Lie In The Sound
Chapter 1: The Inevitable

I've wanted for so long to tell him, to return to his arms and feel at home once again. I've wanted to leave this little refuge for so long, to get away from this place that remains cut off from the rest of the world. But, all my wants resolve to no avail with each passing sunset. I can't tell him. I won't tell him.

I sat, with much effort, on the edge of the pier, my swollen feet dipping slowly into the cool water. I stared out at the open ocean, my mind the same endless cloud of questions that always seemed to haunt me, my heart aching.

A dolphin and her baby swam in the cove, and my gaze continually wandered to them. They turned together in the water, and the baby never wandered far from the mother's side. I smiled softly, a gesture filled with both anticipation and resentment… anticipation for what was to come, and resentment for everything.

I resented that I had come this far alone, without him. I resented myself for making it that way. I resented him for not following when I left. I resented my family for keeping their promises of silence. I hated the fact that I would have to raise my child alone because of my own stupid decisions.

As I watched the dolphins play in the shallow cove, the sun began to fall below the horizon. I watched as the beautiful colors of sunset played across the sky. With a great deal of maneuvering, I picked myself up from the pier, resting a hand against my back as I straightened.

As I walked along the cool, velvet sands, a figure approached me, twilight shadowing his features. "We were worried when you didn't come back. Lulu asked me to come and check on you."

I smiled weakly as I approached him, staring at the long, uphill walk to Besaid village. "Thanks… I didn't expect to stay out this late."

Tidus nodded. He looked around for a moment before sitting in the sand, patting the spot next to him. "We need to talk, Rikku…"

He helped me as we lay back in the sand, staring up at the stars that were beginning to appear in the sky. I was silent for a few moments, a hand wandering to my swollen abdomen as the child inside kicked. "What do we need to talk about?"

"I know that you want this to be over, but… I'm worried about you. You go for these long walks every day, when the doctors have told you that you cannot risk an early labor. You're always pale, you never talk to anyone unless we force you into it…"

I sighed heavily. "What am I supposed to talk about? No one wants to listen anymore, I'm sure…"

He turned to look at me, moonlight glinting off his hair. "I want to listen. Yuna and Lulu, Wakka… all of us want to listen. You just don't want to talk about it anymore."

I propped myself up on my elbow, staring distractedly at him. "The truth is, Tidus… I wanted to tell him. I just can't do it."

"That's all you ever say, Rikku! What did he say that made you run?" Tidus looked frustrated.

I shook my head and stared out at the water. "I don't know… he would have been supportive had I told him, he would've been there for me. I just didn't want to burden him with the knowledge, I guess. I didn't want him to throw away his life for me and the baby."

"I doubt he would have been burdened by the knowledge, Rikku. Much less burdened than he'll be when he finds out that you hid it from him, anyways." Tidus shrugged and sat up, watching the ocean waves roll in with the tide.

A few tears rolled down my cheeks as he spoke those words. "This is all my fault…"

Tidus looked back at me, his expressive blue eyes filled with concern. "What is?"

"I just showed up on your doorstep, I've stayed for months… I've put everyone out. I've messed up my life, I lied to him, I've already managed to shame my baby by trying to hide its existence… what kind of a person am I?" For the first time in months, I let my tears go, staring out at the ocean.

Tidus' arms wrapped around me in an awkward hug, and I rested my head on his shoulder as I cried. "You are a wonderful person… you're my best friend, whom I would never condemn for showing up on my doorstep and staying for as long as she needed, whom I love like a sister. Sure, maybe you shouldn't have tried to hide the baby, but who can blame you? You are scared, Rikku, and there is nothing wrong with that." I nodded slowly. We sat like that for a few moments. Music from the village floated through the hills, a peaceful melody.

"Thank you," I whispered, wiping my eyes with a grin. He smiled back at me.

"Anytime. Here, let me help you up." I took his hand as he helped me to stand.

A sharp pain ran through my side, and I bent over with a little cry. Tidus immediately panicked. "What, Rikku? What's wrong? Are you okay?"

The pain had faded quickly. I smiled weakly as he watched me. "Baby's angry, I think… kicked really hard…"

"Are you sure?"

No… But I nodded, and began to walk back to the village.

As we sat around the bonfire that night, I endured more sharp pains. Lulu told me that it was normal at first, but she soon noticed that the pain was coming more often, at steady paces. She was discreet about getting me into the makeshift hospital in the temple. Yuna and Paine followed sometime later, shocked to find me in tears from the pains that ran through my body. Lulu pulled Paine aside and whispered something to her, while Yuna placed a wet washcloth on my forehead and held my hand.

Paine walked swiftly out of the temple, and Lulu simply smiled at me and told me to relax.

I tried to do as she said, but when I saw the worried look in her eyes, I knew something was wrong.

Tidus watched as Paine ran from the temple steps to the CommSphere. He could hear her voice, oddly filled with panic.

"Brother… we need the airship in Besaid, now. Your sister's gone into early labor… no, no, Lulu and Yuna can't stop it. We need to get her to the hospital in Luca."

He paled as he looked toward the temple. Yuna stood in the doorway, watching for Paine. She caught his gaze and took a deep breath. Paine ran back up the steps and the two conversed for a moment before going back inside.

Wakka's hand clasped his shoulder tightly as both men looked worriedly toward the temple doors.

Yuna exited the hospital two days later with a cup of coffee in her hand, dark circles under her eyes. She walked aimlessly through the city as she thought about her cousin.

Rikku was eight months pregnant with her child. Two weeks before, she had started feeling ill, and her appetite had begun to fail her. Yuna was worried for her. By ignoring Lulu and the village doctor when they'd warned her against her traditional long walks, she had somehow fooled her body into inducing labor. The doctors here said that the baby could survive at eight months, but they'd tried to stop the inevitable delivery all the same. For two days, they had managed to control the labor. Yuna hated watching her cousin grow more exhausted with each passing moment as she endured the weakening contractions.

Rikku had forced her to promise not to betray her secret to the baby's father when she'd first come to Besaid. Yuna had seen him many times in the past months. He'd always asked about Rikku, how she was, why she'd left. She'd always lied. But now, she was done. Rikku needed him now, more than ever before.

She pulled a portable CommSphere from her pocket and sat on a bench by the water. Once someone answered the sphere on the other end, she rubbed her forehead tiredly. "Yes… It's High Summoner Yuna… I need to speak with Gippal right away, it's urgent."

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