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 Twenty


Auron had been distant and uncommunicative all afternoon and that evening,
his only contribution to the discussion his offer to stand guard. After he
found a place by the fire to sleep I crawled into the space behind him,
under his coat. He did not acknowledge me, but neither did he push me away.
I was reminded of his behaviour when we were in the desert, torn between his
feelings, and I guessed that this was the same.

I pressed against him, my arm sliding beneath his, around his chest. I
breathed on his nape, brushing my nose against the fine tendrils of hair
that escaped the clasp that held his hair back. Then I let my lips speak for
me, brushing against his skin, worshipping that scant area I could reach. I
made the most of it, taking the measure of the soft pliancy of his nape,
exploring every nuance beneath my lips then testing again and again.

His hand gripped mine suddenly, halting its lingering caress, his words a
terse whisper. "Cdub!"

"Bmayca." I murmered back.

He shifted away, so that the caress of my lips was halted. "Tuh'd. Oui tuh'd
ghuf..."

"Drah damm sa." I shifted closer again and tasted the hollow beneath his
jaw, tracing the curve of his ear, the lobe soft between my lips.

He shook his head. "Tu oui fyhd sa du pinh ymm hekrd muhk?"

"Hu. Hajan" I assured him.

"Meyn." He turned though and when I was securely in his arms he pulled me
over his body, so that I was curled in the shelter of his arms. I took
advantage of the new vista before me, licking his chin and tracing a line
along his jaw with my tongue. My hand roamed until he again grasped mine
firmly in one hand. His eye was hot and liquid as he stared into mine.

"Go to sleep." His eye closed and he settled his head beside mine
so I closed my eyes and followed him into sleep.

Afterwards we were woken twice during the night due to attacks by fiends.
The first was by a pair of chimera that approached the chocobo enclosure
from the far side of the camp. The chocobo squawked loudly and insistently
as they huddled at the near side of the fence which woke us all even before
the watch could give the alarm. A brand resting near the fire was quickly
lit and the fence of the enclosure was set ablaze, and the chocobo all moved
toward the centre to avoid the flames.

The flickering red light illuminated the four headed beasts, and they were
quickly despatched with magic and the effective swordwork of Auron and
Tidus. Unfortunately Wakka took a soaking from a water spell and after the
battle had to sit close to the fire so his clothes would dry.

The chocobo trainers were cheerful after the battle. I expect it was much
more difficult for them to deal with fiends normally, but they had six
expert warriors and a summoner tonight to help guard their flock. While
Wakka steamed by the fire Suriya made day, and we all sat and drank the
warming drink. It wasn't long before another beast attacked, and this time
the fight was much more serious.

A noxious beast with a mass of tentacles weaving about it like snakes and a
row of eyes on green stalks advanced on us.

"Yevon!" Wakka exclaimed. "What is that thing?"

"Malboro. This could be difficult." Auron replied, but he and Wakka and
Tidus ran forward to put themselves between the beast and the camp. Tidus
got two strikes in against the creature, and Auron slashed furiously at it,
slicing several tentacles from its body before it retaliated with a burst of
poisonous gas that blinded and confused all three.

"No!" I ran forward intending to drag Auron from the front row but Lulu
restrained me.

"Yuna! Summon an aeon!"

Yuna nodded and ran forward in front of our fallen companions. Then she
called forth Shiva. The aeon was immune to the toxic cloud emitted from the
fiend's poisonous maw, and she slashed the monster repeatedly, finally
unleashing a blizzard that froze the creature in its tracks, shattering it
into thousands of pieces that blurred and separated into the tiny lights of
pyreflies that rose and dissipated into the air.

Kimahri tackled Tidus to the ground once the fiend was defeated, and Yuna
ran over to cast a spell of sleep over him so that we could tend to him. I
tried to approach Auron but he endlessly circled with his sword at the ready
slashing at the slightest provocation as the poison worked its way through
his system, weakening him. Finally he collapsed to his knees his sword point
down on the ground as he wavered. As I ran in to clasp him in my arms Wakka
threw his ball at us. I ducked, but the ball went past harmlessly as Wakka
could not see to aim. Kimahri brought him down the same way he had with
Tidus, Wakka crashing gracelessly to the ground beneath the Ronso warrior.
Again Yuna cast her spell while Lulu tended to Tidus.

Auron struggled in my arms, not knowing the reason for my attempt to
restrain him and I tried to soothe him. "It's alright, it's alright.
Auron..." Yuna approached us and spoke her charm while Auron wrestled with
me. Once she had done I was drowsy myself from being too close to her
intended target, and Kimahri had to help lift Auron's limp body from me
before I
could stagger to my feet and rise. He helped me carry Auron nearer to the
fire then returned to the others.

I took a potion and trickled it slowly into Auron's mouth while Yuna and
Lulu tended to Tidus and Wakka. The confusion would wear off naturally while
he slept so I did not need to concern myself with that. Then I took some
eye-drops and lifted his eyelid so I could squeeze some drops onto the orb.
He blinked automatically but did not rouse from the effects of Yuna's spell.
I draped the coat over him and lay beside him, staring out from the fire.

