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 Thirty-two


This time when Sin drew the ship in, instead of fighting it my brother left
it be and we travelled faster and faster. I felt the engines die and still
under the deck and all we could hear was the wind rushing past as we came
closer to Sin.

I was sure we were going to crash and I closed my eyes just before impact,
but instead of annihilation we were suddenly coasting, free of the sucking
gravity that had been pulling us in. I opened my eyes. Below us were clouds,
swirling amorphous masses that stretched across the horizon, ahead and all
around us pyreflies twisted and drifted lazily. Thousands of pyreflies.

The deck lurched and began to vibrate as the engines came online again.
'Where were we? Inside Sin?' I wondered. Although I'd never been there I'd
seen pictures of the farplane, and that's what this looked like. For a
fleeting moment I wondered if we had actually crashed and were all now dead.
I looked around at the others.

Lulu was stroking her doll nervously as she gazed around in wonder. Wakka
was standing with his mouth wide open, if he wasn't careful he was going to
be catching pyreflies with that. Tidus had Yuna's hand in a deathgrip and
even Kimahri looked slightly shocked, his eyes wider than usual. Auron's
eyes were narrowed, and although he held on with one hand his sword hand was
resting against the hilt of his sword.

He saw me looking at him and let go, his hand falling back to his side and
he shrugged. I realised all this was new to him too. Up until we reached
Zanarkand he'd always known what was coming next and that was no longer the
case. He was just like us now. I smiled, trying to be reassuring, and his
face relaxed, then he winked back.

"Frana tu E myht? Frana? Frana?"

"Do I look like I know? Fryd'c dryd ib yrayt?"

"E tuh'd ghuh!"

I started to laugh, listening to my brother arguing with Dad. Tidus looked
at me enquiringly.

"They don't know where to land." I waved my arm, indicated the massive
expanse of cloud below us. "Hey pops! Can you guys see anything at all?"

"Rikku? All the instruments have gone haywire, we can't tell where we are or
what's around us. But there's something, could be a tower poking out of the
mist up ahead."

"Put us down near it then, we'll go take a look around." I told him,
receiving nods of assent from the others. The ship drifted lower, finally
coming to rest with a gentle bump on the ground. Mist swirled gently around
it clearing a patch before us before the clear air was again replaced by
white cloud. As the others descended from the deck I turned back to the
speaker. "Dad?"

"Yeah, kiddo?"

"Ummm...don't leave us here, okay?"

"I won't, I promise." He told me and I nodded, glad for his reassurance, not
even thinking that he couldn't see me. "And you...be careful out there. All
of you!"

"We will, Dad."

Relieved I turned to follow the others, and saw Auron waiting for me. He
gave me a knowing look, and I smiled, feeling a bit embarrassed that he'd
overheard. He didn't say anything about me acting like a baby, but later as
we trekked through the mist he stayed close to me, and once when I moved
away he looked around for me and gestured with his arm for me to return to
his side. It was all done silently, and I don't think any of the others
noticed at all, but my heart burned with warmth at the care he was taking
with me.

It wasn't until the third battle with fiends that crossed our path that I
realised that he'd stayed in the forefront everytime, and everyone had taken
a turn to fight except Yuna and I. I let the others get ahead, pulling on
his arm to slow him down. I spoke quietly so the others wouldn't overhear.

"You have to let me fight."

"Don't worry. You'll get your turn." I looked at him suspiciously, not sure
why he was so quick to concede the point. "Nothing here is the same as it
was in Spira...and I won't let you be needlessly h For For now we know that
our swords have a fair chance of keeping us all alive, and Lulu has her
magic to keep her safe. When we have a better idea of what these fiends can
do, both you and Yuna will get your chances to fight. Alright?"

