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AUTHOR'S NOTES: This is my first attempt at fanficton, but I want to write novels someday, so PLEASE give it a shot!

It's Never Too Late

by: Abbott

Yuna awoke to the sultry sound of the sea. Early morning sunlight tickled her face like a soft, warm feather. She allowed her eyelids to flutter open. She stretched her pale arms above her brown hair, breathing deeply in the aromas of the morning. It had been one week. One week today. Yuna smiled a nostalgic smile, remembering dreams of soft blond hair, quick blue eyes, and a strong, steady voice. At this, her heart began to hurt, like always.

"I don't feel like getting up," she grumbled. But just as she felt like turning over and burying her face in her pillows, she caught a whiff of Lulu's famous pancakes. That in and of itself was enough to rouse her from half concious drowziness.

"What is Lulu doing in my house at this time of morning?" Yuna mused aloud. She drew back the chocobo feather comforter. A slight breath of cool, crisp sea air enveloped her body.

"And she has the windows open I see," she stated as she examined the sheer curtains fluttering in one of the window frames. The curtains were long enough to drape along the cool stone floor, giving Yuna's room a whimsical look. She sat up slowly, letting her head settle. She felt around with her feet for her slippers. She found them, something she wasn't normally capable of doing on most days (slippers are such fickle things). Slipping into them, Yuna stood up and stretched fully. She grabbed her white silk kimono and made her way to the balcony that was attached to her bedroom. She opened the double glass doors, letting all the sounds, smells, and sights of Luca meet her face and eyes. The sounds of the harbor drifted around her like the whispers of the sea. The smells of the streets - and even the blitzball stadium - the hot dogs, cotton candy, and funnel cakes - all made her even more hungry than she already was. The sight of Luca in the morning lifted her spirits. Life in the city was something she enjoyed almost as much as Lulu's pancakes.

"That reminds me," Yuna mumbled, "I'll bet my last gil that Lulu's in my kitchen whipping up Spira's finest pancakes."

Taking one last whistful glance at her view of the city, Yuna went back inside, closing the doouble glass doors behind her.

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"Lulu, what are you doing in my kitchen on a Saturday at 7:00 in the morning?"Yuna questioned. Lulu glanced up from a crowded stove.

"Well, I figured I'd help myself to someone else's kitchen this morning," Lulu replied sarcastically - but warmly. Yuna rolled her eyes and went to the fridge to dig out the orange juice.

"Lulu, you never wake up before 10:00 a.m. - on a good day!" she stated. Lulu smiled faintly as she flipped a golden-brown pancake.

"My dear, if you're looking for the orange juice, there's a full glass on the table," Lulu replied. Yuna looked at the table. Sure enough, a full glass of orange juice sat next to a plate of freshly sliced fruit.

"Lulu, what's going on?" Yuna demanded to know. Something wasn't right, and Yuna could sense it all the way from the stove. All of a sudden, Lulu spun around to face Yuna, eyes brimming with tears.

"Yuna...it's been...today is..." Lulu couldn't finish. Yuna immediately understood.

"Lulu... you did all this...just to keep my mind off of what day it is?" she asked. Lulu nodded through a look of guilt.

"Didn't do a very good job, did I?" Lulu sniffed. Yuna's heart melted.

"Oh, Lulu!" With that, the teenage girl and the grown woman held each other in a comforting hug.

"You loved him... didn't you?" Lulu questioned. Yuna was caught speechless.

"Y-yes... I did. I loved him..." (More than life itself, she finished in her mind). She felt Lulu's grip tighten around her, bringing a sense of security.

"I know you did Yuna. I'm not one to tell you to get over it and move on with your life - at least not at this point. But I was thinking... what about the Farplane?" Lulu suggested. Yuna drew back, her face visibly hardening.

"I know what you're suggesting Lulu, and I refuse. I refuse to subject myself to that type of psycological and emotional torture!" Yuna almost yelled. Lulu nodded in understanding, willing to leave the subject where it had violently bottomed out.

"It was just an idea," she replied. Yuna went back to her orange juice, and Lulu to flipping pancakes.

"You know," Lulu ventured cautiously, "It might help settle your nerves."

Lulu looked at Yuna. Her face was burried in her hands.

"You're probably right," Yuna replied matter-of-factly. Lulu hesitated, not sure whether to press on or to quit while she was ahead.

"It's all right to grieve, Yuna. No one can condemn you for feeling," Lulu said as she decided to take her chances.

Yuna finally looked up, "Maybe... maybe I will go." Lulu nodded.

