Ch. 15 Together Again

"So, what do you think your father's going to do in the morning?" Paine asked, as she lay on Baralai's naked chest.

Technically, it was freezing outside. There was a snow storm in progress. But, as she lay under a thin blanket, with a dying fire within eyesight, she forgot about all of it. She couldn't believe she was in Baralai's arms again. What had possessed her to do it? If she searched her heart, she would have the answer immediately. She would have known a long time ago. Now, as she lay in the afterglow, she pondered what the future could possibly hold for them. Did she even want a real relationship with him? Did he want one with her?

"Nothing. I spoke to him on the drive over. I told him that I needed to talk to him about the farm."

Paine sat up and looked down at him. She couldn't help but notice the way the light from the fire made his chocolate brown eyes shimmer.

"What are you going to tell him?" she asked.

"I'm going to tell him to give the farm to me. And then…I'm going to give it back to you."

"Why would you do that? Didn't you tell me that I was acting like a damn fool for wanting to keep it? What makes you think he's just going to give it to you?"

"I'll handle it. Don't worry your pretty little head about it."

Her scarlet eyes bulged. The last time she had been told she was pretty by a man had been from her father. And that had been a very long time ago. Did he truly think she was pretty? Even when she didn't? She never had. In fact, while she was considering it, she had resented being a girl. She thought it was too much work. It was hard to work on a farm and worry about things like keeping your nails nice.

"Stop bullshitting. You don't think I'm pretty. I've seen the girls you've been with."

"Hard for you to take a compliment, huh? I would never tell a girl she was pretty if I didn't mean it."

"Right. Don't the compliments come a-plenty after you've gotten in her pants?"

He grimaced. "Paine. I always thought you were pretty. It's just hard to see when you have a perpetual scowl on your face."

She didn't know what to say. He did sound genuine about it. This sudden niceness and respect between them was beginning to make her feel uncomfortable. They were enemies. They couldn't date. At least not seriously.

"So, Baralai, where do we go from here? I mean…you don't seriously think…?"

"Um, no. Of course not," he covered quickly.

He didn't want to make any immediate promises to her, even though he was going to beg his father not to destroy her farm. He was even thinking about fixing the main house up so it would look like new again. Why? Why the hell was he doing all of this? He refused to call it "love", but he knew that it was more than lust.

"If you can convince your dad to give you my farm…that would be really great. I'd really appreciate it. I mean it."

"I'll get the farm. Don't worry. Though I have no idea why you even want it. Didn't you tell me you were never getting married?"

"I'm not. But, it belongs to my family, you know."

"Yeah, I know. But, I thought you might want to keep it that way…"

"I can't imagine having kids. It'd be hard for me to give up smoking."

"Yeah. Speaking of smoking…I could use one. You almost wore me out."

"Sure," she said, reaching for her coat.

He looked at it, but he didn't offer the information that he had bought it. He thought it would ruin what she might think of it. If she thought her grandmother bought it, it might make the coat more special. Then, he mentally kicked himself again. Why did he care all of a sudden about Paine's every emotion?

"Why did you tell me that the demolition company was still coming tomorrow?" she asked.

"I had to make sure that you were serious about not giving up."

"What am I supposed to do? I can't just break up with Gatta because Gippal's back, right? I mean, that would make me a jerk, right?" Rikku asked, as she plopped on Yuna's bed. Yuna smiled from her position in her desk's chair.

"Well, do you want to get back with Gippal? I think that's the first thing you should ask yourself," Lulu said, as she stood in front of the mirror on the back of Yuna's door. She was trying out different hairstyles. For the first time ever, she was seriously considering cutting her hair.

"You know damn well I want Gippal! He's the love of my young life! But, I can't go around looking like a jerk," Rikku complained, slightly muffled by a pillow covering her face.

"I don't see what the problem is, Rikku. If you let Gatta down gently, he should understand," Yuna said, standing.

"Yuna, you should know better than anyone the position I'm in. You've been playing with that creep, Teenan, when it's Tidus that you really want."

"Who wants ice cream? Let's go raid the kitchen," Yuna said, cleverly ignoring Rikku's reply.

