AU: Son of Sin is a popular band with an abusive lead singer. Can her love cure him? Or will she become his next victim? TidusxYuna, AuronxRikku. Rated R for violence, language, and (consentual) sex.
Warning and Disclaimer:
See Chapter 1.
Author's Notes: "My Guardian" and "Kid Summoner" is a reference to the My Buddy/Kid Sister dolls of the 80s and 90s.
It was fun, poking around Auron's apartment. She guessed it was hers too now, in a sense. But looking around the front room at bookshelves, peeking under couch cushions, checking through his SVD collection (he did have an SV, it was just hidden in a cabinet - weird), it all felt like she was a criminal who'd broken and entered, and it gave her a bit of a rush. She had even gone so far as to peer into his bedroom, since the door was open, just to see what it looked like. The room was dark, but she could make out a big green four-poster bed, king sized and immaculately made up, a big wardrobe, some shadowed portraits on the wall, and there was probably a walk-in closet outside of her range of sight. She didn't dare go inside, though. Just in case. Like maybe he had hidden spy cameras all around the room or something.
One educational thing the search had led to, though, was her knowledge of her own current living space. The reason he'd been able to get his instruments out of the room while she'd been sleeping was not that he'd broken in somehow, but that the lock didn't work at all. Stupid lock. But now she felt a little better, oddly enough. She couldn't keep him out while she was sleeping, but she knew for certain now that he wouldn't try anything, even if he did have the power. And though she was a fairly light sleeper, he'd managed to move some rather heavy pieces of equipment without even waking her. So he was courteous, too. Another few points to his credit.
And oh, the man had power. Another thing she'd noticed in the living room, draped with an old white blanket, was a workout machine. She usually figured out machina things with ease, since she'd spent most of her childhood taking electronics apart with Brother, but this monstrosity was incredible! There were gismos and wires and you name it, but once she hunted around on the cabinet where the SV was, she found the instruction manual. Whoever had designed the thing was a genius, she figured. So she set about changing from her oversized sweater into a light tshirt, buckled down, and tried the thing out. Problem was, the weights were set to the strength level of a two-hundred-something-pound man! So she grabbed a sheet of paper out of a notebook and a pencil, wrote down everything he'd set the thing to, and settled in for a workout. Every time she used one of the machine's functions, she wrote her weight level down next to Auron's, and set it back for him. If Rikku was going to live in the guy's apartment for free and use his stuff, the least she could do was be conscientious. Besides, she wanted to get a little stronger, too. She was tired of looking like the weak girl with a big man around to protect her. She'd remained in Luca for so long that she was out of shape, just from the lack of fighting fiends.
That's how Auron found her when he walked in, the black garbage bag over his shoulder like some crazy Santa, and a small suitcase under his other arm. At the sight of her, he had to drop everything, and it took some willpower to keep the black bag from spilling all of its contents. With the bright morning sunlight heating up the room, Rikku was lying on a towel on the floor doing crunches, sweating so hard that her white shirt was drenched with sweat. He could see the girl's nipples. No, not girl. That was decidedly not the body of a girl. Maybe Tidus was right in his suggestion. Or maybe Auron was just a horny old man with a girl lying prone on his living room hardwood floor. The idea to take her right there fluttered through his addled brain, and he quickly shut it out. Now was not the time to become immersed in fantasy. Tidus's suggestion or no, she wouldn't want him.
"Rikku, would you mind?" he asked, trying to be pleasant, but it came out gruff. Which was better than it would have been if he had spoken in such a way that his lust would have been obvious. Better that she think he was from the hell of curmudgeony old men, than a pedophile.
Immediately, the girl sprang to attention, scrambling from the towel. She looked worried, hesitant at first, but it was probably because she was worried he'd be mad at her for using his things. "It's all right," he said, still trying to quell the stirring in his groin. Her breasts were still obvious even though she was turned away from the sun. Now, though, he could see the way they hung on her body, the fine outlines of her pectorals. Thank the gods he always wore a trenchcoat. "You can use the Mageflex, I don't mind. I was just wondering if you could help me carry the rest of your things from the car."
