A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

BY : tuatha
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 1094
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X, nor any of the characters from it. I do not make any money from the writing of this story.

A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

Part Eleven


We were all familiar with the routine now. Lulu set out some food when the
sun dipped in the sky, and I gathered the meat we'd stripped from the worm.
It had darkened in the sun, becoming slightly elastic as it dried so I took
it inside. "I have a treat for us."

I waited until everyone had tried it before I told them what it was. Tidus
pulled the strip he'd been chewing on from his mouth and looked at it as
though it had tried to bite him instead of the other way around.

"You're kidding!" Wakka said. I smirked at him in reply.

"Are you sure it's safe?" Tidus asked.

"Of course. I've never heard of one coming back to life in someone's stomach
before."

"Well, it tastes okay." Wakka decided, and continued eating. When we were
done we packed up and began our third trek across the sand. I waited and
hoped, and was eventually rewarded when Auron fell into step beside me, as
he had done on the previous nights.

I reached out and clasped his hand, and after a momentary surprise his
fingers tightened around mine. I dared no more, and he said nothing, letting
our handhold be a secret known only to the night air and ourselves. He held
my hand for a long time before his fingers slipped away from mine.

It was nearly dawn when I used the night binoculars again. I thought that we
would make it to home no more than an hour or two past dawn. When I told the
others this they all readily agreed that we should continue rather than
waiting out another day. We paused briefly to drink some water and share
around a few handfuls of food, then we continued.

The sun warmed the horizon, a dull red glow that brightened as it flowed
across the sands like a molten river of light.
There was a haze across the sky, and it took me a few moments to realise it
was smoke. That was when I knew there was something dreadfully wrong. Home
was burning.

I began to run, heading toward the black dots circling the sky. The others
called out but I was unheeding, and they followed after me. When I crested
the last great dune before the valley in which our home had rested I saw it.
Flames and smoke rose from its walls, and a great clamour of shouts and
cries overlaid by explosions and machina fire.

"No!" I cried out, but my denial meant nothing. The others caught up to
me where I'd fallen to my knees, and we ran into a nightmare.

When I found Keyakku dying outside the great doors I fell again, cradling
him in my arms. "Who did this to you?"

His last stuttering breath named the perpetrators, then Father was there. He
gathered my brother in his arms and told us to help him fight against the
Guado invaders, for despite my initial thought that the Yevonites had come
it was Seymour's army that had wrought this destruction on my people.

"Where's Yuna?" Tidus shouted.

"This way, follow me." I led them to the sanctum, deep below the sands,
fighting the fiends that the guado had unleashed on the way. Before we
reached the sanctum Tidus asked a question that I think we all had dreaded
answering. He asked why the Al Bhed had kidnapped the summoners to protect
them, when that was the role of the guardians. The others walked away, even
Kimahri. I would have been unable to answer either, but I had lost
everything that mattered to me, and the truth escapes easily when a person
is beyond caring. That is my only excuse for what I did next. I tore Tidus'
heart from his chest when I told him.

"When Yuna summons the final aeon it will kill her. Yunie is gonna die!"

He railed at us for keeping him ignorant. I told him it was too painful to
put into words. The words made it real and immediate, and we wanted to leave
it unsaid, somewhere in the future where it couldn't hurt us until we
reached it.

Then my father's voice boomed over the sound system. He told me that we were
abandoning home, that as gas going to destroy it. I led the others to the
sanctum but when we reached it Yuna was gone, taken by the guado.

The other summoners performed a hurried sending for the Al Bhed who had died
defending them, then we led them to the escape tunnel, and we entered the
flying ship.

I watched with tears in my eyes as Cid gave the order, then the missiles
flew like deadly darts into the walls. A giant cloud of sand and fire
erupted, erasing it from existence. Wakka made one of the stupidest comments
I'd ever heard from him, but I didn't have the heart to feel it. I
protested, but I was beginning to feel numb. Cid challenged Tidus, who vowed
he would find a way to save Yuna from the final aeon. I pulled myself
together a little. If Tidus could enter this world and take everything that
Spira threw at him in so short a time, and still be positive then surely I
could do the same. Cid promised that the machina could search for Yuna, all
it would take was time.

I would have stayed in the control room, but Lulu told me to get some rest.
Father noticed me then too. "Rikku, oiu'na y fnalg. Ku cmaab, fa'mm dymg
mydan. Dyga dra caluht cdydanuus, ed'c dra caluht mycd nuus, yvd."

I did as he said, without thought. I was so tired that when I saw Sir Auron
leaning against the wall outside the control room I barely paused.
"Goodnight, Sir Auron."

When I'd passed him I turned around. "Would you come wake me, if anything
happens?"

"Yes." He promised, and I smiled without humour. When I reached the room my
father had directed me to I fell into a deep sleep without dreams. I emerged
from the darkness, crying in my sleep, only to find the nightmare was real.
A dark shape in my cabin moved, then reached me where I twisted in the
sheets. Auron. I reached for him, and he enfolded me in his embrace, rocking
me while I gasped for breath.

"Shhh...shhhh..." he told me, and eventually I calmed again.

"Don't leave me." I begged.

"I won't. You have my word."

When I lay down again he was with me, holding me against his chest. "I would
rather have been banished for a thousand lifetimes. At least I would have
known my home was still there." I told him. Thinking about it started the
tears again, and he held me while I cried.

"I know. You wonder why go on, when you have lost everything that matters to
you. There doesn't seem to be a reason, and sometimes...you think you might
just fall down and never move again, but you have to keep trying."

"Why? What good does it do?"

"You don't know, but you go on anyway. And maybe you'll find something at
the end."

I sniffled, my emotions lessening as I listened to his words. "Is that what
happened to you?"

"I thought so. For a little while."

His words struck me like a blow to the chest. "But..."

"I don't blame you for turning away."

"But you regretted it, that day. And it was my fault."

"What was?" He sounded confused.

"In the temple. If we'd...if we hadn't, I knew you would regret being with
me, if something happened...to Yuna, because I distracted you..."

"You blame yourself for that?" He moved to look into my face. "Rikku, if I
was there it was my choice. Nothing happened to Yuna, but if it had, do you
think I would blame anyone but myself?"

"But I don't want you to."

"Oh Rikku." He drew me closer again, his hand stroking my hair. "We try to
protect each other from ourselves and fail anyway.

"I knew it was best for you to forget about me, and still I couldn't help
myself. Didn't you notice that I couldn't stay away from you? I even bared
myself to you so you would show me pity. I hated myself for it, but still
craved your touch."

"Oh." I was half crying, half laughing in relief that he had spoken so
plainly of his feelings. "All I wanted to do was touch you, but I was
afraid..."

"Don't be." He whispered. I was overly emotional, my head aching from my
tears and still grieving the loss of my Home, but I clung to him, hopeful
that he would provide a reason to go on when there was nothing else left.
"Sleep now, don't be afraid."

I turned and curled o sid side and he moved behind me, fitting his body to
mine so I was enveloped in his warmth, his arms cradling me, his breath
against my shoulder.

End of Part Eleven

Al Bhed primer and translation guide:

you're a wreck = oiu'na y fnacc
Go sleep, we'll talk later = Ku cmaab, fa'mm dymg mydan
Take the second stateroom, it's the second last room, aft. = Dyga dra caluht
cdydanuus, ed'c dra caluht mycd nuus, yvd.


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