She headed out of the room first to dismiss the subject. She didn't really want to talk about Tidus. At this moment, he and Wakka were holed up in Wakka's bedroom with a few of the Abes. The snow storm continued outside.

"Where's Paine?" Rikku asked, as she straddled a stool. Lulu sat primly next to her. Yuna walked over to the fridge and grabbed a gallon of ice cream. She pulled three spoons from a drawer and handed one to each of them.

"I don't know. She's around. I think she's in her room," Yuna said, digging deep into the ice cream.

The three girls were clad in thick pajamas. It really was too cold for ice cream, but it did seem to be a cure for whatever ailed you. Except for a stomachache. Yuna's mind was on other things as well. It turned out that Braska's good news was…that Merlene was moving in with him. Braska assured her that it was only for business purposes, but for the first time in her life, she didn't believe him. Merlene had even called him "Braska" and not "Mr. Riley." She wasn't sure how she felt about another woman being in her father's life.

Of course, she would like for him to honor her mother for the rest of his life, but she realized that it wasn't likely that would be an option. After all, Braska was still young enough and charming that it wasn't hard to imagine Merlene being attracted to him. But, was he attracted to her? Physically, Merlene and Jacinda couldn't have been more different. Merlene was short, with brown hair and a pear shape. Jacinda had been tall, blonde, with a slim figure. She wasn't ready yet. If ever.

Paine entered the kitchen. She raised an eyebrow at the ice cream. "Ice cream in winter, huh? Whose heart is breaking?"

"Mine," Yuna and Rikku said in unison.

"Must be about men. Why do we let them make us so miserable? Do you think they're upstairs moaning about us?" Paine complained, as she pulled a spoon out for herself.

"Because they're cute," Rikku said, licking her spoon.

"Because they're sweet, and have the most amazing eyes you've ever looked into," Yuna said, dreamily.

"None of that. It's because of how they make us feel in the bed," Lulu concluded.

The other girls grudgingly agreed.

"And how does Wakka make you feel in bed? Your mind is still so dirty," Rikku said, reaching for another scoop.

"Let's just say, girls, I'm never dissatisfied," Lulu smiled at them.

While the girls were having fun in the kitchen, the boys sat sullen in Wakka's bedroom. Except for an occasional fart from Keepa, the room was silent. Each was lost in his own thoughts.

"What the hell is wrong with us, men? We're all up here second guessing ourselves because of a bunch of women," Baralai complained, reaching for the last beer in the six pack.

"I'm not second guessing myself. I don't even have a woman," Botta said, retying his pajama bottoms.

"And you would admit that out loud? Don't you got no pride, ya?" Wakka grimaced.

Botta shrugged. He knew that he should be acting like a big man on campus, but he was tired of the charade. College girls weren't as impressed with an Abes uniform as high school.

"Baralai, you don't have a woman, either. So…why are you second guessing yourself?" Datto asked, taking the toenail clippers from Keepa.

"You're right. But, let's just say…there's someone I'm interested in…but she's stubborn as hell," he said.

Wakka and Tidus exchanged a look with each other. Baralai didn't miss it. Shit. Did they know?

"Who's that?" Keepa asked, burping and reaching for the bag of chips.

"Never mind who she is. The point is I don't know where this thing is going. I don't even know if I want a girlfriend. Do you know how long it's been since I had an actual girlfriend? Not since sophomore year."

"Well, maybe you like her because she's so stubborn and outspoken," Tidus said, giving Baralai a sly grin.

"I never said she was outspoken."

"I know."

"Why do we need girls, anyway? They just make life miserable for us. They tease us with their bodies, try to change us, and act melodramatic half of the time," Botta complained. He was sick of girls dictating his young life.

"Because I like the way they smell," Keepa said, thinking he would die if he had to deal with guys' body odor for the rest of his life.

"I like the way they laugh," Datto said, thinking of Callie's high pitched laugh.

"I like breasts," Botta had to admit, thinking that cleavage was his worst enemy.

"I like the things they do in the bed, ya," Wakka said.

"Agreed," Baralai said, nodding.

"I like the way you can talk to them about anything. Things you're afraid to tell anyone else," Tidus said, as five pairs of eyes simply stared at him.

