Lacuna: I know, I know: WTF Lacuna? Work on your multi-chaps damn it! I'm trying, I promise, but this idea has been in my head for weeks and just wouldn't leave me alone until it was posted. Random one shot really; kinda came to me while I was on the bus one day. Don't you just adore public transit? (That was sarcasm by the way).

AU. PaineBaralai if you squint really hard.

Hope you enjoy!


I hate taking the bus. I always have and it's probable that I always will. They always take too long to arrive at their scheduled stops, especially on days like these when their patrons are soaked to the bone from heavy rain. When they finally do arrive it's an S-class mission trying to find someplace to sit that isn't next to a smelly pervert with no brains and way too much body mass (which means no room for the unfortunate soul stuck sitting next to him). Not only that but the buses are always filthy and filled with screaming children and obnoxious teenagers with cell phones and way too many personal problems (trivial as they are).

Fortunately the back half of the bus is fairly vacant today and I am able to take my usual seat in one of the back corners. I remove a small backpack from my shoulders and place it in my lap before changing the song on my mp3 player. I sigh softly before turning my gaze to the grimy window to my right. Slowly the bus pulls away from this particular stop and crawls onward. Because of the downpour few people are waiting for the bus. This is fortunate for me as it means fewer stops on my way home from work. Fewer stops means a quicker arrival time. Fortunate indeed.

After about 15 minutes the bus finally pulls up to one of its designated stops to take on another unfortunate passenger. Out of boredom I look to see if this person is a 'gangsta', a plastic, or a wannabe jock.

You are none of these things. In fact, I'm not sure what I would call you. Your attire consists of a Bevelle U hoodie and blue jeans. A black book bag is slung over your left shoulder and a white chord runs from the pocket of your hoodie and splits into two pathways for the devices in your ears. Your platinum blond hair lies in tatters from the wind and the rain and contrasts your tanned skin.

I've got it: collegiate pretty boy.

As I make my assessment you obliviously make your way to the back of the bus and take a seat in the opposite corner. You remove your book bag and place it beside you on the bench (for lack of a better term). Your gaze turns to the window on your left as you release a quiet yawn.

The bus tiredly moves forward and continues on its scheduled route. You seem peacefully disinterested in all that is going on around you and continue to stare blankly out your window.

Wait… Did I just describe you as being 'peacefully disinterested'?

It's official: I'm bored. So bored that I'm observing you that intently. Honestly watching you is slightly more entertaining than watching buildings pass us by and certainly more interesting than reading billboards and street signs.

At least you're… animated? Animated probably isn't the best word to use. Rikku is animated. What I mean is that you have the ability to say or do something slightly entertaining.

Damn. I really am bored.

Ten minutes pass and you remain silent, listening to your portable music device just as I am. Speaking of which the shuffle feature of my mp3 player seems t have found the song that Yuna just finished recording about a week ago. I have to admit Real Emotion is both catchy and… danceable, though dancing has never really been my thing. It's almost as though you're listening to the same song because your body, though very briefly, appeared to be moving to the music.

Ugh. I truly am bored out of my mind.

There's no way you could be listening to Yuna's song because you don't know her. Her first local gig is on Friday and her debut album isn't anywhere near being finished. The only reason you made any movement at all was because the damn bus hit a bump in the road.

Again I sigh and shake my head at my ridiculous behavior.

Five minutes pass and your phone rings. I pause my mp3 player and discover that the Ne-Yo song 'Closer' is your ring tone. I conclude that your favorite type of music must be R&B based on this simple observation.


You have a surprisingly soft yet smooth voice. It's the kind of voice that could sooth and comforted the most wounded of souls.

"Yes, this is Baralai."

Baralai huh? That's a unique name. Wonder how your parents came to choose that name for their son. I really have no room to talk though with a name like Paine.

"Tomorrow at 3? Yeah, I can be there. Thank you."

I'm guessing a job interview? Those are always fun. Good luck, Baralai. Maybe your job won't suck as badly as mine does…

Ah well. That's life.

I glance out the window as you hang up and come to realize that the next stop is mine. I pull the chord and rise to my feet. This seems to get your attention as you slowly turn your head in my direction. You smile politely as our gazes meet and I nod in acknowledgement.

I proceed to the door, giving you one last glance before making my exit. Good luck with whatever your 3 o'clock appointment is. Maybe we'll meet again on the torture chamber that is the city bus.

Until then farewell, Baralai.