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91
Chapter 1
Tentative Title: Of Chasing Daylight
part two of three
---

(A/N): No real major changes in content. I simply extended/fleshed out certain parts of dialogue, Lulu's in particular. However, I did face some frustration with the redundancy of 'two years' sprinkled throughout the text, so I plan to smoothen that out once I'm ready to finalize the revisions.

*

On the road, each member of the Aurochs approached Tidus to talk with him in turns. They helped him catch up with all the events during his absence; it almost felt like he had never felt. Datto and Keep told him about their team’s progress, as well as their new exercise regiment, and it made him quite proud. New players moved to live on the island in order to join the team -- news which touched his heart. The tournament in which Tidus debuted in Spira two years ago served as the triggering factor to their spike in popularity.

They all walked for about half an hour before arriving at the village, and Lulu greeted Tidus by her tent. “Tonight there will be a banquet directed by the elders,” she said. “It’s to celebrate Yuna’s long-awaited return home, and for returning the three leaders who went missing. This is the best opportunity to show yourself in your best light. Help with the preparations. Make a good impression. But before all that, you can rest there if you like. I know you must be tired trying to absorb everything that happened since you left.”

She pointed to the highest tend in the village, and Tidus recognized it as the Crusader’s lodgings.

“What do they do these days? The Crusaders, I mean.”

“These days? Whatever they want.” Lulu shrugs, crossing her arms. “Yuna’s room is inside the temple, in the same place as always.”

“Oh ho!” Wakka walked by, carrying an armful of wood that would be used for the bonfire.

At the man’s mischievous remark, Tidus felt his cheeks burn hot.

“Honestly.” Lulu sighed, annoyed. “I know what you two are up to. It goes without saying that I forbid you to go there. At least, not yet. Your behavior must not lead to confusion, so it’s be better to wait until Yuna presents you to the elders. Also, keep in mind your attitude will determine the villagers’ opinion of you. And since the temple has become useless, Yuna’s expected to support an idle clergy. You may have heard that Yuna became a sphere hunter for a time. Well, she may have been able to do whatever she wanted before, but only because she left the village without telling them. She knew that if she did, they would never have approved. Now that she has returned, she isn’t free to act on her own anymore. Don’t forget that.”

Lulu ended her long-winded tirade with a shrug, adjusting Vidina in her arms.

Bothered by this, Tidus frowned. “Isn’t she happy?”

“I don’t know. Only Yuna can tell you.”

“From what you’re telling me, that doesn’t sound like her at all.”

She nodded, casting her solemn gaze to the side, as if reflecting on her thoughts. “From what I have seen, Yuna’s feelings about everything are torn and insecure. She feels responsible for the situation, and the village stifles her with their expectations. That is why she flew all over the world with Rikku and her group, the Gullwings, to get away from it all. She wanted to live her own life, if even for a little while.”

“What do they do? The ‘Gullwings’?”

“That’s also something you’ll have to ask her yourself. But in the meantime, please do not do or say anything that can complicate her position.”

Although Tidus didn't understand, he nodded. He didn’t have to understand anything; as long as he cared about her, he would do anything to support her. “Got it.”

Lulu ducked through the flap of her tent, leaving Tidus with nothing to do except join the Aurochs at the village central area. Yuna stood in front of the temple within earshot, yet Tidus could not call out to her. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk to her, and they gave her no choice to refuse. She could always come up with an excuse to leave, she had the authority and the right to, but of course she would never do that. Kindness happened to be one of Yuna’s main strengths; as of this moment, though, it only served to annoy him.

“I’m sure she wants to talk to you, too, ya?” Wakka said, reassuring him. Perceiving the sullen, petulant look, he made an effort to negotiate for a moment of Yuna’s time, yet came back empty-handed. “They sure are keeping a sharp eye on you!”

“Why?” Tidus scowled, feeling impatient. He wondered if they were the same, old stingy ladies who told him to ‘stay away from the summoner!’ two years back. “Did they forget I was Yuna’s Guardian? I stuck by her all the way, even when they stopped her from entering Besaid, calling her a traitor and all that stuff. I deserve recognition and some respect like the rest of you, so how come I don’t see em give me either?”

