Author Notes: It's been awhile, so I broke a hiatus with another Yuna/Lenne. It's longer than I imagined it would be, complete with two chapters for your reading pleasure.

Disclaimer: The games Final Fantasy X & Final Fantasy X-2 do not belong to me – rather, to Square Enix. All of the characters, name settings, etc. (unless mentioned or recognized otherwise) belong to them, not me.

Summary: When a failed romance takes life on a spiral downwards, a surprise encounter may lift a person back up. -LenneYuna- Other couples include: Mentioned TidusYuna, ShuyinLenne, BaralaiPaine, GippalRikku, unrequited PaineRikku.

Specifies Scene Change: X X X

BEAUTIFUL & UNPREDICTABLE

A young brunette woman, no more than twenty one years of age, appreciatively eyes her surroundings with surprised interest. The restaurant her friends have taken her to exceeds her expectations; as college students, the most upscale dining they can afford is the local hamburger place. So when her friends, Rikku and Paine, lead her to a quiet, intimate and upscale restaurant overlooking the beautiful evening Zanarkand coast, the young woman Yuna can only gape.

"You like it?"

The excited exclamation breaks the young woman out of her stupor. Yuna's bi-colored eyes travel to her blonde best friend and cousin, Rikku. The normally scantily clad Rikku is even dressed modestly for the surprise occasion; she adorns a form fitting, bright yellow top with jeans and sandals instead of clothes baring as much skin as possible. Something must be important for them to take her here and for Rikku to look appropriate.

"You like it, don't you…?"

Rikku's dejected tone brings Yuna out of her thoughts. The brunette smiles softly.

"I more than like it. This is fantastic; the scenery is beautiful! What's the occasion?"

Rikku glances at their mutual friend, Paine, before answering. "No reason."

"Mhm, sure…" Yuna replies, not believing a word. Rikku rolls her eyes.

"Can't you just enjoy some time out without asking for details? Geez, Yunie…"

Yuna laughs. "I think I'm allowed to ask, when the last place I imagine you going out to eat is a restaurant like this. You're the queen of fast food, Rikku – not exquisite dining."

"Who is to say I don't wanna take a break from fried chicken and pizza? What if I want overly-priced food once in a while, huh?"

Yuna only smiles, not entirely believing her cousin but deciding not to pursue the conversation any longer. She will work it out of her friends when they eat, but for now she can ogle her surprise treat for the night. The interior of the restaurant is more dazzling than she could have imagined; large windows span across the entire restaurant, exposing the dim lights of the boats on the Zanarkand shore. Candlelight illuminates the area, casting a soft glow on the red and mahogany hues of the walls. This place looks more suited for a date rather than a get together, but Yuna isn't going to complain.

"Party for three?"

A young, dark-skinned waiter calls her attention. His eyes linger on Paine, his interest piqued by her other best friend's unusual features. Even Paine took the time to enhance her appearance tonight; her short, silver hair is styled meticulously, and she wears heeled leather boots with a simple black dress clinging to her curves.

Paine takes notice to his sudden curiosity in her, crimson eyes expressing annoyance. "Yes."

The waiter leads them to a table by the windows, providing them a closer look of the sparkling black shore.

"My name is Baralai; I will be serving you three for the night. Would you be interested in the specials tonight?"

"Do you guys have like, fancy pizza?" Rikku blurts out. Paine looks embarrassed, while Yuna hides a giggle behind her hand. The waiter takes the sudden statement in stride, a smile gracing his thin lips.

"No, but we do have fancy cheeseburgers."

"Wow, you guys are better than I thought…" Rikku murmurs, opening her menu and scanning the pictures. "What's the difference between a fancy cheeseburger and a regular cheeseburger, Mr. Baralai?"

"The price," he answers truthfully, his gaze flickering towards Paine before returning to Rikku. This does not go unnoticed by Yuna and Paine, the latter who regards it with irritation. Paine's lack of interest in the opposite sex is always amusing to watch, knowing that the only one who holds the silver-haired woman's interest is the young oblivious blonde at the table. While the situation certainly isn't that comical, especially considering Rikku does not return Paine's affections at all, Paine's reactions to other men's pursuits are, to say the least, interesting.

