Zanarkand Rain
by Rothalion

Disclaimer: I don't own them, did not create them, I simply enjoy borrowing them.
Lyrics: Staind 'So Far AWay'

It was raining again. Three nights in a row. Auron sat on the couch in the house boat's salon; leaning back against the arm rest, legs stretched out before him, elbow on the back of the sofa, and his right cheek on his fist. He watched as the rain sluiced across the black bay driven by the vicious wind. Rain depressed him. So many events of his life had occured in the rain and storms made him morose. The wind shifted and the torrent reversed direction slashing across the bay and against itself. The clash of droplets whipped the dark surface into a flash of silver, tinged with the neon purples, pinks and blues of the lights of Zanarakand.

Closing his eye, the Auron let the memories skate across his mind. Braska had found him in the rain. None of the neon blues of Zanarakand could shine brighter than Braska's crystaline blue eyes. It seemed so long ago, so far away. He was eight, crouched in the filth and garbage of an alley, as his father kicked and punched him into a sobbing, black and purple barely recognizable bruise.

'You were not always cruel, father. It's just that you beat the few good memories out of me. 100 gil. Father, you sold me to Braska for 100 gil.' He smiled grimly at the memory. Sighing, Auron took a swig of Saki, it warmed his stomach but not his heart. 'I am so tired of pain.'

Auron killed his first man, no men, renegade Al Bhed, in the rain. The same day giving his life for Braska. Having been told that Braska's party was under attack by Al Bhed fanatics just outside the walls, the boy fled the temple to go and save his lord. Fifteen years old, katana in hand, embroiled in a death match among men. The youth's only thought was 'save my lord'. Fighting like a beserker he jumped in front of Braska as an Al Bhed fired his rifle. The blast tore into Auron's chest, and through a blood red haze of pain and rain, he watched with slowly clouding eyes as his lord reached out to catch his dying body.

It was Braska's blues eyes he saw first, as the priest yanked him gasping, back into existence. Braska's arms that held him out of the mud and the blood as they knealt upon the bodies of the six men Auron had killed; fighting with his back against a wall. Three days later he was field knighted in the rain, for his bravery. Auron ran his fingertips across the washboard series of scars on his right upper arm. Sixteen dagger slashes for the surviving men in the squad he'd fought with.

'I was only a boy. Six dead, died for my lord, knighted by a cold, damning rain.'
Another drink. Lightning skewed the blackness and the resulting crash of thunder made his stomach hitch.

'Yes, and still a bit of a boy.'

The lightning strike had been close, and the thunder rattled the houseboat's windows. Auron stood and walked towards Tidus' berth. Peering through the gloom he could see that the boy was still asleep.

'Braver than me. When I was your age I hated storms... no, truth be told, I feared them.'
He backed out of the room and returned to the couch. The wind changed again and the rain was blasting against the window. A steady percussive torrent drumming darker recollections into his awareness.

'Lord, you died in the rain.'

Auron shuddered at the memory. Goose bumps skittered down his spine. Rain had pelted them during the final battle; churning the earth into slick, bloody black mud. Braska's robes were a sodden mess, and Auron was covered in both of their blood. Tears. Tears mixed with the cold rain, only a bitter saltiness separated the two. He remembered how Braska's wet hair stuck to his trembling fingers as he brushed the loose strands from his lord's paling face. Licking his lips, lost in the jumbled memory, Auron recalled the taste of the rain as he had kissed his lord's forehead and then, after a pause, out of pure and unabashed love his lord's lips. Blueing lips. Braska was dying, his world was dying, he was, from complete and abject grief, dying. In the rain. Shuddering, shaken by the memory, a memory that refused to ease with time, Auron swallowed more Saki and squeezed his eye shut; preying that the bitter liquid would cleanse the coppery, saline taste from his now trembling lips.

'Yevon, I miss you lord. I need you. Yes, I need you. I always have. Will. Lord, I am lonely here. So...lonely. So lonely in this city of unending lights. '

Restless he stood, walked across the salon and peered out of the window.

' Hmm, Ynelia.'

She was home. Soft yellow light beamed from boat tethered across the dock.

Ynelia. For the second time that night his stomach flipped. He recalled the first time he'd seen her. She was jogging in the rain. He was training. His sword flying throught the torrent, killing. Killing grief, killing loneliness. She 'd just stopped and sat. Simply... sat. When he finished she stood, walked to him and introduced herself. Auron was at a loss. She was tall, strong, her light brown hair plastered down by the rain. Her green eyes...she was training in the rain. Ynelia didn't go away after that, instead she'd melded into his and Tidus' lives. That was four years ago.

'Go see her.'

Auron turned from the window and walked into the galley. Reaching into an upper cupboard, he removed a new bottle of Saki and two small glasses. He remembered the comfort of company, Braska, Jecht, Kinoc. Now it was raining again, his heart was heavy with memories, and it was...Auron, only..... Auron.

'You have two glasses, go see her.' fear held him for a moment. 'So, I do.' he answered himself and headed into the rain and across the dock, hunched up a bit, wary of the lightning.
'Knock, Auron! you are getting wet.'

