servant, Arnile, and nodded.  The servant stepped forward, “Your daughter is here, sir.  Shall I have her wait in the study?”

Yu shook his head, “No, send her in here.”

Arnile nodded and Yu quietly closed his books while he waited for his daughter to arrive.  He couldn’t imagine what she could need so early.  Yunalesca usually didn’t awaken until at least 10.  He frowned.

Was something wrong with Zaon?

Yu really liked his daughter’s boyfriend, although he felt it was high time for the man to put a ring on her finger.  Six years of dating was long enough to decide if you wanted to spend the rest of your life with someone. 

Yu was shaken from his reverie when his daughter entered the room with a large smile on her pretty face, “Daddy!” she cried as she leapt forward and hugged him close to her, “I’ve got such wonderful news, Daddy!”

Holding his daughter at arm’s length to see the glitter of excitement in her eyes, Yu couldn’t help but get a little excited too.  Whatever it was had put his daughter in an excellent mood.  He smiled, “What is it, Yuna?”

Yunalesca held her left hand under her father’s nose and Yu glanced down.  The diamond glittered and sparkled under the overhead light and Yu silently assessed the jewelry. 

<This must have set Zaon back quite a bit>, he thought.

Yu looked from the diamond to his daughter, “This is so wonderful!” he cried as she hugged him close again.

“What’s even more wonderful is that Lenne is in town.” Yunalesca said.  Lenne was Yunalesca’s good friend in school until she moved to C-South to pursue her singing career.  The two still kept in touch.  Yu listened as his daughter continued, “She’s having some financial trouble so she’s going to be staying with me for a while.  She agreed to be my Maid of Honor.  Isn’t that great?!”

“I heard about her financial trouble.  If she’d like, I can have the guard begin to look for her manager.”

Yunalesca shook her head, “I think Lenne just wants to forget about the whole thing.  Besides, the guy is probably halfway to Bevelle by now.”

Yu nodded and he and his daughter sat down.  Over the next few hours he listened intently as Yunalesca began describing the wedding she wants.  He was surprised that she was willing to concede to Zaon’s dream of having only a small ceremony but had to stifle a laugh when she spoke of inviting the entire town to the reception.  Yunalesca loved being the center of attention so much that Yu was surprised when she didn’t join Lenne in becoming a songstress. 

“What do you think?” came her question as she finished.

Yu nodded his concession, “I think it sounds like you’ve got everything planned out.”

Grinning, she pushed her blond hair from her eyes, “Zaon and I want to get married as soon as possible.  What do you think about next month?”

“Isn’t that a little soon?”

“Do you think so?” Yunalesca pouted, “but you can do it, can’t you Daddy?”

Yu sighed.  He hated when she pouted.  She looked so much like her late mother and he just couldn’t say no when she begged so he smiled and said, “Pick an exact date and we’ll be ready.”

Yunalesca smiled, “May 5.”

Yu laughed and felt her kiss his cheek as she jumped up announcing that she was going to have to tell Zaon.  He stayed in his seat for a few moments after she left, thinking.  His only child was getting married.  She was getting married right in the midst of a tense relationship so bad that war could begin. 

“Sir.” Arnile’s voice came from the doorway.

“Come in, Arnile.” Said Yu as he stood and walked back to his desk. 

“Reports from our spies in Bevelle just came through, sir.”

Yu’s attention was immediately granted in full to his servant.  He focused his eyes on the man and asked, “What do they say?”

Arnile downcast his glance, “It’s not good sir,” he began, “Our fears have been confirmed.”

“Vegnagun?” asked Yu. 

Vegnagun was a giant machina that Bevelle had been secretly construction under their palace for years.  According to previous reports, its destructive power was enough to blow Zanarkand off of the face of Spira. 

Arnile nodded, “It’s complete, sir.” He paused, as if for dramatic effect, “And operational.”

Author’s Notes:  Thank you so much for the reviews I have received so far.  I really like knowing that people are reading and enjoying this story as much as I like writing it.  Below is chapter 3.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Three:  Together Forever

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“Where are they?” shouted Yunalesca as she stomped her foot and turned to Lenne, “They’re late!”  The two women were standing in the lobby of an expensive restaurant that they had rented out for the rehearsal dinner.  The staff and other wedding party members were anxious to get the rehearsal and dinner started but were forced to wait for the groom and his best man.

Yunalesca was ready to kill them both. 

Lenne laughed and tossed her brown hair over her shoulder, “Didn’t Zaon’s friend have some game to play?”

Yunalesca nodded, “True,” she said, “but it’s been over for at least an hour.  Plus Zaon promised me that he’d get Shuyin here this time.”  She turned and looked out the window with a scowl, “He’s missed every other wedding planning session and now he’s on the verge of missing the rehearsal dinner.  He is positively the worst choice Zaon could have made for best man.”  The bride smiled as she looked at her friend, “I suppose the only good thing is that you haven’t had to deal with the conceited, self-centered little jerk.”

“Who are you talking about?” Lenne asked with a laugh, “Shuyin or Zaon?”

As if on cue, Zaon burst through the door with an apologetic look in his eyes.  Yunalesca put her hands on her hips in a furious sweep and glared at him, “And just where in Spira have you been?” she demanded as she glanced behind him to the empty doorway, “And where is Shuyin!”

“Well,” started Zaon as he shut the door quietly behind him.  He guided his fiancée and her Maid of Honor over to a corner and continued, “He’s not coming.”

“HE’S NOT COMING!!!!!” shrieked Yunalesca.  Her eyes flashing with rage.   Lenne took the initiative to hold her friend back for fear that she would do irreparable harm to her fiancée.  After Yunalesca calmed down, she took a deep breath and asked, “Why not?”

Zaon touched her hair gently and flinched slightly as she pulled away.  It was obvious that, no matter how well she was hiding it, she was furious at Shuyin and at him for not delivering on his promise.  He gave her an apologetic smile, “The game was going into overtime.  He ran out sopping wet and told me to go on ahead because he wasn’t sure when he’d be able to leave.”

“You mean to tell me,” Yunalesca hissed in a whisper so vicious that it sent chills up Lenne’s spine, “that a blitzball game is more important than his best friend’s wedding rehearsal?”  she threw her arms in the air and her voice got louder, “Well, he has practice tomorrow.  Is he even going to get to the wedding?”  she glared at Zaon, “I swear a fiend would have been a better choice for best man.  At least a fiend would have the decency to show up!”

“Yuna, he swore to me that he’d be here tomorrow.  Besides, it’s not that complicated.  When the preacher says my name, he gives me your ring.  He knows what he’s got to do.”

Yunalesca rolled her eyes, “Oh, he swore to you.” She hissed sarcastically, “Well that makes me feel so much better.  We all know how much his promises mean to him.  I mean, he promised to be at my party when I became a summoner, but he had practice.”

Zaon shook his head, “Yuna that was 2 years ago…”

His bride continued as if she didn’t hear her fiancée, “And he promised to come to your parents 50th anniversary party last year, but he had a hangover from partying all night with some girl who he doesn’t even remember.  And he promised to come by the day after the engagement to meet Lenne, but he had a game.”  Yunalesca shook her head.  Dissappointment was showing in her eyes now – having replaced the anger.  She bit her lip softly and said, “He’s a nice guy, Zaon.  He’s a really nice guy, but he’s a lousy friend.” 

Lenne opened her mouth to speak but was quieted by Zaon’s sudden show of anger.  The blue haired man frowned at his fiancée and spoke in a hushed tone, “He is my best friend.  He happens to care a lot about his career which just happens to be blitzball.  So damn it all if he doesn’t show up to a few things over the years.  The important thing is that he’s there for me when it counts and he will be here tomorrow.  You can bet your aeons on that one, m’lady.”

Silence seemed to take over the room.  The argument had echoed its way to the guests in the dining room and all conversation stopped.  Lenne suddenly felt very uncomfortable and took a few steps back to give her friends some space.  From the look on Yunalesca’s face, it was obvious to Lenne that she regretted what she had said to Zaon and vice versa but neither seemed willing to take the first step and apologize.  Lenne took a breath and stepped closer to them again, putting a hand on one shoulder of each of them, “You guys need to just kiss and make up.  Don’t let what one blitzball player does or doesn’t do cause you guys to argue right before the most important day of your lives.”

Zaon smiled and looked at Yunalesca, “She’s right.  I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry too.”

Lenne smiled and turned to the guests, “Everything is okay now.  So, with or without a best man, let’s get this party started!”

-----------------------------

Zaon took a deep breath as he pulled his white jacket onto his broad shoulders and smiled at Shuyin who was standing next to him with a look of sheer terror in his bright blue eyes.  Zaon would have laughed had it not been for the knowledge that his eyes probably showed that same look of fear.

"Good luck, Zaon." Shuyin said as he slapped Zaon on the back good naturedly.

Zaon smiled, “Thanks, Shu.  And thanks for being my best man.  It means a lot to me.”

The two young men looked out at the crowd that had gathered for the marriage of president Yu Yevon’s daughter to the son of a ‘nobody’ who would soon become known as Lord Zaon.  Shuyin felt his stomach contract with nervous energy for his friend.  The boy he had grown up with was about to become a lord.  He was about to take vows and promise himself to one woman forever.  Shuyin pushed a shudder away and whispered, “How can you be so calm?!?"

"Believe me, I’m not." Zaon confessed with a little laugh as he and Shuyin walked toward the altar and took their places to begin the ceremony.   Although the blitzball player’s hair was still a bit damp from his early morning practice with the team, he had arrived on time and ready just as he had promised.  Zaon had wanted to tell Yunalesca, but the women were ‘off limits’ to the groom and his best man until after the ceremony. 

It was bad luck to see them before the wedding.

The giant wooden doors slid open and the pianist began to play. Everyone’s attention focused on the back of the room.  Zaon let out an unconscious shudder and he felt Shuyin put a hand on his shoulder, “It’s going to be okay.” His friend whispered.

Zaon looked at him and smiled, “You think so?”

“I know so.” Agreed Shuyin, “You and Yuna are meant to be.”

Zaon grinned and whispered, “You haven’t met her Maid of Honor yet.  I think you’ll like her.”

“Stop!” hissed Shuyin, “I’m not interested in getting set up!” he smiled and playfully punched Zaon as the a 6 year old girl – the distant relative of someone…Shuyin hadn’t paid attention who – began to walk down the aisle, dropping flowers as she went.

Zaon winked, “You might change your mind when you see who it is.”

Shuyin was about to ask his friend to elaborate when the woman behind the little girl caught his attention.  Wearing a dark blue strapless gown that just barely touched the ground, the woman’s hair was hanging long with just a tiny bit pulled up and held in place with a barette that was decorated with flowers.

The woman continued her way down the aisle toward them.  She smiled at Zaon and whispered, "Good luck." before turning to stand on the bridal side of the altar.

Shuyin punched Zaon hard in the side and whispered, “Lenne!  Lady Lenne is her Maid of Honor?”  Shuyin tried to regain control of his breathing.  Lady Lenne was a famous summoner and songstress who just happened to be his all time favorite celebrity.  Well, she was the favorite celebrity of just about all the Abes who spoke of how much they wished she’d pose nude for some magazine so that they’d have a nice picture for their lockers. 

Rubbing his sore side, Zaon winked again, “I knew you’d like her.” At Shuyin’s glare he smiled, “Don’t worry, Lennie has no idea that you are her biggest fan and have all of her spheres.”

The sound of the ‘Wedding March’ playing prevented Shuyin from responding as the entire audience turned to look at Yunalesca.  The moment was finally here, and Zaon was visibly nervous. 

Yunalesca was wearing a long white dress with tiny diamond spaghetti straps.  Her long, pale blond hair had been curled and pulled on top of her head, allowing only a few tresses to frame her face.  Her veil lay gently over her head.  Zaon gripped Shuyin’s wrist and whispered, “She looks like an angel, doesn’t she?”

Yunalesca began to slowly walk towards Zaon with her arm linked through her father’s.   Yu looked as though his face would fall off if he didn’t stop smiling soon.  As they reached their destination, he gently patted his daughter’s hand and then gave it to Zaon who accepted it willingly.  He smiled at his soon to be son-in-law, "Take good care of my baby girl, you hear."

"I will." was his reply. The couple turned to face the minister and Shuyin gave his friends a smile as the minister began.

"Dearly Beloved, We are-"

Shuyin’s mind – and eyes – wandered to the beautiful songstress, Lenne, that was standing no more than a yard from him.  Zaon wasn’t joking when he said that Shuyin was her biggest fan.  He was always first in line to buy her new spheres and hadn’t missed a single concert – even though it usually meant driving to C-South which was almost two hours from A-East.  Never in his wildest dreams did he think he’d ever be this close to her. 

Why hadn’t Yunalesca told him that he knew her?

"Zaon" the priest said. "Repeat after me"

Shuyin snapped back to reality when he realized his tiny part in this ceremony was upon him.  He handed Zaon the tiny band of gold that he held in his hand and watched as his best friend promised himself to Yunalesca forever.  It made him almost wish for that himself.

Almost.

“You may now kiss your bride.”  Zaon leaned in and sealed the marriage with a long and passionate kiss. 

Shuyin waited until the two pulled apart before he grabbed Zaon and gave him a huge hug.  Zaon squeezed him back and Shuyin said, “Congratulations, Zaon.”

“Thanks.” Zaon released his friend and grabbed his wife’s hand, kissing it gently.  He smiled at Shuyin and then shouted to everyone in the room, “Let’s party!!”

---------------------------------.

Shuyin had never felt this stupid around a girl before in his life.  He couldn’t force his legs to move and approach the beauty that was standing next to Yunalesca, drinking punch, and laughing. 

Shuyin prided himself on being confident – especially around the fairer sex - but for some reason the sight of Lenne was making his stomach do cartwheels and the thought of food made him nauseous. 

The touch of a hand on his shoulder caused the blitzball star to jump.  He turned and faced Zaon who was trying to stifle laughter that seemed to want to flow from his mouth.  After calming his mirth, Zaon asked, “Do you want me to introduce you to her or would you rather stand there in helpless lust for the duration of the reception?”

“I’m not …” the look on Zaon’s face made Shuyin stop and glance downward, embarrassed, before saying, “I’d like to meet her.”

Following behind his friend, Shuyin took a few tentative steps toward, quite possibly, the most beautiful woman he had ever laid eyes on.  She and Yunalesca looked at the two men approaching them and Shuyin thought his heart stopped beating when she looked at him and smiled, “You must be Shuyin.”

Shuyin swallowed hard and opened his mouth a few times, but no words formed.  He felt like a fish out of water and impulsively brushed his hand through his hair and just smiled stupidly. 

He felt like a complete ass.

Lenne laughed and looked uncomfortably at Yunalesca and Zaon before saying to Shuyin, “And you’re just so talkative too.”

Shuyin felt what seemed to be a blush forming at the mere thought that this beautiful creature thought he was … anything but handsome, charming, and wonderful.  He calmed his brain and forced himself to speak, “Yes, I’m Shuyin.  Nice to meet you, Lenne.”

Laughing, Lenne shook his hand and said, “It can speak!”

Shuyin was about to open his mouth with a witty reply when he heard a shrill cry from behind him and his body tensed.  He knew that voice, but from where?

“Shuyin!”

He turned around and froze.  It was the girl in blue and her friend in pink – still dressed in their trademark colors.  He hadn’t seen them since that night a month ago.  Actually, he’d been avoiding them to the best of his abilities.  They were good for one night, but the thought of having to deal with them for any more than that sent chills up his spine.  He silently cursed Yunalesca for following through on her dream of inviting all of Zanarkand to the reception. 

It was just his luck that these girls would show up!

“Long time, no see, Shuyin.”  The girl in blue said.

“Whatcha been up to?” asked the girl in pink.

<Damnit!  What were their names?> he silently searched his mind for their names.  There were so many women in his past that he had a hard time keeping any of them straight which was why he had made it a habit of avoiding them when he could. 

“You do remember our names, don’t you?” the girl in blue asked.

They started with L’s.

The moment of truth was upon Shuyin.  He could feel three sets of eyes boring holes into the back of his head and he took a chance, “Sure I do, Lucy and Laurie…”  when he heard Zaon groan slightly and saw the crestfallen looks on the girls faces, he knew he’d chosen incorrectly. 

Pinky glared at him, “Shows how much you really cared.”

“Yeah!” blue girl hissed, throwing her drink in his face and storming off with her friend. 

Shuyin stood there for a moment.  Wine was dripping from his face and landing on his tuxedo.  He didn’t want to turn around and have to face Yunalesca or Lenne.  He knew Yunalesca had probably told Lenne all sorts of horrible things about him and this episode had just proven that everything she had probably said was true. 

Yunalesca was not his fan.

Instead of turning to face them, he decided to make a hasty retreat.  Dawn would be breaking soon and he knew exactly where he wanted to be and it certainly wasn’t there. 

His favorite place in all of Zanarkand was just around the corner from the reception hall.  He loved living in A-East where the sea was so close.  He walked out onto the pier and gazed up at the sky.  As the sun started creeping over the horizon, he heard footsteps behind him and turned. 

“You don’t strike me as the type that would like a sunset.”

Shuyin’s eyes locked with Lenne and for a moment he forgot that he had come out to see the sunrise.  Her smile disarmed him and he had to shrug off his sudden urge to run away from her.  She was being so nice to him and he didn’t know why.  She really had no reason to be nice. 

Relaxing his over active mind, Shuyin motioned toward the sunset.  “I love this sunrise, but you missed the best part.” 

“What’s the best part?”

Shuyin grinned at the girl behind him, “The beginning.”  He motioned toward the sky and said, “The city lights go out one by one.  The stars fade, then the horizon glows, almost like it’s on fire.” He waved his hands as if painting the picture before her eyes, “It’s kinda rose-colored, right?  First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky, then to the whole city.  It gets brighter and brighter, till everything glows.  It’s really…pretty.”

Lenne smiled and took a place next to him on the pier and gazed at the horizon, “It is beautiful.” She conceded, “You can’t see it so well in C-South.  The smog tends to hide the skyline.”

“That’s exactly why I’d never want to live there.” He said, “In A-East you can take a deep breath and not worry about what organisms you just enhaled.”

Lenne’s laughter seemed to give Shuyin his confidence back and he let himself take in her beauty.  Her brown eyes sparkled when she laughed and he noticed that she had a slight dimple in her left cheek.  When her laughter stopped, she looked at him with seriousness in her eyes, “I think what you did to those girls was really rotten.”  She said suddenly.

“You don’t know me at all.” He said, scooping to lift a rock from the pier and skip it across the water, “Neither does Yunalesca.”  He looked at her, “You shouldn’t always believe everything she says.”

“Why not?  She’s my best friend.”

Shuyin shook his head, “She just sees what’s on the outside.  Yuna doesn’t take time to look on the inside of people and know the person.  She doesn’t care that there is a beating heart inside.  She doesn’t care about the reasons that someone does what he does.  She just sees what’s on the outside.” 

“So you’re telling me,” asked Lenne, “that you sleep with girls and forget their names but it’s for a good reason?”  she shook her head and rolled her brown eyes, “Sorry, but I just can’t buy that.”

“You don’t know me at all.  Don’t pretend that you do just because Yunalesca told you her opinions of me.”

Lenne nodded, “You’re right, I don’t know you.  I don’t know you at all, but I came out here to try to.”  At his questioning gaze, she smiled, “Tell me about yourself.”

“What do you want to know?” came the blitzer’s response.

“Well,” Lenne motioned to the sunset, “For starters, why do you like this sunrise so much?”

There were so many reasons why Shuyin loved this sunrise.  It was quiet and peaceful; it made him feel like any and all of his problems were pointless in the grand scheme of things; it made him realize that there was a much bigger world out there besides Zanarkand; it made him want to be a better person. 

All those reasons flashed through his head before he settled on the main reason he loved this place.  He allowed himself a sad smile and said, “My father and I used to come here every morning before he would give me another lesson in blitzball.  We’d skip rocks and discuss my plans for the day or school.  Whatever I wanted to talk about.  Mom would be in the house making pancakes and we’d sit out here in the quiet until she’d call us for breakfast.”  He smiled at the memory and skipped a rock across the water, “Dad wanted me to be everything that I could be and to experience life from every angle.  He told me that the most important thing in the world was to fall in love.  He said that a life without love wasn’t a life worth living.  He wanted me to fall in love – so deeply that I couldn’t get myself out of it.”

“Shuyin…”

The blond looked at the sunrise and sighed, “I don’t want that, though.  Falling in love means opening yourself up for hurt and pain.  I know what it feels like to lose people you love.  My parents were my only family and they were taken from me.  The mere thought of giving my heart to someone and then losing them…”

“Yunalesca told me what happened to your parents.” Whispered Lenne, “I’m really sorry.”

Shuyin shrugged and immediately forced his walls back into place, “Well, shit happens and there isn’t anything anyone can do to change it.”

“But that doesn’t mean that you have to shrug it off like it doesn’t bother you.”

Shuyin turned to her and squinted against the growing light, crossing his arms over his chest, “I don’t need a lecture on how to deal with the death of my parents – especially from someone who doesn’t know them and barely knows me.”

Lenne’s tender touch on his shoulder made him feel his defenses crumbling a little and he dropped his arms, “I know that.” She whispered, “I just feel like maybe if you talked about it instead of trying to act tough all the time that it might help.”

“How do you know I act tough?”

Lenne laughed, “Well, Yuna calls it conceit and arrogance, but after she told me about your parents I realized that, chances are, it was just an act.  Am I wrong?”

It was Shuyin’s turn to laugh and he turned back to the skyline, “Well, I do think that I’m devilishly handsome.”

“There’s no law against stating the obvious.” Lenne said in a whispered voice.  Shuyin wasn’t sure if he’d heard her correctly and turned to her with a questioning gaze but before he could ask the question he heard Yunalesca calling her from the reception hall, “Be right there, Yuna!”  the brunette looked at her blond companion and smiled, “It was nice talking to you…Shuyin.” She said as she walked away from him.

Her retreating form greeted his line of vision and Shuyin’s stomach did another flip. 

There was something about that girl…

He smiled to himself as he watched her walk back into the reception with Yunalesca, “Nice talking to you too…Lenne.”

Author’s Notes:  Thank you so much for the reviews I have received so far.  I really like knowing that people are reading and enjoying this story as much as I like writing it.  Below is chapter 4.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Four:  Closer

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In the month that passed after the wedding, Lenne hadn’t seen Shuyin at all.  For reasons the young summoner didn’t understand, she was disappointed.  There was something about him that made her smile.  Of course, Yunalesca was thrilled that Lenne hadn’t been around Shuyin, saying that it was for the best and that he was ‘only trouble’.

Lenne hadn’t had much time to ponder her feelings or Yunalesca’s opinions, though, because she was preoccupied with finding a job and repaying Yunalesca for her kindness.  The new bride had moved in with her husband, leaving her old home for Lenne to live in free of charge, but Lenne was still determined to pay her something.  She couldn’t just live off of Yunalesca’s kindness and charity without repaying her in some way. 

Lenne sat the newspaper down on the table and stretched.  Searching the Want Ads was something she hated doing.  She really wanted to just get a job singing, but A-East didn’t seem to be in need of a songstress at the moment.  Her stomach growled, reminding her that it was time for lunch, and she began walking toward the kitchen when a knock at the door caused Lenne to jump a little.  She laughed to herself at her nerves and walked to the door.  Her eyes widened for a minute out of shock when she saw who was standing there. 

Wearing a dark blue shirt unbuttoned halfway down the chest and black shorts with sandals, Shuyin looked even more handsome then he had the last time she’d seen him.  His blue eyes sparkled when he smiled at her, “Hey, Lenne.  Is Zaon here?”

Lenne’s mind was unable to communicate with her mouth that words were necessary to answer the blond haired man in front of her and she had to force herself to remain calm as she said, “No, I think he and Yuna went to lunch.”  She paused, “They are living next door, you know.”

Shuyin nodded, “I know.  Their door was locked so I figured I’d try over here.”

An uncomfortable silence settled between the blitzball star and the songstress as they both let their eyes wander over each other.  Lenne tried her best to keep herself from giggling like a silly little girl.  She hadn’t been this close to a handsome man in quite a while.  Although Yunalesca kept telling her that he was bad news – and in spite of the fact that she had witnessed his dalliances with those two girls the night of Yunalesca’s engagement – there was something about him that Lenne liked. 

She gave him her most charming smile and motioned with her hand, “Would you like to come in and wait for them to get back?  I was just about to make myself some lunch.”

“That’d be great,” Shuyin accepted readily as he followed Lenne into her new house.  He glanced around the room and nodded approvingly, “This place looks much better than when Yuna lived here.” He said, “Less pink…”

Lenne laughed and motioned with her hand to a chair as she walked into the kitchen.  Once she was certain that he wasn’t following her, she began quietly shuffling through pots and pans as she yelled out, “I hate pink.  Blue is my favorite color.”

Her mind quickly flashed to the fact that he was wearing a blue shirt and had the most gorgeous blue eyes and she cringed to herself, <Oh no!  Now he’s going to think I’m flirting with him!> her mind screamed before it admitted, <I AM flirting with him!>

Lenne decided to quickly change the subject and shouted from the kitchen, “What are you in the mood for?”  She felt a blush creep into her cheeks at the sudden realization that the different ways you could take that simple sentence and she reworded with, “What would you like to eat?”

Shuyin was suddenly poking his head into the kitchen and Lenne felt like a deer caught in headlights – bright, blue headlights.  The blond smiled at her, “Whatever you were going to make for yourself is fine with me.”

“A grilled cheese sandwich it is, then.”  The songstress said. 

The blitzer left the room and she could see in the reflection from one of the pots that he was sitting on the sofa again.  She let out a slight sigh and then immediately realized that she had to keep the conversation going or else he might leave.  Her mind spun with different things to say to him but none of them seemed right and as the time went by, Lenne panicked and said the only thing that came to mind, “Do you like cheese?”

As soon as the words were out of her mouth, Lenne seriously considered summoning Bahamut to put her out of her misery.  She felt a groan forming in her throat at that stupid sentence.  Instead of saying something witty and charming, she had asked quite possibly the most attractive guy she’d ever seen if he liked CHEESE!

She waited and fully expected to hear the door slam behind his retreating form, but to her surprised she just heard a little chuckle as he approached her and responded with, “I like cheese, but I really love bread.” 

He was standing behind her now, offering if he could help her with anything and she immediately relaxed.  Maybe he wasn’t as bad as Yunalesca seemed to think.  He was offering to help her cook.  Yunalesca tried to make it sound like he would rather starve to death than lift a finger to do anything other than his “willing” fans. 

“No, I’ve got it.” She said finally.  She almost regretted saying anything.  She liked the way he was standing behind her.  She could feel the heat radiating off of his body and once those words were out of her mouth, he backed away and she felt cold and alone. 

He reentered the living room and the two made idle conversation while she made the sandwiches and silently prayed that she wouldn’t burn them. 

She never was a very good cook. 

Luckily for her, the sandwiches turned out fine and she filled two glasses with water and joined Shuyin in the living room with their lunch.  He smiled at her when he took the plate, “Thanks, Lenne.”

“You’re welcome, Shuyin.”  She responded.  She loved the way he said her name.  It seemed to roll off of his tongue.  It sounded like a dream coming from his mouth.  All of his words sounded like a dream – slow, languid, and deliciously wonderful. 

The two chewed in silence for a little bit before he spoke again, “Zaon tells me that you’re looking for a job.”

Lenne nodded, “It’s more of a pain then I thought it would be.  A-East isn’t exactly looking for songstresses at the moment and that’s pretty much all I’m good at.”

Shuyin laughed and motioned to the remainder of his sandwich, still clenched in his hand, “I disagree.  You make a really good sandwich.  You could be a singing short-order cook.”

“Now there’s an idea!” Lenne replied sarcastically and with a laugh, “I’m sure everyone in Zanarkand wants one of those!”

After the two calmed their mirth – which lasted about 5 minutes – Shuyin stuffed the remainder of the sandwich in his mouth, gulped down his water, and said, “Well, the reason I bring it up is because the Abes coach, Wargna, talked a few months ago about having someone do short little shows before the games.” He stood, stretching, and smiled at her, “I don’t know if he’s still thinking about it since nobody really expressed any interest back then, but it might be worth checking out.” 

Lenne’s smile seemed to take over her entire face and she impulsively jumped up and wrapped her arms around Shuyin’s neck in a tight hug.  Once she was in that position she immediately regretted it until she felt him tentatively put his arms around her thin waist and hug her back. 

The pull away was slow and they stood staring into each other’s eyes for a moment – her arms still around his neck, his hands still on her waist.  She felt herself slowly lifting on her toes to close the distance between them when her front door flung open and Yunalesca walked in followed by Zaon saying, “Lennie, you will never gue….” The newlyweds stopped and stared as Shuyin and Lenne pulled away from each other quickly.  Lenne could see how stood there with his eyes to the floor as if he’d just committed an unforgiveable crime.  Yunalesca’s eyes flashed her anger at seeing the one she deemed ‘unworthy of Lenne’s attention’ standing in her best friend’s living room and she stormed closer to him, “And just what in Spira are you doing here, Shuyin?”  she sneered at him and stuck her nose in the air, “Don’t you have some slutty fan you could be paying attention to.”

Lenne half expected Zaon or Shuyin to scream at Lenne, but neither said anything.  Shuyin didn’t even look up to acknowledge Yunalesca.  His eyes were focused on the floor and his hands were deep inside the pocket of his shorts.  Zaon seemed to be just like Lenne – waiting for some sort of reaction from the blond blitzer but when none came Lenne felt herself getting angry at Yunalesca’s intrusion and she stormed over to her and stood next to Shuyin, “I could ask you the same thing, Yuna.” She said, “I invited Shuyin in for some lunch because he was waiting for Zaon.  Is that a crime in Zanarkand now?”

