Scratching the Surface: Phoenix Down

Disclaimer: They may not be mine but they should be! In any case, Final Fantasy X belongs to those Gods at Square Soft or is it Square Enix, any which way you cut it, they aren't mine. So don't sue me, fangirl = more money for Square Soft when they release new games…bwahahaha bow to the power of consumerism.

In dedication to Si-kun, with out him I wouldn't have even bothered to finish the series. This is all for you my dearest twin, I hope you enjoy.

                "Lulu…Lulu…please…please…wake up," a soft voice whispered tenderly into the darkness that surrounded the ebony manned black mage, her head throbbed against the vast open nothingness that filled her line of vision.

                "Where, am I," Lulu inquired sullenly as a wave of white blinding pinpricks flooded into her sore and tired orbs, a light hiss escaped her pale purple coloured lips as pain began to swell from her head to every millimeter of her body.

                "Don't move Lulu, your pretty banged up, just relax okay," gently murmured the featherlike voice that trembled ever so slightly as if the person who was speaking was terrified.

                "Where, where am I," tiredly groaned the dark haired witch, forcing her wine red eyes into focus Lulu squinted against the twinge of throbbing pain that set every nerve on fire. Gently a hand stroked her bare collarbone in a tender act of comfort, a touch that the black mage knew could only belong to Rikku.

                "You're okay, you're in my room. I promise nothing is gonna happen, you're safe now," softly mumbled the sandy manned Al-Bhed as she reached over and held onto Lulu's hand for dear life. The action felt odd, it was both reassuring and protective almost as if the younger guardian was trying to shield her from some unseen force that lay in wait ready to strike at any moment, prying her sore and tired hues open the rest of the way the longhaired mage steadied her swimming vision long enough to see the energetic thief's face. Her creamy cheeks were pale and looked raw from endless crying a sight that didn't set well with Lulu, reaching out a shaking hand the ebony haired witch stroked that of the young blonde's petite hand.

                "Rikku," softly murmured Lulu, her voice was slightly graver sounding than she ever expected it to be, swallowing roughly she spoke again. "Rikku, what is wrong, you seem, upset," lamely mutter the tall sorceress in a low tone, she couldn't seem to get her thoughts organized at least not enough to find the correct words to describe her poignant lover. Rikku shook her head causing a lock of braided hair to bounce against her shoulders and slid down her back, rubbing her forehead with the back of her hand Lulu pushed herself up onto her elbows and stiffened at the stabs of pain bolting through her shapely frame, gritting her teeth she looked at the young Al-Bhed and forced a anxious smile.

                "Lulu," her voiced wavered as if she were about to break into tears at any moment, looking down Rikku bit her bottom lip as if she didn't want to go on with conversation any further. "Why did you do it," whispered the petite machina thief with restraint even though her voice cracked and rose in pitch as she asked the question. Lulu blinked confusedly, her head still hurt too much for it to register what the younger guardian had inquired, rubbing her temples the mistress of the black arts sighed heavily.

                "What do you mean, why did I do what, I'm not completely following you Rikku," her words trailed off into the tense stillness of the air, shaking her head the small framed blonde cupped her face and began to tremble violently.

                "Fro dra ramm tet oui dno yht gemm Pnudran," screeched Rikku in a frantic voice, her tone was terrified and hysterical as she rattled out her reply, raising a slender eyebrow the dark manned black mage gazed at her girlfriend with a fixed gaze filled with worry.

                "Rikku, he attacked me, I was completely in the right with what I did to him, he deserved it," cynically stated Lulu as she closed her wine red hues and rested her head against the pillow taking in the softness that was welcome due to the fact her head was still throbbing excruciatingly, stifling a sob the younger of the two stood up and braced herself against the nearest wall letting her shoulders rise and fall with each ragged breath she took.

                "Lulu, he's still alive, pop found him in time to revive him. He's still out cold but, but when he wakes up it is gonna be your word against his and guess who they are gonna believe," resentfully announced the thin Al-Bhed darkly, she wasn't upset with the older woman for trying to kill her brother but rather not succeeding in doing so, locking eyes with that of the younger girl the ebony haired witch and gave her a wicked half smirk.

                "They will believe me of course, after all what pretenses do I hold against your brother, none that they know of. And he was in my room, all things added up Brother doesn't have a chance to convince them of anything otherwise," brazenly mused Lulu in a tone that was uplifted and slightly more malicious than she had intended to sound, turning away from the wall Rikku wiped her pale eyes and smiled with relief.