“Ha! If you say so,” someone said in a sing-song voice. Rikku skipped into view, and then stopped before him to sway on her feet, giving him a roguish grin.

Tidus almost didn’t recognize the Al Bhed girl for her tanner skin and… bolder choice in clothing, or lack thereof. For some reason he could not displace, she seemed more put together in his memories.

“Hi, Tidus! It’s been a long time, huh?”

He would agree, if only he knew how long it had been. Since when did the fifteen-year-old tomboy go around flaunting her bare skin and newly developed curves?

Rikku turned in the direction from which she came, calling for someone to come over. A young woman Tidus never met before stopped beside her, sporting short, smooth hair, a stern face, and wore skin tight leather black clothes that only exposed her shoulders. The contrast between her and bright, sunny, loud Rikku startled him.

“This is Paine! A friend; she worked with us as a sphere hunter.”

“Yuna told me about you,” Paine said. “Well, more like harping, actually. But…” She paused to examine him, which unnerved him.

“Two years have passed,” Rikku said, sounding distant all of a sudden, “and yet…” Stepping closer to invade his personal space, she scrutinized him as well, her nose almost brushing his collarbone.

Tidus resisted the urge to lean back, perturbed by their morbid fascination. This bikini-toting, space-invading Al Bhed wasn’t the Rikku he knew.

Two years? He felt his stomach turn to lead. Throughout his multiple conversations with old friends, he assumed his absence had lasted a good several months, maybe a year at most. But two whole years…

“You’re the same as always!”

Rikku’s chipper declaration snapped him out of his miserable musings. He did not know whether he wanted to laugh or cry, but all the same chose to give them a smile. “Easy for you to say! Look at you!”

She made a noise of discontent, twisting away from him to fold her sleeved arms over her chest, displeased by his observation.

This motion caused him to catch sight of Yuna behind her. “You changed, too,” he said, worried. If her taste in clothing had changed, what else did? It made him wonder what else he missed about her, and whether or not he would like this bold, new side of her.

“Hellooo! I’m right here!” Rikku pouted, anchoring his attention back on her. “Man, you are different.”

“But you just said the opposite.” Tidus frowned, annoyed.

“Before, I was talking about your looks. Now I’m talking about you -- as in, the way you’re acting right now. I mean, back then you were a bit spacey, but at least you were a nice guy.”

Although offended at first, he took her remark in stride, hoping she meant it in a playful, mean way. “Geez, thanks for the compliment!”

They burst out laughing, confusing the quieter woman with their antics, and then Rikku began to narrate the events of the last two years. She told him about “The Movement for the Truth,” a popular new fad initiated by a political group that inspired people to follow, becoming sphere hunters without associations, thus eventually leading to the Gullwings… At first, Tidus flooded her with questions for each new name introduced, but now he grew annoyed by the constant flow of unknown people.

“You sound like you had a lot of fun.”

“What, are you jealous?” Rikku smirked, but then dropped the humor at the upset look on his face.

“That’s because I don’t have anything to talk about on my end. It’s frustrating. I’ve been gone for two whole years, and not a single new thing… What was I doing this entire time?”

“A break,” Paine said.

Her crooked grin made it seem like a joke, but maybe that’s just her unique way of cheering him up. In any case, Tidus knew this much: he wouldn’t learn anything if he stood around stuck in the same spot.

“I’m glad you girls had some fun,” he said, smiling. “If you had spent your days crying over me, I’d have felt guilty.”

Despite his light-hearted tone, Rikku frowned. “I didn’t cry! I was more angry than anything else. I wanted to understand why you had to disappear then, I needed to know what happened to you and why. We went all over Spira, visiting places, but after awhile I gave up, and then…” She drifted off into thought.

Tidus quirked an eyebrow. “And?”

“Yuna looked like she was really enjoying herself with us. But if you ask me, she never slacked off, even for a second. She happily jumped from one place to the next, hunting rare spheres, hosting concerts, but ultimately, her only goal… was you. She wanted to find you again. Or forget you. I don’t know.” She added as an afterthought, pinching her peaceful expression into a frown.