"I don't think you're supposed to tell us that," Paine comments, burying her nose into the fine print of the laminated menu. Baralai offers her a beautiful, white smile.

"I'd rather you order what's worth your money. Drinks?"

"A beer. The darkest and best you got," Paine replies automatically, earning a smirk from her waiter. Yuna can't control her quickly blossoming smile; Yuna thinks Paine should give the guy a chance – he seems really sweet.

"Lemonade!" Rikku exclaims, green eyes bright with excitement. "Dr. P. always gets depressing stuff; I have to make up for her gloomy outlook on life."

Paine looks ready to kill.

"Leave Paine be," Yuna says, scolding her cousin. "I'd just like some water, please."

Baralai nods before walking off, leaving the party of three be. They are all silent, but one thing sticks out through Yuna's mind; what's with the sudden decision to take her out to dinner? It is obvious both Rikku and Paine planned this, but for what reason? Yuna isn't one to complain, but when all three of them tend to be very mindful about their financial status – well, Rikku may not care so much – the sudden trip is a little suspicious. Did something recently happen to trigger this? Is this trip meant to be a distraction –?

Oh. Yuna gets it now.

"Guys, just because Tidus and I are over doesn't mean you have to go all out for me."

Bingo. Rikku looks shocked, blinking stupidly, while Paine stares at Yuna wondering how she figured it out. Rikku is the first to compose herself, her mouth twisting into a frown.

"Come on Yunie. While you seem happy and all, you haven't been the same since it happened. You've been locked up in your apartment, doing homework and whatever other boring stuff," Rikku says, flipping her long blonde locks over her shoulder. "You've changed, and we just wanted to take you out and forget about that asshole."

"Rikku…" Yuna murmurs, not denying her cousin's words. While she has been doing…okay since the breakup, she hasn't really socialized with friends and has immersed herself in any and all work possible. If she was in Rikku's place, she probably would have done the same thing.

"You need the fresh air. We don't mind treating you," Paine adds. "I know it's difficult; you did date the biggest blitzball star in the city. Seeing his face everywhere isn't exactly helping the healing."

Yuna really hasn't had to opportunity or desire to talk about the sudden end to her three year commitment to the blond superstar of the Zanarkand Abes, but as she sits here with her two caring best friends, suddenly all she wants to do is talk about how upset she is and how disoriented her life has become.

Paine seems to sense Yuna's discomfort. "You can talk about it, you know. We don't mind."

Yuna doesn't hesitate to take heed to Paine's advice. In these few moments, anger and sadness have built in her chest and the recently familiar sensation of tears prick at the corner of her eyes.

"I just don't understand," Yuna says softly, bowing her head. "How could he forget three years? Three years where I moved from Besaid to come here to support and love him, three years getting to know the little family he has left and three years being there when he felt the pressure of always being compared to his deceased dad…how could he suddenly do that? We only broke up about two weeks ago, but it feels like it happened yesterday."

"The stupid bimbo he slept with wasn't even that cute," Rikku comments honestly, hands clenching to form fists. "Yunie, you are like the sexiest woman in Zanarkand right now! And I'm your cousin!"

"Obviously a few drinks with his team and a tumble with a stranger later, he didn't seem to think so," Yuna comments bitterly. "Am I not good looking enough? Did I do something wrong?"

"Oh for Yunalesca's sake, Yunie! You're the most understanding and selfless girl on the whole planet! You put up with his whining and loved him for his mistakes, and do you want me to list how physically perfect you are?"

"I think you might have to," Paine interjects. "It looks like Yuna needs it."

"Well, you're the only one I know with one blue and one green eye! Your hair is always perfect, you can sing, you look great in a bikini – which you refuse to wear; you only wear those one piece things when you can do so much better – and you're a D cup! D cup Yunie!"

Rikku is getting loud, to which the other patrons in the establishment are quickly noticing. The subject matter isn't helping, either.