"Ookaaaay." I nodded, sort of mollified by his argument. Our path through
the mist continued, and I did get my chance, every time we encountered
fiends we'd already defeated. The ground beneath us was spongy, gripping our
boots as we walked and my legs soon wearied under the strain. Our pace
slowed, but finally we reached a set of stone steps that led upwards to a
plaza. It was incredibly strange, finding such a thing in the middle of Sin,
in the morass of endless clouds that surrounded us.

I was relieved that the steps felt like real stone and wasn't paying much
attention to anything but what was beneath my feet as I followed Auron, and
was consequently surprised to hear the rasp of his sword as he drew it. He'd
stopped and I ran into his back, then peered around his middle to see what
was ahead.

"Don't you ever give up?"

Tidus also had his sword drawn, and then I saw the figure behind him.
Seymour!

"Sin has chosen me. I am part of Sin. I am one with Sin, forever. Immortal!"

Tidus replied patiently, like someone talking to an idiot. "Sin just
absorbed you."

"I will learn to control it, from within. I have all the time in the world.
Since you disposed of Yunalesca...the only means of destroying Sin is
forever gone. Now nothing can stop me!"

That was the end of Tidus's patience. "Well, we can!"

Poor pathetic fool. Seymour had been a victim of circumstance, and hadn't
learned anything. I felt sorry for him, even as we beat him to a pulp and
then Yuna sent him once more, this time hopefully for good.

The Plaza led us onwards into the midst of a great city. We looked around as
we went, gaping up at the monoliths that hemmed us in, leading us deeper
into Sin. Why were they here? Had the people who died in Sin's attacks been
captured somewhere in Sin, the pyreflies that roamed around in its great
expanse dreaming up this place? I wasn't sure, but it made my skin crawl
thinking about it. There was no need for Auron to keep an eye on me, I stuck
to his side like glue.

There was no way of telling time, no sun or stars above, only our hunger and
weariness caused us to call a halt eventually. We all huddled together on a
ledge and shared our rations. Tidus frowned, and patted Yuna's arm awkwardly
before standing and facing away from us. He'd been acting strangely since
our latest meeting with Seymour. Yuna shifted over to lean against Kimahri
in his absence and the blue Ronso held her gently, stroking her hair.

I looked back at Tidus who had put his hand up to his face, his head bowed.
Was he crying? I wanted to comfort him, but I didn't want to draw attention
to his distress if no one else had noticed. This place was enough to make
anyone depressed, creepy and morbid like a tomb. We didn't rest for long,
for obvious reasons.

When we continued Tidus moved apart from us, walking along the side near the
edge of the path. He still had his sword in his hand, and he took desultory
slashes at the air from time to time, still frowning and still deep in
thought. I reached up and patted Auron's arm twice, then skipped over to
join Tidus.

"Tidus, is something wrong? You look kind of worried."

He stared back at me as though I'd offered him a lifeline, but he wasn't
sure how to grab hold of it. "Just thinking."

He looked across at the others then pulled my arm, drawing me into an alcove
tucked into the corner of one of the buildings. "Rikku, you care about Yuna
right? You wouldn't let anything happen to her?"

"Of course! Of course I do."

He nodded as though it was exactly the answer he expected. I felt more and
more confused, and worried about him. "Right. After we defeat Sin, I want
you to promise me you'll look out for her."

"Of course." He went to walk away but it was my turn to grab his arm and
pull him back. "Hey, wait a minute! You're going to be here, right?"

His blue eyes seemed to shimmer and I thought for a minute he was going to
cry. "Yeah, of course. I just..." his head turned away. "I'm just thinking,
what if...something happens. I just want to be sure someone will be looking
out for her if I can't. That's all."

"Okaaay." I didn't really believe him.

"And you...ummm...Yuna will be..."

"I know." I didn't want him to say it. To say 'when Auron is gone.' I would
have let him leave, but then he turned back to me. "You know what's going to
happen. To him." I shook my head but he took my shoulders in his hands. "I
know. I feel the same. I don't want to leave her, but...I don't think I have
a choice."

