A/N: the final instalment to my story, sorry that the updates were taking so long, but my PC had a damned virus, and work, and other aspects of life got in the way…*sigh*…this is why I stick to one-shots…lol, oh well…hope you enjoy the last chapter on this story *grin*
Once again, Rikku has had a hand in saving Spira. She, Yuna, and Paine had joined forces and destroyed Vegnagun.
During the fight on the farplane she had heard many voices encouraging them, but only one stuck out to her, and after she heard it, it kept ringing in her ears, pushing her forward, giving her the strength to go on.
After the fight, though, it was another story. They returned to Besaid, and found Tidus there, returned, given another chance at life, given another chance at making Yuna happy. She truly felt happy for her cousin. Yuna had given up a lot during her life as a summoner all to make Spira happy until she could defeat Sin and bring the Calm to keep them safe until Sin would raise again. Then with Tidus' help she defeated Sin forever.
But deep down, where she had no control of what thoughts are born, she couldn't help but think that they were not the only two on that journey, that Tidus was not the only one that vanished at the end. She quickly squashed down those thoughts as soon as they made themselves known, she had her love waiting for her to live her life then they would be together. They did not know where Tidus went when he vanished, but because he just faded instead of becoming pyerflies, they figured that he would not be waiting for Yuna's arrival to the farplane after her life was lived.
Tidus had been back for half a year and he and Yuna was to be getting married in a week. Wakka and Lulu were helping the happy couple get ready, and Rikku was doing what she could too. Some of her days, though, she just looked after Vidina for Lulu and Wakka. She felt like she was intruding on the happiness of both couples some days. They all had the one that they loved with them and she was alone. They knew that she was happy for them, but they also could see that there were times that she missed Auron greatly, and did not4 know how to comfort her. They did not know what to say. It was those times that she felt the most uncomfortable with them, than she would when each couple would get lost in each other and she would be left sitting there looking up at the sky, thinking back over her time with Auron. She stayed away at times more for their comfort than her own.
The morning of the day that was exactly one week before the wedding, found Rikku heading to Bevelle to find herself a dress to wear. She had looked in Besaid, Kilika, and Luca, but found nothing there suited her, or the occasion.
Arriving just outside the city's boundary, Rikku found herself walking a short way into the metropolis.
Just ahead of her was the shopping district. Suddenly a figure appeared before her. She quickly pulled herself to a stop, to avoid colliding with the man. She tried to side step around him, but he matched her steps. She backed up a step to move out of his way, and she collided with a solid wall of muscle behind her.
The man behind her grabbed her arms and said, "Well, what do we have here?"
"A little Al Bhed slut, from the looks of it," the man in front of her said.
"How about we show her how we welcome sluts to Bevelle?" the man behind her asked, his mouth so near her ear, she could feel his breath upon her neck. The man in front of her grinned and nodded in agreement
They never said what they were going to do, but she knew what they meant, and she was going to give them one hell of a fight if they thought they could rape her.
She stamped her heel into the foot of the man holding her. "Hud drec desa!" (Not this time!) Rikku screamed as she jabbed her elbow into the gut of the man behind her when he released her in shock of the attack with her foot.
"Looks like this one likes to put up a fight," said the man in front of her.
"My friend will be here soon, he was not too far behind me. If he sees you hurting me, he will make you sorry that you did!"
The man in front of her laughed, and backhanded her across the face. "We have watched you since you entered the city, no one entered behind you, so where is this friend of yours?"
The man dressed in red turned towards the voice that called his name. Seeing the fayth Shiva before him, he was shocked.
"Auron, I have been sent to ask you a few questions," she stated, and continued at his raised eyebrow, "Is it truly Rikku that you love?"
The Warrior Monk raised his eyebrow again, which the fayth took as a 'yes'. "Would you give up all of this," she spread her hands out, indicating the farplane, "to spend just one more day with her on Spira?"
That question caught him off guard for a moment, but then he answered, honestly, "No. As much as I miss her and long to see her, I love her too much to hurt her by not being here, waiting for her when her time comes to join us here."
The fayth nodded her head, and smiled warmly. "Now, my final question. Do you believe that Rikku truly loves you as deeply and as strongly as you love her?"