It disheartened him to hear that Rikku would think her cousin wanted to move from him. But then again, he couldn’t blame her. Two years… Just the repeating echo of those simple words were killing him.

“Me?”

“Yeah. She left the village when I showed her this sphere of you.”

“What? I was in a sphere?”

“Well, it wasn’t exactly you. This guy, Shuyin, and the woman he loved, Lenne, they had lived in Zanarkand a thousand years ago. Lenne was this famous singer, and a Summoner, too, just like Yunie. I can’t really begin to explain the horrors they experienced together, but all you need to know is Shuyin’s practically a spitting image of you. Yuna even wondered whether or not it was really you, but she believed it could be her biggest clue to find you again. But after all that, we found ourselves standing in front of an ancient war machine from Bevelle!”

Rikku’s tall tale overwhelmed him, and he breathed. “Are you serious?” Such a crazy story, but then again, the world of Spira often defied common sense (or at least the common sense he grew up with), such as the true nature behind Dream Zanarkand, so he decided to stay quiet.

“I know! It was unbelievable!” Rikku rolled her eyes, bouncing on her heels with barely contained energy, her arms swaying at her sides. “But I’ve seen it with my own eyes, so I can’t deny it. If I stopped to think about the grand scope of things, I would probably be dead! I didn’t have time to think or try to understand. I had to fight, or else Spira would have been toast!”

In order to further illustrate her point, she playfully wrapped her hands around his neck and stuck her tongue out.

Tidus laughed, breaking the solemn air with amusement.

“The machine was called Vegnagun,” Paine said, bringing the two dorks back into orbit.

Tidus raised an eyebrow; he never heard someone call a machina a machine.

“It was enormous, and would have definitely massacred everyone if Lenne hadn’t of stopped Shuyin. Oh, and Lenne was hiding out in Yuna’s songstress Dressphere. For some reason, she chose to communicate through Yuna. Anyway, Shuyin ended up activating Vegnagun once more, and we had to deal with it.” Paine narrowed her eyes on him, making him uncomfortable.

“W-What are you looking at?”

“You.” She relaxed, crossing her arms. “According to Yuna, the Fayth promised to bring you back in exchange for saving Spira again.”

“So, I’m here thanks to him?”

“No!” Rikku said. “Yuna went out of her way to find you, not him!”

At her loud exclamation, all other conversations broke off so that everyone turned towards their small group. The elders surrounding their beloved Summoner frowned at him, and Tidus felt the heavy pressure of their judging eyes. Why, when Rikku had been the one who made that outburst? Through the throng of people, his eyes met Yuna’s. She smiled, mouthing the words ‘sorry’ and ‘later,’ and he smiled in return. For some mild revenge, he decided to demonstrate his disappointment at her show of restraint by acting casual, shrugging. Perhaps she failed to understand his mirth, because she once again mouthed ‘later,’ enunciating the syllables more slow. One of the women who noticed their exchange frowned, looking between them and reprimanding Yuna who simply apologized, before returning to their conversation.

‘Later’ appeared to never come, though, because the elders spoke to her for a long time until a matron declared that Yuna needed to change from her scant attire and proceeded to cart her away into the temple. Tidus preoccupied himself in the meantime, joining in the preparations for the banquet by Lulu’s suggestion. Since the entire village largely contributed in the efforts, Tidus soon found himself with nothing to do, wandering back to Rikku and Paine with a sheepish grin.

Understanding the poor boy’s plight for company, they told him about what happened during his long absence, starting with Kimahri and how the Ronso Elder found that fateful sphere, alluding to New Yevon, the Youth League, and the Machine Faction. Tidus didn’t bother trying to keep up with these new onslaught of names, regardless of how important they might be. The more they embellished the events of Yuna’s concert, first the imposter’s and then her own, the more they were irritating him. How could they make light of such a life-threatening adventure? Maybe he had to be there to understand…

“What’s the matter?" Rikku asked him. “Are you in a bad mood?”

“Wha? Of course not…”

“Yeah, right! You’re lying -- I could tell from the look on your face.” She looked downright upset, pointing her finger at him. “I mean, I did my best to tell you everything, and you… If that’s how you’re going to be, then fine. I’m going to the airship!”

