A/N: The title, In the Days of Auld Lang Syne, is used by poet Matthew Fitt in his retelling of fairytales in the Scots language. It roughly means "Once upon a time...". I thought it fit rather well :D
This one-shot was written for the ladies at the Aurikku comm. on LJ on New Year's Eve and now I'm sharing it here. Hope you all enjoy!
Auron poured himself another glass of sake, swirling it around before downing the warm liquid in one swallow. He wiped his upper lip with the back of his hand, debating on whether to continue drinking or not. The sound of laughter outside drew his attention away from the sake jug and he walked over to his front window, pulling the curtain back a few inches. There were people all along the street, most of them laughing and talking, several with various drinks in their hands. Auron sneered, wishing, not for the first time, that he had chosen to live somewhere less populated than Luca. All these people, running up and down the streets.
And now it was New Year's Eve, excuse enough for all of them to go about being drunk in public. Auron let the curtain fall back into place, turning back towards his sake jug. Glancing at the clock, he noticed it was nearing 10:00 p.m. 'Good,' he thought. 'At least they'll be off the streets and back home within a few hours.' He grabbed his jug, hauling it to the floor near his favorite chair in the living room and sat, watching the minutes tick by slowly.
Now, one might think that Auron was just crabby because he had no where to go on the eve of the new year. In all honesty, Auron wasn't a "people person", if you can believe it (and I can hear you all saying "No, really?!" with great sarcasm!). Had he even been invited out for a drink, he would have stared at the clock in the nearest pub, watching time slip away as everyone else had a grand old time being loud and drunk and in pleasant moods. But no, Auron wasn't the sort of person to "have a good time". He preferred the company of himself, his sake and maybe a good book if the mood struck him. And everyone knew this.
Well, everyone but Rikku.
The girl in question was strolling through the congested streets of Luca, a bottle of wine in one hand and a gold party hat sitting precariously on top of her mass of braids (the string not being long enough to go round her face to fasten it). She strode with a purpose, headed to one place in particular, unlike the rest of the crowd she passed on the street, which had no where in particular to be at this hour of the night except loitering on whoever's property they happened to be getting drunk - and passing out - on.
Seeing her destination just ahead of her, she elbowed through the last remaining drunkards and found herself outside a gate, which, she noticed, had a hand painted sign nailed to it that read "Trespassers Shall Feel the Wrath of My Masamune". Rikku giggled. Yep, same old Auron.
She pushed past the gate, shutting it with a well placed kick once she was on the other side. Smoothing back her hair and straightening her gold hat, she knocked loudly, hopping to the Gods that he was actually at home and not sleeping. Or she herself would feel the wrath of the Masamune.
Auron, about two glasses into a good buzz, was just about to pour himself yet another when there was a sharp, loud knock on his front door. He glanced at the clock. 10:47. Oh, someone had better start praying. Now.
He rose from the chair and took three long strides to the front door, which he yanked open a bit more forcefully than he really meant to. Standing there was Rikku, looking more timid than he remembered. Well, he did practically yank the door off it's hinges right in front of her. She probably thought he was angry, which he was, but not at her. Just...life in general. And these damn kids outside on the street being annoyingly loud!
Light from the living room spilled onto the front stoop, where Rikku stood looking like a chimera caught in headlights. Auron looked...well, he looked kinda angry, Rikku decided. She hoped – and also sent a little prayer – that it wasn't completely directed at her. But as quickly as the look had come onto his face, it slid away, revealing the mask of a stoic monk. Which is to say, he had no expression on his face whatsoever. She hated that look. So generic. No emotions to be found anywhere. Now it was Rikku's turn to look a bit angry.
"Well?" she asked, looking like Shiva come to life right before Auron's eyes. He shifted a bit, wondering if he should be slightly scared. The girl had interesting eyes that could drill holes in one's head if she tried hard enough.
Rikku huffed. "Are you gonna stand there like a big dope, or are you gonna invite me in? I brought alcohol!" This last sentence was stated with quite a bit of excitement as she waved around a bottle of what looked to be wine. Auron decided that she must be bi-polar. There was no other explanation for the way she switched from one mood to the next and so quickly. Well, better not upset the little spit-fire, she might snap. He was pretty sure he could take her, but you never could tell with crazy people. He moved aside, letting her in.