Yunalesca’s angered face softened a little and she whispered, “Sorry, Shuyin.  I was out of line.”

“Yes you were.” Lenne hissed in an angry voice that surprised even herself.  She didn’t know why she was suddenly so protective of Shuyin but decided to blame it on the fact that he had just given her a job lead. 

Yes…that was it.

“So, Shuyin, you wanted to see me?” Zaon finally said after a few moments of silence between the foursome. 

Finally lifting his eyes from the floor, Shuyin nodded and said, “I just wanted to know if you still wanted me to teach you some blitzball tomorrow after practice.”

Before Lenne could hear Zaon’s answer, she was shuffled from the room by Yunalesca who insisted that they needed to talk in private.  When the door was shut behind the two women in Lenne’s bedroom, Yunalesca put her hands on her hips, “Just what was that Lenne?!  Were you going to kiss him?”

“So what if I was?  What business of it is yours?”

Yunalesca threw her hands in the air in exasperation, “I’ve told you the type of guy he is!  Why won’t you listen to me?”

Shaking her head, Lenne said, “Maybe he is that type of guy, but then again maybe he isn’t.  Besides, he gave me a lead for a job.  Why would he do that if he wasn’t nice?”

“I never said he wasn’t nice, Lenne.” Said Yunalesca, “I just said that he’s not the type of guy you want to go falling for.”

“Yuna,” Lenne began, touching her friend’s shoulder, “I know you mean well, but the fact is that I kind of like him a little.  I won’t give into it, though.”

Yunalesca sighed, “Lennie, why…”

“For the first time I feel something real - some sort of real emotion that hasn’t been fabricated by the press or by my stupid head.  Nothing’s going to come of it. 

“Lennie!  I know him better than you do!” Yunalesca pleaded.

Lenne pointed to the door again and waved her hand in dismissal of her friend, “I trust Shuyin and I like him.  Get used to it.”

Author’s Notes:  This chapter is in no way a rip off of Brenden Fraser’s movie of the same name.  I just thought that phrase worked well with this chapter.  I decided to add this “blast” from Shuyin’s past because I think that Shuyin and Lenne needed a little something to keep them apart besides that war (which I will be getting into in more detail in a few chapters). 

Below is chapter 5.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Five:  Blast from the Past

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Blitzball practice had run later than usual so when Shuyin, Skirpa, and Bruttam walked out of the stadium all three of them were so tired they could have collapsed on the street and slept.  Skirpa still had a grin on his face – one that he’d had all during practice – but he wouldn’t tell Shuyin why.  He would only say that ‘Shuyin knew why’ and leave it at that. 

The blond blitzer was about to point out that he didn’t know what was so damned great when he saw a streak of blue from the corner of his eye.  He turned his head and saw Lenne rushing toward him with a huge smile on her beautiful face.  He briefly noted Zaon and Yunalesca behind her but all conscious thoughts left his head when she reached him and hugged him close to her.  He could smell the scent of jasmine in her hair and momentarily let himself close his eyes and block out all other things except for her until she pulled away and said, “Thank you so much!”

Shuyin could feel the eyes of his friends on him and the beautiful songstress but he forced himself to focus on the gorgeous creature before him.  He allowed himself a small grin when he asked, “Why?”

Lenne laughed and shook her head, “Like you don’t know!” she punched him playfully and said, “I talked to Wargna this morning and he is still interested in that position you told me about last night.” She waited for him to give her a look of understanding before she said, “Yep!  I got it!!”

Impulsively, Shuyin gave her a quick kiss on the lips, “That is so great!” he cried before he realized what he’d done.  He wanted to crawl in a hole and die or run before she had a chance to slap him, but she didn’t slap him. 

Instead she grinned and said, “And I owe it all to you.  I don’t know how I can repay you.”

Skirpa stepped forward at that moment and introduced himself to Lenne.  When that was finished he smiled at the songstress and suggested a means to repay Shuyin, “You could take him out to dinner with your first paycheck.”

Lenne smiled and said, “If Shuyin’s interested, then that’d be great.”

The Farplane must have exploded.  Macalania must have melted.  The Thunder Plains must have become a tourist attraction.  The world as Shuyin knew it had to have been coming to an end. 

Lenne wanted to go out with him!

Shuyin was, once again, unable to form words.  His mouth opened and closed like a fish while Lenne waited for him to respond.  He could see Bruttam shaking his head in disappointment at Shuyin’s pathetic display but Skirpa just grinned and said to Lenne, “See, he likes you so much he’s tongue tied.”

“Well,” Lenne said to Skirpa, “I seriously doubt that I could make any guy tongue tied, much less Shuyin.” She playfully punched Shuyin in the chest again, “So do you want to…”

“Shuyin?!”

That voice was one Shuyin hadn’t heard in almost three years.  He stiffened visibly and cast a glance at Zaon who also had a tense look on his face.  Shuyin focused his blue eyes on the woman approaching him.   Dressed in tight black leggings and a long red sweater, the girl’s dark blond hair was accented by a black barrette that clung to a few strands and kept them from her face.  Shuyin swallowed hard and tried to keep his anger under control. 

“That is you!” she said when she came to stop in front of Shuyin, who still had Lenne by his side.  She grinned, “How have you been?”

Shuyin didn’t answer.  It wasn’t because his mouth couldn’t form words.  On the contrary, they could form quite a few words but none of them seemed appropriate to say in front of Lenne.  After a few minutes of silence, the girl’s smile faded and she asked, “You haven’t forgotten my name, have you?” she put her hands on her hips, “Since I’ve been back in town, I’ve heard quite a few rumors about you.  None of them too flattering, I might add.”

Lenne’s questioning gaze caused Shuyin to realize he was going to have to speak to the girl in front of him at some point.  Pointedly refusing to speak to her would make him look bad in Lenne’s eyes and that was the last thing he wanted – especially since she had expressed interest in going out with him.  He sighed and said, “I thought you were living in D-West, Allyn.”

Allyn’s smile returned, “So you do remember me!”

“I wouldn’t forget someone like you, Allyn.  Someone who is so…”  A sharp jab in the ribs from Skirpa caused him to stop in mid sentence and shoot his friend thankful look.  Just being within feet of Allyn was making him furious. 

Why was she back?!

Allyn looked at Lenne and gave her a fake smile as she said, “My, are you Lady Lenne from C-South?”

Lenne nodded, “Yes I am.  It’s nice to meet you Allyn.” 

Lenne extended her hand to shake Allyn’s but the pompous female just looked at it and sneered, “I’m sure it is, honey.” Shuyin could see Lenne’s shock at the rude comment she’d received and he felt his annoyance with Allyn grow to anger. He rushed forward, grabbing the woman’s arm roughly and dragging her across the street to stand under the blitzball statue that stood outside of the stadium.

------------------.

“Who is that?” Yunalesca asked as the group watched Shuyin interrogate the girl from across the street.  She looked familiar and assumed she was one of Shuyin’s many one night stands, but there was something about the way they fought that indicated a deeper sort of familiarity.

Her husband shrugged, “It’s a long story.”

Skirpa and Bruttam nodded in agreement, “A very long story.” Bruttam agreed.

Yunalesca noted the way that Lenne watched Shuyin shyly and with a sort of longing.  It was obvious that her friend liked the blitzer and that frightened Yunalesca.  Shuyin wasn’t the type to stick around and she knew that Lenne would just fall in love with him and end up hurt and alone.  She really wished there was something she could do to stop that, but there wasn’t.  Lenne was doomed to her own fate and if that fate meant Shuyin then there was nothing Yunalesca could do to prevent it. 

Still curious and a little concerned for Lenne’s feelings, Yunalesca nudged her husband, “Come on, Zaon.  I’m sure there’s a short version to that story of yours.  Who is she?”

“Her name is Allyn.” Replied Zaon.

Yunalesca searched her mind for that name and then it hit her.   She’d seen that girl with Shuyin several times early on in her relationship with Zaon.  She hadn’t known Shuyin very well then and the two rarely hung out with him at that point but she distinctly remembered that girl.  She gasped and cried, “Please tell me she’s not here to tell him he has a child!”

Skirpa started laughing at the absurdity of that remark and said, “No!  No!  No!  If Allyn has a child, it sure as hell isn’t Shuyin’s.  It’s probably…” he paused and looked at Bruttam, “What was that guy’s name again?”

“George or Gayorg or Georg or something like that, I think.”

-----------------------.

“You’re hurting my arm!” Allyn hissed as she wrenched her arm away from Shuyin and glared at him, “I thought you’d be happy to see me.”

Shuyin let out a loud laugh and shook his head, “Why the hell would I be happy to see you?!  I thought you were living it up in D-West with…” he paused and scratched his head, “What was his name again?”

“Georg.”  Allyn said solemnly before adding, “I’m not seeing him anymore.”

“So let me guess.  You thought that you could just swing your hips back to A-East and I’d drop to my knees for you.”  Shuyin rolled his eyes, “Get over yourself Allyn.”

“Is that singer your girlfriend?” she asked after Shuyin had taken a few steps away from her.  The blitzer stopped and turned back to her as she said, “You always were her biggest fan.  Does she know you have all of her spheres?”

Shuyin leaned into Allyn so that she could feel his breath on her face, “Lenne is none of your business.  Nothing in my life is any of your business anymore, Allyn.  You made that choice when you left.” 

“I loved you, you know.”  Allyn whispered, “I still do.”

Shuyin glared at her, “You had a hell of a funny way of showing it.” He replied and with that said, Shuyin spun on his heels and marched right over the Lenne.  He wasn’t going to let Allyn’s unwelcomed appearance interrupt him answering the lovely songstress’ question.  Smiling at the girl, he said, “Now that that is out of the way.  I would love to let you take me to dinner sometime.”

Lenne grinned into his eyes and obviously forgot totally about the interruption, “That’d be great.  How about tonight?”

“Tonight is fantastic.”

-------------------------------.

Allyn stood seething as she watched the small group of friends walk away but she focused her anger and hatred on only one – the pretty brunette, Lenne. 

Who did that bitch think she was?  If she wasn’t around, Allyn could have swept back into town and reclaimed what was rightfully hers without anyone’s interference but now she was going to have to work at reclaiming her property. 

“Damn that prissy little bitch!” she hissed to herself as she watched that pretty songstress saunter alongside Shuyin, casting flirtatious glances toward him and giggling stupidly at whatever thing he’d just said. 

Forcing herself to take a deep breath, Allyn straightened her hair.  She had to relax.  Since it was obvious that her plan of staying with Shuyin was put on temporary hold, she had to find a place to stay first.  Once that was finished, she could work on shoving little miss songstress out of the picture and putting herself next to Shuyin the way it was meant to be. 

She felt a triumphant smile forming on her lips as she watched Lenne round the corner with the rest of them, “Very soon, little missy.  I’ll wipe that damned smile right off of your face.” She hissed as she turned and walked in the opposite direction toward the apartment district.

Author’s Notes: Okay folks.  This is the first official Shuyin/Lenne date.  That grilled cheese sandwich meal from the previous chapters didn’t count.  Enjoy!

Below is chapter 6.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Six:  Inspiration

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Lenne was terribly nervous.  She’d been pacing around trying on different outfits since she’d gotten back to her house that afternoon.  She and Shuyin had made plans to have him pick her up at 7 and that was in less than a half hour.  Now dressed, Lenne was trying to find something to do that would keep her calm.  Writing music usually helped and she was going to need a song for her first performance as an opener for the Zanarkand Abes on Saturday night, but she was suffering from major writer’s block and only had a few lines. 

I remember hazy borders of my heart
I can see a place, it's something like this
Every now and then I don't know what to do
Still I know that I can never go bac

It was enough for an opening stanza or maybe the chorus, but it certainly wasn’t enough to call a song.  She didn’t know what the song was going to be about and she didn’t even have a title for the stupid thing yet.  Of course, names came after she figured out what kind of song it would be. 

Did she want to write another love song?  Love songs were her specialty and with Shuyin in the picture all of the sudden she felt like she might find the inspiration. 

She sighed.

She was doing it again.

Lenne always let her imagination run away with her when it came to affairs of the heart.  That was why Yunalesca was so worried about her.  It wasn’t just that her friend thought Shuyin was a bad person, it was also because Lenne tended to run into relationships with blinders on and didn’t see things until they were right in front of her, smacking her in the face – sometimes literally smacking her in the face like Broden did.

Lenne made a face and shoved the image of her abusive ex from her mind.  He was the last person she wanted to think about.  

She put the pen she held down and played with the ends of her brown hair.  Whatever she was feeling for Shuyin was amazing and she was loving every minute of it, but she decided that she wouldn’t give into those feelings.  If he was as bad as Yunalesca was saying, then the last thing she needed was to fall in love with him.  She smiled to herself, “I won’t give into it.” She said with more passion, “These feelings are surrounding me but I won’t give into it.”

Suddenly, she felt inspiration strike her and, just as the doorbell rang, she quickly scribbled three more lines down on the paper.

And though I know
The world with real emotion has surrounded me
I won't give into it

Rushing to the door and stopping only to straighten her hair and her light blue dress, Lenne opened the door and had to keep herself from gasping at the handsome figure standing there.  Somehow Shuyin managed to look more attractive every time she saw him.  Tonight he was wearing black dress slacks and a white dress shirt.  His lopsided grin made her blush a little because she knew he must have noticed her gaping.  Silently she motioned for him to come in and he did so.  The young couple stood staring at each other in uncomfortable silence for a few minutes until Shuyin said, “Have you decided where you want to go?”  Lenne nodded and Shuyin mock bowed, “What can I do for you, m’lady?”

Lenne smiled, “Let’s go to that new place on the corner of 4th and 7th.  I can’t remember the name.  Do you know the one I’m talking about?”

“Toscano’s?” Shuyin questioned and at Lenne’s nod he offered her his arm, “Toscano’s it is, m’lady summoner.”  With a laugh, Lenne accepted his arm and the two started out.  Lenne had a feeling this was going to be a very special night.

------------------- 

“Will you get away from the window, Yunalesca!” Zaon hissed from across the room.  The young man was sitting at his desk going over their bills and looked at his wife from over the glasses he needed to read close up, “It’s a date Yuna!  Let Lenne enjoy herself.”

Yunalesca continued to stare out the window as the couple climbed into Shuyin’s red convertible and she motioned to her husband to be quiet, “I am letting her enjoy it.  I’m not trying to stop her, am I?”

Once the couple was safetly up the street, Yunalesca left the window and sat on the sofa near her husband’s desk.  Zaon placed a loving hand on her knee and laughed, “You’re worse than a mother sometimes.”

“Well, I think that’s a compliment!” Yunalesca replied, “I worry about Lenne.  The last thing she needs is someone like Shuyin breaking her heart.”

“How do you know he will?” questioned her husband.  He knew that his friend had a bad reputation with women and with Allyn back in town nobody could tell how things were going to work out between the blitzer and the summoner but Zaon knew one thing.  Shuyin really liked Lenne.  He liked her more than he’s liked a girl in a long time.  With that being the case, a simple date between the two couldn’t possibly be a bad thing. 

Yunalesca sighed and stretched her long body on the sofa before responding, “I don’t know that he will.  I mean, maybe he won’t.  Maybe he’ll fall madly in love with her and they’ll get married and have a ton of babies.”

“Maybe they will.”

Yunalesca shook her head, “But maybe they won’t.” she put her head on a balled fist as she sat back up, “It’s that maybe that worries me.  I know Lenne.  If she’s not thinking about babies with him yet then she will be by the time this date is over.”  The blond laughed to herself a little and said, “She tends to rush things in her head.”

“You don’t seem,” responded Zaon, “to have much faith in her common sense.”

“It’s not that!” Yunalesca said, “it’s just that everything that led up to this date worries me.  I mean, it was weird how they seemed to connect so quickly.  Shuyin couldn’t even speak at first!  He never gets that way around girls.”  Her blond hair swept the floor as she leaned over further to say to her husband, “Who is that Allyn person?  Tell me.”

Zaon had been dreading that question but he knew it would come eventually and that he’d have to answer it.  He knew that Shuyin would rather never talk about Allyn again, but with his wife asking him so pleadingly Zaon knew he had to tell her.  Putting his glasses on the table, he climbed onto the sofa next to his wife and pulled her feet into his lap to rub them while he spoke, “Remember when we first started dating we rarely hung out with Shuyin.”

Yunalesca nodded, “You said it was because you wanted to spend some time alone with me.”

“That’s true,” Zaon said, “but that’s not the entire story.”

---------------------

Lenne ate some of the potatoes on her plate while Shuyin was just watching openly, and wantonly. He watched as she brought each bite up to her mouth.  With each move her mouth made, he wanted to lean over the table and kiss her more and more.  He forced himself to shake it off, knowing that it would just push her away.  He needed to maintain control over his hormones.  He didn’t want to screw this up. 

“So tell me more about yourself, Shuyin.” The songstress said after her potatoes were completely devoured. 

Taking a sip from his water glass, Shuyin said, “Well, I’ve lived in A-East my whole life and have played on the Abes since I was about 13.” He smiled at Lenne, “What you see is what you get with me.  I don’t bother hiding stuff and will answer questions openly because people usually find out about the lies eventually so you’re really just postponing the inevitable.”

Lenne grinned at that, “Well that is a refreshing way of looking at things.  From the way Yunalesca spoke of you one might think you were some sort of rare form of fiend.”

“Well,” Shuyin replied, “Yunalesca has never particularly liked me.  You can’t take what she says too seriously.”

“Why doesn’t she like you?”

It was a point blank question and Shuyin wasn’t going to lie to Lenne or try to cover the truth with lies.  He cleared his throat and said, “Well, she had been dating Zaon for about three months before I ever even met her.  I’d seen her a few times from the stands at the games, but never had been formally introduced to her.”  He took a bite of his chicken and chewed on it as he contemplated how to tell her the rest.  Once he swallowed he said, “The day I first met Yunalesca was in the hospital.  Zaon and I had gotten into a fight and I slammed the door in his face.  It broke his nose.”  He laughed, “Suffice it to say, Zaon and I were always breaking each others bones over stupid stuff but Yunalesca didn’t understand that and thought I had broken his nose for no reason.  To top it off, it was around then that I started with my…um….well, I’m sure you know what I’m talking about.”

“Your sexual exploits?” Lenne asked.  Shuyin blushed a little and nodded to which Lenne continued, “Why do you sleep around?  Is it just because you can?”

“Direct…” said Shuyin and he smiled, “I like that.”  He sighed and tried to think of the best way to explain why he did what he did.  The only way to explain it properly was to explain Allyn and he didn’t particularly want to do that and spoil the evening, so he simply said, “Sex is fun and I like having it.”

Lenne laughed and Shuyin joined her.  Laughter between them seemed easy and never forced and Shuyin loved that.  He also loved the way Lenne’s eyes danced with her mirth and when a song started playing in the background, another sort of dancing occurred to him.  He stood up and extended his hand, “Do you want to dance?” he asked her.

Lenne accepted his hand and as he led her to the floor she whispered jokingly, “You do know how, right?”

Shuyin let out a quiet laugh and the two turned toward each other on the dance floor.  Lenne placed her hands around his neck and he put his hands on her hips in the same position as they had been at her house that day when Yunalesca had interrupted them. 

Shuyin couldn’t help but wonder what would have happened had that not happened.

Shutting his eyes, Shuyin let his body move with hers around the room.  The silence between them was poignant.  It was as if they didn’t want to ruin the moment that was developing between them.  Lenne moved closer to remove the gap between their bodies until both were conscious of the thin layer of clothes that were their only barrier.  Shuyin felt her lay her head on his shoulder and he instinctively removed his hands from her hips and wrapped both arms around her waist.  Anyone watching would have been able to see that this was more than just a friendly dance.

Lenne lifted her head a little to look at Shuyin, who opened his eyes and smiled at her.  Lenne smiled back and the two continued to stare into each others eyes.  The seconds ticked by and it was only when they noticed the couples around them moving faster that they realized the song had changed. 

------------------------------

“What do you mean, ‘that’s not the whole story’?” Yunalesca asked her husband.  She was intrigued by the beginning of the story and wanted to know more about Allyn.  She was hoping that she would be wrong about Shuyin this time and that he and Lenne would be happy together, but with the sudden arrival of Allyn on the scene, something told Yunalesca that if Shuyin and Lenne could have worked out then, it was threatened now.

 

Zaon grimaced a little, “Shuyin used to date Allyn.”

 

“What?” Yunalesca cocked an eyebrow in confusion, “Shuyin’s never had a girlfriend.  He doesn’t stay with anyone longer than 24 hours.”

 

“He doesn’t now. He did then.”

 

“He did?”

 

Zaon nodded, “Shuyin started dating Allyn about a month before I met you.  Both of us decided to separate our love lives from each other until the relationships were solid.  He and I knew that together the two of us acted like Neanderthals so we figured we’d put on a good front so that both of you girls would know the real us before we got together.”  He sighed, “I had met Allyn a few times at Shuyin’s blitzball games so I knew her relatively well and I never really liked her.  There was something about her that rubbed me the wrong way.” He laughed, “Maybe it was the way she always was rubbing my thigh when I sat next to her that did it.  I don’t know.  Whatever it was, I never told Shuyin and just let him go about his business with her.  He was happy and so was I.”

 

“What happened?” his wife asked.

 

“I just want you to know,” Zaon said, “that Shuyin is very capable of loving someone.  He fell hard and fast for Allyn and everything seemed to be going fine.  She was his first girlfriend,” clearing his throat, Zaon whispered, “Well, she was a lot of firsts for, Shuyin…”

 

Yunalesca’s mouth gaped and she said in half jest, “I didn’t realize Shuyin was ever a virgin.  I just figured he was born having sex.”

 

Very funny!” her husband said as he tickled her hips gently until she begged him to stop.  He released her and continued, “The day you met Shuyin was the day that he had broken my nose.  I never told you what really happened to cause that, did I?”

 

Yunalesca shook her head and said, “I just figured Shuyin was being an ass and punched you.”

 

“He didn’t punch me.” Her husband replied, “He slammed a door in my face.  That morning Allyn had left a note on his pillow saying she was leaving him for some guy named Georg that played for the Zanarkand Urks in D-West.  Shuyin was really upset and when he told me about it, I told him about her rubbing my thigh all the time and I told him that I thought she was a slut.  He didn’t take it too well and when I followed him to his room to try and discuss the situation rationally, he slammed the door and it broke my nose.”

 

Yunalesca shook her head, “So that’s why he was so cold to her.  I thought it was odd.  He’s distant to his one night stands but he’s never ice cold.”  She looked at her husband, “Why do you think she’s back?”

 

“Well, judging from the way she was acting, I’d say that she’s back to get Shuyin.” Zaon sighed, “I just hope he’s not stupid enough to fall for her tricks again.  She has a hold over him and I know he still harbors some feelings for her.  The other day I found a framed picture of her in his dresser when I was helping him look for something.  When I asked him about it, he said that he had forgotten about it and that it wasn’t a big deal, but I just don’t know.”

 

Yunalesca’s gaze soured and she said, “I feel sorry for him.  Nobody deserves to get hurt like that, not even Shuyin, but if he breaks Lenne’s heart then I will break his face.  You have my promise on that one, Zaon.”

 

Zaon laughed, “Go ahead honey, but you’d have to beat me too him.”

 

-------------------

Pulling up in front of Lenne’s house, Shuyin parked and exited the car quickly to open the door for her.  His father had taught him to be a gentlemen on dates and it was a lesson that Shuyin hadn’t followed in his 19 years but with Lenne he suddenly wanted to be as gentlemanly as possible.  Once she was on her feet he offered his arm again and he walked with her in silence to her porch.  She unlocked the door and walked inside with Shuyin at her heels.  The small table lamp was the only light that was in the room until Lenne found the switch that turned on the ceiling fan. 

 

They stood facing each other like they had during the dance.  The hum of the ceiling fan droned above and the seconds ticked by.  Shuyin’s eyes shifted between her eyes and her mouth and back again. Her eyes did the same, but quickly came to focus on his mouth. 

 

The tension between them was growing and Lenne made a move to turn away but Shuyin stopped her, “I need to tell you something.” He said, his voice in earnest.  Lenne nodded and looked into his blue eyes as he said, “I think you’re feeling the same things that I am and I think you’re trying to fight them as hard as I am.  I don’t want to get hurt as much as I don’t want to hurt you, but I know one thing.  The heart can only move forward.  It can’t go backward and I want you to know that if I have anything to say about it, you won’t be alone.  You’ll never be alone as long as I’m alive.”  He stopped and smiled a little, “What I’m saying is that I really like you and I hope you feel the same way.”

 

Lenne didn’t respond with words.  Instead she tilted her head to the right a little and moved closer to Shuyin.  She heard his heart beat start to race.

 

His eyes stared into hers and  tilted his head to meet hers.  The first brush of their lips was gently and brief.  It reminded Lenne of the tiny kiss he’d given her just that morning.  For a brief moment his lips had been against hers and she longed for that moment to stretch into many more moments.   Letting go of the hand she had clasped just before the kiss, she brought it up to the back of his neck and pulled him down until they kissed again.

 

Shuyin ran his hands over her back, loving the small sighs of pleasure she would emit between feverish kisses.  She relished the feeling of his strong body against hers.  His hands were actively caressing her back but he didn’t venture anywhere else.  She was happy that he respected her enough not to rush and was also slightly disappointed at the same time. 

 

Lenne wanted more and opened her lips slightly on their next kiss.  Shuyin knew what she wanted and he gently slid his tongue into her mouth, caressing the inside of it much in the way his hands were caressing her back.

 

Suddenly possessing a desire she didn’t completely understand, Lenne shoved Shuyin over the arm of the sofa and climbed on top of him.  The blitzer seemed more than willing to comply with her change of pace.  The gentle kisses that had started between them were soon replaced with deep and passionate kisses that left the duo breathless with desire for each other.  Lenne’s small hands unbuttoned his shirt slowly and trailed hot kisses down his chest but when her hands went to do the same with his pants, Shuyin tensed up and pushed her to a sitting position. 

 

"As much as I love this, I think we should stop," Shuyin managed as he tried to steady his racing heart and his over active hormones.

 

Lenne's face was a mask of disappointment.  Her brown eyes locked with his, "We don’t have to," she said.

 

"Yes, we do.” Shuyin said with more force this time, “I know where that entire thing was headed and I don’t want to have things between us move too fast."

 

"I thought you wanted to go fast," she said pressing her body to his again, running her tongue over his bottom lip.

 

“Lenne," he started, trying to control his urge to flip her over and give her exactly what she wanted so badly, "I don’t want you to hate me in the morning." He paused and stroked her cheek with one hand, "I meant what I said when I said that I like you.  I want to do things right."

 

"Yuna is going to flip when she finds out that you are just a softie in disguise!” Lenne teased. 

 

"Maybe I just want to make you fall in love with me first." he said with a smirk.

 

"I can live with that," Lenne replied as she climbed to her feet.  Seeing an opportunity he had to take, he rose quietly and attacked her from behind, tickling her hips and sending her into a laughing fit that ended with Shuyin having Lenne pinned to the sofa.  His body lay over her entirely and the intimate kissing began anew.  Lenne shifted a little and Shuyin moaned deeply into her mouth.  She squirmed again and got the same reaction which only made her desire for him grow as she gently moved his hand from her shoulder down toward her breast, but Shuyin grunted what Lenne believed to be a no and sat up suddenly. 

 

Taking a deep breath, he smiled at her and said, “You’re irresistible, you know that?”

 

She laughed, “Then why do you keep resisting me?”

 

“It’s difficult, m’lady.  Trust me.” Shuyin kissed her cheek gently, “I think I should go before I can’t resist you anymore.”

 

“Okay,” Lenne whined as she followed Shuyin to her front door.  He opened it and stepped onto the porch before turning back to her.  She smiled, "Goodnight…" Lenne whispered as they kissed lightly.  Kissing at all at this point was a mistake.  The kiss quickly to become more passionate and Lenne struggled to pull Shuyin back into her home by the front of his shirt which neither had bothered to button back up.  Shuyin grunted another no and both pulled away from each other, out of breathe.

 

"Goodnight," he said as he gently pulled the door shut behind him.  Lenne watched him from the window until his car was out of sight before she ran into the kitchen and grabbed her sheet of paper.  She suddenly felt inspired to write a song for the game on Saturday. 

 

It was thanks to Shuyin. 

 

Resisting love and desire was going to be the key for this song.  Resisting the emotion she was feeling.  She smiled to herself as she sat down with her pen.  Lenne touched her lips as she recalled the kisses he’d placed there only moments before.  Her heart skipped a beat and she giggled slightly. 

 

She knew she wouldn’t be able to resist those feelings for long and she was happy.

Author’s Notes: This chapter will get into two of the major conflicts in this story.  The first conflict involves Allyn and is totally from my own imagination.  The second conflict involves Vegnagun and belongs completely to Square-Enix.   

Below is chapter 7.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Seven:  Out of Control

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

“So how did it go?”  Zaon asked the next morning as he and Shuyin ate their breakfast at a table outside of their favorite restaurant.  The two always met there once a week since Zaon had gotten his license and it was a tradition that they had continued.  The husband of Lady Yunalesca was very anxious to hear how his best friend’s date with Lenne had gone the night before.  He hoped that, despite Allyn being back in town, that Shuyin would be willing to give it a decent shot with Lenne. 

 

Shuyin took a long drink from his cup of juice before saying, “It was nice.”

 

“Just nice?!” The two men looked in the direction of the voice and smiled when they saw Skirpa and Bruttam sauntering towards them.  Skirpa – who had spoken – plopped down in one of the spare chairs with Bruttam in the other and said, “You went out with the hottest thing to hit A-East in years and it was just nice?!”

