A/n: I am so sorry this took so long to get out. I honestly got a little stuck in how I wanted this to end. I had one idea written out in my notebook, but when I began to type it, it totally changed course. It's not my best, but I am glad I have been able to finish this. It's no fun to read a story and not being able to see how it ends. I just hope it's suiting for you all. But most of all I thank those who have reviewed recently that I was able to remember that this was incomplete and needed an ending. And now, sit back, enjoy the read (maybe) and tell me how I should have done better when you are done. Ja ne! Gin~
Rikku squealed in surprise when the next day she went to work and her arm was pulled upon dragging her through a door. She had just arrived, what could she have done now?
"Close the door behind you please." Samual gently spoke when he released her.
She spun on her heel confused, but did as he asked. The pub wasn't open yet, she was only there to help set up before the doors were unlocked for the day. She blushed red and tried to hide herself when she noticed her boss scrutinizing her body as if in inner debate. "Stop that! It makes me nervous." She scolded him.
"I'm sorry, Rikku. I was talking to a visitor yesterday, they were worried about you. I hate to say it, but I agree with their concerns." Samual paced the small room before settling down in the chair behind his desk. "You..."
Rikku stared at him trying to think about what it was he was trying to say. Sure her boss cared about all the girls that worked for him, but this was something more. There was something else bothering him today. He was taking a more fatherly role then he ever had before. "What is it? Am I being fired?"
His eyes jumped to her own before he managed to smile at her. "Oh no. Nothing like that. You are too valuable here. But, Rikku, you need to relax. I don't know if it is here or things going on outside of work, but others are starting to see it. Whatever stress you are under in taking its toll. You have lost weight, and for one your size that is not healthy."
Rikku brought her hands up to cover her mouth and gasped. She never knew it was that noticeable. Sure she noticed, her pants became looser and she had to resort to buying more belts to keep them up. Her father even noticed. The night he stopped in, he ranted for over an hour the next morning as he watched her pick at her food that he went out of his way to prepare for her. But he was her father, he was supposed to know things like that.
Gulping, Rikku asked the question that was bothering her. "Who was it that came?"
"Does it matter? They were worried for you, and for good reason. I would love to give you a few days off early, but I can't, I need you here too much. It's bad enough I have you taking off here shortly for vacation."
"I can cancel if it will help," Rikku offered quickly while bowing her head. She truly did not want to, but if it would help, she was more then willing.
"You're not getting it. I want you to go. You need it. I just want you to be healthy. A young lady such as yourself does not need to be bogged down with stress. Today I want you to not think about anything but your job. See how you feel at the end of the day."
With a huge grin, Rikku nodded before bolting from the office. That day she threw herself into her work ignoring all else. It was like she was a different person. Every customer that came in remarked at how much more outgoing she seemed to be. They loved how she joked around and playfully teased them. By the end of the day, Rikku made more in tips then she ever had before.
She had to admit, taking the boss' orders not to think about anything but work really helped. She left that night more content then she had in a long time. However, now that she was out of work, her worries and fears returned. Her thought came back around and focused on Auron again. As soon as she got home, she reached for the phone to call him. She had hit every number but the last before settling thing phone back into its cradle.
"Should I really be chasing him down like this? What if there is a reason he is ignoring me? No, I better leave him alone." Moving away from the phone, Rikku went into the kitchen to make herself a quick snack. She wasn't really hungry, but with so many friends worried about her health, she knew she had no other choice. She sat at the table and stared at the plate in front of her.
She was staring so hard, that when the phone rang out, Rikku jumped out of her seat. Calming her heart, Rikku answered the phone in as normal a tone as she could manage. "Hello?"
"Rikku? Is something wrong?" It was Auron and he sounded genuinely concerned.
Wincing and hoping that he would not notice, Rikku answered. "No, I just wasn't expecting you to call." Well, it was the truth. "I was just having a small snack."
He hummed once, but said nothing. She wondered why he even called if he wasn't even going to talk. "Look, unless you are inviting me out, I need to go."
"I'll pick you up in twenty then." He replied before hanging up his end.