                "You always fix everything Lulu, I'm so lucky to have you," giddily chirped the young Al-Bhed as she launched herself towards the bed bound mage landing on top of her as gently as she could, smiling brightly Lulu stroked the playful girl's cheek and petted her messed tresses.

                "No more tears, there is no use in wasting energy on something so pointless as being sad," tenderly mewled the older woman as she continued to pet the lively thief's locks, her slender fingertips dancing gracefully across the silken feeling of both the girl's hair and her red leather top, the feeling was something close to nirvana to the ivory complexioned mage.

                "Mmhmm," lightly hummed Rikku as she nuzzled the older woman gently rubbing her cheek against her collarbone, sighing lightly Lulu slid her hand up and down the small blonde haired thief's back comfortingly, the action sent small burst of tingling energy up and down the girl's spine unexpectedly. "E muja oui, Lulu," tenderly purred Rikku in a low simmer of a voice, her tone was drained yet relived as if a great burden had lifted off of her petite shoulders with just having the older guardian awake and in her arms.

                "I love you too," murmured the dark haired mistress of the black arts in a low tenor that denoted exhaustion and physical fatigue. "Where is Cid now, is it possible for me to have a few words with him before Brother wakes up?"

                Scratching the back of her head the young Al-Bhed pushed herself up onto her elbows so she could gaze deeply into Lulu's red wine hues, there was tension in the air that the ebony manned woman could almost taste; something didn't seem correct about the situation, having Rikku pressed tightly against her fragile frame made her stomach knot up peculiarly.

                "Yeah, I guess Pops has the time, he has just been pacing the bridge nonstop for hours, if ya want I can go get him," coyly informed the sandy haired Al-Bhed, her aqua coloured spiraling hues glinted slightly in the dim light of the room making her features more mature than what they really were, licking the dryness from her slightly purpled tinted lips Lulu nodded somewhat her tidy and neat braids brushing against her clammy flesh as she moved.

                "Yes, if you could do that, we can get my defense up faster, in case Brother does have some outlandish account of what happened," stalwartly announced the slender ivory complexioned woman her brow pulling into a tight wrinkle of thought before she broke into a reassuring smile.

                "Alrighty then, consider me already gone," giddily mused Rikku as she lifted herself off of the older woman and quickly dashed for the automatic door. "I'll be right back with dad so just rest up."

                Nodding her still throbbing head slightly Lulu gave the thin framed Al-Bhed a wavering smile in both acknowledgement and in thanks, pushing her wounded frame up on her elbows sent fresh torrents of ache through Lulu's shapely body but the action was necessary for her to sit up, she didn't wish to be laying in bed like a sack of potatoes when Cid arrived. Gnashing her teeth together painfully the longhaired black mage managed to gather her battered frame into a semi-comfortable position, with a deep sigh Lulu dragged a glossy purple nail across her own cheek feeling the clammy coolness of her own flesh underneath her thin skilled digits, the feeling somehow set her baffled and tired mind at easy.

                "Daaaaaaaaaaad," childishly bleated Rikku as she darted onto the bridge spastically, turning slowly to the source of the noise the bald Al-Bhed wrinkled his brow in a sign of displeasure; at the moment Cid wasn't ready to talk to anyone the feeling of confusion was too strong for him to control, rolling her light blue hues at the look on her father's face the young guardian bounced back and forth energetically with her hands pulled closely to her small chest. "Lulu is awake, she wants to talk to you, c'mon hurry you need to talk to her," instinctively rambled the thin Al-Bhed as she hopped from foot to foot barely maintaining balance with each joy filled side jump, there was no doubt that the young blonde was relived and excited about the older woman coming to, anyone with eyes could plainly see that, grunting from the back of his throat Cid took a lumbering step towards the girl with a deep frown on his aged face, he was still perplexed about what had happened between the gothic mage and his son yet in the back of his mind the pilot of the machina airship knew it was most likely Brother's fault.  

                "Is she alright," gruffly inquired the older of the two Al-Bheds, his face was almost green with distress as he cast his eyes towards his daughter causing her to shiver at the steely gaze he focused on her. Flapping her petite hands in front of her as if she were batting away bothersome pyrflies the energetic blonde thief bounced up and down a few times before she spun around and gave her old man a wolfish grin.

