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-three


When we reached the others it was obvious that they had worried about us
while we were gone. Yuna was sitting with her hands between her knees, Lulu
and Wakka on either side of her. When she saw us her face relaxed into a
smile. Auron had been leaning against the wall frowning, he started up at
our approach, then perhaps afraid of seeming too eager he leaned back once
more, affecting an unconcerned demeanour that was totally faked.

Wakka stood, his face brightening. "See? I told you they'd be okay." He
looked at the two girls, obviously continuing a conversation begun during
our absence. Auron came closer while we reported our findings, omitting any
mention of the Nidhogg that we'd encountered.

We'd eliminated one possibility so our next step was to continue in the
other direction but it was getting late. We had a defensible position here,
so we would make camp and continue on after resting here for the night.

Then I held out the two spheres to show the others. Yuna reached out and I
placed them in her palm at her expression of interest. She explained their
purpose. "They're meditation spheres. My father had some, he showed
me...before he left." She trailed off for a moment but then her face cleared
once more. "He said that you could unlock hidden abilities with them."

"So they're for summoners then?"us aus asked.

"No, anyone can use them." She fiddled with the edge of one, pressing a tiny
recessed button and it began to glow deep within the sphere's inky black
surface, a swirling purple light. She handed them back to me after pressing
the switch once more. I thought about it. Since Tidus and I had both risked
our lives I gave one to him.

"Are you sure?" He asked me and I nodded.

"I think I'll give it to Yuna, then. She knows what to do with it."

I grinned, since I was planning on giving mine to Auron. Clearly we were
fools in love. Wakka had set some water on the fire and digging through our
food supply, his turn to cook tonight. Tidus sat beside Yuna and put his arm
around her shoulder, and Auron had retreated to lean once more against the
wall.

I went over to him. "This is for you."

He looked down, arching a brow at my offering. "You could learn to use it
yourself, you know."

"I know. I still want you to have it."

"Thank you." His voice was grave as he took the sphere and our hands met and
kissed in the exchange. Then I leaned forward, tugging at his collar to
sight my target. My other hand reached for the back of his neck and then we
were kissing. I relished the contact, his response gratifying. His tongue
delved in my mouth and his arms pulled me tight against his body. We had
barely begun to warm up when I heard Tidus' voice from behind me.

"Sheesh, would you two get a room?"

Auron's hands stilled on my back and he groaned when his lips left mine,
resting his head on my shoulder as he tried to regain his composure. "A
room. Would be good." His words were wrenched out of him, spoken only for my
ears. I huffed a laugh in affirmation and reluctantly separated myself from
him.

I'm sure my face was pink when we returned to the others and sat beside the
fire, but then I realised what a hypocrite Tidus was. He had his arms around
Yuna's waist and was nuzzling her neck.

"Pitiful!" was Auron's pronouncement but Tidus and Yuna were lost in each
other and paid no attention. Ignored, he gave up and sat crosslegged,
activating the sphere and placing it in front of his knees, removing his
glasses so he could stare into its depths.

I watched him dreamily, admiring his saturnine good looks without fear of
interruption. His face smoothed out as he focussed on the sphere, the scar
on his face which he protected with so much armour only a minor interruption
as my eyes tracked his features.

"Rikku!"

I jumped. "Wha?"

Wakka waved a skewered piece of meat in front of my face. "I called you
three times! You were really out of it."

I took the offering from him. "Sorry, I was thinking."

"Did you unlock anything?" Wakka turned away grinning. I snorted laughter
out of my nose and Lulu snickered as well. Kimahri had come over to the fire
and was eating his share of the food and his whiskers twitched as well. It
wasn't like Wakka to make such a clever joke and I wondered if maybe Lulu
was rubbing off on him.

The rest of us ate while Auron's meditation continued, so his food was set
beside the fire while we waited for him to finish. Afterwards Wakka leaned
back with his arms behind his head and heaved a satisfied sigh. "A guy could
get used to this. Good food, a full stomach. A beautiful woman beside
him..."

