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 Nineteen

The next morning dawned bright and clear, but there was a chill in the air
flowing down from the peaks of Gagazet across the plain. As we headed north
the grasses thinned out and we were able to spread out and relax a little
more than we the the day before, although we kept the same formation from
our previous days march.

Yuna waited until Lulu moved off to speak to Wakka about something before
her eyes slid sideways to me. She looked back at Auron and I followed her
gaze. His attention was cast outwards, watching for movement in the
grassland around us, and he seemed not to notice Yuna walking closely beside

"I was so surprised." She smiled. "In a good way."

"Thank you. I'm glad...it doesn't bother you."

She took my arm and gave me a quick hug. "Of course not. I'm happy for Sir
Auron too. He's changed so much, since...he came back."

Her words provided me an opportunity that I was loathe to miss. "Tell me
about him, when you first knew him."

"He and my father, were such good friends." She began. "I used to hear them,
after I had gone to bed. And some mornings I would get up and they would
still be sitting and talking, just as they had been all night.

"He used to frighten me a little. He...still does." She smiled, is if she
was trying to let me know it was a failing on her part and not his. "Doesn't

I knew what she was going to ask, even before she decided not to. I shook my
head and smiled back. "No, never."

I remembered last night, how he'd looked down at me as he undressed. Someone
had lit the candles in the room while we were at dinner, and golden light
flickered across his bare skin, painting him in warm colours. The bed was
soft, and it was a pleasant luxury to watch as he crawled over me.

I yawned in his face, despite myself, tired from our dinner and drowsy from
the warmth of the room. He was taken aback at first, and then laughed
deprecatingly. "At least undress before you falleepleep on me."

He'd helped me shimmy out of my clothing then pulled the covers over us, and
his hands had stroked me tenderly despite his earlier impatience. "Don't you
want to..." I began to ask.

"You need to sleep. We have all night."

When I woke again and put my arms around his back he was true to his word,
turning towards me, wakened by my touch. I stopped him before he moved over
me, placing my hands on his chest. "Wait. Lie back."

His look was slightly skeptical, but he acceded to my request and it was my
turn to stalk him, placing my hands on either side of his head and looking
down at him. I moved against him, fitting my body to his until we were

But where he seemed to find it effortless to make love to me I was
floundering. I felt like a zephyr and he a rock, having no effect at all.
Discouraged I gave up, and collapsed on him, my face buried on his chest.

"How do you do this? I'm doing it all wrong."

He chuckled. "You seemed to be doing alright to me."

I raised my head and give him a twisted smile. "Yeah, right."

"Here. Maybe this will help." He shifted around until he was reclining
against the end of the bed. His hands held my hips, and then he moved
beneath me, holding me down but lifting me up at the same time. "Kiss me."
he demanded and I shifted to do so, then his hips moved towards me and I
felt an answering surge in my own limbs.

We continued like that, his mood changing to suit mine, alternately gentle
or fierce, mirthful or tender, making love several times through the night.
I understood why he'd wanted to go to our room so early, despite the
additional sleep by the time dawn came I was so sated with lovemaking I
could barely move. Every time we were together I learned something new about
his character, and during the night I'd learned he had an easy forebearance
and kindness, that forgave my inadequacies and an adventurous nature that
was demonstrated in his efforts to overcome them. He had no shyness when it
came to manipulating our bodies towards pleasure, although I blushed to
think about it and felt like my insides would turn to mush at the same time.
Naturally I could impart nothing of this to anyone else, not even Yuna.

"I suppose..." her gaze rested on Tidus. "I wish..."

I felt a sense of foreboding, even though our conversation was light, two
girls sharing the confidences of our hearts. "I do too."

"I am happy." she declared earnestly.

"Yes. Me too."

She looked down, and her voice lowered even more in volume. "Tidus and
I...we, he kissed me."

Her cheeks began to glow. "And..." she grabbed my arm, impressing me with
the fervour of her feelings. "It's so beautiful, isn't it? I wish it d
last forever."

I nodded. I didn't want to feel that either of us would lose what we had
found. I told her so. "Maybe it will. Don't you feel that too? No matter
what happens."

"Yes. Yes I do." Her smile brightened even more. She looked behind us. "Oh!
Sir Auron."

I turned to see that he was very close behind us, and I wondered if he had
been trying to overhear our conversation. I wasn't concerned at all if he
had, since I felt I had nothing to hide from him. My natural reticence even
with a companion as disarming as Yuna, coupled with my glowing admiration
for him meant that he could only overhear good from me when it came to him.
He greeted us evenly enough.

"Yuna." To me he did not speak but his eyes greeted me without words. "We
may stop for some lunch soon, by your leave."

"Yes, of course. As soon as you wish, Sir."

We fell silent until Auron spoke again. "Am I interrupting your

"Not at all." Yuna was unfailingly polite. "May I ask, you seemed surprised
when we came to the settlement last night. Was it not here when you and my
father journeyed here?"

Auron shook his head. "I do not know. We followed the cliffs east before
heading north to the bridge."

"Oh I see." She looked ahead to where Kimahri had halted ahead of us on a
slight rise, our stopping place for lunch. "I am looking forward to riding
chocobos though."

I dropped back a little to walk beside Auron as Yuna hurried to catch up to
Lulu and Tidus. "Did you have a nice chat?" he asked me.

"Yes, very nice."

"About anything interesting?"

"Yes, something very interesting." I laughed at his exasperated look.
"Alright I'll tell you."

I beckoned to him, so that he leaned down and brought his ear close to my
lips. I whispered "I told her what a cutie you are."