Ynelia heard the soft knock, looked up from her book, and turned the music down. She didn't get many visitors, let alone in this late in a pouring rain storm. Suprised, she crossed to the door.

"Who is it?"

"Auron." 'Auron?' she thought to herself. 'Auron! Something must be wrong with Tidus'
Ynelia opened the door and stepped back to let him enter.

"Is Tidus alright?" He blinked and looked at her. She motioned for him to sit on the couch, then turning she shut and locked the door. Auron was visiting in the pouring rain with a bottle of Saki and two glasses. Either she was dreaming or her stoic neighbor had lost his already questionable mind. Incredulous, Ynelia snuck a peek over shoulder; yes, he was there. Outside a strong gust of wind buffeted the boat and the rain slapped against the windows.

"So, what's going on?" No response. 'Yup, leave it to Auron to come for a visit and then not say anything.'

"Gonna open the Saki?" she asked sitting down on the other end of the couch. He looked over at her, and then down at the bottle, slowly reaching out he opened it and poured them each a drink.

"Thank you." still nothing. She decided to take the initiative; in four years she had not seen him behave like he was tonight.

"Auron,... what's wrong?"

"The rain. I....the rain..." he leaned forward and put his glass on the table, rubbing his right palm with his left thumb.

"Rain? What about the rain?"

"Just...I..." He stood and walked to the large window and stared out into the deluge. His left hand absently stroked the wooden frame.

'Yes wood, so like Spira. Not all glass and steel. Warm. Wood, and cotton and tile. Ynelia's boat was nothing like Tidus'. Slowly he dragged himself from the rain swept view and returned to the couch sitting a bit closer to Ynelia. Sighing, he leaned foward and with his elbows on his knees, his head in his hands.

Ynelia knew he sought comfort. In four years he'd not touched her or asked for help. Their conversations while freindly were buisness like. Tonight, though, he needed help, but she sensed that he no longer knew how to ask for it. Why else had he come, in the dark and the rain? How should she provide it? Swallowing her fear she reached out and grasped his shoulder. Ynelia nearly recoiled as his body went ridgid beneath her touch. Auron let out a long tremulous sigh, and straightened up. The already confused woman would not soon forget what Auron did next.

Auron leaned slowly to his right, downward until his head was lying in Ynelia's lap. He drew his legs up onto the couch and after a long, pained sigh he relaxed, drapping his left arm across her legs.

Shocked, Ynelia could only stare down at the man resting in her lap. Tears threatened to push their way from her eyes. Four years and now, finally, he had come to her. Gently, she stroked his cheek and his hair. Auron slowly closed his eye and sank into her. He remained still. His heart was pounding and his gut was tight. The warrior stared across the salon and out at the rain.

'I did it. I came to her. Please, please, let me relax. Let me feel. I am ready.'

Thunder rattled the windows and he flinched; damning the child that still hid in his heart, and the fact that it was more than just the thunder that he was afraid of.

"Shh. you're safe. Safe, Love." She continued to stroke his hair while reaching for the stereo remote control, raising the volume a bit to drown out the storm.

/ ...Now that we're here, so far away..../

The song ended and Auron sighed. Words. He would say them in the rain, yes, the words he feared so much. The words he had only spoken once before in his life. To his lord. Words that had ended with so much grief. The words that had so completely destroyed him.

"Ynelia." she looked down at him.

"My stomach hurts."

"Auron?" he rolled onto his back and looked up at her. Ynelia was shocked to see fear in the dark brown pool.

" love...have ...loved you." his voice began to break, "I... need, Ynelia. I love you. Is that alright?"

Ynelia put her hand on his damp cheek.

"Yea, it's alright. It's alright. I love 'you', Auron. It's alright." and she leaned down and kissed away the salty tears that slipped idly down his face. "It's alright."

Dawn broke and the storm had blown itself out. Auron watched as the sun tipped above the horizon, the new light a slash of silvery pink across the mirror of the bay. Ynelia lay tight against him, her arm wrapped protectivly around his bare waist.

'Your skin is so warm. Soft.' he thought, suprised at himself for being so comfortable lying naked with her in bed, long lithe arms tightly clasped around him. Yes, he had waited too long, bound by duty, oaths and vows; all lies, all in vain. The memory of the night before shot a tingling shock through his body.
'Ahh, so that was pleasure. Last night 'was' pleasure.' he wanted to stroke her arm, but feared waking her, altering the moment.
'Lord, I think I can be a bit happier now. Maybe not so lonely. Yes, something good has finally happened in the rain.'

Auron closed his eye and slipped back into sleep. The song from the night before weaving through his dreams.

/ These are my words, that I never said before....I think I'm doing ok.
This is the smile that I've never shown before, somebody.../

Also apologies to Enilia? I saw this name somewhere on a fic site after I 'd used 'Ynelia' in a few stories. Names are hard to change. I searched for 'Enilia' but could not find them in order to ask permission, the two are just to similar.