                "Oui pad cra ec, l'suh bubc oui ryja du ku caa ran, l'suh, l'suh tuh'd gaab ran fyedehk," mirthfully urged the small framed blonde as she shot her hand out towards the elevator and wagged her finger impatiently, the grim expression on Cid's facial features softened slightly making him look like a weary chocobo that had seem better days, rubbing his eyes with a large callused hand the bald Al-Bhed let his shoulders slump in unexpected relief.

                "Ha, alright then, lets go," tenderly worded Cid in a light tone that seemed foreign and heart heavy, blinking back an expression of concern Rikku pressed the elevator call button while mustering a small smile just for her father, she hadn't seen the older man in a mood such as he was in, in a long time, shaking her apprehension for her father from her mind the fair skinned blonde tapped the button impatiently as if hitting it faster would make the large metal crate arrive more quickly. 

                The elevator arrived with a soft mechanical hum as its large doors opened with an audible click, there was something unnerving about the dim light in the hallway, it cast oblong shadows of pipes and fixtures upon the steely floor of the ship, giving the area a sinister air to it. Folding her arms behind her head nonchalantly Rikku casually strolled down the passage that lead to her sleeping quarters, Cid stayed a few steps behind the petite guardian letting his cool gaze scan her demeanour, he wasn't foolhardy and he had experienced situations similar when Rikku's mother was still alive, a curt smile played across the bald Al-Bhed's face for a moment as he remembered being young and in love, it made people do bizarre things but in the end even when getting in trouble it was worth it just so later there were sweet memories to remind one of all the good times so the pain that followed wouldn't be so horrible to bare. Tittering back and froth on her feet the slender thief rubbed her nose sheepishly as she stood just outside of her bedroom door, raising an eyebrow in question Cid looked from his daughter to the closed door then back again while motioning her to knock with his hand. Blowing her old man a loud raspberry Rikku tapped on the door with the back of her gloved fist, the metallic hollow thuds echoed dully in the hallway, the light sounds of movement from inside the room forced a gentle smile across the young blonde's face.

                "Enter," crisply stated a monotone voice from inside the sanctity of Rikku's sleep quarters, flinching slightly the young Al-Bhed pressed the door open and popped her head in with a tiny smirk on her face.

                "Hiya, miss me much," cutely inquired Rikku as she pulled the door open the rest of the way and entered slowly followed by the pilot of the Highwind, sitting in the center of the bed with a grim expression on her ivory coloured face Lulu pursed her purple tinted lips firmly as if she were angry at the younger girl. Weakly taking a step backwards the thin-framed girl blinked confusedly.

                "Rikku," tensely breathed the mistress of the dark arts in a voice that sounded low and serious. "If you wouldn't mind, could you please let your father and I have a few moments to talk, privately," gently worded the ebony manned witch in an apologetic tone that was soft yet held a bit of resentment to it. Locking her eyes on the floor the sandy haired guardian rubbed her arm in a sign that told the older woman she felt put off and excluded.

                "Eh, yeah, sure, ya know what's best Lu," embarrassedly murmured Rikku in a meek tone as she faked a smile and shrugged, biting her bottom lip the young Al-Bhed let out a phony laugh and rushed to the door wearing a happy expression on her increasingly paling face. "I'll be right out here if ya need me." 

                Heaving a deep sigh Lulu watched as the automatic door slid shut leaving her and Cid alone to talk seriously about the situation at hand, from the corner of her red wine hue the black haired mage could see the older man slump down into a small chair off to her right.

                "You know it's bad don't you," quietly inquired Lulu in a soft tone as she looked at Cid with full attention, kneading his wrinkled forehead with a large knuckle the bald Al-Bhed grunted in acknowledgement, he knew that it had to be something pretty bad if the witch would tell the younger girl to leave so abruptly, the whole air of the situation seemed abysmal.

                "Yeah, I guessed it right off the bat," Cid let out a deep sigh of his own as he fumbled for enough thoughts to form intelligent sentences. "He was dead when we found him, and you were passed out not too far from his body, Rin used a phoenix down on him and revived him, we were almost too late, he still hadn't waken up yet," darkly whispered the leader of the Al-Bheds, his eyes were swimming with tears that refused to spill both because of his masculinity and because he knew that whatever happened it wasn't worth crying over, lowering her head slightly Lulu shook her head as a twinge of guilt barely sparked in her subconscious but was quickly doused by her knowledge of what had happened.

                "I almost wish you were too late," bitterly hissed the black mage in a sincere tone, looking up with uncertainty written on his rough features Cid ran his hand over his bald skull as a vein throbbed on his forehead.