Paine and Tidus watched her stomp off towards the entrance, exiting the village while leaving them in awkward silence, and they exchanged weary looks.

“Don’t take it personally,” Paine said, trying to alleviate his guilt. “I’m sure she only said it out of anger. It’s not just Yuna; Rikku hasn’t see you in so long, she probably got overexcited.”

Tidus gave her a small smile; he appreciated her efforts in cheering him up, even though they haven’t known each other for very long. Paine told him to let Yuna know that the Gullwings were going to leave and that they would come back in a few days. Tidus thought to ask why they didn’t want to stay, but instead chose to mumble some words as his way of answer.

There’s nothing worse than being alone in the middle of a crowd with too many things to do. Not wanting to feel stranded, he sought refuge in the Crusade’s tent -- or should he call it the Auroch’s lodge? -- and collapsed into a vacant bed. Questions and thoughts filled his mind as the day wore on. ‘Soon.” Tidus thought. He closed his eyes and allowed his mind to drift, imagining Yuna’s face the moment they met again.
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FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by UltimaGriever on August 26, 2015, 02:20:48 pm »
That much I got alright, what I didn't get was why he was so keen for Yuna to beckon Tidus, even going to the extreme of killing him so it would be possible for her to do it. It just... doesn't fit. :/ It's pretty much like the reason for summoning the island at all.

I think Johit is a really sad man. He said that he wished he had died much earlier (perhaps during that battle?), that he regrets being so vain in his youth (he really looks like Bickson in my mind, that jerk from the Luca Goers) and his unrequited love for Kush. Maybe he had no other purpose than to summon, after his expulsion from Besaid when the Church built the temple there... pretty much like Yu Yevon, the very man he had fought against during the war. At the same time as he felt jealous of Kush and Valm/Bria, he'd erase the latter's memories about the former maybe in an effort to protect his existence, since that was what Kush would have wanted: to set Bria free from her and the war. He had a whole future ahead of him and only death awaited her. She chose to get out of the picture so he would leave, but that didn't work out and the "mechanical" Bedohl killed him.

Speaking of mechanical Bedohls, are they really a thing? Because the ones we saw in the story were actually true, human, only that Alb might have done some magic or brainwashing in them so they'd act "robotic". In my mind, they look like this, which is actually an Al Bhed kid. It's said that Alb had never managed to create artificial Bedohls. This should mean that the "mechanical" Bedohl we see is either a summoned one or an unsent that has been brainwashed.

As for the Aeon Cores, Ifahnal brought up a topic that's worth attention. The limitation imposed by Yevon on the post-war summoners have severely diminished their potential power. The knowledge of creating fayth has been concentrated into Yunalesca's hand and any other methods may have been forbidden by the teachings. If, say, Ifahnal had passed down his knowledge, he'd surely be executed and sent, and that was the last thing he wanted. The utility of summoners had been reduced to "defeating" Sin (that's what people wanted to believe in) and perpetuating the cycle whilst injecting false hope in people. Forcing summoners to use whatever fayth available to them and deny them the knowledge of creating their own aeons severely diminished their power. The Aeon Core was akin to the Final Aeon Yunalesca created - it was an impressive creature born from a fayth who shared a close bond with its summoner. Imagine if anyone could harness such power - the Church would be powerless. It could be said that the Yevon era was, indeed, a Dark Age.
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FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by ChercheurObscur on August 26, 2015, 01:21:40 pm »
Okay, now let's talk about Tidus' death.

Tidus was killed by a bomb which looked like a blitzball. This ball hurt the back of his neck and then fell on the ground. Now, let me tell you what happened before that. It's simple : the mecanical Bedohl living on the island put down a ball on the ground somewhere around them and kick it so that it hurt Tidus. And Johit ordered it to do that. How can I be so sure ? Well, let's take a look at the end of the novel... when Bria appeared on Ifahnal's ship. At that time, the mecanical Bedohl appeared from the hold of the ship... holding a ball. Remember what Johit told it at that moment ? "Now, kill the Guard!" I think you can understand everything now.