"Do you know what I am? A! I'm a freakin' A cup! I might as well be a premature boy!"

"I'm glad you have no trouble releasing your personal information so loudly," a male voice cuts in. Rikku looks up to see Baralai handing each girl a glass of water, followed by Rikku and Paine's specific drinks. He looks rather amused, a crooked grin spreading across his face.

Instead of being embarrassed, Rikku continues her rant, deciding to involve their waiter in her plea. "Mr. Baralai, my friend here," Rikku motions her hand to Yuna, "doesn't think she's pretty and good enough because her no good ex-boyfriend dumped her. I'm trying to make her feel good by stating the facts, you know. Okay, let's take it from a man – Mr. Baralai, do you think she's cute?"

"I do not mean to involve myself in your group's personal affairs, but yes your friend is an attractive woman. I wouldn't pursue her myself; we all have our own preferences."

"That is true," Yuna comments, her eyes traveling toward Paine. "It seems like you are attracted to the silent and mature type…"

Paine catches on quickly. "Watch it, Yuna."

"Are you ladies ready?" Baralai asks, pulling out a pen and a notepad. At first, it seems like he is unaware of Yuna's teasing, but the blush on his cheeks proves otherwise. Yuna is sure of it; Baralai would love to get to know Paine. She really shouldn't instigate, but…

After all three give them their orders, Baralai leans down to collect their menus. Rikku and Paine are involved in an argument about one thing or another, so Yuna sees it as the perfect opportunity to give Baralai the upper hand.

"Hey," Yuna whispers to him, Baralai pausing in his actions. He glances at her questioningly.

"I know you're interested in Paine. She's attracted to someone, but the situation looks kind of grim. Maybe you can turn the situation around?"

Baralai looks taken aback, indicating to Yuna that she caught him and he is interested. She smiles reassuringly.

"Just approach her when you get the chance. Tell her I said it's time to move on."

With a resolved glance towards Yuna, Baralai then walks off to attend to other customers. At the moment, it seems like a happy ending is far away from her reach, but it will be over her dead body before Paine remains miserable over her own stagnant love life.

X X X

The dinner passes smoothly, each woman pleased with the experience they aren't likely to have again for a long time. As Yuna exits the restaurant, she spots a lightly blushing Baralai pull Paine aside. Rikku notices the action as well, her eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

"When did they become friends?"

Yuna smiles knowingly. "They aren't. Baralai is probably just asking her out on a date, that's all."

Rikku's mouth drops open, her eyes comically widening in shock. "No way! Men never ask Paine out – she's too scary and intimidating! Wow, and he's not bad looking either…"

"I know," Yuna comments happily, pleased to see Paine take Baralai's pen and start writing something down. For being so against his advances earlier, the odds are turning in his favor. "Paine's a really nice and pretty woman…she just needs a patient person to get past her exterior."

"That's so weird," Rikku remarks, sticking her tongue out in displeasure. "It just doesn't seem like Paine is attracted to anybody. It's kinda weird to imagine."

"We all want someone romantically at some point in our lives, even Paine."

"Well she should hurry up, cause I wanna get back to the apartment! You want a ride, Yunie?"

While the car ride is more convenient, Yuna is in the mood to go for a walk. Besides, her place is only about four blocks away; the travel is very easy. "No thank you, Rikku. I'll be fine."

As Yuna turns to begin her walk home, Rikku's fingers take a hold of Yuna's arm. Yuna eyes her cousin questioningly, surprised to see a serious gleam in Rikku's normally lighthearted green eyes.

"Forget Tidus," Rikku says, pulling Yuna in for a tight hug. The blonde's embrace is comforting and Yuna finds herself quickly falling into Rikku's arms, her own arms wrapping tightly around the blonde's midsection.

"I'm trying," Yuna whispers dejectedly. "Trust me, I'm trying."

"If you need anything, call us anytime okay?" Rikku pulls her cousin back, planting a soft kiss on Yuna's cheek. "You know we don't care if it's at two in the morning. I haven't been through heartbreak, and I'm not sure if Paine has either, but we'll do anything we can to make it easier. He's basically the icon for this city, but it's gonna get better. I think Auron would've torn him a new one by now if he knows why you guys aren't together anymore."

