A Secret Journey (Rikku's Story)

BY : tuatha
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 1082
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 Eighteen


Tidus was up first, stretching when he emerged, his arms reaching for the
sky. He came over and hugged me good morning.

"What surprises do you have in store for breakfast, kiddo?" he asked.

I smiled. "No surprises, I promise. Lnys and day." I pointed. "Help
yourself. We'll need to find something else edible before lunchtime I
guess."

I was busy, turning the bread and tending the fire while everyone else rose.
Auron was silent, responding with a nod to everyone's morning greetings but
when Wakka appeared and joined the rest of us he winked at me. After
breakfast everyone helped pitch camp except for Auron who had taken his
blade out, concentrating fiercely on his movements and on the blade that
slashed and swirled with precision in his hands.

All was ready, and Auron ceased his practice. He bowed to Lady Yuna and
begged her pardon. She nodded, uncertainly, not knowing yet what he begged
her leave for, other than the delay. Then he turned to Wakka.

"As guardians we are all sworn to protect Lady Yuna on her pilgrimage. I ask
you now if you have any issith ith the way that any one of us has fulfilled
our duty?"

His sword remained dangerously unsheathed, and he looked significantly from
face to face, finally looking at me. Then his gaze returned searchingly to
Wakka. Lulu's indrawn breath was clearly audible. Everyone stiffened, aware
of the tension that flowed from Auron. I'm sure no one was sure what he
intended. I think we all felt a sudden fear that if Wakka named someone
Auron might suddenly strike a blow against them.

Wakka his his hands up appeasingly. "No...nothing like that."

Auron's gaze fixed on him like an eagle's. "You are not concerned at Rikku's
Al Bhed heritage?"

Wakka looked at me. "Nah! She's proven herself a true guardian many times."

Auron nodded. "And you do not have an issue that I am too old to perform my
duty to protect Lady Yuna?"

To say anything but no was to ignore the perilous sword that was held in
perfect balance in Auron's capable hands.

W bow bowed, making the sign of Yevon with considerable respect. "No, Sir
Auron."

Auron relaxed slightly and turned to Yuna. "Lady Summoner. During your
absence from our party I swore life-bonding to your cousin in her father's
presence. No one who was present objected at the appropriate time during the
ceremony that our bond was unlawful..." here he looked at Wakka, "and I beg
your leave to fulfil my vow to honour my wife. It will not interfere with
our pilgrimage or with my sworn duty as a summoner."

He bowed, and Yuna, despite looking flustered bowed in return. "I
understand." She looked at me, then at the rest of the party who other than
Lulu and Kimahri wore surprised expressions. Then she pulled herself
together. "Congratulations, Sir Auron. Cousin." She came to me and kissed me
formally on the cheek.

Wakka looked uncertain. It was obvious that his words last night had been
overheard and he regretted them. He gave Auron a pleading look. "I
apologise, Sir Auron. I meant no disrespect."

Auron did not reply with anything other than a short nod. I think he was
satisfied that the situation had been resolved satisfactorily. I was more
than glad that it had not been more difficult, since my worst imaginings had
included bloodshed, although I was slightly mortified at the way our secret
had been revealed to all.

Our party was susceptible to ambush from fiends that lurked in pockets of
tall grasses or in the shallow dips from which a predator could stalk its
prey so we settled on an arrow shaped formation, Kimahri in the lead, with
Yuna following, and myself and Lulu directly behind her, while Tidus and
Wakka flanked us on either side with Auron taking position behind all.

Even if it hadn't been unwise for us to make too much noise, Auron's
watchful presence at the rear would have prevented any unseemly behaviour
after this morning. Lulu did speak quietly to me though, her voice barely a
murmur. "I'm sorry, Rikku." I looked at her, well aware that she had tried
to argue Wakka out of his hot-headed position. I nodded, and her hand
touched my wrist in a friendly clasp. She had known of my bond with Auron,
but had respected our wish for secrecy.

I thought that if Wakka had known about our hand-fasting he probably
wouldn't have said what he had, so in a way it was our fault for wanting to
be discreet. It was too late now to undo, and I hoped that there would be no
lingering ill-feeling because of it.

Lunch-time came and passed but we kept moving, as the grasses grew as tall
as a man in height, obscuring everything and leaving no place safe to stop
to eat. I wasn't sure who had the pack with the rest of our food in it, what
little there was. All we had left was bread and cheese. I tried not to feel
anxious as the sun began to slip lower in the sky.

Kimahri slowed, gazing ahead. Then he turned and spoke in a low voice.
"Kimahri see something, that direction." He pointed to the left of our
current path. "Maybe building."

We looked at each other. Lulu nodded. "Yes, there is something there, a
settlement."

