Tidus and Yuna.
Yuna stood alone, snow falling thick around her, under the solitary white tree in a land so barren. The thick, bear skinned cloak wrapped around her shoulders provided little warmth against the blistering ice-tinted wind. In her hand she clasped the thick, silver ring, a token from the man she loved and always would love.
“Where is he?” she whispered to herself in desperation.
Her eyes scanned across the bare horizon in the direction of Mino, searching for the figure she would recognise. He had been a long time, but she knew he would come. He had said he would come. Tidus would not break his word.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Tidus!” Yuna shouted over the bustling streets as she weaved her way through the crowds in the direction of her friend.
“Yuna,” Tidus chuckled as she flew into his arms, “you’ve grown up!”
He returned the affectionate hug to his childhood friend.
“Let me look at you,” he whispered as he held her out in front of him.
He admired the white linen dress wrapped around her body and studied her closely. Her hair was longer than it used to be, now it was shoulder length, with a single blue braid running down the length of an auburn tress. She was taller, and thinner, holding an elegant grace she had not had when she was young. Now a woman of 17, Tidus suspected she had somehow changed and grown-up.
“You look wondrously handsome,” Yuna exclaimed, commenting on his fighter’s uniform – loose, navy blue trousers and a sun-kissed yellow jacket, obscuring the plain white shirt underneath.
Since Tidus had returned from his 3-year service, Yuna’s feelings for him had only intensified and she felt for him more deeply than she had before. They had been as close as brother and sister whilst growing up together. He, being three years her senior, had always protected her as a little sister. But now, Yuna did not feel for Tidus in the same way and wished that he felt the same.
She cupped Tidus’ face in her soft, delicate hands, tilted his face towards hers and kissed him lightly.
And so began the love of Tidus and Yuna. With each passing day, the couple’s feelings intensified and their love grew stronger, no words could describe the way they felt for each other.
Yuna cared for Tidus sensitively. Since his return he had been reluctant to talk about his service for the emperor, and even more reluctant to talk of his fellow comrades. She didn’t press him for information, for she knew it upset him to talk of it, even with her, and trusted that he’d rather forget his military days.
Tidus walked down the moonlit street on his own, returning to his home after a somewhat cold, but beautiful snowy evening with Yuna. He turned the corner into the alley and stopped abruptly as a man blocked his route.
Tidus noticed the dark floor length cloak obscuring the man’s clothes, and the long, startling white hair. In the dim evening he could just make out the scar that ran across his face, leaving one eye blind and his handsomeness, somewhat tainted and now, non-existent.
“Sephiroth,” Tidus murmured under his breath, automatically reaching to his belt to retrieve a non-existent dagger. Since his fighting days were over, Tidus had neglected his warrior’s belt and he was starting to regret it now.
“Hello, old friend,” Sephiroth laughed, his tight lip turning into a smile. “It’s good to see you again.”
Tidus edged backwards, towards the street and hopefully an easy escape. His shoes scraped across the dirt road, shuffling in the snow. Sephiroth only edged closer, increasing his threat.
“What do you want?” Tidus asked bravely.
In the service, he didn’t have any problems with standing up for what was right, but now things had changed considerably -he had someone to live for.
He knew whatever Sephiroth had in mind was serious.
Sephiroth’s smile faded into a disfigured frown.
“What do I want?” he mimicked. “I want to hurt you… I want to hurt you the way you hurt me.”
Tidus stood and assessed the situation and his surroundings, searching for the best escape. After a quick assessment he decided that there was no escaping Sephiroth, he’d have to listen to his wishes and avoid as little trouble as possible.
“You got what you deserved. I’d do the same again,” Tidus replied, referring to Sephiroth’s discharge from the Imperial army.
“You are aware aren’t you that plotting against the Emperor is treason?”
He felt the heat rising up his throat and the anger at Sephiroth’s assassination plot. Feeling more confident, he carried on,
“You’re lucky they haven’t caught you, or you’d be hanging from a noose.”
Sephiroth winced at the mention of death and snarled at Tidus. For a moment they stared at each other, sizing up each other for the imminent brawl. Sephiroth, tired of fighting resorted to a different method of revenge.
“That girl of yours is very pretty,” he smiled menacingly, “It’d be a shame if anything were to happen to her.”
“Leave Yuna out of this,” Tidus barked in reply.
Sephiroth laughed a cruel bloodcurdling cry.