This time the shimmer in the ocean of blue of his eyes really were tears
forming. "You...?"

"Don't say anything! I don't want her to know, until I know for sure. You
understand?"

I nodded. "Why?"

"The fayth told me. And you're the one person who can help her. I want you
to tell her that I'm sorry. If there was anything I could do to change it I
would."

"Alright." I nodded, and he went back to walk by Yuna again. I caught up to
Auron who had noticed our absence and was waiting for us, his hand once more
resting on the hilt of his sword.

"Everything alright?" he asked me, and I nodded.

"Yep." I told him, but I wasn't really sure. I was just pretending and
hoping it would be true. We reached a doorway, and entered, finding
ourselves back in the mist, this time there were crystal shards glowing
brightly all around us.

"Where are we now?" Wakka asked.

We all looked around and eventually Auron spoke. "Deep in the bowels of Sin,
I imagine. We are getting close."

"Right!"

A path opened up when we touched all the crystals, a light that expanded and
filled our senses overloading our sight. When I could see again we were no
longer in the place we were. On a platform high above a glowing city, we
stood in the night air. We had arrived at last, at the fabled city of
Zanarkand.

It was true, Zanarkand, the city of Tidus's dreams existed here, inside Sin.
Jecht was standing facing away from us with his arms crossed. "You're late,
Auron."

"I know."

Tidus's father turned to us then. "Hey."

"Hi."

Hah! You got tall! You've really grown."

"Yeah, but you're still bigger."

"Well, I am Sin, you know."

"That's not funny."

Jecht started to laugh then. "Let's end this."

"Dad?"

"Yeah?"

"I hate you." Tidus was trying not to cry. I was shocked by his words, but
then I realised, he was telling Jecht that he really loved him, still loved
him, even after everything that happened. My own eyes filled with tears.

"I know. I know." He smiled at the boy, his boy, understanding too. "You
know what you have to do. Tidus, I'm sorry."

Then it began. Jecht walked to the edge of the platform. He raised his arm,
and a ray of energy began to stream through his body. It was killing him,
and I think Tidus realised what was happening when he ran forward, too late.
Jecht's body fell from the platform, and disappeared into the mist below.

An aeon appeared, the final aeon of Braska's summoning. I looked at Auron
who nodded, and took up the forward position and I raced up to take my place
next to him. I wasn't going to be left out. We fought side by side giving up
our places to the others eventually.

Auron leaned over his sword, panting from exertion. I leaned against him,
hugging him awkwardly and resting my face against his broad back. My hands
burrowed into his coat, stroking his chest. Yuna came over and rested her
hands on both of us. Then her eyes closed and she began to murmur a chant of
healing. I felt warmth suffuse me, and hugged Auron even tighter as strength
returned to my limbs.

"Thank you..." she said, and gave me a gentle smile before she went over to
perform the same ritual for Kimahri. Yuna had refused to summon any aeons,
so her role here had been just in support as the rest of us fought. Auron's
head turned to the side. "You're not going to fall asleep on me are you?"

I was embarrassed and straightened up letting go. "No!"

He chuckled and stood up straight. "Come back here." Then he pulled me
close, wrapping his arms around me as we watched, waiting for our turn to
come again. Tidus had taken Kimahri's place again, and in the strange way of
things his blow was the final one. A pyrefly flew from the aeon and began to
circle above our heads and the aeon collapsed into the swirling glow of
pyreflies. Instead of swirling away the cloud coalesced and Jecht was
standing there once more. He began to collapse to the ground but Tidus was
there before he could fall. He cradled his father's body in his arms.

Jecht looked up at him. "You're gonna cry. You always cry, see? You're
crying."

"I hate you, Dad."

Jecht coughed. "Save it for later."

Tidus nodded. "We have to finish this. For good this time."

"Good. You are my son, after all. I knew...you could do it."

Tidus sniffled. "You know...for the first time, I'm glad to have you as my
father."

