The Thin Line

Rikku cursed her bad luck. She had always had the worst of luck, no matter what happened to her. Her mother dying, other people considering her an outcast because of who she was, having to save the world multiple times (while bad things happen on the way), good things happening to close friends, but never her. And worst of all, all her immediate family never seemed to want to leave her alone.

That was the reason she was contemplating her luck. Cid had, once again, asked a favor of her. But this wasn't one she could just suck it up and do. No this was different. It happened when she was in Zanarkand.

After her cousin's wedding, lots of things happened. For one, Yuna was no longer an official part of the Gullwings. Then there was the fact that Paine left on a journey to 'find herself', Shinra got a special job working in Djose as a computer operator (actually, he did everything), and Brother and Buddy were asked if they could do things for numerous people with the airship. So, that only left her.

And what did her dear father suggest? Come to Zanarkand and pull your weight, at least those were his words. So, that's why she was there. With the construction going on everywhere, she was a valuable asset with her skills in machina. Actually, she had a good, well paying job. All she had to do was go over everything, make sure things were where they were supposed to and when, and make sure no one was doing anything wrong.

She supposed the position came with being the leader's daughter, but since there were some people that weren't Al Bhed, she didn't know. It had been going fantastically, until she was going through he mail one morning.

She was sitting in her office one morning (yes, she had one, it coming with the position. It was very small though). Even with the job she had gotten, she hadn't changed entirely that much. Her skirt was red and simple at that. She wore a tight, short sleeved yellow sweater with a square next line and she had a pair of black, long boots. Underneath she still had on a bikini, like she liked. Her hair had been taken down, showing its long length.

She had been going over the plans for the newest building that was under construction, when her assistant walked in. Elhana was a rather timid girl that was just a year younger than her. She was never good with machina, so she found herself a desk job. She came in and put her mail on her desk. Her hair was blonde, like most Al Bhed and she had the customary green swirled eyes. She was rather a pretty girl, with darker skin, more like the shade of Buddy's, he being her older brother.

She wore regular worker's gloves, with a yellow short sleeved shirt that came a little bit above her bellybutton. Her skirt was plain dark green and she had a belt on around them, that had a few pockets on them. Her boots came up to her knees and she carried no weapons, seeing as she didn't handle that kind of stuff.

"The, uh, shipment from Bikanel arrived this morning," she stated. "And you got an invitation to something, princess."

Rikku sighed. "For the hundredth time, Elhana, call me Rikku," she said, looking up with a little smile. "Princess makes me feel old."

"Is malady better?" she asked.

Rolling her eyes, she took the stack of letters sent to her – usually bills or order confirmations. "Whatever. If that's what you want, that's fine," she replied, groan in her voice. She stood and came around the desk, sitting on it next to where she stood, but didn't look at her. "What's on today's schedule?"

"Well, you have to look over that new building. And you have a few visitors," she replied, looking at a clipboard where she kept all my information.

"Visitors?" she asked, looking up. "Like who?"

"Well, Lady Yuna and Sir Tidus are stopping by," she said. "They said in their call that they wanted to appoint a time with you."

"Really? Yunie? That'll be nice for a little break. Who else?"

"Well, there is your father–."

"Pops!" she replied. "Again? I just saw him last week. And he lives down the hall from me. What does he want?"

"He said something about a friendly checkup," she replied, squeakily, almost hiding behind her clipboard.

Rikku rolled her eyes. "Oh well. When's he coming?"

"Well..."

"Is that any way to treat your old man?" came a familiar voice from the door.

She held back another groan as her father walked into the room, looking as smug as ever. "Pops," she said, faking a happy tone and smile. "What are you doing here?"

"Came to visit my only daughter," he said, crossing his arms.

"Oh, you shouldn't have?" she replied, placing her feet on the floor. "No, you really shouldn't have."

"And miss your surprised face?"

She gave him a look, before going around to her chair at her desk. She bent over a few things, collecting things together as she talked. "I'm very busy today," she said. "I am everyday. If you want to talk, you have to follow me. You showed up just in time for my morning rounds." She gathered a few papers and plans before giving them to Elhana and heading for the door.

He followed and so did she, both coming after her as she made it outside. "Now hold it there. I am the leader of our people and your father – I can take up five minutes of your time," he replied.

Stopping in her tracks, she sighed. "Lhan, go take those to section three and wait for me there," she said, turning to them. "I'll be five minutes."

Her assistant nodded before doing as she was told. "Was that hard?" Cid asked.

"Yes, now I'm off schedule. I do have Yunie coming today, you know," she replied.

"Yeah, she's on her way here now, so I'm told," he said.

"Whatever. Pops, you don't usually check up on me, so what's going on?" she asked, waving her arms around.

He sighed and grumbled something under his breath. "Rikku, I'm not getting any younger," he said, motioning for her to walk with him. She did, but didn't say anything. "I'll get straight to the point, I'm old."

"I know that," she replied rather bluntly. "What's that got to do with anything?"

"Everything." He stopped walking when they got to a place that was abandoned. "I'm not gonna kick the bucket any time soon, but I'm gonna eventually. Before I do, I gotta make sure who's gonna take my place is the right person."

"Okay..." she said. "You're saying I'm gonna be leader?"

"Well...no," he said, scratching the back of his head. "Since your female, you can't. It's a weird thing, but that's besides the point." He sighed when he noticed how she was looking at him. "Look, your husband is gonna rule after me, okay?"

"I don't have one."

"I know that – you will though, eventually. That's my point."

"Who said I'm getting married?" she asked, getting on edge, crossing her arms. "What about Brother?"

Again, Cid sighed. "No offence girl, but your brother isn't the fastest airship," he replied.

"Huh?"

"Just understand, you are gonna take over for me."

"You just said–."

"I know!" he replied, taking a hold of her shoulders. "The title will go to your husband, but you'll rule almost completely."

"Okay..." she replied. "What are you getting at with this?"

He took his hands away and faced the other way. He scratched his head again, speaking without looking at her. "I – well most of us– I want you to settle down," he said quickly. "There, I said it. I want you to find a husband and start a family."

With wide eyes, she stared at him. "What!" she exclaimed. "I'm only eighteen!"

"You're eighteen," he said, turning to her. "Exactly. You're of age, have been for three years."

"But, but, but," she tried. "I can't get married. Yunie just got married and, and — I don't have anyone to marry!" she exclaimed.

"That's what I want you to start looking for," he said. "That's why I'm here."

She couldn't think of anything to say; she opened her mouth but no words came out. She just stood there as he came over and put his hands on her shoulders again. "I know it seems like a lot, but I'm not gonna be around that much longer. And I wanna see my grand kids," he stated. "I'm definitely not getting 'em from Brother."

Her father looked almost pitiful. It was the one time where she actually saw him that way. He really wanted what was best for her, to see her happy before he was gone.

She sighed, bitting her lip. "I–I have work that has to be done," she stated, shrugging away from him. "I'll see you later."

As she headed back from where they came, he spoke again. "Just think about it, okay Rikku?" he asked.

Nodding once, she practically bolted to find Elhana.