A/N: This is dedicated to the wonderful people at the Aurikku Facebook Group (link in my profile, go join!). We've reached 30 members, and I wanted to write something to celebrate. Hope everyone likes it! :D

Edited to Add - A warning to those of you reading this: this is (sort of) a crack!fic and the characters will be OOC. If that's not something you like (or don't get, whichever) then you should steer clear of this one-shot. I don't think it even deserves a warning, but apparently I was wrong.


~ Bubblegum ~


Auron was annoyed, everyone could tell. He was sat at the table furthest from the front door of the Thunder Plains travel agency, tapping his finger against his mug of hot cocoa impatiently. His companions that hadn't retired yet sat well away from him, afraid of his ire. He had a look about him that dared anyone to speak to him. They knew not to push his buttons...

A flash of lightning lit the lobby, eliciting a loud squeal from underneath one of the tables. Wakka, looking around, glanced under his table and found nothing. Tidus only shrugged, not having the energy to care at this moment. He finished off his mug and munched on a dried biscuit he'd found in his pack, happy as a lark. Wakka could only shake his head.

Another flash of light and a peal of thunder, another squeal from inside the lobby. The tapping stopped. Wakka and Tidus became very still as they looked over their shoulders towards Auron's table. Sure enough, they could see the tip of one of Rikku's boots peeking out from under the threadbare tablecloth. They held their breath.

Auron was very close to snapping. Rikku's fear of the storm was delaying the pilgrimage by a day or more and now she was under HIS table, screaming every time the sky lit up. He was wondering just WHY he had allowed her to tag along on this mission in the first place.

Yet another round of lightning, this time brighter than before. Auron braced himself for the squeal, but it never came. There was a muffled thump and the weight of something against his boot.

He wiggled his foot. The thing didn't move.

Another wiggle. Nothing.

He chanced a look down, pulling the tablecloth aside. Rikku's passed out form greeted him, her body lying at an awkward angle from where it had slumped to the floor. He sighed.

Tidus and Wakka watched in amusement as Auron slid out of his seat and crouched down near the end of the table, pulling an unconscious Rikku out from underneath it. He picked her up and then stood, walking briskly towards the hallway and away from the snickering in the lobby.

Coming upon the girls' room for the night, he nodded at Kimhari who was standing guard, but paused when his blue friend shook his head. Through the door he could hear Lulu and Yuna talking, though he couldn't make out what they were saying. It was obvious that he shouldn't disturb them. But then what the hell was he going to do with Rikku? He couldn't put her back under the table and there weren't any couches in the lobby that she could sleep on comfortably. He glanced down the hallway, two doors down to where his room was. Crap.

Shoving open the door with his boot, Auron made his way into the dark room. He carried the still form of Rikku over to the bed and set her down upon it unceremoniously. He snatched up his pack, planning to dump it either in Tidus and Wakka's room or in the lobby, where he would probably stay all night. The day kept getting worse and worse. Now he wouldn't even be able to rest properly. Oh well, he'd best suck it up and deal with it. Wasn't much use in complaining. Glancing at the sleeping Al Bhed, he could only wish that some of his other companions thought the same way as himself.

As he made to leave the room, a whimper sounded from the bed. Auron stopped in his tracks and held his breath. Maybe she wouldn't wake, maybe she'd be ok...

"Eeeeaaaaahhhh!" came the squeal. It had nearly shattered his hearing, but thankfully it was over. Now there was just the sound of teeth chattering. He looked over his shoulder and saw her shivering form. Something inside him melted, but only just a little bit. He supposed she couldn't help her fear, though if she ever wanted to get anywhere in life, she'd have to toughen up and deal with things as they were thrown at her. Still ridiculous to be scared of the weather, but...well, what could he do?

Deciding to be nice, but only this one time, he walked quietly back over to the bed and sat on the edge. Rikku's eyes were screwed shut, but they opened in alarm when she felt the dip in the mattress. She only calmed slightly at seeing him.

"Auron! Make it stop!" She said, clinging to his arm. He tried to wrestle his arm away, but dammit, the girl had a grip like a vice! He gave up and sat there, not knowing what to do.