"Sir Jecht." Yuna came forward, kneeling before the fallen guardian. "I
should..."

"No, there's no time. Yuna, you know what to do. The aeons, summon them."

Yuna nodded resolutely. "Yes."

That seemed to be all that he was waiting for. Jecht's form began to vanish,
pyreflies drifting upwards leaving Tidus kneeling there bereft. But he too
nodded, and rose to stand by Yuna.

"Here it comes!" Lulu called out, as the spirit that had been released from
Jecht's aeon rushed towards us. It slammed into us in a red haze, and once
more we were transported somewhere else. We picked ourselves up, to find the
world turned red.

"Yuna!" Tidus called out, and she began. She summoned them all, every aeon
that she'd journeyed through Spira to obtain was called, and in turn the
spirit of Yu Yevon, for that is what it was possessed them. We fought them,
striking them down in turn, destroying the dreams of the fayth forever.

As each aeon fell, Yuna would step forward and begin the process anew, her
sorrowful steps falling like rain upon the ground. Finally she summoned the
last, Valefor. The taloned serpent bowed his neck and she stroked his
feathers one last time. He looked into her eyes for a long moment as they
each sought and received forgiveness for this final betrayal, then he
launched himself into the air.

Yu Yevon showed no mercy, so we perforce showed none either. Tidus, Auron
and Kimahri disposed of the aeon this time, while Yuna turned to Lulu and
buried her face against Lulu's neck.

Finally it was over, and the aeons were freed at last. Yu Yevon buzzed
overhead like an angry bee, with nothing left to possess it finally took its
own form coming toward us and hovering in the air.

"Everyone! This is the last time we'll fight together, okay."

"Huh?" Wakka turned to Tidus. He ignored him, walking over to stand in front
of Yuna. "What I'm trying to say, is...when we beat this thing, I'm...going
to disappear."

"What are you talking about?" Lulu asked him.

He turned his head slightly, listening to her but his eyes didn't leave
Yuna's. "I'm saying goodbye."

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut, he was reminding me that every moment took
us closer, took me closer to losing Auron. "Not now."

I don't know if he heard me. He turned and faced Yu Yevon. Auron was grimly
determined as he stepped up beside Tidus, but before I could move forward
Wakka took up arms beside them. I don't know why, maybe Yu Yevon had so many
defences around him, but he was weak inside, like a coward that huddled
safely protected inside Sin. I didn't get a chance. I'd kept hoping that
something would change, that we'd get more time together. Now it was over.
Yuna brought her staff forward and began to dance, sending Yu Yevon to the
farplane that should have been his resting place a thousand years before.
She was going to send, not just him, but Sir Jecht, all the poor souls that
had never had a chance, freeing them from Sin's powerful sway at last. She
was also going to send Auron. I looked across as Yuna's dance began and saw
a pyrefly escape from his chest, beginning to rise to the dance of freedom.

I gasped and Yuna turned, startled by the sound. "Don't stop."

He spoke with effort, then he walked forward, stopping before Kimahri. He
rested his hand for a moment on the Ronso's chest in thanks before moving
foward to stand before Yuna. "But I..." she protested but he cut her off.

"It's alright." He told her. Then he looked at all of us in turn. When he
looked at me he was telling me something with his eyes. I shuddered, took a
deep breath and closed my eyes. Just before I squeezed my eyes so tightly
shut tI coI couldn't see I saw him begin to nod.

I heard his voice. "It's been long enough." Then a moment later. "This is
your world now."

I couldn't. I just couldn't. Never catch a glimpse of him as he stood beside
me, never hear his voice, or wrap my arms around him. Never feel his arms
surround me, or his kiss. I couldn't bear it. I opened my eyes, too late. A
fading glimpse of crimson and a rising swarm of pyreflies that danced
overhead, fading away was all that was left. Yuna continued to dance, but I
ran forward to where he'd just been standing, crazily thinking that I could
just pull him back from the void. My hands reached out ineffectually, and I
spun around in a circle, my eyes searching without belief.

