Disclaimer: Obviously I own none of this. Duh. Don't bother suing, I'm a poor high-schooler. You'll get NOTHING!

Chapter 01

The State of Things

The breeze blew jauntily, rustling Rikku's hair as she bounced down the road towards the smattering of huts that was Besaid. The grass was lanky, and swayed with the wind that smelled of crisp ocean spray. Rikku breathed deeply and twirled about as she continued down the hill, humming a popular tune to herself. The peace was so nice. It was now the fourth year of Yuna's Calm, and things across Spira were proceeding peacefully.

Four years ago, as a Summoner, Yuna and her Guardians had brought forth the peace that Spira would call the Eternal Calm by defeating Sin and Yu Yevon once and for all. Two years after that, Yuna, Rikku, and a girl named Paine set off in search for Yuna's lost love, Tidus. After felling the weapon known as Vegnagun, Yuna was reunited with Tidus. Everything was hunkey-dorey.

So why, then, did Rikku, as she neared the village, hear Yuna pleading with Tidus not to go somewhere? Rikku frowned at the distress evident in her cousin's voice. She hated to find out that things were not going well for the former summoner. It didn't seem fair that Yuna saves the world twice, then doesn't get the happy ending that she so deserves.

She hopped down the gentle slope of the hill, her long-ish hair streaming behind her. The small village was basically silent after Yuna's short, pleading cries. More than likely, it was out of respect, but perhaps it was out of fear of Tidus' reaction. Rikku had noticed directly after their return, and subsequent re-union on the Celsius' bridge that Tidus seemed to have a shorter temper. He was the same guy, happy and cheerful, but there was something dark about him too. It was the kind of thing that made Rikku's stomach twist up uncomfortably. Kinda like Sin used to. But Sin was long dead.

Rikku arrived in time to see Tidus stalking angrily from his and Yuna's rather spacious hut. Rikku stopped as she caught her attention, and gave him a quick little wave. "Hey, Tidus! How are you? Ya like bein' a real person so far?" She giggled quietly. How often could one ask that in all seriousness?

Tidus forced a smile onto his tanned face and jogged over to Rikku, wrapping her in a friendly hug. "Hey, Rikku! What're you doin' around here? It's great to see you." He held her at arms length and smiled.

"Oh, I just figured I'd come and give you an' Yunie a visit!" She bounced from one foot to the other excitedly, waving her arms in front of her. "How's Yunie? You guys havin' fun?" She elbowed him in the stomach suggestively. "Eh?"

Tidus' face reddened and darkened at the same time, although he didn't reply. Rikku stopped smiling and stood still, peering into Tidus' eyes. "You two ARE getting along okay, right?"

Tidus grinned at Rikku, although there was something there that wasn't quite right. "Yeah. We're getting along great." He glanced around, and started off towards the opposite end of Besaid. "Well, I've gotta go, Rikku. Business. I'll see ya later though. We can talk about what you're dad's doing with the Psyches. I've heard he's personally training them." Flashing her a thumbs up, he dashed off towards his destination, whatever that was.

Rikku stood silently in the middle of the road, one hand on her chin, gazing after Tidus curiously. "Well, that was weird." She decided out loud. She glanced worriedly at Yunie's hut, and ferverently hoped that nothing was amiss. Sighing, she decided to talk to Yunie.

With a hop, skip, and a jump, Rikku entered the unsurprisingly humble abode. Unlike most of the Besaid huts, it actually had multiple rooms. That was definitely a sign of respect. Due to the small amount of available land, only important people were allowed the room to build a hut bigger than about 25 feet square. Yuna's, on the other hand, was easily 100 square, and had a rather high ceiling. Rikku had no doubt that Yuna had protested at such a large living space, but eventually lost to the friendly beach people.

The main room was, perhaps, 25 feet square, and rather sparsely decorated. On the right was a large couch, a colorful rug on the floor, and a painting of the Kilika seaside on the left. In the back were two doors, each leading to separate rooms. Humming quietly, Rikku stepped into the room and allowed her gaze to wander about. It was obvious Yuna was in another portion of the house, so Rikku quickly crossed the room and peered into the door on the right, and found only a small kitchen with no other exit. With a bounce, she looked into the other room and discovered an expansive bedroom, furnished with a wide, tall bed. Seated on the bed, her head in her hands, was Rikku's cousin. Soft sobs emanated from her general direction.

With a cry, Rikku dashed across the room to stand before her cousin and friend. She squatted down so she was level with Yuna's face, and gently pried her hands away from her face. Her pretty face was streaked with tears, and her multi-colored eyes were red and puffy. All were tell-tale signs of a good cry. As she stared into Yuna's eyes, Rikku's heart felt as if something was crushing it.

