A Lesson in Black Magic

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X or any of the characters there within, they are all property of Squaresoft…

The blonde haired girl had caught herself staring on several occasions and each time she would glance away sharply, biting her lower lip. Something about the dark haired woman intrigued her. She was beautiful and dangerous, calm and composed, everything that Rikku wanted to be.

She found herself wanting to know the mage, to become fast friends, to know the personality she wished to become.

And most of all she wanted to conquer her fears of magic.

Stealing herself for an expected rejection, Rikku took a deep breath and moved forward to where the black mage stood. Rikku suppressed a hiccup of fear when the dark-haired woman's head turned in her direction—the advance became all the more difficult. Lulu appeared faintly surprised that the Al Bhed was approaching her.

When at last Rikku had reached the mage, she swallowed and shifted her weight from one leg to another, shyly glancing between her feet and the black mage's sharp crimson eyes.

"I, um, I was wondering if you could, uh, teach me to, er that is, teach me some magic?" she was tripping all over her words; Lulu would surely be annoyed by the incoherent babbling. Not wishing to look up, but unable to resist, Rikku stole a glance at the mage before her; casting the latter a buoyant, hopeful expression. Lulu blinked once.

"What brought about this change?" the mage asked, her silken voice catching Rikku off guard, the Al Bhed was half-expecting a reprimand.

"Well, uh, it's silly really," she chuckled nervously. "I don't know how much time we still have until, you know, and I… I really want to learn…" she drifted off, feeling as though she were losing a battle in the ensuing silence. She bit her lower lip unconsciously, she must have sounded like an utter fool. Lulu stared at the girl for a long moment.

"Are you sure? Wouldn't you prefer to learn some healing magic instead? Or at least become familiar with magic first?" Lulu asked of the younger girl softly. Rikku idly scratched her cheek, now nibbling her lower lip. "Perhaps you would find more…comfortable company with Yuna?"

Rikku swore at herself for being so nervous, this was Lulu, a fellow guardian…as well as a fiercely short-tempered, highly able black mage (whom demonstrated her power on more than one occasion with one stupendously unlucky Wakka, who seemed to infuriate the mage most often.) Rikku shook her head lightly and took a steadying breath, meeting Lulu's eyes with a level gaze.

"No, I…I want to conquer my fears. I'm tired of being afraid. I want to be stronger than that."

The black mage studied the younger girl for a moment in which Rikku did not hesitate, nor release her gaze. Finally, the mage nodded her assent.

"Very well. Come, follow me." The mage moved majestically forward into the forest and Rikku followed, bounding behind. It was a humorous sight to see the stoic, silent woman lead the chipper and springy Al Bhed into the forest; like a graceful mother doe and her lively fawn.

Some fifty paces away from the camp, the two women came into a clearing; it was here Lulu stopped. She turned to the Al Bhed and crossed her arms over her chest.

"You are sure about this?" Lulu's voice was firm; Rikku felt as though she had just been socked in the stomach. Had this not already been discussed?

"Well, it was you who suggested I should learn some spells—back on the…the Thunder Plains." Rikku did her best to keep the tremor out of her voice as her mind traveled back to the terrible place. The mage nodded.

"That is true, but are you ready for it?"

Rikku stared at the black mage, steeling her resolve.

"Yes. I am certain." Rikku stated without a doubt. Lulu appeared to be satisfied with her answer.

"Good. Now, what is it that you wish to learn?"

Rikku scratched her cheek, going quite shy again.

"Oh well, I dunno, just the basic stuff."

Lulu nodded slowly, as though revolving through a series of contemplations.

"I suppose any thunder spells would be out of the question."

Rikku nodded vigorously, hiding a squeak of fear behind her hands. The mage shook her head lightly, beaded pins tinkling in subtle acquiesce. Rikku giggled at her own fool-hardiness, but did not consent to give in to her rationale.

"Very well, now listen to me closely." Lulu unfolded her arms and moved a few steps closer to the blonde haired girl. "There is magic that surrounds you and there is also magic harbored within the self. You must learn to control both if you wish to succeed in spell casting." Rikku nodded her understanding thus far. "The essence of magic residing in nature is a very complex structure, so all I want you to understand is that life defines its own power in magic; serving as a backbone to the spell. The rest however, is called forth from the caster. A combination of body, mind, and spirit; the body must channel the force of the spell to its target, the mind must focus on which spell is being cast, and the spirit calls for the energy to produce the spell. Of course, the spell will not come into realization, unless you have the heart to do so. Do you understand?" Lulu's eyes narrowed slightly at Rikku's incredulous stare and slack jaw.

