1A/N: New story time!!! Yay! I'm excited about this one you guys! Ok, so here is your summary.
In a Spira where Sin was defeated by High Summoner Braska, Auron is a broken man dealing with the guilt of letting one of his best friends die. Rikku is an Al-Bhed heir running away from her family to escape a horrible future. They are brought together by their friends and very forbidden attraction developes between them.
Things you need to know...well it is a slight AU. I altered the time lines a bit. Sin was defeated eight years ago in the story and I made the ages a little different. Auron is still thirty five and Braska is slightly older, say forty. Yuna and Tidus are both twenty and Rikku is nineteen. Ok now read and enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own FF or the characters
Back to Basics
High Summoner Braska smiled at the image of his daughter on the commsphere. She was smiling at him brightly from Besaid while he sat in his chair in Bevelle. He settled back and listened to her as she told him how she defeated Lulu earlier that day at Sphere Break, a game he despised.
"I'm sure Lulu wasn't happy about that. She loves that game!" he chuckled, imagining the look on his daughter's face when she finally beat her friend.
"She just challenged me to a rematch. So when are you coming home Dad?" Yuna asked.
"The day after tomorrow. We have a few more meetings to attend and then it's on to Besaid." Braska informed his daughter, smiling when she started jumping up and down in the sphere.
"Great! Lulu and I wanted to make a huge dinner for you! Are you bringing Tidus as well?" she asked causally. Braska knew Yuna well enough to catch the tone in her voice. Tidus had been the object of her affections for sometime now even though she would never admit it.
Braska nodded. "Yes."
"Great! Ok Dad I'll talk to you tomorrow ok? Rikku is on the other line. Love you!"
"Bye Yuna. I love you too." Braska grinned and switched off the machina. He couldn't wait to get home and see his daughter. She was why he woke up everyday with a smile on his face. He credited her with the reason he had the strength to defeat Sin eight years ago. His daughters face flashed before his eyes when he encountered the guardian of the final summoning. Braska thought about Yuna and her talents as a summoner and knew that if he didn't defeat Sin for good, she would follow in his footsteps. His guardians Auron and Jecht agreed and the three decided to shun the final summoning at took Sin head on. They were victorious and Sin and Yu Yevon were put to rest. Sadly, one of them didn't make it back alive.
"My lord" came a voice from the doorway. Braska looked up and smiled at his best friend. Auron walked in the room in his signature red coat and even more signature scowl on his face. He looked tired and Braska motioned for Auron to take a seat.
"What is it Auron? You looked troubled." Braska said quietly. When Auron had that look on his face, it generally didn't lead to good things. Braska had seen it often in the past years. Spira was still a dangerous fiend infested place and Auron generally ended up in the middle of the bloodiest battles.
"Nothing major. Your brother-in-law has been driving the ladies in the office crazy trying to talk to you." Auron said, setting his sword down on the table in front of him.
"I told Cid that I can't send anyone to help him excavate his ship" Braska rolled his eyes. Cid had an attachment to his ship that surpassed any of his family members and it was lost in a sand storm recently. He had been badgering Braska for a rescue team ever since. "There isn't even anything on it."
Auron shrugged and shook his head. He and the Al-Bhed leader never got along to well. Cid was too brash, too irritating. Too much like someone he failed to save.
Braska frowned as he saw his friends gaze grow cloudy. Braska knew Auron was thinking about Jecht again. After they defeated Sin, the three men had been tossed off of the giant creature and scattered in the Calm Lands. Braska had been wounded pretty badly and was lucky that Auron had landed not that far away. After using the little magic he had making sure Braska would be fine, Auron set off in search of Jecht. He found the guardian trapped under a huge boulder that Sin had carelessly tossed around. Auron acted quickly, removing the boulder from the wounded man and carried him to Braska for healing. On the way, they encountered a Sin spawn and Auron wasn't able to save Jecht. The guardian had died and Auron blamed it on himself everyday. Braska told him countless times that he could have done nothing else for Jecht, but Auron never forgave himself.
As a result, Auron's personality had severely changed. When they were young, Auron had been his partner in crime. The two always got into trouble together and somehow managed to always get out of it. After Auron joined the warrior monks, he matured and served Yevon. He had been furious to learn that Braska had chosen the path of the summoner and didn't talk to him for a long time. After he had been cast aside for refusing to marry, Braska sought him out and asked him to join the pilgrimage. Auron agreed but made his distaste for Braska's occupation known.