She reached out and brushed away a lingering tear. "What's wrong, Yunie?"

Yuna forced a smile onto her face, a reflex from her time as a summoner, and stood quickly, rubbing her palms against her face. "Nothing's wrong. I'm fine. Really." She grinned happily at Rikku, her eyes still red.

With a deep frown, the young Al Bhed grabbed Yuna's shoulders, and pushed her back down onto the bed, sitting beside her. In the back of her mind, she noted how soft the bed was. It was probably stuffed with Chocobo down, another sign of respect/fame. She wrapped one arm around Yuna's shoulders and pulled her closer. "You can tell me, and you know it. What's wrong?"

Yuna pushed against Rikku's grip. "No, really. I'm fine. It's just…stress. Y'know, saved the world twice, it's hard to live up to." She grinned feebly at Rikku. "You should be getting the same stuff, right?"

Rikku shook her head sternly. "Yunie. Tell me the truth. Now." She glared at the young woman. "Is it Tidus?"

Yuna began to shake her head, then stopped. She looked down at the floor, and for several seconds was still, until her shoulders began heaving with silent sobs. "Yes. It's Tidus." She choked out, before once again breaking into tears.

Frowning, Rikku pulled Yuna close and hugged her reassuringly. She softly cooed nonsense in Yuna's ear, hoping to calm her down somewhat. It seemed to have an adverse affect on Yuna, who simply began to cry harder. Soon, Rikku's yellow top was soaked, but Rikku paid it no mind, and merely focused on Yuna. Nearly half an hour later, Yuna ran out of tears, and finally sat back up. When she smiled thankfully at Rikku, it seemed to be a truly happy smile.

"Thank you, Rikku." She hugged the petite Al Bhed firmly. With a smile, Rikku returned the hug, patting Yuna on the back reassuringly.

"So…" Rikku started, "what did Tidus do?" She gazed curiously at Yuna, who looked back down at the light blue bed-spread.

"The question's more like 'who'." Yuna muttered bitterly.

Rikku opened her mouth, but said nothing, only chewed that bit of information over. For several seconds, silence reigned. "Do you know why Tidus did it?" The question hung in the air uncomfortably.

"I…guess he just got bored." She blushed. "We never…do anything. He gets kinda mad about that." She flushed even more under Rikku's slightly surprised look.

"Okay." Rikku balled her hands into fists. "But that doesn't give him any right to cheat on you!" She punched at the nearest pillow, and received some satisfaction from the 'poof' it made when she hit it. "How could he do that to you after all you did for him? I thought he was a good guy!" Rikku stood and began pacing the room.

Yuna silently smoothed her hair back into some semblance of order. "I…" she paused as Rikku stopped pacing and looked at her, "I don't want you to do anything rash, Rikku."

"But Yunie! He deserves it! Why, when Wakka finds out-"

"No." Yuna stood quickly and gripped Rikku's shoulders. "Don't tell Wakka. He'll just get mad and do something violent." She sighed heavily and looked deeply into Rikku's eyes. "Please don't do anything. I still love him, even after this. I don't want him to get hurt."

Rikku raised her fists, and made a strangled cry. "But Yunie! It's not fair! He deserves whatever he gets! Rikku's green eyes were aflame as she spoke.

"Please, Rikku, let me handle this the way I want to. Besides, it's not like we're married. He has every right to do as he wishes." She hung her head. "It's just so…depressing."

Her attitude immediately changing, Rikku reached out and cupped Yuna's chin, and brought her face back up so Rikku could look her in the eyes. "Don't be depressed, Yunie. If he wants to be an insensitive bastard," Yuna cringed, "then let him. Don't let it get you down. Just because he doesn't love you doesn't mean we don't." Her voice perked up. "C'mon. Let's go visit Wakka and Lu. I've only seen Chappu once, after all." She smiled brightly at the ex-summoner.

Yuna nodded, and a smile graced her pretty face. "Okay. Let me get dressed first." Rikku looked down at Yuna, and realized for the first time that she was wearing only her bra and panties.

"Yeah, that might be a good idea." Rikku stated with a giggle. Yuna nodded and turned towards her dresser. With another giggle, Rikku reached out and slapped Yuna's behind, causing her to jump with a small cry.

She turned around, her face red. "What was that for?" She mocked a glare at the giggling Al Bhed.

"Just makin' sure you're awake, Yunie." Rikku flashed her a thumbs up and quickly retreated to the main room.

Author's Note – Sorry it's so short. I just had to go ahead and post the first chapter. If not, I might lose the need to finish the story. Yeah, I'm lazy. Please review, and criticize as…well, critically as you want. I'd really appreciate it.