Now let's return to the beginning of this little story between Ifahnal and Yuna/Tidus. I'll get straight to the point.

When Tidus and Yuna were on their ship, this one suddenly exploded. The reason behind that is Ifahnal. He summoned bombs/balls to blow it to smithereens. How can I be sure ? Well, if you remember, Tidus smelt gunpowder at that time... as Valm did in the past before fainting because of the bomb (take a look at the third chapter). Then, Ifahnal let them in the middle of the sea, surrounded by monsters. In fact, he was testing them at that time. He was testing their love, their will, or anything related. He wanted to know if Yuna could revive Tidus thanks to her will, and to do it, their relation had to be strong. And finally, when he was convinced, he took them to his island.

On the island, he probably had to wait for them to come close to the base so that the mecanical Bedohl take them inside and take care of them. Ifahnal did that so that Tidus and Yuna think that the mecanical Bedohl is definitely an ally. He had to prevent them from suspecting the Bedohl. Yes, Ifahnal is a scheming man. And he helped Yuna to revive Tidus so that they think he's an ally too.

You know what happens next.

But I don't think he's a bad person. It's just that he wanted to end Kush's and Valm's story. A thousand years as an unsent is quite special, you know.
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FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by ChercheurObscur on August 25, 2015, 05:42:53 pm »
I thought there would be more to the story than this. I didn't get so many things. :( Like why Ifahnal summoned the island. Was it because of Kush, and how it reminded him of her? I mean, it was a war site, so many people fought and died there, why would he want to revive such a moment? And I have to re-read it to deduce why he killed Tidus.. :( Oh god. I feel so blind.

I think you're right about Ifahnal and the existence of the island. I can't see anything else.

About Tidus, I'll tell you everything tomorrow, since my article, on a french website, dealing with that point, will be released tomorrow. So don't worry ! :)
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FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by UltimaGriever on August 25, 2015, 06:59:46 am »
I don't think it's impossible for Bria to have kids... since he's pretty much like an unsent. They are as tangible as the living, only with a more fragile state of existence that can change as soon as they find out about their condition. That is what makes them different from the unsent: the latter are aware of being unsent, while the former don't even know that they're already dead.

I've always had that feeling that Bria/Valm was not so into Kush... I don't know why, maybe because of the moment he died, he felt like she was getting on his nerves, never considered how she felt about him, that it was only about him and his becoming of an Aeon Core without thinking of the consequences. Kush never wanted that for him, for him to live an eternity between life and death.

I thought there would be more to the story than this. I didn't get so many things. :( Like why Ifahnal summoned the island. Was it because of Kush, and how it reminded him of her? I mean, it was a war site, so many people fought and died there, why would he want to revive such a moment? And I have to re-read it to deduce why he killed Tidus.. :( Oh god. I feel so blind.
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FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by Danko Kaji on August 24, 2015, 06:26:40 pm »
In this case, I have a lot of bull to sort through in the Restoration. Believe in yourself, me. XD

Joking aside, I just want to prepare myself for the FFX-3, if not for the FFX-3 fic I plan to write someday. I was able to stomach a lot of things so far; except for that damn 'dead incarnate spirits can conceive with a living person.' I'm like, are you for realz, guys? Yuna's tsundere, OOC behavior's one thing; I can patch that up somehow, tone it down, something. Tidus being a poor hate child woobie, yeah, that's nothing new. But Bria having a kid? Uhhh, I think Nojima's retconning the crap out of pyrefly physics. We need Maechen up in here!

Oh my god, good stories can only stay good and consistent when you have a team of people, not a single artist or writer doing all the work. Because this is what we get when Nojima's green-lighted to write a novel for a possible, future game. :P Too much unjustified artistic licensing crossing into personal territory.

Er, sorry, I'm ranting at this point. It's just... as a fellow writer, what Nojima did was blasphemous to me.
97
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by kk on August 24, 2015, 04:09:51 pm »
I agree: the ending was very abrupt. It just jumped around from place to place. It's like he was on a word count limit and had to shove all of the resolution into one chapter.