"All of that?" Rikku said in astonishment.

"Yes. How else do you expect to produce a spell?" the mage asked.

Rikku giggled in spite of herself.

"Magic?"

Lulu awarded the Al Bhed with a rare small smile as she shook her head. Rikku was pleased nonetheless, albeit, it was not much, but she had broken some ground with the mage.

"Not hardly." The mage interjected in Rikku's thoughts. "Magic requires a great deal of concentration, but with some practice and heart, you will gain a fortitude that will become second nature to you."

Rikku nodded solemnly.

"All right, now go ahead and try it. Close your eyes and concentrate. Focus on whatever element you wish to have cast. Picture it in your mind, let it run through your veins, let it flow into your hands."

"I'm feeling something." Rikku stated openly and promptly hiccupped. Lulu gave her a somewhat firm look, and the blonde haired girl shyly offered her apologies for the interruption and closed her eyes again. Lulu continued on with her lesson.

"You should feel a warm, building sensation in your chest, and a sort of pull on your nerves."

"Ah! I can feel it!" Rikku exhaled excitedly, but did not open her eyes.

"Good, now focus! Push the energy toward your fingertips, open your eyes and pick a target, then unleash that energy into the spell you feel."

The younger girls eyes shot open and with a decisive "heeyaaaaah!" she thrust her palms forward. Nothing happened.

"What?" the Al Bhed girl exhaled her disappointment, looking at her hands as if they had betrayed her.

"Don't worry; I didn't expect you to have gotten it the first time. This is not the easiest thing to do. Now tell me if you can, why you think it did not work?"

Rikku shuffled her feet. "Maybe I wasn't concentrating hard enough?" Lulu gave her an agreeable nod.

"If that is so, make adjustments and try it again."

Rikku closed her eyes once more and tried her hardest to concentrate on nothing else but her element, then tried with all her might to have it spring through her veins and off of her fingertips. Again, her eyes flew open and she thrust her palms out, with a yell of "heyaaaah!". And again, nothing happened. Rikku exhaled her displeasure. She stared over at Lulu in embarrassment.

"I don't understand, what am I still doing wrong?" Rikku groaned. Lulu regarded the blonde haired girl in silence, nodding slowly, as though she had just reached some sort of unknown understanding.

"Make your own judgments, adjust, and try again." Lulu stated.

Rikku did so and tried again, and again, and again. Each time she failed. In a fit of frustration and shame, Rikku screamed in her native tongue.

"TYSH ED! Fro lyh'd e kad drec?"

Lulu thought it best not to press the Al Bhed girl for her exact meaning. Rikku gazed up at the mage with eyes that cried for pity. "Lulu, don't you have a black magic sphere or something that I could use?"

The mage's eyes narrowed, painted lips pressed into a frown; her composure bristled as though she had just been accused of not believing in Yevon. She crossed her arms tightly over her chest.

"Yes," the mage said, her voice becoming low and dangerous, "I do. But I will not give it to you; I will not allow you to give in so easily to your frustration. Bevelle was not built in a day. It has taken me years to perfect my art, and still I am learning new things."

Lulu caught herself in surprise to find that her voice had become harsh and insensitive. The mage shook her head, she was not being fair. She herself had had some trouble in the dealings with magic, but that was only after her parents had died. Lulu had been considered a child prodigy for casting spells around the age of four with what appeared to be ease, but with the death of her parents, the effortlessness in which she used to cast had left her. Her magics stoppered by an overwhelming torrent of emotions, entangling her in a suffocating web which blocked from her core the wellspring of power. It had taken the healing power of another type of emotion to restore her to her natural balance, and it had come in the form of a young boy: Chappu.

Lulu blinked, even as the younger girl collapsed to her knees in utter defeat. It was then that the black mage's expression softened and she came forward to kneel softly beside the girl who slumped over, wiping her eyes free of tears. "You need not be so hard on yourself, I did not expect it of you to perform perfectly on your first lesson. However, I do know why you are having difficulty in your casting." Rikku looked up into Lulu's crimson eyes. "You are holding back because you are still afraid. You cannot cast because you do not wish to cast."