Rikku stared at the phone left in her hand in confusion. "That was really odd." She set it back and looked over at her food on the table. Since Auron was coming over for her she figured there was no need to eat now. It found a new home in her fridge next to the other nineteen dishes she prepared and never touched. "I should get ready, but what is open at..." She glanced at the clock, "Ten at night?"
With a shake of her head, Rikku left the kitchen and made her way down the hall to her bedroom. She had long since changed for bed, and now wasn't sure what she should wear for a middle of the night stroll.
"Auron always did like this top," She noted as she picked out a green tank that buckled on each side. With a nod of her head, she slipped it over her head before finding a pair of jeans to wear with it. By the time she had brushed and pulled her long blond hair back, there was a knock at her door. Rikku hopped down the hall on one foot as she tried to slip into a pair of sandals at the same time. "Be right there!" She shouted as the knocking continued.
It ceased right away as they waited for her to open the door so they could enter. The first thing Rikku noticed when the door opened was that Auron stood in front of her holding out a single lavender petite rose. He said nothing, but smiled faintly as she took the flower and sniffed deeply.
"What's the flower for?" She asked as he offered an arm and led her out the door and to his waiting vehicle.
"It seemed appropriate." He replied as he held the door open for her. With a deep breath that signaled he was ready for whatever plans he made, Auron stepped around the back of the vehicle and entered on the driver's side. Rikku was still sniffing at her gift giving him a warm feeling. After his time with Jecht and Braska, he knew it was time to step up and be the person he should be. For the past several days, or has it been weeks now, he had not been paying nearly enough time with her. When Braska had mentioned Rikku's loss of weight, he brushed it off. Now that he saw her up close and able to analyze for himself, he could see his friend had been correct.
"How would you like some ice cream?" He blurted out before he could change his mind.
The flower forgotten by the odd question, Rikku could only stare at her boyfriend in shock. It was late at night, nothing would be open. Where did he expect to get ice cream now? "Uh, sure. I guess so. Mixed?"
"Whatever you want. I'll get it for you." He promised unsure if he could even fulfill it, although he was sure she already knew that. He was happy just having her at his side. Surprisingly, there was a place open late As Rikku and he walked along a path in the park, Auron decided that maybe now would be a good time to talk with her.
"Rikku?" She hummed quietly indicating that she was listening, "Are you happy with me?"
She had almost dropped her cone, but managed to keep a hold of it. "I'm sorry, but what? Why wouldn't I be happy? I love you, Auron!" Her head rested on his shoulder as if to say that he better not be trying to back out.
After all they had gone through, it would be hard to imagine life without Auron in her life.
"I'm sorry, I just had to know." He wrapped one arm around her and pulled her close before leading the way around the park. It was relaxing just being able for the two of them to walk like this. They said nothing for some time both lost in thought. By the time they reached the car once more, Rikku had finished her cone and was was busy being held up by Auron as she walked. Sleep was claiming her quickly.
The next two weeks after her little middle of the night adventure put Rikku on cloud nine. She had been doubting how Auron felt about her, and while they didn't say much it was comforting to know that he was trying. She was in her room, suitcase open on her bed, when her phone rang for at least the forth time that morning. With a annoyed scowl, she answered it.
"This better be good, I'm in the middle of something." She warned them right away.
"Then you must be too busy for company?" The caller asked in a teasing tone.
"Auron! I wasn't expecting you! Of course I would want for you to come over. You can talk to me as I pack." Her mood jumped about ten points just hearing his voice. As soon as she hung up, she squealed. She may be getting to see him for the next two weeks, but it was exciting to be able to see him the day before too. Clothing was flung out of her drawers and closet as she tried to decide what she really wanted to take most. Undergarments were first, that step was already done. She was working on tops now and debating on which ones she wanted most. There was only room for so many.
Seeing as she was not going to be able to pick between the tops she wanted, Rikku moved onto pants and skirts. She already knew the skirts she wanted, they were short little things meant to drive Auron wild. At least that was her plan. Her favorite one had to be the olive green denim skirt she wore over her bikini. It did little more then hide her bottom, the sides of the bottom if the bikini were highly visible! She smirked as it was folded and packed into the suitcase.
