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 Six

"We're not lost. I'm not sure exactly where we are..." He looked around us again as he spoke. "but the lake curves around to the south-west. If we turn in a northerly direction we have to reach it eventually."

I found myself collapsing against him in relief. Hokedoked at me with a bemused expression. "What? You aren't afraid, are you Rikku?"

I turned my face away, shook my head quickly. "No, no, of course not." I straightened up and let go of him, but missed the warmth of his hands as they fell away from my shoulders.

"So, we should head that way?" and I pointed to illustrate what I thought was a northerly direction. Auron frowned and paused to consider our options.

He looked up at the trees around us. "Do you think if I give you a boost up you could have a look around?"

"A boost?"

"Yes, up into the tree." He gestured with his hands miming the action he intended but I raised my eyebrows disbelievingly. I looked around for a branch that looked sturdy enough to take my weight at the right height, then I began a short run up, a hopping jump then sprang up and grasped the branch, letting my momentum build into a graceful arcing swing. I brought my legs up and then hooked my knees over the branch, letting go with my hands and swinging upside down, watching Auron's face. I grinned at him. "Thanks for the boost, I don't think I could have made it without you."

"You..." He growled, but whatever he was going to say next he thought better of it. I swung myself back up and scrambled upright, hugging the tree trunk while I looked around. The view was disappointing, all I could see was whiteness in every direction. The trees around us all looked the same
"Ohhhh, it's no good. I can't see anything."

I looked down to see Auron's face turned up to me. "It was worth a try anyway." Movement caught my eye. I checked to be sure and there it was again, a faint shadow, no two, and then a third one, hugging the ground and heading our way. "Veahtc!"

"Fiends?" His sword made an ominous sound as he drew it. "Which direction, Rikku?" I pointed but he was staring around at eye level. "One following our trail. Two others flanking it left and right."

"Can you see what form they have taken?"

I stretched on toes and squinted at the swiftly moving shadows, barely darker than the snow. The one following our trail was low to the ground, nosing at our scent. "Wolves, I think."

He turned to face them with his back to the tree and I scrambled to reach ground level before they reached us. In my haste my foot slipped on the lowermost branch and I tumbled unceremoniously to the ground, landing in a deep drift of snow, which helped to break my fall somewhat although I was still winded from the fall.

Auron looked back at me and shouted something I think, but then the fiends were upon us. He held his sword in a defensive position, moving to stand in front of me while the creatures edged closer.

I sat up and drew my legs under me. "Can you run?"

"I think so." I wasn't sure, but I staggered to my feet anyway.

"Go then. I can hold them off." The fiends seemed angered by my recovery, they must have thought me an easy meal since they had the advantage of numbers over a sole warrior. One lunged at me, and I ducked too late, only saving myself from its slavering jaws by flinging myself back into the snow again.

Auron's sword arced over my head with a great whooshing sound, and a spray of blood spurted out of the creature's side as he hacked it from sternum to hip. The beast let out a blood curdling cry as it hit the snow the the force of the blow. It crawled back toward it's companions, trailing blood. The other two were now more ferocious than ever, lunging toward Auron in unison, then leaping out of reach of his sword, wearing down his strength.

I think he thought I had followed his instruction, leaving him there to fight alone, but I just couldn't leave him. I fumbled in my kit for a grenade and frantically searched for something useful to mix with the bomb fragments inside. Something flammable, but I didn't have time, one of the beasts had latched onto his arm and he'd managed a glancing blow with the flat of his blade which sent it circling back, but now blood was dripping onto his hand.

Finally, I found a vial of machina oil, and poured it into the cavity. My hands shook as I screwed the detonator mechanism back on carefully...then pulled the pin and began counting. One. I moved forward and stepped sideways, ducking under Auron's sword arm. Two...I crouched between his feet and brought my arm up in a graceful arc. Three...too soon, I held for another breath while I shouted a hoarse warning. "Get down!" Four. Resuming the arrested motion of my arm, releasing the grenade at the apex of it's arc, follow through...then I turned and rose...Five. I gave a mighty push against his chest, not sure how I moved a man of his size and strength but he was falling backwards, and I was following him down...the blast washed over us before my mental count reached six, a roar of heat that singed the backs of my legs and raced up my exposed back and arms. I turned my head to see the result of my handiwork, although there was really no doubt about the outcome. All that was left of the fiends were a few smoking pockmarks in the snow where the creatures entrails had landed.

"Dead." My head fell forward onto his chest in relief. "I thought we were a goner."

Auron said nothing, which worried me, so I raised my head to look at him. His chest was rising and falling rapidly beneath me, but his eyes, his eye, was closed, his face expressionless. His breath stirred my hair, a warm current of air that ebbed and flowed. His eye opened slowly, and he huffed in my face. "Do you think you could give me a little more warning next time you pull a stunt like that?"

