As Auron made his way to the cabin, he couldn't help but grumble to himself. He really didn't want to disturb Rikku, not the way she was. But Yuna was right; someone had to comfort her. Gippal wasn't here to do it, and the Al Bhed princess had hidden her emotions from everyone else. So that left him. The cryptic one. The one who sucked at things like love…

Was it really so strange that someone like him, cryptic, mysterious, and silent, was so terrible at dealing with and controlling his own emotions? All his life, he gained wisdom and strength. But not in ways of the heart. When Braska and Jecht gave up their lives…Auron had difficulty controlling his grief and rage. He went after Yunalesca to try to end the insanity, but his plan failed and ultimately cost him his life. Even then, though, love for his friends was different than how he felt for Rikku.

Why he fell for her, the powerful warrior would never know. She was completely absurd! She was stubborn, sometimes to the point of being a mule, she was a major klutz, and she was way too young. And had a pulse. She was completely his opposite. When it comes to the heart, Auron figured, no logic could explain it. Nor would it even be necessary. Love wasn't something that could be reasoned with.

When he entered the cabin, the normally perky Al Bhed was sleeping(or pretending to). He sat by the bed she was in and smirked, knowing how to wake her up. "Hmph. Too bad Rikku missed breakfast…" As he figured, the young girl leaped out of bed, then looked at him. The confused look turned into a death glare. "Auron, you big meanie," she whined, sticking her tongue out at him. The normally grumpy man laughed a rough laugh. "Sorry. I had to get you up somehow." She made a face at him. "What do you want?" She demanded, obviously still irritated. Auron sighed, not knowing how to begin.

"Rikku, you do realize that, eventually, you must choose." Her eyes betrayed shock and hurt, which made him wince, but her face gave away nothing. "It'll be better for you that way," he continued. "And for me, as well. Not to mention Gip-" "Don't you DARE mention his name!" She screamed, losing her cool composure. "I hate him, don't you see that?" She shouted, though the expression of uncertainty on her face showed Auron otherwise. "Look," she said, calming down slightly. "It isn't really fair to me that you tel me to move on to Gippal, then he abandons me, then you come and-and…" Tears threatened at the bottom of Rikku's swirly emerald eyes. "You come, only to say you'll leave again."

As much as Auron told himself it was a bad idea, as much as he realized how much it would hurt her, as much as he knew it was only going to make it harder for him to go on without her, the pain she was feeling compelled him to give her a gentle kiss on the lips. She must have been just as surprised as he was, for she pulled away, touching his cheek. Somehow, Auron felt comforted by this gesture, although the expression on her face told him something completely different. "Thank you," she whispered in the ghostly warrior's ear, then kissed him on the cheek.

Auron let her return to her nap, and as he left the room, he couldn't help but smile at the complete serenity on her face. For some reason, it didn't hurt as much as he thought it would. Letting her go…As long as she was happy, Auron mused, nothing else really mattered. Rikku made her choice.