The brunette giggles, completely in agreement. Tidus' stepdad, while rough around the edges, is a very dedicated man at heart. She and Auron have a very good relationship, one that she wouldn't want to end because of Tidus' mistake. She doubts Auron would let it fade as well.

"Well get going; don't want to get home too late. You got class in the mornin', missy!"

"Yes, I should. I've got a couple of chemistry chapters to go over before going to bed tonight," Yuna says, inwardly cringing at the thought of opening that dreadful book. With that comment, Rikku releases her hold and they exchange goodbyes.

While the walk back to her home is not long, it is long enough to leave Yuna to her thoughts. Maybe she should go on a vacation, away from the bustle of downtown Zanarkand and the billboards. Mount Gagazet isn't too far, and the hiking and hot springs would be good for clearing her mind. Or maybe she should go on a trip to Mi'ihen to look at the caverns and ruins…

Oh, who is Yuna fooling? She can't leave for a vacation right now, not when school is so close to its end. She only has about a month left, one that she cannot suddenly disregard because her love life decided to go astray.

Yuna didn't realize how much Tidus impacted her life until that fateful morning two weeks ago when she got his call. Recently, it feels like something is missing in her life – namely, his happy and outgoing presence she is used to experiencing every day. He is a good friend, but apparently not boyfriend material.

If she is glad about anything, it is that he didn't lie to her or procrastinate telling her the truth. The morning after the drunken affair occurred, Tidus called her and told her everything, albeit at the same time trying to take the blame off of himself. He begged and pleaded, saying it wasn't his fault and the alcohol made him do it.

Yuna couldn't take the chance. The relationship ended that morning.

Well, she wouldn't have to worry paying off her apartment for the next couple of months; in an effort to help win her affections back, he gave her money for rent. She wanted to give it back – she really did – but he refused to take it back. Yuna wasn't going to let it go to waste; that money went directly to her landlord. However, that didn't mean her heart went directly into Tidus' hand as well. It's obvious to both of them that it's over, but that doesn't stop the weekly calls from him.

Yuna just wishes the healing process could be shorter and easier upon her heart.

"Maybe I should give Auron a call," she murmurs to herself, wondering about the man who could easily be considered her own father figure. She has yet to talk to the man since the incident…

A sudden crash of a garbage can falling distracts Yuna. Her eyes turn to where the noise came from, seeing nothing from her angle into the alleyway. Must have been a cat…

"Ugh, you stubborn bitch…!"

Yuna's eyes widen. That is definitely not a cat.

"I told you, I don't have any money on me. Leave me alone, I've done nothing to you."

"You smell and look expensive, you lying cunt! Make it easy and I won't hurt you!"

Logic tells Yuna to run away from the potentially dangerous situation and continue on her way home, but her gut feelings are stronger. She can't let a woman get hurt over someone's greed, especially if she was in that situation. Yuna would want help.

Quietly, the brunette creeps up to the alley, poking her head out behind the wall. A lean, blonde woman with short hair has another woman pinned to the brick wall of the alley. A trashcan has fallen by their feet, explaining the noise Yuna heard earlier. Yuna cannot make out the victim's features, but that doesn't matter; all she can do is distract the assailant and hope the other woman gets away. Darn, why did she leave her cell phone at home?

"I said I don't have anything."

"You-!"

"Leave her alone," Yuna commands, stepping out from behind the building. Her appearance startles both women, the attacker quickly jumping off of the other. Her lips are curled into a snarl.

"And who do you think you are?"

"Who do you think you are?" Yuna replies, stepping closer to the scene. She doesn't know where the sudden courage comes from, but she hopes it pays off and intimidates the other woman. She doesn't own a weapon, and the only combat she knows is three years worth of martial arts.