"I believe it would bring you comfort and perhaps... closure," she replied. Yuna looked away, not sure whether she wanted to go back to bed or bury her face in her sliced fruit.

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Clouds flew past as Yuna gazed through the windows of Passenger Airship #20117939. In the past week, more than 132 passenger and cargo airships had been produced and integrated into Spira's transportation system. Also, a group of amazingly talented Ronsos had gotten together and created a fleet of ships, too. In a little under a week, Spira had become completely mobile. With Sin gone, the fear of traveling no longer resided amongst the people. Yuna's heart skipped when she heard Rikku's perky voice over the ship's intercom.

"Good morning everyone! It's another beautiful day in the clouds! Outside, it's a balmy 69 degrees, the winds are from the North, and the sky is clear. Our first stop today is Guadosalam - we'll be ariving shortly. Oh, and by the way! There is a continental breakfast set up in the main corridor, just in case anyone's hungry!"

With that, Rikku's voice disappeared, leaving Yuna wondering how someone so bright and chipper could possibly handle the monotonously morose position of Captain. Yuna looked over the inner corridor, a flood of memories rushing over her...

"But Yuna... how are you supposed to beat something BIG like that?!"

"What did we do that was so bad in the first place?"

"I saw that Aeon thing. That was amazing!"

Yuna shook the memories from her mind, afraid that they would eat her alive. All of a sudden, she heard footsteps skipping down the corridor.

"I can only imagine who that could be," she mumbled humorously.

At that moment, the door to the inner corridor flew open, and a bright eyed, blond haired young woman in an Al Bhed Skipper's suit cried, "Yunie!"

At this, the young airship Captain bounded over to Yuna and planted a big, loving smooch on her cousin's cheek.

"I've missed you so much, Yunie!" she cried.

Yuna smiled broadly and hugged the vavacious young woman. "Hi Rikku. I've missed you too."

Sensing distress, Rikku pulled back, taking a long hard look at her cousin.

"What's wrong Yuna?" she questioned. Yuna wasn't surprised by Rikku's perceptiveness.

"Nothing...honestly, it's nothing," she replied in a quavering voice. Rikku seemed disatisfied.

" Yeah, right! If that's the truth, then I'm a Shoopuff!" Rikku exclaimed. Yuna giggled, happy that her cousin was trying to cheer her up.

"Really, it's nothing," Yuna protested. Rikku let the subject drop.

"If you say so. Well anyhoo... what do you think of the suit?" Rikku asked as she twirled around in posing circles, "Too 'Professional' ?"

Yuna smiled, happy with the change of subject. "It looks wonderful, Rikku. I always thought you'd make a good Skipper."

Rikku beamed, obviously pleased with herself. "Thanks! But seriously Yunie... is there something wrong?"

Yuna looked away, afraid that her grief would show through.

"Yuna! I demand to know! If you don't tell me, I'll... I'll... I'll throw you off my ship!" Rikku demanded.

Yuna sighed. There was no getting around Rikku's determination. "Rikku... it's been... well, it's been..."

"A week," Rikku finished for her, suddenly remembering. Tears sparkled in her emerald-green eyes. "Oh, Yuna... I'm so sorry! I shouldn't have..."

"Rikku, it's all right. I'm... I'm on my way to Guadosalam," Yuna explained. Rikku's face instantly sobered.

"Oh. Well, that's good..." she replied. Yuna nodded.

"Yeah. Yeah, it is," she said. A moment of awkward silence followed. Rikku grabbed Yuna in another hug, this one more emotional.

"Oh, Yunie. I wish... I just wish there was something I could do," Rikku said quietly.

Yuna gently stroked Rikku's hair, more memories flooding her mind. "Don't worry Rikku. I'll be fine."

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"Ladies and gentlemen, we are now landing at the Guadosalam docking bay. Your luggage will be unloaded and checked before departure. Please have your claim tickets ready." Yuna listened as Rikku relayed information over the intercom. This was her stop. She forced herself to breathe deeply, straightening her skirt as she rose from her seat. She left the inner corridor and joined a small group of people bustleing off the exit ramp. Guadosalam still remained isolated, even after the threat of Sin had been removed. Yuna clasped a small satchel conatining enough belongings for two days. She carried it with her, it not being large enough to be checked as cargo. Yuna stopped at the foot of the exit ramp, turned, and waved to Rikku, whose face was framed in the cockpit window. Yuna though she saw tears brimming in Rikku's eyes, but decided to turn and continue on.