They had run across Jecht in a Bevelle prison and he joined the pilgrimage. Auron and Jecht seemed to hate each other from day one, but ended up very close friends. Jecht had been sympathetic to Auron when the former warrior of Yevon learned about the final summoning. Braska witnessed his friends spirit crushed at learning Yevon's true face. After Jecht died, Auron permentately lost the ability to be the man he once was. He lived his days in guilt, never thinking he deserved more than to feel anything else. It broke Braska's heart.
"Yes well you know Cid won't take no for an answer." Auron reminded him, stretching his neck.
Braska nodded. "I know". After Braska's wife had been killed by Sin, Cid liked to play the "you owe me card". According to Cid, it was Braska's fault that his sister and his own wife had been on the ship that Sin attacked on the way to Besaid. Cid didn't really believe it, but he was that rude.
"So how goes the fighting in the Thunder Plains?" Braska asked.
"Not well. We have to go back in a few week and make sure those things don't remanifest or anything." Auron sighed. "Tidus is excited about going to Besaid."
"Yuna is excited as well" Braska said. After Jecht's death, Auron had taken care of Tidus like he was his own son. Tidus grew very close to the older man since he wasn't too fond of his own father. "You will be coming also, correct?"
"I don't think I should leave the men out in the field that long without me." Auron said.
"That's not a good excuse Auron. There hasn't been a major fiend threat since the Djose incident. And you just said you have a couple of weeks until you have to return to the Thunder Plains, so you are coming." Braska announced. Auron nodded and rolled his eyes.
"Good! Now let's go talk to New Yevon and see what they want."
Yuna hung up with her father and answered Rikku's call and didn't like what she saw. It wasn't Rikku on the other line, but Brother using Rikku's phone.
"Hey Brother" Yuna smiled. "What's up?"
"Yuna? Have oui seen Rikku?" he asked in his broken Spiran.
"No" Yuna answered, her brow coming together in confusion. "Why would I have seen her? Isn't she in Bikanel City?"
"Um, no. No one finds her. She left" he informed his cousin.
Yuna frowned. That was very unlike her cousin. And it was very unlike Cid not to know where she was. "Uncle Cid doesn't know?"
"No. I have not told Vydran. Rikku may not want to be found." he said.
"Why is that?" Yuna asked at the same time Brother got up and switched off the machina at his end. Yuna groaned in frustration and got to up go find Lulu. She would know what to do. Lulu had become a big sister to Yuna in the time she lived in Besaid. Her dad left her here with his friend Kimahri when he left to defeat Sin. Braska thought it would be safer than Bevelle and he was right. After the defeat of Sin, Braska didn't have the heart to take Yuna to Bevelle. They both lived in Besaid with Braska making frequent trips around Spira and occasionally having to stay in Bevelle. Yuna went with him sometimes, but she preferred to stay in Besaid with Wakka, Lulu and Tidus.
She got up and ran outside and found Lulu. She was hanging clothes to dry and looked at Yuna in surprise. "Yuna, what happened?"
"Brother said that Rikku is missing!" she cried out.
"Calm down. Tell me exactly what happened" Yuna took a deep breath and told Lulu exactly what Brother said.
"Well he didn't say she was in trouble, just that she left. She and Cid probably had another fight." Lulu reasoned.
"You're probably right." Yuna admitted. Ever since Rikku's birthday last week, she and Cid fought constantly, but Rikku didn't tell her what it was about. And Rikku wasn't stupid. She wouldn't have gotten herself into too much trouble.
"So did you find out if Tidus is coming?" Lulu asked.
"Oh yes he is" Yuna smiled.
"Then I will assume Sir Auron is coming too since Tidus and Braska won't leave him behind." Lulu smiled.
"Oh good! They will all be home for a few weeks!" Yuna said excitedly. "I can't wait!"
Lulu smiled at Yuna's enthusiasm. She wondered how Tidus was going to react to Yuna's haircut. Lulu knew the two of them were developing crushes on each other in the past year or so and was waiting to see what was going to happen.
"I can't wait either. Let's go inside and figure out what to make for their homecoming dinner."
Two days later, Braska, Auron, and Tidus arrived into the warm greeting of their makeshift family. Tidus was visibly drooling over Yuna's new hair and it earned him a hit on the head from both Auron and Braska. Lulu ushered everyone inside for dinner and they took time to catch up.
"So how's the team doing Wakka?" Braska asked.
"Eh, not so good, ya?" Wakka sighed, rubbing the back of his head. "We need more practice I think."
