Alpha Redux

BY : Seven
Category: Final Fantasy X > General
Dragon prints: 768
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.

Here’s Chapter 8! The longest one yet, but it couldn’t be split up. I think you’ll like it, though. Oh, and reviews make me finish chapters sooner…hint, hint.. ;)
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“Hey!” Tidus objected, jerking away from the scantily clad woman who had just kissed him. “I thought you just wanted a hug?” He pulled his fingers down the corners of his mouth.

The leggy, big-chested blonde just smiled coyly at him. “I did,” she purred, “But then I wanted more.”

Tidus just smiled bashfully and shook his head. She was hot and he was flattered, really. But he gladly belonged to the hottest woman in Spira. And unlike some other blitzballers he knew, he was no cheater. “Well I’m taken, ya know.” He raised his wrist to her eye level and jingled the bracelet that Yuna had given him.

She giggled and blinked slowly at him, her eyelashes ing ing against her cheek. “I know.” That weird smile was still plastered on her face. “See you at your next game,” she said, turning and sauntering away.

“Huh?” Tidus thought aloud, scratching his head.

Geez. Bevelle women and Luca women were all nuts.

He sighed, and turned to continue his trek down the market row to the Café. The gang was supposed to meet there for dinner and hang out until Cid called Rikku on her wrist devthinthingy. Yuna and Paine were supposedkeepkeep Rikku occupied, while he, Wakka, and Lulu bought gifts and decorations for the party. However, he’d purposely split from Yuna, then from the group, to go pick up something he’d been waiting to buy for almost two whole weeks.

His mind returned to his encounter a few minutes ago. Since he’d been back in Spira, women were always trying to hook up with him or basically maul him like that chick just did. What was her name? LeBranc? LeBlanc? Tidus shook his head. He couldn’t remember. In his days back in Zanarkand, he loved getting that kind of attention from girls. Everyone thought he was a stud and he could get any girl he wanted to come home with him. But now, he was with Yuna and he only wanted Yuna. He was in love with Yuna and he’d never loved a girl in his life. Besides, every other woman paled in comparison to her. If a woman was good-looking, Yuna was better looking. If a woman was smart, Yuna was smarter. And so on. No one could compare.

‘Speaking of Yuna...’ he thought, reaching into his pocket. He pulled out his recent purchase -- a small velvet box. Stopping in the middle of the crowd of bustling people, Tidus popped the box open to check out the ring for the umpteenth time. It was so freaking cool. He really didn’t know much about rings, but he knew this one was special. And it would be to Yuna too. That’s all that mattered anyway.

Removing the ring from its case, he held above his head, up in the sunlight between his fingers. The bright sun glinted brilliantly off the gems in the gold ring. Four Macalania gems surrounded one rare Gagazet diamond in the middle. He wanted to have the Macalania gems because that was where he and Yuna shared their first kiss, and it was the most special night of his life. The Gagazet diamond was just beautiful, ‘like Yuna’ he thought sappily, and it was mainly for show because no one he knew in Spird ond one of the precious jewels in their possession, much less on a ring. Unless they were a Ronso, anyway. He wanted Yuna to be able to show it off.

‘Special, but expensive.’ He thought with a grin, slipping the ring and case back into his pocket. The ring itself was worth 600,000 Gil, but he gave Erchan the Jeweler 200,000 Gil plus season tickets behind the half line in the 20th row. (The best seats, of course because everything was at eye level.) And Tidus had also given him a game-worn, signed jersey of his to wear. It didn’t hurt that Erchan was a nice guy, who loved Yuna, and was a big fan of his. Money really wasn’t an object, since he was the highest paid blitzballer in the history of Spira and had the most endorsements of any player. But in the end, it was an awesome deal for everyone involved and he was happy with it.

Hopping up the steps to the Café, Tidus was excited to see Yuna. He was going to tell her about what had just happened with that woman, and she was probably going to laugh. Wait. Would she laugh? Or would she be upset with him? Tidus stopped in his tracks in front of the wooden doors and held his chin between his thumb and index finger. He then concluded that he would tell her later after he thought about what to say.

