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Never Felt So Alive

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It had been so long, so long since I've felt any kind of twinge of feeling in my dead heart. I had grown accustom to the constant numbness that had taken up home in my body since that fateful day in Zanarkand. Granted, I had never been a very emotional guy on the outside. But in my younger days, I felt things, strong things, just like any other normal man. After my not so convenient run in with Yunalesca, it took an act of Yevon to coax anything more than an aggravated grunt from my lips. You can imagine my imminence surprise when I felt my phantom heart almost come to life at the sight of a young blond haired girl as she unclasped the hooks that held her armor on, letting it fall to the ground. She pealed her wet suit off, every inch exposing more and more of her tanned skin underneath. Her body glistened as beads of water ran down her tone legs. Finally she reached for her helmet, pulling it off, revealing the most stunning facial features I had ever seen. I mentally cursed myself. It was obvious this girl was really young. Much younger than me. It was wrong to think of her this way. Besides, I was still here on this earth for one purpose only, to fulfill a promise I made to two friends ten years ago. I did not have time to dabble in such things.

She sighed in relief, slightly shaking the water from her head.

"Thought I was done for, back there. "Her voice was high and still had a youthful tone.

Tidus gasped, looking as if something had just donned on him.

"Rikku!" He exclaimed as the small girl slipped to her knees, still trying to recover from an event prier. "You're Rikku!"

Rikku was her name. I loved it. Something about it just seemed to fit her perfectly. I watched as they talked. Tidus squatted down next to her, making some kind of comment on how rough she looked. It was true. She looked a little beaten up. I allowed my good eye to graze over her skin, strictly looking for injuries of course. I paid no mind to the way her damp clothes clung tightly to her small body.

She rose up quickly, jabbing a thin finger towards Tidus, clearly upset about something. I watched as they stood and continued their conversation.

Out of the corner of my eye I saw Wakka walking past me with the rest of the group following. I too decided it was time to interrupt the two.

"Yo!" Wakka shouted as we walked to their location, "Friend of yours?"

"Uh," Tidus said, rubbing the back of his neck nervously. "You could say that."

"Pleased to meet you!" She chirped cheerfully as she waved her hand. "I'm Rikku!"

"Yuna, Lulu, I told you about her, remember?" Tidus asked, turning towards them. "She's the one who helped me before I was washed up on Besaid. She's an Al Beh…Beh…"

He choked on the last word he spoke, almost revealing too much to Wakka. But it was enough for the girls to catch what he was trying to say. I also realized rather quickly.

"Wow! So you like, owe her your life! What luck meeting here, ya?" Wakka said in astonishment, Tidus's slipup clearly going over his head. "Praise be to Yevon!"

He bowed his head and did Yevon's Prayer before also commenting on her beat up appearance. But before she could reply, Lulu interrupted.

"Uh, Wakka…?" She said uncertainly.

"Huh?" Wakka said as he turned to face her. "What?"

She cast a look over her shoulder when Yuna spoke next.

"There's something we need to discuss." She stated quietly.

"Oh," Wakka replied. "Go ahead."

I watched as Rikku ran from Tidus's side, to Yuan's.

"Girls only!" She proclaimed, pointing her finger. "Boys please wait over there…"

Wakka grunted in confusion before Lulu apologized, walking away with the girls.

They talked for a handful of minutes. Rikku seemed to always be moving. It was as if she couldn't keep her body still. She had so much energy. I watched the child like way she waved her hands around as she talked. Lulu seemed to listen carefully to whatever the girl had to say before she nodded her head and walked back over to the group with the girls trailing quickly behind her.

"Sir Auron?" Yuan's timid voice called out to me. I directed my full attention to her as she approached. "I would like Rikku to be my guardian."

Her request didn't come as a surprise to me. I slid my gaze over to the small girl. She was fidgeting, clearly nervous. I walked closer to her to get a better look. She seen my advancement and turned her face from me.

"Show me your face." I instructed. She didn't do as I asked. "Look at me." I said a bit harsher, not taking kindly to being ignored.

"Oh," She said hesitantly. "Okay." She lifted her face, but shut her eyes. I had to keep myself from sighing in irritation.

"Open your eyes." I demanded.

She slowly did as I requested, sliding just one eye open. They were a beautiful sea green color with a dark swirl in the middle. The mark of the Al Bhed. My suspicions were confirmed.

"As I thought." I mumbled. She started to fidget again.

"Um, No good?" She asked nervously.

My chest tightened slightly at the casual way she asked if she wasn't good enough to join us. How many times had she been told that before I wondered? I paused for a moment, rolling it around in my head.

"Are you certain?" I asked the young Al Bhed.

She finally raised her head high, looking me in the eye.

"A hundred percent!" She said with confidence. When I didn't give my verdict right away she became impatient.

"So… anyway, can I? She asked urging me on. I felt like I was giving a little girl permission to play with her friends, which made my body's involuntary attraction to her all the more concerning. I quickly swept away those thoughts.

"If Yuna wishes it." I answered.

Yuna flashed me one of her sweet smiles.

"Yes, I do."

I gave a curt nod and walked off while Tidus began to brag on her for helping him in the recent past. I heard Wakka give his approval. It was surprising to me how he devoted himself to hating the Al Bhed, yet he couldn't spot it in this small girl.

"Rikku, at your service!" I heard her mew happily from behind me.

I was glad the collar of my jacket came up so high. It hid the small smirk that pulled at my lips. Having her tagging along for the ride was going to make things a little more interesting.


I am more than embarrassed to admit, against all the restrain I could muster, I found myself staring at her more often than not. The way her small, underdeveloped hips swayed as she walked, or the way she would press a thin digit to her youthful lips when she was deep in thought, or the way her chest would heave up and down rhythmically and her face would be coated in a delightful sheen of sweat after a hard fought battle. These were all things that called my undivided attention to her. It was starting to become a distraction.

"Ah Great." Wakka groaned as we attempted to fight off some Machina. "I hate these things!"

"Me too! They are so hard to take down!" Tidus chimed in before he jumped towards one, swinging his sword quickly, only doing minor damage. "Even Auron has a hard time with them!"

"Humph." I grunted in distain before I swung my heavy weapon. The familiar fiend quickly moved, dodging my attack. "Shit." I cursed under my breath.

"Hey! Let me have a whack at it!" I heard a youthful voice call out from behind me.

I turned and looked over my sunglasses at the Al Bhed girl who was jumping up and down in place. I took in her small, but toned, figure. My eye lingered on her body a tad bit longer than it should have. I wasn't sure a tiny girl like her could stand a chance against a stronger fiend, but this was a Machina after all, and she was an Al Bhed. She might know a trick or two when it comes to taking them down.

"I don't know Rikku." Tidus said, still in his battle stance. "These things are pretty tough."

"Humph!" She huffed while crossing her arms and turning her head in the air. "I'll have you know I'm pretty effective against these types of Machina!"

"Eh?" Wakka said while raising his eyebrows at Tidus.

"Well…" Tidus thought for a moment. "What do you think Auron?"

I looked towards the girl again. She clasped her hands behind her back and gave me a sheepish smile. My words always come out harsher than intended it seemed.

"She is a guardian after all. This is what she signed up for." I said simply as I lowered my weapon and slid my jacket back over my exposed shoulder.

My rough words didn't seem to affect her at all. In fact, they seemed to spark a determined glow in her beautiful green eyes.

"Right!" she said as she ran up beside Tidus and Wakka, crouching down into a battle stance.

I watched her curiously as she carefully studied the Machina before her. Her swirled eyes quickly made a mental map of the fiend.

"Hah!" She laughed confidently. "This will be easy."

I have to admit, her confidence was attractive. She was a very determined little girl. Although she was a little cocky. That could also be dangerous. She stepped towards the hunk of metal quickly and her hands flashed over its exterior with lighting speed before she jumped back. The Machina fell apart before our eyes.

"See?" She said as she straightened up, placing a hand on her hip. "I can steal things off of fiends too."

"Woah!" Tidus and Wakka both said in unison.

She turned her thin body towards me, looking me in the face with an uncertain expression. What, was she looking for my approval I wondered? I gave her a single nod, hoping that conveyed that I was pleased with her work. It must have done the trick because a huge smile erupted on her face before she turned back around to the other guys. They walked over to her and patted her on the back, complimenting her skills. I watched for a moment while she drunk in every drop of their praise before I spoke.

"Come, We've no time to waste."


Yuna had insisted that we go by the Farplane so she could talk to her parents about Seymour's recent proposal. I shuddered. The Farplane was the last place I wanted to be right now. I would be there permanently soon enough. I wanted to object. I wanted to tell her this was a waste of time and that we needed to move on. We had already had to stop and wait for Seymour at his home for a long while before he even came out to speak to us. The only thing that made not open my mouth then was when my eye caught the sight of a blond haired girl standing beside a huge table of food in the middle of the room we were all piled in. Rikku was holding fruit in both of her hands, greedily taking bites out of them.

"Mmh," she'd hummed happily with a mouth full of food. "This is good!"

It was then that my eye caught sight of a small bead of juice, slipping slowly from the corner of her plump lips. I watched as it ever so slowly dripped from her mouth, down her chin, shimmering as the lights danced off of it. I had never been so jealous of a liquid in my life or death as I watched it slip down the smooth, tan skin of her young, wrinkle free neck. I almost allowed myself to wonder what sounds she would make if a younger me were to use my tongue to carefully lap it off of her sweet skin.

I had decided then as I watched her that maybe waiting for Seymour for a few moments wouldn't be so bad.

But a trip to the Farplane as well was pushing it. But when I turned to Yuna to speak, the look on her face stopped me. She was upset. My determination immediately vanished and I inwardly sighed. If this would help calm her, so be it.

We stood at the steps that led to the Farplane. I half listened as Tidus asked the usual questions that he asked when he was presented with things he didn't understand. The group always tried their best to answer him, but this time Wakka insisted that he would see when we got there. I quietly slipped away from the group and took a seat on the bottom of the steps. The rest of the party began to ascend, but Tidus turned around and spotted me.

"Aren't you coming?" he asked me over his shoulder.

"I do not belong there." I said simply. Not just yet I thought.

"Ohohoho, you're scared!" He said with excitement, as if he had found a flaw in me he'd been searching for.

"Searching the past to find the future... This is all that is there. I need it not." I explained in an even tone. I knew what my future held.

He stood there for a brief moment just looking at me as if he was trying to read me. I have to admit, he was beginning to make me a little on edge.

"You'd better be going." I said, trying to move him along. A small voice came from behind me when he hesitated again.

"You're not really going to see the dead, more like your memories of them. People think of their relatives and the pyreflies react to them. They take on the form of the dead person- an illusion, nothing else." Rikku said. Her voice held a sad tone in it.

I nodded slightly. She was right. She was so young, and when you looked at her, you could tell. But sitting here with my back to her, just listening to her words, she held wisdom beyond her short years.

"Hmm..." Tidus hummed in thought.

"Well, have fun!" Rikku said with a quick wave.

"What," Tidus asked. "You're not going either?"

"I keep my memories inside." Rikku said as she fidgeted slightly.

"Huh?" Tidus asked. She gave a sad smile.

"Memories are nice, but that's all they are." The sad tone crept its way back into her light voice.

I heard her almost silent footsteps as she made her way to the railing opposite to me and took a seat. I glanced at her out of the corner of my eye as she swung one of her tanned legs over the railing, dangling it back and forth. Tidus finally turned towards the swirling oasis that led into the Farplane and began to walk through it. I sighed, wanting to be out of this place as soon as possible. There was something so taboo about a dead guy hanging around the Farplane.

"So..." I heard Rikku's melodic voice call to me. "I wanted to say thanks for giving me your blessing to be Yuan's guardian." I hid my smirk behind my coat.

"It's Yuna's privilege to have who she wants as her guardians." I stated.

