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 Twenty-seven

His hands were gentle as they smoothed my clothing into place, and he gathered me in his arms as we lay
quietly together.

"Funny, I never imagined a perfect day would be like this."

He sounded startled as he laughed. "You're really crazy, you know that?"

"Am I?" I couldn't prevent the wistful tone that entered my voice. "Just, being with you like this...is so
beautiful. It's like being home, warm and safe. It's like I imagine the farplane to be..."

"Oh, Rikku." His face pressed against my shoulder. "You remind me so much of Braska it hurts."

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I loved him too."

"I...is it strange to miss someone you've never met? I look at Yuna, and I hear you say his name, and I wish,
I wish I could have known him. He must have been a wonderful man."

"Yes. Yes, he was. If the farplane is...I hope it is the way you imagine, for him."

"Do you think it is? Like that?"

He was silent for a long time before answering. "I could only pray to deserve such a place."

The moment of tranquillity receded although he kissed me on the brow before stirring from beneath me.
"We'd better go back to the camp."

I agreed reluctantly and rose, waiting while he hefted his sword. He turned to me and stared at me for a
moment before he reached out to flick my chin gently with his fingers.
"Standing there you make the view almost bearable."

"Oh." I realised that from where he stood I'd been framed in the window he'd been staring out of when I'd
first come in. I smiled back at him. "You brighten up the prospect too."

"Right." He gave me a gimlet look through his one eye, but I could see he was pleased, if a little
embarrassed by my compliment. When we walked down the hill to the campsite Tidus jumped up from
where he was sitting. "Hey, you guys! We were starting to worry."

He stopped talking, looking a bit embarrassed. Then he looked at Yuna who blushed bright red then turned
away and stooped over the fire. She sounded flustered. "We made some tea, we saw the others from the
top, so they should be back soon."

She stirred the tea and set some cups by the fire, busying herself and collecting her composure at the same
time. By the time she brought the tea to myself and Auron she seemed more herself although her cheeks
were still becomingly pink.

"I hope everything is alright..."

It was awkward, she knew we'd been alone together, just as she and Tidus had, but our conversations had to
skip delicately over the obvious to avoid embarrassing each other. I reached out impulsively and took her

"Yuna, I want to thank you, for this day. It's been a wonderful gift, and no matter what happens I'll always
treasure it in my memory."

"Oh!" She exclaimed in surprise and I hugged her before letting her go with a grin.

"Did you two have a good day?"

I looked at Tidus and her eyes followed mine before she blushed again. "Yes! It was..." She broke off
suddenly and then hugged me back before she continued, whispering. "You know!"

She looked from me to Sir Auron, who was placidly sipping his tea and trying to ignore us, then she bowed
to him and ran back to the fire, obviously flustered by the comparison she'd made in her own mind. I began
to laugh at the absurdity of it all. This time yesterday I'd been feeling lower than low, but somehow within
the space of a day I felt as though I could conquer the world and not even raise a sweat.

This was it, all I had to do was remember this, how it felt when Auron and I were together in that beautiful
place, how it felt to laugh, seeing his dear countenance looking up at mine and holding a measure of peace
that had been absent for so long, remembering the gift that Yuna gave us, feeling the warm weight of his
hair tucked just above my heart. It was all I needed to know to confront Sin, to face my fears about Auron's
past, and to have the courage to face Yuna's, and by extension all our futures.

I leaned down and kissed him hard, delighting in not caring what anyone would say or think to see my
devotion to him. His surprise quickly melted into compliance and he kissed me back with pleasure as I sank
to my knees before him. After a while he pulled away, a question in his eyes.

"I'm not afraid." I told him. "And I'm crazy about you."

"I..." He pushed me away slightly, and examined my face. Seeing the tell-tale traces of renewed passion his
eyes widened. "I...think...you'd better drink your tea before it gets cold."

My mouth dropped open, then I laughed and poked my tongue out at him. "Meanie!"

We drank our tea peacably enough, and when Tidus grabbed Yuna by the waist and swung her around in a
circle making her laugh out loud I grinned to myself, glad to have prompted their open display of affection
with my own.

Kimahri, Lulu and Wakka trooped back down the hill just as the sun tipped against the horizon, dropping a
bag heavy with the weight of their catch by the fire. Lulu smiled as she showed us the rest of the bounty
they'd collected. Eight large eggs, only one slightly cracked, two mandragora roots and a bag full of

Wakka wrinkled his nose at the last. "I tell you, I don't like the look of those things."

"Wakka, they're fine, I've had them before. Go without if you feel that strongly about it."

"I'm not arguing with ya, I just think I'll keep my eyes shut when I eat them."

"I'll eat 'em!" I smiled brightly as I jumped up to help. "I'm so hungry I think I could eat a shoopuf whole."

"You musta worked up an appetite while we were gone."

Wakka's question was perfectly innocent, which made it difficult to explain why I suddenly snorted with
laughter, and why Auron nearly choked as he spluttered tea onto the ground.

Lulu cuffed Wakka over the back of the head. "What!" He complained. "What did I say?"

"Idiot!" She told him. "I'll explain it to you when you're older."

He looked at her for a moment then his face suddenly cleared with comprehension. "Oh, I get it! You two
been up to no good, eh?"

He grinned. "It's funny, seeing you together, I'd never guess you'd be a couple, you're so different, ya? But
as long as you're happy, that's what counts, right?"

"Yeah, that's right." I replied, warmed a little by the thought he'd finally accepted our relnshinship.