"I'm-"

The blonde assailant halts her words as a hand comes out and strikes her jaw, eliciting a cry before she crumples to the ground. Yuna blinks in confusion until her attention drifts to the once-pinned woman. The young woman's hand is still clenched into a fist from making the blow, and she holds a can of mace in her other hand.

"I will not hesitate to spray this stuff in your eyes. I suggest you leave or you'll be in a lot more pain."

To Yuna's surprise, the blonde who gave so much trouble to both of them chooses the smart choice. With slurred curses, she gets up and backs away from the two, fleeing away towards the other entrance of the alley. For seeming so tough, it seems her only strength was in her words. Yuna can confidently say she would probably run away from a can of mace as well.

"Thank you," the stranger says, distancing herself from the wall. Yuna can get a better view of the young woman now, and in taking in the stranger's features, she understands why the would-be thief thought this woman is wealthy. The white designer purse on her arm shows off at least 100,000 spent in gil and her attire is clean and formal. The stranger wears a vest with ruffles, colored in a beautiful mixture of royal blue and lavender. Her skirt of black lace accentuates her curvy frame and the brown boots the stranger adorns look to be in pristine condition.

The clothes aren't the only thing which gives this woman an air of formality. Her oval face is poised high with confidence, and her natural features demonstrate beauty unmatched by everyday life. Long eyelashes frame dark brown irises, complimented by light pink lips and cheeks healthy with color. Her brown hair falls over her shoulders, reaching her mid-back. Yuna has never paid this much attention to a woman's physique before, but then again, she's never seen a woman this pretty before either.

"Are you hurt?" Yuna asks, stepping towards the woman. As she gets close, a floral but light and pleasant scent invades her senses.

"No. You really saved me there by distracting the attention onto yourself; I wouldn't have had the opportunity to land a hit. I don't know how far that woman would've went asking for money," the stranger states. Yuna smiles in return.

"I heard the commotion and couldn't let someone get hurt. Just be careful, okay?"

Yuna really isn't one to talk about being safe; she doesn't have a weapon or a cell phone to call for help if she landed in such a situation. She is glad her apartment is very close by.

"May I ask for your name? You may have just saved my life, after all."

Yuna doesn't see a reason not to comply. "Yuna and you?"

"Lenne. I was on my way from work and it looks like taking the shortcut through here was a bad idea. This little shuffle probably had me miss my bus."

"How far do you live?" Yuna questions. She doesn't vocalize her curiosity, but why is Lenne taking the public transportation system? She looks like she can afford a car and more.

"Across town. And no, I'm not wealthy at all."

Yuna's eyes widen noticeably. How did Lenne know her train of thought?

"I saved up for my purse, and let's just say I know how to bargain shop. I suppose my taste can get me into trouble, no?" Lenne smiles at Yuna, exposing perfect teeth, and it's hard for Yuna not to return the smile as well. Lenne is very friendly and easy to talk to; Yuna isn't one to normally be shy, but she never had a conversation which flowed as easily as it does now. Yuna doesn't like the idea of this really personable woman traveling across town by herself, although she knows Lenne does it on a regular basis.

"If the rest of the trip home doesn't look appealing, my home isn't far from here."

Geez – Yuna normally doesn't do this with strangers, and she probably shouldn't start. What possessed her to offer her home to a person she hasn't even known for five minutes? Something about Lenne seems easy to trust; the odds of Lenne being deceitful are very minimal, if nonexistent; as Lenne just said, Yuna may have saved her life. The least Yuna can do is – at least for a night – offer some safety to the young woman.

"Would it be odd for me to take up on your offer? I'm kind of hesitant to make the rest of the trip home."

Oh Yunalesca, is Yuna actually going through with this? Rikku would smack her to the Farplane and back if she knew.

"Just follow me."

X X X

"I hope you like cats. Kimahri keeps to himself a lot, but he'll warm up," Yuna informs Lenne, unlocking her door into her apartment. It looks empty now, void of Tidus' blitzball equipment usually stationed in the corner of her living room. He stayed over her place most of the time, and the sudden loss of her ex's belongings reminds her how the past three years of her life are really over.

"I don't mind them at all. If I did, I wouldn't complain; you're gracious enough to offer me a place to stay."

