A Thousand Words
by Serenity Star
Disclaimer Final Fantasy and all its characters belong to Square-Enix.
You could never possibly know what you mean to me. My life, my love, my heart, my soul. A thousand words could never sum up all the feelings I have for you.
It's been a thousand years since I've seen you.
I don't remember much of those last few moments…there was noise…so much loud noise, people shouting, guns firing, a single scream. I think it was me who screamed, but I can't be sure. There was just so much noise.
I remember your arms holding me…I remember wishing it could be like that forever. Then I remember the cold, the emptiness as they tore us apart. The abyss that opened up in my heart.
But I remember the noise. There was just so much noise.
I always wanted to be a singer, ever since I was little. I was attracted to the bright lights and glamour of the stage. So I practised every day, whenever and wherever I could. My mother would always tell me off for singing too loud in the shower.
I was unaware of the hidden talents that I possessed.
My father worked in the temples. He would come home every night and tell me of summoners and aeons, of magic and religion, of Yevon. I was hooked.
Listening to my father talk was like nothing else in the world. It was hard to believe that there was only one person talking sometimes. He was so lively and animated, and always on the move. He was possibly the most unlikely priest of Yevon I have ever known or ever will know. I find it hard to believe that he's dead.
He would take me to the temples. I loved the peace, the serenity, and the getaway from the outside world that they offered. So I started going more and more often.
It started when I was twelve. I didn't understand what was happening to me at first. I could hear voices all around when I prayed at the temple. There were so many voices, all crowding in my head at once. I was scared.
When I told my father, he took me to see the Temple Elder. He sat me down and told me that I was experiencing the calls of the Fayth. He told me that I was a naturally talented summoner. He wanted me to train in the arts. I was torn. All my life I had wanted to sing, but all my life, I had been fascinated by Yevon and everything it stood for.
I looked to my father for guidance.
“Follow your heart, Lenne,” he said, a small smile on his face. Those were the wisest words anybody has ever spoken to me.
I loved my father so much. He taught me how to be, he taught me how to live, and he taught me what to do when life became too much. He taught me to stand tall when people criticised me, to back down when I was wrong, and to never give up my hope or beliefs for anybody else. He made me who I am, and I am eternally grateful to him.
When I was fifteen, I won the Zanarkand talent competition for my singing. I was in all the newspapers, and even on a television show. People would stop me in the street and ask for my autograph. Even though it was what I had always dreamed of, I found it new and strange that everybody knew my name, and that people I had never even spoken to at school would shyly ask to sit with me at lunch or in class.
I started going to the temple more during this period of time. I was uncomfortable with all this new kind of attention I was receiving. It got to the point when my father had to drag me out at the end of the day.
As soon as I got used to the attention, it went away. The public had grown tired of me. I was yesterday's news. But I was still determined to be tomorrow's headline. So I spent every spare moment singing. My small brush with fame had made me thirsty for more.
When I was sixteen and a half, I got a record contract. My schoolwork spiralled downwards; it was hard to keep up in between studying to be a summoner and singing. Not that I needed my studies. I had no need for math and science. It just bored me.
When I was seventeen, I became a fully-fledged summoner. By this time, I was a well-established singer as well.
It was during this year that I met you. I had been invited to open the Blitzball season, and I was exceptionally proud of myself.
I had always loved Blitzball. Everybody in Zanarkand was brought up watching it. Along with singing, it was our main form of entertainment. I supported the Zanarkand Abes.
You were their star player, and I had always admired your talent. Little did I know that you had always admired mine. I remember watching you from the Director's box, thinking how good you were as you scored goal after goal. Everybody loved you; women wanted to sleep with you and men wanted to be you.
When you arrived for the after game party, I couldn't have been more surprised when you started talking to me. I had never met you before, and I assumed you thought I was some silly little girl.
But we talked and you asked me many questions about myself, which I was more than happy to answer. I felt myself being attracted to you more as we got to know each other. I'm sure that the few glasses of champagne I had helped too.
Even when Sayuri Matsushita, one of the most famous super models, tried to flirt with you, your attention never strayed from me. I was honoured. When my father told me it was time to leave, I found myself blurting out, “When will I see you again?” I'll never forget the look of surprise that crossed my father's face, and the smile that spread across your own.
I found myself falling in love with you very quickly. You were someone who I could talk to, yet I could never bring myself to tell you how I felt. Despite this, I think you knew, deep down inside.
Everywhere we went, we got attention. We were the 'it' couple. The relationship even made me as a person more popular, although many girls, especially those who knew me personally, became jealous of my talents, and, most of all, of you.
Although I never said, “I love you,” I think you did know, as I knew that you loved me. You were everything to me, and words can't express the way I feel about you.
The war broke out on my eighteenth birthday. All of Zanarkand was in shock; why did Bevelle want to attack us? We just didn't understand.
I was too young and naïve to realise what the war meant for us. I thought it would be over soon, and wouldn't affect us at all. I thought I would be able to carry on singing.