                "Just tell me what happened, I know my son, I know he isn't the best person in Spira so just tell me what went on," gruffly declared the bald pilot in a deep tone that told Lulu she need not hold anything back.

                "You see, Cid," hoarsely muttered the ebony haired woman in a tone devoid of all emotion. "This retaliation dates back years before I even met your daughter, but it is because of what happened so long ago that this happened," coldly stated Lulu as she shut her crimson hues and readied herself for the next installment of the story, gazing at the gothic mage before him the confused Al-Bhed wrinkled his brow and searched her face for some sort of answer. "Your son, defiled Rikku when she was a child then threatened her with bodily harm so she wouldn't not tell you. All these years she has been living in fear because of the boy, and I could not stand around and let him continue to cause her so much pain and anguish. He attacked me the night of the ceremony because he knew that I would stand up to him and he knew that I would win," Lulu sounded winded as she heated spat out her remarks, hot tears trickled down her porcelain coloured cheeks and gathered at the base of her chin refusing to fall from her face completely as Cid stared at her in wide eyed shock.

                "No, no, dryd lyh'd pa, cra fuimt ryja dumt sa, ra fuimth'd tu dryd tu ran, ed lyh'd pa dnia," angry rejected the old Al-Bhed in rage as he stood up from his chair knocking it over in the process, his face was ashen if not slightly green with disgust, he hadn't imagined it would have been something like that, something that he never had even contemplated in his worst nightmares, opening her eyes into narrowed slits Lulu glared at the man and let out a growl of pure fury.

                "No Cid, it is the truth, I am the one that has stayed up night after night holding her when she has feels so ashamed of herself she wishes she would die, I am the one that told her it isn't her fault that he did that to her, I am the one that was there for the first time that she realized the truth, I saw her world break into a thousand pieces by just looking into her eyes. It happened Cid; there is no changing that! He hurt her, and I couldn't hold back my anger when he attacked me, I wish he would have died, for Rikku's sake," violently sobbed Lulu as she down cast her line of vision onto the bed as her tears finally spilled from her face onto the mattress, she felt numb and cold all over, she was certain the younger girl didn't want her father to know but it was the only real way to fix the problem before it progressed even worse than what it already was, cupping her jaw the thin magic user lifted her sight so she could look at the name standing in the middle of the bedroom like a statue.

                "My little girl, my baby Rikku," whispered Cid in a light tone that was strained and cracked as he talked, he looked torn, Lulu could only imagine what he was feeling, they were both his children even if Brother did the horrible things that he did she knew that Cid could not fully hate him because he still was his son. Pushing her weight over the side of the bed the female guardian weakly stood to her feet, she wasn't fully rested but she knew that she needed to stand on her own and help the older man in any way she could.

                "You know she is getting over it, she is starting heal, I think that the best thing for you do to right now, is to go and talk to her, she's afraid of losing you," tenderly whispered the black haired woman as she took an uneasy step forward and barely managed to maintain balance, wiping his eyes roughly with his hand Cid nodded slightly, the lack of emotion on his face seemed to fit his personality noted Lulu as she placed a hand on his shoulder and squeezed it comfortingly. Looking up at her the bald pilot knitted his brow together in effort to keep tears from streaming down his face.

                "Rikku, kad eh rana," loudly commanded Cid as he struggled to keep his voice level, with a loud click the metal door slid open reviling the small Al-Bhed girl looking between her father and her lover curiously.

                "Yeah, yeah I'm coming," happily chirped the blonde thief as she stepped through the door and was instantly swept up in a large hug that lifted her from the ground, letting out an overdramatic squeal Rikku wormed around in her father's arms trying to get free of his monstrous grip.

                "E muja oui, E ys cu cunno dryd oui vamd mega oui luimth'd lusa du sa, E's cunno dryd e ryja ymfyoc paah cu tecdyhd, E muja oui Rikku yht E fyhd du oui ymfyoc ghuf dryd," shallowly breathed Cid as he held onto the small framed girl in his arms and stroked her messy tresses affectionately causing her to go rigid against his body almost as if she were petrified with fear.

                "Oui ghuf, pid…" slowly began Rikku but was cut short as a loud voice boomed overhead and pounded into their ears.

                "Sin tayt yrayt, ed'c cruf desa baubma, syga ic bnuit Yuna," the voice belonged to one of the navigational readout men, stiffening Cid let go of the small girl and smiled at her weakly, looking past her father's broad shoulder the petite blonde gazed at Lulu with alarm in her clear aqua hues, this was it, the final fight, the battle between Sin and the battle between her own emotions.