"Oh!" she squeaked, nodding rapidly. She dashed over to help him (oh ye gods, now she was jiggling, running and jiggling and bouncing sexual softness, and he had to get to the bathroom before she noticed the lump in his trousers), and struggled to bring the suitcase to her room, guessing correctly that the black bag of stuff would have been too heavy for her. "We're going to have to do something about all these instruments, you know? I mean, there's not room for all this stuff and walking space too."
"I'll move some of them into the front, and some of them into my room. We'll fix it before you go to bed tonight." Fuck, to bed. Oh, he'd take her to bed. Mind out of the gutter, old man. You're wasting your time. Damn you, Tidus, for putting those thoughts in my head...
"Okay. Oh, um." She looked down at herself. Well, at least she'd finally noticed. Now the problem would be fixed. Auron fought back a sigh of relief. "Listen, I'm kind of indecent for going down to the parking lot. If you just bring everything up here to the door, I'll go ahead and bring it to my room. Unless you want to wait for me to take a shower and change?"
Shower? Yes, shower. Out, damning images, out. "I'll bring them up. There's not much more left, only two suitcases. You just work on getting settled. The chest of drawers in the closet, behind the drumset, is empty. You can use that, and the closet, for your own purposes."
"Okay. And Auron?"
Auron paused, looked down at the hand in which he still held his keys. He promised the boy that he would pretend to be having an affair with Rikku, just to get everyone off the boy's back. They would need to discuss that... issue. But not yet. "He's fine. I was right, in that he was more upset over having hurt you than he was mad that you left. He agrees that it's for the best. But we'll discuss this more when I get back." He turned around and left without waiting for a response, just so that he could get far enough away from her to let his prick deflate. Living with a girl like that was going to be trouble, that was certain. If nothing else, he was going to have a bad case of blue balls for the rest of his ill-fated life.
Rikku, on the other hand, was ecstatic. Once he was out of the door and well out of hearing range, she started jumping around on her toes, pointing her index fingers in the air. "He got a haaard-on from loooking at meee!" If there was one thing she had learned from her years living with Tidus, it was how to tell whether a guy was horny even if he was intent on not showing it. Just for that, she'd be wearing this shirt all day, and doing the work-out thing without a bra all the time. Oh, no, she wasn't a cock-tease. Not at all. But there was a difference between accidentally inviting a man to touch you, and doing it on purpose. And breaking into Auron's hard-ass exterior was well worth it.
Granted, it probably wasn't anything more than that. No way would he want to date her, much less have sex with her. He could probably have his pick of older women, people like Lulu with maturity and poise. But still, she could at least have fun while she was able. Hell, he'd shown her his sweaty sexy body that morning, and it nearly killed her. It was high time she got a little payback. Rikku grinned and decided on that course of action. Since there was no one around to gossip with yet, she held up her left hand and slapped it with her right, before dancing back over to the room he'd lent her. She flicked the closet light on, squeezed past the drum set, and started dumping some of the things from the suitcase into the chest of drawers he'd mentioned, underwear and jeans and sleep stuff. Though how Auron was going to tote the chest to a place that would actually leave her some closet space, she couldn't know. But there was a long mounted wooden shelf above the clothing rack, empty except for a fewwait, what were those? Rikku stood on her tip-toes and grabbed at something that was red and shining.
What she pulled down made her breath catch. It was a toy. A plastic red fire-engine, complete with bells. The ladder had been mangled as if a dog had chewed on it, but it was otherwise in perfect condition. When she turned it over in her hands, she saw a few marker letters in an uncertain child's script. "Scott," it said. When Rikku looked back up at where the train had been, and stepped back, she saw a host of similar toys crowded into one corner of the closet shelf, including a deflated blitzball with the Kilika Beasts logo, a chewed-up G.I. Ohalland, a bucket of Legos. There was even a big doll lying on its side, a My Guardian doll of a boy with curly black hair and overalls, and big brown eyes. Rikku smiled. She had had a Kid Summoner doll too, with blonde hair and green eyes that even correctly portrayed the Al Bhed spiraling pupils. Every little girl and boy she knew had wanted one just like that when she was a kid, a Guardian or a Summoner just like in the Spiran armies, to protect them from the dangers of the world and the closet. She put the train up and finished unpacking her suitcase, but changed into a different shirt before she walked back out. Now she knew there was no way in hell that Auron would want a girl like her. Not when he'd probably had a son that would be her age right about now. And if Auron was sentimental enough to keep the boy's toys, and his bed... well, Rikku was a smarter girl than most people gave her credit for. She could put two and two together. Auron's kid, this little boy named Scott, had probably died when he was still young enough to sleep in a small bed.