Auron did not waste a moment in answering that question, "Yes." There was no other answer that he could give. He knew what had happened to her in her past before they met, he knew what kind of person that she was when they journeyed together, and he knew what kind of person she continued to be. He remembered seeing her and calling out, encouraging her as she battled Vagnagun on the farplane, and he remembered stories that he heard about 'Lady Rikku' from those who joined the farplane after his sending. She was loved by a lot of people.
Shiva looked at him and smiled widely. "Auron, because of your love for, and loyalty to Rikku, we the fayth have decided to offer the two people that greatly helped in the salvation of Spira, not only once, but twice, that have not been rewarded, a reward. We already know that Rikku wishes to be by your side again, though she is patiently waiting her time to join you here, living her life as she promised you. My offer to you is this, you can return to Spira, returned to the body that you had just after you died, returned to life, not just as an unsent, then once you two have fully lived your lives, you are both still welcome back to the farplane."
"What is the catch?" Auron asked suspiciously.
"Bahamut warned me you might suspect a trick. The only catch is that you must hurry because Rikku is now in danger, and you will need to save her from harm if you want her to be the same woman that you fell in love with."
"Danger!?!? What kind of danger?!"
"I will take that as a 'yes'?" Shiva asked. Then she watched as the former guardian gave her a quick nod of his head. "I will place you as close to her as I can without you suddenly appearing out of the air in front of a lot of people."
"She is in Bevelle, just south of the shopping district, you must hurry to her. This is the best that I can do, we fayth do not have the power that we once had."
"I understand," the man growled, growing impatient knowing that Rikku was in trouble.
Shiva held her hand up and snapped her fingers, much like she did for her Diamond Dust attack, and Auron was momentarily blinded by a flash of light.
When his vision cleared, Auron found himself in one of the side alleys of Bevelle, and at the end that opened into the street, he thought he saw someone that looked like the Rikku he saw fighting on the farplane, pass by, then a man following her.
Auron, quickly, quietly, and carefully, left the alley and headed the same way that the woman and the man went. Auron heard a female voice screen. "Hud drec desa!" (Not this time!) and he knew that it was Rikku, and that she had been attacked.
Moving even faster, he caught up with them in time to see Rikku get slapped by the man in front of her, as he said, "We have been watching you since you entered the city, no one entered behind you, so where is this friend of yours?"
"Right here!" said a familiar voice from behind Rikku. No! It couldn't be! He's on the farplane!
When the man behind her spun around to face the potential threat, he pushed Rikku into the side of the building, hard enough to knock the wind out her, and she fell to her knees, gasping for breath.
She heard a fist connect with flesh and bone and knew that someone had gotten punched, and Rikku silently prayed that it was the two men that held her that were on the losing end, then she hoped that the man that sounded so familiar was someone that she could trust.
"Shit! Man, that guy has a big-Ass sword! And the way he can lift it, I ain't hanging around here!" Rikku heard one of her attackers say and then two sets of footsteps running off.
A pair of boots came into her view, and then a knee as the man that remained knelt in front of her. There was a clang to her left and when she looked, she could not believe her eyes. She could have sworn that THAT sword was with her Dark Knight dress sphere!
Gaining control of her lungs again, she looked into the man's face.
"Auron?!" It looked like him, kind of. He was younger, but he still had the scar across his face, and his eye was sealed shut behind it. "Auron? Ec dryd naymmo oui?" (Is that really you?)
"Oac, Sa Bnaleuic Medda Dreav, yht E ys rana du bnudald oui!" (Yes, My Precious Little Thief, and I am here to protect you.)
Rikku threw herself into his arms and hugged him, "Pid, ruf?" (But, how?) she asked, muffled against his chest.
The only answer that he could give, was the one that nobody who was on Yuna's pilgrimage would question, it was the one answer that explained a lot of their good luck, it also was the truth, "Dra vyedr." (The Fayth.)
"That would also explain the change in your looks," Rikku said quietly, almost under her breath. Auron had heard her, but would contain his curiosity about the statement until later. Maybe he could get somewhere and get a look at himself to see what she had meant.
Helping her to her feet, Auron said, "Let's get you to an inn to rest."