Before she had a chance to get the next article of clothing, Auron knocked on her door. She dropped the shorts in her hand and ran to answer it. She was lucky it really was him, because as soon as she threw the door open she jumped into the arms of her guest and pressed her lips hard against his own.
"Well, can't say I would object to a reception like that." Auron said when she pulled away. He noted that her cheeks had been tinged pink and wisely decided not to say more about it. Instead he changed the subject. "So, how much more?"
Rikku had to shake her head, her kiss seemed to make her more flustered then it had him. "Uh, sorry. Not much more. Now that you are here, you can help me choose some tops!" She bounded from the room leaving Auron to close the door himself before following.
He shook his head lightly as he entered her room. Rikku was currently digging around in a drawer with one hand while the other was holding a pile of shirts. "Rikku, we are only staying for two weeks. In a tropical island no less. How much more can you possibly need?" A frown crossed his face as he asked.
Rikku playfully pouted before throwing what was in her hands on the bed. "I don't really need this much, that's why you are here." At his scared expression she went on. "You are going to help me decide what you like best. That's what I'm going to be taking." She grinned.
With a sigh and a shake of his head, Auron entered the room and sat on the bed. He picked the first piece of clothing closest to him. It was a white tank top with the words sweet written across the front. It got thrown in the suitcase. The next one was a brown tank with much less material then the first, if that were possible. It was thrown in the reject pile right away. He wasn't about to think about other men looking at his Rikku in the same way he did.
Rikku watched with slight amusement as shirt after shirt was either thrown aside, or in the suitcase. She hopped up to the case and began folding each accepted one so that they would all fit. The last thing he picked up was a peach sun dress that she had not worn in about three years. Auron, however, seemed to be inspecting it quite closely. To be honest, she forgot she even still had it. Her brother had given it to her for her birthday and she never had the heart to get rid of it. She had hoped her boyfriend would throw it aside too, but as was her luck with the man...
"Monday night, I want you to wear this after we arrive. It's perfect." He held the dress out for her to pack away with the others. He was not daunted even after she stared at it in horror. She tried to make excuses, but he shook his head and continued to hold it out until she packed it away as well. "Now, all finished. What say we get some dinner before we leave for our trip in the morning?"
Braska was up and ready for the couple early the next morning. He had agreed to take them to the airport so that they would be able to board the airship in plenty of time without having to pay for parking. Rikku was tired from lack of sleep. She was so excited that all she could do was lay in bed and stare at the ceiling above her. The man at her side seemed untouched by the idea of vacation. He was the same as always; cool, calm, and unfazed by much. Some day she would ask him how he did it, just not today.
It was a short process of getting through security, but they had no problems. As they boarded the airship, Auron held a single book under his arm while Rikku held tightly to her purse and a few magazines. It was going to be a four hour flight. Auron allowed Rikku to sit next to the window. Her excitable nature would be sure to enjoy the sights as they flew over the landscape below. Over her shoulder, he watched closely as luggage was loaded below them. He had only one thing on his mind; that his own suitcase make it intact.
Rikku had rented a single story, two bedroom beach house for her vacation. The house itself was situated right on the beach, giving them a private section to swim in if they desired. The house had no carpeting, instead it was all ceramic tiling that was easy to clean and kept the house cool. The main room was separated by a half wall that defined the kitchen from the living room.
"Auron, isn't this perfect?" Rikku squealed in delight as she opened the curtains that gave a view of the ocean in front of them. Her eyes twinkled in joy. "Pops sure knew how to pick them. He said that this area was the same place he brought mom before they got married!"
She was so busy staring out over the scenery that Rikku missed the slight widening of his eyes that Auron made at her words. It was an accidental coincidence, but well... Pushing his own thoughts down for now, Auron walked over and wrapped his arms around the girl's waist as he too stared out the huge window. "It is very nice. It makes me happy to see you enjoying it already." He commented.
