It was night over Lake Macalania. The pyreflies drifted over the water like strange, beautiful birds, humming as they went. The sky was clear, and the air was crisp and cold.
Rikku stood on the edge of the water, arms crossed over her chest in a poor attempt to keep warm. It didn't really matter- after all that had just taken place in the Zanarkand Ruins, she felt numb. To be honest she really hadn't felt "normal" since Home was destroyed and she had begun to take it upon herself to find a way to keep Yuna alive amidst the Final Summoning.

(Of course, now that we've defeated Yunalesca…) she paused, then sighed, abandoning that train of though. A few feet away Lulu and Wakka were talking in low voices. Rikku couldn't really hear every word of what they were saying, but from what she could hear they seemed to be talking about fighting and the airship. Suddenly, Wakka turned to her.

"How late is it, anyway?"

Rikku shook her head, brushing back strands of her blonde bangs as they fell in her face.

"No idea."
"Well, I know it's pretty late. You should probably get some rest soon if you can."

She smiled a half smile and he turned and walked back toward camp with Lulu.

"Oh, and if you see Kimarhi or Sir Auron, tell 'em we leave at dawn, ya?"
"Will do." She waved nonchalantly, continuing to stare at the water. After a moment of silence her eyebrows knit and she shook her head.

"…Auron."

Now that was a toughie. All this time, and she'd never figured it out on her own that he was an unsent. She'd had her suspicions about him; murderer, pervert, but never someone who'd died in an act of passion and stayed "alive" just to watch over his friends' kids. It was wild. It was intense. It was horrifying. Still, she found herself incomplete without every single member of the team, even if they were technically dead.

"Can't sleep?"

She jumped slightly at the sound of Auron's voice, but didn't turn to face him.

"No."
He didn't say anything, and she began to get unnerved so she added,
"…You're up late."

"I don't sleep much."
"One of those dead-people things, I guess?"

The words had left her mouth before she could catch them. She wanted to cover her face like she normally did when she said something embarrassing, but the lingering numbness held her arms where they were.

Auron chuckled, walking up next to her, "More like one of those 'I don't sleep much' things."
She couldn't help it. She laughed, and looked down, "…Sorry."

It became silent again, for a moment.

"Beautiful, isn't it." She said, gazing out over the lake.
"Not really." He answered, she looked up at him, confused, "…It reminds me…of where I really belong."

Suddenly Rikku felt an overwhelming sense of sadness. She looked down.
"…That's…terrible, Auron."
She didn't look, but she felt his eyes on her.
"The only thing terrible is that I let my naïve feelings get me here."
She paused, then replied softly, "You don't have to say it like that."
Again, he chuckled, "You say that to me a lot."

She looked up at him to comment, but was startled when she noticed-
"Auron…your face…"
He raised an eyebrow, then leaned to look at his reflection in the water. Something like a shadow had come over his face, and he took on the appearance of the "Auron" they'd seen in the pyreflies in Zanarkand.
"You're…you're young, Auron."
"It is only an illusion," he muttered, irritated, "The pyreflies must have something to do with it."
"Maybe," She nodded, "But a lot of strange things have been happening lately, you know."

He didn't look at her, but she continued to stare at him. Ten years as an unsent had really done some damage. Compared to how he'd looked five minutes before and now, she wouldn't have recognized him if it weren't for his clothes and the massive sword.

(Just an illusion, hm?) She wondered, (You can't feel an illusion, right?)

Without really thinking about it, Rikku reached up with one hand and touched the side of Auron's face. Instantly he jumped, startling her a few steps back in return.

"I…I'm so.." She started, freezing when she saw his eyebrows raised. What was wrong with her? Nothing had ever affected her like this. She took a deep breath, then shook her head, "I just… wanted to see if…it was really an illusion."
He let out a soft "Hmph," and straightened back up, "Are you satisfied?"
(No.) She thought, but nodded yes.

The two continued to stare out over the lake quietly. Rikku fought the sudden onslaught of insane thoughts that had begun entering her head.
(Geez that was so embarrassing! I hope he doesn't tell Lulu. His skin was so soft. I wonder if his lips are soft?) She shocked herself with that thought, and shook her head slightly, (I wonder if he thought my hands were cold…his skin felt so warm…)

Thinking about the warmness of his skin made her realize she'd begun shivering.
"Oh," She said softly, rubbing her arms. Auron didn't reply, and after a moment, Rikku summoned the courage to inch closer to the monk. Every few seconds she moved a little closer, until finally he turned to her, eyebrow raised in his usual fashion.