I helped with the food preparations, marvelling at the change in all of us since the day before. Tidus
whistled as he helped Kimahri fillet the fish, placing the bones in the now emptied tea pot to make soup
from them. Set on the fire it soon began to steam, the scent rising from it making my mouth water.

Later with the bones removed and the fish fillets added the soup was better than tasty, and the mushrooms
seemed to have absorbed the fish flavour, leaving only a mild hint of spice and a slightly chewy texture to
remind me they were the same bizarrely shaped things we'd put in at the beginning. We saved the eggs for
breakfast, and the mandragora for the next day. Kimahri had also strung half a dozen of the remaining fish
on a line and left them to smoke above the fire overnight.

After we'd eaten we all settled down for the night, Tidus and Yuna taking the first watch as usual. I heard
Lulu grumbling as she shifted in Wakka's arms and his quiet murmurs of appeasement. He was right, with
what he'd said earlier. Even though she complained a lot and he kidded around they made each other happy.
It worked for them, and who would deny them that? Not me, I thought, as I stroked Auron's arm while his
hand rested over my heart.

The next morning we set off before the mist had cleared, with barely enough light to pack up and gather our
things. Tidus stopped once as we walked and gazed up to the side at a building, his eyes narrowing.

"I remember...as if it was yesterday..."

He turned and looked at Auron almost accusingly, then he ran to the edge of the roadway and gazed back
the way we'd come. "That's where...the road collapsed..."

The sun was barely peeking over the horizon as I stamped my feet to try and shake off the chill. Auron
stood watching Tidus impassively until he ran back and stood toe to toe to the older guardian. "How could
it all...seem so real?"

Auron frowned and spoke sharply but his voice was too low for me to hear from where I stood. Then he
spoke more loudly. "Let's go on."

"Right. It's not much further." Tidus faced forward once more. "Yuna, wait up!"

He ran forward to walk by her side, and barely paused before taking her hand in his. How strange it must
feel to recognise this place, to remember it as it once was, alive and bustling with people, living their lives.
I imagined myself a thousand years from now, if I stumbled across the ruins in the desert of Sanubia and
remembered how my Home used to be. I shivered at the thought. Poor Tidus.

Nothing else moved but fiends. Kimahri, Lulu and Wakka were ahead of us and we came upon the tail-end
of several battles, as they despatched the unfortunate souls who lurked here in the ruins. None were so
savage that they threatened our lives, just deadened our hearts as we travelled on.

We reached a place that afternoon, a large dome that stood mostly intact, although there were places where
the sky showed through gaps in the wall. A man dressed in temple garb came running out of the doorway.
At least at first I thought it was a man. He bowed, his hands moving in the ritual prayer of Yevon.

"Traveller of the long road, name yourself."

Yuna stood up straight. "I am the summoner Yuna, from the island of Besaid."

He came closer to her and gazed into her eyes.

"You have journeyed well, Lady Yunalesca will surely welcome you. Go to her now, and bring your
guardians with you."

We walked forward and entered the doorway he'd emerged from, and when I looked back he was gone.
There was just a shadow and the fading light of pyreflies to show he'd even existed. Not a man, but a ghost

There were more of them as we continued, we followed them as echoes of their sacrifices led us on.

'If it might benefit the future of Spira, I will gladly give my life,' said a young guardian to her summoner. 'It
is the highest honor for which a guardian might ask. Use my life, Lady Yocun, and rid Spira of Sin.'

"What...what was that?" I asked, when the two women vanished.

"Our predecessors." Auron explained that the dome was like a sphere, the pyreflies recording all that took
place within.

I wondered if one day, another summoner and their guardians would see echoes of our journey, recorded
here. I grimly hoped not. I wanted this to be the last pilgrimage, ever. I never wanted anyone else to go
through this again.

Then another pathetic scene played out before us. A young boy, remonstrating with his mother. 'No!
Mother, no! I don't want you to become a fayth!'

'There is no other way.' she replied evenly. 'Use me and defeat Sin.'

She ignored her young son's pleas. Then I recognised him. Seymour. I couldn't believe his mother had been
so heartless, so cruel, to bring her son here and abandon him to Spira alone, leaving just an aeon in her
place. No wonder he had been so twisted and unstable. I began to feel sorry for him, despite the horror he
had put us all through.

And then we saw them for the first time. Jecht, and Braska, and Auron. Like players in a theatre they stood
before us as the drama of their pilgrimage was acted out. Jecht told Braska that he didn't have to go on, but
it was Auron who begged Braska to turn back, his voice full of emotion. The summoner had answered him
gently, irrevocably sealing his fate.

'I have come to kill grief itself. The The memory faded and I followed the others, my mind filled with amazement. Auron had been just like us,
idealistic enough to believe that they could change things, and at the end unwilling to sacrifice his dearest
friend to a hopeless cause. He must have followed this path as we had done, trying to find a plan that would
allow Braska to survive. When it had turned out to be hopeless he had confessed that he could not accept
the inevitable.

At this point he had begged Braska to turn back and save himself, but Braska had refused. 'I will defeat Sin,
and lift the veil of sorrow covering Spira. Please understand, Auron.'

Braska had refused, as Yuna had done. My heart was heavy with foreboding as we continued. Auron
couldn't have brought us here just to see another summoner die. He had wanted to save Braska and couldn't,
he couldn't have brought Yuna here to suffer her father's fate. We continued on as the ghosrounround us
continued to tell their stories.

End of Part Twenty-seven

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