"What?" I practically squeaked. "I saved your life, you great oaf, and don't you forget it." I waggled my finger in his face as I spoke, until he grabbed my hand in his and then winced quickly letting go again. "I owe you one, then."

I recalled the beast that had lunged at his arm while I was on the ground. "Oh, your arm! Let me see." I studied the injury. The creature's teeth had torn a jagged rent in his forearm, but the blood was flowing more slowly now, and I thought it would be okay if we could bind it with something. I had some potion, which would help a little to reduce the blood flow, and prevent infection while it healed. I sat up beside him, and rummaged in my kit until I found the right vial, plenty of time to do so now, then I poured its contents gently over the wound. While I worked I recalled how he had stood sentinel over me when the fiends would have surely torn me in two if he hadn't stood between me and them. It seemed he owed me nothing after all.

When I looked up he was watching me, but his gaze skittered away, somewhere up into the trees. I was abashed by the fact that he hid his feelings for me. I was already in love with him, but I still seemed to be falling, and I suppose it was as plain as day on my face. If he didn't want me to love him, then I was just making a fool of myself. I tried to keep a rein on the disappointment, proclaiming brightly "There. All better."

I moved away, my turn to hide from him. With my back to him I couldn't see his face, but his voice was gentle when he spoke my name. "Rikku." His hand came to rest on my back, then he sat suddenly, his hand moving over me urgently. "You're soaked through."

I shivered but didn't answer. Despite the grenade blast my clothes still clung wetly to me, but I hadn't really thought about it until he brought it to my attention. "You'll freeze out here."

I shrugged. "If we keep moving I'll be alright." I stood, waiting for him to be ready, but I was already starting to shiver in my boots.

"Don't be ridiculous. You're turning blue already." He'd picked his sword up from the snow and now rammed it point first back into the ground. "Take off your clothes." His hands moved to his belt, unbuckling it, and I gaped at him with surprise. "Now."

My mind had taken a twisting slide into a dark dream, thinking for a second that we were both going to undress here in the snow, and then...but then I realised he was removing his coat, for me. To give to me. I covered my head in my hands, wishing I could erase the thoughts that had just run through my mind. It was shameful, terrible, and the most shameful and terrible part was that it excited me too. What he would think of me if he knew frightened me, so much that my heart rate had trebled. I began to peel my top off with my back to him, hoping he wouldn't want to look at my face and read what was written on my countenance. When the top was free of my shoulders he took it from my hand and then I felt the soft drape of his coat over my shoulders. My shorts quickly followed, falling heavily into the snow. I stepped out of them, and he leaned down swiftly and gathered them up too. My belt was freed from the loops and he leaned around me, his hands bringing the belt around my waist to fasten the coat. I looked down at his hands, encircling me. He was looking down too, over my shoulder, and saw me the same way. The coat draped me loosely, exposing my breasts to view, my body bare all the way down to my toes. I shuddered and pulled the coat around myself while his hands moved methodically, carefully, buckling the belt. I thought he would pull away from me again, but instead he reached up to caress my face, his other hand found my shoulders, drawing me around towards him. I kept my head low, unwilling to look up at him after what he'd seen. "Are you crying?"

I didn't want to pretend that what I was feeling wasn't real, not any longer.

"E muja oiu." I whispered.

"I know."

I nodded miserably. I had tried to hide it and only drawn attention to myself. Of course he knew. "But you don't love me back."

"Look at me, Rikku." His hand held my chin, drawing my face up to his, just like that first day. My eyes were screwed shut, not wanting to face him, but he commanded me. "Look in my eyes."

So I did. Looked into him and saw a love so painful it couldn't be borne. It was my own love for him reflected back at me.

"No good." I whispered.

"No good at all." He replied, brushing away the tears on my face with a gentle touch.

I reached up, and gently traced the scar on his face, brushing my fingertips lightly over his sealed lashes, examining him with all the intensity I felt. My hands wandered across his brow, down his cheek, and came to rest quivering against his lips.

He stood silent under my ministrations, but then shuddered and seemed to come back from the silent world of feeling into which we had drifted. "This is crazy. I wanted to stop you falling in love with me, you know. It will only hurt you."

"It doesn't matter. E'mm muja oiu vunajan, yhofyo."

"It sounds so beautiful in your language, Rikku, but you musn't. We have to put this behind us and go on."

"We will. We will go on. But tell me you love me first."

"Rikku...Rikku. E muja oiu."

His arms tightened around me with the force of his spoken emotions. "E muja oiu, vunajan"

His lips met mine. We kissed forever, in a white dream of falling snow.

End of Part Six

Al Bhed primer and translation guide:

Veahtc! = Fiends!
E'mm muja oiu vunajan, yhofyo = I'll love you forever, anyway

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