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The inn was exactly where Yuna remembered it had been. There was a sign overhanging the door riddled with cryptic Guado characters. Yuna made herself open the door, afraid that everything would become all too real if she didn't.

The lobby was still tidy - if a bit cramped. A traveler's save sphere stood in the corner next to a sphere monitor. Shelves of neatly organized items and weaponry lined the walls.

"Can I help you?" the desk clerk asked politely in a broken accent.

Yuna smiled, "I'm planning on staying just for tonight. Is there a room available?"

It was the desk clerk's turn to smile, "Of course we do. I'll have Linna show you to your room." With that, the attendant rang a tiny brass bell on the reception desk. A sweet looking young Al Bhed woman came promptly from the back rooms.

"Show this lady to room 117, would you Linna?" The young woman nodded, smiled at Yuna, and offered to carry Yuna's satchel.

Room 117 was clean and simply decorated. A comfortable-looking bed stood against the far side of the cream colored room. Warm colored rugs were placed randomly on the dark wood floors. A white porcelain wash basin and pitcher were mounted on a sturdy oak stand, across from the bed. A bureau stood in one corner.

"Is the room to your liking m'Lady?" Linna asked. Yuna was taken aback.

"You recognize me?" she asked. Linna giggled.

"I played two seasons with the Aurochs, so I could pick you out of a crowd of people!"

Yuna smiled, thankful for Linna's cheery disposition.

"If you find everything to your liking, I'll go ahead and leave you to yourself. A platter of roast beef, mashed potatos, and green beans is being served for dinner. Shall I reserve a platter for you?" Linna asked. Yuna accepted and thanked her. Linna bowed slightly and took her leave.

When Linna had left, Yuna crossed the room and dropped to the bed. She was so tired... Thoughts, emotions, memories... All of them had been bombarding her since she woke up that morning.

"Well, if I'm gonna go, I'd better get going before it gets too dark," she mumbled to herself. She pulled herself up, neatened her skirt, and tidied her appearance. Taking a deep breath, Yuna grabbed her silken shawl from the top of her satchel and headed for the door.

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The air was still and cold - just cold enough to force Yuna to pull her shawl tightly around her shoulders - still enough to create a sense of uneasiness at the base of her stomach. The Farplane spoke of otherworldy presences. Yuna felt a shiver claw it's way up her spine.

"Why am I doing this?" she continued to chant as she approached the center of the calling stone. She cursed herself over and over for being foolish, childish, everything. Anything to stop her feet from going any further. But her feet seemed only to follow her heart, which was begging her to call, call him. Just once. One last look. One last goodbye...

"Stop it!" she yelled aloud. Her mind and feet did as they were told. Yuna opened her eyes. She had shut them in fear of her own desires. She was at the edge of the circular alter. All she had to do now was think... feel. So she began to remember...

"Whatchya' up to?"

"'Yuna, why does Sin always come back?"

"You sure it's ruins?"

"Hey, I've got an idea!"

"I won't let you die!"

"Yuna!"

"Yuna..."

Tears streamed down her face in silent trails of sorrow. She couldn't bear to look up - he'd be there - she knew.

"Why?" she whispered through the tears, "Why did it have to be this way?"

And with that, Yuna lifted her head to face what she feared the most. "Tidu-"

She was cut short, surprise, terror, and confusion all ripping through her body at once! All that was before her eyes was the silhouette of the fields and waterfalls that spread across the Farplane!

"Thi - this cannot be!" Yuna whispered, her tears at a standstill. "I sent him! I sent him like all the others!"

A passion had built up inside of her like a violent volcano, ready to blow. Now, with nothing on her mind except deep rooted pain, Yuna let go, allowing the volcano to come to life.

"Damn you Tidus! Damn you for leaving me! Damn you for being all I ever wanted! Damn you for not telling me before I fell in love with you! Hell... damn you for making me fall in love with you! Now I'm here - broken, hurting - and you're not here for me! You promised you'd always be here for me! You're not even here on the Farplane, which is impossible unless you-" Yuna's words caught in her throat.

She was terrified by the thought that had just crossed her mind. "No... it can't be! I-I-I sent him with - I mean, he had to have been - " At this, Yuna collapsed. Her body met with the cold, brown stone of the alter, everything went black, and she knew no more.

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"Lady Yuna! Please, speak to me!" came Linna's voice through the haze in Yuna's mind. Yuna allowed her eyes to open, and they met with the young woman's.

"Oh, thank goodness you're all right! I was so worried about you," Linna exclaimed as she touched a cool rag to Yuna's forehead.

"Oh, my head... Linna, what did I do to myself?" Yuna questioned grogily. Linna removed the damp cloth.

