A/N#1: This is a repost, and an ACTUAL continuation to the story that I did way back when, but I hope that the few changes that I made, help the story seem more logical.

A/N#2: This takes place sometime after Yunalesca and before the final fight with Sin. (Looking for the Celestial Weapons maybe? ~.O) And yes I realise it's probably just a bit OOC….but, even the tough guys are softies when it comes to the one that they truly and deeply love. And btw…I'm writing this under the assumption that Rikku has turned of age (16) while on the pilgrimage.

Auron had enough of just watching the young Al Bhed girl prance around. It was driving him crazy! Didn't she know that she was making him mad with desire for her when she did that? He supposed that she didn't realise it because she was young and innocent, how could she know about those things?

He couldn't count the number of times that he has already caught her looking at him, for her to only turn away, with a faint blush on her cheeks. He could see that she felt something towards him too. He had seen enough women flirt with him, not all consciously, in Zanarkand when he was watching over Tidus to know when a woman was interested in him.

The would be stopping at an inn for that night in a few hours, he would have to confront her about what she was doing to him before she drove him to an early sending. So far he had been 'handling' himself but his lust for the young woman was growing beyond his control. He needed her. More than that, he wasn't some one to just use women for sex, he loved her. He didn't know how it happened, or when, but he felt as though he's loved her ever since he first saw her when she was stripping out of her body suit by the Moonflow.

He couldn't get that image out of his head most nights. The other nights? He saw seeing her in the same poses, but in a locked room of an inn, stripping offer her clothes to stand naked before him. He felt like a dirty old man on those nights, but he couldn't truly feel ashamed over it.

He just wished he knew how she felt about him. Was he being foolish in hoping that she cared as deeply for him as he does her?


Rikku snuck another look at Auron, turning away blushing when he turned and saw her watching him. Why did he always seem to catch her? And way was she so shy about it when he did?

There were a number of things regarding her reactions to the oldest guardian that he youngest was confused about. Why did she her heart always seem to do flips when he'd say her name? Why did she always feel a warmth inside when he'd give her praise over a well fought fight? What was that electricity that flowed between them whenever they came in direct contact with each other? Does he feel these things in regards to her?


That night after they arrived at the inn, Rikku blushingly asked Lulu if she could ask her something. When the black mage agreed, they went outside to have their talk.

Rikku told the older woman about how she felt, and Lulu was not surprised to learn that the young woman had such strong feelings for Auron. She had been able to see them on Rikku's face for sometime. Though she reassured her that she had never told anybody about what she saw in the young girl's face when she looked at the older man. And she had to tell her that the guys would never have noticed because men don't notice stuff like that, and that Yuna wouldn't have noticed because she had a lot on her mind, and heart.

"Rikku, it's love, that you feel. You're in love," the mage said to her friend as she gave a sad smile, "I felt the same way when I was with Chappu."

Rikku just sat there and looked at Lulu. Love? Well that would explain it! she thought as she felt her heart rise. Only to feel it plummet, there was no way that he could feel the same way for her, she was just a child to him. How would he see her as anything else with the age difference between them? She didn't care about the gap between them. She knew a lot of couples that were not close in age, and were still happily and deeply in love with each other.

Then another thought crossed her mind, what if he did feel something for her, and wanted to make love with her? Could she? How would she explain to him the lack of her virginity at such a young age to him?

Would he believe that she had been raped a little over a year ago? No one else would have believed that she had been, so she didn't tell anyone about it other than her brother, the one that had died in her arms when Home had been destroyed. Fear began to fill the younger woman and she began to tremble.

"Are you alright?" Lulu asked, concern filling her. Rikku's head snapped up to look at her and the black mage could see the tears that filled her eyes. Rikku shook her head, not able to speak. The older woman gently pulled Rikku into her arms, pulling her head to her shoulder, and held her comfortingly as the younger girl cried.

Once she had calmed down a bit, Rikku let Lulu lead her back inside the inn and to one of the rooms that the group was going to be staying in. Lulu settled Rikku on the edge of the double bed that was in the room and went to get a cool damp washcloth for the girl to put on her face.