"No!" Rikku said. Then she blushed at her outburst. "I came to Bevelle to find a dress for Yunie's wedding, I will not rest until I find it! I've looked almost everywhere else in Spira and can't find one!"
"Yuna's wedding?" Auron was caught off guard with that,. "She's getting married? To whom?"
Rikku barely refrained from slapping her forehead with her palm. "Right! You wouldn't know!"
"Tidus came back about six months ago, the wedding is in a week. Grabbing his hand, she began to drag him behind her as she headed towards the shopping district, "Come with me! Help me find my dress!"
Sighing, Auron allowed her to pull him a few steps. Shopping was not on the top of the list of things that he wanted to do, but if that was what she wanted, he would do it. But first…
He pulled Rikku backwards, towards him when he stopped. He pulled her up against his chest and looked into her face. "I have missed you," he said, then he leaned down and kissed her lips gently. When she began to respond, he deepened the kiss.
He pulled her against him tighter as she pulled his head down closer to her.
When they each heard the other moan, they each cam to their senses about where they were, and they broke the kiss, but did not pull away from each other and placed their foreheads together.
She smiled at him as she said, "I've missed you too."
Slowly Auron stepped back from her and said, "Let us get that dress, then get you back to where you are staying. You need to recover after what happened."
"After what has happened, or for what is yet to happened?" she asked him with a wink.
Chuckling at her antics, Auron said, "You will never know if you do not get some rest." Then he followed her the rest of the way into the shopping district, where they spent until mid-afternoon not only finding her a dress, but him a proper outfit for the occasion as well.
That afternoon they were in Besaid, having returned by the airship that Rikku's brother had, the Celsius as he was to learn it was called. Auron knew that Rikku needed her rest more than he needed to feel her bare skin against him again. He was going to hold back his desire because he knew her history, and given the day she had as he had found her, he wanted to be there in case it all hit her at once and the memories came flooding back.
When everyone saw Auron step off the airship with Rikku, the only that recognised him as he looked now was Tidus.
"Auron? Is that really you?" Tidus asked him. The former Warrior Monk looked exactly like he had when they first met twelve years before.
The others looked at the older, but younger looking man, in shock.
Auron merely chuckled, as he walked past them, heading towards the village, from the beach.
He knew what he looked like now, he had seen his face in numerous mirrors while he and Rikku were looking for clothes for their friends' upcoming wedding.
Rikku looked at the people that had gathered when the airship landed, gave them a saucy grin, like only she could do, then she continued up the path at a light run, slowing to a walk once she caught up to her former-lost-but-found-again-lover.
It was early evening when they reached the village, and their friends and villagers decided to celebrate Auron's return. They held a bonfire on the beach that they knew was a forerunner for the one that would be taking place the following week.
Neither Auron nor Rikku minded knowing that this celebration was to be smaller than the one planned for the following week, they had no desire to overshadow their friends' wedding. Both couples' events were happy ones, but Auron and Rikku's was more of a private celebration while Tidus and Yuna's was something that everyone was welcome to celebrate.
Lulu led them to the spare bed in her and Wakka's hut, when she saw that Rikku was fighting more than just exhaustion. The former Warrior Monk thanked the black mage, and led the thief to the bed by the hand.
He was glad when Rikku did not try to make things very intimate between them that night, he would hate to have seen her disappointment in her face when he had to turn her down. As much as he wanted to make love to her that night, he also knew that emotionally and mentally, she needed to deal with what had happened that day, as well as what had almost happened. He was going to be there for her when she needed him to be.
After they had readied for bed, and settled beneath the covers, however, he could not resist pulling her against his side, so that her head rested on his shoulder. Looking down at her face, he saw her grinning at him. He leaned forward and placed a loving kiss upon her lips.
"Kuut hekrd, So Bnaleuic Meddma Dreav," (Good night, My Precious Little Thief) Auron said as he pulled back. "Cdaab, oui haat nacd." (Sleep, you need rest.)
"E Muja oui, Auron," (I love you, Auron) Rikku said as sleep overcame her.
"E Muja oui, duu, Rikku," (I love you, too, Rikku) Auron replied, pressing his lips against the top of her head, following her into slumber.