“Ah, but it was you who involved her! I shall show you what loss really feels like!” Sephiroth pushed past Tidus forcefully in the direction of the street, walking off into the night.
“Yuna. Yuna!” Tidus knocked on the door of her room urgently, hoping that she wasn’t already asleep. After all, they had only parted about an hour ago.
Yuna opened the door and beamed at Tidus, welcoming him into her humble room.
“Yuna, it’s important. We have to leave Mino, as soon as possible,” Tidus noticed the confused look on Yuna’s face and continued to explain, more delicately this time,
“I wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important to me. Please, we have to leave tonight.”
Yuna could sense the fear in Tidus’ voice and realised he was in a desperate state. She thought quickly, deciding that she would leave Mino with Tidus. There was no one left in the city whom she cared from more than Tidus.
“OK” Yuna replied simply.
Tidus was taking aback suddenly at Yuna’s devotion and trust in him and a tear started to swell in his eye.
“Thank you,” he whispered gently to her as he reached down and kissed her tenderly.
Tidus walked Yuna to the edge of the city, admiring how beautiful she looked in the winter moonlight.
“Meet me under the white tree. I won’t be long. I’ve just got to pick up some things for the journey. Here, take this,” Tidus walked off back towards the city in darkness, giving Yuna no time to reply and leaving her with his single most precious possession. The ring his father, whom he had met only once had bestowed upon him when a young child. He treasured it with his life and Yuna understood the sentimental value she now held in her hands.
* * * * * * * * * * * *
“Where is he?” Yuna spoke aloud this time for her own comfort.
In the moonlight the faint shadow of the tree illuminated Yuna underneath creating a ghostly effect.
Yuna noticed something, or someone, on the horizon riding towards her.
“Is it Tidus?” she questioned herself, realising quickly that the man on horseback was not her Tidus but another man.
She waited for him to reach her and watched him as he rode up to her.
“Are you alright?” he asked from on top of his horse, positioned directly next to the cold young woman.
“Yes. I’m waiting for someone,” Yuna retorted bluntly, hoping that the man would ride off.
To Yuna’s dismay the man dismounted from his horse and approached.
“Waiting are you? Who’s to say that he’ll turn up?” he snarled.
Yuna failed to notice that the man in front of her seemed to know far too much information for a passer by.
Without realising it, Yuna let out a gasp for she was engrossed by the hideous disfigurement of his face, reddened from the cold.
“Hideous, isn’t it?” he questioned innocently. “He was supposed to be a friend.”
“Not much of a friend was he?” Yuna returned, a touch of pity creeping into her voice.
“No he wasn’t, but that wasn’t what hurt me the most,” his tone quickly turned to one of nostalgia, “I lost my wife the minute he slashed my face, for she never looked upon the same way ever again. I cannot blame her. I am ugly. I cannot be loved anymore.”
Yuna did not know how to respond, for she felt sorry for him. She couldn’t bare it if she lost Tidus so cruelly.
The man walked closer still, until they were face to face.
“The man who did this to me does not deserve to love like I once did. He deserves nothing, don’t you think?” the question was more of a threat than anything else.
Feeling scared by the rough and aggressive tone of the man’s voice Yuna replied the only way she thought right.
“Ye…yes. He doesn’t deserve anything,” she mumbled in his direction, scared to look him in the eye.
There was so little time between the moment when Yuna replied and the second Sephiroth’s dagger plunged into her stomach that Yuna hardly remembered it happening.
Sephiroth withdrew the bloody blade quickly and threw it on the ground and whispered,
“He doesn’t deserve love,” before mounting his horse and riding into the night.
Yuna bent double and collapsed to the floor, clutching her stomach, the warm blood seeping into her coat and warming her hands, however all Yuna felt was cold.
Her eyes began to blur as the figure of Tidus came into view.
“You came,” she muttered, her hand still clasping his ring.
Tidus lifted Yuna’s head and supported her body, cradling her in his arms.
He stared into her eyes as he felt the warmth of her body against his and whispered sweet memories of their childhood into her ears as she slowly left his plain and passed into the next. He placed a hand over her face and stroked her cheek, removed his jacket and placed it around her, to stop her getting cold - not that it mattered anymore.
Tidus felt no tears in his eyes. He couldn’t feel anything anymore, not without Yuna. Life wasn’t real without Yuna.
He turned and walked away leaving her body to the cold, forever to wander until the day of his own death, as a solitary spirit. Never to feel love, or pain, again.