Rikku's eyes went wide at the realization—Lulu was absolutely right. Rikku was still harboring that fear of the spells, the fear that her brother had unintentionally instilled in her. Still the fear gripped her and stopped her from progressing. Well no more.

Lulu seemed to read the younger girl's thoughts.

"I will not give you the sphere, because I know that you are fully capable of casting magic without it. Trust yourself and you can accomplish much more." Lulu gazed assuredly into the Al Bhed girl's swirling green eyes. "I have faith in you." The dark haired woman placed a reassuring hand on the Al Bhed's shoulder and just as elegantly swept back up to stand.

The blonde haired girl gritted her teeth and pushed herself back into a standing position as well.

"E lyh tu drec. E femm tu drec!" Rikku declared fiercely and she shut her eyes. The power came this time, she didn't care if she got burned, or wet, or frozen, or yes, even shocked. The power flew through her veins and she did not hold back as a tingling sensation rippled through her fingers. Her eyes flew open and with a mighty thrust, her palms jutted forward.

"HeeeeYAAAHHH!"

Rikku screamed at once in joy and horror as her spell—her first perfectly crafted spell had been cast in Lulu's direction…

The light of a fire appeared on the trim of Lulu's skirt, happily nibbling its way up the gown. Startled, but in the most calm of motions, Lulu swept a graceful hand over the crackling flames and a swath of water appeared over the fire and splashed it out of existence. A scorch mark now occupied the space of the deceased fire. Lulu gave the girl a tender smile.

"Excellent, Rikku. That was very well done…now if only we can work on where you cast your spells…"

Rikku chirruped a trill exclamation of joy, making leaps and bounds through the clearing, all the while babbling in her native tongue:

"E tet ed! E tet ed! E tet ed!"

It was several moments for Lulu to awkwardly watch the utterly ecstatic girl and before Rikku came to her senses. The blonde haired girl did not suppress her joy by reigning in her happiness, but instead hugged the black mage, which resulted in several moments more of awkward experience for Lulu and more delighted screams from Rikku as she thanked her teacher and celebrated her newfound ability. Lulu was finally able to get a word in edgewise and suggested they both return to the camp so Rikku could showoff her new talent. The younger girl agreed and veritably sprinted forward, leaving the black mage to follow.

"Hey everyone, watch what I've learned!" she shouted excitedly and took a moment in casting a nice, blazing fire spell. The company seemed impressed by the spell as Rikku nodded excitedly. She was answering the questions that Tidus and Yuna fired at her when Lulu had entered the clearing. Wakka was the first to spot her amidst the chattering clamor and he whispered:

"So I guess you taught her a good spell, eh Lu? I wouldn't have thought you one to be a teacher, yeah?" Wakka kidded, but Lulu was not amused.

"And what exactly is that supposed to mean?" she shot at him accusingly.

"Well, you kn-OWWW!" Wakka howled as a crackling fire spell lit on the fabric of his pants. "Aw, Lu!"

For once not casting the spell on him, Lulu turned her crimson eyes to her newest blonde-haired pupil, who grinned deviously. Lulu returned the grin with a small, wicked smile of her own.

"I have taught you well."


A/N: YES! There ARE deer in Spira! (No, I don't really know, but just for the sake of the fic(or myself rather), I'll leave it be .)

I always figured that Lulu sort of, maybe even unintentionally promised the little Al Bhed girl a lesson in magic since that Thunder Plains scene, and I thought it would be fun to write if Rikku suddenly called upon that "promise". It may not fit exactly to the storyline of FFX, but I sincerely hope that doesn't deter too much from the fic itself.

Ah, I promised myself to do an FFX fic that involved some Al Bhed tongue, and this would be it. All the random Rikku jabber I will leave to be translated by the reader. But if you are feeling lazy, here is an Al Bhed translating site, have fun: http/albhed. netfirms .com/ (no spaces) And if you are too lazy to do even that—well then, you don't deserve to know what Rikku said! Sheesh!

Anywho, reviews are welcome and appreciated!

Blackfire 18