"You mean after sex talk, right? When you feel vulnerable?" Keepa asked hopefully.

"No…forget it. We need some more beer."

They all agreed and filed down to the kitchen. Tidus wondered where Reevo was. Was he even at home? He hadn't seen him all evening. It wasn't likely that he was out trying to brave the cold on feet. He followed the guys into the kitchen, where they found the girls.

Baralai grabbed another pack of beer from the fridge. He sat it on the counter and turned to the girls.

"Why do girls make guys' lives so complicated?" he demanded of them.

"Why do guys make girls' lives so miserable?" Paine countered.

"You're kidding. Drama queens," Botta accused.

"Sex crazed animals," Rikku threw back.

"We got a right," Wakka complained.

"We do, too," Lulu corrected.

Datto held up his hands. "There's only one way to settle this."

"What's that?" Yuna asked.

"A pillow fight to the finish. Guys versus girls."

"We're outnumbered," Paine reminded him.

"Can't handle it?" he shrugged.

"You're dead," she said, running to her bedroom to get her pillow. She knew that Wakka, Rikku, Lulu, and Baralai would have to go upstairs to retrieve their pillows. Mr. Isaaru had gone out on a date, and would most likely return late in the morning.

She caught Baralai trying to head upstairs. She smacked her pillow across his head. Unfortunately, Tidus had his pillow and caught her in the back. Pretty soon, no one was safe. Keepa kept pausing in the hall to catch his breath. He couldn't run as fast as the others.

Yuna heard the phone ringing. Should she get it and risk being attacked? What if it were an emergency? She looked around and made sure the coast was clear. She crept silently to the phone in the hall.


"Hey, Yuna. Is Rikku there?" asked Gippal.

"Yeah. Hold on for a minute, okay?"

"I can wait for longer than a minute."

Yuna cradled the phone on the table and tiptoed down the hall to find Rikku. As soon as she rounded a corner, she was hit in the face with a pillow. And then another.

"Never let your guard down, Yuna," Datto warned.

She squealed and ran in the opposite direction. Tidus came around the corner. Instinctly, she ran behind him for cover.

"I've got this covered, Datto," Tidus told him.

"Right," Datto said, giving him a grin and heading off to find another victim.

"Tell Rikku the phone's for her," Yuna called after him.

Tidus turned to her. "Well, you should know that you're not safe with me," he warned her, clutching his pillow.

"You're kidding."

"I'm not," he said, taking a swing at her and missing. She hit him in the face and ran. Yuna ran for the front door, realizing too late that she was trapped.

"I give," she said, tossing her pillow aside.

"Do you really give up?" he asked, clearly speaking about something besides a silly pillow fight.

He stepped up to her and tossed his pillow aside. She stared up at him silently, her multi-colored eyes filled with hope. She had to tell him that she had never given up on them. She would never do that. He reached out and placed a hand on her hip.

"Yuna…" he began as the front door opened and Reevo stepped inside. Tidus immediately moved his hand away. Reevo took off his coat and turned to them, with an odd smile on his lips.

"Hey. What's going on?" he asked no one in particular.

Tidus didn't bother to answer him. The sight of Reevo and Yuna in the same room reminded him why he and Yuna weren't together in the first place. He walked back to the kitchen to finish his beer. Yuna sighed deeply, and picked up her pillow. She was certain that Tidus was about to say something important to her. What it was, she may never know.

Reevo waited until he was home alone the next afternoon. Most of his housemates were at the mall trying to catch after Christmas sales. They were going to have their own Christmas celebration in a few days, complete with gifts and a party. He headed upstairs first. He knew that Baralai always had gil lying around. He opened the door to Baralai's room and stepped inside. He was immediately disappointed as his eyes swept across the empty dresser tops. He was leaving the city soon, whether or not Yuna joined him. Darcy had written him a letter, warning him that she was planning to tell her court appointed attorney that he had helped her scam Tidus. He wasn't about to go to the slammer because some ditzy girl couldn't deal with rejection.