Lenne is very formal with her words, but the compliment hits Yuna the same; she blushes in response. She turns her head away, hoping Lenne doesn't notice the pink stained across her cheeks. Why is she so shy and sensitive all of a sudden?

"Would you like anything to eat? Drink?"

"No thank you. I'm only tired, that's all."

"I'm sure you'd like to change. I'll get you some pajamas to wear, and you can go ahead and take my bed. I can't let a guest sleep on the couch."

Lenne looks surprised. "The pajamas would be appreciated, but I don't mind sleeping on your couch. Are you sure?"

Lenne's refusal to invade her home makes Yuna smile; she is so polite.

"Don't worry about it. If you need a shower, go ahead and take one as well," Yuna offers. Lenne's eyes brighten, causing Yuna to laugh; it doesn't look like Lenne is going to reconsider the opportunity to bathe after her eventful night. "I'm going to be awake for a couple of more hours since I've got to study for a class in the morning. I'll gather your clothes and a towel and leave them in the bathroom. My bedroom is at the end of the hall, with the bathroom right outside. If you need anything, I'll be out here."

"I can't thank you enough for your hospitality," Lenne says.

"It's no trouble at all."

Five minutes later, after gathering a clean set of clothes and leaving Lenne to her privacy in the bathroom, Yuna grabs her schoolbooks and heads out to the living room. She attempts to concentrate on studying but to no avail; the chemical equations are so boring in comparison to the recent events. In under a half an hour, Yuna almost witnessed a robbery, saved a woman from possibly being hurt, took said woman back to her apartment and is now letting the stranger shower. What is she going to do in the morning? Yuna has class at nine and she'll be on campus all day – while Yuna does consider herself a very nice person, she isn't nice enough to leave a stranger alone in her apartment. She isn't really inclined to kick the woman out so early, but Lenne should understand Yuna's concerns.

"Ugh, if Rikku finds out she'll kill me…"

There is no point dwelling over it. Yuna already made her decision; besides, Lenne will be gone before she knows it. The thought makes Yuna frown; she doesn't want to forget Lenne – quite the contrary, Lenne seems like a potential friend.

"I just need to finish this studying. Come on Yuna, concentrate…"

As difficult as it initially seems, Yuna is able to distract herself with work after several minutes. She doesn't even hear the shower turn off or the padding of footsteps to the living room until Lenne's voice cuts the silence of her studying.

"What are you working on?"

Yuna jumps in her seat, jerking her head up to look at Lenne. The woman's hair is wet and messily pulled back into a bun. Combined with the oversized gray shirt and plaid pajama bottoms which have seen better days, Lenne looks like she accommodated to Yuna's apartment quite well.

"Chemistry. I have class around nine tomorrow morning."

"I'll be out before then," Lenne states, taking a seat on the carpeted floor of the living room. "Although I do hope I'll be able to visit again. You're a very sweet person, Yuna."

Yuna bows her head to look at the text. What a great excuse to hide her blush – what is it about Lenne? Her compliments affect Yuna more than they should.

"I'd like that," the bi-colored-eyed brunette replies softly. "You're very nice yourself."

After a few minutes, mainly composed of Yuna feeling awkward and Lenne remaining silent on the floor, Lenne asks a rather personal question: "Do you have a boyfriend?"

While it's only small talk, and Lenne doesn't mean anything from it, the question hits Yuna hard all the same. The newcomer immediately senses Yuna's unease and regrets it – Yuna can practically feel the guilt radiating from Lenne. It isn't her fault; Lenne wouldn't have known any better.

"I'm sorry-"

"It was good while it lasted," Yuna says, closing her textbook. There is no point in working anymore; she can't think properly with Lenne close by and Tidus being the topic of discussion. "He treated me very well and I was very much in love. I suppose – to an extent – he was in love with me too. Things happened that challenged my trust in him, and so I found it better for me if I just moved on."

"It wasn't my place to ask," Lenne says with a somber tone. "I assumed you would; you are very beautiful, after all."