Rikku, blushing, quietly thanked Lulu, and allowed the woman to put the cloth to her face. It was a bit of a help.

"Want to talk about it?" Lulu asked. She knew that something about her being in love with Auron had upset the girl, but she didn't know what would get such a strong reaction.

Rikku was silent for a moment, then slowly nodded. She took a breath and then looked into Lulu's eyes and told her. She told her everything. How she had been out in the desert alone looking for 'treasure' there like most of the young Al Bheds from there did. How a group of men had come up to her. How they had taken their turns and repeated raped her. How she couldn't tell anybody about it because she knew that they would not believe that those men would have done something like that to their leader's daughter

Lulu gasped. She couldn't believe that Rikku had been through something like that. She was always so cheerful. But then she realised that everybody deals with things in their own way. She just hoped that she hadn't suppressed what had happened to her.

"I had to keep up my cheerful attitude in front of everyone, even them. The only one that knew was my brother that died when Home was destroyed. He was the one that helped me through all the rough times in my life. The only consolation I have it that the men didn't survive Home's destruction either."

"I just don't know what to do if, I find a guy that feels for me, and I him, like I do for Auron right now, even it's not Auron, and things start to…," she couldn't finish the though as another wave of tears hit her. She didn't need to finish the thought, Lulu understood her concern, but didn't know what to tell her.

Lulu held Rikku again and let her cry some more. It wasn't long before she cried herself out and was starting to fall asleep on the older woman's shoulder. Lulu gently laid Rikku on the bed and pulled the blanket that was folded at the foot of it over the girl so that she wouldn't get chilled.


Auron looked up at the sound of a door closing, and saw Lulu leaving the room that he had seen her lead Rikku into earlier. A obviously upset Rikku. Seeing the young girl so upset made him want to tear apart whoever had made her feel that way.

The mage looked up and saw the oldest guardian looking at her, but she couldn't keep the sad look that she knew was there out of her eyes. She walked past the man and went back outside. She needed sometime away from the group to get herself calmly centered again.

She was not surprised when she heard the inn's door open and close again behind her. Nor was she surprised to find out that it was Auron that had followed her, or at his words to her. She had seen the looks that Auron had been giving the young thief and knew that he felt for her as she did him.

"Is Rikku alright?" there was concern filling his voice. Right now he didn't care, the one that had his heart was hurting and her wanted to make sure that she would be alright.

"She had a bad memory hit her at the wrong time, and wasn't ready for it to surface," was all the that the woman could say, without giving away what she had promised not to tell anyone.

"What was it Lulu?" he asked, almost pleading with her.

"I'm sorry Auron, but I promised that I would not talk about it to anyone. It is for her to tell."

The warrior monk clenched his fists to hold himself in check from hitting something. There was nothing he could do to help her, especially if he didn't know what was wrong. He squeezed his eye shut to help hold back the yell of frustration from escaping.

Neither action was lost on the woman that was standing in front of him, despite his shades. "You truly care deeply for her, don't you?" she asked him.

"It's more than that Lulu. I…I love her," he confessed to the black mage.

"Then go to her, hold her, and comfort her," she told him. When Auron turned away to head back inside, she added, "But if you hurt her…she will not be the only one to fear thunder and lightening!"

Auron looked back over his shoulder and nodded to the mage, "I understand." He just hoped that Lulu wouldn't find out that he would be leaving the group after Sin was defeated. As much as he wanted to stay, this was not his world now. Even if the only woman that he would truly love was here, and that hurt him to no end. He stepped back into the inn and made his way to the room that Rikku was in. Getting a tray with enough food for the two of them to eat on the way.


When Auron opened the door to Rikku's room, the first thing that he noted was that she wasn't resting peacefully. She was thrashing on the bed obviously in the grasp of a terrible nightmare. As quickly as he could, without spilling it, he set the tray down and went to her. Removing his gorget, and dropping on the floor when he reached the bed. And he put his sunglasses on the table bedside the bed.

As he sat on the edge of the bed, Rikku bolted upright, into his chest, screaming, "HU!!! MAYJA SA YMUHA!!!" (NO!!! LEAVE ME ALONE!!!)