 

Shuyin gave them a confident smirk, “Yep.  It was nice.”

 

Bruttam placed a hand on Shuyin’s arm and looked at him pleadingly, “What we really want to know is, did you get laid?”

 

“Maybe.” Was the blitzer’s response.  Zaon saw a glint in Shuyin’s eyes and smiled a little.  He knew that glint.  It was when Shuyin was enjoying driving people crazy.  Zaon also knew that it wasn’t the glint Shuyin got in his eyes after having a date that ended in bed. 

 

Yunalesca would be relieved to know that Lenne’s virtue remained intact.

 

Unfortunately for Shuyin’s fellow teammates, they didn’t understand the blitzer the way Zaon did and his answer was driving them crazy.  Skirpa slammed his hand onto the table, “Maybe?!  Either you did or you didn’t.”

 

“Come on, Shu!”  Bruttam begged, “you gotta spill!”

 

Shuyin shook his head, “What happened between Lenne and me is our business.  It’s not yours.”

 

Skirpa and Bruttam looked from each other to Shuyin several times before Skirpa looked at Zaon and asked, “Did Bevelle soldiers kidnap the real Shuyin and put a fake one in his place?” 

 

Laughing, Zaon said, “No, I just think he’s growing up a little.  That’s all.”

 

Skirpa frowned and looked at Shuyin, “I liked the immature you who would spill everything the day after.  Did Lenne swear you to secrecy?  We won’t tell anyone if you tell us.  We swear!”

 

Shuyin shrugged, “I didn’t sleep with her.” He stated, “We made out for about 20 minutes and then I left.” The blitzer leaned forward, “And no, she didn’t swear me to secrecy about anything.  I was just screwing with you guys.”

 

Bruttam smacked him on the back of Shuyin’s head and, as Shuyin rubbed his skull, his friend hissed, “Well, that is just mean.”

 

“Yeah!” Skirpa agreed before adding, “Anyway, I figured she’d make you leave.  She doesn’t strike me as the type that would go that far on the first date.”

 

“Is that a bad thing?” Zaon asked.

 

Skirpa shook his head, “Not at all.  Besides, Shuyin gets all the easy ass.  It’s about time he has to work for it.” 

 

The three guys started laughing but Shuyin sat with a confident smile on his face and after a few minutes of mirth his friends noticed it.  They looked at him questioningly and Shuyin said with a grin, “I didn’t say she made me leave.”

 

Zaon looked from Skirpa to Bruttam then finally focused on Shuyin.  If he understood what his friend was saying then maybe Skirpa was right.  Maybe someone had switched Shuyin with someone else.  The Shuyin that Zaon knew never would have left if he thought there was a possibility that he’d get laid.  It was a behavior that Zaon had come to expect from Shuyin.  He wasn’t thrilled with it, but he’d come to expect it.  If Shuyin had left even after Lenne asked him to stay…Yunalesca would have no reason to hate Shuyin anymore.  That was for sure.  Pushing a strand of his blue hair from his face, Zaon asked, “What are you saying?”

 

“She wanted me to stay.” Replied Shuyin, “I said no.” It was exactly as Zaon had assumed and his shocked look caused Shuyin to choke on his gulp of juice as he laughed, “It’s really not that shocking, Zaon!  If I had done what Lenne wanted then I would have run the risk of her hating me and I don’t want that.”  Shuyin wiped some juice from his chin and said, “Besides, even if she didn’t hate me, Yunalesca would have had me castrated and I don’t want to be a unich, thanks.  Especially if Lenne wasn’t mad at me.” 

The blitzer winked and the entire table burst into laughter that was quickly squelched when a voice echoed from behind them.

 

“Glad to see you’re in a better mood today, Shuyin.”  Allyn said as she approached, running a tapered finger through Shuyin’s hair.  Shuyin tensed and moved his head as Allyn whispered in his ear, “Heard about your date with the singer.  How’d that go?”

 

Shuyin turned to face the woman behind him.  His breath caught for a minute when he realized she was wearing the necklace he’d bought for her but he quickly recovered from the shock and replied, “It went fantastic, Allyn.  Best date I’ve ever had.”

 

The female leaned down a little further and Shuyin tried to hide two distinct feelings at the sight of her cleavage – disgust and desire.  Allyn said, “Better than the dates we used to have?” she asked with a lilting tone and a wink.

 

Shuyin knew she was referring to the non-dates they would have where they wouldn’t make it out of her front door before they were ripping clothes off of each other.  The memory of those dates was something that Shuyin didn’t want to be reminded of.  He didn’t want to remember how much he’d loved the whore in front of him.  It sickened him to think about it.  The blitzer gave her a smile and said, “It was 100% better, Allyn.”

 

That was obviously not the answer the woman wanted to hear and she snapped back up and put her hands on her hips as she hissed, “You honestly like that prissy little virgin more than me?!”

 

“Yes, I do.” Was Shuyin’s response.

 

Allyn’s eyes caught sight of Lenne and Yunalesca approaching from a few yards away.  They were far enough away to see them but not close enough to hear their words.  Suddenly a wonderful idea came to her.  Grabbing a shocked Shuyin’s shoulders, Allyn pressed her lips against his and, although she felt him stiffen, he didn’t immediately pull away.  She knew that Shuyin couldn’t resist her for long.  She was just about to congratulate herself when she suddenly realized that he’d shoved her away but before she could react she ended up with her butt firmly planted on the cement.  Shuyin glared at her and wiped his mouth hard and purposefully before hissing, “Don’t you ever do that again.”

 

She could see Lenne’s shock at the entire scene as the songstress and her friend stopped a few feet behind Shuyin.  Allyn calmly climbed to her feet, “You used to love that.” She said, “You used to love me.”

 

“That was a lifetime ago, Allyn.” The blitzer said, “I don’t anymore.”

 

It was then that Lenne moved closer to Shuyin and put a hand on his shoulder, “Morning.” She said.  Allyn felt her fury mount when Shuyin smiled up at the songstress and kissed her gently before saying good morning to her. 

 

Allyn poked Shuyin hard in the shoulder and, when she had his attention, asked, “What?  Do you love her now?!”  Shuyin’s lack of an answer frightened Allyn.  There was no way that Shuyin was falling in love with that songstress, right?  She leaned over and hissed in Shuyin’s face, “She’s just a distraction.  You’ll be running back to me in no time.”

 

“Don’t bet on it, Allyn.”

 

Allyn seethed, “I heard you got her a job as the Abes opening act.  Couldn’t she find something on her own or is she completely helpless?”

 

It was Lenne’s turn to speak.  In her sweetest tone, she said, “Why don’t you stop worrying about my job and get back to yours.  Isn’t there a street corner you should be working or something?”

 

Shuyin let out a laugh and Allyn rolled her eyes, “Laugh it up, Shuyin.  The bottom line is, she is just a distraction.  You know I’m right.” Turning a little, Allyn said, “Good luck in the game tomorrow.  I just hope your little girlfriend isn’t too much of a distraction.” Glaring at Lenne, Allyn walked off in the direction the hover station.

 

When the furious female was gone, Shuyin patted his lap and said to Lenne, “Have a seat.  There aren’t anymore chairs.”  Lenne smiled and accepted his offer with Yunalesca doing the same with her husband.  Once Shuyin’s arms were safely around Lenne’s waist, he said, “I guess I have some explaining to do.”

 

Lenne shook her head, “It’s not necessary.  Yuna told me everything that Zaon told her last night.”  She turned a little and smiled at him, “Everybody has a few skeletons.  Yours just happens to be in the form of an obsessed ex.”

 

Skirpa made a face, “She’s such a slut, I swear.  The way she used to rub my thigh all the time…”

 

“She did that to you too?!”  Zaon cried.

 

Laughing, Shuyin reached for his juice glass, “I think she did that to every man that was nearby.  She really is a slut.”  He took a sip before saying, “She’s also totally out of control.”

 

-----------------------

 

The city of Bevelle was the second largest in Spira.  It was second only to Zanarkand in size and population and it was because of this that Bevelle had taken to hoarding and creating an army of machina.  They wanted desperately to top Zanarkand and therefore become the best.  Since their location in Spira made extending their city virtually impossible, their only hope was to become the most powerful. 

 

Years ago, Bevelle and Zanarkand had been allies fighting together to defend each other and the sacred mountain, Gagazet, from invaders from Luca and the various Al Bhed nations.

 

After peace had been brought to Spira and there was no more fighting to be done, the leaders of Zanarkand and Bevelle started to drift apart and eventually the two nations became the bitterest of enemies.  The citizens of Bevelle envied the citizens of Zanarkand for their size while the citizens of Zanarkand envied the citizens of Bevelle for their power.  The sacred mountain that both nations used to defend together had become the only means of keeping them apart aside from the city of Nagi that sat between the two on a spacious frontier just behind Mt. Gagazet

 

That particular morning, the leader of Bevelle and its army, Reiber Ackmard, was going over the most recent report he’d received from his men on their newest machina, Vegnagun.  So far Vegnagun had failed every test they’d given it in terms of response and this morning’s was no different. 

 

The damned thing seemed to have a mind of its own.

 

He threw the paper down in disgust and stepped out of his office and onto the balcony to breath in the fresh air.  It was beginning to look like using Vegnagun wasn’t going to be an option.  All the tests indicated that if it was used, the machina would probably destroy Bevelle as well.  Reiber couldn’t let that happen.  Going to war with Zanarkand was years overdue and the fact that Bevelle relied totally on its machina rather than Zanarkand’s pathetic reliance upon summoners guaranteed Bevelle’s victory.  Bevelle had enough machina to make Zanarkand bleed without using Vegnagun. 

 

That colossus was overkill.   

 

No date had been set between himself and his generals on when the invasion would be.  His meeting with the leader of Nagi would determine that.  Once the treaty allowing Bevelle soldiers to cross Nagi lands was signed, Bevelle could attack their enemy and Zanarkand would be blindsided. 

 

Of course, the invasion also depended on when Reiber’s daughter decided to leave the Zanarkand and come home to Bevelle.  For reasons Reiber didn’t understand, his only child had taken a liking to Zanarkand several years before and moved there against his wishes.  He kept telling her that war was inevitable and that he could only hold it off for so long.  He wanted to make her understand that once those papers with Nagi were signed, his generals could invade Zanarkand and the bombs could start dropping and there was very little Reiber could do to prevent it.  Although he was the leader of Bevelle and, therefore the army, the true power in war belonged to the generals who could override his decisions and demands if they so desired.  It was written in the laws of Bevelle and, although Reiber thought it was ridiculous, he couldn’t change them.  It was to protect the people of Bevelle from a tyrannical leader and if he changed them, he’d have a mutiny on his hands.

 

Hearing the door to his office open and shut, Reiber turned and was greeted by the sight of his daughter.  He rushed back inside from the balcony and cried, “Please tell me that you’ve come to your senses and are coming home!”

 

She shook her head, “Honestly, daddy.  I’m not finished in Zanarkand yet.  You can’t blow it up just now.”

 

“Allyn!” Reiber said, “I meet with the Nagi leader today.  Once those papers are signed, Zanarkand’s fate is sealed.  It’s only a matter of time.”

 

“Look.” Allyn said, “It’s taking a little longer than I expected to get Shuyin back.  He’s distracted by someone.  I just need a little more time.  Another month or two maybe and he’ll be mine again.  Then he and I will move to Bevelle and you can start dropping the bombs.”

 

Reiber sighed, “I can’t guarantee anything, sweetheart, but I will try.”  He touched his daughter’s hair fondly, “Who is Shuyin distracted by?  Who on Spira could be more wonderful than my sweet baby girl?”

 

Allyn frowned, “Oh, she’s positively vile, daddy.  A total witch.” She pouted a little then got a grin on her pretty face, “But don’t you worry.   I’ll have Shuyin back soon enough and then we’ll get married just like we’re supposed to.”

 

Smiling, Reiber put a hand on his heart and said, “And I just hope that you don’t get distracted by someone like you did with Georg.  That guy was a huge mistake, you know.”

 

“I know, daddy.  Shuyin’s still a little mad about that, but he’ll come around when he sees how much I love him and how sorry I am.”  She looked at her watch, “I need to get going.  I’ve got a hover waiting and those drivers charge by the minute.”  She laughed and kissed her father on the cheek before saying, “I just need a little time.  Stall!”

Author’s Notes:  This chapter takes place one month after Chapter Seven.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do this chapter and thought about it for a while which is why the update took longer than usual.  In the end, I decided that this chapter would really help set up the rest of the story in the direction that I want it to go so I decided to write it.  Hopefully it will be as well received as the rest of the story has been so far.  This is just the beginning of the angst that will be starting over the next few chapters.    

Below is chapter 8.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Eight:  Cheating Hearts

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

One Month Later

After taking a Tylenol, Lenne hoped to feel better.  Her head was aching and she knew she was getting sick, but she had to be tough.  She and Shuyin were double dating with Zaon and Yunalesca today and she wasn’t going to miss this.  This date was her chance to show Yunalesca that Shuyin was a good boyfriend.  In the month they’d been together, Shuyin had been more of a gentleman than she’d ever imagined he could be.  Even though he’d turned her down sexually on their first date, she just figured that it was in order to guarantee a second date and sex then but Shuyin had maintained a gentlemanly distance.  Although it was wonderful to know that he was willing to wait for her, it also concerned her that maybe he was satisfied with her because he was getting it somewhere else…

She shook her head hard and rose from the bed.  She wasn’t going to think about that.  These doubts that entered her head occasionally were ridiculous.  There was no proof.  There never would be proof.

Stripping out of her pajamas on the way to the bathroom, Lenne pulled back the curtain and let the hot spray of the water cascade down her back.  She distantly heard her front door open and smiled.  

Shuyin was there.

 “Lennie?” he called from the living room, “You awake?”

  “I’ll be out in a minute!”  Quickly finishing her shower, Lenne wrapped a towel around herself and went into her bedroom where she dressed quickly in jeans and a blue shirt.  The songstress towel dried her hair and then ran out to the living room to embrace her boyfriend.  She kissed his lips and then whispered, “Here I am.”

“There you are…” Shuyin replied.  Running a hand through her damp locks, he said, “This damp look is very sexy.”

 Lenne laughed, “Sure it is.” She said sarcastically before turning and walking back toward her bedroom, “You’re early and I didn’t get a chance to dry my hair.”

 “Sorry I’m early, babe.  I just couldn’t wait to see you.”

Lenne flicked her hair dryer on and leaned her head out the door as she started to dry her hair, “Sweet talker!” she said over the sound of the dryer.  She giggled a little and backed off as Shuyin approached her and tilted her head up to his.  He pressed his lips softly against hers, pressing his body against her and bracing her back against the bedroom wall.  Her fingers loosened around the hair dryer and it tumbled to the ground as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer.

 His lips traveled from her lips to her cheek and then down her neck before they heard a knock at the door.  Shuyin laughed a little into her neck and said, “I bet that’s Zaon and Yunalesca.”

Picking the dryer off of the floor and flicking it into the off position, Lenne smiled at Shuyin, “Well, we’d better let them in.”

 It had been Yunalesca’s idea that the two couples go out together.  Shuyin wasn’t sure why she would want to see her friend with him.  Although Yunalesca hadn’t attempted to convince Lenne that he was some sort of serial killer, Shuyin knew that he was and never would be one of Yunalesca’s favorites.  Then again, maybe his best friend’s wife was beginning to realize that he wasn’t going to break Lenne’s heart.

 Stranger things have happened…

 ------------------------------.

  “Initial sweep is complete, Commander Cyton.”  The soldier said.  He saluted his commanding officer as he stood next to his three comrades.  The cave under Mushroom Rock Road was finally being explored.  The knowledge of this location had been held for the past few months but exploration had been put on hold while war preparations were being made. 

 Benedict Cyton smiled and nodded, “Okay soldiers.  You are dismissed.”  As he watched his soldiers walk back toward the trucks, Benedict took one last look at the cave and grinned.  He was certain that this place would come in handy during the war.  For what, he still wasn’t quite sure but he knew that this place would be quite useful.

 Quite useful indeed….

 -----------------------------------.

 After seeing what Zaon and Shuyin called ‘The World’s Chickiest of Chick Flicks’, the quartet was sitting in A-East’s park enjoying the afternoon sun and the beautiful day.  Lenne’s head was still pounding and she knew she’d been rather testy all day.  Every time she said something nasty to Shuyin he looked at her like he’d never seen her before.  Yunalesca had pulled her aside several times to ask her what was wrong and Lenne answered the same every time – “I’m just not feeling well.”

 Lenne’s jealousy was also rising with every passing moment.  Although Shuyin had barely let go of her hand since the date began, the looks and obvious lust from girls passing by was driving Lenne crazy.  She couldn’t help but wonder every time Shuyin smiled at one of them whether he was eyeing them up as a possible nighttime guest at his house. 

 She frowned at the thought but forced a smile on her face when Shuyin crawled across the blanket that was laid out and kissed her on the cheek, “What are you thinking about?”

  “Nothing important.” was her response.  She hated being so skeptical about his motives with her and what he was doing when he wasn’t with her.  She couldn’t help herself though.  She was falling for him and with that came skepticism.  Too many times in her past had she ignored her inner feelings and too many times had they been proven true.  She didn’t want to risk it again. 

 A tug at Shuyin’s arm by Zaon pulled him away from her side.  Shuyin followed his best friend over toward one of the park benches where the two sat.  Zaon had decided it was time for a man-to-man talk about the blitzer’s relationship with the songstress and what better time was there but when his wife could keep Lenne busy?

Shuyin looked at his friend with a questioning gaze, “What’s up?”

  “So…” Zaon began, elbowing his friend playfully in the ribs, “any love pangs yet?”

  “Love what?!”  Shuyin asked with a grin.  He scratched his head and pretended to be completely confused, “Are you asking if I love her yet?”

  “You know what I’m asking!”  hissed Zaon in an attempt to keep the conversation low key.  He didn’t want to intrigue the ladies into joining them. 

 Shuyin laughed, “Yeah, I know what you’re asking.”

  “Well?!”

 The blonde blitzer sighed.  He definitely thought he might be, but he wasn’t sure yet.  Lenne’s behavior today was confusing him.  She had been biting his head off for the littlest things and seemed to mistrust him when he even looked in the direction of another girl.  He wasn’t sure if Yunalesca’s initial warnings were plaguing her mind or not, but whatever it was he was getting concerned.  Shuyin smiled at his friend and said, “Jury is still out on that one.”

Appeased slightly, Zaon said, “But I’ll hear the verdict first, right?”

Shuyin nodded, “Absolutely.”  Footsteps approaching caught their attention and Shuyin turned his head to look at Lenne approaching him while rubbing her forehead.  He stood up and went over to her, “You okay?”

“I’ve just got a terrible headache.  I’d really like to go home.”  She said.

Shuyin wrapped an arm around her shoulder, “Sure thing, babe.  Let’s go.” 

Saying their goodbyes to Yunalesca and Zaon, the duo started to walk down the park street and was no more than two yards from their friends when a voice echoed and Shuyin turned his head, “Shu!!” Lenne felt Shuyin release his grip on her and face the girl.  She appeared to be about 16 and was very pretty.  She had blond hair that hung to her shoulders and bright green eyes.  She held out a blitzball to Shuyin, “Could you sign this?”

 “Sure thing.” Shuyin said smiling, “Who am I making this out to, cutie?”

 The girl laughed and smacked Shuyin playfully, “Sidney.”

Shuyin laughed and looked at the girl as if making sure before shrugging, “Okay, Sidney it is.”

Lenne felt her fury mounting as Shuyin signed the ball and gave it back to the girl who promptly kissed him on the cheek and ran back across the park to a girl who didn’t look much older than 10.  Shuyin turned to her with a smile and said, “That was…”

  “What the hell was that?!”  Lenne shrieked.  For a moment she didn’t even sound like herself and Shuyin took a step away from her as if frightened of her sudden angry display. 

Yunalesca and Zaon were there in a second and Lenne felt Yunalesca’s arm on her shoulder, “Lennie…that was…” she began.

Lenne cut her off and hissed at Shuyin, “Don’t you have any decency at all?!”

 “Decency?  I didn’t do anything wrong!” shouted Shuyin. 

Zaon stepped between the fighting pair with his hands raised, “I think we just had a misunderstanding.” He looked at Lenne, “Lenne that was…”

  “I don’t recall asking you to butt in Zaon!”  Lenne shouted before turning her attention back to Shuyin, “You shamelessly flirt with another girl in front of me and then say you didn’t do anything wrong!  You really are a fiend!”

 “I wasn’t flirting!” Shuyin insisted loudly before taking a breath and lowering his voice, “Lenne, if you would just let me explain…”

 “No!”  hissed Lenne, “I won’t listen to your explanations.  Something told me not to trust you and no it wasn’t Yunalesca.  It was my own gut instinct this time.  Are you sleeping with that girl?”

 Shuyin’s look was of shock and disgust at the thought and for a second Lenne thought she might have overreacted but just as quickly his look was replaced with one of anger.  He leaned closer to her and whispered, “Are you saying that you think I’m cheating on you?”

 “Yes…” Lenne replied.

It was Yunalesca’s turn again to attempt an interruption.  She spun Lenne around and said, “Honey, I’m not a Shuyin fan but I can tell you that you are overreacting this time.  That was…”

 Shoving her friend’s arms off of her, Lenne turned back to Shuyin, “Yes, I do!  You couldn’t possibly be happy without sex in a relationship and yet you seem to be so you must be getting it from somewhere!”

 Shuyin’s look was as cold as ice as he murmured, “So that’s what you really think of me?”  Lenne nodded and Shuyin glared at her, “Then maybe we shouldn’t do this anymore.”

  “Maybe we shouldn’t!”  Lenne agreed, although the tears beginning to form behind her eyes seemed to be screaming for her to apologize to him and make it better.

  “Fine.” Said Shuyin, monotonously.

  “Fine.” Lenne said.

  “Fine!” shouted Shuyin.

  “Fine!” Lenne screamed. 

The two of them continued screaming ‘Fine’ at each other for another minute before both spinning on their heels and storming off in opposite directions.  Zaon and Yunalesca stood staring at each other in sheer shock for several minutes after their friends had vanished from their sight before Zaon whispered, “Did they just break up?”

  “I think so…” Yunalesca said.

  “Lenne thinks that Shuyin is sleeping with…Sari?” Zaon shook his head, “I can’t believe he didn’t tell her who Sari and Sidney are!”

 Yunalesca sighed, “I think he was about to before she exploded.”

  “Yuna!” Zaon cried, “She thinks he’s sleeping with his cousin and the little girl he used to babysit!”

Yunalesca rubbed her temples, “You go after him.  I’ll go after her.”

 --------------------.

 Irvine’s Tavern was Shuyin’s sanctuary when things in his life got to be too much for him to handle.  Sitting down at the bar and ordering a stiff drink, Shuyin ran a hand through his hair and groaned.  He didn’t know what Lenne’s problem was.  Maybe it was because she wasn’t feeling well that she’d gone off on him, but that didn’t explain why she thought he was cheating on her.  He’d done nothing to make her think that.  She wouldn’t even let him explain who Sari and Sidney were.  He took a long swig of the beer in his hand. 

 Life sucked…

  “How did I know you’d be here?” Zaon asked as he pulled up a barstool next to his friend and ordered a beer.

  “Lucky guess?” Shuyin asked as he took another drink. 

Zaon sighed, “Why don’t you come with me to Lenne’s and we’ll get this matter cleared up?”

 Shaking his head, Shuyin swallowed the rest of his drink and ordered another before saying, “It won’t clear up the fact that she thinks I’m low enough to cheat on her.  That, Zaon, will never go away.”

  “I know that you don’t want to break up with her.”

  “How do you know that?” asked Shuyin, incredulously, “Maybe I do.  Maybe I’m sick of being on my best behavior all the time.”

 Zaon gave Shuyin a level stare as he said, “I think you’re in love with her.  Am I wrong?”

 Shuyin downed the beer and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, “Even if I am, it doesn’t matter.  I don’t need to be with someone who doesn’t trust me.”  He waved his hand toward the door, “Leave me alone, Zaon.”

Zaon sighed, “You sure?”

 “Yes.”

 Once his friend was out the door, Shuyin paid the bartender and walked outside as well.  He was furious with the entire situation.  The fresh air was filling his lungs with every furious breath he took and before he knew it his feet had led him the apartment district of A-East.  He recognized the building he was standing outside of and struggled with himself before deciding to enter. 

If Lenne thought that he was untrustworthy, then maybe he should do something to be worthy of that mistrust. 

 Pounding on the door he stopped at, he waited until he heard footsteps approach and then the door open.  He ignored the shocked look he received as he walked in without being invited and slammed the door behind him.  Wrapping his arms roughly around the waist and pulling the girl toward him, he whispered, “This does not mean we’re back together, Allyn.” Before pressing his lips to hers…

Author’s Notes:  Okay…for those of you worried that Shuyin’s going to end up with Allyn…don’t.  Shuyin and Lenne make up in this chapter.  I just needed Shuyin’s completely stupid move in the last chapter in order to cause Allyn’s major move in the subsequent chapters. 

Below is chapter 9.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Nine:  Confessions of the Heart

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 Shuyin’s mind and body woke at the same time and for a moment he didn’t recognize his surroundings but it all came flooding back to him.  Flashes of skin and sweat; of moans and screams.  The touch of her hand on his chest brought him to the sickening reality of what he’d done.

Sitting up quickly and squirming away from her, Shuyin rose naked from the bed and searched frantically for his clothes.  Lifting herself on one arm, Allyn asked, “Leaving so soon?”

  “Yes.” Shuyin replied quietly as he located his boxers and slipped them up and over his legs followed shortly thereafter by his jeans. 

His eyes scanned the room for his shirt but it was no where near the rest of his clothes and as he spun in his search he saw it dangling from Allyn’s outstretched finger.  The young woman smirked from her position on the bed, “Looking for this?”  She rose slowly, letting the sheet drag from her body as she approached him with her hips swaying.  He accepted the shirt she gave him and slipped it over his head as she lay back onto the bed and said, “We just had the best sex we’ve ever had and you’re just going to leave?  Don’t you want an encore?”  Allyn ran her tongue over her lips seductively and winked at Shuyin who blushed and turned away. 

The blitzer couldn’t believe what he’d done.  The shock of it hadn’t seemed to settle into his brain yet.  It was almost as if he’d flashed back three years.  What was he going to do?  Taking a deep breath, Shuyin reached for the bedroom doorknob as he said, “Don’t read too much into this, Allyn.”

 “Too late…”

Shuyin silently cursed his stupidity before turning to her, “This was a mistake.  It won’t be happening again.”

  “This wasn’t a mistake, Shu.” Allyn replied, “This was fate.”

 “You’ve never believed it fate before, Allyn.  Why start now?” questioned the blonde.

Allyn lifted herself from the bed and reached for her sheer, silk robe that hung over the headboard.  After securing it around herself, the young woman walked past Shuyin and out into her living room where she plopped on the sofa and smiled at him from across the way, “You came here because you wanted to be here.  It wasn’t because anybody forced you to be here.  It wasn’t because you felt obligated.”  She smiled triumphantly, “It was because you wanted to be here and you wanted me.  You’ll want me again.  It’s only a matter of time.”

 Shuyin groaned and went for the front door as he said, “I came here because I was a little drunk and was having trouble with Lenne.  That’s the only reason.”

  “You said you two split up…” Allyn stated as she stood and faced him, “I’d say that’s a little more than trouble.”

 Shuyin didn’t want to face her.  He could only remember little bits of what he’d said to her.  His head was still fuzzy but he did remember telling her the truth about what happened with Lenne. 

 Shuyin frowned at the door he faced and whispered, “Lenne and I are going to be fine.”

Allyn smiled and blew him a kiss as he walked out the door, “Whatever you say, lover.”

------------------------

 

“Will you call me as soon as you hear from him, Skirpa?  Thanks.  Bye.”  Zaon hung up the phone and sighed.  Since his wife had spent the night at Lenne’s trying to calm the songstress down, Zaon had taken it upon himself to figure out where Shuyin went but everytime he called the blitzer’s house there was no answer.  His cell phone had been turned off too and none of his friends had seen him.  There was a sinking feeling in Zaon’s gut that told him he knew exactly where Shuyin had been all night, but he kept pushing it away. 

 It was too horrible to think about.

 A knock at the door caused Zaon to bolt over and pull the door open.  The sight of Shuyin standing there caused a mixed reaction in his friend.  Shuyin was alive and appeared to be in one piece which was wonderful, but he was also wearing the same clothes he’d worn the day before…

 “Where the hell were you?!” Zaon cried as he pulled Shuyin into the house and shoved him onto the sofa.  Shuyin seemed slightly out of it as he focused on his shoes and ignored his friend’s question.  Zaon sat on the recliner across from him, “What happened to you?”

Shuyin’s shaking shoulders alarmed Zaon and it wasn’t until he saw tears forming puddles on the hardwood floor that he realized his friend was crying.  Moving from the recliner to a seat next to Shuyin, he put an arm around his best friend’s shoulders as Shuyin whispered, “I am such an idiot…”

Zaon frowned, “Why didn’t you answer your phone last night?” he asked although he already had an idea what the answer would be.  He just had to hear it from Shuyin himself.

“I wasn’t home…” was his friend’s reply and Zaon sighed.  Shuyin rubbed at his wet eyes and looked up, “I slept with Allyn.”

“I thought so.” Zaon confessed.  Rising from his seat to pace about the room, Zaon tried to figure out what to say or do.  Taking a breath, he knelt in front of Shuyin and smiled, “You didn’t do anything wrong, you know.”  He said. Shuyin looked at him incredulously and had the situation not been so bad, Zaon would have laughed, “How in Spira can you say that?”