The whimpers and mumbles continued for what seemed like forever. Auron felt his arm go numb. Great. If only he could maneuver it out of her hand...

"Auron, where are you going? Please don't leave me!" The death grip returned.

"Rikku, I must return to the lobby and keep watch."

Rikku did the only thing she could think of, the one thing he didn't want her to do: she started to cry.

Amidst all her blubbering, Auron was at a complete loss. How the hell do you console crying females? His hand hovered over her but he stopped. Pat her back? Yes, that sounds good. He patted her back.

"There, there. It's ok." It sounded horribly false, even to him.

"No it's not! I'm scared and I don't want to be left alone." The look on her face was pitiful. That look of a girl that was lost and alone. Her big, green eyes were now red-rimmed and as huge as saucers. She looked so innocent. Auron melted again.

"Look, just calm down Rikku. I've got something to cheer you up." He couldn't believe he was about to do this. He swore to himself many MANY times that he would never. What was the world coming to?

He fetched his pack swiftly and made his way back to the bed. There, he paused a moment, looking back and forth between the girl and the bag.

He really shouldn't.

But he was going to.

Even though he TOTALLY shouldn't.

Rikku's eyes got bigger and more innocent looking, if that was even possible. He sighed, giving in.

"Rikku, what I have here in this pack is something of mine that no one has ever seen. Nobody knows I have it. You would do well to remember that, and tell no one. Is that clear?"

She nodded, now more curious than anything. She sat up in anticipation, ready to see what secrets Auron's pack contained.

Auron sighed again, and pulled an object out of his pack.

Rikku stared. "Is that..."

He closed his good eye. "Yes, it is."

"..."

Auron cleared his throat. Her silence was worrying him.

"Is it...for me?"

He thought long and hard. He really should give it to her. That way no one would ever know it was his.

"Yes, it's yours. To cheer you up and keep you company, whenever you feel alone."

"It's...pink."

He looked at it. "Yes, it is."

She looked at him. Then at the thing. Then back at him. Back and forth she went. Suddenly she laughed out loud, startling him.

"Oh my Gods, I never would have suspected that Sir Auron himself would carry a stuffed pink unicorn in his pack. Wow..."

Auron looked indignant. "Just because I'm so serious all of the time doesn't mean there aren't other sides to me."

She continued to laugh, but she took the unicorn out of his hands and hugged it to her, enjoying the softness of it.

"It's so fluffy!"

"Yes, she is."

Rikku stopped rolling around on the bed. "She?"

"Er, yes. She."

"Does she have a name?"

Auron looked away. "Bubblegum."

There was no sound from Rikku at this revelation. Auron decided to take this as his sign to leave.

"Well, now that you're settled, I think I'll go back to the lobby. Have a good night."

"Auron, wait..."

He stopped and looked at her, expecting her to laugh at his expense again, but she only smiled. "Thank you. For, you know, cheering me up. And for giving me Bubblegum. I promise I'll look after her."

He smiled. "You're welcome. Good night."

"Good night!", she called after him as he shut the door. She then proceeded to talk Bubblegum's ear off for another hour, before she fell asleep.

Auron, his good deed done, went back to the lobby and kept watch all night, listening as the storm outside raged on. He felt good that he'd been able to cheer up one of his companions. He'd made Rikku's night, to be sure. And that made his night.

Even if the absence of his pink friend and the lightness of his pack made him feel just a little bit sad.

~fin~


A/N: If this were a movie, you'd see a montage of scenes from Auron's youth of him and Bubblegum, while some really sad song played in the background, probably something from the 80's. XD

Shout out to The-Darkness-Befalls and Crazy-Lemon-Lady, their comments on a FB post helped inspire my belief that Auron collects unicorn figurines, which morphed into a stuffed unicorn toy for this particular story. Thanks, ladies! Also, a shout out to my brother, though he won't see this, for coming up with the name of the unicorn. :D

The line "It's so fluffy!" is, of course, borrowed from the movie Despicable Me. Love that movie! Yay for fluffy unicorns! :D