He wrapped his arms around her and held her to him.

She didn't seem to want anything to do with him holding her. She was struggling to get free and saying, "HU!!! E fuh'd mad oui hybi sa ykyeh!!!" (NO!!! I won't let you rape me again!!!)

Auron's eye widened at that. Rape!? She had been raped!? When? Anger filled him. By who???

He started trying to wake the young girl to bring her relief from her tormented dreams. "Rikku, so bnaleujc meddma dreav, bmayca fyga ib! Hu uha femm rind oui. E ys rana du bnudald oui, so muja!" (Rikku, my precious little thief, please wake up! No one will hurt you. I am here to protect you, my love!)


She was being held…and it wasn't Lulu anymore! Rikku's eyes shot open. And she saw the red of the cloak of the one holding her. Auron! When did he get here? Did he just call me 'my love'? He speaks Al Bhed???

His arms felt so good around her, and his hand rubbing her back was so comforting that she couldn't help it, she broke down into tears again. She felt him pull her onto his lap and hold her tighter as she cried.

When she finally calmed down again, he gently pulled her head back away from him so he could see her face. Her eyes were swollen and they and her nose were red. She was still beautiful to him.

"Rikku, calm down. It's alright, So Muja."

He did call her 'my love'! She felt her heart soar. Did this mean what she hoped it meant?

"Auron?" Rikku said once she was finally able to find her voice. "What are you doing here?"

"Lulu said you had a bad memory hit you at the wrong time, and that I should come comfort you."

"Oh," Rikku's heart sank a little. He was not here on his own. His endearment was probably to help comfort her. But then why was she still sitting on his lap with his arms loosely around her?

Rikku looked up into his face, and saw that his eye was watching hers carefully. She was about to ask him about how long he had been there, when her stomach decided to grumble. She decided to grumble.. She ducked her head a bit, and a faint flush crossed her cheeks.

She heard him chuckle a bit, a deep warm rumble. "I also brought some food for us for when you were ready to eat," he said, indicating to the tray with his head.

She smiled her thanks, then slid backwards off his lap and he stood and retrieved the tray from where he had left it when he entered. Bringing it back to the bed, he set it on the floor beside it.

He situated the pillows against the headboard in such a way that they could both comfortably sit and relax against it. Then he picked the tray up and sat down with his back against the pillows. Settling the tray across his lap, he indicated to the spot beside him, "Come, Rikku, sit, eat, and relax."

She settled in beside him and they ate all the food that was on the tray together.


After their shared meal, Auron put the tray on the floor. Then he leaned back against the pillows again, and pulled Rikku against his side gently and put one arm around her. He was glad that she cam against him willingly, and even happier when she placed her head on his shoulder, like a pillow, of her own accord.

She placed a hand, timidly, on his stomach. He reached up with his free hand and laced his fingers with hers. The hand of the arm wrapped around her, caressed her upper arm.

"Care to talk about it?"


"Your dream, do you want to talk about it? It might help."

Rikku didn't know what to do. Should she tell him about the dream? Should she keep it to herself? She couldn't risk him not believing her about what had happened, it would hurt her too much. Could she tell him about the dream without telling him about what had happened to her before?

She knew that she would not be able to fall asleep with the memories still running in her head. Would talking about it again really help her sleep?

Not knowing fully what to do, she answered him honestly, "I don't know if I could handle it."

A bit hurt, Auron sighed, but he was not going to press her to talk if she was not ready to. "I understand," he said. Then he pressed a kiss to the top of her head, "Sleep then So Muja. I am here and no one will harm you while I am. You are safe." He pulled her closer to him to hold her a bit tighter as she slept so that she would feel secure.

When her leg hooked over his in her sleep, sometime later, he stiffened. An act so simple and so innocent from her had him bursting with desire for her. He had pushed that desire aside earlier when he saw that she was upset. She was still upset even if she wasn't showing it right now, so he would push it aside this time too.

She needed his love and comfort right now more than she needed his libido to act up.

He fell asleep holding her in his arms, never having felt as at peace before in his life than he did right then.


