My Fragile Life
I finally realized it
"Rasen" ~Chihiro Onitsuka
Singer, peaceful ruler, onlooker of the world at large; Rikku experiences the agony of separation.
She stands on the land of the exiled, at the shoreline of Sanubia, watching the tides lure in supply ships and Spiran merchants at sea. Baralai approaches the contemplative girl, stopping by her side, staring, concerned. Folding his arms at his back, his eyes spy distant lands beneath a dusk-colored horizon, searching for elusive signs, an answer for her solemn silence.
"Hey. Do you think... Yunie's doing alright? This is what she does, you know, as if expecting to see him swim from the ocean, and I just, well... I kinda figured I could understand her better if I did the same, but... I don't know what I'm supposed to feel..."
Baralai faces her, watching her bow her head and poke her fingers, distraught beyond belief. He sighs, lamenting the absence of her usual silly smile. "I am certain the heartbreak you feel differs from Lady Yuna's, so it is impossible to mimic her emotions. You worry about her well-being, while she grieves for someone lost. I say..." His hand on her shoulder startles her to look up, and his smile lifts her spirits with kind strength. "Time remains to cherish who still lives. You should cheer her up with a surprise visit."
Rikku sniffles, rubbing the tears that dribble her face. "Mm. Y-yeah... I'll go do that."
"Let us go back, and pack. We shall leave in the morning." Guiding her by the hand, Baralai walks to the hovercraft, and Rikku skips in pace to his wide strides.
"Really?" A light switches on, illuminating her sullen heart; ecstatic, she swings their linked arms. "You and pops finished cleaning up Home and all that?"
Baralai nods, indulging the girl, amused of her childish antics and grateful for its return. "We have purged most of the ruins of its most fearsome fiends. Actually," he says, pausing to help her board the machina, "Lord Cid sent me to find you. He said you might want to see me send all of your fallen comrades."
"Do I ever! It's like a dream come true!" Squealing in delight, Rikku hops in her place, throwing an arm over the edge and peering over at her surroundings as the driver jump-starts the vehicle and they begin to pick up speed. Baralai squints against the wind-blown heat and airborne sand, trying to hide his discomfort by gripping onto the rumbling metal bench. "I've been waiting for this day for sooo long! It's been over three years, you know, since pops blew it up. Wait, did pops tell you that already? Well, a lot of Al Bhed are still mad about that, and even more don't forgive him."
Dizzy and disoriented, a headache looming, he clings to her loud words as a distraction. "He did what he must at the time. I don't blame him. I hope after tonight he and Al Bhed everywhere can begin to heal."
"Well, I can't say for our scars and stuff, cuz you know, scars are scars, and those never completely heal..." Rikku trails off, wracking her brain for an immediate, light-hearted change in topic. 'Bad, Rikku, bad! Dwelling on the past is no good. No good!' Patting the closed door, fingers drumming to a tuneless, metallic beat, her scrunched-up face instantly perks. "Oh, oh, hey! Yunie's dad came here once, huh."
"Yes. He met Lady Yuna's mother here."
'Now that I mention it...' Spurred by curiosity, Rikku steals an eyeful of her seat companion, studying him from head-to-toe. Baralai scoots away, uncomfortable, paranoid to believe she's stripping him naked in her imagination. 'He wears blankets for clothes, like Yunie's dad. He's clean and tidy and super tall, like Yunie's dad. And friendly and big-hearted, too. Hmm... and pops always said I looked and acted like auntie...'
Rikku giggles, giddy and daydreaming, blushing, holding her hot cheeks. "Can you imagine it? The epic, forbidden love between a Yevonite and Al Bhed..." The Praetor deadpans, annoyed, rolling his eyes.
"It ended in tragedy. I fail to see how that warrants romantic acclaim."
He lets go to cross his arms; a sudden swerve evades a lazy Cactuar, and Baralai stumbles off his seat. Bending back to his eye level, laughing at his evil glare, Rikku pokes his cheek, sticking her tongue out.
"That's cuz you're not in love with me, yet."