He remembered that Baralai liked to stuff gil under his mattress. He walked over to the bed and swept a hand under the mattress. He smiled as he felt paper and not coins. He pulled it out to see how much it was. It wasn't gil. It was a note. There's no gil for you, thief. Get the fuck out of my room. He crumbled the paper angrily, and kicked the bed. After rubbing his sore foot, he investigated the other rooms and came up empty. He knew that Paine was hiding something in her locked room. Good thing he knew how to pick a lock. He knelt in front of her door and began to work on the lock. Just as he suspected, the old door opened almost immediately. He stepped inside of the room and closed the door quickly. He rummaged the dresser drawers, fearing every second that he might get caught.

"Shit," he swore when he found nothing.

He knelt down and looked under the bed. There was a metal box there. He knew that there had to be something important inside when he saw the padlock on it. He carried the box from the room to the kitchen where he could find a better tool. It took him several attempts, but he finally broke the lock. His eyes bulged at the wad of gil inside. Hadn't that girl ever heard of a bank? Luckily for him, she hadn't. He closed the box again, and put the lock back on it. After he put the box back, and made sure everything was as he found it, he took the gil to the basement to hide it for safekeeping.

He made his way back upstairs, unsure what to do with himself now. He noticed that Yuna's bedroom door was slightly open. He walked to it slowly, and entered. He saw her flimsy nightgown draped over the back of her desk chair. He picked it up and sniffed it. It had a flower scent to it. What he wouldn't give to see her in it. Or even better, out of it. He wondered what kind of panties she wore and walked over to a random dresser drawer. He smiled as he looked at the silky bikini panties that he suspected she wore. He heard the front door slam, and threw the panties back in the drawer. He left the room quickly.

"Hi, Reevo. How's your day been?" Mr. Isaaru asked, as he looked over the mail. He grimaced as he noticed a few letters from bill collectors addressed to him.

"Fine. I'm heading to work," he said.

"Okay. Maybe we'll all watch a movie later."


Mr. Isaaru watched him leave. Had he seen that guy come out of Yuna's room or was it just his imagination? Was she in there? Maybe it was nothing. He seemed like a good kid. He walked over to Yuna's room and tapped lightly.

"Yuna?" he called, getting no answer.

He peered inside, finding the room empty. His lips curved into a smile as he looked at the nightgown. Well, well, well. It seems that it's true about these college girls. They are more sophisticated and sexier than high school girls.

"Dad, what happened to your leg?" Tidus asked as he stared at Jecht's cast.

"Oh. This. It seems my coordination skills are off a little bit. I was up on the third landing of one of the buildings, and for some reason, I thought I could jump over to the lift before it reached me. Imagine my surprise."

"You could have been seriously hurt."

"Oh, I've always been adventurous. Drives the women wild."

Tidus scoffed. He seriously doubted anyone would be impressed by a broken leg. He had come over to talk to Jecht about Yuna. He needed his dad's opinion on the situation.

"So, what brings you out in the cold?" Jecht asked, reaching for a beer.

Tidus was pacing the room, so Jecht knew that he wanted to talk about something. He never understood why he was always nervous talking to him. Ever since he was a little boy.

"It's about Yuna."

Jecht nodded. "Sure. What about her? You two back together yet?"

"No. It's what she did."

"What she did?"

"Yeah. Let me explain."

Jecht reached for a cigar and patiently listened to Tidus' side of things. He couldn't help smirking at some parts of his story. The boy knew nothing about women.

"Do you really believe Yuna would give herself so freely to another guy? Look how long it took you to get in there," Jecht said, inhaling.

"I saw it, Dad."

"Maybe you didn't see what you thought. Did you walk over to the bed and look under the sheets?"

"No. What for?"

"Like I said, maybe it wasn't what you thought. You said that guy Reevo likes her. You'd be surprised what men are willing to do for women. There was a guy that wanted your mother about the same time we had started courting. He had his friends put him in the hospital so he could say I did it."

"Did Mom believe him?"

"Nah. We had gone to a show the night he was attacked. My point is, always have proof before you accuse somebody of something."

"I guess you're right. If Yuna says she didn't do it, I should believe her, and not him."

"See, and they say blonds are stupid."