When she awoke before dawn the next morning, Rikku felt safe and warm. She had not had such a restful night since before the day that she was attacked.

That's when it hit her. She was in someone's arms. And their hand was on her hip. A little freaked out, she opened one eye a bit and saw that Auron had been the one holding her, still. He must have stayed with her all night. Her heart picked up it's pace a bit. Did it mean anything? Or had he simply stayed with her because he felt he needed to as the oldest?

She couldn't bare to think that he had stayed because he felt an obligation to. Feeling a bit foolish she started to untangle herself from him.

As soon as she moved, though, he woke up. "Good morning, So Muja," he said to her, smiling a bit. "How do you feel this morning?"

Blushing, she replied, "Much better, I have not slept so well in sometime." Then she quietly added, "Thank you."

"Anything for you So Meddma Dreav (My Little Thief)," he said, making her blush even more. When she ducked her face away from him, trying to hide the flush on her face, he gently cupped her cheek with his hand and turned her face back to him.

She didn't realise that he was moving closer until their lips met. She had imagined kissing him before, but she never imagined that his lips would be so soft or that he would be so gentle.

When she felt his tongue brush lightly against her lip, she gasped at the pleasure of it.

When his tongue entered her mouth, and brushed hers, she could not hold back the moan of pure bliss. She had never been kissed like this before. She followed his lead and soon got lost into the act, as she echoed and mirrored his movements.


He heard and felt her moan and almost lost it right there. His arm that was around her, came up to cradle the back of her head in his hand. The hand that had cupped her cheek, worked it's way down her arm and side, to her hip.

Not breaking the kiss, he gently laid her back onto the bed. He moaned into the kiss unable to refrain from it any longer, and his hand began to caress her from her hip, halfway down her thigh and back up to her ribcage.

His thumb brushed the underside of her breast, and she froze. She grew totally stiff instantly.

Not knowing what was wrong, he pulled his head back away from her. Gasping and struggling to catch his breath, he looked into her eyes. What he saw there had an instant sobering effect on him.

He could see the desire in her eyes. But under that, he could see the fear in there as well.

He mentally kicked himself. Lulu had told him that she had some bad memories kick up. Then when he came into the room last night, she was having a nightmare about being raped.

He put his forehead to hers, closed his eye and took a few calming breaths. All that he could hope was that he had not pushed her away from him.


She looked into his face. She was confused. She was afraid. He had kissed her! And she had enjoyed it! When he laid her back and laid over her, kissing her, caressing her leg, hip, and side…she did not want him to stop.

But the slightest brush against her breast, and the events of a year ago came crashing back to her, and she was suddenly afraid, no, terrified.

She wanted this. But she was afraid it would be as it had before. She didn't want him to use her for his own pleasure, then just toss her aside, she didn't know if she could handle that.

She watched him as he took a moment after closing his eye. When he opened it again, he was looking deeply into hers. She could see the desire still in his eye, but most of all, she could see the love that he felt for her, as he said, "Rikku, So Muja, vunkejy sa. E tu hud sayh du rind oui." (Rikku, My Love, forgive me. I do not mean to hurt you.)

She didn't even have to think about her reply as she said, "Auron, ed fych'd oui dryd ryt rind sa." (Auron, it wasn't you that had hurt me."


Rolling back to his back, Auron pulled Rikku back against his side and hugged her to him. He sighed deeply, then kissed the top of her head. Then he softly said, "I hope that whoever raped you dies a slow and painful death…preferably at the end of my sword," as he placed his cheek on the top of her head.

He felt her stiffen slightly. "How? How'd you know?" she asked.

So he had been right, she had been raped. "What Lulu had said about you memories, and what you said before you woke up when I first came in last night."

"I said something?" she asked confused.

He nodded, then said, "You said something about how you wouldn't let somebody rape you again."

He felt her tremble against his side for a moment, then he heard her begin to speak, and he listened. He listened to how she had been found, and by who. He listened as she told him about what they did to her. He listened to how she felt she could only tell her brother that is now dead about it. He listened as she told him that, like her brother, the men that hat hurt her had died in the attack on, and the destruction of Home. He listened as she told him of having a talk with Lulu and of telling the Mage about it. He listened as she told him about the nightmare. He listened as she told him that she had the best sleep while in his arms that she had since her attack.