"Well, y-yeah." she stuttered, my bluntness catching her off guard. "But she looks up to you. If you would have said you didn't think it was a good idea, she would have listened."

I thought about this for a second, then gave a small nod. She was probably right.

"Also..." she started again, a little hesitant this time. "Thanks for not... ya know... telling Wakka I'm an Al Bhed. He wouldn't have wanted me around." This tugged at my still heart.

"You are not an abomination Rikku." I said before I could stop myself, though it came out a bit harsh. "There is nothing wrong with you. If Wakka thinks there is, then he is the one who has a problem."

I heard her take a sharp intake of breath, surprised by my words. To be honest, I was too. I meant everything I said, I just usually didn't voice what I feel. Her quiet footsteps registered in my ears before I felt her presence slide to the floor beside me. I turned to face her and had to stop myself from jumping back. Her face was inappropriately close to mine. Her sea green eyes were damp and glistening. She was studying my face carefully, trying to read my thoughts, an impossible task. I stared back, awaiting her reaction.

"Why do you wear your collar so high?" She asked before she reached her delicate hands up, gripping it, and pulling it down slowly to expose my face.

She has no respect for personal boundaries what so ever. I couldn't help but widen my good eye at her. I watched as her curious eyes grazed across the rough stubble that was on my face. I was almost self-conscious of the salt and pepper color it held. She has probably never even thought about grey hair. She had a long while before she would have to worry about something like that. Her smooth features captivated me. I bet they felt so soft to the touch.

"That's better." she whispered. Her breath cascaded over me. It smelt like the sweetest candy I had ever smelt in my whole life. I'm sure she would have tasted just as sweet. I mentally cursed myself. This is wrong. She's so young. I need to stop her.

Just as I was about to open my mouth and tell her she was being inappropriate, she closed what little distance there was between us, brushing her plump pink lips to the rough stubble of my cheek. It lasted half a second. It was so sweet and so innocent, but my body was reacting a different way. It took all of my will power to not think about ripping those skin tight clothes off of her small body.

"Thank you, Auron." She whispered again, giving me the sweetest smile.

That's what she was doing. She was thanking me. Nothing more. I gave her a small nod.

"You're welcome." I grunted back to her.

It could have been my imagination. It probably was. But I could have sworn I saw her eyes flicker to my lips before she let go of my collar. She leaned back and placed her hands on the ground behind her, letting her head fall back. I looked away from her and stared straight ahead. After a few moments of silence she spoke.

"You know, you're awful quiet." She said. I smirked.

"And you're awful loud." I retaliated.

"Hey!" she cried as she snapped her head back up to glare at me. I gave a short chuckle. "You don't have to be so mean ya know!"

"Kidding." I said with just a small trace of humor in my voice. She huffed and crossed her arms over her chest, pouting like a kid.

It only took a few short moments before the pout fell from her face and she dropped her hands in her lap, twiddling her thumbs nervously. I knew she wanted to say something. After a couple of long minutes of silence passed and she didn't open her mouth I decided to ask. I could see how I might seem a little unapproachable.

"What is it?"

"Hmm?" she said as I looked over at her and her eyes met mine again.

"You want to say something." I stated.

"What?" she said as her eyes widened. "How did you know?" I lowered my good eye to her hands in her lap, trying my best not to look at where her short shorts met her tan thighs.

"You're fidgeting." I stated matter-of-factly.

"Oh." she said softly as she pulled her hands apart.

"So?" I asked again. She gave a sigh and dropped her head.

"My whole life I've been proud of who I am. I loved the fact that I was born into the Al Bhed. I wouldn't change it for the world." She started fidgeting again. "But, other people don't see us in a good light. They think we are bad people, all because of Yevon's teachings! They see us as animals, but that's not how it is ya know? We are humans with families, and loved ones, and feelings too! And even though I'm not embarrassed of what I am, sometimes I feel... unworthy of other people's affection... ya know?" She finished as she looked up at me.

I studied her face carefully. Her smooth youthful cheeks were tinted red with embarrassment. Her eyes yearned for acceptance. But why from me I wondered? I'm not good with comforting people with words or actions, but something about her made me want to protect her from the world's harsh judgment. I raised my gloved hand and placed it on her knee, giving it a small squeeze. The display of affection felt wrong, but also right at the same time. It brought a smile back to her face none the less.

I went to remove my hand from her knee, but she placed her tiny palm on top of it, keeping it in place. I felt a desire for her surge through my dry veins. I was surly condemned to hell for my lusty thoughts of this young girl. She tugged my hand up slightly, settling it in a more comfortable position on her leg before she wrapped her thin fingers around it. I didn't pull it away like I should have. I simply let her hold it, against my better judgment.

We sat like that for a long time, just passing the time together. I listened to her as she occasionally hummed quietly to herself. Once a significant amount of time had passed by I spoke.

"They will be returning soon."

"Yeah." she sighed. "I guess you're right."

I slipped my hand from her leg and she stood to her feet. I stole a glance at her as she stretched her small body, lifting her arms into the air. The movement caused her already short shirt to be tugged higher up her abdomen, exposing her tiny bellybutton and her perfectly tan tummy. She was absolutely addicting to the eyes. She turned and began to walk back to her spot on the railing.

"Auron?" She called, looking over her shoulder at me. I simply turned towards her. "Thanks again." She said shyly before walking over to the railing and sitting down just as she was before Tidus left.

I heard the clicking of footsteps against the ground as the group began to exit the Farplane and walk our way.

"Rikku." I said quickly.

"Yes?" She asked in a curious tone, surprised I called to her.

"..You are worthy..." The words felt a little strange coming from me, but I'm glad I said them. She flashed me a sweet smile and gave a nod before the group reached us.

We both wore smiles. Hers shined bright. Mine, like the rest of my life, remained concealed.


Rikku looked like she was paling in color as she reluctantly dragged her feet across the ground. I thought about asking if she was okay, but then decided against it.

It didn't take long before we made our way to the Thunder plains.

"Oh no..." Rikku whimpered from behind me. "We're here." it didn't take much to figure out that for some reason she was scared of thunder.

The group began explaining to Tidus how the thunder plains worked as Rikku inched closer and closer the ground. A crack of lightning flashed across the sky and she yelped in fear.

"I think I forgot something in Guadosalam." she said quickly, looking for a way to not have to cross the Thunder Plains.

As much as I wanted to comfort her, I was growing impatient of our prolonged journey.

"Nice knowing you." I said harshly to her as I began to walk forward.

She looked up at me with wide eyes.

"Okay, Okay! I'll go!" she yelled as she slowly made her way forward.

I smirked behind my collar. I didn't really want to leave her here. But I wanted to get a move on with the pilgrimage. Too many things had already held us up. We made our way through the Plains rather quickly, getting about half way before anything stopped us.

Lighting crashed loudly next to the group, causing everyone to jump back.

"Whoa!" Tidus yelled.

"Whoa-hoho!" Wakka joined in with a laugh. "That was a close one!"

"Stop kidding around." Lulu scolded.

"Yes ma'am." Wakka replied, hanging his head.

"Heh heh heh heh heh heh heh..." Rikku mumbled as she covered her ears desperately trying to block out to storm.

Everyone turned to look at her.

"Hmm? What's wrong?" Wakka questioned.

"Eh heh heh heh heh heh heh..." she mumbled again.

"Heh heh heh... you're givin' me the creeps!" Tidus yelled at her.

Another loud crack of lighting zipped across the sky causing her to cower down on the ground. I have to admit, I did feel kind of bad for her.

Suddenly she crawled her way quickly towards Tidus and latched onto his leg. The whole group jumped back.

"I wanna go home! I hate lightning! I hate thunder! Let's go rest over there!" she said as so pointed to a nearby inn. "Please?"

Tidus shrugged his shoulders and looked towards me. I thought about this for a second. I did not enjoy seeing Rikku so afraid, but we didn't have time for this kind of thing. Stopping now would be pointless.

"This storm never stops." I explained. "Better to cross quickly."

"I know, but..." she started as she looked up at me with watery eyes. "Just for a little while?" she pleaded. Tidus rubbed the back of his neck and looked down at the thin girl holding onto his leg like a child.

"Heh, well? What now?" He asked.

I shrugged and we began walking again. I did not want to stop just yet. Tidus too slipped his leg from her grasp and began walking with us.

"Pretty please? Just for a few minutes? I'm scared of lightning!" Rikku begged and pleaded as she coward by the inn. "Pretty please? I'm too young to die! You're mean... cruel!"

With every step we took she would whine more and more.

"Your moms would be ashamed of you! Are you having fun doing this to me?"

I finally grunted loudly in exasperation.

"Fine, we rest. She's worse than the storm." I said curtly.

She jumped up and down for joy before she bolted towards the inn. I rolled my eyes and followed the group into the inn. She was so stubborn.

Once we got the arrangements figured out, we all headed into separate rooms for the night. I used the rare privacy to strip clean of my clothes and give them, and myself, a nice wash. Once satisfied with my hygiene I put on a clean pair of boxers and pulled my wet hair back and fastened it behind my head.

Once I was finished I sat on the edge of my bed. I was just about to get comfortable for the night until I heard a timid knock come from my door. I sighed.

"What is it?" I demanded, thinking Tidus had some sort of question that couldn't wait until the morning. But the voice that answered me was small and shaky.

"Auron?" I heard Rikku say from behind the door. I raised my eyebrows.

"Rikku?" I asked, slightly taken off guard. "What is it?"

"Um… uh…" she stumbled over her words. "Can... Uh… I come in?"

I glanced down at my body and examined how much skin I was showing.

"No." I said harshly, hoping it would be enough to send her away. I should have known better.

"Pretty please?" she asked again.

A huge crack of thunder ran out and I heard her cry in fear. Something tugged in my chest and I sighed in defeat.

"I'm… not decent." I tried to explain.

"I don't care!" she squealed out. I could already picture her crouched in the floor with her hands over her ears, like a child. I sighed once more.

"Alright… come in."

No sooner than the words left my mouth did she bust through the door and quickly crawl her way on all fours towards the bed. Once she was close enough she jumped up, straddled my lap and wrapped her arms around my neck, clinging tightly to me.

I truly enjoyed the contact, more so than I should have. But the fact that I was wearing next to nothing was making things a little awkward.

"Uh… Rikku-"

"I hate thunder! I hate storms!" she cried out as she buried her head in my neck.

I didn't hold her. I didn't try and comfort her. I simply just let her cling to me and try to hide from the storm. I was too busy fighting my own inner demons. Her thin body pressed against mine was enough to cause my will to waver.

Another strike of lightning lit up the sky and she pushed herself hard against my chest, causing me to tumble back on the bed with her on top of me. We stayed this way, unmoving for a long moment before she opened her eyes and straightened up.

"Where are your clothes anyway Auron?" she asked curiously. I watched as her eyes traced every single scar I had visible on my chest and shoulders. My skin felt like it was burning under her heavy stare.

"I'm washing my clothes." I tried to reply evenly, even though Rikku was straddling my lap in a not so innocent like way.

"Hey! That's a good idea!" she cried out as her fingertips inched towards the hem of her own shirt. I watched in horror as she gripped it. "Think we can wash mine too?" she asked before she pulled it over her head, leaving her torso clothed in nothing but a thin yellow bra.

My resolve was almost broken. She was way too young. She only wants her clothes washed. Nothing more. This is wrong.

"Hey…" she said as she placed her hands on the bed next to either side of my face. She was studying me. I had no barrier up to protect myself. My clothes were gone. The only thing that remained was my glasses. "Are you okay?" she asked, leaning closer to me. "Am I making you uncomfortable?"

I didn't know how to answer that question. Her face started to show dread when I didn't answer right away.

"No." I said quickly, then cursed myself. I should have said yes and told her this is not how young girls should act with older men.

