Hello, people! I present to you a oneshot because I had the sudden urge to write.

...Okay, the primary objective of this here oneshot was to update people awaiting chapter 2 of Perfect Illusion. So, PI (Perfect Illusion) readers, I'm alive and working on it!

Meanwhile, enjoy.


The grass was soft under Auron's fingers, a sharp contrast to the bark against his back. His head was tipped to the sky to absorb the cool air of the morning; the break between night and daylight, his favorite time of day. A new day, a new beginning…for everyone else.

Waves of light burst through the leaves on the trees above and burned through airborne moisture, making them visible. Little sights like these were what he thought humans ought to enjoy, and enjoying them himself gave him the closest feeling to humanity that he could get anymore.

He wondered how far off he had wandered—not far, of course—but probably far enough. This morning he didn't want to be bothered until it was time to leave; his comrades' chatter got on his nerves.

But was that really the reason?

Thoughts focused on previous thoughts that were blasphemous and vile to his morals. This is how he thought of them, hoping that his negativity would eventually drive them away. But they persisted and tormented, and Auron regretted fueling the fire with such a simple self-aimed question. They scratched at his mind like a dog to a screen door with a desire to get inside, and soon he was as irritated as he was around—

He heard a rustle and shift nearby, and glimpsed a figure ducking behind a tree to provide safety from his gaze. Come out, he ordered, receiving not much of a reply except for compliance. She stepped uneasily from her hiding place, a thief caught red-handed.

He gave her a look that could only be interpreted as an order to either return to camp or to leave him alone. She turned red and became smaller, with her knees glued together and her hands tied behind. Thinking he had received obedience once more, he closed his eye to her presence and imagined her as she left.

He stayed as he was for minutes more before he regained the want to see the daggers of light in the air. Gazing upward, he realized that he was still not alone.

Emerald eyes that swirled of the color reflected in drops of rain on flower stems were staring at him with an expression that he found he just could not read. Somehow thinking that she remained unseen, she hugged the tree for stealth while scanning him up and down. What was she doing?

He felt awkward being observed so closely. It was something that no one had ever done to him before, for his person was intimidating and naturally caused eyes to avert. He was also mildly curious; how had she been able to deceive him into thinking that she was gone?

But her expression changed, and she looked at him in a different way. Something new was in her eyes.

It was pity.

The feeling that drove through him then was so strange and foreign. He gasped in utter surprise, eye widening. A red-faced Rikku, having been spotted, fled swiftly and silently.

He stared after her in amazement, abruptly unable to ignore her absence. His forehead scrunched in anger and frustration. Pity? He had not been looked upon with pity in a long time—and still, never had it affected him in such a way. Pity! But why? And from her? That last thought made him reconsider.

Pity, or was it sympathy? Or knowing her, simple curiosity?

He was disturbed. Somewhere deep inside, he was offended. How could such a bright and sunny thing like her sheath a hindrance in the flesh of his resolve? Just how mentally powerful was she? To his dismay he began to doubt and reform his past opinions.

She was cheerful and active, he knew, and her mouth never stopped moving. At times she uttered wise statements without knowing, and Auron noted that as something he secretly admired. She was always the optimist to his pessimist. Maybe that was why he thought her so odd; he had never had a dramatic foil before. She contrasted him in so many ways…he thought of how her slender form aided her in routine thievery, how her hair hung in neat bangs that framed her beautiful face and glowed radiantly golden in the sun—

He was startled at the direction his thoughts were taking, and ordered them to estrange themselves from his mind. All the while his heart had been lifting like a feather on a breeze—also a new feeling, and one that he could not allow himself to feel.

Still, he felt like he had just seen something very wonderful for the first time.

He was shaking with unfamiliarity when he stiffly pushed to a stand. It was time to return to the others for his salvation: chatter that would give him a mind-numbing headache. But that was good.

He walked, and the blasphemous thoughts suggested that he was beginning to enjoy a little thing that humans ought.

He suddenly had much to learn.


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-Ari Elisianete