While he listened, he heard other things as well. He heard his heart break over the pain that she had been through, and the loss of her innocence. He heard the bravery of how she kept herself together and not cowering from the men that she saw almost everyday. He heard that she had few people that she could trust with her deepest secrets. He heard the fear that her attackers had instilled in her of them. He heard of the unknowing Guado and her father, dealing out revenge for her. He heard her trust in him for her to be able to tell him all this. But most of all he heard her love for him.

When she was done talking they were both a bit surprised that she had not cried more than just a few tears though the whole ordeal.

There was a soft knock on the door then it creaked open a bit. Through the opening, they heard Lulu say, "The others are waiting for you guys. I told them that Rikku was having bad dreams and that you stayed with her to watch over her, Auron." It was the truth, as far as the others were concerned. Auron knew that Lulu would not betray the trust that either of them left with her the night before.


The rest of the following month, the group spent camping on the ground at various sites as they continued on their journey.

Rikku and Auron had started walking closer together, occasionally holding hands. They started to share the same watches over the rest of the group at night. They started to share the same bed roll at night after their watch was over.

The rest of the group couldn't help but to notice the not so subtle changes in the pair. It did not bother them thought, because they all could see that they bother were really happy.

They had always seen how much Rikku loved Auron. They knew that if he did not return those feelings for her, he would not allow her to get so close to him physically and emotionally. He would not be so protective of her.

One night, they were on the first guard watch of the night and the rest had all gone to sleep. The pair sat side-by-side on a log not too far from the fire. They were able to just sit and watch over everybody, because the fire was still burning strongly enough to keep most fiends at bay, but there was always a few that came up close anyway.

"E muja oui," (I love you) Rikku said quietly.

"E muja oui, duu, so bnaleuic meddma freav," (I love you, too, my precious little thief.) Auron replied.

She looked up at him and saw him looking at her, a soft smile on his face. It was a smile that he only gave to her and it made her blush every time. She ducked her head slightly and did just that.

He couldn't help but to chuckle lightly at her. The men who had raped her might have stolen her virginity, but they hadn't managed to steal all of her innocence, and he was glad for that.

He put his arm around her and pulled her against his side. She wrapped her arm around the back of his waist. They sat like that, silently watching the fire, listening or fiends nearing the camp.

Taking her eyes off the fire and looking around them, keeping one scenes on the duty of detecting fiends, she then asked Auron about where he learned to speak Al Bhed.

He smiled a bit at the memory. "Braska taught Jecht and me. He would say, "Ys E ihlancdyyt?" (Am I understood?), and if the people around us made no indication that he was, we would discuss our plans openly, but in Al Bhed. It worked wonders for when we did not want innocent people to follow us, or when other summoners were around."

It made scense to her. Not many Al Bhed would have been out and about so freely even ten years ago. And not all summoners were as pure hearted as her uncle and cousin were.


A month after their last stay at an inn they reached another one. They were all happy to be there. That afternoon they had ended up fighting an unusual number of flans, and the last group of three that had attacked, had been a bit more affected by Rikku's grenades than any of the rest had been.

Lulu, Rikku, and Tidus had been in the front lines for that fight. Tidus slicing at one of them with his sword, Lulu had defeated one of them with her magic in just a few spells, and Rikku had tossed a couple grenades behind the remaining two.

Other groups just kind of popped when the explosives when off. But these one exploded like they had been bombs in disguise.

Slime flew everywhere. It coated the three directly in front of the fiends, as they were thrown backwards.

Tidus landed into Khimari, Lulu was caught by Wakka, and Rikku landed in Auron's arms. The only one that had been totally spared of the slime had been Yuna who had stood behind Auron.

Having been standing between Lulu and Tidus during the fight, and kind of between the flans, Rikku got the worse of the slime, getting hit with some from both. And because Auron was the one that she was thrown into, he was the worst of the other three.