My good eye moved without permission, slowly raking itself up and down her toned torso, drinking in the sight of the small curve of her breasts and hips. It stopped when it came to the spot where her hips stopped and mine started. A hot twinge of desire rocked through me as my body reacted to hers.

Suddenly she got a mischievous glint in her eyes.

"Ohh…" she said as she smiled in a way I had never seen her smile before. Something about it was… sexy. "I know what's wrong." She half sang as she rolled her hips slightly against my groin.

I sucked in a sharp intake of breath as my desire grew.

"Rikku." I warned in a strict tone as I gripped her tightly by her arms, ready to remove her from my body.

"What's wrong?" she whined like a kid. "Let me help you."

"What?" I questioned. "What are you talking about?"

"I think you know..." she hummed lowly as she rocked against my lower region once more.

My body jolted as if it was shocked. The sensations that she sent crashing through me were unbearable.

"Rikku!" I scolded once more. "Are you crazy?"

She shook her head back and forth.

"No, I'm not. I'm being serious!" she said as I stared at her with a wide unbelieving eye. "Please Auron?"

She was talking so casually about it like she was asking permission to buy an ice-cream cone.

"Rikku, trust me, I'm not the guy for you." I tried to explain.

"You don't have to be." She said smoothly. "It's not like we're gettin' married."

I couldn't believe this young girl would even consider doing something like this with me. I was so much older than she was. It was wrong to even think about. Yet here she sat, straddling my lap, asking me to have sex with her.

"It's a dangerous job we have you know, with being Yuna's guardians and all. We could die any day, right?" she questioned. When I didn't answer she asked again, leaning into me. "Right?"

"Yes." I said evenly.

"So doesn't it make since to live everyday like we won't make it to tomorrow?" she urged.

"Yes, but Rikku… I'm more than twice your age." I tried to dissuade her

"I don't care about that!" She whined. "I want to know what it's like, and I trust you to show me. I may never get this close to anyone again!"

"Wait, you've never…?" I questioned as I raised an eyebrow at her. She bit her lip and shook her head shyly. "And you want me to…?" A cheeky smile spread across her smooth lips as she nodded her head eagerly.

I placed a palm to my face and shook my head. She's a virgin. Of course she is. She's too young to have been with anyone yet. I sighed and looked up at her. Her sea green eyes were burning into my own.

If I do this, then I could get over this taboo physical desire I have for the small girl and get on with the mission without any distractions. This will end all my inappropriate thoughts of her. Yes. Maybe this is exactly what I need to do.

The room nearly shook when another loud boom of thunder rang throughout the inn. Rikku buried her head against my neck with a yelp. Her hot breath cascaded down my skin as the time passed by.

"Please Auron?" she asked one last time. "Distract me."

Her lips brushed over my skin as she placed one needy kiss to the soft spot in my neck. I finally grunted in agreement before I flipped us over, placing myself on top and pining her to her bed. I was positioned between her legs, drinking in the sight of her blushing body as my yearning for her grew by the second.

I bent down and captured the sweet tasting skin on her neck with my mouth, sucking and teasing her smooth flesh with my rough tongue. She gasped and hummed in delight, the sound was much more intoxicating than anything I could have dreamed up. It was innocent, yet wicked at the same time. I wanted to hear more. I licked and lapped my way down her neck, to her collar bone while my hands made quick work of her bra. I snapped it off and tossed it across the room.

"Mmm… you've done that before." She teased as I pulled my mouth away from her body to examine her small breasts.

She wasn't wrong. I was pretty experienced in the matter, but they were mostly all one night stands. If things go to plan, this time with Rikku was going to be one as well. I tried not to think about that as I bent my head back down to capture one dark pebbly nipple between my teeth.

She gave a throaty moan as I rolled it around in my hot mouth, teasing her peaks ever so slowly with my tongue. She was involuntarily grinding her hips against me and I knew it was time to explore new regains. I switched nipples and began working on the other one as my fingertips ever so lightly trailed down her tone stomach and hooked the waistband of her shorts. With an agonizingly slow speed, I tugged them down her tanned legs before I tossed them away like her bra.

Her panties were also a bright yellow color. They were also thongs. This surprised me. I removed my mouth from her once more and glanced up at her with questioning eyebrows. She smiled sheepishly down at me and gave a shrug. I half chuckled before I glanced down at her sex. I didn't have to touch her to know she was soaked. Her thighs were glistening under the dim light from the room. It was impressive really.

I slid a single finger along her slit over her panties. This coaxed out the most spine tingling moan I have ever heard in my life.

"Oh Auron… that felt so good." She whispered as she lifted her head off the bed and watched me. "Do it again."

I did as she asked and slid my finger down her small slit once more, this time putting more pressure where I knew her sensitive little bud was.

She bucked her hips hard against my hand and cried out again in ecstasy. At this point in time I was thankful for the loud storm that surrounded us. It was enough to drown out her cries of pleasure. I decided to stop teasing her and I pulled off her panties in a similar way that I pulled off her shorts. She was fully exposed to me now. Her sex was quivering and dripping. I had never seen a woman so turned on in my life. I quickly stripped myself of my boxers and began to lift and part her knees.

I watched her eyes widen as she examined my long member.

"Uh… Auron?" She called to me quietly.

"Yes?" I asked.

"Is that going to… fit?" she questioned as she pointed shyly to my bulge.

I too eyed it, then glanced at her tight virgin womanhood.

"It's going to be a tight fit." I said truthfully. "Are you sure about this?"

"Yes!" she answered without hesitation. Good, that made me feel a little better about being the one to defile this little girl.

I took one finger and slowly slid it inside of her hot walls. She moaned and rolled her hips around. I pumped in and out of her a few times before adding another finger. She hissed a little, then groaned with pleasure as I wiggled them around, curling them inside her. She was so tight. Once she adjusted to them I removed my hand and positioned myself at her entrance.

"Last chance." I warned, looking into her beautiful sea green eyes.

"Please." She begged as she shuttered beneath me. "Please Auron."

Hearing her seductive plea, I wasted no time slipping myself inside her. I could feel her bodies restrain as I tried to push past the tightness and slide my way inside. She nearly screamed in pain as her hands wadded up the sheets beneath her. I stopped.

"Rikku-"

"Don't stop!" She cried out. I nodded and continued to push into her virgin hole. I watched as tears began to form in the corners of her eyes. I wanted to stop. I didn't want to hurt her. She was so small after all. She felt my hesitation. "I want this!" she cried out. "Take me Auron, I'm all yours."

She knew just how to stroke a man's ego that's for sure. I pushed all the way inside of her till my shaft was completely sunk in her. Her teeth gnashed together as she fought off the pain.

"It will subside." I said evenly in an attempt to make her feel better.

She nodded and slowly began to relax as her body got used to the intrusion.

"Good?" I asked before I moved again. She nodded.

I gripped her hips and began to rock slowly in and out of her gently. I wanted her to enjoy this moment with me. Blood trickled from her womanhood but she seemed to be enjoying it now. She gasped and moaned as I put a bit more pressure behind my thrusts, pumping her deep, enjoying the way my shaft slid along her insides.

"More!" she cried out as she arched her back off the bed, clearly in haze of pleasure.

I gladly obliged as I thrust deep inside her, hitting her g-spot with ease. Her toes curled and she threw her head back, moaning my name like crazy. I smirked and hit it again. She nearly choked as the pleasure rocked its way through her body. I pumped her hard now, hitting that spot within her over and over again until I thought I had drove her mad. The words that tumbled out of her mouth were not coherent as she reached a climax. She shuttered and screamed as her juices gushed from her like a spout. I didn't let up, relentlessly pounding her until she went limp.

I slowed down my thrusts and allowed her to catch her breath, but I never stilled my motions.

"Auron…" she moaned out weekly. I couldn't tell if she wanted me to stop or if she was asking for more but it didn't much matter at this point. I wasn't done with her.

I reached down and gripped her by her tiny waist and lifted her from the bed before pushing her against the wall and grinding my thick pole deep inside her. This seemed to spark her flame again because her eyes widened and she moaned loudly. I continued to grind against her as my mouth attacked her neck with fierceness. Her hands tangled in my hair as she mumbled something lowly in my ear.

"You're so good Auron."

She repeated it over and over again, sounding like a broken record. I started to bounce her up and down, sliding her on and off my shaft. She cried out and clutched to me as I hit that magical spot hidden inside her. Her legs began to tense and her mouth hung agape. The pleasure becoming too much to handle. Her toes curled again as I roughly slammed her down on my rod, penetrating her deep, feeling her walls clench around me. Her orgasm spilt out once more, dripping onto the floor as her body quivered pathetically in my hands. Her eyes rolled and her body went limp once more. I held her close and laid her back down.

"I can't take anymore." She said breathlessly as I gripped her hips again.

"You must." I demanded as I flipped her over, placing her bottom high in the air as her head rested still against the bed. Every hole was exposed to me. It was beautiful. I slipped back inside her, this time with ease. She was so lubed up it made entering her a piece of cake. Her body reacted to me deliciously, shaking as I buried myself within her. I rocked back and forth at an even pace while one of my hands reached underneath her. My thumb found her swollen bud and I began to rub it in smooth circles. She gasped and rocked her hips against my hand.

"Right there…" she moaned as my thumb flicked against her most sensitive of spots.

I smirked before I brought my other hand up and ran a finger around her asshole. She gasped.

"Auron-"

"Trust me." I cut her off. She tensed up, but nodded, completely at my mercy.

Without warning my thrusts became violent and I pumped my throbbing shaft inside her relentlessly as my thumb continued its attack on her clit. My finger circled her asshole, barley slipping inside, but not enough to cause discomfort. I had every part of her being stimulated at once. Her moans turned into animal like growls as I revenged her completely, violating her in the most beautiful of ways. She gasped for air as her body jerked beneath me.

"I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna, I'm gonna…!" she cried out as her body began to violently shake against my touch.

"Cum." I demanded evenly, and she did just as I requested.

Her sticky, sweet juices spilled from her once more. Her hot cave pulsated around me while the delicious noises she was making filled the air. Every fantasy I had ever had about this young Al Bhed girl had come to life right before my very eyes and it was unlike anything I could have ever imagined. I was finally pushed over the edge, grunting with pleasure as I quickly removed my member from her and released myself onto her back side. Pleasure hit me in waves like I had never experienced before. I would never be able to top this night.

After the haze of ecstasy had passed I glanced down to survey the damage. To my surprise, there were no fluids on her backside where I had released myself. There was no trace of my climax to be seen. I didn't understand. I knew I had orgasmed. It was the best thing I had felt in my life.

I caught Rikku's eyes on my face, watching me while her chest heaved up and down, trying to catch her breath. She noticed it too. Then it hit me.

Of course no fluids came out. I'm a dead man. And a dead man can't make a new life.

I stood up and found my boxers, slipping them on before I walked over to Rikku's side. She just looked up at me with tired eyes. I half smiled as I reached down and gripped her tiny body, flipping her over and tucking her under the covers.

"Where are you going?" She asked as I began to gather up her scattered clothes.

"To wash your clothes." I answered evenly.

"Oh." she mumbled as she situated herself in my bed.

I scrubbed out her clothes thoroughly before I hung them next to mine to dry. When I walked back into the room she was passed out cold. Her limp wrist hung off the bed and she was breathing heavily. I grunted and took a seat in a nearby chair, deciding it was best not to sleep in the same bed as her. I needed to keep my distance. I didn't want her to get too attached to me. After my mission is completed, I have to leave this world. I watched her shift and groan lightly while she was in her dream land. Her face was so peaceful and innocent looking. It contrasted sharply against the foul things we were just engaged in.

A loud crack of thunder echoed through the late night air. I surveyed Rikku's face. She didn't even stir. She was still peacefully asleep. I smiled as a few more loud claps rang out. I was glad she was no longer plagued by the ongoing storm, at least for now. With a sigh of defeat I rose to my feet and made my way to her side. I climbed into the bed next to her and slid under the covers. Indulging a little more in her for one night wouldn't hurt.

