Right. So yeah, it's been almost three years since I've updated. And how long has the bulk of this been sitting on my hard drive? You don't even want to know. Oh, ok, for at least two years. Oops. But I've finished it now! Blame my easy course load or something (Hey! Eastern European Cinema isn't a bullshit course! Don't listen to my dad! So what if I don't have any papers?). Or possibly the sudden lack of a boy in my life. Boys are stupid, fyi. Even when they're cute and British. They're still stupid, in fact, perhaps doubly so, because their stupid accent gets them attention from every girl in earshot. kicks stupid boy Amazing how much time he managed to take up, even though he's been 6000 miles away for most of the last 9 months (excepting me going to ol' Blighty over Christmas and him coming over here the beginning of the month, which concluded in him being thrown out of my house. He friggin deserved it.). But then again, when one's nearly six year younger brother is more mature than one is, one should question, well, pretty much everything. Too bad he never bothered to. Too bad he took me for granted for two years as well. And really, too bad the best thing he could find to hook up with in revenge was fat and looked like a 40-year-old man. Oops. (And to and the friend who sent me the link, cheers to you for letting me find that out). Anyway, I'm studying in England for six months starting in October (running amok in Brighton...oh dear...), so I can find... the upgrade. British Boy 2.0. w00t. They all have accents over there, so I get my pick of the whole litter.

FYI, 21 in three months. I'm not counting down or anything, no.

"Dear Auron,

You are very special to me. I really like spending time with

you. You are so nice and so manly. I think that you are the first man

I've met that really understands how I feel. I'm so glad

we're taking things slowly. I really feel like a woman when

I'm around you. You are very handsome. I think I'm falling

in love with you. I just hope you feel the same way about me.

I know my father has spoken to you about our relationship,

and I want to assure you that I feel as strongly as he does

on the subject. I want you to know that the answer to any

question you might ask is definitely yes! So ask away!

I can just see us, a few years down the road; you, a Maester

of Yevon, and I , your devoted wife. Oh Auron, I would make

you so happy. You're so handsome I could just eat you for

dinner! Maybe sometime, I will... I think you'd like that

very much. I think I would too.

Love,

Liania"

Auron stared, dumbfounded at the letter before him. Not only were the contents horrifyingly disgusting, but this meant he was in major trouble and he knew it. After the High Priest had explained that he wanted the marriage to take place, he had handed Auron this letter and walked out. After reading the contents, Auron felt dangerously close to gouging his violated eyes out. This was simply...wrong. He handed the letter to Kinoc, who was sitting across the table from him. The look on Auron's face was not a hard one to read.

"That bad, huh?" asked Kinoc. He took the letter and began to read its contents. His eyes widened with every line. And then he got to the end. "OH! Eww! Ahhh!" He thrust it back at Auron. "Baaah! I've been blinded by it! The horror!"

Auron snorted morosely. "You think you've got it bad? My career is over. If I refuse Liania, I'll be exiled. If I accept her hand...oh Yevon. I don't even want to think about that."

"You've got a major problem," agreed Kinoc, nodding. "What to do about it, I don't know. I guess you could explain to the High Priest that you...uh..." he trailed off, unable to think of anything.

"That'll work so well, too," said Auron sarcastically. "There's got to be a way out of this."

Kinoc shrugged. "Anything I can think of would mean the end of your career. Anything you could do to indicate that you would be unsuitable for Liania would also indicate you were inappropriate to be anything respectable in the eyes of Yevon...or at least in the eyes of the High Priest, which is all that matters."

"Oh Yevon," said Auron, burying his face in his hands. "I hate politics." Kinoc reached across the table and patted him on the shoulder.

"Well, you could always become a hermit."

"What a comforting thought. Thank you Kinoc, you've just made me feel so much better." The sarcasm practically dripped from Auron's voice. "Come on," he told himself. "Think."

The pair remained silent and lost in thought for many a long minute. The Church of Yevon was important to Auron, and he did not want to lose standing in its eyes. He had worked hard to get where he was, but he thought marrying for status was wrong. Plus, he didn't want to get stuck with Liania for the rest of his life. Well, probably her life, as she was well on the way to some major health problems, but still.

Suddenly, Kinoc had an idea. "I know! Tell her that your dream has always been to play blitzball! And...the lifestyle of a blitzball player is, uh, not suited to marriage."

"Do you realize how ridiculous that excuse is? I've never played blitzball before in my life. I'm sure I'd be terrible at it. And I'd look like a fool. Not to mention that plenty of blitzers are married."

"Oh," said Kinoc, who looked rather crestfallen. The two sat in silence some more.

"How about moving to another temple? Perhaps Liania would not want to leave her father and Bevelle."