No, this wasn't a man she should even think about fooling around with. She really could be his daughter, and hell, maybe she'd even have dated his son, had the boy survived. She could kick herself for being proud of teasing a man like that, especially when he was being so nice to her. Things were just too complicated.
After she'd changed and hung her sweat-soaked garments on the rails of the bed, she stepped softly out of the bedroom to find two suitcases as well as the big black bag resting in the hallway near her door, and Auron visible in the kitchen. He was apparently cooking something in the oven, and warm smells were wafting from where he stood, stirring a cup of sugar into a pitcher of tea with ice and sliced lemons. Rikku smiled. The man certainly didn't live like a typical bachelor.
"I'm going to leave this stuff until we get the drumset moved out of the closet, if that's okay," she said as she approached the kitchen, rubbing at an itch on her scalp, careful not to scratch. The cut from the night before was healing fast, at least, but it was going to drive her crazy before it healed completely.
"That's fine," he replied. Auron looked over at her and paused, blinking his one good eye slowly behind the sunglasses. He was apparently relieved that she had changed her shirt, and as she made her way over to the counter, he nodded, as if having come to a conclusion in an internal debate. "Rikku, we need to talk. When I spoke with Tidus today, he requested something of me that I could not refuse. However, this request includes your participation. If you can help me find a way to get around it, I'd be obliged."
Rikku tilted her head and folded her arms, leaning against the kitchen counter. What was the guy getting at? "Okay, spill."
Auron paused and sighed, stowing the iced tea pitcher in the fridge before walking towards the living room. With a grunt, he flopped onto the couch, and waved an arm at her, inviting her to join him. She pressed her lips together and followed, a little hesitant. Whatever this was, it was something even Auron was hesitant to speak of, and that made Rikku nervous.
"This is a little embarassing," Auron began, leaning forward, elbows on his thighs. With his head tilted forward, gaze tracing the grain of the wooden floorboards, Rikku could clearly make out the scar sealing his right eye shut. It wasn't as garish as he probably thought, just pale skin over whole, the lashes sticky with that kind of normal eye moisture that couldn't be easily wiped away because of the scar, but it did look painful. And for it to come from directly inside of you, to feel the poison that was Sin, eating away at your cells and nerve endings, like a cancer in reverse. Rikku could hardly imagine it. It had eaten away at the eyeball first, she knew that much, and then started at the skin, stretching vertically over the surface of his face, trailing a path of destruction down his body. Auron was lucky it hadn't gotten into his brain, the way it did with so many victims. The way it had killed Yuna's dad, eating at his cerebral cortex just as he began the replication process for the vaccine. Braska had been mentally dead before his heart stopped beating.
After a few moments, Auron spoke again, not even noticing that Rikku was lost in her own thoughts. "Your ex-lover has taken a strange idea into his head, one of which I'm sure you will not approve any more than I do. He seems to believe that we are... how shall I put this? Suited to each other." At that, the girl perked up, blinking rapidly. Auron couldn't have just said what she thought he'd said. That Tidus thought they were a good match? Impossible! "Not only that, but he threatened to try to take you back if I did not take you to bed." Auron grunted, curling his upper lip and drawing his eyebrows together as well as he could. "Once he realized that his threat would do no good, he did, unfortunately, bring a logical argument to my attention. It would not due for Yuna to know the reason for your breakup, and since you are now living with me, the only reasonable way to keep her ignorant of Tidus's... problems... is for her to believe that you left him for me."
Holy shit. Holy... shit. That's all Rikku could think of to say, so she said it. "Holy shit."
Auron chuckled lightly, his broad shoulders bouncing with wry mirth. "Indeed. Now I grant you, the affair would be fake. I have no intention of forcing you into an actual relationship. But unless you can think of something else, I'm afraid we're stuck with this dilemma."