I had planned to just sleep beside her for the night, but as soon as she felt my presence next to her she turned towards me and snuggled her naked body against my chest. For once, I allowed her without a second thought.

"Auron?" She called to me, her voice scratchy with sleep.

"Hmm?" I grunted in response.

"Did I... do something wrong?" She asked as she began to fidget under the covers. I crinkled my eyebrows in confusion.

"Why do you ask?"

"Well... I always thought that when a guy... you know... finishes... that... um..."

I watched her, waiting on her to finish her question. She sighed and looked me in the eye.

"Nothing... come out when you climaxed." she finally stated.

Even after everything we just experienced together, her question made me almost blush.

"Did I do something wrong?" she asked again.

"No." I answered quickly. "You were great."

A long silent pause passed between us. I almost thought she was going to drop the subject.

"There's something you're not telling me." She finally stated. "Something you're not telling anyone."

I simply stared into her deep sea green eyes, not willing to tell her just yet what is to come of me once Sin is gone for good. She sighed and tucked her head under my chin.

"I won't ask," she whispered against my skin. "But I hope, when you are ready, you'll tell me."

I didn't give her an answer. Instead I just draped an arm over her waist and pulled her close, vowing that tomorrow I would push all inappropriate thoughts of this small girl aside and focus on nothing but my mission. Still, tonight I would drown myself in everything that was Rikku.


"Rikku!" a man who had blue symbols tattooed along his arms and torso yelled from atop the icy mountain.

We had just managed to take down the massive sized Machina he sent to battle us. The man continued to shout Al Bhed at her as he gestured wildly.

She responded to him in Al Bhed. It was the first time I had heard her use it. It sounded so sexy the way the foreign words rolled off her sweet tongue. Her mouth curved around every syllable deliciously.

What was wrong with me? 'Why do I keep thinking about this girl's mouth?' I thought to myself. Last night's adventures were supposed to end all of that. But still something about her lips pulled me in like a magnate. It was hard to peel my attention from them.

"Shit." I cursed under my breath. 'I didn't kiss her. The whole time we were having sex, not once did I press my lips to hers.' That must be the problem, surly. I was only reacting this way to her because I had yet to explore that part of her. This was becoming am irritating distraction. I'd have to fix it so I could keep a clear head. She finally turned to us and spoke in a language we could understand once the Al Bhed man had retreated.

"I told him I was a guardian." She said with a nervous laugh. "Well, guess I had to really."

Wakka walked up to her with disbelief in his eyes.

"How come you speak Al Bhed?" he questioned. "Why?"

Everyone cringed. I knew it was time the truth came out. Tidus started fumbling over his words, trying to find a way to explain it, but Rikku cut him off.

"Because I'm Al Bhed. And that… was my brother." She explained.

That explained why the man knew her name. Why did this make me feel relieved?

"You knew?" Wakka asked as he turned to us, his accusing eyes landed on me. I gave a quick nod. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"We knew you'd be upset." Lulu answered.

"This is great." He said as he shook his head. "I can't believe I've been travelling with an Al Bhed! A heathen!"

His words instantly made my blood boil. But I remained calm and let her handle her own problems, and handle it she did.

"You're wrong! We have nothing against Yevon." She snapped.

"But you Al Bhed use the forbidden Machina!" he cried. "You know what that means? Sin was born because people used Machina!"

"You got proof? Show me proof!" she countered.

"It's in Yevon's teachings!" he yelled back. "Not that you would know!"

"That's not good enough! Yevon says this Yevon says that. Can't you think for yourself?" she demanded.

"Well, then you tell me! Where did Sin come from, huh?" Wakka challenged.

"I…" Rikku began to falter. "I don't know!"

Wakka crossed his arms and tilted his head away from her.

"You bad-mouth Yevon and that's all you can come up with?"

"But…" she tried again. "That doesn't mean you should do whatever they say without thinking! Nothing will ever change that way!"

I smiled, cheering for her in secret.

"Nothing has to change!" Wakka shouted.

"You want Sin to keep coming back? There might be a way to stop it, you know!"

"Sin will be gone once we atone for our past mistakes!"

"When?" Rikku challenged. "How?"

"If we keep faith in Yevon's teachings it will be gone one day!" He said hotly.

Rikku rolled her eyes and shook her head.

"Why do I even bother…" she mumbled.

I decided enough was enough, Tromell had taken Yuna to safety and it was time her guardians followed.

"Rikku!" I called to her, ending their little spat.

"Hm?" She said as she turned to me.

I could see her chest was heaving up and down. She was angry, but trying to hide it. I was proud of her for that. Guard your emotions, then guard your summoner.

"Will this move?" I asked.

A smile broke out across her plump lips.

"Yes!" she cried as she ran towards me. She knelt down to fiddle with the controls at my feet.

"We're not using that, are we?" Wakka whined from behind us. "Wait… Sir Auron isn't an Al Bhed too, is he?" I glared over my shoulder at him.

The way he said "Al Bhed" like it was some kind of plague rubbed me the wrong way, but I decided to ignore him. He was getting under my skin. After a moment I heard him grunt angrily and storm off. Rikku stood to her feet and began fidgeting with her hands and looking down to the ground.

"I'm sorry." She said sadly.

Lulu spoke before I could.

"You've done nothing to apologize for."

She gave a sad smile as I climbed onto one of the snowmobiles. I looked at her over my glasses and patted the back of my seat. She simply nodded and climbed on silently. I intended to make her genuinely smile, like I knew Rikku could.

I kicked the Machina in drive and sped off towards Macalania Temple with Rikku's small arms wrapped around me. I had missed her touch the moment she had left my bed. I relished in this moment with her. She was quiet, which was highly unlike her. I knew Wakka's words had broken her spirit a bit. She had shared with me on the steps of the Farplane that she felt "unworthy" of love or affection. And I'm sure Wakka's actions just now had convinced her of that even further.

A brake in the path was up ahead where the icy road split in two directions, separated by a tall wall of snow. I revved up the engine and veered to the right, taking the scenic route. I felt Rikku shift behind me.

"Where are you going?" she asked as she glanced around me.

I didn't answer, I just kept driving. We would get to where we were going eventually. But first there was something that I needed to do. Once we had drove far enough out of sight and I was sure the group wasn't following us, I pulled the heavy machine over and parked it in the middle of the path.

"Auron?" She called to me again as I climbed off the Machina.

To be honest, I hadn't really thought this through. I hadn't even explored the possibility that maybe she didn't want to kiss me. I just knew I needed to clear my head of her, and if doing this brought her comfort and rid her of the nasty things Wakka said about her, then that was a plus too.

I walked to the back of the snowmobile and she turned, still seated, to face me. Without warning I gripped the sides of her face with one gloved hand, and one bare hand, and brought my hungry mouth down on hers. She squealed in shock against my lips and I briefly hopped that she wouldn't pull away from me. But she quickly recovered and grasped my wrists with her tiny hands, pulling herself closer to me while her lips began to mimic mine. I nearly moaned as her candy like taste filled my mouth. My lips began to tingle under her soft caress. She grew bold, darting her tongue out and dragging it along my bottom lip. I opened my mouth and slipped my own tongue into her sugary cave, savoring every small moan and sigh I coaxed out of her.

As much as I enjoyed her lips on mine, something in me craved more. I wasn't satisfied. The only thing that seemed to tame the beast inside me was to satisfy her. I slipped my mouth from hers and trailed my hungry lips down her jaw line, shivering as her heavy breaths wisp over my ear. I grazed my teeth down the length of her soft neck before I began to press longing kisses to her skin.

"Rikku." I growled against her throat.

"Hmm?" She moaned out as she clutched tight to my jacket.

"You are worthy." I groaned as I kissed and licked my way to the other side of her neck.

My antsy hands slid their way to her hips and began to push her shirt up slightly as I slipped both of my hands just underneath it. I explored her abdomen with my fingertips, memorizing the way her muscles shifted under my touch.

"Mmhmm." She agreed as her eyes slid shut and she sighed in pleasure.

"Say it." I demanded as I kissed beneath her earlobe, nibbling gently.

"I'm worthy." She repeated breathlessly.

I had not planned on taking this too far, but my hands moved on their own accord. It was as if I had no control over my body. I gripped her thighs tightly as I hoisted her up. She wrapped her tan legs around me and I climbed on top of the snowmobile before I laid her back against the seat. I hovered closely over top of her, not wanting to take my body to far from hers. The weather was freezing after all. I did not intend to remove too many of her clothes. I brought my lips back to hers and shoved my tongue into her mouth. She moaned around it as her hands traveled to my jacket. She pulled it open and pushed my own shirt up, exposing my abdomen before she began to run her tiny hands along my skin. Her cool fingertips fumbled over my muscles, she was quick and inexperienced, but eager all the same.

The pressure between my legs was becoming extremely uncomfortable. I tore my mouth from hers and hooked her shorts with my fingers, roughly tugging them down just enough to guide one of her toned legs out of them, leaving both her shorts and her panties still around one of her thighs. She gasped when the cool snowy air hit her wet slit.

"You are deserving." I growled as I quickly pulled my belt open with one fluid motion, shimmying my pants down just enough for my hardened member to spring free.

I towered over her once more, pushing my head against her entrance. She was already moaning as she gyrated her hips against my groin.

"Rikku." I said harshly as I gripped her face.

"I am deserving!" she cried out as she pushed her hips against me.

I basked in her eagerness. Seeing her this way, a lusty pile of mush beneath me, was something that would never get old to me. Slowly I sheathed myself inside of her. She hissed beneath me, clearly still sore from the last time. But this time she recovered quickly, meeting my thrusts with her own as she lifted her hips off the Machina, rocking them in rhythm with me. Melodic moans crawled their way past her plump lips as I pumped deep inside of her.

"You are worthy." I growled lowly in her ear as I pressed my body tight to hers, careful not to put too much weight on her tiny form.

I slipped a hand between us and pushed her shirt all the way up on one side causing one tiny, but perky breast to spring out.

"I am worthy." She moaned out as I pinched and rolled her dark, pebbly nipple between my gloved fingers.

"You are deserving." I breathed out, my lips just a mere inch from hers.

My breath cascaded over her face in hot waves as my thrusts became hard, and unforgiving. The Machina rocked beneath us as Rikku's body began to slowly tense up.

"I am deserving!" she screamed as her legs began to quake.

I too was nearing a climax. Just watching her squirm beneath me was enough to send me tiptoeing over the edge. She arched herself high off of the snowmobile as she clung tightly to me.

"I am worthy! I am deserving! I am worthy… I'm... I'm..."

I drank in every sultry word that spilled from her mouth, dying for more and more of everything that is Rikku.

"Yes!" she screamed in ecstasy. "Yes! I'm … I'm... oh god I'm going to-"

"Do it." I commanded roughly.

She cried out my name as her walls contracted around me. Her sticky sweet juices gushed out around my shaft. The way my name tumbled sloppily from her lips did me in. I slipped an arm underneath her and held her to me tightly as I fell over the edge into a blissful orgasm. Every part of me somehow felt connected to her. My body, my soul, and my mind knew nothing except Rikku. It felt so comforting.

I lifted my chest from hers and starred down at her. She looked like a beautiful young mess with her clothes all askew. Her chest heaved and her hands still clutched tightly to me. I leaned down and captured her lips once more, kissing her slowly and sweetly, taking my time and conveying every emotion I had kept bottled up from her. She tangled her hands gently in my hair and hummed in delight against my mouth. I pulled my lips from hers to speak.

"Never forget those words." I commanded. "Anyone who has an ill word to say about you... they are wrong."

I watched as a smile broke out across her face.

"Okay." She answered simply.

I gave a nod and climbed off of her. She rose up and readjusted her clothes while I pulled up my pants and fastened them.

"Ready?" She asked happily.