"I really don't know Lady Yuna. A Guado found you out cold in the middle of the Farplane calling stone," Linna replied. Yuna looked hazily around the room, hoping to catch an object she could focus on. Suddenly, she remembered.

"No! No it can't be! I refuse to believe it!" she shouted as she lept out of bed. Linna sat quietly, giving Yuna time to pace.

"This just can't be. I sent him - I sent him when the others - the Fayth - after our showdown with Sin - " Linna watched as Yuna continued to ramble in spurts. "There is no way! In order for him to disappear and not be on the Farplane, he'd have to be - "

All of a sudden, Yuna stopped in her tracks. Beads of perspiration formed above her troubled brow.

"Linna! I need you to find out what airship is making a run to Guadosalam tonight - right now! Oh, and if it's ship #20117939, contact the Captain and tell her that I told you to tell her that it's an emergency!" Yuna exclaimed. Linna made no objections, but leapt up from her seat and bolted out of the room.

A few moments later, Linna came tumbling back into room 117, huffing and puffing from an obvious run.

"M'Lady - huff, puff - the Passenger Airship #20117939 is on its way - huff, puff, huff. Captain, err, Rikku, is - puff, puff - one her way with a group of your friends." Linna reported. Yuna ran over and delivered a fierce hug to Linna, who was still out of breath.

"Thank you, Linna. I owe you a lot. I"ll do something to make it up to you, I promise," Yuna replied as she packed the few belongings she had brought as fast as she could.

"Oh, don't worry about it Lady Yuna. Just try to work out whatever's got you in a tithy!" Linna said.

"Don't worry," Yuna answered, "I intend to." When Yuna was finished packing, she and Linna ran to the docking bay.

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"How the hell should I know what's going on?!" Rikku shouted back at Wakka, "All I know is what that girl from the inn relayed!" Wakka turned and snorted, obviously miffed.

"The two of you need to take it easy. There's probably nothing wrong, so just cool down," Lulu scolded. It was Rikku's turn to scoff. "I'm just as worried as everyone else here, but loosing our heads is not the way to go about handling a situation like this," Lulu continued. The others seemed to calm down, even Wakka.

"What I'd like to know is why Yuna's in Guadosalam anyway, ya!" Wakka blurted. Lulu and Rikku did their best to keep their eyes from Wakka's gaze, lest their thoughts betray them. But Wakka caught on quick.

"Lu! Please! I have a right to know!" he demanded. At that, Rikku gave up and threw down the barrier.

"She went to go see Tidus, you dope!" she yelled angrily. Lulu shook her head, Rikku went back to navigation, and Wakka stood with an expressionless look on his face.

"Yuna seeks his face, his memories. Without him, she feel lost," came Kimahri's deep voice from a corner of the cockpit. The others turned to face his wisdom.

"You're right Kimahri. Yuna still needs him, wants him. That, Wakka, is why she's in Guadosalam," Lulu replied. Wakka only shifted his gaze to the passing clouds outside the windows of the cockpit.

"He - he was so full of life, ya' know? How could someone be so full of life and just... disappear?" he mused aloud, almost at tears.

"Do not frown," Kimahri said, "If Yuna see you frown, she be worried, not open up to others." Wakka nodded.

"I know... I know."

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Linna handed Yuna her satchel as she and Yuna watched the airship dock.

"Be careful Lady Yuna! It doesn't pay to run yourself into the ground," she commented. Yuna nodded.

"I know Linna, but this is something that has to be worked out - now," Yuna replied.

"It... it may sound completely irrelevant, but I feel I should share it with you," Linna said sheepishly.

"Go ahead," Yuna prompted.

Linna smiled in rememberance. "Well, when I was a little girl, my mamma used to say, 'Linna, always remember that it's never too late to change fate'. That saying has brought me comfort through some of the hardest times in my life. I guess... I guess I hope that it brings you some comfort, too."

Yuna smiled, deeply touched by Linna's openness and caring. "Linna... I promise you, I will make everything up to you. You have really been a true friend, and for that I thank you."

Yuna gave Linna a warm embrace, silently vowing to do something truly wonderful for Linna.

"I'd better get going. The others are waiting," Yuna said as she gathered her things. Linna nodded, a bright smile across her face. Yuna faced the airship, thoughts and emotions racing. Just as Yuna had made it all the way up the loading ramp, Linna called after her,

"Tell Wakka I said hi!"

The End... Or Is It?

Part 1 of "It's Never Too Late..."

Part 2 Coming Soon