An unknown number of hours later, Auron was woken by the noise and movement of the woman that still laid against him. He could tell that she was caught in a nightmare.
He rubbed her back gently, and pressed his lips to her head, his free hand, trapping the hand that she had been hitting his chest with.
"Rikku, So Muja," Auron whispered against her hair. "Shhh, it is okay, Rikku, you are safe, no one is going to hurt you." Rikku calmed only a little at his voice, but his words did not seem to be getting through to her.
"E ys rana bnudald oui, So Muja, ymfuoc." (I am here to protect you, My Love, always.) To his surprise, those words seemed to do the trick and she calmed down again, falling still and silent.
A short time later, Auron was awoken, again, buy Rikku having another nightmare. This time it seemed more upsetting than the one before.
"Auron! Frana yna oui? Fro ynah'd oui rana?! Oui yna cibbucat du pa rana!" (Auron! Where are you? Why aren't you here?! You are supposed to be here!) The fear and hurt that he heard in her voice tore at him. Never in the time that they knew each other during the pilgrimage had he heard her sound even close to being this scared. The next words out of her mouth made his gut clench.
"RU! Mayja sa YMUHA! E femm hud mad oui nyba sa! (NO! Leave me ALONE! I will not let you rape me!)
"Rikku! Rikku! Fyga ib! E ys nekrd rana! Oui yna cyva! Hu uha ec kuehk du rind oui, So Muja!" (Rikku! Rikku! Wake up! I am right here! You are safe! No one is going to hurt you, My Love!) Once again the Al Bhed stilled in his arms.
Auron did not hear the movement beside him, and jumped slightly when Lulu spoke, "Is she alright Auron?"
Taking his eye off Rikku long enough to look at the black mage quickly so that she would know that he had heard her, before he returned his eye to Rikku and replied, "In time, she will me alright, but until them, or how long, I do not know."
"I have not seen her this upset since the night on the pligramage that she told me about being attacked the year before."
Auron said nothing, but the gentle kiss that he placed on the hair of the woman in his arms was enough to confirm any thoughts that Lulu might have had. She nodded silently and cast a sleep spell on her young friend. "That will give her a dreamless sleep. Come, have a cup of tea with me, and we can talk. I feel there is more to this that I should know."
Auron did not want to leave Rikku's side. Lulu sensed this and said, "She will be fine, and we will be in the next room when she awakens. She will have no dreams, and she wills till feel rested when she wakes."
Slowly and carefully, Auron slid out from under the thief. Lulu had left the room to allow him some privacy to put on whatever garments he needed to. He quietly put on his trousers and his leather shirt. Then he placed a gentle kiss on Rikku's forehead before he left the room, saying." E muja oui, Sa Bnaleuic Meddma Dreav," (I love you, My Precious Little Thief) just before his lips touched her skin.
In the next room, Auron could see Lulu moving around, making them tea, and getting the house ready for the day to come. It was then that he noticed that Lulu was wearing her customary black dress with the fur trim on the neckline and the assortment of belts and buckles on the front. Seeing her attire, he realised that is was early morning, just after dawn, most likely.
"Is there anything I can help you with?"
"No, it is alright, everything is under control," she said. But as soon as the words left her lips, both the kettle started to boil, and Vidina awoke, crying. "On second thought, can you pour the water into the cups, while I get Vidina before he wakes Wakka?"
Auron gave her a one sided grin, and moved to the kettle, and Lulu disappeared into the room on the opposite side of the hut.
A few minutes later, Lulu remerged with the infant in her arms, as he set the cups on the table and sat downs after she had.
After they both had taken a few sips from their tea cups, Auron tipped his chin towards the infant, "An Al Bhed name?"
"It was Wakka's idea," the black mage said, gently rocking the child. At Auron's questioning look, she added, "he has come a long way because of Rikku's friendship."
"She seems to be a good influence for him."
"She seems to be a good influence for more than just Wakka," Lulu said pointedly. Auron knew what she was getting at, and blushed slightly. It was because of Rikku that he had changed during the last couple of months of Yuna's pilgrimage.