I glanced up at her and noticed she was in the driver's position. I raised an eyebrow at her.

"Driving?" I questioned.

"Um…" She said timidly as she began to fidget. "Can I?"

I gave a small chuckle. I guessed it wouldn't hurt anything, so I nodded. Her face lit up.

"Thanks!" she beamed.

I climbed my way onto the Machina behind her and held awkwardly onto her small hips.

"Ready?" she asked me over her shoulder.

"Have you ever driven one of these before?" I questioned cautiously.

She huffed.

"What's a matter? Don't trust me?" She teased.

I gave a short laugh.

"Alright, let's go."


Things seemed to have taken a turn for the worst as we sprinted across the icy lake, running from the Guado. We had just managed to take down Seymour after the truth about his father's demise came out. He had left us with no choice. Once we realized we weren't being followed anymore, the group halted to catch our breaths.

Just as we were about to relax for a moment, I heard the loud cracking of the ice beneath our feet. My eye widened in horror and I quickly glanced up at Yuna. She was scared, but Tidus ran towards her, wrapping his arm around her waist. My eye then searched for Rikku. She was alone, cowering close to the ground with her hands pressed over her ears, listening in horror as every crack echoed loudly around us. I reached my hand out towards her just as the ice gave way. We locked eyes for a brief second as we were caught in a free fall. I watched helplessly as she lifted her hand towards me, before my vision was clouded by a bunch of snow.

The fall had addled me, but I was unharmed for the most part. I pulled myself to my feet and brushed the wet ice from my jacket. Immediately I looked for Yuna. I spotted Kimahri in the distance, holding her, walking towards me.

"Yuna is okay, just has eyes closed." He explained as he reached me.

I looked down and the limp girl in his arms. There was no visible blood on her person and her breaths seemed to be coming normally. I relaxed and gave him a nod. He returned it and walked away to place Yuna somewhere to sleep.

"Where are the others?" I heard a sultry voice say from behind me.

I turned to see Lulu standing and dusting her long dress free of snow. She caught my eye and straightened up, awaiting my answer.

"I… don't know yet." I said truthfully.

She nodded and glanced around.

"I'll go look this way." She said as she walked off.

I nodded and turned the opposite direction of her to begin to look for the rest of our group. It didn't take long before I spotted a small Al Bhed girl moving behind a mound of snow.

"Rikku." I called as my steps quickened.

There was no point in trying to deny it, I was relieved that I was the one who found her. Seeing her in one piece was comforting.

I crouched down beside her, looking her over for injuries.

"A-Auron?" she asked as she looked up at me.

Her teeth were chattering and her lips were turning a purplish shade. I quickly slipped from my jacket and went to wrap it around her.

"N-No, You n-need it." She tried to say between clanking teeth as she pushed my clothes back towards me.

I pushed her cold hands aside, ignoring her protests, and draped the jacket around her shoulders. The dead don't fear the cold anyway. Despite her protests, once it was around her she clung to it tightly, basking in the warmth of the interior. I stayed crouched next to her for a long moment, watching while her shivers subsided. She looked so tiny inside my huge jacket. It almost swallowed her whole.

"You're injured." I said as I dug around in my pockets.

"It's not that bad." She said as her hand traveled to her abdomen. "How'd you know?"

I smirked as I pulled out a potion and opened it.

"I've known since it happened. Anima hit you." I stated as my fingers inched towards her shirt.

I stilled my actions and glanced towards her face. She had just stopped shaking, I didn't want to make her cold again by raising up her shirt to treat her wound. She must have realized why I was hesitating.

"It's okay." She said as she placed her small palm on the top of my hand. "You can warm me up later."

She gave a playful wink and I chuckled. I carefully lifted her shirt and surveyed her wound. It wasn't anything major, but still, I knew it had to be hurting her. Better to treat it now. I brought the potion close to her skin and tipped it over, the contents healing her completely. Once I was satisfied, I lowered her shirt and realized she was staring at me with a serious expression. I simply stared back into her sea green eyes.

"Auron?" she asked.

"Hm?"

"Before, at the inn in the Thunder Planes…" she said as her face reddened, recalling the events of that night.

"Yes?" I asked when she didn't continue.

"Well…" she started as she twiddled her thumbs. "You had said that you weren't the man for me, but lately you've been acting… different."

I thought about her words for a moment. I had tried to treat her the same as before, but I just couldn't. She had crawled her way under my skin without my permission and I couldn't make her leave. And to be honest, I didn't want to. I felt better with her around.

"Would you rather I stop?" I questioned as I discarded the empty potion.

"No!" she said quickly as she gripped my arm.

I looked from her hands, to her face and waited for her to get to the point.

"I just… I wondered if you had maybe changed you mind." She said shyly

I smiled at her innocent question.

"Maybe." I replied truthfully as I stood.

She glanced up at me as I held out my hand towards her. I gripped her tiny hand and pulled her carefully to her feet. She smiled before she started to remove the jacket. I stopped her and pulled it securely back over her shoulders.

"Keep it for now." I instructed. "I don't need you freezing on me."

"What about the group?" she questioned as her eyes widened.

I grunted.

"What about them?"


"This way!" The young Al Bhed instructed before she took off, guiding us through the ruins of the place she recently called Home.

We all followed her for a long while before we came to a stairwell that was ripped down, baring our path. Wakka glanced around, taking in the severe damage of the building that we were wondering through before he spoke.

"This place done for." He said, no remorse what so ever in his words.

His complete lack for her sensitive situation was beginning to wear on me.

Rikku had finally reached her limit after trying to keep it together for so long. She dropped her head into her hands and sobbed.

"You're right." She choked out. "You're right Wakka. We Al Bhed, we… we went always like this. Sin destroyed the island where we all used to live. After that, we were scattered to every corner of Spira. But then, my dad brought the Al Bhed together again. If we few put our minds to it and worked together, then we could make a new home. Everyone worked hard. We had our Home back again… but now…" She sobbed once more. "Why did things have to turn out this way?"

"Rikku," I called to her softly.

No longer caring what the group would think, I advanced towards her. Those deep sea green eyes met mine, shock rippling through them. Her eyes were practically pleading for me to save her. She was drowning in her own sorrow right before me. I took her into my arms, enclosing them around her small body and held her close to my chest. She too had apparently thrown secrecy out the window as she clutched tightly to my jacket with both hands so hard that her nails dug into my skin underneath. She sobbed hard against my chest, every agonizing noise she made felt like knives penetrating my dead heart. I wanted nothing more than to help her, to fight back her demons and free her from this pain, but there was nothing I could do. I excel at guarding people from fiends and beasts, it was what I was known for. But when it came to matters of the heart, I am forever powerless.

The group watched but remained silent as I ran a soothing hand up and down the curve of her back as her body heaved itself against me with every hard sob. I had vowed to myself in that moment that I would bring a smile back to her trembling lips once Yuna was found and safe. Slowly my embrace went slack and I took a step back. She was still gulping down air as I brushed the pad of my thumb along her cheeks, sweeping away the tears that lingered there before giving her a single nod and stepping away.

"Rikku," Lulu finally spoke once I released her. "What is the Summoners Sanctum?"


Cid turned around to the blue tattooed man we've come to know as brother and spurted off some Al Bhed. Suddenly the Airship began to shake. I grunted in irritation and tried to keep my balance as the engines roared to life. I felt the ship begin to defy gravity as it rose slowly from the underground hanger. More Al Bhed was spoke before the ship gave a hard jerk, propelling itself at amazing speeds through the sky. Once more Cid yelled his instructions in Al Bhed, but this time brother hesitated, hanging his head in sadness. I knit my eyebrows together in confusion as I looked towards Rikku.

She had her head facing the ground with her eyes closed. Her forehead was wrinkled as if she was in pain and tears were silently falling down her cheeks as she wrapped her arms around herself.

"What's goin' on?" Wakka questioned.

Rikku opened her bloodshot eyes but did not look up as she answered.

"We're… we're going to blow up our Home."

In that moment, my hate for the Guado and everything that revolved around Yevon grew tenfold. But I did not let my anger show. The crew members along with Rikku began singing the Hymn of the Faith in respect to the place they had built together over the years. Her eyes slid shut as her trembling mouth curved around the words. It was chilling to witness.

"How?" Lulu questioned quietly when the voices around us died out.

"With one of the forbidden Machina!" Cid yelled as he walked over next to Brother.

He shouted two words in Al Bhed, and this time, I didn't have to speak their language to know what he said.

The shrieks of the guns attached to the Airship rang out as they released their attack on the place the Al Bhed once called home. Explosions could be heard almost instantly and I briefly wondered if we were far enough away from the impact.

My suspicions were confirmed when the windows were tinted orange as the blast from the explosion surrounded the Airship. Brother cursed and quickly jerked the wheel around, trying to keep the huge metal craft steady as we flew out of its reach.

I glanced towards Rikku. She was crying again. I wondered if she would ever be able to fully recover from tonight's events.

"Hey, look." Wakka said as he placed his arm on her shoulder. "Don't get so down. BOOM! Like happy festival fireworks, ya?"

I rolled my good eye back in my head. Wakka was in need of a working filter for his mouth desperately.

"You can cram your happy festival, you big meanie!" Rikku yelled in his face with her fists balled before she turned and stomped out of the room.

"What?" Wakka questioned under my accusing stare.

I shook my head and walked just outside of the door in the hallway and leaned up against the wall. I could hear everyone talking about the huge ship we were on, and about the Al Bhed's sacrifice. It was a great one. For as long as I had left on this earth, I would never forget what they had done. My thoughts wondered to Rikku's watery eyes and my chest began to throb. I wanted to comfort her, but I didn't know for sure if that was she would want. She could just want to be alone.

After a few long moments of debating, I decided to go looking for her. It wasn't an easy task. There were so many rooms in this Airship, and it wasn't exactly laid out in the most convenient way either. After getting lost a few times I decided to try and ask someone.

I walked up to a young Al Bhed boy who was running up and down one of the hallways. He stopped when he seen me approach.

"Do you know where Rikku went?" I asked.

He slipped his goggles off his face and wiped away the lingering sweat from his forehead before he crinkled his eyebrows in confusion. I sighed, remembering that not all Al Bhed could understand English. After clearing my throat, I tried again.

"Rikku?" I asked a bit louder.

A smile spread across his face as he nodded and pointed behind me to a door saying something I did not understand. I caught what sounded to be a "Nine" at the end of his sentence before I nodded to him in appreciation. He smiled once more and slipped on his goggles again.

I walked through the door and was greeted by a long stretch of rooms lining the next hall. Not knowing which one she was in, I decided to try room nine. I rapped my knuckles against the door and listened carefully for a response. When I hadn't received one for a few moments I called out to her.

"Rikku?"

"Go away!" came a muffled cry from beyond the door.

I sighed and debated on doing as she asked. But it had taken so long to find her. I decided to go in anyway. I gripped the handle and turned it slightly, popping the door open.

"I said go away!" She yelled once more.

She was lying on top of a wooden cot, clutching her knees to her chest with her face buried into a pillow.

"Rikku." I said once more as I gently placed my bare hand on her arm.

She snapped her head around wearing an angry expression, but it was quickly replaced with surprise once she realized it was me who was disturbing her.

"Auron?" she asked as if she was unsure.

I placed a knee on her bed and brushed my gloved hand over her slick cheek. Her eyes began to leak again, the beads falling at an odd angle and running sideways along her cheeks as she looked up at me. I could see her stomach muscles contracting beneath her skin tight shirt. She was holding back her sobs.

I stood briefly and slipped myself from my big jacket, laying it neatly on the end of the bed before I sat down beside her.

"You can cry, Rikku." I said as I placed a hand on the small of her back, rubbing smooth circles into the fabric that covered her skin.

