Fanfiction Fridays: Rebuild by owlmoose

Final Fantasy x2 donaI hate Dona.

Well, that might be a little strong. I heartily dislike Dona. Having played through Final Fantasy X-2 before the original, I always thought she was a little off-putting. Not that I expect every character to get along with the protagonists, but there was just something about her that rubbed me the wrong way. This feeling only continues to grow as I watch the events of Final Fantasy X unfold in more recent times.

Antagonistic characters are my bread and butter, but Dona never really felt like she had a solid reason for all of her bitterness and outright hatred toward Yuna. Sure, there’s the jealousy toward Yuna’s heritage and the bitterness that everything seemed to be handed to Yuna on a silver platter, but these are all inferred. The game more or less makes Dona the token bitch of the game only for the sake of conflict; a conflict that didn’t really need to exist, narratively speaking. Dona never really prods Yuna to do anything—the conflict is one-sided and directed toward Dona, and since we don’t get to see Dona’s character growth it’s all pretty much pointless.

I don’t typically go looking for fanfic of characters I dislike: I went out looking this week for a family fic about Rikku and Yuna, to be completely honest. But lo and behold, fate had me stumble upon owlmoose’s Rebuild. I’m pleased to say that this fic fills in a lot of holes that the games left.

Rebuild follows Dona and her guardian/lover Barthello—but mostly Dona—as they experience Spira after Sin is defeated for the last time. More importantly, it tackles both of their underlying beliefs and what values place them on opposing sides during the events of X-2. It’s as simple as that, but character studies don’t need to be complicated to be important or to make an impact. And as much as I love Dona and Barthello’s interactions, I adore the way owlmoose wrote the conversations between the summoner and leader of the Youth League (a group that rose from the ashes of the Crusaders), Meyvn Nooj.

Dona nodded. “She said you’d been hoping I would come back to Kilika. May I ask why?”

Nooj sat back down. “For your support, of course. The support of a former summoner would be of great help to our cause. Yours, especially.”

“And why is that?”

He tipped his head to the side. “Surely you saw that you are still respected here.”

“I also saw that the rebuilding effort progresses faster than I had heard.” Dona took the chair at the other end of the table. “Your influence?”

“The influence of the Youth League,” Nooj said. “New Yevon wasn’t devoting the necessary resources to rebuilding, so we stepped in. Former Crusaders and others from throughout Spira, dedicated to making Kilika Port stronger and better than ever before. What better symbol of Spira’s rebirth? Certainly better than New Yevon’s dedication to repairing the temples.”

“You’ll get no argument from me there.” Behind her, Dona heard Barthello shift from foot to foot, but she ignored him. “But I’m still not sure what you need me for. I’m not a construction expert. Or, to be frank, particularly motivational. If you want the pretty speeches about unity and friendship, call Yuna. Not me. We’re leaving.”

She started to stand up, but Nooj lifted his chin to look her straight in the eye. “What makes you think I’m interested in figureheads or pretty speeches? I’m more impressed by people who speak through their actions. And I think you are, too.”

Dona paused, half standing, then sat back down. “You don’t know me.”

“Only by reputation.” His half smile returned, then vanished.

Final Fantasy dona barthelloowlmoose manages to keep Dona’s personality intact and not allow it to reach the unwarranted antagonism that the game employed. Dona’s bitter and angry, but we know why. We can sympathize with her and understand her true motives. We can feel her loneliness in a world that, she feels, has forgotten her because she wasn’t Yuna, and where she has been abandoned by even her summon spirits. For fans of the Final Fantasy X storyline, I’d highly recommend giving this short fic a read. At a nice 3.5k, Rebuild won’t take up much of your day, but a lot of insight is crammed into those words.