"I'm just messing with you," he said easily. Though when Tidus were on drugs badly, he was doing some pretty stupid stuff. Jecht had never observed such stupid behavior in all of his life.

"So, you and Yuna have been arguing for eight weeks. Son, only losers jerk off."

"I'm not a loser," Tidus insisted, before he realized too late.

"Gotcha," Jecht smiled.

Tidus was certain now that Jecht was a part of his life to ensure that he suffered embarrassment from time to time.

"I can't find it. Somebody's stole it. I'm going to kill someone!" Paine screamed, as she purposefully strode down the hall to the kitchen where she knew most of her housemates were eating lunch. She kicked the kitchen door open and glared at each of them.

"What's the matter, Paine?" Yuna asked, looking up from the cookbook. She was trying to find a recipe for eggnog for tonight's party.

"Someone stole my damn gil! Somebody's going to die today if I don't get it back!"

"Paine, calm down. Why the hell would we take your gil?" Baralai asked, knowing full well that she would never have enough money to make him become a thief.

"Well, someone did," she insisted. All eyes in the kitchen turned to Mr. Isaaru, who was hovering over the stove making grilled cheese sandwiches. He wiped a nervous hand on his red apron.

"Come on. You guys don't think it was me, do you?" he asked, hands outstretched.

"Well…I know you got some gil problems, ya," Wakka admitted. He had heard the rumors.

"Maybe. But, what would make me think Paine had any gil?"

There were a few agreements. In fact, even Paine had to admit that next to Reevo, she was the least likely person that would have gil here.

"When was it taken?" Tidus asked calmly.

"I don't know. I counted it last two days ago."

"Well, if you think there's truly a thief here, we should call the police," Mr. Isaaru said. It was stated clearly in their contracts that stealing would not be permitted.

"Okay," Paine easily agreed. She hated the idea that the people she lived with would steal from her, but what else could she do? That gil was all the money in the world that she had. She had worked for half of it.

Everyone was silent as Mr. Isaaru walked over to the phone. Reevo nervously chewed his chocobo salad sandwich. He didn't want to talk to cops. Not ever. While he was certain that they would never find Paine's gil in the basement, he didn't want to be a part of the questioning. He got up and left the room abruptly.

"Where are you going?" Rikku asked.

"Bathroom," he said simply.

After the police had come and everyone had given statements about what they knew about Paine's missing gil, which was pathetically small, the police took her box with them for fingerprints. Reevo had been nervous the entire time, chain smoking, and saying little. He couldn't take his eyes away from the box. Mostly because he was certain his prints were on it. Why the hell hadn't he thought of that?

"Paine, I'm sure they'll find out who took your gil," Lulu said, trying to reassure her.


Paine left the kitchen.

The mood in the kitchen had definitely taken a turn for the worst. Everyone had been excited about tonight's Christmas party.

"Come on, guys. For all we know, Paine may have misplaced that gil. Let's not let it ruin our party," Mr. Isaaru insisted.

"Paine isn't irresponsible enough to do that. If she says it was stolen, I believe her," Baralai said.

Wakka stared at him and hid a smile. I bet you do believe her, ya. He had noticed a change in Baralai since the morning after the snow storm. He wasn't going out on dates. He refused phone calls from girls. Was he…could he be…in love with Paine? Nah. Really?

The Christmas party was in full swing. Everyone seemed to be having a good time. Mr. Isaaru was glad. He liked parties, and a brunette cutie kept giving him the eye. He was mostly keeping the food in order, while making sure that the party didn't get out of control. After a while, he couldn't resist the music, and joined everyone on the dance floor. Rikku danced with Gatta in a corner of the room. Ever since they had both learned of Gippal's return, she noticed that Gatta was becoming more possessive. Even insecure. She was getting sick of it.

"I need something to drink," she told him, adjusting the strap of her red dress.

"I'll come with you."

"Don't be ridiculous. I'll be right back," she insisted, heading out to the hall where the refreshments were. She poured herself a cup of Yuna's eggnog. Needs more alcohol, she thought to herself. Gippal appeared at her side.

"What are you doing here?" she asked him quickly.

