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Silence. That's the only thing I could hear after he said those words. I couldn't believe it. I felt so cold, so empty, after that. I tried my hardest to put on the mask of happiness after that, but I know he saw through it. He always saw through my façade, didn't he? He still acted like nothing had ever happened between us when they were all there. Why did I ever keep hoping that he'd notice me when he always looked right over my shoulder? But then they'd turn away and he'd be there for me, with his suddenly love filled brown eyes. He was so kind behind their backs, so caring. He couldn't have possibly been so selfish as to… as to…
Leave. He just left me here, so selfishly, inside Sin. I was so alone. He knew as well, didn't he? Of course, he was so attentive, he would've noticed the signs with eagle-eyed accuracy. I couldn't believe it, I kept on thinking that he'd just appear just over my shoulder, that his scent of whiskey and cinnamon would attack my senses from behind like always. His constant presence that was so comforting after a while. But it never did. He really did go and leave me on my own, didn't he?!

Façade. A Facade. Was that all it was? Was that all his affection was? All he would he ever see me as? A façade for his normality? Did he ever care about anyone? Did he ever give a damn about us?! Did he even think twice before selfishly making bonds with us and then leaving like it was nothing?
No. It's not like he'd ever care. He was always quick to ignore anyone's feelings, except when he needed it! The more I look back on it, the more used it makes me feel angry. He did only use me, didn't he? Because I was the naive little girl, always quick to offer a hand, but then I got myself in way too deep. He was just there with his damn whiskey and his damn coat and his damn glasses! Ugh! Can his memory stop being hot, please? I'm trying my hardest to hate him! The more and more I think about it, the more he fades from my mind; that's a good thing, it's not like he's done anything good for me! I should've never even met him in the first place! If only I hadn't met him in the first place...

Stillness. My mind has stopped to a stand-still. I can't think or function properly; it's just the same pattern every day: get up, throw up, eat, act normal, be on an airship, comfort Yunnie, and sleep again. If only I'd never met him. If only I'd stayed away from him. If only he'd never relented to my advances. If only he hadn't l-left me that time. If only Yuna hadn't gone on the pilgrimage. If only Tidus hadn't been a dream. If h-he'd died that time!
No. I can't. It's too cruel! I can't eat, I can't breathe, I can't think; because every train of thought ends up with him.

It's getting easier to move around now, slowly the mask of happiness is being put back on more convincingly; the façade is easily replaced. And then we held his funeral; the quick and all too hurried event which took place to make me look less shameful. The drab way it was carried out made me cringe and made the rest of the world speculate. The news travelled all too fast and before I knew it I was inundated with ideas for salvation and hate left, right, and centre. Not one person gave a damn for him. But if only he were here then it'd be okay. But he's not. It's not fair! It's just all too much…

Shame. They look at me with disgust sometimes. Sometimes they look at me with pity. But I don't see it most of the time; my eyes are always on the ground when I go out. I always go out with Yunnie and Lulu, they protect me from the horrible stares. They don't look at me with eyes filled with disgust or pity; they look at me with eyes full of happiness for the coming life. They're excited, but I'm not. I can't feel anything but pain. The tears are so frequent, there's always a wet stream running down my once soft cheeks. My green swirly eyes that he said he loved are always downcast, always upset. Even Pa and Brother look at me with disgust sometimes. Even as they ask me the standard polite questions, it's there in their eyes. They were the ones who made me go through that damned funeral and even faked our wedding! He never loved me that much, it would never have happened. But the ring still weighs down my finger like it's made from heavy lead; the constant touch to my skin makes it feel as though it's scolding me. But it's only a simple band, they said, it'll be fine, they said. They were right and wrong I suppose. But whichever way, it still makes me think too much of him. I take it off when they're not looking.
However, I learnt to get better; the disgusted looks just bounced off me, my once puffy, red-rimmed eyes turned upwards, to find the animals in the clouds again with the once more with vivid green irises. My skin was no longer wet and became soft once more, the colour returned to my cheeks. I even tied up my hair every morning again, brushing it high out of my face instead of the long blonde strands cutting me off from the world. Lulu and Yunnie seemed happier then too, Wakka and Lulu had recently been married and Tidus had returned Yunnie's fervent prayers, their smiles seem warmer and the days seem a little bit brighter.

Secret. I'll always keep ours, even as the proof runs around in the golden sand. I'm okay now, Auron. There's still a heavy weight on my heart - I suppose it'll always have scars. But that's okay, I suppose. I have her now.
"Mama!"
She has his eyes and nose, with my rounded face shape. Her eyes have his colour too, mixed with a bit of the Al Bhed green and the signature swirled pupil. Her hair is dark brown too, just like a lighter version of his. She's beautiful Auron, she loves to run in the sand and build machines. But he'll never be here to see it. It's okay I guess. No, it's not okay, but I can accept it. It's never something I would choose; especially not for her; Hazel will never know her father. I tell her stories of him, but it's not quite the same.
I could hear somebody approaching behind me, probably Tidus or Yunnie asking if Hazel wants to play with any of their children. Maybe even Lulu or Wakka. They were all so kind to me in Besaid, they took care of me as though I would smash any second, even though it had been three years. I remember thinking that maybe I should've moved away and left Hazel with Tidus and Yunnie, I couldn't have given her anything except a broken mother.
"If only you'd come back and be here, Auron." I mumbled to myself, as I so often did.
I smelt a familiar scent of whiskey and cinnamon; Hazel had stopped running around and stared intently behind me. But I still looked out at the deep blue sea as the wind played with my blonde hair, not bothering to turn around or move to comfort Hazel. I thought it was just my mind, which so often recreates the scent, the warmth and the touch of his warm hand on my shoulder... Wait, the touch? I turned into the familiar feel of red fabric and hugged him like I'd never let go. I felt Hazel come up behind me and clutch onto my leg with her tiny hands. I felt him untangle my hands and look down at the small girl who stared up at him with wide, confused green brown swirled eyes. He chuckled and picked her up into his arms, Hazel was surprisingly soothed by it – something she never was with strangers.
"But I am home, Rikku."