"No." I muttered. I shook my head. "No. no. no."

Then a thought struck me. I felt against my chest, finding the lock of hair
still safely nestled above my heart. 'The spheres!' I would be able to see
him again in those. I rushed over to Lulu.

"Where are they?"

She gripped my shoulder hard. "What, Rikku?"

"The spheres we collected, from Braska's pilgrimage."

"I have them, here." She told me. I nodded, relieved and she drew up the bag
that contained her herbs and medicines, untying the purse strings. The
spheres all nestled safely within.

She put her arms around my shoulders, holding me while Yuna continued her
dance. Everything around us shifted as all of Sin was nothing but pyreflies
and dreams. I realised that somehow we were back standing on the deck of the
airship, the only thing that had been real and solid since we'd ventured
into Sin.

Yuna's dance had to stop eventually, exhausted, she paused. Almost
everything gonegone, and the pyreflies that had escaped sending, would no
doubt eventually find their way to the farplane with nothing to hold them
trapped in Spira. Thedus dus began to fade. He was looking at his hands, and
Yuna turned to him and shook her head.

"No..."

"Yuna, I have to go. I'm sorry."

"Yuna!" Kimahri lunged forward but he was too slow. She ran towards Tidus,
but instead of catching him she fell through him and onto the deck. She
stood slowly, not turning around. Tidus watched her, as pyreflies began to
escape from him too.

"I love you." She told him. A brief moment of pain crossed his face, then he
stepped over to her, and wrapped his insubstantial arms around her, as
though he would hold her for the last time. Then he walked forward, stepped
to the edge of the deck and dove. Gone. He was gone, just a fading dream of
the past.

Yuna didn't move. I let go of Lulu, and went over to her. "Yuna..." I didn't
care that she didn't respond. I wrapped my arms around her. "Do you
remember, that day on the calm plains? When we said...do you remember? We
said how happy we were, and I said 'I feel as though no matter what happens,
we'll always have this.' It's still there. I know it is. We just have to
remember."

The others left us standing there. She was like stone, but I began ty.
y.
"We just have to remember...Yunie." Then she melted, and we sank to the deck
of the airship together.

She whispered back "I remember." We sat together after that, and held on not
caring where the airship was taking us. After a while Lulu came back.

"Yuna, come on. Your uncle's wondering what happened to you two. And you
need to rest."

She coaxed Yuna up to her feet then looked down at me. "It's a mad house
down there. We went lower, and people were running after the ship, screaming
and crying. We can't land safely. I never would have believed it...anyway,
your father's taking us to the Calm Lands." She told me. "He wants to see
you too."

"I'm fine, Lulu. I'll come down soon."

She looked from me to the edge. I know what she was thinking. "I'm fine, I
told you. Even if I wanted to, Auron made me promise not to do anything
stupid."

"Forgive me."

"It's okay. I just want to sit up here and think for a bit. Just a bit
longer."

She supported Yuna as they walked away leaving me alone.

Nothing seemed real. I suppose it was shock, I knew he was gone, but I
couldn't really feel it yet. I just wanted to sleep for a week, but first I
had to go and talk to my Dad, and then I had to ask Lulu to give me the
spheres. The only other people that they mattered to, Auron, and Tidus were
both gone. I thought I had a right to have them now. And Yuna, but none of
them held images of Tidus for her.

I tried to think about the future, but it was a blank screen in my mind. All
I knew was that I had to be there for her, everything else was uncertain.
After spending all our time rushing towards Zanarkand and Sin, we were now
loose upon a strange new world. What would it be like? I didn't know, none
of us did any more. But it was now time to find out.


End of Part Thirty-two

Al Bhed translations:
Frana tu E myht? Frana? Frana? = Where do I land? Where? Where?
Fryd'c dryd ib yrayt? = What's that up ahead?
E tuh'd ghuh! = I don't know!


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