He pulled one heavy wooden door open and walked into the Café. The aroma of cooked food and ale greeted him and his stomach growled. Man, he was so hungry. He hadn’t eaten since this morning, and he’d let Lulu eat five of the seven eggs he’d scrambled. He chuckled to himself. Here, poor Wakka had to pay for her meal…and a half.

Tidus slowly turned his head from side to side, scanning the room for his friends. He hoped he wasn’t early. The place was packed, and almost every table and booth was filled with large groups. Even the bar had patrons lined up all around. Man, how was he going to find them without looking at every table? He couldn’t even see the tables outside in the back yet.
Just when he was resigned to searching the whole place, Tidus spotted Wakka’s bright, flame-colored hair near the back of the room. He stepped down from the doorway and began making his way through the tables. Lulu spotted him first, and raised a hand to signal him. He waved back, and quickened his pace. Not that he didn’t love signing autographs, but he was in a hurry to see Yuna.

Tidus’ face fell when he got to the table and saw the empty seats. Yuna, Rikku, nor Paine was there yet.guesguessed they were having a hard time buying things for Rikku when she was with them. ‘Oh well’ he thought, flopping down into the wooden chair next to Wakka and across from Lulu. They’d be along soon.

“Where’d ya go?” Wakka asked, chewing on a bamboo straw.

Lulu looked at him expectantly, raising a steaming mug to her lips for a sip. ‘Probably her third one’ Tidus thought. A sharp, bark of a laugh escaped him.

“What?” Lulu asked, her brow creased in a frown.

“Du..uh, nothing,” Tidus lied. She’d totally send him to the Farplane for real if she knew he was laughing at her. Quickly changing the subject, he added, “I went to buy something for Yuna.”

Wakka’s eyebrows crawled up his forehead. “What did ya get her?” he asked excitedly. “Where’s it at?”

He began looking Tidus over, and looked under the table, presumably for a bag or something. Tidus grinned, then looked around to make sure no one was sneaking up on them. Reaching into his pocket, he pulled out the box, but kept his hands under the tablecloth. “Check this out, guys.”

The table wasn’t that tall or wide, but the tablecloth reached the tops of his knees so it was easy to conceal what he was holding. They were going to freak when they saw this thing. “Here, put your hand out under the table” he instructed quietly, unable to contain his smile.

Tidus reached under the table and laid the velvet box in Wakka’s palm. As he did, he saw his friend’s eyes widen and his grin get wider as he realized what it was. Lulu leaned over, looking at Wakka’s lap and her expression was a milder match of Wakka’s.

Wakka’s lips pursed, and he let out a low whistle. Nodding and smiling smugly, Tidus leaned back onto the back two legs of his chair. Lulu’s amber eyes met Tidus’. “How much was this?” she asked slowly.

“Well, I had to wheel and deal, but it ended up costing me like 200,000 Gil plus some other stuff.” He leaned forward in his seat, crossing his forearms on the table. “Do…do you guys think she’ll like it?”

“You’re kiddin, ya?” Wakka laughed. “She gonna loooove dis.”

“It’s beautiful,” Lulu agreed, taking another sip of her drink.

Wakka handed the box back to Tidus, who slipped it back into his pocket. He was so glad they thought she would like it too.

He knew it was very nice, and any woman who saw it would love to wear it, but Yuna wasn’t like most girls. She was a simple woman with simple tastes in just about everything. Often, he and Rikku teased her, and called her an old woman because of it, but he secretly liked that about her. But being so undemanding, and almost low-maintenance, Tidus had been a bit worried that she wouldn’t like such an expensive, gaudy ring. Wakka and Lulu had eased his fears. Come to think of it, Lulu rarely wore her wedding ring because it was so expensive, and didn’t want something to happen to it. Maybe Yuna would do the s but but he wanted her to wear it.

“When do you plan to ask her?” Lulu asked, interrupting his thoughts. She was tearing open a small package of crackers with her nails.

Tidus sighed, feeling a sudden nervousness. Every time he thought about asking her, his belly felt like someone was kicking blitzballs around in it. It was his plan to get down on one knee and do it right, but he feared he would get light headed and faver ver or something embarrassing. That would happen to him, he thought in chagrin. “Next week, after everything dies down some.” He reached across the table and stole one of Lulu’s precious crackers. “I’m taking her camping.” He laughed, dodging a vicious smack on the hand from Lulu.