My mother sold all her jewellery to aid the war effort, and convinced me to do the same with my own. I was bombarded with requests from Yu Yevon to join the army of summoners every day. But I didn't want to go. I had only just turned eighteen, and I didn't want to lose you.
I felt that if I left, then you would meet someone new, someone more beautiful and talented than me, and that you would forget about me. I couldn't bear that. It never occurred to me that if I left, I might die.
My father signed up as a soldier. I went to wave him off, confident that he would be home soon, as he promised he would. He told my mother that he would write, and my little sister Naomi not to cry.
The night before he left, he looked me straight in the eyes, and said, “Don't be afraid to do what you heart tells you to, Lenne. You're strong; you'll pull through.”
To this day, I am convinced that my father knew what would happen to me.
I came home one day to find my mother in floods of tears. I thought maybe Naomi was sick or something. Nothing could have prepared me for the blow I was about to receive.
“Sit down, Lenne,” she said through her tears.
“What's wrong?” I asked, bewildered. She couldn't even bear to tell me herself. She just handed me the letter.
My father was dead.
I felt as though my insides were being ripped out. I found it hard to breathe, and then I fainted.
When I came to, the shock hit me again, like a thousand icy daggers. I would never hear my father's voice again. He was never going to tell me another story, or teach me about the temples.
I ran to your house, sobbing my eyes out, and told you what had happened. You held me very quietly and rocked me like I was a small child. You didn't say a word, just wrapped your strong arms around me.
I felt as though the pain would never recede.
You came with me to plant flowers for him, and to his funeral. You held my hand as I said my final goodbye to him. You wiped away my tears as I sobbed into your chest. You were all the support I needed.
After the burning grief left me, I made up my mind as to what I was going to do. We were at war. Zanarkand didn't need singers anymore; they needed warriors.
I didn't tell you when I signed up to help the summoners who were fighting; I knew you would try to stop me.
Even though I was still terrified I was going to lose you, I left anyway. I had to help those who were already putting their lives on the line for us. I had to protect my family. I had to protect you.
I followed my heart.
You came to see me off, although you didn't say a word. All I had to do was look at you and my heart would break. I wondered if you were feeling the same way. If you wondered why I didn't look at you, it was because I couldn't. I knew the harsh reality of the war; I was probably going to die. I knew the summoners were outnumbered on the battlefield, but I had to try. I could make a difference; even if I lost you.
I held my head high as we held each other. I wasn't going to break down. I was going to be strong, and follow this through. I wanted to protect my home.
I tried to hide my feelings of regret as I got on the train. I couldn't quite meet your eye as I waved. My mother was crying, and so was Naomi. But I promised myself that I wouldn't go home until I had served my country. Even if that meant I had to come home in a coffin. I wanted to finish my father's work.
I missed you terribly every day. I had left my heart behind with you. I prayed you wouldn't break it.
When I arrived at the battlefield, I was shocked. I could never have expected what lay there, stretched out across the Nagi Plains.
The ground was littered with dead bodies, and it broke my heart to see that most were from Zanarkand.
Twisted pieces of Bevelle's machina stuck out of the ground, warping the landscape.
And then there was the fighting.
I was deafened by the bangs and crashes that came from all around, and the flashes of light and explosions blinded me. I heard people dying, screaming for their mothers like little babies.
The sky was overcast and grey, mirroring the despair on the plains. My body yearned for you. I wanted you to hold me, and tell me everything would be okay. But you were back in Zanarkand, far away from me.
When they showed me to my tent, I was astonished by the plainness of it. I had become used to living in luxury and style, but this was far from my home.
I went to look around the camp, and found myself in the hospital tent. The sight horrified me. There was blood everywhere, and I wanted to be sick. A passing nurse smiled at me, while her friend said, “You better get used to it. It's a lot worse out there.”
I had a sudden image of my father in here, dying alone, hundreds of miles from his family, in an unfamiliar bed. I had to get out of there. I ran back to my own tent and threw up outside it.
The days passed, and I became used to my situation, but I didn't like it all. The stench of death was overpowering all throughout the camp. Everyday I went to the battlefield, and I still came back safe.
I wrote to you everyday too.
Your letters were the only thing that kept me going through the long days and cold nights. They gave my despairing spirit a glimmer of hope. I had to fight and win. For you.
I longed to hear your voice, to touch you again. I wish I could have had the nerve to tell you how strongly I felt for you. I couldn't even bring myself to write it. I was scared you wouldn't feel the same way.
I made a friend on the battlefield. Her name was Mikoto. She was like a big sister to me. She was a summoner, like myself, so we fought together. She had come because her family had made her. Every night she told me she was going to run away, and every morning, she was still there. I told her everything, even how I felt about you. She listened, and told me what she thought. I was glad that I had a friend in the darkest of times.
One day she didn't come back from battle.
Every night, I dreamed of you. I wanted to be with you again so much. I promised myself that I would tell you how I felt when I went home again.