Then I laughed again. He frowned, knowing I was only teasing but giving me a
stern glance for not taking his questions seriously. "I promise, I didn't
tell her anything she didn't already know. We just talked about shared
feelings. That's all."

"Shared feelings?"

"You know. How she feels about Tidus."

I didn't think it would surprise him so much. His gaze razed over Yuna and
Tidus, where they stood together, preparing to sit on the grass with the
others. "How she feels?"

"They love each other." He stopped dead in his tracks.

"What?" I asked him.

"I...nothing. Do not concern yourself."

That was classic Auron from before. How he thought I wouldn't be concerned I
don't know. But he hid whatever it was and continued walking until we were
too close to the others to continue to converse privately.

I spent most of the time while we ate wondering what was wrong, what upset
him so, and he spent most of the time surreptitiously observing both Yuna
and Tidus for signs of the relationship that had developed between them.

We found the chocobo flock in the late afternoon. The sun cut a golden
swathe across the plains and the great birds thundered past, raising golden
dust with their passing. Most were riderless but one wheeled away from the
rest and came to a screeching halt near our party. The rider dismounted and
greeted us.

"Lady Summoner." She looked from Yuna to the rest of us, nodding in

Yuna bowed. eetieetings. We have come to seek your assistance in our journey.
Can you provide us with Chocobos to cross the plain, to the bridge at Mt

"Seven chocobos?" She looked from us to the flock that had now paused in
their headlong flight, feathers flying as birds squabbled and squawked. "I
only have five that are trained sufficiently for inexperienced riders. Have
any of you ridden before?"

Everyone shook their heads. It was a serious setback for our party, to have
come all this way north for nothing. Tidus never gave up easily though.

"How hard can it be to ride a chocobo?" he asked. "You just steer them with
the reins, right?"

The chocobo trainer gave him a superior smile. "First you have to get on.
And if a chocobo doesn't want you on it's back that can be difficult." She
turned to the rest of us. "In any case you'll camp the night with us?"

Yuna agreed, and the chocobo trainer led us to her campsite. There was a
large corral which held female chocobos with their young, a smaller one for
training, and a small dome that held stores and equipment. The trainer had
two other companions who helped her look after the flock. A campfire had
been set up and there were several tents where they slept while out here on
the northern plain.

She explained why they didn't sleep indoors. "The fiends out here aren't
very numerous, but they make up for that in strength and ferocity. Young
chocobos are tasty meat, and we have to be alert and ready to defend our
camp. The good thing is we are rarely surprised. The birds always know when
anything approaches and warn us to be prepared."

While she talked to us the others were preparing the evening meal. We would
have brought out our own supplies, having stocked up before we left the
settlement this morning but the chocobo trainer refused our offering.
"Feeding you is the least we can do, especially if we can't provide you with
the mounts you need. It is unfortunate, but the fiends have been extremely
active recently and we have lost several good birds, and we were also asked
to supply birds for the chocobo knights, so we only have a few that are
trained now."

Tidus was interested. "Chocobo knights? Were Lucille and Elma here?"

"Yes, that's right. They brought me a helper too. Clasko."

The young man who had been tending the fire turned to us. "Hello."

"Clasko! Hey, you're a chocobo trainer now?"

"Yes. I took your advice. Captain Lucille released me from service, so I
could stay here and help train chocobos for the knights."

"Hey, that's great."

"Yes, I like it out here. It's peaceful despite the fiends. It's just the
three of us and the chocobos for company."

The other member of their party, a girl of maybe thirteen or fourteen smiled
at Clasko's words, although that was the first sign of friendliness I'd seen
from her. I guessed she was shy as she seemed to take an interest in us, but
her gaze would skitter away when anyone noticed her and she had said nothing
so far to anyone. She was stirring a pot that was sitting on the fire, and a
mouthwatering aroma wafted over us.

Clasko went back to helping her and soon bowls of food were handed out. It
was a broth with dried mushrooms, lightly spiced and full of the flavour of
various vegetables. I was contentedly busy for a while, trying to fish out
the floppy white noodles without dripping soup all over myself, but while I
ate I noticed that the younger girl seemed quite taken with Tidus. He was
the first person she'd served, and she cast him several long looks although
her apparent modesty inclined her to gaze towards the ground whenever he
looked at her.

The chocobo trainer appeared deep in thought, and after she had finished
with her food she seemed to come to a conclusion of sorts. "Suriya, have you
put Butterbeak in harness every day?"

"Yes, ma'am." the girl looked nervously towards us when she replied. "But
he's not ready to be ridden yet..."

"Maybe. If they take Valentine he might behave." she gave Auron an assessing
look. "I think you might be able to control him. That would be six

Clasko hesitantly offered an opinion. "What about Oriole? She's timid, but
perhaps the Lady summoner will be able to calm her?"

The trainer nodded. "And Prue, Redwing and Sassy. That's still only six,
unless we give our young friend here Dotty to ride."

"Dotty?" Clasko looked amazed. "But..."

"We'll see in the morning." She addressed Yuna. "We'll do our best to find
enough chocobos that you can ride. In the meantime we must beware of fiends
during the night or..."

"We will help you keep watch." Auron spoke for us all.

"No need for that. We have defences, of course. The chocobos will stir if
there is danger, and we have a fire barrier set up around the corral." She
indicated the posts which had a leathery skin stretched over the top of
them, and a hollow section at the top. "We light them to protect the birds
from attack. But if you will help us beat off any fiends that do attack we
would be grateful for the help."

We slept around the campfire while the chocobo wranglers kept watch. Auron
lay facing outwards toward the open plain, and I lay behind him with the
warmth of the campfire at my back, his coat over us both to keep the chill

End of Part Nineteen

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