 “Well,” came the blue haired man’s response, “you and Lenne split up, right?  So you were free to sleep with your entire fan club if you wanted to.”  Zaon shrugged, “Granted, maybe sleeping with Allyn wasn’t the smartest move you could have made but it’s not like you cheated on Lenne.”

Shuyin sighed, burying his face in his hands, “Well maybe I didn’t but she’s not going to see it like that.  She’s just going to hate me.”

“Honestly Shuyin, there’s no reason you even have to tell her about this.”  Zaon raised a hand at Shuyin’s shocked and questioning stare and said, “Hear me out!  You and Lenne split yesterday afternoon meaning that last night you were a single man.  Lenne doesn’t know about every single girl you’ve slept with while you were single, does she?”

 “No…but…”

  “No buts!  You slept with Allyn before and Lenne knows this, so just pretend that last night didn’t happen last night, but instead happened three years ago.  Whose going to know the difference?”

 Shuyin thought on this for several minutes while playing all the different scenarios in his mind.  Running a hand through his blonde hair he said sarcastically, “That will be wonderful, Zaon.  Instead of me telling her the truth, I’ll just wait until Allyn spills it during breakfast.  Brilliant!”

 “Oh yeah,” Zaon said with a little laugh, “I hadn’t thought about that.”

  “Obviously.”

Zaon shot Shuyin a look and said, “Don’t give me attitude or I could just feed you to Yunalesca.”

 “I deserve it.”  Shuyin sighed.

 Zaon looked at his friend who was wallowing in self pity and sighed.  He couldn’t get over how many times one person could get himself into such weird and completely avoidable situations.  Shaking his head, Zaon said, “No you don’t.  You may deserve a lot of things, but Yunalesca’s wrath is definitely not one of them.”  He reached for his friend’s hand and pulled him to a standing position, “C’mere.  You’re going to take a shower and then you’re going to go to Lenne’s house and make up with her.”

Shuyin slowly followed his friend back toward the bathroom and watched as his friend gathered towels and handed them to him.  As Shuyin walked into the bathroom, he said, “Jury’s reached a verdict, Zaon…”

Zaon smiled, “I know you love her.  Now just go and tell her that.”

----------------------

 Shuyin stared at the door as Zaon knocked and then opened, dragging Shuyin unwillingly inside.  Lenne was sitting in her pajamas on the sofa with Yunalesca nursing a cup of coffee next to her.  At her husband’s nod, Yunalesca jumped to her feet and left with Zaon leaving Lenne and Shuyin alone. 

 The uncomfortable silence between them was something Shuyin didn’t think he’d ever get used to and hoped that he’d never have to.  Lenne rose from her seat and walked a little closer to him, “Hi there.” She whispered, her voice sounded hoarse and he noted the stain of freshly spilled tears on her cheeks. 

 “Hi.” He replied, reaching out despite himself and taking her hand.  She didn’t pull away and the two stood staring into each other’s eyes for several minutes.  Just when he was starting to relax, though, Lenne pulled her hand away and backed off toward the sofa again.  Lenne said nothing and seemed terribly uncomfortable.  Shuyin hated knowing that she was unhappy and that he’d done it to her.  He hoped to make things better, but he knew they were going to get worse first.

 “What are you doing here?” Lenne asked as she busied herself cleaning the dishes from breakfast from her coffee table.

  “I wanted to apologize.” Shuyin replied, “I’m so sorry for what happened yesterday.”

 Lenne gave him a weak smile, “Yuna told me that the girl was your cousin.  I totally overreacted.” She sighed, “I didn’t think I’d ever see you again.”  Shuyin’s mouth opened and closed like a fish.  He was relatively sure that after he told her about Allyn, she’d never want to see him again.  The blitzer was about to confess when Lenne rushed into his arms and buried her face in his chest, “I missed you so much.”

 “I missed you too.”  Replied Shuyin as he returned her hug.  The two stood holding each other for what felt like an eternity before Shuyin decided it was best to get it out in the open before he lost his nerve.  Holding her away from him by the shoulders he said, “I have to tell you something.”

 “Whatever it is, I don’t care.” Lenne replied, trying to restart the hug he had ended.

 Shuyin shook his head, “You need to know this.”  Shuyin took a deep breath and tried to figure out the best way to break the news to her before deciding that it would be best to just say it, “After our breakup, I went to Irvine’s Tavern.  It’s where I go sometimes to just cool off after a rough day.  Normally I go home right after, but last night…” he paused and looked into her brown eyes.  They were so trusting and he was about to shatter that trust completely with his next words, “I slept with Allyn.”

She was silent.  It was almost as if the words hadn’t completely sunk in.  Lenne turned away from him and started for the kitchen, “Did you want something to eat?” she asked.  Her walking was a little stiff and her voice seemed detached. 

“Lenne.”

She turned quickly at the sound of his voice and watched as he took a few tentative steps toward her.  She didn’t move and, after a few minutes, he didn’t either.  They stood staring at each other, both not knowing what to say, when Shuyin whispered, “You’re mad at me....huh?”

Lenne’s eyes fell to the floor. They’d never really had an argument before – especially not about something like this.  She’d wondered and been jealous but when Yunalesca had told her that the girl he’d been ‘flirting’ with was actually his cousin, she’d calmed down.  She knew she’d overreacted and just hoped that he’d forgive her.  Now after his confession, she didn’t know what to say.

Her lack of an answer caused him to say, “I suppose that is a yes.”  He took a step closer to her, “I can try to explain if you’ll listen to me.”

 Her anger rushed into her and reached the boiling point quickly, “No!” she screamed suddenly, throwing a nearby coffee cup at his head and narrowly missing contact, “I won’t listen to you!” she began walking closer to him, and Shuyin took a step back.  She glared at him, “How could you?!” she bit out.  Her fist connected with his chest forcing the air from his lungs as she continued to beat him with her tiny hands.  She wasn’t hurting him physically, but his heart was breaking knowing that it was his fault that she was this upset.  Tears were streaming down her beautiful face as she continued her assault, “Why wasn’t I enough?” she asked finally, her fists falling dejectedly at her sides.

  “I was stupid, Lennie…so stupid.”  He pulled back, grabbing her by the shoulders. “Lenne, look at me.”  She did and he saw her red-rimmed eyes and tear stained cheeks.  “I came here to fix things and make this right.  I know what I did was really stupid and if you don’t forgive me, I’ll understand but I really hope you do.”  His words became chocked in the sobs that were forming in his throat as he grabbed her hand and whispered, “I love you….”

 Shuyin didn’t know if she was going to believe him, but she hadn’t let go of his hand which was a good sign.  He wasn’t sure, but he was hoping that despite her anger and uncertainty, she felt like he did.  Time seemed to stand still as he waited for Lenne’s reaction.  The songstress stared into his blue eyes that were pleading with her to forgive him; to believe him.  His hand was trembling but hadn’t let go of hers and she saw in his eyes the raw emotion that made him come here and tell her the truth when he could have easily kept his mouth shut.     

 He loved her…

 She tightened her grip on his hand and touched his face with her free hand, “I believe you,” she whispered.

He wrapped his arms around her waist tightly and she pulled him tight against her with her arms.  Shuyin buried his face into her neck, and Lenne ran her fingers softly up and down his back, “I’m so sorry Lennie,” he whispered into her neck. “I never wanted to make you cry…”

 “It’s okay,” she whispered, running her fingers through his damp blonde hair. “It was my fault to begin with.”

  “I don’t deserve you…” murmured Shuyin as he calmed down and released his hold on her briefly to wipe the tears from his cheeks. 

 He pulled back to look into her eyes.  Tentatively, as if afraid she’d be angry, Shuyin leaned down and gently touched his lips to hers.  She moaned low in her throat as the kiss deepened and he began backing her toward the couch behind them.  With a thud, the two landed with Shuyin on top of her, “I’m not crushing you am I?” he asked.  She shook her head.  She loved the pressure of his body on her.

They stayed curled against each other for several minutes before Shuyin kissed her forehead gently and whispered, “I should get going.  I’m already late for practice.”

 Tightening her grasp on him, Lenne shook her head, “Stay…forget practice and stay.”

 Shuyin grinned, “Practice shouldn’t be long today.  I’ll come back after and we can go for a picnic in Macalania like you wanted to the other day.” He smiled at her, “What do you say?”

  “That sounds wonderful.” Lenne replied as she kissed his cheek.

 Turning his head to brush his lips against hers, Shuyin whispered, “I’m going to do everything I can to make this up to you.  I promise.”

Author’s Notes: This chapter is totally from Allyn’s perspective – first one of those ever.  It’ll give a little more insight into Shuyin’s ex as well as help lead up to the ending of the story which is going to be angsty and tragic but for those of you who have finished the game and know what happens, you know it can’t be anything but that. 

 Below is chapter 10.  Leave a review and let me know what you think

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Chapter Ten:  Unstable

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 For the first time in the month she’d been back, Allyn was in a fantastic mood.  Shuyin coming to her last night had been a fantastic surprise and one she knew just had to happen again.  A love like they shared didn’t just disappear.

 She still remembered the first day she had met him. 

When she turned 15 - in a move that finally gained her father’s often waning attention - Allyn emptied her bank account which, admittedly, wasn’t much and moved to Zanarkand to start a new life. 

That was when she met Shuyin.  He was just getting out of blitzball practice and was still damp from the sphere pool.  She was rushing off of the hover and struggling with her bags.  The two of them had collided and she’d landed on her butt with her bags scattered.  Shuyin had been so apologetic.  He’d run all over the place gathering her bags and the pieces of clothing that had flown from the open ones.  Once all of her belongings were gathered, he’d helped her to her feet and their eyes met.

Allyn knew her life would never be the same.

 Their relationship had been slow to start.  A few dinner dates; a few movies.  The first time Shuyin had kissed her – in a move she knew had to be his first – their teeth had knocked and Shuyin had blushed crimson.  Allyn remembered the moment fondly when she decided to take it upon herself to teach him and the two had spent almost an hour kissing and, when they finally broke apart, Shuyin was breathless and grinning. 

 He had never looked more handsome.

 When it came to sex, Allyn knew that Shuyin was a virgin although they’d never discussed it.  She wasn’t sure if he knew about her sexual past, but she was sure he’d realized it after the kissing lesson.  She was very knowledgeable about those things.  During their subsequent dates the kissing seemed to be leading somewhere that Shuyin was more than interested in going. 

The night they first made love the kissing had become overpowering and when they pulled apart for air Shuyin had stared into her eyes, as if in a trance. His eyes were asking her for permission and Allyn knew just what he wanted.  She wanted it too.  As she nodded her agreement, she felt his hands slowly traveling down her sides to lift her shirt off. 

 His exploration of her body was sweet and sensual.  He took ever dip and curve with hands and mouth as if trying to memorize every tiny detail of her.  Clothes were stripped and strewn about the room.  She watched him rise above her and their eyes locked.  Shuyin smiled at her and Allyn smiled back, kissing his lips tenderly.  Shuyin tried to join them together, but stopped and seemed a little confused.  Gently taking him in her hand, Allyn guided him in the movement and once they were joined all conscious thought stopped as her breath caught with the pleasure of it. 

It was afterward that Shuyin held her close and said the words that Allyn had been wishing he’d say…

  “I love you.”

 Although he hadn’t said those words after their love making last night, Allyn knew it was only a matter of time until he said them again.  Every day without him felt like an eternity and she knew that he had to feel the same way.  He just had to.  That was why he’d run to her after breaking up with the little bitch.  The smell of alcohol on his breath had nothing to do with it.  She had taught Shuyin how to hold his alcohol and she knew that it only gave him the encouragement to do what he wanted to do in the first place.

 At least…she hoped so…

 No matter how convinced she was that he’d be hers within a fortnight, there was still that nagging doubt that made her wonder.  She hated that inner voice of hers.  She wished she could permanently silence it the way she’d permanently silenced Georg….

Grabbing her keys, she took the stairs to the apartment lobby two at a time and burst into the daylight.  She knew that his blitzball practice would be almost over and she could surprise him outside and maybe convince him to come over to her house for…dessert.

As soon as she rounded the corner she saw him and his two blitzball friends – Skirpa and Bruttam – exiting the stadium and talking in hushed whispers about something.  She felt a bounce form in her step as she saw him and jogged quickly and silently toward him.  She approached behind him and whispered seductively, “Hello there, handsome.”

He turned to her and she expected a broad smile of happiness, or a kiss, or a hug…anything.  Instead he just stared at her with an unreadable expression on his handsome face.  After a few seconds, Shuyin said, “Have you taken to stalking now, Allyn?”

 Her surprise at his rather callous reply was quickly shaken as she forced herself to remain happy and carefree, “Whatever do you mean, love?”

  “I told you not to read too much into it, Allyn.” Shuyin hissed, “It will never happen again.”

 Allyn put a hand on her hip, “Of course it will.  You’re single…I’m single…”

 Shuyin shook his head and replied, “Correction…you’re single.  I’m not.”

 The half smirk that seemed always present on Allyn’s pretty features suddenly vanished.  Her hands dropped to her sides and her green eyes seemed to search Shuyin’s as if trying to figure out if this was all some sort of a cruel joke.  Allyn noted Skirpa and Bruttam’s tiny grins as if the entire situation was completely humorous and she realized that Shuyin wasn’t lying.  He had gone back to that stupid bitch!  Her shoulders started shaking first from her fury as she raged, “She actually forgave you?!  Or did you forget to mention what happened between us last night?!”

  “I told her.” Shuyin replied, “I didn’t think she’d forgive me, but she did.  I’m eternally grateful.”

 Allyn glared at him as she felt her dreams shattering and exploding all around her.  Balling up her fists at her side, she hissed, “So that little bitch is going to keep you from being with the woman you love?”

  “Firstly, Allyn, stop calling Lenne a bitch.  She’s anything but that.” Shuyin replied, calmly and with a bit of a smirk, “Secondly, even though you adamantly refuse to admit it, I [i]am[/i] with the woman that I love.”

 “I know that!  You’re standing with me now!” Allyn cried, “What I mean is…”

Shuyin put a hand on her lips to silence her as he said, “I don’t love you, Allyn.  I love Lenne.”

Allyn didn’t move.  She didn’t speak.  She wasn’t even sure if she was breathing.  She just stared at him as he said something else.  Something she didn’t listen to.  She didn’t take a step as he and his friends turned and walked away.  She watched as he climbed into his convertible and drove in the direction of that girl’s house.  Suddenly letting her anger get control of her, Allyn took off in a run after Shuyin.  She wasn’t going to let that little bitch win.  Allyn would get her man, no matter what she had to do. 

 It was almost 3pm when she got there after the 45 minute run to Lenne’s house.  She looked around and saw Shuyin’s car parked in the street halfway between Lenne’s house and his own which was situated three blocks up the street on the other side.  In the distance she heard laughter and splashing coming from the ocean behind the docks and she headed toward the sound.  She frowned as she saw who it was and immediately tucked behind a lamppost. 

 Shuyin…and her.

 Swimming, laughing, and kissing – the two of them looked completely in love and Allyn had to fight her urge to drown the prissy little bitch.  She’d told her father it would only take a month or two to get Shuyin back, but she still was nowhere closer to having Shuyin in her arms as she’d been when she first came back to A-East. 

 If only she hadn’t left…

 The things that led up to her leaving seemed inconsequential and stupid in retrospect, but back then they had seemed like everything.  The problem with her and Shuyin was that both were pathological flirts.  They couldn’t pass a member of the opposite sex without flirting.  Allyn’s flirting was more overt – like rubbing the thigh of a handsome guy next to her.  She’d done that to Zaon and Skirpa…even Bruttam to some degree, but the thought of doing anything more with them had made her sick. 

She loved Shuyin.

 The beginning of the end began with the deaths of Shuyin’s parents.  Around the same time the Abes had briefly signed Georg for a few games to fill in for Skirpa who had broken his collar bone during a game.  When Shuyin’s parents had died, he’d started getting distant with her.  She knew he was mourning, but it still hurt that he didn’t want to be around her.  During that time, Georg had started to develop a friendship with her and it was he that she ran to whenever Shuyin turned his back. 

After six months of Shuyin being distant, Georg had hinted to her that he thought Shuyin was seeing someone else.  There was no proof.  There was no reason for Allyn to believe it….but believe it she did.  She had always thought in the back of her mind that she couldn’t keep Shuyin happy for long.  He was better than her in a million ways and it didn’t surprise her that he’d find solace in someone else’s arms. 

 She left with Georg the next day. 

 She didn’t try to talk to Shuyin.  She didn’t listen to his side.  She didn’t even tell him the reason she was leaving, just that she was and Georg was going with her.  Georg had been signed to the Urks in D-West and the two moved into a small apartment.  Everything was fine unless Georg was drunk.  The first night he got drunk, he beat her until she was unconscious.  She tried to call Shuyin the next morning for help, but Georg had severed all the phone lines and hidden her cell phone.  He locked her in the apartment when he wasn’t there and did unspeakable things to her when he was.  Her only contact with the outside world was the television and it was six months after leaving, during the news,  that she found out Shuyin wasn’t seeing someone else.  Although he usually tried to avoid interviews, the news crew had caught him and asked him a few questions about himself.  When asked if there was ‘someone special’ Shuyin had said, “There use to be, but not anymore.”

She’d been lied to…

 She’d been duped…

 Allyn’s desperation to get back to Shuyin overtook her life.  Multiple plans to escape had failed.  Georg was as intelligent as he was proficient in blitzball.  Allyn knew drastic moves needed to be taken if she was ever going to get back to Shuyin. 

 In the end, Allyn had killed him.  The courts had decreed she was guilty by reason of insanity.  She was unstable according to court psychiatrists.  Locked in a psych ward in D-West, Allyn spent 2 ½ years of her life there, wondering what Shuyin was doing and being thankful every day that D-West business stayed in D-West.  She was so grateful that Shuyin would never know about this. 

 After 2 ½ years, parole became a possibility and she forced herself to answer the psychological exam questions the way the doctors wanted her to.  She needed to make them think she was truly sorry for what she’d done and that she was sane enough never to do it again.  She didn’t feel guilty, though.

She’d done it for Shuyin.

 Allyn turned a little behind the pole where she was sitting and looked at Lenne.  The brunette was swimming happily away from Shuyin who was playfully trying to catch her. 

 When Shuyin caught Lenne, Allyn’s ears perked up to hear what they were saying to each other.  Her Shuyin put his arms around that girl, “We should probably dry off and get going.  I’ve got the picnic basket just inside my house.  All we need to do is throw some food into it.”

  “How long do you think it’ll take to Macalania?” Lenne asked.

Shuyin replied to Lenne, “Well, about 2 hours by car and 1 ½ hours by hover.” The brunette nodded and Shuyin said, “I was thinking we should drive so we can leave whenever we want to.”

 Allyn felt sure that steam was coming out of her ears.  Her Shuyin was going to take that bimbo on a romantic picnic in Macalania!  Growling quietly, Allyn crawled from her hiding place and behind a nearby bush where she waited until she was sure they hadn’t seen her.  Tears stung her eyes as she tried to fight them off.  She wasn’t going to lose Shuyin to that bitch.  If she was going to lose Shuyin, it was going to be to someone who deserved him.

 As she cast another glance at the brunette with Shuyin, Allyn felt her hatred toward the songstress grow.  There was no way she was going to let that little bitch take what was rightfully hers. 

Something had to be done…

Author’s Notes: This is another Lenne/Shuyin date chapter.  They get a little...uh… ‘closer’ in this chapter so for anybody that is offended by romance novel-like descriptions, you have been warned.  I don’t suggest skipping the chapter because something important happens in the last section that will help explain actions later on. 

This chapter’s title is actually a song.  I found my old soundtrack to ‘Footloose’ with Kevin Bacon and was listening to it while I was writing this chapter and on it is the song “Somebody’s Eyes”.  It seemed like the perfect title since a few lines are:

Somebody’s eyes are watching.

Somebody’s eyes are seeing me loving him.

Somebody’s waiting to take him back again.

Love is no disguise, from somebody’s eyes.

As I’m sure you now realize, this chapter will involve a little Allyn toward the end.  Hopefully it is well done as this is going to lead into the truly angsty and dramatic stuff.

 Below is chapter 11.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Eleven:  Somebody’s Eyes

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With the picnic basket packed and blankets loaded in the car, Shuyin was ready to take Lenne to Macalania Forest, like she’d always wanted to.  It was surprising to him that the songstress had never seen Macalania Forest.  Shuyin had been there many times.  It was the place that the Abes practice during nice days because of the large lake right in the middle of the forest. 

Walking out of the house to greet Lenne who was waiting on the porch, Shuyin grinned.  Lenne rose and kissed him passionately, whispering, “Hello, handsome.”

  “Hello, beautiful.” He replied, pushing her hair behind her shoulders and kissing her on the forehead.  She looked so beautiful that he couldn’t believe it.  Wearing a blue dress shirt and a long black skirt, she looked absolutely stunning.  After their dip in the ocean, they’d gone to their separate houses to dry off and change.  Lenne’s arrival a few moments before had made him smile like an idiot.  He was so grateful she’d forgiven him.    He motioned toward the blankets and picnic basket, “I think we’re all set.”

 She grinned, “I need to get one more thing.  Meet me at my house.”  Lenne rushed down the street and into her house quickly, dashing back to her bedroom.  Digging through her dresser drawer, she found the small box she’d purchased earlier in the week amidst incredible embarrassment.  Reaching in, she pulled the small plastic package out and put it in her pocket.  She wasn’t well practiced in seduction, but the songstress was definitely going to try and, just in case it worked, she needed to be prepared.

Even though their breakup and his subsequent actions had formed doubts in her mind about the strength of their relationship, when he said that he loved her she knew he wasn’t lying.  She wanted to go to the next level with him so that he’d never feel the need to go to Allyn again.  She wasn’t sure if he was scared of hurting her or if he was terrified of the thought of Yunalesca armed with a knife, but Lenne wanted him.  She wanted to wipe the memory of Allyn out of his mind forever.

  “You coming?”  called Shuyin from outside after he pulled into her driveway. 

 “Coming!” she replied as she quickly hid the box back under her socks and rejoined her boyfriend outside.  Smiling as Shuyin opened the passenger side door for her, Lenne slid into the seat and sighed happily as the car backed out of the driveway.

 ----------------

Macalania Forest was more beautiful than Lenne could have imagined.  The forest sparkled like diamonds as Shuyin led her along a silver path to the lake where they would be picnicking.  The lake was more breathtaking still and Lenne gasped at the beauty around her.  The water was clear – infinitely clear – and Lenne could see to the bottom of the lake.  A large tree that appeared to reach to the sky shimmered in the middle of the lake.

 Shuyin laid the blanket across the ground near the lake and then pulled the basket from the backseat of his convertible to place it on the ground.  He smiled at her, “Have a seat.”

 Lenne wrapped her cloak around her shoulders closely.  The wind was chilling her but as soon as she was held in Shuyin’s arms, a warmth enveloped her.  Leaning back against his hard chest, she gratefully accepted the sandwich he handed her.  After swallowing, she said, “This place is beautiful.”

  “You’re beautiful.”  Shuyin replied as his long fingers came to lay alongside her jaw and slowly turn her face to his.  His lips were upon hers, moving slowly and her hand crept up to caress his neck and run her fingers through his hair. 

 “I want to apologize to you.” Shuyin replied as he turned her gently and slipped an arm about her waist, bringing her closer to him as the kiss deepened.  She released her cloak and let it fall away, tumbling unnoticed to the ground beneath her.  She moaned softly as his mouth left hers and traced a path over her cheek.  He pushed aside her long brown hair and, finding her ear, nibbled it lightly with his teeth.

 Lenne pulled her face away from him carefully and looked deep into his eyes, “Shuyin…you already…” she whispered, but stopped when something flashed in his eyes – a blatant lust that she’d never seen before – and she sighed happily as his hand came to her breast….

His caress went through her, setting fire to every nerve.  She felt her shirt being pulled away from her and then, with a quick twist of his wrist her bra was flung to the side and forgotten.  His hand upon her bare flesh sent desire flashing through her.  Although she wasn’t thrilled with the amount of sexual experience he had, the movement of his hands made her happy that he knew exactly how to touch her. 

Slowly he leaned forward and put his lips back upon hers.  Lenne lay back and pulled him down upon her.  He whispered unintelligible words as he placed passionate kisses along her throat and made his way down to her breasts.  She let out a soft cry of pleasure as her fingers threaded through the hair that ended in wispy waves at the nape of his neck. 

Shifting a bit to lay next to her, his arm slipped around her knees and lifted her legs across his.  His hand traveled up a bare thigh and gently tugged her panties off and then returned his hands to their destination.  His caresses grew bolder and her moans grew louder.  A shivering shudder went through her as she curled against him and formed a vice like grip on his shoulder.   His name fell from her lips in a hoarse cry as her grip loosened itself and she let her head fall backward onto the blanket.  After a moment, she looked up at him.  A self impressed grin had formed on his handsome features and Lenne couldn’t help but laugh and pull her cloak over her half naked form as she said, “Apology accepted.”

 --------

 It was dark when they returned and after pulling into the driveway, Shuyin rounded the car and opened the door for Lenne.  Lenne accepted the hand he offered and smiled broadly as she led him to her front door.  Shuyin stood behind her as she dug through her purse for her keys.  He brushed her hair away from her neck and kissed the column softly, wrapping his arms around her waist until Lenne moaned softly and leaned against him. 

 A sound from the bush nearby caused Lenne to jump and she turned to Shuyin, “Did you hear something?”

 Shuyin shook his head, “Not a thing.” He replied as he resumed the kissing of her neck.

 Smiling broadly, Lenne reached into her pocket and pulled out the small plastic packet she’d placed there earlier.  Spinning to hold it in front of Shuyin, she whispered, “Interested?”

 A sound the seemed like a gasp came from the bush and Shuyin turned his attention there, “I heard something this time.” He said. 

 The blitzer was about to take a step toward the bush when Lenne pulled on his arm, “Aren’t you going to answer my question?”

 Shuyin winked at Lenne and said with a devilish grin, “Only if you ask me right.”

  “What do you mean?”

  “Tell me exactly what you want me to do.” Replied Shuyin as he ran a hand through her hair, “I want to hear you say it.”

Her smile became broader and she lifted herself on her toes to whisper in Shuyin’s ear exactly what she wanted.  The blitzer moaned a little at her description and, when she’d lowered herself back down, he nodded happily, “I’m [i]very[/i] interested in that.” He said as he followed her into the house and let the door close behind him.  As he let her lead him to the bedroom, second thoughts started to form in his head and he stopped just short of the door and asked, “Are you sure about this?”

Lenne nodded, “As sure as I’ll ever be.”

“This isn’t about….Allyn, is it?”

Lenne took a step closer to him and placed both of her hands on his cheeks to force him to look into her eyes, “Will what happened last night ever happen again?”

 “Not while I’m alive.” He swore, “I’d rather rot.”

 “Then there’s nothing to worry about.” Lenne said as she let herself fall backward onto the bed and then rise onto her knees to beckon him with a finger. 

 Shuyin crawled across the bed to join her and, from his position on his back, he admired her beauty.  The moonlight entering from the open window made her skin shimmer and shine and her smile seemed even more radiant.  He smiled at her and asked, “How in Spira did you forgive me so easily?  I thought you’d hate me forever.”

  “I forgave you because I believed you when you said you were sorry.” Lenne replied as she rose from the bed and grabbed a nightgown from her dresser, “You didn’t have to tell me, but you did.  That showed me that you really do love me.”  The brunette crossed the room to her bathroom, “I’ll be right back, handsome.”

 When Lenne reappeared moments later she was wearing the silk nightgown she’d chosen and Shuyin smiled at the sight.  He patted the bed next to him and said, “Unless you’ve changed your mind…”

 “I haven’t.” she whispered as she climbed onto the bed next to Shuyin.  He was still laying on his back looking up at her and she motioned with a finger for him to sit up.  The bed dipped as Shuyin rose to kneel before her.  When standing, Shuyin was several inches taller than her, but they were the same height when kneeling and Lenne took advantage of that and pressed her lips easily to his as she silently and skillfully unbuttoned his shirt and pushed it off of his shoulders.  In turn, her gown was drawn over her head and thrown to the floor in silence.  He lifted her easily and lay her down upon the bed to allow his lips access to her throat and the ability to venture downward upon her skin.

 Lenne squirmed a little and finally reached his pants which were quickly unbuttoned and pushed down to his ankles with her feet.  Shuyin laughed and caught her eye, “In a hurry?” he asked before kicking the pants off.  He felt her tiny hands on the elastic of his boxers which were quickly discarded.  Seeing the desire in her eyes, he moved his hands down her body to the curving arch of her hip, and her heart quickened.  A husky moan escaped her as he touched her as he had in Macalania. 

 With a hand on her shoulder, he pressed her back upon the bed.  She lay willing and eager as he rose above her.  Their eyes met and she saw the hint of a smile on his mouth, “I love you.” He whispered as he moved between her thighs.  Lenne bit her lip to keep from crying out, hiding her face against the base of his throat.  Her nails dug into the flesh of his back as he gently place his hands on her hips and kissed her lips softly.  He put his forehead against hers and locked with her eyes, “Look at me.” His whispering voice demanded and she slowly opened her eyes.  With utmost care he began to move, slowly at first as the pain began to fade and then faster.  He traced his hands from her hips, up her sides, until he laced fingers with her and held both of her hands above her head…..

 -----------------------

 Lenne awoke a while later to an empty bed.  At first she thought her imagination was playing a trick on her but when she rolled over she saw that it wasn’t. 

 Shuyin wasn’t there…

 She sighed and a frown formed on her lips.  She should have known better.  Yunalesca had warned her about Shuyin’s tendency to leave.  Why she thought she’d be any different was beyond her. 