I hated the battle. I was injured several times, but there was nothing serious. I hated thinking that I had just killed someone. I imagined a family in Bevelle, receiving a letter to say their father or brother or whatever had died. I imagined them being devastated. Just like me. The guilt was overwhelming.
One day, someone took me by surprise. They grabbed me from behind and hit me over the head with something metal. I tasted the blood in my mouth.
When I came to, I didn't know where I was. I could see the metal bars of a jail cell. There was a man with his back to me standing some way off.
“Excuse me!” I called out; pulling myself towards the bars, and trying to ignore the throbbing pain in my head.
“What?” the man growled, turning to face me.
“Where am I?” I asked.
“Bevelle prison.” He turned away again. I slumped back against the bars. I was a prisoner of war. I wondered if my family would find out. I wondered if you would find out. I felt the despair welling up inside me and I began to cry. The man glanced back at me.
“How old are you?” he asked.
“Nineteen…” I replied, ashamed of my tears.
“What are they doing sending little girls out on the battlefields…” he wondered aloud.
“I'm a summoner…” I replied, a little indignant at being called a little girl.
He didn't say anything.
“Can you tell me what they want me for?” I asked.
“Nope.” I pulled legs up against my chest. I wished you were there with me. It would have been so much easier. But I was alone. Just a frightened little girl in a foreign country.
“What's your name?” he asked after a long silence.
“Lenne.” He laughed.
“So you're the famous Lenne. My last prisoner loved your songs.”
“What happened to him?”
“She was executed.”
“Why do you bloody think? She was a summoner, like you.” I shivered.
“Are they going to execute me?”
“I suppose so.” We fell silent again.
“Am I allowed to write to my family?” I asked.
“No.” I put my head in my hands. I wanted to cry, but I was ashamed to show any weakness. I pictured you in my head and it gave me strength. I was going to see you again. I just had to.
I learned to live like that, to do as I was told, and not to complain. I don't know how long I spent in that prison, as there were no windows or clocks. But I didn't want to sleep, as I was afraid I wouldn't wake up.
I waited for them to come and execute me, but it was just me and my guard. I just lay in the cell day after day. Everyday I expected to be told that I would die, but nothing happened. I wondered if they were just playing with me, waiting until they drove me to the edge of my sanity.
I thought of you every day too. With your face in my head, I could keep sane. Just about. I had to live. I had to see you again. I prayed that we would win the war soon, and I could go home, home to you. I prayed that you hadn't forgotten about me.
I longed to talk to you. My feelings were welling up inside me, until they were near to bursting. I wanted to feel your kiss again, your hand on my skin. I had almost forgotten what it felt like to touch another human being.
I forced myself to eat, so I might survive long enough to see you, if only for one last time.
My father haunted me too. I was ashamed that I had let myself be captured. Ashamed that I wasn't fighting to the end, like he had. I wished I could hear one of his stories again. His words kept echoing in my head.
“Follow your heart, Lenne. Always follow your heart.”
“Am I dreaming?”
“No. This is real enough. Hurry up. We need to get out of here.”
That's what you said to me. I woke up to find you standing over me. I couldn't believe my eyes. You pulled me to my feet. The door behind you was open, and the guard lay unconscious.
You pulled me away, and we ran together, down corridors.
“Where are we going?” I asked.
“To end this goddamned war once and for all,” you replied. I could hear people following us. You ran faster, pulling me behind you. I struggled to keep up.
We reached a crossroads, and I stumbled and fell. I cried out as my knees made a sharp impact with the floor. You pulled me to my feet again. You led me down a corridor. I could hear our pursuers getting closer and closer.
You brought me to a vast room. There was something there…a machina, I think. It scared me. It was so huge…and I could feel there was something not right about it. It was almost as though it were…alive.
You ran ahead and climbed up the stair towards it. You started to talk to it. Suddenly, it hit me what you were going to do. I ran after you.
“Shuyin!” I shouted, spreading my arms wide.
“Please, there has to be a better way than this!” I screamed. You wanted to destroy Spira. You wanted to destroy our home. I wouldn't let you.
“Don't do this! Please…” I heard the doors open behind us and I turned, to see a dozen or so guards running towards us.
You ran back to me and held me. This was the moment I had dreamed of. I never wanted it to end. You looked at them, then back at me. I could see it in your eyes…you thought you had failed. You thought you had failed me. But you hadn't. Just being there was enough.
There was no way out. I tried to smile at you, to tell you that we were going to be together forever, against all odds. But tears shattered my smile. I heard them load their guns. We turned to face them together, never letting go of each other.
I couldn't hear your heartbeat, faster and faster. It seemed to take an age for the guns to fire. My whole life was flashing before my eyes…listening to my father, playing with Naomi…singing…praying…and you. You were right there beside me. I heard the guns fire. There was just so much noise.
I'll never regret my actions. I followed my heart. And my heart led me to you.
Author's Note This is my first attempt at a fanfic, so I would really, really like it if I could get some comments. Thanks!