Rikku leaned against him for only a moment more before breaking free to inspect the rest of the beach house. He heard her voice shout out about calling a room from down the hall. "Typical Rikku." He said before picking up the luggage that was left by the door and carrying them all to the bedrooms. He dropped hers off before taking his to the other room.
Rikku was so busy admiring it all that she never noticed. "Auron, you have to come see this! I bet even you would like it."
He was busy in the other room opening and taking clothing out of his suitcase. There was one object in particular he was searching for. "I'll be right there in a moment!" He called back to her. This object was more important in this moment. He still had two days to plan, but that planning would be useless if he did not find that box.
They must have chosen his luggage to search through, because everything was scattered and out of the order he put it in. For a split second he panicked long enough to question if maybe security may have taken the box. He found it only a moment later. It was shoved to the far side from where he had packed it. He smiled as he opened it up to inspect it. The box was snapped closed as he heard Rikku's foot steps coming closer.
"Auron, are you coming? We can unpack later. I want to go see the beach before it gets dark!"
He looked up to see she had already changed and was wearing a pair of cream colored capri and a light pink top. She had a pair of sandals dangling from her fingers. "I will join you in a moment. Since you are ready for walking, it would only be proper that I should do the same."
Rikku grinned as she ran in, kissed him, and ran out the room to wait.
He pulled the small black box out from behind his back before tucking it under his pillow for safe keeping. It was fortunate Rikku was more excited by walking then what he was doing. Once he knew it was safe, Auron changed into a pair of long gray shorts and tank top before meeting Rikku on the porch.
"So, Braska, what do you think the stiff is doing right now? Do you think he and Rikku are fighting yet?" Jecht asked before tilting his head back and taking a big swallow from his mug.
Braska sighed before answering. "Jecht, I really wish you would stop referring to him like that. You know how much he hates it."
"Yeah, but he ain't here now, is he?" The tanned officer laughed and wiped away the foam that had gathered on his upper lip. "What do you think, boy?" He asked as he turned to the other person sitting on the rooftop with them.
Tidus cringed at the nick name, but only shook his head in reply.
"Oh come on! Don't tell me even you agree!" Jecht argued.
"Dad, cut him a break. He's trying. Rikku's good girl, and my friend. I don't want to even think about what they might be doing right now." His face took on a soft pink color as he accidentally thought about it.
Braska noted it, but wisely said nothing. He went for a subject change instead. "What time did the girls say they would be back? It seems rather late, don't you agree?"
"Aw, let them go. That means they are having a good time. Little Yuna needs someone like my wife to show her how to be a proper wife."
"But dad, Yuna already is a great wife." Tidus spoke up. "I can't think how she could be even better then she already is."
"Shows how little you know. Every woman can be better. They just have to be taught how!"
"Really now?" A new voice spoke up, and a female one at that. "Sexist much?"
Jecht blanched as he slowly turned around. His wife stood at the doorway, arms crossed over her chest. "Is that how you truly feel? Am I not good enough?" Yuna stood behind her mother-in-law one hand over her mouth trying to hide the giggles before she could be caught.
Braska openly smiled as Jecht attempted and failed to appease his wife. "You set me up, didn't you." He pointed to his son. "You knew they were there didn't you?" Jecht accused.
"Tidus, Yuna, I think it is time we go now. It looks like this couple has a few things they need to work out together." Braska pushed his seat back and stood as he pulled his keys from his pocket. He guided the newlyweds past the fighting couple and out the front door. Tidus sported a humorous expression the whole time.
"I always knew his mouth would get him in trouble some day. I just never thought I would be there to see it." Yuna hit him lightly in the chest before warning him to behave. He only grinned in response.
Monday afternoon came quickly for the vacationing couple. Rikku attempted to wear the dress Auron choose for her all day, but he shook his head and politely asked her to change. Confused she did as he requested.
That day, they spent time in a nearby town and did some shopping making sure to get something for everyone on their list. Rikku was having the hardest time getting something for her uncle though. She wanted to get him something special for all that he had done for her.
"Auron, I just can't find anything that stands out for him. Uncle Braska deserves something more then some trinket. I mean they are all nice and all, but what would he really like?"
