The Side Effects of Unoriginality

Author's Note: I do not own FFX-2. I simply own the plot and grammatical errors.

Hello everyone! This is my very first fan-fiction. I hope that you'll enjoy reading this and review for me, be it good or bad. I take criticism surprisingly well.

Chapter 1: Bold-Faced Liars

Dear Yuna,

Yes I know it's been a long time since I wrote anything. I guess I've been up to my elbows in machina parts. Sorry for the late response. I've been meaning to get back to you, especially since this has been sitting on my dresser for nearly a week. But you know how Pops is. When he gets something into his head, there's just no saying no.

Like I said last time, I've been working my butt off here in the desert. I don't mind it. Digging up machina has always been a favorite pastime of mine. I guess I got so caught up in this that I forgot about everything else.

The other day, we dug up something that has to date back as far as a thousand years. Pops was so freakishly happy—I don't think I've ever seen him so pleased with us. We dusted it off and after some careful, tactical planning, we managed to get it working, with my help, of course. Pops must have been the happiest person there, especially since it was HIS daughter that got it working. I don't think I've ever been more pleased with myself, either, Yunie.

We've talked enough about me, though. You never did respond to my LAST question. How are you and Tidus doing? You two have been living together for almost a year now and I've gotten no news report. So spill the beans already! I'm dying to know.

I stared down at the straight-laced writing, cringing awkwardly in my seat as the words screamed at me, loud and daunting. Looking down at what I'd written on the paper—the grand story of happiness and fulfillment—I felt awful on the inside. I'd lied, or I'd come as close to lying as I was physically possibly. Still, the meaning was the same. I hadn't been completely honest with Yuna and on the inside, I felt as though I'd murdered someone.

Sitting back in my chair, I breathed heavily, staring at the plain, yellow ceiling, searching for the proper words. But they wouldn't come to me; somehow I think they're still avoiding me from last week, when I had to send a similar letter to Paine, who might have noticed how shallow my voice sounded on paper, if she wasn't busy living her life, too.

Not knowing what else to say to my cousin, I scribbled:

Anyway, I want to know ALL the juicy details—well not all of them, ya know. I'm dying to hear from the outside world and all that. And tell Tidus I said 'Hello.'

I signed my name on the bottom and quickly shoved the paper into a nearby envelope. Tossing it on my desk, I pulled away in disgust, getting to my feet to pace the tiny room. It wasn't like there was much else for me to do.

I lied. I lied to Yuna of people, no less, my best friend and cousin. When I realized I'd been doing that for a while with her and Paine, however, I felt the tiny pang of guild subside. It wasn't like I didn't want to do those things I was lying about. In all honesty, it would be fun to dig up some ancient machina and be the one to get it working. The fact was, however, that was unlikely. Digging had been slow lately. Pops figured we'd just run into a dry piece of land. I quickly reminded him that we were in a desert. It was all dry land, technically.

Since the defeat of Vegnagun and the return of peace to Spira, I'd little to nothing to do, except help the Al Bhed dig up machina in Bikanel. It was my home, too, after all. It was the very least that I could do—aside from helping to save Spira twice. Still, the only reason I'd come back was because no one else needed me.

Yuna had Tidus and god knows I couldn't be happier for her. she deserved to have something she wanted for a change. And Tidus made her happy, I knew. I saw the way things ended with them and how they began. So they needed alone time, to patch things up and re-find common ground and all that. I understood that, but knowledge didn't lessen the pain. Yuna was my cousin, you know. She was really the only other family I had—save Pops, the Leader of the Al Bhed and Brother, the owner of the Celsius and my deranged older brother. Oh, joy!

Paine was doing something similar. She wanted to travel all over Spira and experience things differently. I couldn't blame her either; she'd only ever seen the world when it was in dire stress. I could see the need to want to look at things differently. Not to mention, she and Baralai decided to do things "together." I didn't think Paine the romantic type, but she might just enjoy his company.

And that left me. Alone. Without anyone. In the middle of a desert full of Al Bhed.

I hadn't been seeing anyone, hadn't been waiting for anyone to return from the dream world of the Fayth. I hadn't been doing anything before Vegnagun, ultimately leaving me with nothing to do after its defeat. My life amounted to nothing aside from the Gullwings and when we disbanded, that sorta left me without anything worth living for.

Throwing myself onto my bed, a soft single-sized bed draped with a chocobo-feather quilt, I grumbled into my pillow, burying my face into the downy softness.

"I'm pathetic," I sighed loudly, into the sullen, empty air of my tiny room.