He levered one eye open and gave Lulu a surreptitious glance. She looked
amused and raised a perfectly arched brow while I gaped at them both. Tidus
and Yuna were back to canoodling together in each others arms, and I was
only waiting for Auron to cease his meditation so that I could crawl into
his embrace and do the same. Wakka seemed to be angling for the same result
with Lulu. I hid a smile, but Lulu set us both straight though with her next
words.

"Be careful, Wakka, or I might have to hurt you."

His next sigh was genuine, but he must have been mollified when she settled
down with her back to him, close enough for him to reach out during the
night. His eyes closed with alacrity but his smile was smug andumphumphant.
He was lucky she had her back turned, I was pretty sure Lulu would have
wiped that look off his face with her heel if she'd seen it.

Auron was still deeply entranced, so I checked my weapon and walked over to
where Kimahri was standing guard. "I could watch now, if you want to rest."

The Ronso nodded, but did not return to the campfire, instead his stiff
posture relaxed and he crouched on his heels, his spear resting across his
knees. I wondered what Kimahri thought of our very human behaviour. It
seemed that we were all paired off, but Kimahri was alone and would have to
remain so. It didn't seem fair.

"Kimahri, does it bother you to be so alone?"

He looked at me but didn't answer, so I tried to clarify what I meant by my
question. "I can't imagine what it must be like...I left my home, and my
people, but I'm still with other humans."

"Kimahri's feet were set on his path a long time ago."

We spoke softly, but it didn't detract from the force of his words. "Still,
you don't miss your own kind? Not even after all this time?"

"Kimahri misshe mhe mountain. Misses Gagazet. Not other Ronso." He looked
back towards the fire, where Yuna lay sleeping peacefully in Tidus' arms.
"Ten years ago a man came down from the mountain. Kimahri does not regret
keeping his promise to that man."

After a pause he continued speaking. "The Ronso have a saying. 'The steepest
path leads to the greatest view.' Kimahri has seen far. Kimahri is
satisfied."

I nodded. It was the longest answer I'd ever heard him give, and I was not
surprised that the Ronso used words so sparingly, since they were so
powerful.

"We are almost there. We'll probably be climbing Mount Gagazet tomorrow."

A grin split his lips and he bared his fangs. "Kimahri looks forward to it."

I heard a faint sound tud turned, Auron's shoulders were moving and his
breathing had changed rhythm, he was waking. "Go. Kimahri will resume
watch."

I looked back, wide-eyed, but Kimahri nodded encouragingly.

Auron's eyes were now closed, the sphere dim and lifeless, its power
completely drained. I set the water back on the fire to make day again, and
when it was hot took a cup over to Kimahri who ptedpted it gratefully. By
the time I'd poured a cup for Auron he began to stretch, clearly back among
us after his soujourn in the twilight world. He stood, releasing muscles
that had been unnaturally still for far too long, but his eyes were clear.

I stood and moved close to him. "I missed you," I whispered. Then I looked
down at the sphere that lay still on the ground. "Did it work?"

"Yes, I believe so."

I moved away again reluctantly. "You must be hungry, we ate hours ago. It's
still warm and I've just made some tea."

He did as I suggested and I sipped my own drink while I waited. His eyes
took in the others: Yuna and Tidus who were entwined in each others arms,
and Lulu and Wakka, whose arm had shifted over her body while he slept. His
lips twisted sardonically but he didn't comment on the sleeping
arrangements.

"All has been quie

I nodded. "Not a peep out of any fiends. Kimahri is watching camp tonight."

He finished his food with alacrity and drank his tea in two quick swallows.
I put away our cups after rinsing them with the last of the water and when I
turned he was standing waiting for me, his coat over his arm. He beckoned.

When I was close enough his warm voice whispered in my ear. "There are no
rooms available, so this will have to do." I didn't answer. I wanted him so
badly I could barely see straight. "Lie do"
"

I was boneless at his command, and my comple coe could more truthfully be
described as collapsing to the floor. I think he was gratified anyway and
under cover of his coat we groped each other as we kissed, our clothing
loosened with trembling anxious fingers to allow our bodies to meet and
meld.