"Is there something you need?"
"Auron I-" She froze again when she looked at him, but managed to tear her gaze to the ground, "…I'm cold."
"I can't remove my jacket."
"I…I know." She nodded, "I just…thought…your skin was…" She finally looked up at him, "I just thought I could stand near you, you know?"

They stared at each other for a moment, and Rikku felt herself getting smaller every second. Just when she thought she might die of humiliation, Auron did something that- if she hadn't been so cold- her head might have exploded with confusion. He shrugged the top part of his coat off and parted it just enough that she could slide in. Then he stepped forward and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her into him.

Auron was holding her.

The sudden smell of him- a deep, masculine aroma- washed over her, and she resisted resting her head on what she could only imagine to be his firm chest.

They stood in an awkward silence for a minute, before Rikku said softly.
"Thank you."

He nodded. They stood for a few more minutes- just long enough for Rikku's mind to slow down. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly, calming herself. A minute more and her mind began to wander within its normal parameters again. She returned to thoughts about Sin, about Yuna, about the Final Summoning.

"What are you afraid of, Rikku?"
His voice only shocked her a little, and she started to glance at him, but again found she couldn't.
"…What?"
"What are you afraid of?"

She hesitated. She wanted to think he was asking her a simple question, something she could answer "Well, lighting." Or "Sin." But it was Auron, meaning it probably went much deeper than that.

She thought, then shook her head.
"I…I don't know."
"I can feel sorrow radiating from you like a fire."

She exhaled, the aforementioned sorrow spilling into her suddenly. She shook her head again.
"I just…I just wish it was all different," She whispered, "I wish…it was better."
"It will be," He replied, "Soon enough."
They were quiet, then she looked up at him.
"Why are you so sad, Auron?"

He looked down at her. "I'm not sad. Just regretful. But I will atone for everything I failed to do."
She stared into his sunglasses, then slowly reached up and pushed them back, revealing his reddish brown eyes. He didn't startle, but merely stared back.

"Auron, I…I wish you weren't so hard on yourself. You're a good person."

In that moment, a change flickered in his eyes. She saw it, and the more she watched it flicker, the more he drew her in- like a moth to a flame. She felt something begin to turn inside her, and after what felt like an eternity of nothingness, she pushed herself up against him, stood on her toes and pulled him down into a kiss.

Unfortunately it was short lived, Auron pulled her away before she could memorize his lips, his taste. Everything about him she suddenly craved so badly he took away in an instant. She faltered for a moment, anticipating rejection, but found he had only raised an eyebrow.

"Rikku. I'm doubtful this is a wise decision."
Feeling brave, she scowled at him, "I think I'm old enough to make my own un-wise decisions, thank you."
"…You're 16."
"And you're dead." She shot back, "And you're in a 17 year old body now." She smirked, "Let's call it even."

Overtaken by her wit, Auron's entire demeanor changed instantly. He no longer looked distant and angry, but passionate and…hungry.

He pulled her back into him, pressing his lips firmly against hers. She drank him in, pulling at his shirt as they moved backwards into the shallow water. Opening her mouth she deepened the kiss, shivering when she felt his tongue on hers. He broke the kiss to remove his sword. When he had tossed it aside and looked back up he was met by her. She grabbed him by his shirt and shoved him against one of the trees in the lake, returning herself to her previous position, but Auron felt he wanted more.
He ran his hands down her back and to her backside. She gasped as his hands touched her skin, and she reached back to help him unsnap her belt. He pulled the belt off and tossed it, moving his hands down her shorts. Running his fingers on her silk pantyline for only a moment, he slipped past them and found her hot spot, running one finger over it gently. Instantly she moaned, dropping her head away from his to take it in. He ran the finger over again, and this time she arched her back.