 She sat up slowly and reached to the floor for her nightgown when her bedroom door swung open, “Where do you think you’re going, beautiful?” Shuyin asked as he kicked the door shut behind him and placed a breakfast tray on the hope chest at the edge of her bed.  Clad in only his boxers, Shuyin had a broad grin on his face as he examined her naked form and Lenne blushed unconsciously and pulled the covers up over herself.  Shuyin laughed and motioned toward the tray, “Hungry?  I got some orange juice and scrambled eggs.  It’s not as good as grilled cheese,” he winked, “but it will just have to do.”

Lenne formed a small smile on her mouth as she whispered, “I thought you had left.”

Shuyin’s brow wrinkled as if the blitzer was trying to figure out why she’d think that.  He ignored the food momentarily and crawled back into bed with Lenne, wrapping his arms around her and kissing her forehead, “Why would I leave?”

 “Yunalesca told me that you tend to do that.  She called it ‘love ‘em and leave ‘em’.” Lenne replied, turning her head to look up at him.  She attempted to read his expression, but it remained unreadable as he thought about what she said.  The moonlight reflected in his eyes and made his normally beautiful blue eyes even more gorgeous.

After a moment, the blonde said, “I don’t know where Yuna gets her information, but she’s mistaken.” He pushed a strand from his eyes and continued, “You can ask anybody, but I don’t just [i]leave.[/i]  Most of the time I sleep until noon!” he laughed, “and if for some reason I have to leave early it’s because of an early practice and I tell them about it well before hand.  It’s their own fault if they forget about it.”

  “Seriously?” questioned Lenne, her eyes searching his.

 “Lennie,” he whispered, “Even if I did do that - which I don’t – I wouldn’t do that to you.  You mean too much to me.”  He leaned closer to her and kissed her gently.  Wrapping her arms around him, Lenne pulled him closer and Shuyin complied by rolling on top of her to continue the kissing.  Shuyin pulled his lips away from hers and worked his way down her neck to her collarbone and on downward until a sound caught his attention and he looked at the window just in time to see a shadow duck down as if afraid of being seen. 

“Wha…” Shuyin put a finger to Lenne’s lips to silence her question and motioned to the window.  Lenne nodded her understanding and Shuyin slowly crawled out of the bed and silently approached the open window and the peeper beneath. 

Reaching down quickly, he grabbed the person by the hair and pulled up.  His shock at the fact that they were being watched was doubled when he recognized the cry of pain from the person he held. 

Allyn…

 Yanking harder, he pulled Allyn by the hair through the open window and dropped her on the floor.  His blue eyes flashed and the clouds seemed to react to Shuyin’s bad temper as rain suddenly started falling from the sky, “What the hell are you doing here, Allyn?!”

 Lenne reached for her nightgown and pulled it over her head before rising from the bed to join Shuyin, “I’d certainly like to know that too.”

 Allyn rubbed her sore scalp and scowled at Lenne before rising to her knees and turning her attention to Shuyin, “I was going for a walk…”

  “You never were a good liar, Allyn.” Shuyin said, “Why were you watching us?”

 Allyn narrowed her eyes, “It wasn’t for fun, that’s for sure.” The woman replied as she glared at Lenne, “It’s important to know one’s enemies…”

 Faster than Allyn could react, Shuyin had her flipped over his shoulder and was carrying her toward the front door with Lenne following in toe.  Allyn kicked and screamed but Shuyin wouldn’t let her down as he opened the front door and walked into the yard where he promptly dumped her in the mud.  Allyn let out a furious scream and pounded her fists next to her which only succeeded in making the mud splash and land on her face and hair.  As the rain pelted hard from a diagonal position, Shuyin leaned over toward her – still clad in only his boxers – and hissed, “Don’t [i]ever[/i] come near me or Lenne again.”

 “Are you threatening me, Shuyin?” the muddy woman asked.

 Shuyin stood up straight and shook his head, “You’re not important enough to threaten, Allyn.  Just count your blessings that I don’t have you arrested for stalking, peeping, breaking and entering…”

  “You’re the one that dragged me into the house!” Allyn shouted.

Shuyin smirked, “It’d be mine and Lenne’s word against yours, sweetheart…”

 “You wouldn’t!”

 “Go ahead and test me, Allyn.” Shuyin replied, “I’m sick of dealing with you.  Leave me alone!!”

Allyn rose her furious figure from the mud and attempted to fix her hair but gave up and instead wiped rain from her eyes.  She stared at Shuyin for a moment before whispering, “You belong with me.  I promise you, you will be mine again.” Allyn glared at Lenne who was just a few feet behind Shuyin, “This isn’t over, bitch.”

Allyn marched off trying to maintain some of her self assurance in her step and when she was certain that Shuyin and his little tramp weren’t looking, she dialed a number on her cell phone.  When the man on the other end answered, Allyn quickly wiped a stray tear away and said, “Benedict?  It’s Allyn.  I need you to do something for me…”

Author’s Notes: I hope everybody likes this chapter.  I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have something like this happen but the more I thought about it, I decided that this is the direction that I want the story to go in. 

Below is chapter 12.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Twelve:  Blood on the Carpet

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The incessant ringing of his cell phone woke Shuyin and Lenne around 9am the next morning.  The young couple lay wrapped in each other’s arms and Shuyin had to gently pull his arm out from under the songstress to reach his jeans – and therefore, his cell – which were lying on the floor.  Blinking the sleep from his eyes, Shuyin pushed the TALK button and said groggily, “Hello?” 

“Good morning, sunshine.” Came Zaon’s overly cheery voice.

Shuyin smiled and sat up letting the sheet fall away from his toned torso, “Good morning, Zaon.  To what do I owe the pleasure?”

“Well, I just wanted to tell you about the weirdest dream.” Zaon said, a small laugh in his voice, “I dreamt that you and Lenne were outside of her house in your underwear yelling at Allyn who was sitting in a mud puddle.  Do you have any idea what might have caused that dream?”

Shuyin’s laugh caused the half-asleep songstress at his side to jump, “What is so funny?” she asked.

Her boyfriend put a hand over the receiver and replied, “Zaon saw us last night with Allyn.”

“Did Yuna see?!” Lenne cried, louder than she wanted to.  The young songstress was not in the mood to have a lecture from her best friend about how stupid it was to sleep with a man that – just the day before – was having sex with his ex girlfriend.

Shuyin relayed Lenne’s question to Zaon and then said to the woman, “No, he said she was asleep by then.” 

“Yuna’s getting groceries.” Zaon said, once again gaining Shuyin’s attention, “Why don’t I come over and we’ll talk.  I’ve got at least 30 minutes before she’s due back.”  Shuyin could feel the smirk on his best friend’s features as Zaon asked, “You are at home, aren’t you?”

“You know damn well where I am, you dork.” Shuyin replied, “That’s why you called my cell and not my home.” 

“That’s true!” cried Zaon, “So, interested in some company?”

After gaining the okay from Lenne, Shuyin and Zaon hung up agreeing that the blue haired husband of Yunalesca would join them in 10 minutes which gave Lenne enough time to quickly make some pancakes.  By the time Zaon joined the duo, breakfast was being served and he took his seat across from Shuyin.  Smiling broadly, Zaon asked, “So why was Allyn here and sitting in mud?”

Lenne giggled a little as she downed a gulp of orange juice and Shuyin smiled before saying, “I don’t know where to start on that one.”

“Starting at the beginning is always a good idea.” Suggested Zaon with a wink. 

“The beginning,” Shuyin replied, “has too much information that you don’t need to know.  I think I’ll start at the middle.”

Taking a sip of the juice before him, Shuyin began his detailed description of just what happened from the moment he noticed the shadow at the window to when Allyn was dropped into the mud.  He especially took great care to describe how a furious Allyn had pounded the ground next to her but only succeeded in splashing more mud upon herself. 

Zaon’s laughter was joined by Lenne’s and Shuyin’s at the sheer lunacy of the entire scene Shuyin’s description had painted.  After Zaon finally caught his breath, he said, “Sounds like I missed a fun filled evening.  I would have paid to see that close up.”

“She deserved it.” Remarked Lenne as she reached down to clear the dishes left on the table.  She smiled at Shuyin before turning to Zaon and saying, “I’m sick of her interfering.  Maybe she’ll get the hint now.”

“Yeah.  Hopefully she’ll see I don’t want anything to do with her.” Shuyin added.

 

Lenne cocked her eyebrow at him, “Well, if she’s getting mixed signals it’s hard to blame her…” 

“I thought you forgave that.” Said Shuyin.

Lenne smiled, “I do, but you have to admit that last night was entirely your fault.  You caused her to think there was hope.”

“I agree with Lennie.” Zaon said. 

Shuyin threw his hands in the air in fake exasperation, “Everyone’s against me!” 

The trio laughed a little and chatted about unimportant topics until Zaon looked at his watch, “Well, Yuna should be getting home any minute now.  I’d better get going.” He stood and kissed Lenne on the cheek, “Don’t worry.  I won’t tell Yuna that you…uh…forgave him.” He said with a wink, “Your secret is safe with me.” Shutting the door behind himself, Zaon left the couple alone. 

The blitzer followed his girlfriend into the kitchen with a handful of dishes to help her clean.  She pointed to the counter, “Just put them there.  I’ll take care of it.”  

Shuyin shrugged and backed up, bumping a spiral notebook off of the counter.  He picked it up and noticed some scribblings on the front page. 

I know that you're hiding things

Using gentle words to shelter me

Your words were like a dream 

Lenne let out a little squeal and ripped the book from his hands, “No!  That’s private.”

“What is it?” asked Shuyin, his interest peaked.

“It’s a song I’m writing.”

Shuyin smiled, “Can I hear it?”  Lenne shook her head and shoved the book into a nearby drawer.  Shuyin laughed a little, “I’m going to hear it when you sing it at the game anyway.  Why can’t I hear it now?”

 “First,” Lenne replied, putting a hand on her hip, “It’s not finished.  Second, I’m not writing it for a game.”

 “What are you writing it for then?”

Lenne blushed and turned away as she whispered, “It’s a song I’m writing for you.”

Shuyin grinned, “Well, I suppose I could wait to hear it when it is finished.” Lenne looked at him with her broadest grin of the morning and Shuyin wished he could lock that look on her face in his mind forever.  She was happy, peaceful.  If he was unsure of his love for her at all, he was sure now. “I’ve got to get going, babe.” Shuyin said as he kissed her softly, “If I’m late to practice again, Wargna’s going to kill me.”

 Lenne smiled, “Do you have to go?” she asked with a suggestive wink.

 Nodding, Shuyin replied, “I’d much rather stay with you, but I have a job to do.”

 “I really wish you didn’t have to leave.” Lenne confessed, “but if you must, you must.”

Shuyin kissed her forehead, “I must, but I will be back.”

-----------------

 Shuyin had been gone for about a half hour when the doorbell rang.  Lenne thought it was Yunalesca and Zaon although when they’d asked if she wanted to join them for a walk near the blitzball stadium she’d declined.  Maybe they were there to try and change her mind. 

Lenne reached for the door and opened it while saying, “I told you guys that I’m not interes….”  The person before her wasn’t Zaon or Yunalesca.  Whoever it was, was wearing all black – including a ski mask – to hide their features.  Their hands were covered in leather gloves but it was the knife in the person’s hand that sent alarm bells off in Lenne’s head.  Instinctively, Lenne made a move to slam the door but her unwanted visitor was faster and forced their way inside, brandishing the knife like it was a toy. 

Her assailant kicked the door closed behind her as Lenne made a dash toward the kitchen in the hopes of getting a knife for herself but her assailant was faster and grabbed the songstress’s hair, pulling her backward until Lenne lost her balance and fell to the ground.  Lenne saw the knife heading toward her and she turned on the ground as quickly as she could but the assailant’s aim was true and the knife penetrated deeply into Lenne’s left arm. 

 Lenne screamed out in pain and was just dazed enough to not see the next attack until the knife was firmly in her left side.  Her scream seemed to echo off of the walls as the attacker continued to cut and stab her.  Finally the assailant backed off.  All Lenne could feel was the pain as her blurry vision tried to find where her assailant had gotten to.  She saw the person throwing some old vases into a bag before he stared long and hard at her photographs that were lined neatly.  There were a few of herself with Yunalesca and a few of herself with Zaon.  The man ended up grabbing the one of herself with Shuyin and throwing it into the bag.  Lenne tried to say something but all she got for her trouble was the realization that blood was coming from her mouth as well as the other wounds that had been recently inflicted. 

“Still alive, are we?” her assailant hissed.  It was a man’s voice but it wasn’t one that she recognized.  He leaned down closer to her face, “Well, you won’t be for long.  You’ll bleed to death long before anybody finds you.”

Lenne coughed the blood from her lungs and let out one final scream before the man balled his hand into a fist, and smacked her hard against the temple and Lenne’s world went black.

------------------------

 The blitzball connected with the back of Shuyin’s head, but the blitzer didn’t seem to notice.  Something was wrong.  He could feel it.  A cold sense of dread came over his body and soul and he’d learned to listen to it. 

The last time he’d felt like this was when his parents had died.    

Ignoring the confused looks of his teammates – particularly those of Skirpa and Bruttam – Shuyin swam out of the sphere pool and ran over to Wargna, “I need to leave, right now.” He said.

 “What?!” shrieked Wargna, “You were late to the last practice and now you want to leave early!”

 Shuyin’s eyes took on a desperate light, “I really need to leave.  Something is wrong.  I just know it.” The blitzer didn’t wait for his coach’s response as he ran, dripping wet, from the stadium.  He ignored Skirpa and Bruttam’s shouts to wait up and plunged into the daylight outside of the stadium where he ran right into Zaon and Yunalesca. 

“Practice is over already?” Zaon asked but his friend didn’t answer.  He ran around his best friend and his wife and into the direction of Lenne’s house.  His heart was pounding and his breath was ragged. 

Something was wrong….

Shuyin could hear footsteps and shouts behind him.  Yunalesca, Zaon, Skirpa, and Bruttam were following him.  Normally the blitzer would have stopped and waited for them, but he couldn’t this time.  Something told him that every second he wasted would have dire consequences. 

The outside of Lenne’s house looked fine.  Her front door was closed and her lights were on.  Nothing appeared to be out of place on the outside, but when Shuyin put a shaking hand on her doorknob to open it, he noticed a small drop of blood near his foot.  His heart nearly jumped through his throat as he threw the door open and screamed.

Lenne was lying in a pool of her own blood.  The songstress’ face was pale and a bruise was forming near her temple.  Shuyin dove to his knees, unconcerned that he was lying in her blood.  He lifted her gently in his arms and started screaming, “Lennie!  Lennie!  Wake up!”

“Lenne!” Yunalesca’s scream was almost as loud as Shuyin’s and the blonde female knelt on the other side of her friend and stroked her hair.  Skirpa, Bruttam, and Zaon didn’t move.  It was as if they were frozen in place.  The blitzer was screaming and crying, trying to awaken his girlfriend while the blond summoner was stroking her hair and talking to her as if she could hear. 

Zaon took a tentative step toward the scene and gently placed a finger on Lenne’s neck to feel her pulse.  He was sure there wouldn’t be one and wasn’t sure how he was going to tell Shuyin and Yunalesca, but to his surprise her pulse was there.  It was weak, but there.  The blue-haired man turned to Bruttam, “Call an ambulance, now!”

The next hour was a blur for Shuyin.  He saw police and ambulances.  Sirens and lights flashed from outside as people came and went.  Doctors attended to Lenne and tried to stop her bleeding as they hooked her up to IV’s and put her on a stretcher for transportation to Zanarkand Memorial Hospital.  This entire time, Shuyin didn’t move.  His eyes were focused on the huge puddle of blood that was staining Lenne’s white carpet.  The color seemed to be taking up the entire room and drowning out every other color.  Everything that reminded him of Lenne seemed to be drowning in red. 

“This place looks much better than when Yuna lived here.  Less pink…”  

“I hate pink.  Blue is my favorite color.”

His hands were covered in blood and it dripped down his shirt and pants like water.  He vaguely felt a hand on his shoulder and heard Zaon say something about going to the hospital.  Shuyin let his friend lead him from the blood filled room and out into the yard where Yunalesca was rinsing her clothes off with a hose and offered to do the same thing for Shuyin. 

The cold water didn’t faze him.  Shuyin didn’t move or shiver or shake as it connected with his bare face and rinsed Lenne’s blood from his clothes.  He barely acknowledged movement as Zaon led him to his car and proceeded to drive himself, Yunalesca, and Shuyin to the hospital.

The trio was quickly ushered into the emergency room where the doctors were giving a synopsis of Lenne’s condition.  Shuyin, however, wasn’t listening.  He was drawn inexplicably toward the window curtain that sheltered Lenne’s emergency room cot from the waiting area.  Gently pulling the curtain aside, Shuyin had to hold back a sob at what he saw.

Lenne was hooked up to three IV needles that each seemed to be pumping a different kind of clear liquid into her veins.  Her face was taking on a yellow color that was offset only by the purplish bruise just next to her left eye.

Why had he left her alone?!  She hadn’t wanted him to leave.  He shouldn’t have left.  Why did he leave her?  He’d promised her that he wouldn’t leave her and he did.

“You’ll never be alone as long as I’m alive.”

 “Shu,” Zaon’s voice was like a shot in the dark and Shuyin jumped when his friend put a hand on his shoulder.

“What?” Shuyin said, more harshly than he wanted to.  His nerves were frazzled and he hated feeling like this was his fault. Knowing that this was his fault.

“The police are done at Lenne’s.  They said it looks like a robbery gone bad because some vases and picture frames were taken.”  he gave Shuyin a caring smile, “I’m going to take Yuna home.  She’s really upset and there’s nothing more we can do here right now.  Do you want me to drop you off too?”

Shuyin shook his head and looked at Lenne again.  She seemed so helpless in that bed.  Helpless tiny.  He could feel his heart literally breaking and the pain was enormous.  The blitzer shook his head, “I’m going to stay here with her.”

Zaon nodded, “Okay.” He whispered as he wrapped an arm around Shuyin’s shoulder and gave his best friend a half-hug, “Call me if you need anything. I don’t care what time it is.”

Shuyin stood staring into Lenne’s room for almost an hour after his friends had left.  It was dark outside but the blitzer didn’t care what time it was.  He didn’t care that the wing of the hospital was practically empty as family and friends of the other patients were going home. 

He just wanted to be with Lenne.

The sound of her heart monitor was both frightening and comforting.  It scared him that she was like this but it comforted him that her heartbeat was strong.  It gave him hope that she’d open her eyes and look at him again.  Taking a seat next to her bed, Shuyin laid his head upon her stomach and let himself drift into a dreamless sleep.

The first beams of daylight woke Shuyin a few hours later and he blinked the sleep from his eyes as the realization of where he was dawned on him.  He stood slowly and stretched his weary muscles and walked over to the window.  The sunrise was breathtaking as it always was in A-East.

“The city lights go out one by one.  The stars fade, then the horizon glows, almost like it’s on fire.  It’s kinda rose-colored, right?  First in the sea, then it spreads to the sky, then to the whole city.  It gets brighter and brighter, till everything glows.  It’s really…pretty.”

 “It is beautiful.  You can’t see it so well in C-South.  The smog tends to hide the skyline.”

 “That’s exactly why I’d never want to live there.  In A-East you can take a deep breath and not worry about what organisms you just inhaled.”

A single tear streamed down his face as he turned back to Lenne.  She hadn’t moved and was breathing steadily through the tubes they had sticking up her nostrils.  Her beautiful body was covered in bandages from the multiple stab wounds she’d received and the bruise on her face looked worse than it had just a few hours before. 

Who could have done this to her?  Why would someone have done this to her?  Robbery or no, Lenne wouldn’t have struggled with the person.  They could have just taken what they wanted and left.  It just didn’t feel right.  It made no sense to attack this woman over vases and picture frames!

Something wasn’t right…

Shuyin ran tired fingers over his hair and turned his back to the window still thinking about this when his breath caught in his throat.

“This isn’t over, bitch.”

Allyn!  Allyn had threatened Lenne.  She’d done it before but there was something about her threat last night that seemed much more imminent.  Allyn wouldn’t have done it herself.  No, Allyn wouldn’t have wanted to risk it herself but she could have hired someone to do it.  Someone in her father’s army, perhaps?  Did Reiber know anything about it?   

Shuyin growled angrily in his throat at the mere thought that Allyn would do this to Lenne.  Taking one last look at Lenne, Shuyin stormed out of the hospital.  Bevelle held the answer and that was exactly where Shuyin was headed.

Author’s Notes: Okay, in this chapter Shuyin makes the biggest mistake of his life.  This is also the first chapter he sees Vegnagun but that machina isn’t the big mistake I’m talking about although using that thing is pretty damn stupid.  The mistake I’m talking about will set everything in motion.  See if you can pick it out.  If not, it’ll be spelled out blatantly later.

 

Below is chapter 13.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Thirteen:  Deadly Confession

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“I’m sorry sir, but President Ackmard is busy at the mome…”

 

“I don’t give a shit what Reiber is doing.” Shuyin hissed at the middle aged secretary that barred his entrance to Reiber Ackmard’s office, “Tell him that Shuyin Bacohl demands to see him.”

 

The woman raised her nose at him and replied, “I’m sorry sir, but President Ackmard is busy at the moment.  You’ll have to wait your turn…”

 

Shuyin glared at the woman and then proceeded to storm around her and kick the door to Reiber’s office open.  The president was sitting at his desk staring blankly at a cup of coffee when the sudden visitor shook him from his thoughts.  Reiber’s eyes widened in surprise and then his mouth formed a smile, “Shuyin!  What a pleasant surprise.”

 

“Save it, Reiber.  I’m not here for pleasantries.” 

 

Reiber stiffened a little and motioned for his secretary – who had followed Shuyin – to leave the two alone.  The woman nodded and pulled the door shut as she left.  Reiber rose from his chair and walked to the other side of his desk where he leaned, “What’s going on, Shuyin?”

 

“Two days ago Allyn was spying on me as I made love to my girlfriend.  I caught Allyn who proceeded to threaten my girlfriend,” Shuyin’s face took on a pained look, “Yesterday my girlfriend was brutally attacked and almost stabbed to death by someone.  The police think it was a robbery although all the person took were cheap vases and some pictures.”

 

Reiber stood and put his hands on his hips, “Am I to assume that you think my daughter had something to do with it?”

 

“Yes,” Shuyin replied, his eyes fixing coldly on the man in front of him, “That’s exactly what you’re supposed to think.”

 

The silence between them seemed almost threatening in itself.  Shuyin knew that Reiber thought Allyn could do no wrong.  Shuyin had thought that too…a long time ago.  Coming here and telling the president of the country that wanted to destroy his hometown that he thought his daughter was capable of committing some sort of atrocity was a huge risk, but it was one that Shuyin was willing to take.

 

Reiber Ackmard’s entire body tensed as he hissed, “First of all, Shuyin, I didn’t even realize you had a girlfriend.  Allyn told me that there was some girl you liked.  I didn’t realize it was serious.”

 

Shuyin scoffed, “Of course Allyn spins the truth her way.  Typical…”

 

Reiber scowled, “Secondly,” he continued with a stern tone, “Allyn came here two nights ago and has been here since.”

 

“She must have gotten one of your soldiers to do it.” Shuyin declared, “That is the only reasonable explanation.”

 

Reiber let out a laugh, “There are plenty of other explanations, Shuyin.” The president shrugged, “I’m sorry about your girlfriend.  I certainly hope she’ll be okay, but Allyn didn’t have anything to do with it.  She has no control over this army.  Most of my men don’t even know who she is since she’s been living in Zanarkand.” Reiber leaned forward and put his hands on his knees, “Allyn didn’t have your girlfriend stabbed.”

 

A crash came from behind Shuyin and the blitzer spun to find Allyn standing there, shaking with broken cups, plates, and food on the floor at her feet – the remnants of tea and cookies for her father.  Allyn’s green eyes seemed shocked and horrified as she asked, “Lenne was stabbed?”  Allyn stepped over the mess at her feet as if she didn’t care and rushed over to Shuyin, “Is she okay?”

 

Shuyin scoffed, “Like you care.”

 

A flash of hurt appeared in Allyn’s eyes and Shuyin felt guilt at dismissing her so coldly, “I may hate her, Shuyin, but I’d never want her hurt.”

 

“Well she is hurt.  She’s laying in ICU with tubes and IV’s and…” Shuyin turned away as the tears came to form behind his eyes.  He wiped them away with the back of his hand before turning back to her, “You threaten her and she’s attacked.  Explain that!”

 

“I didn’t do it, if that’s what you’re suggesting.”

 

Shuyin sneered at her, “I know that you wouldn’t do it.  What I want to know is who did you pay to do it?”

 

“Do you really think that little of me?” Allyn asked, “Do you really think that I’d pay to have Lenne murdered?”

 

The look in her eyes caused Shuyin to collapse in the chair behind him.  Allyn seemed genuinely concerned about Lenne.  Allyn wasn’t a good actress and couldn’t fake being upset if she really wasn’t.  Besides, Allyn would have wanted Lenne to leave of her own accord instead of dying.  Shuyin sighed, “No.” he replied, “I’m sorry.  I’m just…”

 

Allyn put a comforting hand on his knee, “I know you’re upset.” Shuyin looked up at her and she gave him a smile, “I’ll give you a tour of the compound.  It’ll help you get your mind off of things for a while.  What do you say?”

 

“If it’s okay with Reiber…”

 

Allyn grinned, “It’s fine.  Come on.”

 

Shuyin followed Allyn out of the side door to the office that she used to bring the tea.  The secretary was now cleaning up the mess as Allyn motioned for him to follow her to the right in a small hallway just outside of the door.  Another left took them out to the temple where Allyn and he got on an elevator and went down the bowels of the castle.  She looked at him, “I want to take you to see the secret weapon that nobody wants to use.”

 

“Secret weapon?”

 

Her voice echoed off of the walls as Allyn said, “It was built to use in the war that Daddy keeps saying is inevitable.  It’s too powerful though.  Nobody wants to use it.”

 

Allyn pulled open the door and motioned toward the gigantic machina that stood before them.  Shuyin let out a gasp as his eyes caressed the colossus.  It was almost as big as the room they were in and it appeared to almost have a face.  A deep copper color, this machina was the most beautiful thing Shuyin had seen – with the exception of Lenne.  His mouth opened and closed for a moment before he said, “What is this thing?”

 

“Vegnagun.” Allyn replied, “It’s has enough firepower to wipe Zanarkand off of the planet.  I think that’s the reason nobody wants to use it.  Vegnagun is infinitely hard to control.  Daddy acts like it has a mind of its own.”

 

Shuyin took a step closer to it and said, “Is that why there are so many security spheres and guards around?”

 

“Yeah,” Allyn said, nodding, “I’m allowed down here since I’m Reiber’s daughter but nobody is allowed to touch it.”

 

“How would you even use something like that?”

 

Allyn pointed to a piano like object on top of what appeared to be Vegnagun’s head, “See that keyboard?  You play the notes listed in the correct order and Vegnagun springs to life.  They made it so that only people with piano skills could use it.”  She smiled at him, “I probably shouldn’t have told you that, though.  You are the enemy and your mother did make you take those piano lessons when you were a kid.”

 

Shuyin laughed, “I doubt I’d remember much anyway.  I haven’t played in years.”

 

“I heard it’s like riding a bike.” She replied, “You never forget.”

 

She caught Shuyin’s eye and the two stared at each other for a few minutes before Shuyin broke contact, “I should get back to the hospital.”

 

Allyn nodded, “I suppose you should.” She smiled at him and touched his shoulder gently, “I’m going to stay here for a bit, but I’ll be thinking about you.  I’m sure she’s going to be fine.”

 

“Thanks Allyn.”

 

“Can I ask you something before you leave?” Allyn questioned, grabbing Shuyin’s arm to keep him from leaving.

 

Shuyin cocked an eyebrow, “What is it?”

 

“This may not be the most appropriate time to ask this,” Allyn admitted with a shrug, “but I’m curious anyway.” She smiled at him and asked, “If Lenne wasn’t in the picture, would you come back to me eventually?” she placed a firm hand on his chest, “I’m not hoping she’ll die, mind you.  This is strictly hypothetical.  Like, if she left tomorrow and I was still around…”

 

Shuyin’s blue eyes scanned the room for a moment and then locked with Allyn’s green orbs before whispering, “Probably.”

 

------------

 

After Shuyin was safely on the hover back to Zanarkand, Allyn focused on her next mission.  Stalking angrily down the hallway to the military compound, she shoved the door open and glared at the two soldiers talking with Benedict Cyton, “Get the hell out!  I have business with the commander.”

 

Benedict motioned with his hand and dismissed his troops.  Once the two men had scurried out and shut the door, he turned his deadly black eyes on Allyn and gave her a smirk, “What can I do for you, Miss. Ackmard?”

 

“Don’t ‘Miss. Ackmard’ me you fiend!” Allyn shrieked as she approached Benedict, “I told you to scare Lenne.  I told you to bust into her house, smack her around a little, act like it was because Shuyin was involved in some organized crime thing so she’d leave Zanarkand.” Allyn’s frame shook and she pounded her fists on the desk in front of Benedict as she screamed, “I didn’t tell you to practically DECAPITATE her!!!”

 

Benedict smiled slightly and stood to walk around his desk and closer to Allyn, “I didn’t decapitate her, Allyn.  I simply took your orders and expanded upon them so that it would help you more.”

 

“How is having that little bitch in the hospital with Shuyin here to accuse me of trying to kill her helping me?!”

 

Benedict patted Allyn on the head condescendingly, “If I just smacked her around a little, she wouldn’t leave.  She’d talk to Shuyin and then they’d just have sex again to make up.”  Benedict’s black hair seemed almost blue in the light as he turned his back on Allyn and said, “Even if she did leave, he’d just run after her.”