"I am glad to see that you are back, Auron. Rikku tried to hold it back, most likely for Yuna's sake, but I could see that she had missed you, greatly. She had been doing her best to live as normal of a life any any of Yuna's guardians can, and having had a major hand in saving Spira from another, major threat, she seems almost as sought after as Yuna is."
"It has been hard on her at times, but I know that she was not giving up on life, on her happiness to be just as she was, because you wanted her to live and be happy. I thank you for that. Our group had lost two of its members after the fight against Sin, we would not have been able to keep it all together if we lost another to grief, especially Rikku."
"She helped all of us to regain our emotional footing from the loss of both you and Tidus. There were days that it seemed that she was the only thing holding each of us up."
"Whenever any of us tried to be there to support her like that, she would shrug us off and try to convince us that nothing was wrong, that she was fine."
"When did the dam break?" Auron asked her, looking at the table.
"I am not sure that it ever did." Lulu said quietly.
Auron's head shot up, and his eye locked with hers. He knew that she had been strong for him. She had been the new rock fro the group to replace the one that he had tried to be before he was sent.
He also knew that she would not be able to keep it together like that if he left her again. He made a promise to himself to make sure that she knew that he had no plans to leave her until they had both lived their lives and were ready to go to the farplane, together.
"So, Auron, the new look?"
Auron chuckled lightly at Lulu, "Actually, this is an old look for me." When the mage arched her brow, he continued, "this is how I looked after Braska's pilgrimage. How I looked at the moment of my death after my foolish fight Yunalesca."
"Are you…," Lulu couldn't ask the question, but she could see that Auron understood what she had been intending to say.
Auron looked at the top of the table again, "Rikku was in danger. The fayth sent me back, alive, to save her, and to keep her safe."
"She was in danger? Where? When?"
"Shortly after she had arrived in Bevelle, a few streets away from the shopping district. Two men trapped her and attacked her. They….they, were planning to….rape her."
Auron heard Lulu's gasp, and looked up and gave her a smirk, "They changed their plans when I found them."
"And when they saw your sword as well, I am sure that changing their pants became part of the new plans."
Auron chuckled and shrugged one shoulder.
"How long until the sleep spell wears off?" Auron asked.
"It should be wearing off anytime now, actually," Lulu said, listening in the direction of the room Rikku was in, for sounds of her rousing.
Instead, she heard her husband leave their room, "Good morning Lu, Sir Aur……..er, Auron," he greeted, amending himself at the stern look from the former Warrior Monk.
Before Auron could return the greeting, they all heard Rikku's voice from the other room. "NO! AURON!"
The three friends made their way to the Al Bhed, almost running.
"Rikku?" Auron said, his voice gentle.
Rikku gasped, and spun towards his voice. He did not have time to prepare himself when she had leapt at him, and stumbled back a few steps to remain upright as he caught her. He held her close as she fought to control the tremors that racked her body.
Lulu knew that Auron would be able to calm the young girl, and pulled her husband from the room, by his arm, giving the pair some privacy.
"Shhh, Rikku, I am here," Auron said against her hair.
"Uh Vyodr Auron! E druikrd dryd oacdantyo ryt paah y thays! E druikd dryd oui fana cdemm uh dra Farplane, yht dryd E fyc cdemm rana uh Spira fedruid oui!" (Oh Fayth, Auron! I thought that yesterday had been a dream! I thought that you were still on the farplane, and that I was still here on Spira without you!)
Auron tightened his grip on the girl, holding her closer to his chest, letting hear his heartbeating, "I am her, So Muja. E ys rana!" (I am here!)
He felt her tighten her arms around him as she began to sob. "Shhh, Rikku, I am here," he repeated. "E ys rana vun yc murk yc oui fyrd sa." (I am here for as long as you want me.)
"Vunajan! E fryd oui vunajan!" (Forever! I want you forever!)
"Drih E ys ouinc vunajan." (Then I am yours forever.)
"I was so scared Auron!" and he knew that she was talking about more then just the attack that she had been through the day before.
"I will always keep you safe," he said, as he pressed a kiss to the top of her head. "E ys rana du bnudald oui, So Muja."
A/N 2: I hope that all who have read this story have enjoyed it. Thank you for taking the time to read my ramblings too, lol.