"Auron…"

He felt himself begin to burn. Her hands were already on him, working to undo his belt and rid him of his shirt. He removed his hands to help toss his jacket, then began working to unbuckle her top. Moments later she had her hands running over his toned chest, feeling every muscle. She smiled her approval, but said nothing. He smiled back, finishing the task of her buckles and sliding her top off to the side, exposing the deep pink bra that held her full breasts. He reached down and grabbed once again at her backside, this time hoisting her up to straddle his waist as he carried her back to the grassy shore of the lake. He laid her down, then turned his attention to her chest. He leaned down, gently kissing her collarbone. He sucked on her neck for a moment, drawing pleasured gasps from her. He continued to kiss her down her chest, stopping only to carefully remove the bra. She was exposed, but only for a second. He covered one breast with his hand while placing his mouth on the other. Rikku pushed up against him as his tongue flicked her nipple, aching for more. After a moment he switched sides, allowing just as much time for the other breast as the first.

Finally he broke from her, leaning back over her.
"Rikku…" he murmured, then moved back into her lips. She wrapped her legs around his waist, drawing herself up to press against his hardness through his pants. He groaned, and she smiled.
"Come on, Auron, what are you waiting for?"

He smiled, leaning away from her on one arm while using the other to help her remove her shorts. He paused to observe her panties, which were already soaked through. He smirked.
"Sure you want to do this?"
She growled, reaching up to slide her hand down the front of his pants and take hold of him. The feel of her soft hands on him was almost enough to push him over right there. He moaned, and she leaned up to his ear, licking it.
"That answer enough for you?"

He reached down and finished removing her panties, then started in on her hotspot again. She arched, letting out another moan. She was driving him crazy. He lowered his face down to her, kissing her flat stomach as he went. As he neared her he felt her body was tense, and he smiled.
"I'll be gentle."

And in he went, tongue first. She almost screamed, grabbing a handful of his hair in one hand and the grassy earth in the other. He ran his tongue everywhere it could touch, sucking gently over her hot spot, taking in her sweetness. She began to move against him, and he carefully held her down.

"Aur..on…" She gasped out, "Auron…"

He leaned up as she pulled him. Not protesting her advances, he allowed her to flip him over onto his back. Much faster than he had removed her shorts she removed his pants, exposing him. Bravely she took him into her hands and fit her mouth around him, taking him in. He groaned, suppressing his urge to release. She went down again, taking him further. After a moment he couldn't handle it anymore, and she knew it. She pulled back, moving herself to hover above him. They gazed at each other for a moment, both breathing heavily.
"Ready?" She managed to get out. He nodded, and she lowered herself down. He moaned as he entered her, her soft, tight folds wrapping him closely, fitting like a glove. She winced, adjusting to his size, then brought herself down again, this time gasping. Again she came down, the third time letting out a loud moan.

"Oh…Auron…"

It went on for a few minutes, and she began to move faster, but was stopped when Auron turned and put her on her back.
"Taking control?"
His reply came when he thrust himself into her, the position change drawing off of new nerves. Rikku called for him and writhed underneath him.
"Harder…"
He obeyed, and continued. As they went he groaned out.
"Call for me, Rikku."
"Auron…Auron…"

With every moan and every call of his name he felt himself swell inside her. She felt herself rising higher every second, and still she wanted more.

"Faster, Auron."
He happily obliged, thrusting himself in and out with nearly reckless abandon. Just as he thought he wouldn't be able to take it anymore he felt her release, screaming his name, moaning her words of approval and praise as he continued moving in her until his release came in one shattering thrust. He screamed for her, then slowed himself down as he finished. They laid together for a moment, before sliding apart and drawing back down into the water to cool off.

"I…I'm not cold anymore." She panted out. He looked at her, and they both began to laugh.

After a few minutes of washing off and joking around, they pulled themselves together and put their clothes back on. They sat back down at the water's edge, and Rikku nestled close to him, laying her head on his shoulder.

"I guess… this was a one time thing, huh?" She asked softly. Auron looked down at her.
"Rikku…"
"No- no…" She sighed, "It's fine. I just…wish it didn't have to end."
He leaned away from her, taking her by the shoulders.
"Rikku. A lot has happened in the last twenty four hours. Who's to say it will end?" He gazed at her, "I will be with you until it does, no matter when that will be- as long as you'll have me."
She smiled, "That's the first positive thing I've heard you say."
He smiled back, then leaned in to kiss her. After a minute they broke apart, and she looked up.

"We should get going soon. I see the dawn rising."
He nodded, then pulled her close again, "Just a little longer."
She sighed happily, and leaned back into him.

"Maybe things are getting better after all."