I watched as her face contorted into pain and she gnashed her teeth together before she shoved her face back into the pillow and sobbed loudly, no longer holding anything back. It was the saddest sound I had ever heard in all my years upon this earth. Her body heaved and shook violently as her despair consumed her. She clutched so hard to her pillow that her fingers were growing white. I remained by her side, running my hands along her body in slowly, loving strokes, wishing they could somehow take her agonizing pain away.

Suddenly she sat up and threw her small arms around my neck before pulling me down on top of her. My good eye widened in surprise as I steadied myself with my hands. Without warning, she latched her trembling mouth onto mine, kissing me with a desperate need to feel better. I hesitated, unsure if this was the right thing to do. It felt a little more wrong than normal to me given the recent events, but she clutched tightly to me, pulling my chest down on top of her as her lips moved against mine. Eventually I gave into her and kissed her back, taking my time, kissing her as if it was enough to sooth her wounded heart. She sighed sadly against my mouth as her tiny hands traveled the length of my chest, her fingers giving way to the curve of my muscles until she reached the hem of my shirt.

My body gave an involuntary shiver of pleasure as her cool fingertips slipped under my shirt, exploring my skin almost urgently. Her hands were shaking as she pushed my black shirt up my torso, attempting to take it off. I placed a lingering kiss to her hungry lips before I straightened up, allowing her to free my abdomen from the clothing. I examined her face. Her tears had slowed and her eyes were traveling over my chest, burning with desire. When she licked her lips I could see the passion that was hiding just beyond her pain. I leaned down and brought my chest close to hers as I placed a few quick kisses along her cheek.

"Rikku." I whispered against her earlobe.

She ignored me and slipped her hands between us, tugging at the clasp on my pants. I gave a grunt, trying to fight back my own desire that was burning for her. I placed a kiss to her jaw and tried again, a bit louder.

"Rikku."

She didn't answer, but she pulled her eyes from her hands that were working on my bottoms, and directed them to my face with a questioning gaze.

"Maybe…" I struggled trying to find the right words, not wanting to wound her any more than she already was. "Maybe this isn't the best time…"

"Yes it is." She mumbled dismissively as she popped open the buttons on my pants and attempted to pull them down slightly.

As much as I wanted to give her exactly what she was looking for, I knew that to do so now would solve nothing. I needed to do what was best for her. I straightened up and gripped her wrists, not hard enough to hurt her, but firm enough to stop her actions.

"No, it's not." I grunted sternly.

I watched as anger began to cloud her vision.

"Why not!?" She half yelled as she attempted to jerk her arms from mine. I held them firm as I answered.

"Because, you are using this as a distraction. Trying to avoid your emotions instead of dealing with them."

"So what?" she contested. "Wasn't it you who said 'Guard your emotions, then guard your summoner'?"

"That was different." I answered calmly.

"How?" she pushed. "Tell me how."

She was being stubborn. I tried to keep my irritation in check. She had every right to be angry and want a distraction, but I was not going to give it to her. Not this time.

"Sometimes you must deal with your emotions." I tried to reason with her.

"I don't want to." She snapped.

I scoffed.

"You are behaving like a child."

"Oh yeah? And just how would a grown up behave then, Auron?" She yelled.

"Not like this." I answered evenly.

"How?" she challenged. "Enlighten me because apparently I don't know!"

I didn't respond. I simply cast my neutral expression down upon her. Her face scrunched in anger and she gnashed her teeth together.

"Get off me." She demanded as she bucked her hips against me, attempting to free herself from my grasp.

"No." I answered.

She stared at me wide eyed as her chest heaved up and down. I could feel her body begin to tremble beneath me.

"Get off!" She yelled again as she fought me hard, jerking and thrashing about.

I leaned down, quickly releasing her before I wrapped my bare arms securely around her waist and heaved her up into my lap.

"No!" she yelled once more as she balled her small fists up and struck me repeatedly.

I held her body tight against mine as she released her anger upon me. She hit me over and over. It was as if I could feel every ounce of her pain flowing into me. My poor Rikku. I felt her blows begin to decrease and her body begin to slacken as the time passed. Soon enough, the small hands that were once trying to injure me were now clutching desperately to my forearms as sobs began to rock throughout her body in waves. I ran a hand through her hair and pressed her head against my chest as I sat more comfortably on the cot.

We sat like this, together, for a long while. After what seemed to be hours of endless sobbing, she had finally cried herself to sleep inside my arms. I moved to lay her down so she could rest throughout the night but she quickly tightened her grip on me.

"Don't go." She croaked out, her voice almost unrecognizable with the hoarseness caused by her crying.

"I won't." I answered immediately as I slid down into the bed beside her.

She said nothing else, simply scooting as close to me as humanly possible and burying her head into my chest. I sighed as my chest ached for her. I surrounded her with as much of my body as I could, throwing my arm around her upper body and placing my leg over hers. I was her human barrier, protecting her from the rest of the world. I would stay with her all night this way. And in the morning when she woke, I would be here to help her fight back her demons.


There was an issue stirring in the back of my mind that I knew I had to address this morning. Coincidentally enough, it was with the father of the girl I just held all night. I flicked my eyes to Rikku as I slid my jacket over one of my arms and tucked the other inside it. She was seated on the bed, in the process of slipping her boots onto her tiny feet. She caught my prying eye and straightened up with a questioning expression.

"You okay?" She asked as she stood.

I simply gave her a nod. She crinkled her eyebrows in a way that showed me she was unconvinced. I couldn't help but chuckle.

"I have to talk to your father today…" I explained.

I watched as a look that can only be described as terror washed over her face. She began to fidget with her fingers as she rocked back onto the balls of her heals.

"Um… about what?" She questioned her tone uneasy.

I raised an eyebrow at her. She usually never tries to pry too much if I don't offer up the information right away. She said nothing, simply directing her gaze to the ground. Then suddenly it hit me, and I had to suppress a laugh.

"The conversation won't be about you." I answered with a humorous tone.

The expression I was expecting to see crossed her face immediately. She was relieved. But then something else was there too. Disappointment maybe? It was my turn to crinkle my forehead in confusion.

"What's wrong?" I asked evenly.

"What? Oh, nothing silly!" She sputtered as she raised her hand and gave my arm a smack. "That's good! Whelp time to go!" She sang as she forced a laugh then bolted for the door.

I blinked my wide eye a few good times before I shook my head and followed after her. She was so peculiar sometimes.

When I walked into the bridge I noticed that the group was already standing around talking. Some of their eyes traveled to me with knowing gazes, but I felt nothing under their stares. I had grown too attached to the little Al Bhed girl to fight it. Though I still felt guilt, it was pointless in beating myself up over something I could no longer control.

Cid was standing next to his oscillo-finder looking down into it with a concentrated stare. My eyes flicked to Rikku. She was having a conversation with Tidus, but occasionally she would look towards me. I chuckled before I walked beside Cid.

"We need to talk." I said evenly.

"Says who?" He answered stubbornly.

I grunted in amusement but continued.

"After rescuing Yuna, then what? You want to keep her safe, correct? Would you seek to stop her pilgrimage?"

He turned towards me fully and scoffed.

"Of course! If she continues this fool pilgrimage, she will die! Sure as if you killed her yourself." He said angrily. "No hare-brained law or teaching can send my little niece to her death! When I save her, I'll make her give up being a summoner quicker than a desert melts ice!" He said as he waved his arms about.

I wanted to smile at the trait him and Rikku shared, but now was not the time.

"Even against her will?" I questioned lowly.

"Better than a dog's death!" He yelled as he took a step towards me. "And I'll take down anyone who don't agree!"

He didn't intimidate me in the slightest, but to physically engage with someone over a disagreement was childish and something only a hot headed person would do. Not to mention, he was the father of the young girl who held an unexpected place in my heart. I smiled behind my collar and turned from him.

"You are the captain." I said evenly over my shoulder before I made my way past all of the guardians and into the hall.

His words didn't much matter anyway. I knew that Yuna would let no one stop her from completing her pilgrimage. If she had to travel alone, she would. But I would never let something like that happen. I heard light footsteps clinking against the metal floor as someone approached.

"Auron?" Rikku called.

I raised my head and glanced up at her. She had her hands clasped behind her back, shifting her weight from one leg to the other. Her smooth lips were askew as she took one into her mouth and nibbled on it nervously. In this moment I was regretting not seizing the opportunity to coax a moan from those lips last night. I tried to rid myself of those thoughts as I raised an eyebrow at her.

"So… didn't go as planned huh?" She asked shyly.

I gave a short laugh.

"It went exactly as I had expected it to go."

She gave a nervous laugh as she rubbed the back of her neck.

"Yeah. Pops can be a little stubborn."

"So I see." I said smoothly.

"And thank you," she said a little more quietly. "For staying with me last night. It really helped."

I gave her a nod.

"How are you feeling?" I asked.

She gave a sad sigh and dropped her shoulders.

"Well, not the best." She admitted with a shrug. "But the best thing about Machina is you can always rebuild them. We will have a new home soon if we all work together. So I'm just going to keep my head up until then."

I smiled at her. Her words were wise and true. It takes a truly strong person to be able to see through the immediate pain and into the future when incidents like this occur. I was proud of her.

I straightened up, pulling myself from the wall I was leaned on and slipped an arm around her tiny waist. She squeaked in surprise as I pulled her against my body for just a brief moment, pressing my lips to the top of her head. I enjoyed the way her heart sped up when I touched her. I basked in the way a small motion from me could cause her cheeks to redden so much. Public displays of affection were not my style, but something about her called to me. She was simply lovely.

She relaxed in my hold and slipped her arms into the warmth of my jacket, squeezing me gently with a small smile on her youthful face.

"You are… inspiring." I breathed against her hair quietly.

She simply giggled into my chest.

I released her slowly, missing the warmth of her small body the moment it left my hands. But I knew we had more pressing things to attend to at the moment.

As if on cue, Brother yelled something in Al Bhed out of the blue. I didn't understand what he was saying, but I did understand what sounded like 'Yuna' at the end of his sentence. I locked eyes with Rikku for a brief moment. Her sea green orbs were reflecting the same hopeful emotion that I was feeling. She turned quickly on her heal and ran into the Bridge with me trailing right behind her.


After a few long moments of struggling, Tidus finally got the door up to Bevelle's Chamber of the Fayth then he glanced inside. His face washed over in visible relief once his eyes landed on a tired looking Yuna, dressed for a wedding. But once he realized that she was not the only thing occupying the small room, he jumped back in surprise.

"Wh-Whats that?" Tidus asked me as he peered up at the transparent image of a young boy floating above Yuna.

"A Fayth. They join with the summoner, and together receive the aeon." I explained in a hushed tone so not to disturb her. "They are human souls, imprisoned in stone by ancient Yevon rites."

Tidus nodded as he analyzed the boy. I too watched him, my chest throbbing with sympathy. He must be so tired, more tired than I was. He had been here much longer than me. My dark thoughts were dragging me under as self-pity began to suffocate me. I found myself speaking without thought.

"The dead should be allowed to rest."

Tidus's prying eyes turned towards me, his forehead creased in confusion. He looked as if he were about to question my sudden change of tone when suddenly the young Fayth flew towards Yuna, entering her body and disappearing.

The sudden rush of unfamiliar energy was enough to cause Yuna to go limp. Her eyes slid closed and she collapsed onto the floor. She was a beauty in a white dress, pooled upon the ground. And Tidus was there to pick her back up. I had hoped he would always be there to pick her back up.


Once again, we had barely escaped the unforgiving clutches of death. The rest of the group, of course, was just happy to be alive. I, on the other hand, was so close to just giving into it. My body ached. My veins throbbed. Every fiber of my body begged for its eternal rest. The longer I denied myself my rightful place on the Farplane, the more my body fought against me.

I had been checking the forest around our current camp sight, making sure it was free from both fiends and Guado. Their race would surly turn its back on us now. The real truth of the masters and Yevon had been kept secret from the public. We were made out to be traitors and the Guado would hate us. Once I was comfortable with what I saw made my way back to the group, forcing my feet to advance and trying to negotiate with my soul. If it would let me make it back to check on the group, I would find a place to let my guard down and rest. If I could just make it till then.

