Disclaimer: I'm sure you'll all well aware that Final Fantasy doesn't belong to me. After all, if it did I think I'd pay people to write fanfics for me.

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It happened so fast. There was doomchanting and then her back hit the concrete so hard that it knocked the wind out of her lungs. Someone, Yuna, was calling her name, but she couldn't concentrate enough to answer back. Something wet was seeping through her shirt and she was in so much pain that it hurt to even think about speaking. Yuna was above her yelling to someone to get some potions, maybe Tidus or Lulu, but Rikku didn't care because her body was going numb and everything was blurry. Yuna grabbed her by the shoulders and yelled something, but to no avail. Rikku gasped and then everything went black.

She awoke in a field, a place she had never been to in all her travels through Spira. Alarmed, Rikku bolted up to her feet and surveyed the area. Her back hurt, but she couldn't remember why and didn't care too much, curiosity over this unknown place getting the better of her. It was so quiet, so peaceful, but she wasn't really sure how she had gotten there and that made the whole situation unnerving. She tried to remember; they had been fighting and Tidus had used up her last remedy and then…nothing. She couldn't remember what happened after that. Where were the others? Did Sin come and scatter them again? Something weird was going on, but before she could even think too much about it, someone was calling out her name.

"Rikku!"

She whirled around and spotted Auron heading towards her, relief filling her as she sprinted towards him. "Auron! Auron, I'm so glad to see you! Where're the others? Are they okay? How did we get here? What did-" Rikku stopped short. There was something in Auron's face, some foreign emotion she had never seen on him before, and all he did was stare at her. It scared her. "Auron…?" Her voice softened, the excitement it had held a moment ago completely gone, "what's wrong?"

Auron motioned to the area surrounding them. "Rikku, do you know where we are?" Rikku scrunched her face up in confusion because no, she had no clue where they were and that's exactly why she had asked him not two seconds ago, but before she was given the chance to respond, he continued. "This is the place between heaven and earth, between Spira and Paradise, the place souls are sent to for their final judgment." She stared at him, even more confused than before. And then Auron did something out of character, he sighed, but it wasn't an annoyed sigh like the ones he'd do when her and Tidus were plotting some midnight let's-take-Yuna-out-on-the-town extravaganza. It was a sad sigh. "Rikku…," he hesitated, "Rikku, you died during the fight with Seymour."

Rikku gasped, the bluntness of the statement hitting her right in the chest. She felt like she might faint. "What?"

"You died," Auron repeated. Rikku stared at him, not sure whether she should believe him or not. After all, if she were dead and floating around in some souls only section of Spira, he wouldn't be able to talk to her like this. Unless…

"Are you dead too?"

Auron chuckled, but there wasn't anything happy or amused in it. It was a resentful laugh, all angry and hurt. "I've been dead a long time, Rikku. I'm an unsent. I am allowed to keep my body until my job on Spira had been fulfilled, at which point I'll disappear just like Braska, Jecht, and everyone else." He placed both hands on her shoulders, "which is why the powers that be have sent me here, Rikku, to speak with you. You died, but your time on Spira isn't up yet. You…we still have a job to do."

Rikku stared up at him. She was so confused and the pain in her back was still there and she couldn't figure out where it had even come from. This was a dream, it had to be. Auron wasn't dead, and for that matter neither was she. They were both very much alive. This was just some joke thought up by Wakka to get her back for picking that fight in Bevelle. That definitely had to be it; this was just his way of getting her back. Any minute now Wakka and the others would come barreling out from behind some hiding place, laughing about how they had sure got her this time and oh man you should have seen the look on your face. She'd be a little mad at first, but later on they would all have a good laugh about it, even Kimahri, and she would swear on everything that was holy she'd get them for this.

But it never came. There was no Wakka, no big joke, no promises of revenge. It was just her, Auron, and the monster of a fact he had just told her. Rikku felt like she was going to be sick. "So am I…unsent?"

Auron looked away from her for a moment, wishing with all his being that it weren't true, but he knew better than to question the fayth because hadn't he himself been in this position ten years ago? There was nothing he could do to reverse the decision. This was her path, the path that had been chosen for her at the time of her birth. He felt bad, he really did, because all he could do was tell her the truth and that killed him. "Yes, you're unsent."

They both stayed silent after that, Auron staring off into the distance while Rikku took it all in and tried her hardest not to cry. If she cried, Auron wouldn't know what to do and that would make things worse. She needed to be strong. Finally, the silence was broken by the sound of Auron's voice, strong, but a bit unsure. "Are you…okay with it?" It didn't matter if she was okay with it because it was and nothing could change that, but he just needed to make sure. He wanted to know she would be able to deal with this.

The question startled Rikku. The thought of being unsent had never crossed her mind before, and even if it did it never seemed like something she would be okay with. Unsents were soulless mounds of flesh with no purpose except to finish whatever it was they needed to so they could die. And yet, Auronm was unsent, and he wasn't just some mindless zombie. He had a heart and opinions and thoughts. He knew what he was, knew the implications, but he kept going. And if he had the courage to continue living, then maybe she did too. Rikku looked up at him and smiled, "Yeah. I mean, I think I am. After all, I won't be alone, will I?"

Auron rested his hand on top of her head and, all stoic and legendary knight-like, smiled back at her. "No. No you won't."