                "We had better go, the others will be waiting for us, Sin awaits," hazily stated Lulu as she walked towards the younger girl, leaning forward the older woman wrapped a slender arm around the girl's waist and held her lovingly. "Remember what I said, don't feed Sin your fear and it isn't worth it, we are going to win, we are going to bring the Eternal Calm and we are going to do it together," smirking reassuringly the older woman planted a small kiss on the younger guardian's cheek, nodding her head in agreement Rikku smiled slightly, a few months ago they had barely scratched the surface to all of their problems and now here they were ready to face off against the biggest problem of all and she was certain they were going to win.

The End

Author's notes: I did it I finally did it! I finished the series! It took me a freaking year to write the last chapter, but that is because I wanted it perfect and to tie into the actual game, I would like you thank you all who stayed on for the whole ride, and I would like to thank Si-kun especially, you are my twin brother, where would this series be without you? Unfinished and in a corner somewhere crying. For those of you who wanted a full-blown sex scene, I am sad to say, I cannot in good mind do that, it would ruin the story that I have worked two years to write, I think that the teasing little tidbits I put it in was good enough to sustain anyone who wanted hentai, smut, whatever you want to call it. And for those of whom keep yelling at me that the airship wasn't the Highwind I say raspberries on you, because in every Final Fantasy the airship is called the Highwind, in exception to FFX-2, but to me the Al-Bhed airship forever will be called the Highwind, so here. But still I hope you all enjoyed the series; it was my pleasure to write it. Thank you all.


                "Some things love just can't give you Rikku, I need more, more than what your love can give me, I think it is best that we stop seeing each other," shallowly muttered Lulu as she looked the younger girl straight in the eyes while a solemn frown etched on her ivory pale face, her wine red hues looked void of all emotion as she gazed deeply into the blonde thief, deep enough to pierce her soul and rob her of all feelings.

                "You don't mean that Lulu, you can't mean that, you love me, you can't do this to me, please don't do this to me," helplessly pleaded Rikku as she grabbed at the older woman's hands and forced her to stand still and explain. "You love me, you told me you loved me…" cutting her thoughts off before she could rant further the tall black mage pulled away from the petite girl with a stern face.

                "I loved you, loved," Lulu's voice was a strained whisper as she locked her eyes skyward and held onto her onion knight plush toy so hard that it ripped the fabric of its small cape, dropping the fetish to the ground Lulu took a large step backward and closed her wine red orbs exhaustedly. "What we had was great while it lasted, but there are certain things in life that when you are older you want more than anything, Rikku, I want to be a mother, I want to have a child of my own, a part of me that will live on. You can't give me that no matter how much you love me, Rikku, it's time to move on and see other people. I will be leaving for Besaid with Lady Yuna and Wakka tomorrow and I would prefer it if you didn't accompany us."

                Turning on her heels Lulu slowly sauntered away from the pale Al-Bhed leaving her shaking violently with sobs, she couldn't bare seeing the girl in pain, much less pain that she herself caused but that was the way things had to be.  

                The ceiling of the Celsius made the knot at the base of Rikku's stomach tighten, it had been two years since that day, they had just defeated Sin a few months prior to that moment, everything was perfect, then out of nowhere the black mage had dumped her. Cid had gladly taken her back aboard the Highwind, he wasn't angry with her in the least, but she had been scared to go back to the ship with knowing her brother was there, yet her father had set her mind at ease with telling the young blonde that her bother's long term memory was completely gone due to the fact they had revived him so late after death. But now here she was laying back in her bed waiting to arrive in Besaid in a few hours, Lulu was pregnant, her and Wakka were expecting, the sour taste of bile filled the young blonde's mouth as she rolled over and gripped her side wishing that they didn't have to go, that she didn't have to see the woman she had once called her lover waddling with a round belly that was filled with a child.

                Sighing deeply Rikku turned onto her back and let her eyelids gently shut.

                "I'm a Gullwing now, I'm not some little kid that has a crush, ooooh," gnashing her teeth together the tan skinned sphere hunter rolled onto her stomach and slowly drifted off into an unease sleep.

Author's notes: Surprise, here comes the second series! Keep your eyes pealed for Sealed Emotions. The continuation of Scratching the Surface. You all know me; I can't leave well enough alone. Thank you all.