No one was upset with Rikku at least, because that was the first time that had happened, but not the first time she had blown up flans before. She told herself, however, that she wouldn't do it again unless she had to.

Yuna suggested that they take a couple nights at this inn so that they could rest and all be well recovered before continuing on. Then she added that maybe the flans that seemed so great in number, would be back to normal by then.

They all agreed with her about staying on extra night. They were all tired and none of them had yet thought of a way that they could defeat Sin.

The inn only had three double rooms and one single room open. They all agreed that Khimari would get the single room, he had taken the worst beating fighting the flans and other fiends and needed the quiet for the rest the most.

Lulu took the three keys and handed them out. She gave one to Tidus, and one to Rikku, the third she kept for herself. The mage gave a wink to Yuna and to Auron. Yuna giggled slightly and Auron just arched an eyebrow at her questioningly, to which he received a smirk in reply.

Sighing, he said, "Stay out of trouble, ALL of you!" looking at each of them, lingering on Tidus the most.

With that, he followed Rikku down the hall to their room. Once they were inside, he pulled her to him, then dipped his face down to hers for a kiss.

When they parted for air, Rikku blushed. "Auron! I'm covered in slime!"

Auron looked at her, then down at himself, shrugged then said, "I am too." Then he pulled her in for another kiss.

This time when they parted, he put his forehead to hers, and struggled to catch his breath. "I am sorry, but I have been wanting to do that all day, but those damned flans kept coming out of nowhere!"

Rikku giggled a bit and blushed. She was having trouble believing that Auron was behaving like this.

"When that last group just exploded, and sent you and the others flying backwards, I was truly afraid for the first time in a long time. I was afraid that I had lost you, shortly after I had found you."

He then pushed her towards the bathroom to get a shower to clean off the slime. He knew that he felt disgusting, and her wasn't wearing near as much as she was.

While they took their turns getting their showers, Rikku thought back over her time with everyone on the pilgrimage. She loved them all, they were like family to her. She knew that once they defeated Sin that they would all remain close friends with each other. Well, all but Auron. She knew that he was an unsent, she knew long before Yunalesca. She knew that he had been looking forward to going to the farplane. He deserved the rest after ten years of fighting the pull.

When they were at the Farplane in Guadosalam, that was when she knew. What monk (even a former one) of Yevon, and Legendary Guardian would not go inside?

Then when he collapsed when Yuna sent Lord Jyscal, it confirmed it for her. Yes she saw him go down, but she didn't say anything because she understood he didn't want people to see him as weak, she understood that probably better than anyone else in their group.

Even though she knew that he was what he was, she did not try to stop things from growing between them. If they only had a limited amount of time together, she wanted happy memories to look back on when times got bad for her. She wanted him to have them too. She was just really happy that she had now with him.


When his duties to his friends was done, Auron was not so sure that he wanted to go on to the farplane any more. That would mean that he would have to leave the little Al Bhed thief who stole his heart. How could he protect her if they were on two separate planes of existence?


Auron, dressed in his usual red coat (but without the gorget), his leather shirt and his black pants, and sunglasses, and Rikku in her usual orange shirt and green shorts, made their way out to the main common room of the inn, to meet their friends for a meal together.

The group of Yuna and her guardians had all eaten the evening meal together once every one was cleaned up. They all relaxed and actually had a good time. Even Khimari joined in on the laughing and joking.

After a couple of hours, they all decided to retire to their respective rooms. Auron noticed that Yuna and Tidus took one room while Lulu and Wakka took the other. He was happy that the others were finding their own happiness too.


Once they were alone in their room, shut away from the rest of the world, Auron once again pulled Rikku to him. This time the kiss was gentle, but she could feel a hunger behind it.

The kiss both scared and thrilled her. She went stiff a bit at first, then she made herself relax. She knew that Auron wouldn't do something to hurt her if he truly loved her. She put her complete trust in him to not hurt her.

She gasped when his lips left her mouth and made their way down her jaw line to her ear. When he began to nibble on her earlobe, she couldn't suppress her moan. She felt a warmth slowly begin to spread through her. Encouraged, Auron moved his lips slowly down her neck to where her neck and shoulder meet.