He pulled her close as he himself thought it over. "You are thinking too hard. We still have over a week to find something. Don't rush it." He kissed the top of her head as a booth caught his eye. "Rikku, how do you feel about pictures?"
She blinked a few times unsure what he was getting at. "Um, I guess I like them. Why do you ask?"
He pointed at the booth in answer. It wasn't overly large, just a hole in the wall type of place. But inside were rows upon rows of historical type of costumes. A grin spread over her face. "Oh, Auron! That looks like so much fun! Oh, you have to do it with me! Please?" She clasped her hands together begging and giving him puppy eyes.
"I would not have suggested it otherwise." He replied before tugging her along. The owner of the booth was a young Besaidian native with bright orange hair. His accent was rich, much like he remembered one of Tidus' teammates to be. "We would like to be photographed please."
"Ah, sure, brudda. 'Ome with me, ya." He led them into the back to where they could chose what style of picture they would like. "We have ancient Spiran, modern, and our most popular- futuristic advanced. I have many customers that like to think of themselves all techno, you know. Or maybe they just like the big gun they get to pose with."
"Well, Rikku, which do you prefer?" He looked down at the blond that clung to his arm. She was scratching her cheek in thought as she looked over each of the examples. He could see she was eying up the futuristic one, but unsure if that was what she really wanted or not.
"I like this one," She said pointing, but then her finger moved until it rested on ancient Spiran. "But I always wanted to dress up and know what it was like for my ancestors. We'll do this one!"
"A good choice, ya. A'ight. This way then. Miss, if you want, I have three racks of clothing for you to pick from. Sir, if ya would come with me.." Auron was led to the far side of the booth while Rikku stared at all the clothing she had to pick from.
The dresses were full, many made of lace and silk material. It was hard to choose just one outfit to wear. She wanted them all! Finally she found the one that seemed more perfect then all the others. It was dark green with red accents sewn into the lace. The front dipped to show off what little cleavage she had without being revealing. It hung off her shoulders exposing tanned skin. The waist pulled in before the skirt part widened and a small train trailed behind.
"Find something?" The owner asked as she pulled it off the rack.
"I think I did. This is it right here!" She held the dress up to show her decision.
"What do you know. I 'ad forgotten all about that one, ya. Never had anyone fit in it since I bought it. But it seems to be just your size. Try it on, you can change here." He showed her an area behind a curtain that was just wide enough for her.
"Thanks! I'll be right out. Is Auron ready yet?"
"The man with ya? Ya, he should be done in just a moment. I'll set the scene up. Just come up front when you are ready!"
Rikku heard him walking away as she quickly slipped into the costume. She had gotten a little worried when he said it never fit anyone else, but as soon as she slipped into it, it was like the costume was made just for her. "If only there was a mirror I could see myself in." She said sadly as she looked down at herself.
Rikku held the front of the skirt up as she exited the curtain only to drop it once she caught sight of Auron. He was standing off to the side of the set, top hat under his arm. He wore a black suit trimmed in gold thread, and a white cravat around his neck. Looking at the way he stood made it hard to imagine that it was only a costume and not a real suit. Her gasp made both men turn to face her.
"Wow. Now that's how you wear a dress." The owner said softly.
Auron stood his ground unable to do more then stare as Rikku came closer. "What do you think?" She asked him breaking him free of his trance.
"I think," he gulped, "I think you look lovely."
Rikku smiled quickly before she was called aside and given a lace fan as a prop. The Besaidian showed them the scene and allowed them to choose how they wished to pose. Rikku sat in a wicker chair with an oversized back while Auron stood beside her, hat still under his arm but the other held her free hand. The fan she had been given was opened, but rested lightly on her knee. One could look at them and almost believe they were from that time period.
Four shots were taken, and the Besaidian showed them how they all turned out after they had changed back into their own clothing. "Okay, here is what we got, ya. You can pick between full color, sepia, or black and white." He showed them examples of what they all would look like.
"I like the sepia one. It looks so vintage!" Rikku exclaimed.
"Very well. We will take that one then." Auron declared.