I hoped that we would not be accosted again by fiends while three of our
companions were unable to be roused, but we were fortunate and no further
alarm was raised. I fell asleep again but woke with the dawn to see Clasko
and Suriya begin their morning chores. They prepared mash for the mothers
and young, and the chocobos greeted them eagerly dancing on their toes as
they jostled for position at the feeding trough. The chocobo trainer was
slng, ng, and the two worked quietly, harnessing two chocobos before they
left camp to round up the main flock of birds that wandered free during the
night.

Auron stirred beside me, and I put my arms around him, kissing his brow
gently. "Rikku!"

"It's alright."

"The fiend! What happened?"

"The fiend is gone to the farplane."

"How..."

"Yuna summoned an aeon to defeat it. Everyone's alright. You're alright."

I kissed him again, giving thanks for his safe awakening in my arms. He
sighed and I lay beside him again, holding him in a fierce embrace. It
wasn't long before Clasko and the girl returned with a string of chocobo
which they placed in the training enclosure.

The trainer stirred and rose and while the girl prepared breakfast she and
Clasko busied themselves with the chocobos. Yuna came over to kneel beside
us and in the interest of propriety I moved away to sit near where Auron
still lay on the ground.

"How are you feeling, Sir Auron?"

"I'm fine." he answered and began to rise, obviously uncomfortable at being
the subject of her attention.

She smiled and placed a hand on his shoulder. "You should rest a while
longer. Tidus and Wakka are both still sleeping." She rose and went over to
the fire, and Auron gave up on his effort to rise, laying back down. I took
his hand in mine, stroking his broad palm, musing on the strength in his
gracefully formed fingers and the softness of the skin at his wrist.

Yuna brought the bowls of gruel that the girl had made when they were ready,
and Auron sat up to eat. It was bland, but hot and filling and I made short
work of my own, waiting until he was finished before returning our empty
bowls to Suriya.

She smiled her thanks, seeming unconcerned at having to do such menial tasks
while Clasko helped the trainer with the birds. She did not seem jealous of
the young chocobo knight, so maybe she had always had to complete the
unglamorous tasks of cooking and cleaning while the trainer did the rest
alone. I supposed it wasn't a bad life, considering.

I wandered over to the enclosure to see what the others were doing. Four
chocobo were lined up, harnessed and ready, and the trainer was soothing a
fifth, holding a bridle against it's neck. Clasko sat mounted on yet another
bird while leading a seventh around in a circle. This one was fractious,
fluttering it's wings and squawking as it resisted being led by the other.

He looked over at me and smiled. "Good morning! Are you ready to ride?"

"Ummm, okay!" I tried to sound confident, despite the way the nearest bird
shifted restlessly, its large, dark eye blinking liquidly as it swung its
neck around to regard me. It was almost twice my height with it's head
raised, and its back was almost the height of my head.

Clasko dismounted and showed me how to put my foot in the stirrup and swing
myself over onto the birds back. I swayed on the small saddle, leaning back
to avoid feeling as though I would slide down onto the bird's neck. It swung
its head around again, giving me another look.

"Hiya!" I told it, and waggled my fingers appeasingly. The bird naturally
ignored me but Clasko laughed.

"Okay, take the reins, and pull on the side you want the bird to turn. Tuck
your legs under the wings, and kick with your heels to get him to go."

I did as instructed, and the bird launched itself toward the other side of
the enclosure. I squealed, and instinctively brought my hands up, pulling
its head back. Clasko ran after us and grabbed the rein.

"Whoa! Easy, Redbird. Easy..." He stroked the feathers of its neck. "You
don't need to kick so hard. Just a light tap with your heels, okay."

I nodded, and this time the bird started with a lazy pace, and we circled
the fence several times. I began to feel more confident and watched as Yuna
was introduced to her chocobo. She bowed before it with the same degree of
respect she might have shown one of her own aeons. Then she smiled and
tickled behind its ear. The bird seemed to like her, shifting closer and
rubbing its neck against her shoulder. Yuna had a way of making everyone who
came in contact with her feel important, cared for. Even a chocobo was no
exception to her charm, and she had no trouble controlling the bird she was
assigned.

Tidus was not as lucky, unfortunately. The aptly named Dotty was either
insane or possessed. Or drunk, if that was possible for a chocobo. Each time
he thought he had the bird under control it would suddenly veer off in
another direction entirely, making him curse ineffectually as he tried to
bring the bird back into line.

All of us were pretty much ready to go by mid-morning, and the chocobo
trainer wished us good speed on our journey, telling us there was another
training camp near the bridge where our chocobos could be left. Clasko waved
cheerily and the girl watched us wistfully as we set off.

Onward to Mount Gagazet. The end of our journey was fast approaching, and I
still had no idea how to save Yuna. I'd been thinking about so many other
things I hadn't devoted much thought to the seemingly impossible task of
saving Yuna from the final aeon. There had to be a way, I refused to believe
otherwise, but that was as far as I could get. There were no answers, but I
resolved to think about it more from now on, in the hope that by some
miracle an
answer would come soon.

End of Part Twenty

Al Bhed primer and translation guide:
Cdub = Stop
Bmayca = Please
Tuh'd. Oui tuh'd ghuf... = Don't. You don't know...
Drah damm sa. = Then tell me.
Oui fyhd sa du pinh ymm hekrd muhk? = You want me to burn all night long?
Hu. Hajan. = No. Never.
Meyn. = Liar.


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