Auron nodded his agreement with the change of course, so we veered left.
After another hour or so of travelling the grass began to thin in patches,
and another flock of chocobo startled and broke away from us when we saw
them. Kimahri became even more alert, his spear held at the ready in case
the chocobos had been startled not by us but by fiends, but we continued on
without being accosted.

The building was clearly visible now, a large communal dome. It was an Al
Bhed settlement. I felt cheered by the prospect, and we arrived well before
dusk. Some small children came out into the central clearing when we
arrived, curious to see us but they scampered away shyly when we approached
closely. There was a shop in the central corral, being looked after by an Al
Bhed girl who looked bored with her job until our arrival promised some
interest to her day.

A Yevonite approached Yuna and bowed. He told her that an edict had been
issued from the temple for our arrests. She knew him well and although his
words caused us alarm he demurred any intention of carrying out the orders
against her due to their long friendship.

I saw a face I recognised from the airship. He smiled when he saw me.
"Rikku! Famm sad, cecdan."

"Knaadehk." I replied.

We talked for a little while and he told me that the airship had stopped
here for repairs after our assault on Bevelle, and he and several other
refugees had decided to stay at this settlement when the ship departed
again. I thanked him for the information and then reported what he had told
me to the others.

Lulu had purchased rooms for us, and bespoken the evening meal as well so we
went inside, thooshoose our beds and wash in readiness for the meal. I had expected that we
would get two dorm rooms, but Lulu had instead taken two smaller rooms, one
for herself and Yuna, and one for Auron and myself, and another larger room
for Wakka, Tidus and Kimahri.

Now that everyone knew, there was no need to pretend that propriety demanded
I sleep with the other girls, so I followed Auron with considerable
trepidation into the room he'd been given. It felt strange to be
acknowledged in this way, and I was unaccountably nervous.

Very little escaped Auron's notice, and my blush was not an exception. He
turned to face the window that looked out on the endless plain. "Are you
ashamed that everyone knows you sleep in my bed now?"

I crossed the room to where he stood and wrapped my arms around his waist,
resting my head against his back. "No, you know that's not true. I'm
just...surprised...I know I feel I belong with you, I'm just sut sure I want
everyone to know...how you make me feel." His head bowed, although he made
no answer. "Why is it that you doubt me all the time?"

He turned in my arms and sank onto the bed, removing his glasses. His hands
fell to rest on his thighs. "Look at me, Rikku," he sighed. "I keep thinking
that day in the forest you were snowblinded...and one day your vision will
return."

I shook my head, bringing my hands up to caress his face. "Dryd tyo so aoac
fana ub. E . E cyf ouin pamujat vyla, cu payidevim..." I kissed his closed
eyelid. "Ruf E fecr oui luimt ubah yht creha mega ouin pnudran, cruf sa ouin
payidevim mekrd."

I leaned into him and hugged his chest. "E muja oui, cu payidevim dra
dnaycina dryd paydc fedreh drec fuihtat lyka, cu cdnuhk dra ynsc dryd ahvumt
sa, bnudald sa fedr muja."

He lay backwards and I stretched out over him. He was like a country
beeneath me, undiscovered, unmapped. I wanted to explore, to trace his
contours, become familiar with his terrain, the secret places of him. We
kissed, and then I sat astride him, running my hands over his chest and
sides, admiring the view. He put up with me for a little while, then twisted
to look at the window. Dusk was falling and light was fading in the room.
"We don't have time for this."

"No." I retrieved his discarded glasses and leaned over to replace them,
slowly sliding them up his nose. "There." I smiled thenthen reluctantly
rolled off him. A knock came on the door and Auron went to open it. From
where I sat I could see Tidus at the door.

"Dinner time, guys."

"We'll be there shortly."

I sprang up quickly to wash my hands and face at the dresser, where water
and a bowl had been set out and waited while Auron did the same.

When we reached the dining room Lulu had selected a table, and waved at us
to come over. Auron slid along the padded bench on the other side of the
table and I slipped in beside him. Kimahri, Tidus and Wakka came over
together, they'd been having a conversation with the proprietor.

Tidus had a scrap of paper, which he placed on the table with a flourish
before us. "We have a map." He said proudly.

Yuna stumbled into the room, and smiled as she made her way over. She sat
next to Tidus.

I'm sorry I'm late." Her hair had been brushed back and she had put in
several braids that dangled charmindowndown her left shoulder. Tidus smiled
and flicked at one with his finger gently, making her smile again and blush.

Several jugs were brought to the table, they contained a spirit made from
sour mash, and it wasn't long before another server brought steaming
platters of spiced dishes on beds of grain. The food smelled delicious, and
my eyes widened at the variety and plenty that was brought to us.

"You ordered for us already, Lu?" Wakka asked.