 

“He didn’t run after me!  Why would he run after her?”

 

Benedict laughed, “First of all, Allyn, Lenne wouldn’t be leaving for another man which is the precise reason Shuyin didn’t come after [i]you[/i].  Secondly, he loves Lenne.  I’m betting what he felt for you was below the belt.”

 

The sting of her hand connecting with his cheek sent chills down Allyn spine and her blood almost stopped cold when he looked at her.  Her green eyes spat fire as she hissed, “Shuyin loved me.  Shuyin loves me.  We’re going to be together forever and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

 

Benedict cackled, “Whatever.  Live in fantasy land if you want.” He turned his back to her and walked around his desk again, “I helped you in the long run anyway, so when do I get my reward?”

 

Allyn scoffed, “How did you help me?”

 

“You can show concern for the pretty little songstress.” Benedict replied, “If she lives, Shuyin will be grateful for the concern you showed her.  If she dies, Shuyin will want someone’s shoulder to cry on.  Either way, you’ve got an in.”

 

“But I am concerned about her.” Said Allyn, “The girl is probably going to die because of you.”

 

Benedict shook his pointer finger, “Uh, uh, uh…” he said, “Not because of me, dear.  Because of you.  You’re the one that got me involved.”

 

“But I didn’t want you to…”

 

Benedict was in front of her in a flash and he placed a finger under her chin to tilt her eyes to meet his, “We can’t change the past, Allyn.  Just make the most of a bad situation and turn it to your advantage.  You’re a smart girl and I’ll help you again if you want me to.”

 

“And the next time you help me, you will follow my instructions exactly.”

 

Benedict nodded, “Absolutely, my dear.” He said soothingly, “Now, I’d like my reward now.”

 

“You really don’t deserve it.” Replied Allyn.

 

Benedict’s eyes flashed and he placed both of his hands on her shoulders and pushed her roughly to her knees, “I said I want my reward,” he hissed as he lowered his zipper, “Either you give me what you promised me, or I tell Shuyin the truth.”

 

Allyn growled, “Fine, but if you do something stupid again then next time, I use my teeth.  Are we clear?”

 

Crystal…” Benedict replied, “Crystal clear.”

 

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

Author’s Note:  I’m currently toying with the idea of having a “Silver Wings 2”.  It would take place after FFX-2 (since we all know what happened during that time) and therefore be a FFX-3 story.  It would focus on Tidus, Yuna, and the others from FFX and FFX-2 and how Tidus suddenly starts remembering Shuyin’s past (and possibly becoming Shuyin for certain time frames).  It’s still in the thinking stages since I need to finish “Silver Wings” before I start a sequel, but if anyone is interested in a possible sequel to this story let me know in a review and I’ll definitely start to plan it out and begin it right after I’m done with “Silver Wings”. 

Author’s Notes: For those of you worrying about Lenne, worry no more.  I promise you that she will be just fine (at least for a while) and this chapter is the beginning of that.  I don’t have anymore notes about this chapter.  It’s pretty straightforward.  Enjoy!

 

Below is chapter 14.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

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Chapter Fourteen:  Boxes of Bleach

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Morning light shone through the blinds in Lenne’s hospital room and rose Shuyin who’d gone straight back their after his sabbatical in Bevelle.  His eyes quickly searched Lenne for some sign that the songstress had awakened, but there was none.  Lenne’s body hadn’t moved and her eyes were still closed – keeping her in her silent world of dreams. 

 

Sighing, Shuyin rose from the chair he’d slept in again and stretched the kinks out of his body.  Sleeping in chairs wasn’t exactly the best way to get a full nights rest but the blitzball star didn’t care.  He needed to stay close to Lenne and his comfort could be damned.

 

“Morning, Shu.” Zaon whispered from the door.  His blue-haired friend was in the hallway with Yunalesca, Bruttam, and Skirpa.  Shuyin smiled and joined them.

 

Bruttam gave him a hug, “How you doing?”

 

“I’m okay.” Shuyin replied.

 

Yunalesca put a hand on her hip, “I heard you went to Bevelle last night.” She said, “It was the talk of the town this morning that you went running out of here like a wild fiend and boarded the first hover to Bevelle.  What did you do that for?”

 

“I thought Allyn was behind this,” replied Shuyin as he motioned toward Lenne’s room, “She had threatened her and I guess it just made sense at the time, but she wasn’t.  She was horrified when I told her what happened.”

 

Skirpa nodded, “She must have come back to Zanarkand right after you talked then.” He motioned toward a large cardboard box that was sitting on one of the waiting room chairs, “She saw me this morning and told me to see that you got this.  She said it’s for Lenne.”

 

Shuyin cocked an eyebrow and walked slowly over to the box.  He was almost afraid to open something Allyn had bought for Lenne.  Maybe it was poisoned?  Shuyin almost laughed at the ludicrous idea.  If it was poison, then Allyn wouldn’t have wanted Shuyin to get it first.  Slowly opening the top, Shuyin gasped at what he saw.

 

Two boxes were inside the larger one.  One box was clearly marked to contain crystal vases while the other clearly contained crystal picture frames.  Underneath the boxes was a large bottle of bleach and a note. 

 

Shuyin,

 

I heard that Lenne had some vases and picture frames stolen.  Since I have a trust fund and no one to spend it on, I decided to replace them for her.  I know what you’re thinking… “Her’s weren’t crystal.”  That’s not an issue, Shu.  I looked at the other kinds and they were…well…ugly.  Have you ever known me to buy something ugly?  I didn’t think so.

 

Anyway, I also enclosed a bottle of bleach.  According to the news, her house was...messed up.  Suffice it to say, I assume that it hasn’t been cleaned yet and bleach will be needed.  There is plenty more where this bottle came from, plus I have three staff members from Bevelle at my disposal who will help clean.  I’d also like to help if that’s okay.  Give me a call if you’re interested.

 

Also, Shu, thanks so much for believing me.  It really means a lot.

 

Love forever,

Allyn

 

------------------

 

After discussing it with Yunalesca and Zaon, the trio agreed that Allyn’s help would be useful so after contacting Reiber Ackmard’s daughter, Allyn and her trio of helpers were on their way to Lenne’s house.  It was around 2 in the afternoon when they arrived outside the dwelling of the songstress. 

 

“Hey, Shuyin.” Allyn said as she approached the blitzer, “Yunalesca, Zaon.” She acknowledged.

 

Shuyin smiled slightly, “Hi, Allyn.  Thanks for this.”

 

“It’s the least I can do.” She replied, “After all that I’ve done to you since I got back.”

 

Sharing a small smile, the quartet helped Allyn’s cleaners unload a truck they had brought.  Laden with bleach, mops, buckets, and other cleaning equipment, the truck looked like it would tilt over. 

 

Shuyin stepped in first armed with a bottle of bleach and a scrubber.  His eyes focused on the large bloodstain in the middle of Lenne’s beautiful white carpet and he chocked back his urge to cry out.  His beautiful Lenne wasn’t dead, just sleeping.  She’d awaken soon and she’d want a clean home to go back to.  He’d give her that.

 

The first day of cleaning wasn’t as productive as the ones that would follow.  The bloodstain in the middle of her carpet proved difficult as did the stains that had splashed onto her walls and furniture. 

 

The group returned to Lenne’s house every day for two weeks to get the job finished and when they were, the house looked spotless.  The stains were gone and a fresh coat of paint was on her walls.  The carpet looked brand new and the crystal vases and frames were put onto the shelves.  Yunalesca went through Lenne’s picture albums to chose appropriate pictures to place in them and when all was finished, the group was very satisfied with their work.

 

Shuyin looked around Lenne’s home with a mixture of emotions.  It had been two weeks.  Two weeks of hard work and long hours in order to give Lenne her spotless and perfect home back.  It had also been two weeks that Lenne hadn’t moved.  She hadn’t woken even though Shuyin had spent every night with her, telling her how the house was coming. 

 

Would she ever?

 

His reflections were broken with the touch of a hand to his shoulder, “Shuyin, are you okay?”

 

“Yeah, Allyn.” He replied, “I’m fine.”

 

“She hasn’t woken up, has she?” asked Allyn, as if reading his mind.  She had always been good at figuring out what he was thinking; sometimes before he did.

 

“No, she hasn’t.  She will, though.  She has to.”

 

Allyn sighed, “She’s really lucky to have you.” She whispered, “I remember what it was like when you loved me.  You feel like you’re the only girl in the world.”

 

“Allyn…” Shuyin replied, turning to look at her, “Part of me is always going to love you.  You’ll always be special to me.”

 

Allyn grinned, “Well that’s good to know.”

 

Shuyin laughed and patted her on the head, “Don’t go getting any ideas.” He warned before saying, “I’m going to get to the hospital and see her.  Talk to you later.”

 

------------------------

 

The hospital was just as disgusting as Shuyin remembered.  It was the same pale white color and had the same stench of death.  Yunalesca and Zaon had decided to come to the hospital later, opting instead to go home and change.  Shuyin didn’t care what he looked like.  He just needed to see Lenne and tell her that her house was finished.

 

He slowly walked into her room and first noted that her color had improved.  She seemed to be doing better and his heart skipped a beat as he approached her.  She didn’t move and he frowned.  He had hoped that she was awake.

 

The clouds outside caught his attention and he approached the window for a closer look.  He pushed the curtain away and stared out.  Storm clouds were rolling in and the first drops of ran began.  From a distance he heard what sounded like thunder coming from the base of Gagazet. 

 

“Shuyin.”

 

Startled, he released the curtain and turned quickly at the sound of Lenne’s voice.  She had slowly pushed herself upward and pulled the tubes from her nose while resting her head against the bar that acted as a headboard.  She gingerly inspected her face and body before allowing her hands to fall listlessly at her sides.  “I’m still alive…” she whispered.

 

Shuyin thought his mouth would break when the smile formed.  It was wider than he thought possible and he was beside her in a flash, “I thought you were still unconscious!”

 

“I woke up this afternoon for a few minutes,” she said, “but you weren’t here so I went back to sleep.”

 

Shuyin frowned a little, “I was fixing your house.  Damnit, I wanted to be here when you woke up.”

 

“I know.” Lenne replied as she rested her hand on his, “I heard you when you’d come here.  You’re the reason I hung on.”

 

Shuyin smiled and leaned over to press his lips to hers.  Her kiss was weak and it was evident that she was still tired, but she was alive and that was all Shuyin cared about for the moment.  He whispered, “I love you.”

 

Lenne ran her fingers over his cheek and down his jawline as if memorizing his ever curve.  She opened her mouth to speak when a loud noise that sounded like a thunderclap came from outside and the door to the room burst open.  Zaon and Yunalesca were standing there, dripping wet from the rain.  Shuyin smiled, “Look who’s awake!” he said, motioning toward Lenne.

 

Yunalesca stepped forward, “I’m so happy, Lennie, but we have an emergency on our hands.”

 

“That’s right,” Zaon replied, “That isn’t thunder you’re hearing outside.”

 

“What is it?” Shuyin asked.

 

Yunalesca looked from Shuyin to Lenne and then said, “It’s gunfire.  The soldiers stationed at the base of Gagazet were attacked about 20 minutes ago by Bevelle soldiers.”  She paused, as if for effect, before saying, “We’re at war.”

Author’s Notes: This is the first chapter where the war is in full swing and death begins.  This is also the chapter which will lead up to the shooting of Shuyin and Lenne.    

 

Below is chapter 15.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

 

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Fifteen:  Dreams, Schemes, and Blitzball Teams

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

"You know, you're all I can count on to save Lenne.”

 

Shuyin’s eyes flew open and he quickly squinted against the morning light that poured in.  He shifted in the small hospital bed that Lenne had suggested he sleep in with her.  It really wasn’t made for two people and was proven since Shuyin was wedged between his sleeping girlfriend and the bar on the side of the bed.  After Yunalesca and Zaon had told them that they were at war, Lenne had taken to casting Curaga on herself repeatedly until Shuyin had to pin her arms down to stop her from over casting. 

 

“You must stop! That’s enough!”

 

Shuyin shook his head hard as he sat up.  He had been having some odd dreams that night, none of which he could remember.  All he knew was that something was going to happen.  He didn’t like it.  Lenne’s eyes opened as Shuyin climbed out of the bed and she smiled, “Just where do you think you’re going, mister?”

 

Shuyin spun on his heels and smiled at her, “I needed to stretch.  That bed isn’t made for two you know.”

 

“You could have slept on top of me,” Lenne said with a wink.

 

Shuyin laughed, “Me on top of you is only comfortable for one thing.  Sleeping isn’t it…”

 

Lenne laughingly agreed and then stretched herself.  After her recovery and subsequent use of Curaga, the nurses had taken the IV’s out of her arms and she was healing quite rapidly.  Shuyin had never seen someone cast spells before – not even Yunalesca – and the entire thing frightened him.  It made it all too clear that Lenne was a summoner and if this war got out of hand, she’d be sent to fight. 

 

His beautiful Lenne rose to her feet next to him and cast another Curaga spell on her wounds before accepting the clothes that Shuyin held for her.  He had brought a change for her in preparation for her awakening and now she greedily grabbed the only clothes that Shuyin could find – her songstress dress.  Lenne dropped her hospital gown to the floor – not even slightly embarrassed by her lack of clothes – and pulled the dress over her head while saying, “So I heard that Allyn replaced the stuff that was stolen.”

 

“That’s right.”

 

Lenne straightened her hair and the dress before locking eyes with him, “Why did she do that?  Is it for the reason I think?”

 

“I know it’s hard to believe,” Shuyin replied, “but she was shocked that you were attacked.  I don’t think she had anything to do with it.”

 

“Morning you two.” Zaon said as he and Yunalesca joined them in the room. 

 

Lenne smiled at her friends and then turned to reach for her shoes, “Any news on the war?”

 

“It’s going strong,” replied Yunalesca, “The border troops were demolished last night so Daddy sent reinforcements to try and hold them off.  The last thing we need is Bevelle storming Zanarkand with machina.”

 

Shuyin cocked an eyebrow in surprise, “But I thought your father was working on a secret plan.  I figured he was creating a huge machina army.”

 

Yunalesca groaned and threw her hands in the air, “That would have been the intelligent thing to do,” she admitted, “But no.  Daddy has been pouring over his summoning books since the wedding.  He thinks that there is a summon that can stop the war.”

 

Lenne smiled, “That would be nice, wouldn’t it?” she said dreamily, “Imagine a summon powerful enough to end a machina war.  It’s too bad it doesn’t exist.”

 

“Maybe it does.” Shuyin said.

 

Lenne shook her head and her long brown hair fell over her shoulders, “Summons can hold machina off for a while, but they can’t defeat them.  Especially not the kind that Bevelle has.” She sighed, “That’s why I hope Yu has something up his sleeve because otherwise when the other summoners and I are sent to the front lines it will be for nothing.”

 

Shuyin’s eyes flashed, “You’re not fighting.”

 

“Yeah, Lenne.” Yunalesca said, “You don’t have to.  The Summoner Army is totally voluntary.  Daddy has already told me that I’m not allowed to fight since he’s got a ‘greater purpose’ for me so there’s no reason you have to go either.  We can both do this ‘greater purpose’ thing together.”

 

Lenne shook her head and looked at all of her friends before finally focusing her eyes on Shuyin, “When I became a summoner, I knew that one day my job would be to defend my home and the people in it.  This is my destiny and I am determined to fight for my country as a summoner.  Come what may…”

 

-----------------

 

 “This is my destiny and I am determined to fight for my country as a summoner.  Come what may…”

 

She hadn’t misunderstood.  That stupid little bitch was actually going to go to her death for her country!  Allyn had to stifle a laugh for fear that one of the four would see her lurking about outside.  She’d come in another attempt to bring herself closer to Shuyin by showing concern for Lenne, but instead she’d stumbled upon the most wonderful news she’d ever heard.  Allyn didn’t understand how or why Lenne was up and walking around so soon, but it didn’t matter anymore.  She was going to go to war and she was going to die.  Shuyin would be all hers soon.

 

With a smile on her pretty face, Allyn quickly snuck back out of the hospital without being seen and was halfway across the parking lot when she stopped dead in her tracks.  Her smile faded.  She froze.

 

There was no guarantee Lenne would die.  What if she didn’t?  What if she survived somehow and came back?  Allyn didn’t know how long the war would last so there was no guarantee that she’d have enough time to win back Shuyin’s heart before it ended and Lenne returned and stole him again.  There had to be a way to guarantee…

 

The idea hit her like a bolt of lightening to the brain.  It was simple.  It was brilliant.  It was brilliant in its simplicity.  This sort of thing happened all the time and there would be no reason Shuyin would connect it to her.  Even if it did, she could tell him that she did it to keep Lenne safe which – in essence – she was.  It was perfect!! 

 

Quickly hailing the first taxi that crossed her path, Allyn made her way to the hoverstation and Bevelle.  She needed Benedict’s help with this.  He had sworn to help her and she was going to make sure he followed through.  Although she was a little concerned about him following orders, the concern was quickly banished.  This was something that even Benedict couldn’t screw up.  Besides, if for some reason he got overzealous and killed Lenne…summoners die all the time.  No big deal…

 

----------------

 

Lenne’s first steps into her house were nervous at best.  She hadn’t been there since the attack and was nervous although Shuyin was right behind her.  She felt his hand on her back and took comfort in knowing that he wouldn’t leave.  Her hand trembled as she touched the doorknob and finally let it fall away, “I’m not ready yet.” She said, “I really just want to relax for a little.  Can we go to your house instead?”

 

Shuyin nodded, “Anything you want, beautiful.”

 

The couple smiled at each other and then climbed back into Shuyin’s car for the short ride to his house.  Lenne felt more comfortable entering Shuyin’s living room than her own and promptly kicked her shoes off and spun around with her arms extended before running to him and wrapping those arms around his neck, “Make love to me.”

 

“Later,” Shuyin said, “I want to talk about the war first.  You’re not seriously considering going are you?”

 

Lenne’s eyes took on a stern light and she dropped her arms to her side and stepped back, “I’m not considering, Shuyin.  I’ve decided.  It’s my job and I’m going.  End of discussion.”

 

“No, not ‘end of discussion’.  This is crazy!”  Shuyin grabbed her arm, “Doing your job doesn’t mean sacrificing yourself for people who aren’t even going to remember your name!”

 

Lenne pulled her arm away from Shuyin and glared at him, “So now you think I’m crazy?”

 

“No!” cried Shuyin, “but I think that going to war is stupid.  Especially when you don’t have to.”

 

“Oh!  So I’m stupid and crazy now!” she shrieked and turned her back to him and began walking back toward the bathroom, “I’m going to take a shower, okay?”

 

Shuyin stood stunned at how she had dismissed him so abruptly.  As the door to the bathroom closed he scowled.  No way, it wasn’t ending there.  He was going to talk her out of this suicide mission and that was the end of it.

 

Storming over to the door he flung it open and stepped inside.  Wearing only her underwear, Lenne’s hair hung over her shoulders and she stood in the middle of the bathroom with a frown on her face, “I don’t remember saying you could join me.” she said, turning her back to him.  She pulled the rest of her clothing off of her body and then looked over his shoulder, “Could you leave please?”

 

 “I don’t think so, m’lady.” Shuyin replied as he pulled her naked body back to press against him, “This is my house and I say that we’re going to talk about this first.”

 

Lenne struggled away from him and put her nose in the air with the feeling of self-importance as she stepped into the shower and slammed the door shut behind her.  She didn’t hear Shuyin’s retreating footsteps and knew he still stood just outside.  She hated arguing with him and fully understood his upset and anger at her decision, but it was her decision.  He had to accept that.  Turning on the water she let the hot spray rush down her body and as she reached for the soap she heard the door fling open. 

 

Turning in surprise, Lenne saw that Shuyin had stripped down and joined her.  Her eyes flew open in shock as he handed her the soap, “If you insist on showering before talking, I’ve decided on a compromise.  We shower while we talk.”

 

“There’s nothing to talk about.” Lenne said firmly as she turned her back to him.  The feeling of his strong arm around her waist aroused her immediately and the feel of his lips on the back of her neck caused a small moan to escape her lips. 

 

Spinning her around to face him, Shuyin grinned down at her, “I love that sound you make when you’re horny.”

 

“I don’t make a sound.” Lenne insisted, embarrassed that he noticed something like that about her, “and I’m not horny.”

 

“Are you sure about that?” Shuyin asked as he lathered his hands, “You asked me to make love to you no more than five minutes ago.”

 

Lenne’s breathing became staggered as he moved his soapy fingers over her breasts, “That was before you called me crazy and stupid.” She managed.

 

“I didn’t call you crazy and stupid, I called the action that.” His fingers slipped between her thighs and Lenne let out a louder moan.  Shuyin smiled at her, “Still mad at me?”

 

Lenne shook her head incoherently as his fingers moved slowly over her.  He slowly reached around her and turned the water off but before Lenne could ask why, he had lifted her up in his arms and was carrying her into the bedroom.  Laying her softly onto the bed, Shuyin rose above her and Lenne welcomed him.

 

-------------------

 

The trip to Bevelle was short and Allyn was the first to climb out of the hover onto Bevelle soil.  She knew that the longer the war went on, the harder it would be to get back and forth to Bevelle, but she had to make this last trip.  It was of the utmost importance. 

 

Her feet slapped against the pavement as she ran toward the palace and into the soldier’s quarters and Benedict’s office.  Shoving the door open she barged in as Benedict looked up at her with a smirk, “The lovely Miss. Ackmard.  To what do I owe the pleasure?”

 

Allyn sneered at him, “I’ve got a job for you, Benny.” She replied as she leaned seductively over his desk giving the commander full sight of her breasts, “and I intend on making it worth your while.”

 

“As much as I would love to help you, Allyn,” Benedict replied, “I have my work cut out for me with this war so I can’t help you scare Lenne anymore.”

 

Allyn shook her head and ran a long finger over Benedict’s jawline to connect his eyes with hers, “This little job will coincide with the war.” Having effectively grabbed his attention, Allyn took the opportunity presented to walk around his desk and prop a long leg up on his desk, drawing her skirt higher upon her thigh to give him a look at her leg.  She knew that Benedict longed for her and she would use that information to her advantage.  Smirking, she said, “I need you to kidnap her.”

 

“Kidnap her?  How does that coincide with the war?” Benedict asked, though not taking his eyes off of her thigh.

 

“Well,” replied Allyn, “Lenne is a summoner.  Zanarkand’s summoners will be going to war shortly.  Take her as a POW when she’s there.” Benedict’s eyes left her thigh and joined her green orbs as she continued, “I don’t care what happens to her after that.  Just keep her alive.  That way if this is traced back to me, I can tell Shuyin that I did it for her safety.”

 

Benedict smiled, “And if she doesn’t come back, you get Shuyin…”

 

“Right,” Allyn agreed, “but either way, I have him to myself for a while.”

 

Benedict slowly ran a hand up her thigh and inched his way up her skirt but never took his eyes from hers, “And what will I get in return?”

 

“If you have to ask,” replied Allyn, “you’re not as smart as you think you are.”

 

-------------

 

Later, Shuyin and Lenne separated and dressed slowly on opposite sides of the bed.  Neither had spoken of the war or her possible involvement although the conversation hung in the air unspoken.  Lenne rounded the bed first and headed toward the door that led back to the living room, “How about I make us something to eat?”

 

Shuyin nodded his assent and followed her but the couple only got so far as the living room when Shuyin grabbed her arm, “I don’t want you to.”

 

“No food?” Lenne asked.

 

“You know what I’m talking about,” replied Shuyin, “I won’t let you go to war.”

 

Lenne’s eyes flashed and she pulled her arm away from Shuyin as she stormed across the room before finally turning to face him, “You won’t [i]let[/i] me!  Who in Spira do you think you are?  You can’t tell me what to do, Shuyin!”

 

“You are my girlfriend!  I don’t want…Lenne, I don’t want to lose you!” Shuyin crossed closer to her, “I almost lost you and I couldn’t deal with it if I actually did.  I think I’d go crazy!”

 

Lenne downcast her eyes and put her hands on her hips, “It’s my job, Shuyin.” She replied, “You left me to go to your job and I was attacked!  Is your job more important than mine?”

 

“Wait just a second!” hissed Shuyin, “Are you saying you blame me for your being attacked?”

 

Lenne shrugged, “Maybe if you’d have been here the attacker would have just had two people to stab.  Then again, maybe if you’d have been here, I wouldn’t have been hurt!  We’ll never know, will we?”

 

Shuyin threw his hands in the air and let out an exasperated yell, “I can’t believe this!” he cried, “You blame me!  You’re trying to make me feel guilty so that I will let you go to war!”

 

“I’ll go to war,” hissed Lenne, “whether you let me or not.”

 

“Oh no you won’t!”

 

“Oh yes I will!”

 

Shuyin scowled at her and opened his mouth to respond when he caught a look at the clock.  It was 3:45pm.  His eyes widened, “Oh shit!  I’m 45 minutes late to practice!”

 

Lenne spun around to look at the clock, “I’m supposed to be there today too!”

 

Grabbing his blitzball bag from the corner, he opened the door and looked at Lenne, “We’ll finish this conversation after practice.  Come on.”

 

The ride to the stadium was tense and silent.  The couple stared out of the windshield and didn’t speak to each other.  Neither wanted to admit that they knew where the other was coming from.  Lenne didn’t want to go to war and was secretly grateful that Shuyin was so worried about her.  Shuyin understood where Lenne was coming from, but he didn’t want anything to happen to her.

 

Pulling into the parking lot, Shuyin rounded the car to let Lenne out and then grabbed his bag from the backseat.  The two walked in tense silence toward the stadium when Shuyin stopped her, “I love you.  That’s why I’m like this, you know.”

 

Lenne nodded, “I know that, Shuyin.  I lo…”

 

A deafening sound from the sky stopped Lenne in mid-sentence and caused both Shuyin and Lenne to look up.  Streaming down from the sky was what looked like a huge meteor.  Shuyin’s eyes caught the retreating lights of an airship and before he could voice his realization of what was falling from the sky, the bomb hit with full force and knocked Shuyin and Lenne backward on the parking lot.  Their lungs filled with smoke and the heat of the fire ignited by the explosion touched their skin as they sat up on the pavement.  Shuyin’s eyes adjusted to the light around him as he realized what had happened.

 

The bomb had landed directly on the blitzball stadium in which the Zanarkand Abes were practicing.  What had once been the center of entertainment in Zanarkand was now a pile of burning rubble. 

 

A scream of anguish echoed in Shuyin’s ears and it took him a moment to realize that the sound came from him.

Author’s Notes:  I have decided to write Silver Wings 2 since I do have a few people interested.  I’m starting to think about it’s connections to this story as well as outline it a little bit.  Hopefully it will turn out well.  As for this story, this chapter is going to be another important section of the war as well as the last chapter before hell truly breaks loose.

Below is chapter 16.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Sixteen:  Fanning the Flames of Hell

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

For the second time in a month, Shuyin sat in the hospital to hear the status of someone he loved.  Thankfully this time, it wasn’t Lenne.  Instead it was Bruttam.  Bruttam was declared the only survivor of the explosion and the police used the term survivor loosely. 

 

Bruttam was barely alive at all.

 

Shuyin had run out of tears and sat numb between Lenne and Zaon.  Zaon, Bruttam, and Skirpa were like brothers to Shuyin.  Skirpa was gone and that was a hole that would never be filled.  Zaon was there, but Bruttam’s life hung in the balance.  Shuyin knew that he could lose his other ‘brother’ at any time.  He didn’t know if he could deal with that.

 

Vaguely Shuyin saw Maechen escorted from the mortuary in tears by police officers.  Shuyin assumed Maechen had been called in to identify his brother.  A shiver started in Shuyin’s lower back and worked its way up his shoulder blades.  He felt Lenne tighten her grip on his hand, “Are you okay?”

 

Shuyin nodded, although he wasn’t sure if he’d ever be okay again.  After his parents death, Skirpa, Bruttam, and Zaon were the only reason he hadn’t given up.  Now with one dead, and one almost dead Shuyin wasn’t sure that he could keep going.  Two of his best friends were out of his reach. 

 

The doctor’s footsteps on the lanolium surface caught Shuyin’s attention and he sat up in the chair.  Dr. Dryke Colthan was a thin man with thick glasses and an overbite.  Dryke looked grim as he spoke to the quartet seated in the waiting room, “I’m afraid my diagnosis on Bruttam Sabal isn’t good.” He said as he pulled a chair over and sat down, “He has extensive trauma to the brain and swelling.  We’re trying to reduce it, but the damage has already been done.  Not to mention the fact that he was pinned under almost a ton of rubble.  It’s a miracle he’s alive at all.”

 

Yunalesca wiped a tear from her eyes and Zaon squeezed her hand before asking the doctor, “Will he wake up?”

 

Dryke shrugged, “Honestly, I doubt it.  He’s in a coma and will undoubtedly stay that way,” he laid his clipboard firmly on his lap before saying, “I don’t think you’d want him to wake up anyway.  If he did, he’d probably be a vegetable.  Not to mention, due to the extensive damage to his spinal column, we’re looking at paralysis.  He’d probably be a parapalegic.”

 

“What are his options?” asked Yunalesca.

 

“Well, I advise taking him off of life support and letting nature take it’s course.” Dryke replied, “but if you’d rather not do that, then leaving him on life support is all you can do.  The machines are breathing for him now.  His lungs were punctured badly so I doubt he’d be able to breath by himself.”

 

Lenne asked, “What if I cast a cure spell on him?”

 

Dryke shook his head, “That’s a wonderful idea, miss, but cure spells only work with external wounds.  Bruttam’s wounds are internal and very bad.  Even the most powerful of cure spells couldn’t help him now.”