"Love you." he whispered, and I murmured 'yes' in response a dozen times,
trying not to cry out too loudly as I welcomed him into my body. His eyes
glazed over and I kissed him frantically, desperate for more. He pressed
deeper, faster, finding a secret place that revelled in the touch of his
flesh. I gasped as my body shimmied beneath his, pleasure exploding through
me. I carried him with me and it took a long time for our breathing to even
out afterwards, our bodies still together.

It had been a long day and I couldn't believe how tired I felt, barely
stirring when he finally moved away from me. He drew my shorts back up,
pressing a soft, open-mouthed kiss low on my belly before refastening them.
Our clothing rearranged we settled for sleep and I was gone almost before my
head rested on his shoulder.

The next day we continued with the previous days strategy, our two party
tactic working well once more and we soon reached the antechamber to the
cavern of the fayth It It was strange. I had never been inside a fayth's chamber before, and my
curiousity had been great, but this was like nothing I'd imagined. The
temples must have been more ornate than this rough hewn grotto hidden deep
inside a sunken cave. In the centre of the room a recessed disk held a
statue, bound with seals the fayth dreamed withhe che circle. Yuna began to
pray and an image shimmered into life above the circle, demanding to know
why she wanted his service.

Yuna seemed taken aback but considered the three choices he'd given her
carefully before responding. When he demanded gil, and a great deal of it to
join our group she gasped in shock. She looked to Lulu who shook her head.
They began a whispered conversation while the aeon looked on with barely
disguised amusement while waiting for our counter offer.

She drew the rest of us into the debate. "We don't have anywhere near enough
to pay what he demands."

"I say we leave. We don't need some ronin with an inflated view of his own
value."

Yuna gave a little bow. "Sir Auron, I respect your opinion. But maybe..."
She looked back at the avatar, who pretended unconcern at our deliberations.

"Do as you wish." His voice was cool, but I knew that Auron was a man of his
word. Once he had given her leave to make this decision he would never
criticise or question her choice again. His apparent emotional indifference
masked the true intent of his words, his unconditional support for her as
the next High Summoner.

"Offer him half. Then go up 10,000 gil. That will leave enough for us to get
by, won't it?" Tidus asked.

Lulu nodded, concurring with his suggestion. "If he won't accept that, we'll
leave without him. Agreed, Yuna?"

Yuna nodded firmly, then returned to the aeon to negotiate in earnest. It
seemed to take a long time, Yuna gesturing several times, their argument
swaying back and forth. Eventually she signalled to Lulu who drew almost all
our money from the small purse she carried, handing it over. Yuna nodded,
the aeon took the offered payment and it vanished into his voluminous coat.

Lulu stepped back and Yuna again raised her staff, beginning her prayer once
more. The aeon contracted into a glowing point of light which shot straight
towards her chest like an arrow piercing her breastbone. Her body arched,
the staff dropping from her hands but before she could fall to the ground
Kimahri's arms were beneath her. She revived within a few minutes, blinking
up at us then moving shakily to her feet.

Lulu was counting out the rest of our gil. "Well that was expensive."

"Is it all right?" Yuna asked her, looking around at us apologetically. "I
went up an extra twenty thousand."

"It will have to be." was Lulu's pronouncement. The antechamber held the
companion to the teleport panel near the caverns entrance, and unlike its
counterpart it was in perfect working order. We emerged from the cavern into
the brightness of mid morning sunlight, blinking to readjust our eyes to the
sudden increase in light.

We trooped back up the ravine and crossed the bridge to Mount Gagazet. We
were met by the Ronso, a phalanx of silent warriors who blocked the path
leading up the mountain. Yuna stood forward as the leader of the Ronso
challenged her, calling us traitors and refusing to let us pass.

End of Part Twenty-three


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