Rikku stood for a few moments, stunned, before she found her voice. "But... that's insane! Why would he even think of us getting together? I mean, you're... and I'm... and you had a" Immediately, the girl clapped both hands over her mouth. When Auron simply stared at her with a questioning eyebrow raised, she grinned and shrugged, cheeks growing pink. "Sorry. I, um. I'm really sorry. I saw the toys in my closet, and drew conclusions. Scott was your son, right?"
The man nodded, but he suddenly looked weary. As if the bags under his eyes were more pronounced, the gray Sin-caused streaks in his hair suddenly a little more noticable. He stood up and moved back into the kitchen, leaving her to ponder his reaction.
"No need to apologize. He died ten years ago, along with his mother. My wife, Sheila. Sin, of course. That's when I decided to turn away from the warrior monks to begin researching the cure with Braska. I found them lying in his bed. They died... peacefully. There was no pain. It helps, to know that. But Rikku, that's all I'll say about it. Please don't bring it up again."
She nodded, and sat down on the couch, looking out the window. He really was an all right guy. Short and to the point, explained what needed to be explained, but avoided any emotional involvement. Ten years ago, and he still had his kid's toys. And even though she was sleeping in a bed where people had died, it didn't seem scary or disturbing. The Al Bhed had always had a healthy respect for the dead, which was part of why they never visited the Farplane. That bed was a memory for him. Like the scar over his eye and down his neck and chest, it was a reminder of what was really important. Rikku liked him a little more for keeping it.
"Um, thanks. For telling me. Sorry if I brought up anything painful. We all lost something, you know? Like my parents. They didn't die together, though. Sin killed Mom, and Dad... god, he went crazy. He was always a little nuts, but that really threw him over the edge, especially with Yunie's mom, my Dad's only sis, gone. He kissed me and Brother on the head, got into an airship with my Mom's body, and crashed it into a mountain. I'm still kind of sore at the idiot for that, but you know. Um. Yeah." She winced. That was her response? She felt terrible for putting it like that. She felt worse for bringing it up in the first place. But there was something about talking about Sin that had to be gone through with every new person you got to know. It was like a ritual. The first night she'd slept with Tidus, they'd stayed up late, talking about what Sin had done to them. Well, it was more Rikku talking, then. Tidus had said something about his mother, then about Auron's eye, then stopped talking as if someone had clamped a metal sheet over his mouth. Still, though. Everyone had to go through this conversation sometime or other. Else it was like you didn't know a person, couldn't be intimate with them or trust them at all. So now, Rikku knew, she could really talk to Auron. Rikku felt more at ease, and bounced into the kitchen to try his tea. Thinking about Sin, though, she'd almost forgotten about the problem at hand. But not quite. As she sipped a glass, commenting on how well he'd sweetened it, Auron just worked at the oven, removing a warm instant pizza that was absolutely covered in meat, so much so that the cheese was barely visible. Rikku grinned. He was a carnivore, that was certain.
"So anyway," she started, "Tidus. He expects us to just kinda act like we're going out, right? I don't see the big deal, Auron."
She got a stern look for that, and instead of reacting at first, he set about pulling out plates and getting himself a glass of tea. "The 'big deal' is this. You reputation is on the line, as is mine. We have the problem of explaining this to Yuna, which will not be much easier than explaining the true causes of your breakup would have been. We have to do this, mind you, without alerting the rest of SOS to the actual problem, though I've a feeling that Lulu will figure things out easily enough."
"Yeah, and she can just nudge Wakka in the opposite direction. He's too whipped to think it out for himself." Rikku grinned and nibbled on a slice of pizza, letting some of the extraneous meat fall onto the plate. Really, she'd have to do some grocery shopping for the guy. He needed more vegetables in his life.
"I agree. The final problem is one we need to plan out in advance, however. That is, how we're to be seen in public. Since I am not known to display... affection openly, this shouldn't be a problem for me, at least."