He shrugged. "Getting a cup of eggnog."

"You know what I mean!"

He took a sip of his drink and frowned immediately. "Where's the alcohol? Who made this? Lulu?" he asked, reaching in his coat for a flask.


"I was close," he muttered, emptying the contents of the flask into the bowl.

"Gippal. You can't show up here spiking our eggnog!"

"Relax, Rik. People come to a party to let loose, get drunk. It's a Christmas party. We're celebrating."

"Fine. Do whatever you want," Rikku said, turning to head back into the living room.

"I'll look for you later. I expect a dance," he warned her.

She sighed deeply, and headed back into the crowded room. Lulu watched the entire exchange from over Wakka's shoulder. She wondered how long it would be before Rikku realized that she still wanted Gippal.

"Are you having a good time?" she asked Wakka.

"Ya. The last party blowed because you weren't here."

"That's sweet. I have some news," she said into his ear.

Wakka immediately tensed. Usually when a girl said she had news, it was never good for the guy. What news? Hopefully not that there was a small Wakka on its way. The idea terrified him to death. Or…maybe she wanted to break up? Or…maybe she had become addicted to the pills again? That was worse than the small Wakka. Wait. Nothing was worse than the small Wakka.

"They finally found out who crashed into my car."

Wakka looked at her. "Ya? Who was it? Are they in jail?"

"They're being questioned right now, but there's no doubt that he's in a lot of trouble. It was Seymour."

"How come I'm not surprised? I hope he don't go to jail cause I owe him a ass kicking."

"Don't worry about him. He's going to be taken care of…besides; we don't want those hands injured."

"Ya. They've got plenty of work to do…later tonight…"

"I'm counting on it."

He leaned down and kissed her.

Baralai watched them from across the room. He chuckled to himself. A few years ago, he and Wakka had been in strict competition to see who could bed the most girls. And now…they were…infatuated with one girl. It was weird. Paine brought him a cup of eggnog. He thanked her and took a sip.

"This is good," he said, surprised.

"I added a little something to it just now," she told him.

"Good job. I have something for you," he said, setting the cup aside.

He reached for the small box on the coffee table and handed it to her. She held it with trepidation. Was this a gift? They hadn't mentioned buying gifts, personal gifts. It was too big to even consider a piece of jewelry. She slowly took the lid off and stared at a stack of papers. Ownership papers.

"The farm is yours again. Do whatever you want with it," he told her.

She was so overcome with emotion at that moment, that she didn't know what to do. She cleared her throat quickly. Baralai stared at her.

"If I didn't know any better, I'd think you were about to cry."

"No. I'm just…thank you, Baralai."

"I told you I'd get it back for you. No big deal."

"It is a big deal. Why did you go through so much trouble for me? I thought that you didn't like me."

"I don't like you...I…"


"Um, nothing. Let's just take it a step at a time, okay?"

"Okay. Thanks," she said again, giving him a hug. He wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her close. He noticed that some of the Abes gave him a few odd stares, but he didn't care. Pretty soon, everyone would know everything.

Rikku watched Paine and Baralai embracing. She smiled. I knew they were screwing around! She turned to tell Gatta, but he was looking off into the distance.

"What's Gippal doing here, Rikku?" he asked in an icy tone.

"I don't know. He just showed up."

"Why didn't you tell me he was here?"

"It's not a big deal, that's why."

"I think it is," Gatta insisted, as he watched Gippal making his way through the crowd toward them. He paused next to them.

"It's time for that dance, Rik," he said.

"Get lost, Gippal. You had your chance," Gatta spit at him.

"You did, too. And if I can recall, you fucked up first."

"Well, you fucked up last, and that's what matters."

"I'm waiting, Rik."

Gatta turned to her as well. Rikku debated for a long time.

"Forget the dance," Gippal said, pulling her into his arms and kissing her. He smiled as he noticed the way her lips pressed just as eagerly to his. The feeling didn't last. A fist was thrown into his jaw, breaking them apart. He laughed, as he rubbed it.

"Gippal, are you okay?" Rikku couldn't help but ask.

"I'm fine. Let's get out of here. Why don't you show me the house?"