“Campin?” Wakka interjected with a laugh, “I think Yuna’s pilgrimage was enough campin for all of us, ya?”

The three all laughed at Wakka’s comment. It was true; he wasn’t as big on camping as he had been when he’d lived in Zanarkand. Back then, living in a metropolis with more city lights than trees made you want to escape to the peace and quiet of the woods. But after living on the land for nearly half a year, and sleeping on jagged rocks and bathing in ponds, being out in the wilderness didn’t really hold the same appeal. Well, bathing in the ponds with Yuna had been pretty sweet.

“Not just camping,” he replied, popping the cracker into his mouth. “First, I’m going to take her shopping and see that new orchestra she likes in Luca, then we’re gonna go Shoopuf riding, then we’re going to take chocobos out to Macalania and I’ll ask her there.” He held up his thumbs for approval.

His two friends nodded in agreement. “I think that is a wonderful idea,” Lulu smiled warmly. “The site of your first kiss. How romantic.”

Tidus quirked an eyebrow. How did she know that?

Lulu looked pointedly at Wakka after com comment, raising her mug to her lips again. “Why you lookin at me like dat, Lu?” Wakka asked, turning to face her.

She set her mug down to the table and rested her hands in her lap. “Like what?” The two met eyes.
Wakka tilted his head and turned his chair toward his wife, leaning closer to her. “You don think I’m romantic?” he asked, pressing a thumb into his solid chest.

Lulu regarded him calmly and raised her hand to softly stroke the stubble on Wakka’s jaw. “No.” The drink was being sipped again.

A stricken look crossed Wakka’s face, but slowlyed ied into his trademark boyish grin when he realized Lulu was kidding.
“You wasn’t sayin dat last night…” he leered, waggling his eyebrows.

Lulu’s eyes snapped over to meet Wakka’s again, and she used one hand to pinch the larger islander’s. Tidus laughed at their exchange. Their relationship was so weird to him. How could two people that were totally opposites be so much in love and get along so well?

As Wakka leaned over and planted a kiss on Lulu’s shoulder, Tidus wondered about he and Yuna’s relationship. They were pretty opposite. Like, Yuna was quieter and always thought things through while he acted first, thought later, and was almost as loud as Rikku. Although, he didn’t think anyone could be as loud as Rikku and still have a voice left.

He pushed his chair back onto two legs again, and crossed his forearms over his middle. Where were they? He really wanted to see Yuna, and he wanted to know what they had bought. The best thing about those three shopping together was that Yuna always came home with something skimpy and sexy that Rikku talked her into buying. She would tell him that she was never going to wear it, but of course, he would talk her into it. It was funny, most good-looking girls knew they were good looking and flaunted it. He honestly thought Yuna didn’t know how beautiful she was. Inside and out.

Wakka and Lulu watched him as he got up from the table. “I’m gonna go outsidd sed see if I can see the girls,” he said, throwing a thumb toward the door.

The two were now sitting shoulder to shoulder, and it looked like they were holding hands under the table. “Alright den, remember where we sittin, ya?”

Tidus nodded. “Okay.”

He made his way back through the clutter of tables, moving as fast as he possibly could without bringing too much attention to himself. He was vaguely surprised that no one had said anything to him yet, but he did hear whispering when he passed a few tables.

Once outside, Tidus stopped on the dusty wooden stoop to stretch. He raised his arms over his head and popped his back, squinting into the distance. He couldn’t see any of the three girls among the throng of people, but he did spot Bickson and Abus about 10 feet away. Dicks. For the life of him, Tidus couldn’t understand how a jerk like Bickson got the job to coach the junior league team in Luca. Scowling, Tidus shook his head. ‘Well, that’s politics, for you.’ He thought. He hoped he was at least nice to the kids.

Getting antsy, Tidus decided to walk around for a bit longer. Maybe by the time he returned, the girls would be at the Café. There were a few shops he wanted to check out, anyway. Maybe he could find another present for Rikku besides the new boots he’d bought her. Hopping down the wooden steps, Tidus didn’t make any eye contact with the two Lucans; he really didn’t want any shit started with them today. However, as he walked by, he heard Yuna’s name come out of Bickson’s mouth.

This, of course, stopped him in his tracks.