Oh, right. There was that. Rikku fought the urge to blush, and gulped down her bite so that she could speak politely. "Yeah, but. You know. I'm kind of, ahh. Clingy. And huggy. And kissy. The gang knows that, even Yunie." Oh, now this was getting to be embarassing. Auron was nodding like he knew what she was talking about, but he was probably disgusted by the fact that he'd have to suffer through a fake relationship with a really touchy-feely kinda girl. Rikku winced. He could get a hard-on for her, sure, but she had the feeling that this was going to tease her more than him. Maybe she needed to go on the prowl and find another guy to replace Tidus, if that was what Tidus really wanted. For her to replace him. But that still didn't make sense.
"I suppose that will be necessary, yes. I'm sorry if the idea is disagreeable to you. If you can think of something else, I'll be happy to listen." Wait, why was he getting that wry ironic tone in his voice? Where'd that come from?
Rikku blinked, and realized that her thoughts had been showing on her face, and her mouth was scrunched up, eyebrows squished together. "Oh, no! That's not what I, uh. I was just thinking that you'd probably hate it if I started climbing all over you at practice. Or like, holding onto your arm. Or anything." Arg, shut up, Rikku! Gods, I probably sound like an idiot...
Auron shrugged. "I do not display affection openly. That doesn't mean that I dislike being the recipient. I wonder, though. There may be a way... yes. That might work."
Doesn't mean I dislike being the recipient? Was that supposed to be his way of saying it was fine? Rikku was starting to feel a little better about the situation, but still. Something felt a little off. "What might work?"
"You know already that I normally show up to practice early, but that I don't leave my office until about halfway through, or if I think that someone needs me. The simplest solution would be if you were in the office with me when the rest of SOS arrives."
Was that a smirk on his face? Oh, now Rikku couldn't help but blush. Then again, the images flashing through her head weren't helping. The kind of things he was trying to imply... she saw a flash of herself bent over a desk, or held up against a door, sweat and skin on rough skin. She gulped. "Yeah. I think that'd, um. Do the trick." Bah! He was doing it again, the bastard, turning her on with just a few words and a smirk on his lips. Big, full lips that pouted when he bent his head. She'd get him back. That was it. She'd have to get him back. "But don't you think they'd figure out that it was faked if we don't, you know, do anything at all in public? Or if we do something, and it's totally unreal?"
Auron raised an eyebrow and set his empty plate in the sink, rinsing it out while Rikku gawked at the fact that he'd already eaten three-quarters of a pizza. "How do you mean?"
"Well, um." She licked her lips, suddenly nervous about her idea. "I already mentioned that I'm really huggy and kissy. Well, what if I'm all caught up in the act, and I do the huggy-kissy thing, and you're all like 'Get away from me!' because you don't expect it? Or something."
Auron grunted and cast a level look at her, folding his arms. "Are you suggesting we practice?"
"Um." She kicked the floor, scuffing the sole of her shoe on the white tile. "No good?"
"Are you certain?"
Wait, was that...? Rikku looked up at him. He'd dropped his arms to his sides and was standing just a fraction closer than he had been before, looking at her with a kind of lazy curiosity. Rikku gulped again, then made a snap decision. Before she could change her mind, she closed the distance between them, clambered up the big man's body so that she could wrap her arms around his neck, and set her lips against his. It was an awkward kiss, not something that would have looked normal to anyone watching, but it was... nice, once she'd let herself relax into it. There weren't any probing tongues or soft moans, but she felt herself melt into him for a moment, and he put one hand against her back, partially to hold her up against him, since her toes were at least a foot off the ground. He responded just a little, and she moved her lips against his, feeling the texture of the skin, the rough scraggle of his stubble against her chin and upper lip. When she pulled away, their lips stuck together for a second before separating completely. He bent down a little to ease her to the floor, and she stepped back, wrapping her arms around her middle. It was nothing like the heavy saltwater passion of kissing Tidus. Nothing like the sloppy wet puppy-dog kisses of boyfriends before Tidus. That twisting feeling between her hips came back, along with a deep-down tickle. For an action entirely without passion, an experimental kiss that meant nothing and would result in nothing, it had managed to turn Rikku on, churn her insides and make her wet, more than an hour of foreplay with Tidus had ever done. And that scared her.
"Right. Well, um. That'll work. I'm gonna go... take a shower now. Thanks for pizza!" She turned around and ran, leaving her single slice half-eaten. Auron stood where she'd left him, slightly bewildered, aching for more of that kind of human contact he thought he'd lost forever.