Okay, this is my bad habit: writing multiple stories at one time. Usually, only two of them make it out, and right now it looks like Velveteen Dreams may not get finished. I liked the idea when I was planning it out in my head, but now that I'm writing it, I can't really get into it anymore. But this is my cliché idea for a high-school fic, but I am trying my best to make it unlike the others. And I've changed a couple of things to make it work out: Al Bhed is Jewish, and Yevonite Catholic is the same as Roman Catholic. That way, there can still be arguments and wars about their religions… you know, just to keep them in character even though they are battling teachers and Algebra instead of fiends.

Summary: Yuna is painfully quiet—hiding away in her shell since her parents died. Lulu is a lovely, mysterious BlackMage, about whom many rumors are told. Rikku is a perky Al Bhed girl, new to the school. Wakka is your typical jock and a religious fanatic. And Tidus is the new guy from the big city of Zanarkand all the way to the little isle of Besaid. But all are not what they seem… and that which they show to the outside world is barely the beginning of their personalities.

I must disclaim… I don't own Final Fantasy, but I do so love borrowing the characters every now and then!

                                                                                                             ~*~

First Quarter

Chapter 1:

Welcome Back, Aurochs

Yuna was the painfully quiet type. There were only two people that she considered to be her friends: Lulu D'Anjou, and her Al Bhed cousin, Rikku Meinach. To other people she rarely spoke—many thought she was mute, and she just let them believe it.

          Today was one of the days of the year that she hated more than anything. It was the first day back at school after the two-and-a-half month summer break. This was always upsetting to her because she remembered how much her parents had wanted her to become a doctor or a lawyer or some other high-demand profession. After her father died, her appointed guardian was Kimahri Ronso, who had also insisted that she take the necessary classes for a medical profession, but she dropped them as soon as she could, instead choosing to take art classes. The proud Ronso had been upset, but he supported her the whole way through, anyway. This year, however, he had been called away to serve his tribe on Mount Gagazet. Not willing to leave, Yuna had put up a colossal fight and ended up winning; now her Al Bhed uncle, Cid, and her cousin Rikku, lived with her.

          There were some poundings at her door as Rikku tried to wake her older cousin up. Yuna groaned and called through the door, "I'm awake!" but not getting out of bed. This was an old trick she had learned a few years back. Saying that she was awake, instead of "up" was telling the truth. She could be awake without physically being up and out of bed.

          "Yunie, come on! Outta bed!" Rikku chirped. Yuna rolled onto her stomach and groped on the floor with her right hand, finding one of her sneakers. When Rikku opened the door, she hurled it at her; the blonde shut the door in a big hurry and scurried down the stairs. Yuna smiled in satisfaction, but her smile faded again when she remembered what today was. She combed her fingers through her hair and managed to haul herself out of bed and over to her basketful of clothes on her floor. Kimahri always tried to have her dress nicely on the first day of school, but once she had begun taking her art classes, she owned nothing that wasn't stained with paint or charcoal, or had dark red earthenware clay caked into the weave. To humor her old guardian, even though he wasn't there, she wore jeans that she had modified with colored fabric so that the lower legs would flare out, and a black t-shirt.

          In the darkness of her own room, she gathered up her new notebooks, her backpack, her denim jacket, and her motorbike helmet and stumbled gracelessly in her half-sleepy daze down the stairs. Six in the morning, and she was already in a bad mood. Rikku was at the kitchen table, wearing a short green skirt and a flowy orange top with blue flaps on the back. She wore many necklaces, bracelets, and a few hair ornaments. Rikku always dressed like that—Yuna knew that she would stand out pretty badly in school, since everyone in Besaid dressed fairly conservatively. But her cousin was excited about going to a public high school, since up until then, she had been home-schooled with a handful of other Al Bhed girls on her desert island home of Bikanel. While Yuna had tried to explain to her that going to a public school like Besaid's was nothing to go excited about, she suspected that she would be psyched over it until the workload and lack of sleep hit her like a box of hammers to the head. Yuna gave her a silent bet to December.

          "Hey, Yunie, whereya goin'?" Rikku asked as Yuna walked right past the table to the front door.

          "School."

          "It's early, though!"

          "It's six-thirty. I have less than an hour to get there."

          Rikku's spiraled green eyes widened considerably. "On the bike?"

          Yuna rolled her eyes. "You're riding or walking, cuz."

          This got her moving. "Okay, just lemmie get a helmet and we can be outta here." She scrambled with her books and a new motorbike helmet that her father bought for her a few days before, once he knew that his daughter would be taking rides on Yuna's bike. Moments later, the pair was on their way, motoring down the street and out of sight.

Tidus sat in the guidance office, tired and beginning to get really bored. Auron, his legal guardian, had dropped him off here fifteen minutes ago, not letting him drive on the first day because he had no idea where he was going. Now that he had been waiting here to be seen, he was starting to wish that he had stayed and slept in, then taken the bus or something. It was only seven-fifteen, and his old school in Zanarkand had not started until a quarter to nine in the morning. This was a radical shift and he hated it.

          Finally, a woman called his name.

          "Tidus? The counselor will see you now."

          Turned out that the counselor was a short, scrawny, birdlike thing who didn't shut up. Her name was Miss Gao, a woman from Luca. She had a screechy voice that sounded much like the bird she resembled. Glasses perched at the end of her long nose and her little black-button eyes scanned his file paper.

          "Soooo…" she said, looking up at him. "Tidus Reina, you're here all the way from Zanarkand, is it? That's quite a trip."

