breather - (noun) A term used to describe blitzball players who have mastered the ability to safely breathe the sphere pool's fluid atmosphere. Though the chemical composition of the fluid atmosphere (usually just referred to as water) is simply intended to lower the specific density of the playing field, the combination of gases is hyperoxygenated and can be inhaled. The best players tend to be breathers, though the strain on the lungs takes its toll fairly quickly and can drastically shorten a player's career. Not medically advised. Also see HOLDER.
--from Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Modern Sports But Were Afraid You'd Get Your Head Stuck In A Toilet For Asking, Zanarkand Kings Publishing
From the beginning, he had it all planned out. He had learned the trick to it when he was nine, but it took him two years to really get good at it. Mind over body! Tell your lungs to breathe in, accepting no excuse, and they will do so. That's the trick. That's all there is to it.
He'd teach it to his son good and early, before the kid lost faith that his parents were gods. Tidus wouldn't even have to tell himself; Jecht would tell him, and Tidus would trust him. That's the nice thing about really little kids. They love you like that.
So he gathered his three month old son into his arms and brought him to the sphere pool, and he stood outside it and told his son that no matter what, he'd be holding onto him, and no matter what, Tidus would be able to breathe. The baby leaned on Jecht's chest and chewed on his own tiny fingers, but Jecht knew he was listening, even if he didn't know the words yet.
Tidus looked up at him with dark blue eyes, and Jecht smiled and hugged the boy reassuringly. "Just trust me," he said, and walked into the water.
Being carried into a wall of water by a parent is not something a baby's instincts know to question, so Tidus never made a sound of protest. The water swallowed them, but Jecht held on, and that was all that mattered. Had it been real water, the baby still might not have struggled. It's hard to say what babies understand and what they don't understand, and what they'll remember when they grow up. Once Jecht was treading water, Tidus opened his eyes and his mouth and breathed in.
He didn't choke, and he didn't frantically lean toward air again, the way he did when his mom came in the room. He blinked at his watery surroundings and remained content in Jecht's arms, and after a moment his little lungs pushed the fluid back out, along with a few bubbles of residual air. Tidus laughed as they floated up past his face, and looked up at his father and smiled.
Jecht had planned to stay in the water for only a few minutes, but that smile stunned him. This was not mind over matter. This was not the forced respect of a team for its coach. This was....
He folded his arms around Tidus and pulled him close, and he could feel the current of the boy's breath against his shoulder. Amazing. The boy leaned on his chest obediently and closed his eyes again, curling one perfect hand under his chin.
It was only a passing moment, one easily forgotten in the rush of what happened afterward. Jecht had not taken into account that Tidus would also not know how to rid the fluid from his immature lungs. The baby choked badly when they reemerged from the water, and he had to spend a week in the hospital. He put his own baby in the hospital. An endless string of doctors chewed him out for having forced his infant son to breathe the stuff that, from a medical viewpoint, he shouldn't be breathing either, and he heard everything from 'pneumonia' to 'possible future lung cancer', and between every breath taken he heard the accusation, low and angry. It was the only time he could remember that Miral had gotten angry with him; she stayed in the hospital and cried endlessly, because they were afraid Tidus might die. Die. His son, die, at three months. Because....
Bad father. The worst thing he could ever imagine being said to a man. You're a bad father. You're a greedy son of a bitch who wants so badly for his son to play blitzball that he would willingly teach a baby to breathe water. What if he tries to breathe his bathwater? What if he gets too accustomed to the ridiculously high oxygen level and then suffocates in real air? Are you insane? What's wrong with you?
Maybe that's when it started. Did he really give up that early? Possibly. These things happen. Why try? Why even try?
But when it grew cold and dark, and he feared that remembering to breathe might mean drowning all over again, that was the moment he clung to. His son in his arms, utterly trusting, breathing the water with him. If the sea were merciful, there was no other way he'd rather die.
It didn't matter what others said, and what was reality and what was not. Drowning is a very pleasant way to go, or so he'd heard. All that mattered was the trust of a child too young to question and too young to hate, but far too long limbed to hold to his chest anymore, silently following him into a darkness that neither would emerge from again.
If Sin punishes the wicked, then he must surely be the most wicked of all creatures, living, dead, or dreamed.