The owner nodded before giving them the price. He then surprised them by offering one more thing. "Tell you what. That dress she wore, if you like it, and since I have never had anyone be able to use it, for an extra forty gil, I'll throw it in as well."
Rikku gasped again before turning to her boyfriend. "Really? Auron isn't that great? I'll take it!" She reached into her purse and began to pull out the required gil, but Auron's hand stopped her.
"I'll take care of it. Think of it as a gift."
When they got back to the house, the sun was already starting its decent. Auron encouraged Rikku to hurry and change so that they could take a walk before it was completely gone. When she was out of the room, he reached into his pocket to make sure the small box was still there. He inspected it quickly while he could before nodding and closing the box back up. It was going to be now or never.
Rikku returned dressed in the peach sun dress he insisted she wear. When he saw her in it, he knew that he made the right decision. It was as care free as she was.
"Ready?" He asked as he held an arm out for her to take. Rikku didn't have to be asked twice.
They walked together along the edge of the water, Auron keeping one hand in his pocket the whole time. He wanted to wait for the perfect time before he asked Rikku the question he was waiting for.
"Hey Auron, Can ask you something?" He grunted to let her know he was listening. "Why did you want me to wear this dress? I know for a fact that until I pulled it from my closet you never saw it before. How did you know how it would look?"
"I didn't. But I knew it would be the perfect outfit for what I wanted to ask you." Rikku stared at him dumbly before he pulled his hand from his pocket and got down to one knee. "Rikku, I want to know if you will honor me by allowing me to have your hand in marriage?"
It had taken another year, but Rikku finally got the dream she had always wanted. In her hand was a lace fan, and a bouquet of white lilies. She wore a green dress with red accents. The very same dress she wore during the time her and Auron were on vacation. He had no idea what she had chosen to wear for her wedding, and would no doubt be surprised.
"Oh, Rikku, I think you look even more lovely then I did on my wedding day." Yuna was gushing over her cousin as she attempted to adjust the veil on top of Rikku's head. Ringlets hung down over Rikku's shoulders as half of her hair was pulled up. "Auron is going to be so surprised to see you come down that isle wearing this." She went on indicating the dress Rikku wore.
"Well, you know, it just seemed appropriate. He really seemed to like it then." She giggled before pausing. "Yunie, do you think I'm really ready for this? I mean, it's all a little over my head. Pops and I had a nice talk yesterday. He warned me that men only have one thing on their mind, but he wouldn't tell me what it was."
"Don't worry about it. Uncle Cid was just teasing." Yuna peeked out the doors to see how far everyone was to being ready. Her lips made a small 'O' when she saw Auron and her father standing up front. Closing the door, she turned to her cousin. "Rikku, I have a good feeling Auron will like whatever you have on."
Rikku didn't get a chance to ask what she meant because Cid knocked on the door to let them know it was time. The wedding march began and Yuna left the small room first. She walked down the aisle with her head held high and a knowing grin on her face.
"You ready, kiddo? It's your turn now." Cid held his hand out and Rikku slipped her arm through. She closed her eyes, nerves getting to her, but when she opened them again, a smile took its place.
Auron was waiting at the end of the aisle standing in the familiar outfit from when they had their picture taken. All fears faded away as the ceremony went on.
Rikku sat on the couch in her new home. It was bigger then her apartment, and still close to work and school. Her feet were tucked up under her as she stared at something in her hand. She smiled softly as she remembered the day.
"Rikku, aren't you coming to bed? It's getting late." Her new husband asked from the doorway. Auron was wearing a dark robe tied with a green sash.
"Just a moment. I just wanted to look at this one more time." She answered as one hand traced the picture in her hand.
Auron entered the room and took the picture from her hand before setting it back to where it belonged. "You can look later. We will have plenty of time for that in the years to come. You need your rest now. Come on, I'll carry you."
Before she could even protest, Auron picked Rikku up bridal style and carried her from the room. The light was turned off by a quick flick of Rikku's wrist as they left the room behind. Meanwhile, a single beam of moonlight entered the window and shone down on two pictures. One was of the two of them in a vintage setting, the other in the same clothing, but locked in a romantic kiss after saying their wedding vows.