 

Shuyin shot up from his chair and shouted, “There’s got to be something you can do!  Bruttam is going to get up!  He’s going to walk out of here and we’re going to play blitzball together again!” he spun around and looked pleadingly at Zaon, “Tell him!”

 

“Shu,” Zaon whispered, “sit down, buddy.”

 

“No!  I won’t sit down!” Shuyin shouted, “I won’t stay here and listen to you all act like Bruttam won’t make it!  He’s a fighter!  He’ll make it!  He’ll be fine!  He will be!” Shuyin ran both of his hands roughly across his scalp, “You’ll see,” he hissed, more to himself than to anyone in particular, “Bruttam will be okay and this war will end.  I’ll see to that!”

 

He ignored the shouts from his friends.  He ignored the stares from the nurses and doctors as he pushed passed them and out of the hospital.  Shuyin Bacohl had one destination in mind and he’d be damned if anybody was going to get in his way.

 

-----------------

 

Yu Yevon’s door burst open suddenly and the leader of Zanarkand turned to face his intruder, “Shuyin!  What are you doing here?!”

 

“I’m sorry for the intrusion, Mr. President.” Shuyin replied, “but I’m sure by now you heard about the blitzball stadium.”

 

Yu nodded and motioned for Shuyin to sit down in front of the desk.  Shuyin did so and Yu replied, “I’m very sorry but I’m also relieved to hear that you and Lenne were not inside at the time of the explosion.”

 

“That was fortunate, sir.” Agreed Shuyin.

 

“So what brings you here and in such a … passionate fashion?” Yu asked as he motioned toward the broken door.

 

“I apologize for that, sir.” Shuyin said as his face reddened slightly, “but Yunalesca said a while back that you were working on a plan to stop this war.  Now that my entire team -  with the exception of Bruttam - have died a senseless and preventable death, I’d like to know when you plan on implementing that plan.”

 

Yu nodded, “I sent out our machina forces to battle Bevelle’s machina near Nagi.” He said, “I also have one other idea.” With that, Yu rose from his desk to cross the room and close the door.  The middle aged man rejoined Shuyin and reached into his desk drawer for a summoning book that he pulled out and lay on the desk in front of Shuyin.  Flipping to the middle, he pointed to a page that contained a drawing and brief synopsis of the summon known only as “Sin”. 

 

“Sin?” Shuyin whispered, “What is it?”

 

“It is a legendary final aeon,” Yu replied, “Final summonings are considered a myth.  Just ask my daughter.  She doesn’t believe in them.  I, however, know that they exist.”

 

Shuyin couldn’t tear his eyes away from the drawing.  Sin looked like a gigantic blitzball but it obviously yielded great power if it was considered a ‘final summoning’.  Shuyin looked at Yu, “How does one get a final summoning?”

 

“A summoner has to have gained all the aeons that Spira has to offer by praying to every fayth in Spira.  Only then can the summoner hope to call the final aeon.” Yu smiled, “I am a high summoner and therefore have gained all the aeons in Spira.  All I need to do is call this summon and the war will end.”

 

“Then why don’t you?!”

 

Yu shook his head and closed the book, “It’s not that easy, Shuyin.  Sin is an extremely volatile summon.  It is impossible to control.  It’s not like other final aeons.  Other final aeons are called forth from within the summoner.  Sin isn’t gained like that.  The summoner who calls Sin becomes Sin and then becomes unable to stop Sin.  Sin is destruction embodied.  If I call Sin, there is no guarantee that Sin will just stop the war.  It may end up destroying all of Spira.”

 

“So you’re saying that you won’t use it?” hissed Shuyin, “You’re just going to let people continue to die senselessly!”

 

Yu sighed exhasperatedly, “Shuyin!  If I call Sin then more people will die senselessly than if I just let the war keep going the way it is!”

 

“That’s just an excuse!” shouted Shuyin, “It was pointless coming here!  I’ll end this war on my own without your help!  You’ll see!”  Shoving the chair violently out from under him and causing it to topple over onto it’s back, Shuyin stormed out of Yu Yevon’s office.

 

--------------

 

"I can't believe I actually got a ticket!” came a familiar voice as Shuyin rounded the corner near the park pavilion.  He recognized Maechen’s frail frame and the wrinkled old man smiled through his tears as he said to Shuyin, “What a thrill to be able to shake her hand like that."

 

“Whose hand, Maechen?  What’s going on?”

 

Maechen pointed a wrinkled finger toward the pavilion.  Lenne was onstage with her songstress dress on, “Your lady love decided to put on a tribute concert for the team.”

 

“And they are selling tickets?!” Shuyin scowled at Lenne from across the park as he hissed, “That isn’t exactly right!”

 

Maechen shook his head, “Oh no, young Bacohl.” The elderly man replied, “The tickets are free but there needed to be tickets since the grandstand can only fit so many people.”  Maechin smiled at Lenne from across the way, “She is a wonderful young woman.  She has really helped calm the panic with her lovely voice and kind words.  I truly admire her.”

 

“Yeah, Maechen,” Shuyin agreed, “Me too…” 

 

Saying his goodbyes to the elderly scholar, Shuyin crossed the park and joined Lenne who was taking a break from the performance.  She rushed into Shuyin’s arms and kissed him, “I was so worried about you.  We didn’t know where you had gone!”

 

“So you decided to put on a concert?” joked Shuyin.

 

Lenne smiled, “It worked, didn’t it?”

 

Nodding, Shuyin whispered, “I love you, Lenne.”

 

“I lo…” a blinding flash of light from behind Gagazet burst the sound system on the stage and caused those near the stage, including Shuyin, Lenne, Yunalesca, and Zaon to collapse on the ground. 

 

Shuyin’s knees were shaking as he stood and stared over the mountains, “Yu said that he sent machina to battle Bevelle near Nagi…”

 

“Holy fayth…” Yunalesca whispered, “That explosion…”

 

Lenne’s hand gripped Shuyin’s tightly, “Could that explosion have been….?”

 

“Everybody!” shouted a man that was running down the street from the direction of Myne Avenue which was the road closest to Gagazet in Zanarkand, “Holy fayth!  Machina just blew up!  Machina just blew up and took Nagi with it!”

Author’s Notes: This chapter is truly the “beginning of the end” for Shuyin and Lenne.  I should be wrapping this story up in another 4 or 5 chapters at the most.  I will then start on “Silver Wings 2: 1000 Confessions”. 

Below is chapter 17.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Seventeen:  Soldier Girl

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

Lenne still hadn’t gotten over her fear of her house.  Everytime she looked at it, the young summoner got cold chills.  After thinking it over for a while, she decided to ask Shuyin if she could live with him.  Surprisingly, he had answered yes without a second thought and even offered to move her things by himself so that she wouldn’t have to go inside.

 

The fact that Nagi had been destroyed only one day after the blitzball stadium had been demolished weighed heavily on Lenne’s mind.  It was obvious that Shuyin was overcompensating in an attempt to get her to change her mind about joining the war.  She knew he was terrified of losing her, but she couldn’t turn down her duty. 

 

Shuyin’s hands on her shoulders shook her from her thoughts and she tilted her head back to smile at him, “It looked like you were miles away,” he said, “Where were you?”

 

“I was right here, thinking about you.”

 

Shuyin grinned and jumped over the back of the sofa to plop down next to her, “All good thoughts, I hope.”

 

“Absolutely!” Lenne replied.  Shuyin’s grin made her sad.  Shuyin wasn’t grinning because he was happy.  She knew that grin.  He was grinning because that was the only thing that kept him from crying.  Bruttam was still in the hospital and every doctor agreed with the first. 

 

Bruttam wasn’t going to get better…

 

Shuyin’s main hall phone rang and Lenne jumped up to get it, having to climb over Shuyin’s legs and avoid his tickling fingers to do so.  She reached the receiver on the third ring, “Hello?”

 

“Lenne Fetmar?”

 

Lenne frowned and walked further down the hall.  She was sure this was the call that she had been expecting and Shuyin had been dreading.  She didn’t want Shuyin to overhear, “This is Lenne.  Who is this?”

 

“Miss Fetmar, this is Colonel Ciroc Connell of the Zanarkand Summoner’s Division.  I am taking this opportunity to inform you that all summoners that have not been granted clemency by President Yevon are to report to the command station located at the base of Gagazet tomorrow at 0600 hours.”

 

Lenne leaned against the wall and allowed herself to slowly sink to the ground.  She had been expecting this call, but for it to come so soon was something she hadn’t expected.  How was she going to tell Shuyin that she was leaving for war…[i]tomorrow[/i]?!  Lenne took a deep breath, “Thank you colonel.  I’ll be there.”

 

“Very good,” replied Col. Connell, “and also Miss Fetmar, the summoners uniform is required.”

 

Lenne nodded, “Yes, sir.” She said as she hung up.  The summoner’s uniform was the same dress she used when she performed as a songstress.  She had never thought she’d need it for war so she decided to use it for another purpose.  Now that dress’s true purpose was going to be fulfilled.  The question now was whether she’d return alive wearing it.

 

With trembling hands, Lenne returned the phone to it’s cradle and walked back out to Shuyin who was engrossed in a program on the Sphere and didn’t notice her return.  She gingerly sat down next to him and was about to speak when he looked at her, “I suppose that was to call you up to the front lines.”  Lenne’s silent nod caused a frown to crease Shuyin’s forehead as he turned the Sphere off and faced her, “You don’t have to go.” He said.

 

“I haven’t been given clemency by Yu, so I do have to.” She replied, “Besides, even if Yu offered me clemency, I’d still go.  It’s my duty to fight and defend my country.”

 

------------------

 

The news of the call up of summoners was one that Yunalesca couldn’t allow.  Followed by Zaon, Yu Yevon’s daughter stormed into her father’s office a little after noon and pounded her furious fists on the desk, “Why can’t you just surrender, father?  Why do more people have to die in this pointless war?!”

 

Yu looked up from his summoning book and pushed his wire rimmed glasses up his nose brim before replying, “Yunalesca, this war is an inevitable part of Spira’s history.  I cannot stop history.”

 

“This isn’t history, Daddy!” she cried, “This is the present.  This is real life and you just signed a document that will send myself and all of my fellow summoners to our deaths.  Doesn’t that mean anything to you?!”

 

Yu Yevon chuckled a little and shook his head.  Standing and turning around his desk to approach his daughter, Yu said, “Yuna, I’ve given you clemency.  I do not want you going to war.  I have much bigger plans for you and Zaon.”

 

“What sort of plans, Yu?” Zaon asked, a bit skeptical.  Lately Zaon had started to mistrust his father-in-law.  There was something that the man was plotting that didn’t sit well in Zaon’s stomach.  The leader of Zanarkand had apparently told Shuyin his plans but Shuyin wasn’t talking.  The blitzer even looked incredibly concerned and worried whenever the subject was addressed. 

 

Something wasn’t right…

 

Yu shook his head, “I can’t tell you that just yet,” He replied, “but I promise you that I have a foolproof plan that will end the war.  However, I need both of you to take the next boat out of Zanarkand.  I’d like you to travel to Luca and stay there.”

 

“Luca?” Yunalesca questioned, “Why Luca?  What are you planning?”

 

“You don’t like Luca?” Yu asked, “Well fine.  Travel to Besaid, or Kilika, or Djose even.  I just need you to get away from Zanarkand.”

 

Zaon frowned and pushed a stray strand of blue hair from his eyes, “Why, Yu?  What are you planning?”

 

Yu Yevon turned and walked toward the window where he gazed out toward Mt. Gagazet, “I have a plan to stop this war.” He replied, “but you and Yunalesca must be out of Zanarkand in order to stop the repurcutions.”  Yu turned to face them and the look in his eyes was grim.  Zaon felt himself unconsciously shiver, “I want you to leave from here and go immediately out of Zanarkand.  Tell no one where you are going or why.”

 

“Daddy!” Yunalesca cried, “how are we supposed to know when this plan of yours has been accomplished?”

 

Yu’s smile was wicked and the look in his eyes almost insane as he replied, “Believe me, my darling, you’ll know.”

 

-------------

 

Lenne silently packed a bag in the bedroom while she tried to ignore Shuyin’s disapproving look over her shoulder.  She knew that he didn’t want her to go, but she had to.  It was her job.  Once her clothing and toiletries was packed, she looked at him, “On a lighter note,” she said, “I’m almost finished your song.  I’ll sing it for you when I get back.”

 

“If you come back…” Shuyin whispered as he turned his back to her and began to walk back out toward the living room.

 

Lenne knew that Shuyin was struggling with her leaving.  He’d lost his two best friends and now her.  All he could count on was Zaon.  Lenne hoped with all her soul that Zaon wouldn’t disappear on him too.  She wanted to believe that she would come back to him, but she was in serious doubt about that.  Throwing her bag in a corner on the floor, Lenne followed him to the living room where he was sitting on the sofa with his head in his hands.  She walked in front of him and knelt before him to pull his hands away and was surprised to see tears streaking his cheeks.  She let a few tears flow too as she whispered, “I’ll come back to you.  I promise.”

 

“That’s a dream, Lenne.” Shuyin replied, “And dreams can never fool me.  Not that easily.”

 

Lenne frowned, “So you think that I won’t come back to you?”

 

“With my luck lately, I’d say that’s inevitable.”

 

Lenne leaned forward and kissed Shuyin passionately, pushing him backward upon the couch and climbing on top of him to shower his cheek and neck with kisses. After a few moments, Lenne stopped and looked at him, “I will come back to you.” She replied, “No matter how long it takes, I will come back to you.”

 

Shuyin didn’t reply.  Instead he flipped over so that Lenne lay beneath him.  Climbing quickly to his feet, he lifted Lenne easily in his arms and carried her toward the bedroom.  If she was destined to never return to him, he’d at least give her a night to remember…

 

--------------

 

 

“I really don’t like this,” Yunalesca said to Zaon as the two struggled with the small bag of luggage that Yu Yevon had given them to take with them, “It feels like we’re sneaking out like criminals.”

 

Zaon nodded in agreement as he motioned with his hand for his wife to climb the gangplank of the ship bound for Luca.  After talking it over, both Zaon and Yunalesca agreed that Luca was the best place for them to go on such short notice.  Zaon followed his blonde wife as they reached that which would be their room during the voyage, “I understand, Yuna, I really do.  We don’t have to go if you don’t want to.”

 

“But Daddy told us to.  As much as I hate to admit it, maybe he’s onto something.”  She sighed and threw the bag in the corner, “Do you think we should call Shuyin or Lenne?”

 

“We can if you want to.”

 

Yunalesca groaned, “But Daddy told us not to tell anyone.  I suppose that means them too.” She looked at Zaon with a frown, “They are going to take our disappearance really hard.”

 

“I know, Yuna.” Zaon said, “I know.”

 

---------------

 

The morning came too quickly and Shuyin felt Lenne rolling toward the edge of the bed and made a move to grab her waist but missed and she rose to her feet without missing a beat.  He jumped out of the other side and ran over to her, “No.” he said, “No.”

 

Lenne frowned as she pulled her dress on, “I have to go, Shuyin.  I’m due at the base in an hour.”

 

“No.”  his blue eyes were cast to the floor and Lenne knew she’d remember this moment forever.  His blue eyes focused on something invisible staining the carpet.  He knew that she was acting distant, but she didn’t know how else to handle things.  Chances are she wouldn’t be returning to him and he’d have to deal with that.  He was fighting the battle of his life; to survive without his friends.  His battle for Lenne was something that he was going to have to fight far from her. 

 

Tears started to dot the floor as they fell from his crystalline eyes and she reached out to cup his handsome face in her hands, “Save your tears,” she whispered, “I’ll come back.” Kissing him tenderly, Lenne grabbed her bag and quickly ran from him.  She couldn’t deal with a long goodbye.  It was better to just leave.  If she stayed for one more minute, she’d begin to question whether she should go or not.  She couldn’t deal with that.  She just couldn’t.

 

Catching the hover, Lenne rode silently to the base of Gagazet for the briefing by Col. Connell.  She was surprised to find that most of the summoners had actually shown up.  She had wondered if they would skip town.  She did, however, notice that Yunalesca was missing.  Chances are Yu Yevon’s daughter was granted clemency. 

 

Colonel Ciroc Connell was a handsome man in his early 30s with black hair and startling green eyes.  He was currently wearing a standard issue military uniform consisting of a black jacket with gold buttons and a pair of gray slacks.  He smiled grimly at his troops, “Lords and Ladies, as you all know the people of Zanarkand are counting on your expertise in the Summoning Arts to aid them in the ending of this war.  Just over this mountain are the troops of Bevelle.  Their reliance on machina will be their downfall, everyone.  Zanarkand has always won wars based on the power of their summoners and this war will be no different.  The remains of Nagi will be your battlefield now.  Go and show Bevelle that Zanarkand will not run away!”

 

The speech didn’t do much to captivate the audience but the summoners still began their trudge up Gagazet.  They had all resigned themselves to their fates, just as Lenne had.  The chances of returning home were slim.  Bevelle’s reliance on machina wouldn’t be their downfall, it would be the cause of their win.

 

As they peaked the mountain crest shouts from ahead peaked Lenne’s interest and she struggled forward until she heard gunshots.  She stopped in her tracks.  They were being ambushed.  The unprepared summoners began to summon various aeons to ward off the attackers but it wasn’t working.  Lenne stood back to avoid a Valefor overdrive and slammed into something hard.  Hands were roughly placed on her shoulders and a voice whispered in her ear, “Ahhh…Lady Lenne from Zanarkand.”  Lenne twisted her head around to see the man that was holding her hostage.  She felt his gun poking into her back and he said, “You’re coming with me, m’lady.”

 

-----------------

 

The news of Lenne’s capture came just before Shuyin was going to lay down to sleep the next night.  He was so furious that he started throwing things around his apartment as if that would help.  After an hour of his fit, Shuyin collapsed on the floor in utter exhaustion thinking that there had to be a way to save her.  He knew that Yu wouldn’t cancel the war so Shuyin was on his own.  He had no idea where Zaon or Yunalesca were.  They hadn’t been home since Nagi’s destruction. 

 

Shuyin had no one but Lenne and he’d be damned if he’d lose her too. 

 

Taking one last look around his house, Shuyin opened his door and started out on foot to Bevelle.  Hovers weren’t working and Shuyin knew he’d have to go through the Gagazet Mountains to get to Bevelle as opposed to going right over the crest.  Bevelle troops were coming over the crest.  He’d sneak right under them.

 

“I’m coming, Lennie.  Just you wait.”

Author’s Notes: This is the chapter everyone has been expecting.  This is the chapter that Shuyin and Lenne get shot.  It is NOT however, the end of the story.  There will be 3 more chapters after this.   

Below is chapter 18.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Eighteen:  Savior and Sacrifice

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

He tiptoed silently through the echoing halls of Bevelle’s underground.  He’d heard from guards upstairs that all POW prisoners were kept under Bevelle and that was where he was headed.  Shuyin was unarmed which was a risk he’d decided to take.  He didn’t want to antagonize the enemy and run the risk of having Lenne harmed. 

 

Taking a quick turn into a room on the far end of the narrow hall he was in, Shuyin found himself exactly where he needed to be.  The room held several cage-like prisons and inside the far one was his beloved Lenne.  She was curled on the floor of the cage asleep and Shuyin reached out tenderly to wake her up.  She was startled and jumped away from his touch but upon seeing it was him her face formed a smile, “Shuyin, what are you doing here?” she asked.

 

“I couldn’t bear the thought of you in here.” He replied as he dug into his pocket and pulled out a pin and began to pick the lock, “I’m here to save you.”

 

Lenne kissed him through the bars and quietly urged him to move quicker, “The guards are going to be doing their rounds any minute now.” She whispered.  The lock snapped open quickly and Shuyin helped Lenne from her cage.  The duo snuck back into the hallway and around a corner before making a dash toward the elevator that led back to the Bevelle Temple

 

It was a breath of fresh air Lenne never thought she’d have again as she and Shuyin dashed out of the temple and made a run for Macalania forest and their long walk home.  She was so grateful for Shuyin’s help in rescuing her but at the same time she wanted to berate him for risking his life for her like that.  She decided to say nothing and instead followed him as they began the long walk back home.

 

---------------

 

It was about 20 minutes later when the guards first noticed that Lenne was missing.  Nobody wanted to say anything to anybody for fear of what Benedict Cyton would do to them.  It was a losing battle, though, because in less than 10 minutes Benedict was there to check on Lenne himself. 

 

“Where is the summoner?” he boomed at the guards under his watch.  He ripped the surveillance sphere from the hand of the guard that offered it to him and watched with a sour look on his face as Shuyin Bacohl snuck in and stole Lenne Fetmar right out from under everyone’s noses.  With an angry swing, Benedict dismissed his officers and shouted curses after their retreating backsides.  He shoved the sphere into his pocket and returned to his office with a somber look.  His meeting with Allyn wasn’t going to go well.  It wasn’t that he was afraid of her.  Benedict wasn’t afraid of anyone.  It was the simple fact that Allyn kept offering him things and then taking them away just as quickly.  She was grating on his nerves with her promise of giving her body to him and yet always coming up with a reason to change her mind.  He’d done everything in his power to make her forget Shuyin for years and only recently had decided that the only way to get her was to help her gain the blonde blitzer.

 

Sitting down behind his desk, Benedict looked at his watch.  Allyn was always on time so he could expect her in 5…4…3…2…1…

 

The door swung open and slammed shut behind the form of Allyn Ackmard.  Allyn walked toward Benedict with a grin on her face, “I heard we took a POW last night…”

 

“That’s true, Miss. Ackmard.”

 

Allyn grinned and sat down on the edge of Benedict’s desk, “So she’s safetly stored downstairs?”

 

Benedict pulled the sphere from his pocket and handed it to her, “You might want to take a look at this,” he said to her, “Things didn’t go exactly as planned.”

 

Allyn played the sphere and her face took on a sour and angry look.  The woman stared at the screen the small sphere formed and when the video finished she looked at Benedict with fire flashing in her eyes, “What are you, some kind of an idiot?!” she shrieked, “I give you and your men one simple task and you screw it up!  How difficult is it to make sure she stays as a POW?!”

 

“Allyn, I don’t have to explain myself to you.  You aren’t my boss.  I did you a favor.”

 

“Yeah!” Allyn shouted, “And you fucked it up!  You’re a total moron.  I’m going to have Daddy relieve you of your position!”

 

Benedict grabbed her arm and pulled her roughly toward him, “Oh no you won’t or else I’ll call up Shuyin and tell him what you’ve been doing.” He hissed softly in her ear, “You’re on dangerous ground, Allyn.  Tread carefully.”

 

-----------------

 

Yu Yevon looked out of his office window toward the destruction that once was Nagi.  His eyes wandered toward the pile of rubble that once was the blitzball stadium and then he cursed to himself.  The war needed to end and of that he was sure. 

 

But did he want to use…Sin?

 

He looked over his shoulder at the summoning book that was laying open on his desk and then looked back out toward the destruction that lay just below his window and silently made up his mind.

 

Walking back to his desk, he lifted the large book in his hands and felt them tremble under the weight.  He had to do this.  This was his only choice.

 

--------------

 

“I’m going back to the frontlines tomorrow, Shu.” Lenne announced, “and you can’t stop me!”

 

“I’ll just end up going after you again!”

 

Shuyin and Lenne had been arguing from the moment they stepped back into his house.  She was determined to see her duty through and no amount of coercion from Shuyin was going to change her mind.  Shuyin was desperate to convince her otherwise but so far it wasn’t working.

 

Lenne let out an exasperated groan and turned her back to him, “You just don’t understand.”

 

“You’re right,” he agreed, “I don’t understand!  I don’t understand why you’ll put your life at risk again!”

 

Lenne didn’t know how she’d make him understand that it was her job to defend her country.  It was her job to give her life if necessary to defend Zanarkand’s people.  She sighed and began walking back toward the bedroom to throw some more clothes into a knapsack.  She could hear his footsteps behind her and she said, “I’m leaving in the morning.  Nothing you can say or do is going to stop me.”  She paused and reached into a nearby drawer, grabbing a golden necklace.  She handed it to him, “I bought this for you a few weeks ago.  It’s the Zanarkand Abes symbol but it’s also a locket.  I put a picture of us inside.  That way you’ll have me with you even when I’m far away.”

 

Shuyin fingered the small picture inside.  Lenne sitting with a smile on her face while his arm was over her shoulder protectively.  Shuyin didn’t want those times to end, “Lenne…I could activate the Machina that Bevelle has and…”

 

“Stop it!” she shrieked suddenly as she spun around and put an angry hand over his mouth to silence him, “I don’t want to hear it anymore, Shuyin!  I understand that you don’t want me to go, but the fact is I am going!  Get used to it!” She slammed the door in his face and he heard the lock click in place.  She didn’t want to deal with him and had locked him out of his own bedroom. 

 

Shuyin was furious and went back into the living room and sat on the carpet.  There had to be a way to stop this war and save Lenne.  He let himself fall backward onto the sofa and, in spite of how hard he tried, Shuyin’s eyes became heavy and he fell asleep in the fetal position upon his carpet.  The rug dug into his cheek making indentations but Shuyin didn’t notice.  His dreams were dark.  They weren’t the vibrant colors that his dreams usually were.  They were in black and white and they were sad and scary.  In his dreams he saw the colossus.

 

“Vegnagun.  It’s has enough firepower to wipe Zanarkand off of the planet.  I think that’s the reason nobody wants to use it.  Vegnagun is infinitely hard to control.  Daddy acts like it has a mind of its own.”

 

Sitting like a mountain in the Bevelle Underground, Vegnagun was capable of stopping the war.  If Shuyin could get to it.  If Shuyin could control it…

 

“See that keyboard?  You play the notes listed in the correct order and Vegnagun springs to life.  They made it so that only people with piano skills could use it.”

 

Shuyin’s eyes shot open.  Vegnagun was the answer.  He’d sneak into Bevelle and use Vegnagun to stop the war.  It was perfect.  It was foolproof.  To hell with Yu’s secret plan, Vegnagun was going to help him. 

 

Shuyin scrambled to his feet and dug in his drawer for his recording spheres.  He’d leave Lenne a short note on where he was going and why so that she wouldn’t worry.  Then he’d head back to Bevelle and end this madness once and for all. 

 

It was perfect….

 

-------------

 

“Shuyin?” Lenne called a few hours later.  After falling asleep and having a fitful nap, the young summoner decided to apologize for her outburst.  She had been out of line to lock Shuyin out of his own bedroom.  Her feet padded along the carpeted hallway and out to the living room which was empty, save for a sphere sitting on the table.

 

Lenne pressed the play button and gasped as the blank screen formed the handsome visage of Shuyin Bacohl.

 

“Lennie, I know you won’t understand why I’m doing this but I just have to try.  I’ve gone to Bevelle to activate Vegnagun and end this war.  Please don’t be angry with me.  I want you to wait for me, Lennie.  I’ll write you letters if I get arrested.  I’ll be back as soon as I can.  I love you…”

 

“Damnit Shuyin!” Lenne shouted as she dropped the sphere on the floor and ran for the door.  She had to stop Shuyin from making a huge mistake before something terrible happened.  Grabbing Shuyin’s keys, she turned on the ignition to his car and peeled wheels.   

 

The drive to Bevelle was faster than Lenne had expected and she made it there shortly before dawn and ducked into the temple without the guards noticing her.  She had heard talk of Vegnagun while she was held captive and knew that it was stored in the deepest underbelly of Bevelle and that was precisely where she was headed.  Creeping along silent as a snake, Lenne ducked behind a darkened corner when she heard a voice.

 

“You know, you’re all I can count on to save Lenne.”

 

Shuyin! 

 

Lenne looked furtively around to make sure there were no guards before dashing into the room.  Shuyin was still a few yards away and she didn’t want to shout as he climbed onto Vegnagun and began to play the notes to activate it.  She ran as quietly as possible toward him before stopping and shouting, “You must stop!  That’s enough!”

 

His blue eyes fixed on her as he spun to the sound of her voice, “What are you doing here?” he hissed as he angrily jumped down from the colossus an approached her, “I told you to stay at home!”

 

“This is crazy!” she cried, “Let’s just….”

 

Footsteps echoed behind her and Shuyin’s gasp caused her to spin around.  A barrage of Bevelle soldiers with machina guns were approaching them.  Shuyin felt panic take over and he grabbed her arm and began pulling her toward a side exit.  The soldiers followed suit.

 

Shuyin and Lenne ran and ran, turning this way and that in a futile attempt to lose the soldiers in their own base.  Before they knew it, the couple was back where they started.  They were standing in front of Vegnagun’s eye – a piercing blood red eye that almost foretold certain doom.

 

The soldiers cocked their rifles and aimed them at the young couple.  Lenne looked at him with an unfortellable look in her eyes before she gave him a weak smile.  All Shuyin could think about what how he’d failed her.  He’d failed her…

 

The sound of the guns firing seemed to come from far away.  Her fingers tightened around his arms and he increased his grip on her but it was all for naught.  As the bullets pierced their skin, the force broke them apart.  Shuyin felt himself flying and he flipped in midair to land on his chest.  His beautiful Lenne was laying on her back with her head twisted to look toward him.  He reached for her as the pain caused tears to form in his eyes.  His hand moved to touch her outstretched fingers but she didn’t move to return his grasp.  He could hear footsteps nearing them as he tried more desperately to touch her delicate fingers, “I…love…you.” He gasped.

 

The last thing Shuyin remembered was a Bevelle boot slamming into his face and then everything went black.

Author’s Notes: Okay everybody.  I’m sure that you know what’s going to happen in this chapter just by the title.  Sin appears!  This chapter’s main focus is Yunalesca and Zaon.  Also, the shows that Yunalesca flips through are based off of shows that are on now (Jerry Springer, The Simpsons, Will & Grace, & American Idol).  I don’t own those shows.