She shrugged. "I asked what choices they had, and they said they'd see what
they could bring us."

"A lot." I said, by the look of it. It was traditional Al Bhed cooking,
using varieties of spices and peppers for flavour. I waited impatiently
while Yuna said a prayer of thanks, although I don't really know why she
thought Yevon had anything to do with it. She should have been thanking the
cook.

Auron had picked up the hand-drawn map when the food had been brought out and
he was examining it thoughtfully. Tidus spoke "The bridge to Gagazet is in
the north east of the plain."

"I know that." Auron's hand clenched into a fist on the table. I didn't know
why it upset him so, but I let my hand drop to his knee, stroking the seam
of his trousers against his skin. I felt him opening to me, his muscles
tensed and then shifted, and his hand relaxed, and lt alt a familiar warmth
rising inside me. Although no one could see,I stopped touching him, aware of
how inappropriate it was right now. Instead I selected a dish to try, and we
all served ourselves while the discussion continued.

"The thing is there are no chocobos here we can rent. They said that the
chocobo trainers have taken the flock north to graze."

Auron nodded. I had my mouth full so I just listened.

"It will take three days to reach the bridge on foot. Or we could head
north. That will take a day, but if we have chocobos we'd save a day
reaching the bridge. So what are we going to do, go north or north east?"

Auron deferred to Yuna. "Lady Yuna?"

"I think we should go north."

"Very well. It is decided."

Wakka was sitting opposite me, but his gaze never reached our side of the
table. He was uncomfortable looking at us, after the dressing down Auron had
given I t I think he was very wary of seeming to give offence, but I just
wanted peace between us. I lifted one of the plates near me, and passed it
towards him and Lulu.

"You should try this one, it's really, really good."

"It doesn't have any of that pycem stuff in it, does it?" asked Tidus and I
laughed.

"Try it and see." I winked at him to show I was just joking.

"I want to try that." I pointed to a dish and it was passed down. I think we
all drank too much oe lie liquor, trying to cool our mouths from the spicy
food, but Yuna was most obviously affected. She began to giggle with little
provocation, especially when she looked at me and Auron sitting together. By
the end of our meal everyone was pretty relaxed. Auron was leaning back
beside me and I leaned back against his arm, holding my tummy. I'd eaten far
too much and groaned.

"I'm so full. I don't think I can move."

Tidus eyed me critically. "How'd ytufftuff all that food in there anyway?"

I grinned. "It's a secret." I felt a rumble, then let out a long loud belch,
with my hand delicately over my mouth.

"Charming." Auron said.

Yuna started giggling again at my lack of table manners, and Auron's comment
set her off again. Once she had calmed down she looked at Tidus, her face
flushed. "I think I'd like to go for a walk."

It was pretty obvious that it wasn't a general invitation, but I thought sheobabobably needed to get some fresh air anyway. Auron cautioned "We'll be
leaving at dawn. It would be a good idea to get plenty of sleep."

"Yes, Sir Auron. Goodnight." Yuna bowed as she and Tidus left the table.

"Goodnight." Auron said to everyone else and did not wait for a reply. I
followed him to our room, not sure why he was being so gruff once more, but
as soon as the door closed behind me his intentions became obvious.

His mouth found mine and his hands moved over me roughly. He pressed me
against the door, lifting me so that I was trapped between him and the door
a bac back. He kissed me, his mouth moving over my face and neck.

"You've been driving me crazy all night." he murmured.

"Why? I didn't do anything." I whispered, between kisses.

"Exactly."

I laughed a little, but our situation was becoming even less tenable. He
managed to slide a hand under my top, but couldn't release me to remove it.

"Damn it, hold on."

He swung around and I tightened my grip around his shoulders automatically,
then he strode towards the bed, letting me slide onto the matress. His hands
moved impatiently, divesting himself of his clothing, but I was feeling
languid, and I stretched out luxuriantly before casually flicking my shoes
off onto the floor.

End of Part Eighteen

Al Bhed primer and translation guide:


Famm sad, cecdan. = Well met, sister.
Knaadehk. = Greetings.
Dryd tyo so aoac fana ubahat. E cyf ouin pamujat vyla, cu payidevim... = That day my eyes were opened. I saw your beloved face, so beautiful...
Ruf E fecr oui luimt ubah yht creha mega ouin pnudran, cruf sa ouin payidevim mekrd. = How I wish you could open and shine like your brother, show me your beautiful light.
cu payidevim dra dnaycina dryd paydc fedreh drec fuihtat lyka, cu cdnuhk dra ynsc dryd ahvumt sa, bnudald
sa fedr muja. = so beautiful the treasure that beats within this wounded cage, so strong the
arms that enfold me, protect me with love.


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