Rikku shoved past and stopped dead in her tracks just inside the door. She looked around with wide eyes, taking in her surroundings. Auron's place was...well, it was just so plain! Not that she expected doilies on the arms of the chair and an army of cats, but something other than this. No decorations, no pictures on the walls. A comfy looking chair sat by a small brazier, an ottoman, a small table and a lone deck chair, pushed off into a corner. Well, here was something. A large bookshelf, almost completely filled with leather tomes and hard backed novels...what was this? She had migrated over the shelf and now stood looking at his collection. Romance novels? What the hell? Rikku snorted, not being able to keep her amusement to herself. The front door slammed closed and she whirled around, her laughter dying on her lips.
Auron was not amused. So, yes, he read romance novels. What of it? Plenty of people read those things, why should he not? She looked startled by the slamming of the door, but he could tell she was about to burst into laughter yet again. Auron rolled his good eye, snatching up the bottle of wine she had placed on the end table.
"Shall we open this?" he said, hoping to distract her from the dirty little secret of his she had uncovered. Rikku took in his demeanor and nodded yes, deciding she'd let this slide for tonight. But oh, if he thought she was going to let him live it down! He had another think coming.
Auron disappeared through a doorway to an adjoining room, the kitchen Rikku noticed, and reappeared a moment later holding two wine glasses. Handing both glasses to his guest, Auron popped the cork on the wine bottle and poured them each a hearty amount of the sweet smelling wine. Each took their respective glass and sat – Auron in the deck chair and Rikku in the recliner by the brazier, in which a small fire was burning. Rikku noticed that he had pulled the deck chair from out of the corner, but still sat a ways from her. During a moment while he was distracted with his drink, Rikku turned her head and sniffed. No, she didn't smell bad. Hmm...oh well.
They sat for awhile, sometimes making small talk about the weather, Luca and the impending new year, but mostly they sat nursing their glasses of wine while silence reigned over the small sitting room. Rikku noticed that Auron glanced at the clock quite a bit, as if he were counting down the minutes til she left. She felt rather self-conscious after that, speaking little or none at all. After another ten minutes or so of silence, Auron excused himself and ascended a small flight of stairs she hadn't noticed earlier, leading to a bedroom or bathroom she rightly guessed.
Tick, tick, tick.
Five minutes had passed and he still hadn't come back down. Rikku glanced at the clock. 11:54. Great. What a way to ring in the new year. Bored, she stood and stretched, finding her way over to the bookshelf again. Smirking, she picked up one of the more worn looking romance novels and opened it up to a random page somewhere near the middle. Ha, of course, right in the middle of a love scene. Rikku read aloud, though mostly in a hushed tone:
"Stephan pulled the last ribbon of Skye's corset free, revealing her heaving bosom, flushed red in anticipation. 'Oh, Skye! How beautiful you are. I have waited so long to feel your soft body against mine,' he proclaimed, molding himself to her. His pants could contain him no longer and, standing before his beloved Skye, he undid them. Her eyes widened, examining his throbbing manhood. 'Oh Stephan, how big you are! Please, I need you!' Slowly he lowered himself on top of her, their naked chests touching. Skye brought her hand to Stephan's face, cupping his cheek while she looked longingly into his beautiful blue..."
The book flew from Rikku's hands and her gold hat tumbled to the floor as her head shot up, startled by the re-entry of Auron into the sitting room. "Oh...didn't see you there." Her face flushed dark red in embarrassment. Of all the things in the world, Auron had caught her reading his porn aloud! Oh, if only the floor would open up and swallow Rikku whole, she could at least die with a little dignity.
All was quiet in the living room. Auron stood on the last step of the stairs, staring at Rikku, who was looking at anything but him. Outside, the people gathered on the streets were counting down the final seconds to the new year.
Auron's own chest was heaving, much like the damsel in that filthy romance novel of his. Hearing those words come out of Rikku's innocent mouth, well, it was very...arousing.
Rikku stood with both hands behind her back, looking as though she'd been caught with her hand in the cookie jar. Auron couldn't resist her sweet innocence. He took a step towards her.
Another step. And another one. Rikku, hearing the floorboards squeak, looked up. He was steadily coming closer to her.
Finally he reached her. Rikku gulped.
"1! Happy New Year!"
The people outside cheered, sang and, as is customary, stopped to give their loved ones a kiss. Auron, usually one to snub any sort of tradition like that, had, in the last hour or so, changed his mind about it completely and thought it a very good idea.
"Happy new year," he said gruffly, lowering his mouth not even an inch away from hers.
"Happy new year," she whispered in reply, before closing the small gap between them and kissing him like she had never kissed anyone before.
The romance novel, now forgotten, lay at their feet, splayed open on the floor to some random page near the middle, probably a love scene.
~ The End ~