"Rikku, if you leave with him, it's over," Gatta warned.

"I'm sorry, Gatta. It is over," she told him, and grabbed Gippal's outstretched hand. Gippal winked at Gatta, and led Rikku off into the crowd.

Yuna watched the scene as she danced with Teenan. She was really proud of Rikku, and she could tell from the smile on Lulu's face, that she had witnessed that as well. She was glad that her cousin was happy. She thought about someone she knew for certain wasn't happy today. Earlier in the day, Reevo had cornered her in the kitchen. She had been shocked when he told her that he loved her and wanted her to go away with him. Even though it had been very awkward, she told him that she didn't feel the same way. He had said he understood, but she wasn't so sure. He wasn't at the party.

She searched for Tidus in the crowd. He wasn't dancing. He was talking to Paula on the other side of the room. She knew what she had to do. She wanted to be as happy as everyone else tonight and knew there was only one thing that could happen that would make it possible. She looked up at Teenan.

"Teenan, have a good time at the party tonight," she told him.

"Why? Are you sick or something?"

"Yes. I'm heartsick. I can't do this. Excuse me," she said, walking past him and toward where Tidus stood. She paused a few feet away, wondering if she had the courage to go through with it. She smoothed down her black dress and swallowed. He must have seen her coming, because he looked directly at her. She continued on until she was directly in front of him.

"Tidus, I need to talk to you," she began.


"Hey, this is my favorite song. Let's dance," Paula insisted.

Yuna sighed deeply and grabbed Tidus' drink. She tossed it into Paula's face. Paula gave a cry of disbelief, and then ran off into the crowd.

"Yuna," Tidus said, barely suppressing a grin.

"I don't care. You belong to me. What I mean is, I want us to be together again," she said, staring up at him hopefully.

"I think we can manage that somehow," he said, stepping up to her.

She smiled as he leaned down to kiss her. The kiss began tenderly at first, but as both of their pulses began to race, they were unconsciously rubbing up against each other vigorously, hands all over each other's bodies. Yuna wrapped a leg around his waist, as he pulled a strap off her shoulder.

"Get a room," Wakka called out.

They broke apart slowly, remembering they were in a room filled with people. Tidus, his lips smeared with Yuna's lipstick, looked sheepishly at Wakka.

"Mistletoe," he told him.

"Right," Wakka said unconvinced, even though Yuna was indeed standing under mistletoe.

Yuna and Lulu exchanged smiles. Tidus pulled Yuna close as a slow song began to play. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders.

"I love you, Yuna," he said into her ear.

"I love you, too."

"Good. Now, why don't we go somewhere private and share our love with each other?"

"Lead the way," she told him, as they hurried away from the room.

Reevo watched them run down the hall, their hands clasped tightly. He wondered why he had even thought he would have a chance with a girl like Yuna. She was no Bethany. And after deep thought, he realized that he had been infatuated with Yuna mostly because he wanted her to be Bethany. But, it wasn't to be. So, Tidus Stone would get his way once again. He had left a note for Tidus in his bedroom telling him that nothing had happened between him and Yuna. Only now, apparently it was unneeded. Guys like Tidus would no doubt disgust him for the rest of his life. But, he was slightly impressed with the new Tidus. Had Yuna really changed him? He wondered what would become of them. Would they get married and have kids? He didn't know, nor did he really care. He shifted his knapsack on his shoulder and opened the front door. The cold air greeted him. He reached for his long coat and put it on. As he strolled down the sidewalk, getting away from Zanarkand was at the top of his list. He smiled bitterly to himself as he zipped up his long black coat with the gold Luca high symbol on the back.

Yuna slept peacefully on Tidus' sweaty, heaving chest. He could hear the party dying down. He had found the note from Reevo while she was sleeping. Instead of reading it, he tore it up and tossed it in the trash. He realized that he had known the truth all along. He smiled down at Yuna and reached over to his bed table drawer. He moved down to the foot of the bed and uncovered her foot, gently pressing the small silver instrument in his hand into the bottom. He recovered her foot, and lay back on the bed, smiling up at the ceiling in satisfaction. Tidus Was Here.

The End. Thanks for reading.