I rolled onto my side and pulled my legs against my chest, pressing my cheek against my knee. Staring at the wall, I felt a little less disgusted with the emptiness of my life. It's too early for self-resentment, I reminded myself, despite the rising heat of the day. But what could I expect? I was in the middle of a desert after all.

Groaning, I rolled back and stared at the ceiling, my hand resting lazily against my stomach. At one point, I had dreams—aspirations that I had wanted to complete. I wanted to do things, helpful things—aside from saving the world and rebuilding Home. I wanted to do things for me. It wasn't that I didn't want to help people, but I had been doing it for so long that I forgot what it was I wanted from life. In that light, I felt like Yunie; she never got a say in what she got to do. She was always doing for others, even if she'd rather not. But she's too nice, she's too naïve. I'm nothing like that, I reminded myself.

When I thought more about it, however, I wasn't exactly sure what I was like. I knew for sure that I wasn't anything like Yuna. On the other hand, I wasn't anything like Paine either. She was sarcastic and biting, her demeanor just the same. She wasn't necessarily withdrawn, but she wasn't as open as the rest of us, either. She just kinda…was. I used to know what I was, or rather, I knew who I was.

I was Rikku—I was the sunshine to the world. My smile could brighten up anyone's day. I loved people. I loved being around them—I loved talking to all sorts of new people. But now…it was almost as though I was avoiding them. I wanted to escape the world of people, I wanted to be all-alone. That wasn't the Rikku I wanted to be, but it was the Rikku I had become. I didn't hate being that person, but I didn't like being that person, either.

Again, I rolled over, now facing the door. It was a wooden door, or it gave the appearance of being wooden. To the best of my knowledge, it wasn't. Wood doors in the desert? That would be awfully bizarre. Instead, I think it was a type of material that was like wood as far as security went, but let the breeze come in, especially since it was so damn hot in the desert.

"I need something to do with my life," I mumbled into the hot air, my arm now dangling over the edge of my bed.

As if on cue, my stomach growled loudly, an embarrassed blush coming to my cheeks, even though no one was there with me. Pulling myself up, I slunk away from the bed and through the door, slamming it behind me.


I found something edible in the kitchen area. From what I could tell, Cid had been trying to cook something for Brother and in his plans, something went terribly awry. It was green, but it should have been brown. I think it was meat, but it smelled somewhat fruity, though there was a pungent smell of sharp cheddar cheese. I said edible, not delicious. I gulped it down indiscriminately, trying not to gag on the imperviously strong taste of metal. I didn't want to know what Pops had put in there and I wasn't brave enough to ask. After the hunk of mystery substance settled itself into my stomach, I roamed about the Celsius in sheer boredom.

Nothing had changed much, expect for the minor upgrades Buddy and I put to Brother's hunk of junk, and Cid's additions as well. Since we'd acquired some top-of-the-line machina parts, we decided to put many of them to good use. We built tinier aircrafts for some of the Al Bhed, many of them used to transport our people from place to place. As I looked around, however, I felt empty, just like the lonesome ship, whose only companion was me at that moment. Everyone else was out, I assumed, given the relative silence of the ship. When everyone else was around, it was hardly ever quiet. Some could swear that another world war had broken out or something.

Seeing as there was nothing else to do, I walked around aimlessly, my eyes roaming over gears and other mechanical parts, though I wasn't really seeing anything. My mind wasn't in the mood to process information and I didn't blame it; as far as I knew, it was still too early for work. Besides, I wasn't ready for whatever grueling task Cid had prepared for me that day. It was just too damn early, I convinced myself, lounging in Buddy's usual seat. I stared out the large window at the golden sand, beyond myself with boredom.

Bikanel was still the mainland for the Al Bhed. I guess it would always be Home to us, even if the ruins had yet to be rebuilt. In our hearts, this was where we belonged. It was the one place we didn't have to feel unwelcoming eyes roaming our skin, begging us to be gone. We were just simply people—not Al Bhed. In the real world, we couldn't hide our green eyes and ever-so-blonde hair. There weren't enough masks in the world to hide our true selves from the world. So we had to bear whatever consequences came for simply being Al Bhed.

"I wonder where everyone else went," I pondered aloud, clasping my hands together as I rested them on the pudge that was slowly becoming my stomach. "The least any of them could have done was leave me a note. But it's the desert…not too far they can roam."