“Yeah, he probably doesn’t even know what to do with a woman like that. If I had her, she’d be begging for more everyday.” Bickson boasted. His arms were folded, and Abus was laughing at his raunchy comment.

Tidus walked up to them and unconsciously balled his fists at his sides. What the fuck were they talking about?

“Well. Look what the fiends dragged in,” Abus said, in some kind of cocky greeting. “Yuna’s bumbling lover and the pathetic Aurochs star himself.” The two bowed down in a mockery of respect, shaking with raucous laughter.

Tidus’ eyes narrowed. “I don’t care what you say about me, but don’t say anything about Yuna,” he growled. “She saved your sorry asses from Sin,” he added, incredulous at their lack of respect.
Bickson raised his hands in mock defense. “I wasn’t saying anything bad about her. I was just telling my friend here,” he patted the darker-complected Lucan on his back, “how much I would like a night with Lady Yuna. That’s all.”

“Not. Gonna. Happen.” Tidus gritted out, getting madder by the second.

Abus tilted his head, and crossed his arms. “Aw, we better leave him alone. He’s getting pretty pissed.”

Bickson laughed, never moving his eyes from Tidus. “You’re right,” he sneered, turning his back to Tidus.

Still angry, but thinking clearly, Tidus began to walk away. ‘Yuna would tell you to just walk away, so do it,’ he thought, turning on his heel. He ran a hand down his face, trying to wipe away the frown plastered to it. He was frowning so hard his face was getting sore. Breathing deeply, he felt the anger start to assuage a bit. He would take care of them the neime ime he swam onto the gamefield.

Just as he was taking his third step away from the Café stooe hee heard Bickson call his name. Turning, Tidus regarded him with disdain. “What?” he spat.

“Tell Lady Yuna that I would love to show her my…appreciation the next time she comes to Luca. I’ll leave my window open.” He grinned widely, and slapped a high-five with Abus.

That was it.

Red-hot anger burned in Tidus’ stomach and before he even knew it, he’d strode over there and popped Bickson to the dirt. The jackass was moaning, rolling on the ground and covering his suddenly bloody nose with his hands. The other patrons that had been socializing on the stoop had scattered, and frightened women and children were screaming and yelling for the Warrior Monks to stop the fight. Tidus was oblivious to this; he kept hearing Bickson’s words in his head over and over like a mantra. “Get up!” he barked, not ready to finish this fight. He’d been waiting to hit that asshole since the first day he met him in Luca and he was going to make this worth it.

Suddenly, a hand was on his shoulder and when he turned, Abus’ fist connected with his eye, causing him to see a burst of white light. The unexpected force of the sucker punch turned Tidus’ body completely around, and he fell to his knees.

Recovering quickly, he stood and turned just in time to see Abus flying into the wall next to the steps of the Café. Once he cracked into the solid wood, he slumped down and grabbed his head.

Confused, Tidus wheeled around and saw Kimarhi standing there with his arms crossed. ‘Thank goodness’ he thought, walking toward his friend. What was he doing here? He lifted a hand to his quickly swelling eye. It was gonna be ugly soon, and he needed to ice it. Tidus looked back over his shoulder at Bickson, and saw Abus helping his teammate up and stumbling their way through the jeering crowd that had gathered. Yep, that little confrontation was definitely gonna make the Sphere tonight.

Tidus moaned to himself. Yuna was going to kill him for fighting like that.

As he approached Kimarhi, he spoke. “Do you always have to be such a stud, Kimarhi?” he joked, in spite of the throbbing pain in his eye.

“Kimarhi always stud.” The Ronso said, grabbing Tidus by the bangs and pulling up to look at his face.

“Ow!” Tidus objected, but moved his hand nonetheless so his friend could survey the damage.

“Tidus need ice. We go inside,” Kimarhi rumbled.

“Ya think?” Tidus mumbled sarcastically.

The two stared up the steps, and Tidus saw a dark figure out of the corner of his eye. He turned his head and saw Paine, walking toward him with a purpose. Where were the other two? “Hang on, Kimarhi,” he said, walking back down the steps to meet her. Man, was something wrong?

It didn’t register to him that she had punched him until he fell onto the ground on his back. The crowd gasped, and his last thought before he lost consciousness was that he was going to look like a raccoon with two black eyes….


To be continued….


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