Below is chapter 19.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Nineteen:  The Destruction of Zanarkand

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Yunalesca’s eyes opened suddenly and she groped on the dark for the lamp.  The sudden onset of light in the dark room woke her husband who was sleeping soundly beside her.  The two had arrived at their hotel in Luca just hours before and had collapsed onto the bed in sheer exhaustion to sleep but something – a feeling of dread – woke Yunalesca.  Zaon’s sleepy question filled the room, “What’s the matter?”

 

“Call Shuyin.”

 

Zaon sat up suddenly, now seemingly completely awake, “Call him?  Now?”

 

“Yes, now,” Yunalesca replied, “Just call him.  Humor me, Zaon.”

 

Zaon shrugged, “I’m sure he’s sleeping, Yuna.” The look his wife gave him was a pleading one and Zaon felt compelled to call if only to calm this sudden fear in her.  He reached for the hotel phone next to him and asked, “His home or his cell?”

 

“Try his cell.  That way we’ll get him no matter what.” Zaon nodded and punched in Shuyin’s number, “Put it on speaker…” his wife demanded.

 

Zaon nodded and pressed the speaker button.  Three sharp rings sounded and were followed by the sound of someone picking up, but it wasn’t who they thought it would be.

 

“I’m sorry, but the user you have dialed is out of service range.  Please try again later.”

 

“Out of service range?” repeated Yunalesca, “I thought that the cell phones were good for all over Zanarkand…”

 

“They are…” her husband replied as he dialed the number again.

 

“I’m sorry, but the user you have dialed is out of service range.  Please try again later.”

 

“I’ll try his home number.” Zaon said as he punched those numbers into the phone.  It was followed by three…four…five sharp rings and then a click.

 

“Hi, this is Shuyin.  I can’t answer right now so leave me a message and I’ll give you a call back when I can.”

 

Yunalesca’s brow knotted in concern and she leaned closer to her husband, “Should we try Lennie’s cell?”

 

“But isn’t she on the front line?  It’d be out of range anyway.” Zaon shrugged, “She probably left it at Shuyin’s.”

 

Yunalesca frowned and looked out the window just as the sun began to make its appearance over the crest of the horizon.  The light glowed softly over Luca and Yunalesca would have smiled had the feeling of dread not been so poignant, “Oh, Zaon.  I hope nothing’s wrong.”

 

------------------

 

The Bevelle soldiers trudged through the snow that was falling sideways on the snowy slopes of Gagazet.  Their bodies were chilled through and through for none of them had thought that they’d end up lost on the great mountain.  The line of men followed their leader, Captain Durrn as he led them up yet another overpass, promising once again that this one would lead to the other side.  The men were starting to lose hope in their leader and with shaking hands tried to hold onto their guns and knapsacks. 

 

None of the men wanted to fight this war.  None of them understood the need for it.  Zanarkand was bigger, but Bevelle was more powerful and their alliance had worked for years and yet for some reason they were now told that war was the only option.

 

It made no sense.

 

A low cry echoed from ahead of them and word trickled to the back that the crest of Gagazet was ahead and soon they would be off the cursed mountain.  The men, though frozen to the quick, let out celebratory cries and quickened their pace to reach the crest.

 

Inoreyo, hatenaku ebonju

 

The men paused and looked around.  Captain Durrn shouted, “Who’s singing that infernal song?  You all know that the song is outlawed in Bevelle!”

 

Sekae tamae

 

“Whose doing it?!” Durrn screamed again as he forced all his men to stop in their trudging, “That is the song those Zanarkand dogs sing to make fun of Bevelle.  I won’t allow any of my men to sing it!”

 

Yume miyo, Inorigo

 

A light began to shine near Zanarkand and a cry went up through the soldiers, “’Tis a song from an otherworld!” screamed one near the front.

 

“An otherworld!”

 

A panic rose amongst the troops and Durrn saw the light behind him as well.  The light formed into a giant ball of water and before he could see what happened after, he screamed, “Retreat!!”

 

----------------------

 

Yunalesca couldn’t shake her bad feeling and crawled out of bed about an hour later.  Zaon stirred next to her, “What is it?”

 

“I just can’t sleep,” she replied, “I’m going to watch the sphere.”

 

Zaon tenderly grabbed her arm, “I’m sure everything is fine, Yuna.  There’s no need to worry.”

 

“I hope you’re right…” she whispered as she walked out into the living area and turned the sphere on.  This particular hotel didn’t have the cable channels that Yunalesca was used to.  In fact, this particular hotel only had 5 stations. 

 

Today on Lerry Sprinkler, aeons and the summoners who love them.

 

Yunalesca made a face and clicked on the remote again. 

 

“Gart!”

 

“Don’t have a fiend, man!”

 

Yunalesca laughed a little bit.  ‘The Tympsons’ were really funny, but she’d already seen that episode.

 

We will return to ‘Gill & Lace” after these messages.

 

“Stupid commercials,” Yunalesca hissed to herself. 

 

“What’s wrong with commercials?” her husband asked jokingly as he stepped from the bedroom in his boxers to join her.

 

“I thought you were going to keep sleeping,” she said.

 

“I can’t knowing you’re upset,” he replied, “so I thought I’d keep you company.”

 

Yunalesca smiled, “I’m just trying to find something to watch but I’m having no luck.  There are only two more stations left,” she said as she flipped to the next one.

 

Hi, I’m Nyan Moonflowcrest and I’m here to ask you the burning question.  Who will be the next Luca Idol?!

 

“Oh now that is the burning question,” Zaon said sarcastically as he rose, “Let’s go back to sleep, honey.  There’s nothing on.”

 

Yunalesca shook her head, “I still have one more station to try.” She replied as she flipped the station.  It was the news and she made a face, “Figures, I hate the news.”

 

Zaon laughed, “Now let’s just go to sleep,” he said as he grabbed the remote from her hand and made to touch the power button when the sight on the sphere caught his attention.

 

“This is Lorni Isan of Spherechannel 23 with breaking news.  I am live in Airship 23 above Zanarkand where a horrendous thing is happening.  Bevelle soldiers announced today that while cresting Gagazet they heard a song and then a bright flash of light just before a monster appeared above Zanarkand.”

 

Yunalesca gasped as she and Zaon crawled closer to the screen.  The ‘monster’ was changing shapes between a large waterball and a huge piece of dirt. 

 

“We’re not sure what to make of this monster, but it appears to be ingesting Zanarkand as it passes over it, leaving behind only rubble in its wake.  There also appear to be a huge number of fayth forming near the base of Gagazet in Zanarkand.”

 

“What the….” Zaon whispered as his eyes watched the scene painted before them.  This monster was indeed passing over Zanarkand and pulling houses and cars into itself before dropping them back on the ground in broken pieces.

 

“So far this monster has destroyed D-West and C-South and is slowly traveling toward B-North.  With the trajectory it is traveling in, we estimate that it will leave most of A-East relatively unharmed structurally but no doubt kill any people still in that location.  This is Lorni Isan and I’ll keep you posted on this horrible story as it develops.”

 

Yunalesca’s hands were shaking as she reached for the remote her husband had dropped and turned the news off.  Zaon looked at her, “They’re dead…”

 

“That…that was…no, that can’t be…”

 

Zaon squirmed closer to his wife, “You know what that thing is?!”

 

Her eyes connected with him and were rimmed with fear, “I thought it was a myth…” she whispered, “It’s a final summoning called Sin and when a summoner calls a final summoning, they sacrifice themselves.”

 

“Final summonings don’t exist!”

 

“That’s what I thought!” Yunalesca cried, “especially that one!  It’s volatile.  Nobody can control it.  It exists only to destroy and kill!”

 

Zaon stood suddenly and began pacing around the room, “Damnit, Yuna!  Did your father call that thing?!”

 

“He said that he had a greater purpose for me…he must have called it.”

 

“Then what the hell is his greater purpose?”

 

Yunalesca crossed her legs on the carpet, “The only way to defeat a final summoning is with another final summoning.  A summoner must gain all the aeons that Spira has to offer and then summon the final aeon, but in return for that power the final aeon will kill the summoner.”

 

“What?!” Zaon shrieked, “I won’t let you die just to stop that thing!”

 

“I can’t defeat it, Zaon.” Yunalesca replied, “The aeon Yojimbo vanished and I didn’t receive him.  There’s no way I can call the aeon without turning someone into an aeon.”

 

“You can do that?” her husband asked, incredulously.

 

Yunalesca nodded, “All summoners can.  It’s a fail-safe just in case an aeon is stolen…like Yojimbo was.” Her eyes locked with him, “There has to be a bond between chosen and summoner, for that is what the Final Summoning embodies.”

 

“What sort of bond?” her husband asked.

 

“The bond between husband and wife, mother and child, or between friends.  If that bond is strong enough then the summoner will gain the final aeon.”

 

Zaon sat down next to his wife and ran a hand through her blond hair.  Yunalesca looked into her husband’s eyes and whispered, “I can’t defeat Sin alone, Zaon.  I need your help.”

I was on a good streak these past few days, so to thank all of you for the great reviews, I have decided to post the final two chapters of Silver Wings as well as the first chapter to Silver Wings 2 at the same time.  Thanks so much and keep the reviews coming.  They really mean a lot to me!

Author’s Notes: For those of you wishing that Allyn would get what’s coming to her, this chapter is for you.  Although, after you find out some of the stuff that Benedict has done, you might feel sorry for Allyn.  In this chapter you will also find out what happened to Lenne and Shuyin.  There is one more chapter after this one that wraps up Silver Wings.  The entire ‘Shuyin/Lenne’ saga will be wrapped up in Silver Wings 2.  The first chapter of that story will be posted shortly.  Also, please note that in the next two chapters any words in italics indicate that it is Lenne speaking and no one else (except the fayth) can hear her.

 

Below is chapter 20.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

 

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Twenty:  Comeuppance

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

The tranquility of Benedict’s office was shattered when the door flung open and slammed against the wall.  He lifted his eyes to his unwanted visitors – Reiber and Allyn Ackmard.  Both looked furious and upset and he took note of the red-rimmed eyes that belonged to Allyn. 

 

She had been crying.

 

“How can I help you both?” Benedict asked smugly as he rose from his seat.  He knew exactly why they were there.

 

Reiber stepped forward with a furious look in his eyes, “How dare you shoot!”

 

“They were intruders, sir,” Benedict replied, “and when it comes to Vegnagun you always said to shoot first and ask questions later.”

 

“But it was Shuyin and Lenne!” Allyn screamed as she lunged forward only to be stopped by her father’s firm arm, “Why did you kill them?!”

 

Benedict shook his head, “Are you truly that misinformed?” he asked as he chuckled to himself, “Your beloved Shuyin is just fine.  He’s being held in the prison below.  I had the doctors tend to him.”

 

“And…Lenne?” Allyn asked.

 

“She’s dead.  That should make you happy.” Benedict replied, “She’s out of the way permanently now.”

 

“She’s…dead…” Allyn whispered.  Her eyes locked with the floor for a moment before she looked up to glare at him, “You weren’t supposed to shoot!”

 

Benedict laughed, “Whatever you say, dear.  Look, Lenne is gone.  Shuyin is fine and doesn’t know she’s dead yet so you can be the one to break the news and let him cry on your shoulder.  What more do you want?”  he took a step closer, “I want my reward now, though.”

 

“Your reward?” Reiber asked as he cast a look at his daughter, “What reward, Allyn?”

 

--------------------

 

Shuyin woke up in a dark and cramped cell.  His head hit the ceiling above him when he tried to sit up, “Shit!” he cursed.

 

“Shut up in there!” a Bevelle soldier hissed as he poked his gun into Shuyin’s side. 

 

“Damn Zanarkand brat,” the other soldier said, “it’s their fault this war is dragging on.”

 

Shuyin’s eyes focused hard on them as he sat up straight, “If you’d stop attacking, there wouldn’t be a war!”

 

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” hissed the soldier as he and his friend turned their backs on Shuyin.  The blitzer looked around the darkened room trying to find the cell that they were holding Lenne in.  There didn’t appear to be anyone else in the room and he sighed.  They must be holding her somewhere else.  The taller soldier spun around, “Stop squirming in there, brat!”

 

“Yeah,” the other agreed, “Aren’t you sorry for the mess you’ve caused?”

 

"No, I'm not sorry!” Shuyin cried, “I haven't done anything wrong.”  The men turned their backs to him and took a few steps away as if trying to appear like they weren’t listening but Shuyin knew better, “I know you're listening.  If she was your girl what would you do?” he pounded his hands on the bars, “How can you blame me for trying to use your weapon?  It was the only way I could save the summoner!  What would you do if you were me?!” he let his hands slide down the bars dejectedly and a single tear slipped from his eyes, “Ugh!  Let me out!  I...I want to see her!"

 

--------------

 

Bright white light blinded Lenne as she wandered down the corridor.  She didn’t know where she was.  The last thing she remembered was the incapacitating pain of the bullets entering her body and then she was here.  She needed to find Shuyin.  He needed her. 

 

A small figure appeared before her.  It was a small boy in a purple cloak with the hood pulled over his head.  A fayth.  Only, it wasn’t a fayth she was familiar with.  This fayth must have been new for Bevelle’s fayth had been stolen years before. 

 

“Hello, Lenne.” Said the fayth.  His voice seemed faintly familiar but Lenne didn’t know why and didn’t feel like contemplating it.  She needed to find Shuyin. 

 

“Hello.” Lenne replied, “Can you help me find my way out of here?”

 

The fayth stepped closer to her and gently took her hand, “Your time here is over.  You must come with me now.”

 

Lenne pulled her hand away and shook her head.  She didn’t want to entertain the thoughts that the fayth were putting into her mind.  She was fine and as soon as she found Shuyin they’d return to Zanarkand together.  Everything was fine!  She took a step back, “I’m sorry, but I have to find my boyfriend.  We have to go home.”

 

“Lenne,” the fayth replied, “you and Shuyin have no home anymore.  Zanarkand was destroyed just hours ago.”

 

“That’s a lie!” Lenne shrieked as she stepped back even further,“Zanarkand is fine and so am I.  I’m just lost right now but I’ll find Shu and then we’ll go home!” 

 

The fayth whispered, “Let me show you,” as he waved his small hand.  A picture of Zanarkand appeared and Lenne gasped.  Her home was indeed destroyed and the monster that was the cause didn’t seem finished with its work.

 

Her eyes connected with the fayth as he made the horrible image disappear, “My friends…” she paused, “What is that monster?”

 

“Zaon and Yunalesca are fine.  Yu Yevon made them leave before the monster appeared.” The fayth’s voice became grim as he continued, “It is called Sin and it is the final aeon of Yu Yevon.  Once summoned, Sin’s main purpose is to destroy.  Yunalesca and Zaon are destined to fight it and stop its ravages for a period of 10 years and in doing so, they will die.  You, however, are destined to truly and completely defeat it and live to tell the tale.”

 

Lenne scoffed, “But weren’t you just saying that I’m dead?  How am I supposed to fulfill my destiny now?”

 

“You misunderstand,” the fayth replied, “’Lenne’ is not destined to defeat Sin.  ‘Yuna’ is.”

 

Lenne’s face was a mask of confusion and she took a tentative step forward, “But you just said that Yuna and Zaon are going to die!” she shook her head, “Make up your mind!”

 

The fayth appeared to form a smile on his face but it was quickly replaced with a blank stare, “You, Lenne, are dead.  Your time on Spira as Lenne is over.” He gently took her hand and she didn’t remove it as he continued, “In the Farplane there is a constant cycle of souls that return to Spira to have another chance at life.  You are destined to return to Spira as a young girl named Yuna and defeat Sin completely.”

 

“You mean…reincarnation?”

 

The fayth nodded, “Yes.  ‘Yuna’ is destined to defeat Sin in 1000 years.  You will be born again knowing deep in your soul that your purpose is to stop the monster that ravages Spira but you will have no memory of your past life as Lenne.”

 

“Well…I…” Lenne stopped and removed her hand from the fayth’s again.  She took a deep breath and said, “No.  I won’t leave Shuyin.” She frowned, “I never told him I love him…”

 

“He knows you do…” the fayth replied.

 

“How can you be so sure?!” Lenne cried, “What if he doesn’t?  I have to tell him!”

 

The fayth frowned, “He can’t hear you, Lenne.  Only I can.”

 

“So he’s still alive?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Lenne paused for a moment then asked, “Am I the only one who can stop Sin?”  the fayth nodded and she continued, “Then here’s the deal.  If I agree to this, then you have to promise me that Shuyin will be with me when I defeat Sin in 1000 years.  I want a second chance with him.”

 

The fayth nodded, “I promise that Shuyin will be reincarnated with you.  Neither will remember each other, though.  You’ll be starting from scratch.”

 

Lenne smiled, “I’ll know him.  I have no doubt in my mind that I’d know him anywhere.” She paused and looked behind her, “Can I ask one more favor?” she requested.

 

“What would that be?”

 

“I want to be with him for just a few moments.  I want to try and make him hear me.  I want to say goodbye.”

 

The fayth shook his head, “He can’t hear you, Lenne.  He can’t see you and he won’t be able to feel you near.  All he’ll feel if you touch him would be cold.  I’m afraid it would only upset you.”

 

“Give me those two wishes, or else the deal is off.”

 

The fayth sighed, “Very well.” He closed his eyes and looked down.  The frown on his face deepened and he whispered, “I can only give you 10 minutes.” He said, “And I’m sure that you’ll regret this.  I have just seen his future, and it is not very bright…”

 

-----------------

 

“Reward?” Allyn said with a giggle, “Oh you know Benedict’s sense of humor, Daddy.”

 

Reiber frowned at his daughter, “No, dear.  I don’t.” he narrowed his eyes, “I do, however, know that Shuyin suspected you of trying to kill Lenne…”

 

Benedict’s annoyed groan stopped Allyn’s retort and he motioned to his men to guard the only exit from the office.  Benedict lifted his revolver to Reiber’s forehead, “She didn’t try…I did.” He stated as he pulled the trigger.

 

Reiber’s body slumped to the floor in a bloody puddle and Allyn’s scream tore through the room.  She turned and made a run for the window which was open to the ground level but Benedict’s hands were firmly on her neck before she got there.  He pulled her body back toward him and whispered, “There are a few things I need to tell you, Allyn.”

 

“W…w….what?” she stammered.  Her fear was getting the better of her now and she dared not squirm.

 

“If only you could have just stopped the damned Shuyin obsession, Allyn,” he whispered into her ear, “We could have been so happy together.” His fingers tightened slightly and he ran his tongue slowly over her earlobe, “I had Shuyin’s parents killed.  Then I hired Georg to get you away from him.”

 

“What!”

 

“I had my men set the fiends loose on his parents.  I hoped that would break you up but when it didn’t work, Georg was hired to get you away and when that didn’t work, I killed him and let you take the fall for it.”

 

Allyn’s mind was reeling.  She gasped, “But I remember killing him!”

 

“No you don’t.” Benedict replied as he pulled her closer, “You remember finding him bloodied and the knife at your feet.  You thought you killed him.  I framed you…” he hissed.

 

Allyn shrieked and began her struggling anew.  She wanted to kill Benedict for what he’d done but the more she struggled the more the man laughed a maniacal laugh that sent chills up her spine.  He motioned with his head for his men to leave the room and then he spun her to face him, “What are you going to do to me?” she asked.

 

Benedict laughed, “Are you really that stupid?” he asked, “You just saw me kill your father and I just admitted to killing Georg and Shuyin’s parents.” He lowered his face to hers, “What do you think I’m going to do to you?”

 

“You’re going to ki…” she began but her sentence was cut short when Benedict swiftly snapped her neck with one hand and let her lifeless body fall to the floor. 

 

He laughed to himself and called to his soldiers, “Get the bodies out of here.  You know where to put them.  Tell everyone else that Reiber and his daughter fled the country.”

 

-----------------

 

The blindfold covered his eyes as Shuyin was pushed along the rocky path that the soldiers were shoving him along.  He didn’t know where he was going but he hoped that they were taking him to see Lenne.  He hoped they were taking pity on him.

 

He couldn’t see anything but he thought he faintly smelled Lenne’s lavender perfume as they came to a stop, “Lenne?” he asked.

 

“I’m right here, Shuyin!”

 

“Shaddup!” cried one of the soldiers as he elbowed Shuyin hard in the stomach.  The blitzer lurched forward and fell to his knees just as his ears picked up the sound of a boulder being pushed.  A feeling of dread filled Shuyin.  He didn’t know where he was, but something told him that wherever it was, wasn’t good.

 

Lenne didn’t know what the soldiers were doing bringing Shuyin to a cave under Mushroom Rock Road.  She knew, however, that he could sense her there and she didn’t want to give that up.  Once the bolder was pushed away from the cave entrance, the bigger of the soldiers pulled Shuyin roughly to his feet and threw the blitzer into the cave.  Lenne ran toward Shuyin.  She touched his shoulder and he shivered, “It’s cold in here!” he cried as he pulled the blindfold from his eyes, “Where the hell am I?”

 

“Your new home, brat.” One of the soldiers replied.

 

Shuyin looked around the cave and rose to his feet, “This is a cave.” He replied, taking a few steps back toward the exit, “Where is Lenne?”

 

“I’m right here, Shuyin!  I’m right behind you!”

 

A fat soldier spat on the ground and shoved Shuyin roughly back onto his butt, “Stay there!” he hissed.

 

Shuyin glared at him, “Where is Lenne?  Why am I here?”

 

“You’re here,” the one who seemed to be the commander replied, “because we have orders to leave you here.” He motioned to the other men who began to struggle with the rock again.

 

Suddenly the meaning of their words became clear to Lenne and she ran forward, “No!  You can’t leave him in here!  NO!!!”

 

Shuyin’s shouts were the only ones they heard, though, as he struggled from the other side to keep the boulder from closing before him, “NO!” he screamed, “I don’t want to die in here!  Where’s Lenne?!”

 

The exit was covered more and more with the boulder and just before it slid completely into place the fat man sneered through the crack, “She’s dead, but don’t worry.  You’ll be with her soon.”

I was on a good streak these past few days, so to thank all of you for the great reviews, I have decided to post the final two chapters of Silver Wings as well as the first chapter to Silver Wings 2 at the same time.  Thanks so much and keep the reviews coming.  They really mean a lot to me!

Author’s Notes: This is a “song chapter”.  It’s sort of like a “songfic” but instead it’s just a chapter.

 

Below is the last chapter of Silver Wings.  I hope everyone enjoys it.  Leave a review and let me know what you think.

 

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

Chapter Twenty-One:  1000 Words

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

 

The silence permeated the cave as Shuyin sat in a daze staring at the cave wall.  Lenne wanted to hold him and tell him it would be okay, but she knew he’d only feel cold just like the fayth had said.  She didn’t want to add to his discomfort. 

 

She sat memorizing his face and all the fine dips and curves that made him the most handsome man she’d ever laid eyes on.  Crawling closer to him, she whispered, “I finished the song I wrote for you.  I was going to sing it for you…but…well, you know what happened.  So why don’t I sing it for you now?”  Lenne crawled in front of him and stared into his eyes silently praying that he’d see her, but all he did was stare blankly in front of him.  She needed to reach him.  She needed to try and let him know how much she loved him.  She would only have a few more minutes with him and needed to know that he could sense her there. 

 

She would sing the song she wrote and her words would reach him.  That was the only chance she had.

 

-----------------

 

I know that you're hiding things

Using gentle words to shelter me

Your words were like a dream

But dreams could never fool me

Not that easily

 

Shuyin’s breath became ragged as he suddenly climbed to his feet and began clawing frantically at the rock, “Let me out!!  Let me out!!” he shrieked, “I don’t want to die in here!!!”

 

Lenne ran to him and placed her mouth close to his ear.

 

I acted so distant then

Didn't say good bye before you left

But I was listening

You'll fight your battles far from me

Far too easily

 

Shuyin calmed down slightly and backed away from the wall.  His fingers grasped the golden locket around his neck before screaming in anger, “Damn Bevelle!  This is their fault!!!”  He spun frantically around, “There’s got to be another way out of here!” he shrieked as he began running toward the back of the cavern. 

 

Lenne watched in tears as Shuyin desperately began scraping at the back walls of the cavern.  She stepped closer to him and wiped a tear from her cheek.  Shuyin sank in despair, “Lennie….” He sobbed, “Lennie…”

 

Save your tears 'cause I've come back

I could hear that you whispered as you walked through that door

But still I swore to hide the pain when I turned back the pages

Shouting might have been the answer

What if I cried my eyes out and begged you not to depart

But now I'm not afraid to say what's in my heart

 

His sobs stopped suddenly and he stood with a smile on his face, “My phone!” he cried.  He reached into his pocket and thanked the heavens that they hadn’t confiscated his phone.  Running back to the front of the cavern, Shuyin turned it on and moved it around…and around…and around, “Shit!” he screamed, “No damn signal!  Shit!!”

 

Oh a thousand words

Have never been spoken

They'll fly to you crossing over the time

And distance holding you

Suspended on silver wings

 

In a fit of anger, Shuyin threw his phone across the cavern and watched it shatter as it hit the rock wall.  His panic rose again as he scrambled on hands and knees over to the phone, “Shit!  What did I do that for?  Now I can’t call anybody!”  He frantically tried to piece the phone back together and Lenne watched as his desperation rose.

 

And a thousand words

One thousand confessions

Will cradle you

Making all the pain you feel seem far away

They'll hold you forever...

 

His fingers cradled the locket in his hands again and he gently removed it from his neck.  Opening it slowly, he ran his fingers over the picture inside, “I’m so sorry, Lennie…” he whispered, “I’m sorry I let you down.”

 

The dream isn't over yet

Though I often say I can't forget

I still relive that day

You've been there with me all the way

I still hear you say, "Wait for me I'll write you letters"

 

Shuyin rose to his feet and began to wander around the cave.  Luckily there was light streaming in from holes in the cave roof, but Lenne worried what would happen to him once night came.  He traveled toward the back of the cave again, this time going more toward the right.  His feet were dragging and he was getting tired and hungry.  He didn’t pay attention to where he was walking until his foot caught on something and he landed on his stomach.

 

I can see how you can stand there with your eyes to the floor

But still I swore to hide the doubt when I turned back the pages

Anger might have been the answer

What if I hung my head and said that I couldn't wait

But now I'm strong enough to know it's not too late

 

Shuyin pushed himself up, “What the hell…?” he asked as he climbed to his feet.  He turned to look more closely at what he’d tripped over and immediately let out a horrified scream.  Shuyin backed away frantically and Lenne ran over to see what the matter was.  She gasped. 

 

Lying in a crumpled heap on the ground were two bodies.  One was President Reiber Ackmard with a bullet wound to his head.  The other…was Allyn.  Shuyin started shaking as he backed into a wall and slid to a sitting position.  He couldn’t tear his eyes from the bodies and Lenne went over to him.  She wanted to badly to hold him but instead resorted to finishing her song.

 

'Cause a thousand words

Called out through the ages

They'll fly to you

Even though we can't see

I know they're reaching you

Suspended on silver wings

 

“Damn Bevelle…damn Bevelle…damn Bevelle…” Shuyin chanted in a monotonous voice as his eyes continued to caress the bodies that lay before him.  He grabbed at the necklace again and opened it to look at Lenne’s beautiful face.  He frowned, “They killed you too…” he said quietly.

 

Oh a thousand words

One thousand embraces

Will cradle you

Making all of your weary days seem far away

They'll hold you forever...

 

“Reiber…Allyn…Skirpa…Bruttam…Wargna…and my Lennie…” he whispered, “They killed you…my Lennie.  But it was my fault too.  I should have protected you.”  His eyes took on a dark look that Lenne had never seen before.  She shivered unconsciously.

 

Oh a thousand words

Have never been spoken

They'll fly to you

They'll carry you home and back into my arms

Suspended on silver wings

 

“I’ll make it all better.” He hissed to himself.  He silently closed the locket and placed the necklace firmly back around his neck, “I’ll make them pay.”  He sneered, “They killed my friends, my Lennie…now me.  I’ll make them pay.”

 

And a thousand words

Called out through the ages

They'll cradle you

Turning all of the lonely years into only days

They'll hold you forever...

 

Lenne looked deeply into Shuyin’s eyes.  She knew that her time was almost up and could hear the fayth calling to her.  Shuyin let a few salty tears fall from his eyes and whispered hoarsely, “We were supposed to be together until the end, Lennie, but I failed you.  I failed us.”

 

She wanted desperately for him to hear her as she leaned closer to him, “Not until the end…always..” She whispered, “Shuyin…I love you.  I love you always.”

 

She turned and joined the fayth in the bright white light that was streaming down from above.  A quick glance over her shoulder proved to her that Shuyin didn’t see the phenomenon that was happening before him.  She let a tear slip at the thought of what lay before him, but took solace in knowing that his suffering wouldn’t be forever and that they’d be together again soon. 

The light vanished without Shuyin even realizing it was there and the young blitzer looked at the locket again, “I’ll make them pay, Lennie.” He whispered menacingly, “They’ll regret what they’ve done to us.”

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

THE END

~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~

NOTE:  I know that this is a ‘cliffhanger’ but since we all know what Shuyin does in FFX-2, I thought ending it like this was appropriate.  Silver Wings 2 is in production.  It is NOT a FFX-2 novelization but rather a post FFX-2 fiction (like an FFX-3).  I’ve worked out the basic plot of Silver Wings 2 and what exactly is “wrong” with Tidus and where Shuyin comes into it all.  Lenne will also be featured briefly in it and there will be more of an explanation behind the whole “fayth/reincarnation” thing that was talked about in Chapter 20.  I hope that you all enjoyed the ending to Silver Wings and I hope that you’ll enjoy its sequel just as much.  Thanks for all the great reviews!  They really mean a lot.