"Well?" Wakka called to me once I slowly made my way back.

I squared my shoulders and hid my fatigue as I spoke.

"We're all clear. We will have to avoid Bevelle in the future."

I glanced around to take a quick survey of everyone and noticed that two bodies were missing.

"Tidus and Yuna?" I asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Yuna said she wanted to be alone and walked into the woods." Rikku answered with a shrug. "Then we all thought that it might be dangerous by herself, so Tidus offered to go with her."

I thought about this for a moment, slightly concerned for Yuan's safety. But something told me that Tidus would take care of her. Who knows? Maybe some one on one time is exactly what they both need right now.

My muscles felt like they were being slowly ripped apart as my body demanded some sort of release. I cleared my throat, fighting back the pain before I spoke again.

"I... need a minute."

I walked as steady as I could manage away from the reminder of the group until I was out of sight. My knees began to buckle beneath me as my head started to spin. My feet became tangled and I tripped, falling hard onto my knees. My eyes squeezed shut tight as violent shivers rocked their way through me. My skin felt like it was burning. I opened my eye and looked up at the shimmering lake that sat just a few feet from me. There. I need to be there.

I took a few deep breaths before I slowly pulled my heavy body to its feet. I staggered as I walked, gripping my chest. I could feel the beads of sweat that had formed on my forehead begin to slip down my face. Just a few more steps...

Cool water began to invade my boots, its touch soothing as it lapped at my feet. I decided it was time. I slowly relaxed my body as I lifted my arms from my sides. My guard dropped. I continued to walk deeper into the crystal lake as its smooth ripples rose above my legs. The faint sound of Pyreflies could be heard from all around me as I dropped my facade. I lifted one hand in front of my face to examine it. It was now transparent and the tree that was directly in the middle of the lake could be seen through it. I was shimmering. I was free. I let my head roll back as I lost myself in my relief, basking in the comforting hum of the white orbs that were circling my body.

I thought of nothing. I simply relaxed and let my soul be rejuvenated. I had my guard up for so long, I had grown so tired. So weary of faking everyday life with the living. My soul needed this rest so I could continue on, if only for a little while longer. I drew in a deep breath before I rolled back onto my heals and allowed myself to fall backwards into the simmering water. The rush of the cool liquid brought my senses to life. It felt as if the small waves were caressing my soul, healing all of my spiritual wounds. I was losing myself. Deeper and deeper into the abyss I sank. My will to return to walk with the living was diminishing. I needed to be here for Yuna... but it would be so easy now to let go... Blackness... everything was... black...

.

.

.

A noise... Somewhere in the back of my mind I heard a noise... what was it?

...There it was again... A laugh? Who would be laughing?

I see a face. A young face...Who is it?

...Ah, that's who.

Rikku.

I sprung from the water and inhaled a deep breath. The cool air of the night chilled my wet skin. I glanced down at my transparent body. I was dripping with water. I hadn't even thought to remove my jacket before I got in. I was so desperate for relief, I hadn't thought at all. I wiped the water from my face with my gloved hand then walked to sit under the tree protruding from the lake.

Pyreflies still circled me and my body still shimmered as I sat. I was not ready to put back up my facade just yet. I wanted to enjoy a few more moments of freedom. I slipped my arms from my wet jacket and allowed it to pool around my waist as I leaned against the tree. My head fell into my hands as I recapped what had just happened.

I almost gave in. I almost left this world for good, my mission incomplete. How reckless of me to get so carried away, so swallowed up by the sanctuary that is the afterlife. It was a beautiful thing.

"A-Auron?"

I snapped my head up and stared towards a small Al Bhed girl who stood on the bank, just out of the waters reach.

"Rikku..." I breathed as pyreflies floated in and out of my line of sight.

She stood there, gawking at me with wide eyes. Her mouth hung slightly agape as she tilted her head to one side. She looked confused, and a little scared. I sighed and gently shook my head before I extended my hand towards her direction.

"Come."

She eyed me wearily, her swirled orbs traveling between my out stretched hand and my transparent face, but she never moved her feet.

I felt my chest tighten. She was scared of me. I slowly dropped my hand and hung my head, a sad smile inching its way across my face.

"You would shy away from me now?"

"No." she replied immediately as she took a single forced step towards me. "I'm just... confused.

"I will try and answer your questions." I said softly as I raised my head and glanced at her. "Please. Don't be afraid."

"I-I'm not afraid!" she said, trying to sound confidant.

I watched as she gulped down a huge breath of air before she began taking small, cautious steps into the lake. The dark water slowly swallowed her small body inch by inch. She seemed too small compared to the vast abyss surrounding her.

After a moment her shoulders relaxed and her steps became more natural. Once the water line lapped at her small waist, she took a deep breath and plunged herself under. I watched as her distorted image above the water swam expertly towards me in a matter of seconds.

I did not want this conversation to happen just yet. I wasn't ready for her reaction. The news I was about to give her would make her cry. I never wanted to make her cry.

When she emerged from the water my good eye widened. Liquid poured from her hair, down her face, and over torso. The beads gave way to the small curve of her chest before traveling down her navel, and disappearing when they hit the brim her shorts just for more to form along her thigs and travel the rest of the way down her tanned, fit legs. Her clothes clung tightly to her, outlining every bend in her body and I was reminded of the first time we met. It seemed like a lifetime ago now.

When my gaze traveled up to her face, I found she was staring at me. Her eyes seemed to shimmer with curiosity as she slowly lifted her small hand, and inched it towards my face. A part of me wanted to pull away from her, but I knew it was time for her to know. Her cautious fingertips came to the surface of my see through cheek, hesitating there as if she was afraid to go any further, then dipped past it.

She pulled her hand back sharply as if she was burnt as she peered down on me in horror. Her eyes had already begun to water as she tried to form sentences. Try as she might, she was only able to choke out one word.

"Why?"

I knew I couldn't tell her everything. Not just yet. So I settled with the basics. She slowly lowered herself down onto a root that protruded from the ground beside me, refusing to make any kind of physical contact with me what so ever, and I began.

"Ten years ago, after lord Braska defeated sin and brought the calm, I made a rash, stupid decision that ultimately cost me my life."

She stayed silent in hopes that I would continue, her dissatisfied eyes burned into mine. But when I made no notion to go on, she spoke.

"What happened?"

She spoke so calmly, I almost wondered if she had heard me correctly.

"I can't say just yet." I explained truthfully. "But trust me, you'll find out soon enough."

She crinkled her forehead with confusion as she seemed to think my words over.

"Why... Why are you still here?"

I looked towards the lake that danced beneath the moon light as I answered.

"I made a promise to Lord Braska, and to Jecht, that I would watch over Yuna and Tidus until the end of Yuan's pilgrimage."

"And what happens when it's over. "She asked slowly, something about her voice made me think she already knew the answer.

I hesitated. I hadn't meant to, but to say the words aloud was a harder task than I had imagined.

"Then... My job here will be done."

I didn't need to explain. I didn't need to repeat. She heard me loud and clear.

"NO!" She yelled as she jumped to her feet. "THAT'S NOT FAIR!"

"Rikku-"

"YOU CAN'T GO!"

"I have-"

"What am I supposed to do, hmm? You come into my life, make me feel things I've never felt before, make me LOVE YOU, and now you're just going to leave? Just like that?!"

I stilled at her words. No, that's not right. She couldn't have meant that.

"Rikku, I don't think-"

"You're wrong!"

I raised an eyebrow at her.

"You're going to say that I 'don't know what love is' or I'm 'too young to fall in love' but you're wrong. I do know what love is!" She pressed her hands tight over her chest as her tears began to pour from her eyes. "I FEEL it. I feel it when you talk to me, or when your touch me. Auron, I feel it when you kiss me!"

I watched helplessly as she sobbed before me. The pyreflies that surrounded us seemed to be drawn to her. I stayed silent for a long moment, watching her sob. All the times before I had held her, or touched her, or at least told her those things would work out just as they were supposed to. But this time I could not. I couldn't help her through this one. All I could do was sit there with my un-beating heart in my throat and watch her.

"And I think you feel it too!" She yelled suddenly.

Silence washed over me for a long moment. Her words caught me off guard. It took me sometime before I could speak.

"Rikku, it's not right."

"Oh don't even try it! I know you feel it. I'm not dumb you know! Why is it so hard for you to just admit it?"

"Because. I can't."

"Bull shit! That's an excuse. Why are you so afraid of having feelings?"

"I'm not."

"That's not it huh? Well maybe you're just afraid to admit you have feelings for me!"

"Rikku-"

"That's it, isn't it?!"

Her face was red with frustration as she yelled towards me, jabbing her thin finger in my direction. The chaos of mixed emotions burned in her green eyes.

"You don't want the world to know that you have feelings for me! An Al Bhed."

"No." I said sternly as her words began to get to me.

"A heathen! I'm just not good enough for-"

"You're right! "I yelled finally.

Those sea green eyes that I've grown to love became as big as saucers. The lips that were just moving miles a minute had now stopped in their tracks.

"I feel it too." I said as I reached for her. "You're right."

I willed my hand to be solid as my fingers encircled her small wrist, pulling her down to sit next to me. Her eyes followed a path along my body as my once simmering and transparent skin was slowly becoming firm to the touch again. When she finally pulled her eyes back to mine, I could see the continuous flow of tears that ran from them. Her face scrunched up in pain as she choked out two pitiful words.

"Don't go."

I pulled her into my lap and held her as tight as I could manage to my chest. I almost feared that I was hurting her. Her body shivered as she cried against my torso. Her tears coming heavy like two pouring rivers. These sobs, these screams of agony, put the tears she spilled for her lost Home land to shame. Strangled grunts came from her mouth as she tried to form words through her despair, but nothing came out that I could decipher. I had never felt more lost in my life. I desperately reached for words, something to ease her pain. Something I could say to stop the disparate cries that poured from her mouth. But nothing came. Anything I could have told her would have been a lie. I could not, and would not, stay here on this earth. Therefor I could not promise her that.

We stayed tangled like this for a long while. Slowly her trembles stopped and her tears dried. I listened to her steady breaths and basked in the warmth of her skin. Holding her always gave me comfort. It was as though she was my pillar of strength, when in her eyes I knew it was the other way around.

She untangled herself from me a stood without a word. My gaze followed her as she slowly walked towards the edge of the small piece of land we were on. She was silent, just staring down at the lake for a long moment. I was about to ask if she was okay, then her hands began to move. She gripped the hem of her orange shirt and slowly inched it upward, revealing that tanned skin beneath that my fingers longed to touch. After dropping her shirt to the side, she hooked her thumbs into the side of her shorts and began tugging them down as well. I was curious as to what she was planning to do, but I didn't dare interrupt her show. Her tiny hands gracefully unclasped her bra and slipped it from her arms, then she tugged her thin thong off as well.

She was standing stark naked facing the water, her bare backside towards me. The shimmers from the lake reflected off of her supple skin, making her look like something out of a dream. A true angel. My salvation, here to save my damned soul. She turned her head over her shoulder and looked towards me. Her face was blank. A very odd sight for Rikku. Her eyes held no emotion, their coolness so intense it almost burned my skin. She was sultry, and breathtaking.

Without a word she jumped into the lake, diving expertly. Her bottom giving a delightful jiggle as leapt. She hit the water like a swan as the ripples gave the smallest of splashes. she emerged a few moments later and ran both of her hands over her dripping hair, smoothing it out of her face, before she directed her expecting eyes towards me. She waited with raised eyebrows and I knew exactly what she wanted.