That seemed to settle with me. It was true; they'd probably gotten tired of waiting for me to wake up and launched themselves into a pile of machina parts that needed to be inventoried and test for possible malfunctions and/or uses. Waiting for me to wake up wasn't a fun time, either; I could see that. Still, someone could have left breakfast out—I did it for them all the time before I snuck off the ship and buried myself under a pile of machina, busying myself with the tiny things. And if that green abomination was what Pops called "breakfast," then I was better off without it. With a dissatisfied groan, I tore myself away from the chair and headed back for the elevator. I needed fresh air…or to bury my hands in a pile of machina that desperately needed my attention.


I'd been working for almost six hours straight. The sun was beating down on my bare back. The hot desert gave me proper justification to roam about clad in scanty, bare-all clothes and Cid could say nothing to me about it. I was off the hook so well that he barely spared me the time of day during work hours. He hated seeing the Al Bhed boys staring at me and not being able to do much about it. That didn't stop him from doing what he could do, however.

Still, I was much adored by the young machina-lovers. In fact, just an hour ago, several of the new Al Bhed from Luca had come by, asking me if I wanted to go with them for lunch. Even under my oil-smeared face, they seemed interested, a concept lost on me. I politely waved them off before delving back into the pile set before me. I washed the pieces, worked out the nicks and pieces of sand and oiled them up. I hated the sound of grinding metal; it made me cringe, thinking of the damage being caused. I realized at that moment how bizarre I must have been to normal people, though the Al Bhed boys my age seemed to think it was the sexiest thing in the world.

I wiped my brow with a wet cloth before draping it on the back of my neck, returning to my pile of work. So far, I'd found several energy cores, most of them still in working condition. I'd also stumbled across several bomb fragments and grenades ranging from petrify to silence. I guessed that whatever it came from was used for battle.

"Dryd'c cdnyhka," I mumbled, subconsciously slipping back into my native tongue. "Very strange," I said, this time in English.

I had pulled something shiny from the soft sand. It had been embedded there, much like the old machina we were digging up. I got to my feet, no longer sprawled out in the gritty, golden crystals. I thrust my arm into the air, letting the sun run its beams through the oddly colored thing, not even sure what to call it myself. However, standing there in the middle of the sand, holding the strange trinket in my hand, I suddenly realized it shouldn't have been there. I pulled my hand back down and embraced the tiny trinket. I had found a treasure in the sand.

Opening my hand, I stared down at it. It looked fancy, like something torn from a nice chain, a necklace or something. I could easily loop something through it and adorn the odd thing on my neck. I smiled in spite of myself, something I hadn't been doing too much, if at all. Not since the Gullwings split, I remembered. Everything kinda faded, losing its glimmer. Life didn't mean much and I think everyone here in the desert was starting to notice my withdrawn and uncharacteristically dim view on life now. Even Cid had noticed and he was as dense as it came in regards to myself.

I sighed, slumping back down into the sand, my tiny bubble of joy bursting. Thinking of Yuna and Paine made my swollen heart pound painfully rough against my chest. I was finding it hard to breath, even though the air couldn't have been crisper. Memories of our time spent together rushed into my head, pushing their way into the foreground, slowly killing me with every smile, every laugh, every moment of happiness and unity. If I hadn't already sunken into the ground, my legs surely would have buckled beneath me and I'd have plummeted anyway.

My reason for coming back to Bikanel—my only real reason for being here, dirtying myself for the sake of my people—it was a selfish thing. I didn't come here because I wanted to restore the sense of dignity us Al Bhed had lost when our Home was destroyed. I hadn't come here because I knew we belonged in Spira and thus needed a place to call ours. I didn't return to my father's headquarters because I wanted to be there when our people were brought back into the actual world with something of their own. No, none of those reasons amounted to the real one.

I only came back to distract myself from the pain of not being wanted by my two best friends. Even though I realized they had their own lives, I also realized that neither of them had made an attempt to incorporate me into their newly established lives. Letters here and there telling me how they were wasn't good enough! So I wasn't honest; why should I have been? Their letters were an attempt to cover up the fact that neither of them wanted anything to do with me anymore. The letters were a façade of friendship and when I realized that, I crashed into a world of darkness. My friends didn't want me.

In the few moments it took me to think it through, I realized I wasn't apart of anyone's life.

I was alone. The desert was my only friend, I concluded, fighting to swallow the painful lump that had pushed itself up. But I couldn't fight both the painful feeling of recognition and the salty tears of understanding, not at the same time. So I gave up both battles and I lay in that desert, overcome with my grief, overcome by myself.


Author's Note: This was the first chapter. Although it's short, it's still only the first chapter.

Also, there is a reason for Rikku being semi-depressed; she did lose her two best friends, you know. But never fear. Things will become more interesting in the upcoming chapters, I can assure you.

It would mean the world to me if you would review and give me your honest opinion. Thank you.