"Not likely," replied Auron. "The High Priest is bound to object to that. I would not be allowed to enter a temple ever again if I pulled that."

"True," admitted Kinoc. More silence. Then, "Wait! I know!"

"What?" said Auron, clearly becoming irritated with his friend's half-cocked ideas.

Kinoc leaned forward. "Become a guardian! Your background is perfect for it. You've had lots of training, and you're a powerful warrior."

Auron nodded. "Good idea. Maybe it'll work. But there's a small problem."

"What's that?"

"I'd need a summoner."

It came to them both at the same time. "Braska!" they exclaimed. The man was in Bevelle looking for a guardian. His wife had been killed by Sin, but because she had been Al Bhed, no one would agree to go with the man. He was perfect.

"It's amazing how things work out," Auron thought to himself as he trailed the rest of his party. He had become a guardian to escape Liania, not imagining what a profound impact it would have on him. He did not expect to respect and love Braska the way he had, it just happened.

The group was finally preparing to leave the Calm Lands. They had stayed for quite some time, building strength for the perilous battles that were surely ahead of them. They said their goodbyes at the Travel Agency and began to head North toward Mt. Gagazet. Maechen was standing there, and walked over to the group.

"I would just like to wish you luck on your Pilgrimage, Lady Yuna. Many have gotten to the Calm Lands and given up, but you prevailed. Why, I remember a tale of another Lady Summoner, much like yourself..." Maechen seemed lost in thought for a moment, then continued. "Blah blah blah blah blah blah, blahdie blah blah blah."

Or at least, that was what Rikku heard. While the others were dutifully listening to the historian drone on and on about some summoner named Sharonda or something. She was bored out of her mind, which was beginning to wander. She thought back to the last battle, and a thought she had touched upon in the heat of it. Auron had no hair in his armpits. They were completely bald. Completely. There was something wrong with that, no matter how you looked at it. She wondered idly what his chest might look like, aside from his man boobs. Perhaps he didn't have nipples...now that was an interesting thought. What about his nether regions? And up his nose? Did Auron have a Happy Trail?

And how did the lack of hair come to be? Did he shave, sneaking away from the camp at night while he was supposed to be on guard? Did he Nair? Wax? Or were they somehow naturally that way? Rikku had heard about someone who had gotten a severe electrical shock and lost all of his hair. But after the occurrence, the unfortunate soul had no hair anywhere on his head or face. Auron had a mullet and a perpetual five o'clock shadow, so that couldn't really be it. Rikku continued contemplation.

The others were in similar states of consciousness. Yuna was thinking about Tidus. Tidus was thinking about Yuna and a cold shower. Auron was thinking about his sake jug. Kimahri was thinking about...well...no. Not going there. You can't make me!

Meanwhile, Maechen was still talking. "This rather reminds me of a history I read once. It was about little people, or "Hobbits" as they were so called. Yes. Hobbits. Nasty Hobbitses... Stole it from me, they did! My precioussssss!" Even Rikku was startled into attention at this. Maechen was hissing and twitching.

"Uh...are you ok?" asked Yuna hesitantly.

Maechen seemed to snap out of it. "And that as they say is that!" he finished hastily, stumbling over the words in his rush. Suddenly, he was very calm again. "If you will excuse me, Lady Yuna, I think I've delayed you long enough." And he bowed and wandered away.

"Isn't it creepy how he seems to be everywhere we go?" asked Rikku. The others shrugged, except Yuna, who was fingering her ring nervously.

Gagazet loomed over them impressively. Rikku shivered, anticipating the extreme cold they were bound to face. Auron snorted derisively, looking at her hot pants and tank top.

"Cold already? Pitiful. Just wait until we get to the summit."

Rikku turned to him and stuck her tongue out. "Don't be such a meanie!" she said. Auron did not bother responding.

Meanwhile, Tidus and Wakka were lurking in the back, plotting.

"We need to get some romance going!" said Tidus. "Kindle the flame and all that." Wakka agreed wholeheartedly.

"We should, ya," he said. "But I dunno what to do. We've tried everything".

"No we haven't! If we had, they'd be together by now," Tidus reasoned. Unfortunately, his train of logic had long ago jumped the tracks and was presently sitting at the bottom of a very dark, very murky lake.

After a long, pregnant silence during which you could hear the gears in both heads turning (and grinding and smoking and catching fire), Wakka finally burst out with, "Love letters!"

When's the next update going to be? Who the heck knows? I actually have some of the next chapter written, to make the task less daunting and all. But keep in mind, the more interest I get (meaning, the more reviews), the more likely I'm going to be to bother. C'mon kids. I'm not writing if I don't know you're reading. And seriously...don't you want to see what Wakka and Tidus come up with for love letters? Let me tell you, they put Liania's to shame.