          "Yea, it took me an Auron three days to get—"

          "Enough yammering," Miss Gao interrupted. "From Zanarkand to Besaid is a radical shift, but I'm sure you'll catch on fair quickly. And you can always come and see me if you need anything. You can leave, now. Your sheepdog is outside waiting."

          "Sheepdog?" Tidus repeated.

          "Someone to show you around… you know, just to show you the ropes for a week or two until you can fend for yourself."

          "Thanks…" he said, not knowing if that was even the right thing to say. This was the first time he had moved. He'd lived in the teeming metropolis of Zanarkand his entire life, and this was indeed a radical shift. Everything here was local. Nothing commercial. He could only hope that they had a decent Blitzball team to keep his mind and body occupied and keep him from going stark raving mad from boredom. He exited the office and found himself face-to-face with a sturdily-built redheaded guy about his age. He wore khakis and a yellow-and-red school shirt. His flaming hair stood up in the front, giving the impression that a shoopuf had snuck up behind him and licked his hair until it stood straight up in the front. [A/N: DOESN'T IT???]

          "You da new guy?" He asked in a heavy accent.

          "Unless there's more than one," Tidus replied. This remark seemed to go way over the other youth's head. "Yea, I'm the new guy. You the sheepdog?"

          "Lemmie guess… Gao told you that one," he said, either guessing really well, or else he knew.

          "Yea…"

          "She d'only one who says dat, brudda." He laughed. "Anyway, da name's Wakka. Who're you?"

          "Tidus."

          "Well, Tidus… welcome to dis hellhole of a school. You kin talk to pretty much anyone here, ya? 'Cept… there's two people you gotta be careful of. Dey're a couple 'a freaks, ya?" He explained as they walked out of the office. He pushed the blonde in front of a glass door that led to a courtyard. The courtyard was empty but for three girls sitting in it. One was a blonde with green eyes, attired in a green skirt and an orange top. The second was a gothic-looking but very lovely girl with very long black hair, red eyes, and wearing a black dress and three belts at once. The third, who sat silently on the ground, was a brunette with short hair and a long braid in the back, mismatched eyes, wearing a pair of patched jeans and a black shirt.

          "A couple of chicks?" Tidus asked, utterly confused.

          "The blonde must be new—poor sap fell in da wrong crowd. But doz odder two… juss keep your guard up, ya? The goth's a BlackMage—her name's Lulu. D'other one is juss weird. Her name's Yuna."

          "She doesn't look that harmful to me," he said, craning her neck to see her face. Another remark that he kept to himself was that he even thought that she was pretty.

          "Yea? Lookit what hand she's usin'."

          Tidus did so, noticing that she was left-handed. He shrugged. "A lefty."

          "You not Catholic, areya?"

          "What's that have to do with anything?"

          "Left-handed is a sign of evil."

          It took a great deal of willpower not to burst into laughter. Tidus had heard of an old wives tale that left-handed people were Satan's messengers in disguise, but he had never heard of anyone in this day and age who actually believed in the myth. He bit his lip, and managed to sincerely ask, "You believe that?"

          "It's in Yevon's teachings," Wakka said. When a snort of laughter escaped Tidus, the redhead narrowed his eyes, then shrugged. "Well, juss keep your guard up, ya hear? Better safe dan sorry, ya."

          Tidus nodded, and a bell rang, signaling that they all had five minutes to get to class or they would be marked absent on the first day. Tidus scrambled to look and his schedule and found that he had, of all things, ceramics first. He rubbed a hand down his face and trudged off to find the room.

          Everyone in the art room seemed to know each other, talking, laughing, sharing summer stories, and joking around. He felt out of place and sat at a table in the back near the supply closet. When the final bell rang, the teacher got up and whistled sharply, quieting everyone down effectively.

          "All right, dearlings, the bell rang. Now you have to look like you know what you're doing. My name is Miss Amí. I'll be your teacher—or at least, I'll pretend to. And you'll pretend I'm actually teaching you something, too, when the administration comes in here to watch me!"

          A blur of color zipped into the room as a blond girl slowed to a walk and stopped, winded, in front of Miss Amí.

          "I'm so sorry I'm late!" She panted. "I got lost and I'm new here—"

          "Hey, hey, it's okay, girl. What're your name?"

          "Rikku. Rikku Meinach."

          "Well, find a seat, Rikku."

          The blonde girl nodded and sat in the back room at the same table as Tidus.

          "Hi," she whispered. "I'm Rikku. What's your name?" She asked.

          "Tidus," he said. He recognized Rikku from earlier, when Wakka had warned him about her companions in the courtyard, but he would not judge a book by the reviews, so to speak. Rikku seemed perfectly harmless. After a moment, Tidus asked, "You're new here, too? So am I."

          "Really? I only know two people. My cousin and her friend."

          "Who are they?"

          "Yuna Bamarre and Lulu D'Anjou."

          Tidus stayed unfazed by this. He didn't really have any reason to fear or hate either of the two supposed "witches" that Wakka had warned him of, and Rikku seemed nice enough.

          "Hey, Yunie's here!" Rikku said suddenly, turning her attention towards where someone was on a potters' wheel in the back room. She didn't say a word all class, nor did she even make herself known to the rest of the class for the next several days. Even so, there was something about her that intrigued Tidus, and he was determined to find out what she was all about.

                                                                                                   ~*~

Well, that's the end of chapter one. No one likes an AU story, but I suppose my pals from KH will read this… in which case I will be very happy and hug them and shower them with praise. And if you did in fact read my story, please, please, please review it! It speeds up chapters, you know!