Final Fantasy X. Jecht/Auron. PG-13. ~850 words. Zanarkand. Auron POV.
In Zanarkand, Auron reflects upon the similarities between Tidus and Jecht.
He resembles you so strongly. No, not in the way he looks, but rather in the way he moves, and perseveres, and invariably finds himself in the very center of where all the trouble is.
“Why are you staring at me like that?” he says, giving me a queer look.
I glance away and he runs over to me.
“No really, why?” Eager as hound and curious as a cat. His eyes are bright beneath the gold mop of his hair. I thought it might darken to match yours as he grew older, but here he is at sixteen, and it’s done precisely the opposite. Regardless of the colour, if he let it grow, I have no doubt it would end up as untamable as that mane of yours.
“Hmph. You always have a reason,” he says. He folds his hands behind his neck and looks down to kick the biggest rocks that he finds within reach.
“It was quiet out here at one point.”
“Auron!” he protests, and another rock goes sailing into the air. There is no sound when it splashes into the ocean so far below us. Down there, the water is dark; thick with foam and swirling with too many secrets to drown.
“Don’t you have somewhere you need to be?” It’s a waste of breath, but I try anyway.
I close my good eye and hope he gives up. The bench creaks as he takes a seat beside me. It never worked with you either.
“Hey,” he says quietly. He leans against me tentatively, sitting with me like he used to when he was just a boy. After your wife died.
“You know, my mother used to stare at me like that.” He tries to chuckle, but it rings false and dies away swiftly. “She was always thinking about my old man.
“Sometimes I think… I think she started to hate me because every time she looked at me it reminded her of him.”
His tone is black and bitter, and I make some small noise. After all these years, I couldn’t erase the enmity he holds for you. Still, perhaps it’s for the best, and his anger will strengthen his arm when the time comes.
“He didn’t deserve her,” he says firmly.
I say nothing, although I agree. Sometimes I wonder if Braska had known that somewhere along the pilgrimage, the arrogant drunkard he freed from that jail cell would become a man I could…respect.
“How come you never tell me I shouldn’t say things like that about my father? Everyone else does.”
“I’m not everyone,” I point out.
“That’s for sure,” he says. The warmth of his body vanishes, and I look over at him as he leans forward to drape his arms over his thighs. “You never talk about how you knew him.”
“Does it matter how I knew a man you hate?”
“Yes! I mean, no! I-” He grunts in frustration and shakes his head. “I don’t know.”
“It doesn’t,” I tell him.
“I guess not,” he says. “It’s just…” He turns to look at me again, and I feel the weight of Spira grinding me down. I try to hold that bright blue gaze, but I fail, and my chest feels thick as I return to watching the gleaming trail of blood-red water that is all that remains of the sun.
You’re out there, my friend, somewhere. And you’re losing the battle, I know.
He leaps to his feet and paces back and forth in what little room the overlook affords. “Auron,” he says, and I hear the question in my name alone. “Were you and my-”
I can see by the tips of his ears that he’s blushing. “No,” I say.
He props his hands on the railing and leans forward far enough that I wonder if I shouldn’t be standing beside him with one hand on the back of his collar.
“Sorry,” he mumbles. He takes a step back, rubbing the back of his head sheepishly.
“We were friends. Nothing more,” I say. Although, things might have been different if Braska had… I stop myself from finishing that thought. It isn’t my place to dishonor his sacrifice with selfish regrets.
“I wish you had said yes,” he tells me. “Then maybe it would be easier for me. You know, when I think of mom.”
He sighs and I follow his gaze upwards. The sky is growing darker, and the stars are broken whispers beyond the clouds. “She loved him so much, but he barely ever kissed her.”
“You’ve got a game tonight,” I remind him. “Get going.”
“Yeah, guess I should,” he replies. He spins around and takes an earnest step towards me. “Are you going to come and watch, Auron?”
His shoulders sag just enough that I regret my answer.
“Well, if you do show up,” he says, and a fierce determination creeps onto his features as he jerks a thumb towards his chest, “I’ll be the top-scorer tonight.”
I chuckle as he dashes off.
Jecht, you’d be proud of your son.