I pulled myself from the ground and began working, unlatching every clasp on my jacket before I let it fall to the ground. She watched me as I un-looped my sheathed weapon from my pants and laid it carefully onto the ground. My gaze met hers and I held it as I tugged my black shirt up my abdomen and over my head. Her eyes shimmered. I could see the lust she had tried to hid in them plainly now. I stood there for a moment and let her eyes work me over. When she sucked her lower lip into her mouth and began chewing on, I felt like I could not get my pants off fast enough. With one fluid motion I unbuckled my pants and jerked them down, along with my undergarments. Her cheeks reddened as she lifted her eyes back to mine. I jumped into the water, my leap a lot less graceful than hers, and made my way to her.

For a long moment we didn't move. I didn't reach for her, nor did she try and kiss me. We simply sat there with our eyes locked and chests heaving with every breath. It felt like I was smothering. The sexual tension between us was so thick you could almost taste it. Then Rikku parted her lips, running her glistening tongue between her teeth. The vixen.

That was it.

I gripped her tiny waist and crushed her body against mine, my lips latching onto that teasing mouth of hers. She gasped and instantly tangled her hands into my wet hair. We were a mess of motions. Pulling, pushing, kissing, touching, breathing, moaning, shaking, sighing. I couldn't get enough of her. Every fiber of my body and soul was tangling with hers. This was more than a sexual desire. I was a part of her and her a part of me. Her soul became my soul. My thoughts became her thoughts. I had lost myself in her.

My hands slid her to thigs as I gripped and parted them, wrapping her small legs around my waist. She gave an involuntary shiver against my touch. She pulled her head back and looked into my eyes.

"You feel real."

I chuckled.

"I am real."

She chewed her bottom lip as she slid her hand down my stomach and wrapped it around my throbbing member. My breath caught in my throat as I chocked back a groan.

"You feel... alive"

I said nothing. I just watched her with a half lidded stare as she slowly stroked me underneath the water. Rikku was always an outgoing girl until it came to anything sexual. This was something new. She was still wet behind the ears so to speak. Of course she is. She's only 15. She wiggled in my arms as she sped up her pace. I allowed my head to fall back and she used this as an opportunity to latch her soft lips to my neck. She sucked and nibbled at my sensitive skin as I groaned underneath her lips. I could feel her smile against my neck. She darted her hot tongue out and began to lap upwards, then she bit my ear lobe.

"Auron." She moaned breathlessly into my ear.

She was right. I did feel alive. In fact, I had never felt so alive before.

I gripped her thighs as I readied myself at her tight entrance. She was so slick, I could feel it even through the water. She was grinding her hips with anticipation, looking up at me with pleading eyes. I slipped inside her slowly, just barely allowing an inch or two to enter her wet cave before I pulled out.

Her eyes showed her displeasure as she whimpered under her breath.

Again I pushed myself past her folds, only sinking about half of myself inside her this time before pulling back.

"Auron!"

She was being impatient.

Once more I teased her, only allowing her to incase 3/4 of my shaft before slipping out. Her body was shaking. She was practically bouncing in my hands, attempting to lower herself onto me, wanting me to fill her.

She gave a hard grunt as she pouted.

I lowered my mouth to her ear, my hot breath cascading over her skin as I spoke.

"How does this feel?"

Suddenly I plunged into her impossibly tight hole, burying myself completely. She chocked on a moan as her eyes widened. She tossed her head back as I began to pump into her.

"Does that feel real?"

I gripped her thigs hard as I ravaged her tiny slit. Her body quivered in my hands as strangled groans of pleasure overflowed from her mouth.

"Yes!"

Her nails began to dig into my bare back and her legs tensed. I could tell she wouldn't last long. I relentlessly plunged deep inside her, hitting that special spot every time. Her toes curled as her tongue ran quickly over her lips, making them deliciously wet. I captured them with my own, failing to repress the blissful hum that poured from my mouth into hers.

Her mouth stopped moving with mine and she began to moan my name. I smiled and trailed kisses down her jaw as she shuttered against me violently.

"Yes... yes...yes... yes!"

I gnashed my teeth together and clutched tightly to her as her womanhood spazzed around me as she grinded her hips down onto my member, riding out the waves of her climax. I watched her facial expressions closely as they changed throughout her pleasure filled haze. Her looks were simple. Nothing fancy about her for the most part. But she was absolutely stunning to me. It was her simplicity that made her so beautiful.

Her eyes slowly opened up as she looked at me. I gave her a small smile and placed a kiss to her head.

She slipped off my still hardened member and lifted herself above me, using my shoulders as leverage.

"Deep breath."

I raised an eyebrow at her, but did as she instructed.

Suddenly she pushed us both under the water. The cool liquid surrounded my skin and brought my senses to life. I watched as she placed both her hands on my chest and began to kick her legs, propelling us deeper and deeper into the lake. Her blonde hair hovered angelically around her perfect face and her eyes squinted as she smiled. The bright shimmers of the lake water seemed to make her skin radiate.

I felt weightless, in every meaning of the word. Something about floating, peacefully in the abyss of the lake, next the young Al Bhed, who held my heart, had a surreal like feel to it. Is this what the Farplane felt like? This strong feeling of calm and completeness. In this moment I wished that I would never have to leave this small girl by my side. I never wanted to know a life, or after life, without her.

Rikku pulled herself close to my body before she began to let her small hands wonder. They traveled along every dip, every curve of my chest. Her finger tips traced the outline of every muscle on my torso until she was satisfied. Her touches felt soothing under the cool water.

Her hands dipped lower as she took a single finger and traced a line from my navel, to the base of my shaft. I tensed under her touch as heat began to pool in my stomach, contrasting sharply against the cool caresses of the lake. The face that once was angelic and bright was now passionate and... Sexy. She gave me a suggestive smile before she gripped my hips.

I fought back the urge to gasp as she positioned herself onto my throbbing rod and slowly slid down on it. Pleasure reached new heights as she began to ride me, pushing her hands against my chest so I was in a laying position. There was something so surreal about this moment as I floated weightless in this shimmering abyss, steady pleasure rocking its way through out my body. It made me lightheaded.

Even underwater Rikku's breasts gave a small jiggle as she bounced happily up and down, her slick mound milking me slowly, steadily. With every roll of her hips I climbed deeper and deeper into pure bliss, my orgasm inching to the surface. With closed eyes she rolled her head back as her body began to stiffen. Quickly I grabbed her hips and slammed myself deep inside her over and over with great force. Her eyes popped open and a heard her let out a pleasure filled scream, muffled by the water. Over and over I claimed her tight slit, pumping as her cave quivered around my shaft, I took my thumb and roughly rubbed circled against her swollen little bud. Her sex began to constrict repeatedly around me as she came, her body spazzing on top of mine. I too had reached my limit as her womanhood milked me. I released myself inside her, my body pulsating with pleasure as I watched her squirm. After a moment she carefully slid herself from my body, looking perfectly pleased.

My lungs began to burn from lack of air and I knew it was time to return to the surface. I looked towards Rikku who gave me a sweet smiled before she propelled herself upwards. I too smiled and followed suite. By the time I made it to the surface, Rikku was already standing next to the tree, gathering her clothes. We carried them to the surface where we dressed in a comfortable silence, neither one of us wanting to accept that it was time to go back to reality.

Rikku stood before me with glassy eyes as she began to fidget. I could tell she was again fighting back tears.

"Stay with me... until the end. Please?"

"Not until the end."

She knitted her eyebrows together in confusion. I raised my gloved hand and placed it over her heart.

"Always."

A smile slowly began to spread its way across her lips as a single tear leaked from her sea green eyes. She nodded.

"Always then."


It was strange, seeing the scene I've played over and over again in my head play out before me just as I had remembered it. It felt strange, my secrets now barred for the world to see. I watched Yunalesca smirk at me while the transparent version of my younger self, crumpled and wounded on the floor, faded from my sights. I kept my face neutral, though my blood was boiling.

"You..." Rikku whispered harshly from somewhere behind me. "You BITCH!"

I turned a sharp eye towards Rikku's vile words as she stomped fearlessly towards Yunalesca with her weapon raised. Her teeth were gnashed together as tears began to pool in her eyes. I was thankful when Wakka and Lulu threw their hands out to catch her, stopping her from advancing further.

"IT WAS YOU!" she screamed as she jerked roughly against their hold, her eyes burning into Yunalesca.

The woman simply gave an evil smile, silently accepting the credit that was being given to her.

"Rikku!" I scolded. She never met my stare. "Now is not the time!"

"She did this, didn't she?!" She yelled.

"RIKKU!" I yelled to her again, silently begging her to let it go for now.

She simply gave a pitiful angry sob before she backed off. She jerked her body out of Wakka and Lulus hands and stalked away from the group. I watched as she hung her head in her hands as more sobs left her body. Her outburst was a touching sentiment. It was a strange feeling to know someone cared for me so much.

Lulu cast her questioning glare in my direction. I simply huffed and directed my attention back to Yunalesca.


It was the moment everyone in the group, everyone in all of Spira had been waiting for. Sin was gone. Brought down by the hands of Yuna and her faithful guardians. It was as if everyone was in shock. No one dared say a word, just in case this was all just a dream, they were all afraid to wake up. I, on the other hand, was ready for my eternal rest.

I watched as Yuna lifted her rod, giving it a small twirl as she began her sending. Instantly my body started to shimmer, reacting to the Farplane's call.

"Auron?" Tidus questioned as he glanced over my slowly disappearing body.

His worried tone caught everyone's attention. Suddenly all eyes were one me. The look on everyone's faces was the same. They were shocked, and even a little sad. It felt strange to have someone be saddened by my leaving, let alone leaving behind a whole group of people who would miss me. I was glad they were all my friends in the end.

Yuna eyed me with and unsure expression as she watched my skin shimmer.

"Don't stop." I said evenly, encouraging her to go on.

"But I..." She said in hesitation.

"It's alright." I said with a nod before I slowly made my way through the group.

Yuna gave a small nod as she raised her rod once more.

"Stop!" Rikku cried as she ran out from the group.

"Rikku..." I breathed.

"Please, please Auron, don't go!" She begged through swelling eyes as her body shook with sobs.

"I have to Rikku, I am... tired." I tried to explain.

"What am I going to do without you to scold me? Or to tell me when to reposition myself in battle? Or when to stop eating so much food because I'll make myself sick?"

I gave a small chuckle as I began to feel my own eyes start to water.

"You'll figure it out. You are smart, and strong, and beautiful. You wont let this slow you down, of that I am sure. I want you to take this life and give it everything you got. Don't waste time spilling tears over me."

She reached for me, her hand sliding right through my chest. Her eyes widened as she withdrew it.

"Don't leave me..." she whispered dejectedly.

"Rikku, I'm not leaving you." I said as I pointed to her chest. "I'll always be with you, remember?"

Her hands traveled to her chest as she sobbed, glancing up into my eyes.

"I love you." She choked as her body shivered.

I tried my very best to swallow down the lump that had risen in my throat as I gave her a smile.

"I am sorry I cant spend my life with you. I think it would have been an amazing one. Thank you Rikku. Thank you for allowing me to get to know you, and experience the beautiful soul you have. I will cherish you. Always."

Yuna continued her dancing as tears also poured from her eyes. I willed my body to be solid one last time as I gripped Rikku by the arms. Slowly I inched my lips towards hers. Her mouth trembled as it anticipated my touch. Her shaky, quick breaths cascaded over me and I inhaled their sweet aroma one last time.

"I love you, Rikku." I whispered before I touched my lips to hers.

Her soft mouth only landed on mine for a quick second before everything faded and suddenly I burst into a million little orbs. I could still sense her all around me. My soul was full of nothing but Rikku. I could feel her pain, her devastation, her love. It was the strongest emotion I had ever felt. It felt like fire, scorching my soul. Her emotions were suffocating. I could just picture her, surrounded by a million white lights, her smooth skin glowing under their rays. I bet she looked so stunning... even though I knew she was crying.

My time had come.

My mission was complete.

And even in death...

I had never felt so alive.