"Well maybe Tidus can lend you a helping hand for a while" he suggested. Braska knew Tidus loved blitzball and wanted the boy to have some fun.
"I can do that!" Tidus agreed, ignoring the looks he was getting from Auron. If he knew Auron, and he did pretty well, the older man had plans to search the island for fiends for the next few weeks.
"After we secure the island" Auron added, not to Tidus' surprise.
"But there haven't been fiends her in a few months." Lulu pointed out.
"Better safe than sorry" Auron said. "I cannot make you come, but I will be going tomorrow."
"Maybe you can take some of the kids for training sometime?" Braska suggested. As much as Auron's constant paranoia annoyed him, he wouldn't mind some training. He made sure all the kids were ready for combat in case they were in danger. Tidus trained with Auron for years and was better than Braska with a sword. Lulu studied black magic and was a very high ranking mage. His daughter studied white magic and learned some of the lesser summons. Wakka had a collection of various blitzball weapons he made and was surprisingly strong with them.
"That can be arranged." Auron answered quietly. Braska nodded his thanks and looked to his daughter.
"So how is your training going Yuna?" he asked.
Yuna opened her mouth to answer, but interrupted by a knock at the door. Auron, being the closest, stood to see who was there. He opened the door and found himself staring a very pretty woman. A very pretty, very upset woman. She looked up at him with big teary green eyes and opened her pink lips to speak.
"Rikku!" came Yuna's voice from behind Auron. He saw the young woman's face crumble at Yuna's voice and she brushed past Auron and ran into her arms.
"Rikku! What is the matter? Are you okay?" Yuna asked in a panic. Braska stood and walked over to the two girls, concern deep in his eyes.
"Oh Yunie! I left! My vydran is crazy!" she cried.
Auron sat back down, looking at the scene in uncertainty. This was Rikku, Cid's daughter and Braska's niece. It had been at least six years since Auron had last seen the girl and barely recognized the adult version. He thought for a second about how old she must be now. He rarely remembered to keep track of peoples ages. He knew that Rikku was a year younger than Yuna so that would make the Al-Bhed nineteen.
"What did Cid do Rikku?" Braska asked. Cid's behavior with his children always concerned Braska. The Al-Bhed leader was a brash man and made even brasher decisions sometimes. It was hard to guess what he was up to now.
"He arranged a marriage for me!" Rikku said, no longer crying, but furious. "He told me that he was too busy to worry about me getting into trouble and it would give him peace of mind to have a husband."
"Oh Rikku, I'm sure we can talk him out of it!" Yuna assured.
"He set the date! It's in three weeks!" she cried. Lulu got up and hugged the girl to her.
"Rikku, please calm down. We'll help you out of this. Why don't you sit down at eat with us and we'll figure something out." the mage offered.
"Thanks Lulu" Rikku said, taking a seat next to Auron. She looked at the man curiously for a second and then smiled. "Hello Sir Auron. It's been a while!"
"Yes" he answered shortly. Auron didn't visit Besaid too often and when he did, he either patrolled the island or sat in his hut and read. Rikku visited every chance she got. She much preferred spending time with Yuna, Lulu, Wakka, and Tidus than with her own family on Bikanel.
After everyone had eaten, Braska looked over to his niece. He couldn't help but smile at the uncomfortable look on Auron's face. He looked like a flan had chosen to sit next to him instead of Rikku.
"Rikku, I will speak to Cid in the morning. Why don't you rest up. I'm sure Auron wants to take you patrolling in the morning." Braska smiled.
"That would be fun!" Rikku smiled. "I've been wanting to try out my new claw for a while!"
"Great!" Braska smiled, glad his niece was smiling again. "You kids go catch up and let this old man sleep ok. Thanks for dinner Lulu." Braska and Auron left the house together and walked to their own separate homes. Braska sighed and looked over at Auron. The former warrior had a contemplative look on his face and Braska wondered what it was about. "Something wrong my friend?" he asked lightly.
"No. Goodnight Braska" Auron said, walking into his house. Braska shook his head and retired to his own home.
Auron shut the door behind him softly and tossed his belongings on the couch. He looked around his long un-lived in home and noticed that it was clean. He assumed that Yuna or Lulu had seen to it that his house always be ready for his return and made a note to thank them in the morning. He sighed and sank down into his chair, thinking about the patrol in the morning and trying very hard not to think about the bright green eyes that were forever burned into his memory.