And it does seem like he's trying to imply that Yuna and Tidus were just puppy love and that, with these new challenges they're facing (his summoned state-- not to mention Yuna's apparent total 180 on her opinion of him), they're doomed.

Which, I mean... okay... if that's what he wants to believe, then fine. There's certainly something to be said about love, especially young love, fading.

But aside from the fact that's such a weird thing to write about in a follow up to a decade old series that is renowned partially because of the iconic relationship between those two characters... he had to not only ignore canon, but alter it to get that point across. Like, why are you so obsessed with bringing your cynical vision to life that you ignore stated facts from your own game? o_o This has been a truly bizarre read, surely you jest.

I'm trying to enjoy it or to take something positive from it, but it's... difficult. xD

Oh, well. Nojima can keep to his fanfics, and I will keep to mine. :p
98
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by CrystalOfLies on August 24, 2015, 02:30:24 pm »
Whelp. That ending.  ???

I think what frustrated me the most was the utter lack of setting detail? Like Tidus jumping from one place to the next, the whole 'the elder ladies wanted to hide the accidental incident' for no apparent good reason? What's the point of ambiguously painting Bria as a villain? So he had the chance to relive his life anew, fall in love again, have a family, which defies the logic of him as an incarnate (dead) spirit? So does imagination serve as the fuel to pyrefly magic? Confusion everywhere.

I feel like when Bria called his relationship with Kush 'a puppy love, a thing of the past,' it seriously foreshadowed Tidus and Yuna's love.

I just think Nojima really hates the Tuna romance, because it does not fit with his original vision.

That's what I'm getting from this mess of a novel.

Not to mention, as kk said, how Yuna didn't seem to give a **** about reuniting with Tidus when it was possible that he might not have ever seen her again, and only a few days after their reunion. It seemed she was more annoyed that they were now stuck together rather than, you know, being glad? Relieved, even? Wasn't the reason X-2 even happened was because of Yuna's desire to find Tidus? Why is she suddenly being so tsundere? There's a difference between playful teasing and just being cold.  :-\

It's sad because this ending, coupled with Will's events, just gives me the impression that Tidus was just being led on and in denial of their failing relationship all this time. Which is why he seemed uncharacteristically depressed and soft-spoken in Will. You know what, maybe Obscur's 'corruption' theory is right, only Yuna's feelings were 'sealed away' by Ifarnal and then corrupted/influenced by Bria and Kush' underwhelming reunion.

Really, what this seems like to me was Nojima was looking at Yoko Taro's work and then going, 'If he can make his stories as edgy as he wants, then so can I!" :P
99
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by Danko Kaji on August 24, 2015, 02:10:59 pm »
Whelp. That ending.  ???

I think what frustrated me the most was the utter lack of setting detail? Like Tidus jumping from one place to the next, the whole 'the elder ladies wanted to hide the accidental incident' for no apparent good reason? What's the point of ambiguously painting Bria as a villain? So he had the chance to relive his life anew, fall in love again, have a family, which defies the logic of him as an incarnate (dead) spirit? So does imagination serve as the fuel to pyrefly magic? Confusion everywhere.

I feel like when Bria called his relationship with Kush 'a puppy love, a thing of the past,' it seriously foreshadowed Tidus and Yuna's love.

I just think Nojima really hates the Tuna romance, because it does not fit with his original vision.

That's what I'm getting from this mess of a novel.
100
FFX-3 Speculation and Developments / Re: Final Fantasy X-2.5 : The Truth
« Last post by CrystalOfLies on August 23, 2015, 02:56:43 pm »

Maybe this book takes place in some kind of 'alternate reality'. Like you know how there's two Besaid's in the book? Maybe there's actually more. three, at least.
The canon one, where things actually took place in the game... Johit's summoned one... and then wherever this book took place.
that's the only way I can make sense of this, haha.


I'm down with that idea. Let's just think that the gritty, realistic X-2.5 and Will is a branching alternate dimension to X-2, while all of the giddy and happy-go-lucky stuff is in another branching alternate dimension to X-2! That way all of the fans can be happy. Because if Nojima can insert alternate dimensions into the 'canon' then so can we! :P
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