Compliments again? The flattering makes Yuna's chest constrict with excitement. She had an understanding that Tidus found her very physically attractive, but his opinions of her were mostly vocalized in the bedroom. Her and Lenne aren't even intimate and Lenne's words fill Yuna's cheeks with warmth.

Oh gosh, her and Lenne intimate? Her thoughts really have gone haywire; it must be time for bed.

"You're fine; you wouldn't have known. It's okay," Yuna reassures. She smiles at Lenne, trying to convince the other to lessen their guilt. "It doesn't change anything. Facing what happened helps me understand and move on to bigger and better things."

"It always takes time. Your happiness isn't lost, although I can imagine it is difficult." Lenne stands up from her position on the floor to take a seat next to Yuna on the couch. That light scent fills Yuna's nose again, its floral quality quickly becoming relaxing to Yuna's senses.

"Here, let me help you clear your mind after starting this whole mess. It wouldn't do you any good if you can't rest easy." Lenne smiles reassuringly. "If you don't feel well, it helps to think of better moments. When I don't feel happy – if I have a friend with me – we take turns sharing our most embarrassing moments with one another. It turns out to be quite silly, which is exactly what you need. Here, I'll go first."

"When I was thirteen…" she starts off, a bright grin already forming on her face, "I wore this butterfly costume with ridiculously huge heels. I don't know why my mom let me out of the house like that; I was aiming for the sexy look, but you know that's never possible when you're thirteen years old."

This elicits a giggle from Yuna, encouraging Lenne to continue.

"Anyway, this was years ago in my neighborhood here in Zanarkand. There was a contest to see which kid had the best costume, to which I was so sure I'd win. On my way up the stage, in my attempt to strut like the models do on television, I tripped over my feet, fell right on the stairs and my too-tight costume ripped right down my back. Everyone there saw my thirteen-year-old butt."

"Did you have to make new friends?" Yuna jokes. Lenne laughs.

"No, but they wouldn't let me live it down. The boy I had a crush on at the time didn't want anything to do with me, which encouraged me to never wear those shoes again. At the time it was so traumatizing, but now I just look back on it and laugh at myself."

"One time, I went to a party with my cousin Rikku," Yuna begins her own story, resisting the urge to burst out laughing at the memory already. "She drank a little bit too much and started flirting with me. She had no idea who I was; I ended up getting a lap dance from my plastered cousin. By the time she was finished, she was topless and she passed out right on me. I felt so awkward and embarrassed not only for myself, but for her too. And you know, the next morning I told her about what happened and she took it completely in stride. Rikku does not feel embarrassment, no matter what she does."

The story must be more funny than she thought; Lenne is borderline cackling next to her, her head flown back and her body shaking. Her newfound friend's ridiculous reaction makes Yuna start laughing herself, until they both are obnoxiously laughing, desperately gasping for breath.

The stories continue back and forth – Lenne tells of wetting the bed at a sleepover and slipping on stage for a school-hosted play, while Yuna reveals more dramatic moments – mostly involving Rikku, of course. By the time they finish, thoughts of Tidus are far from Yuna's mind and it's already one in the morning. Yuna doesn't realize how late it is until she notices Lenne yawning as the brunette stretches her stiff muscles.

"We should both head to bed," Yuna comments, softly smiling as Lenne tiredly rubs her eyes. "It's late."

"I didn't even notice. We need to do this again."

"You're right," Yuna responds happily. "Come over whenever you'd like. I just need a heads-up."

Lenne nods in agreement. "Are you sure about the bed? We can share."

The proposal has Yuna's cheeks flaring again. Sharing the bed? Isn't that a little personal? She could use some of Rikku's bold personality right now; Yuna is probably the only girl in the world who is reluctant about sharing a bed. Nothing is going to happen – what is Yuna so shy about?

With steel resolve, Yuna nods to agree with Lenne. There's nothing for her to be scared or timid about.

Finally, maybe she can make a true friend, and not just an acquaintance. Yuna is familiar with many people, but the only true friends she has in Zanarkand are Rikku and Paine. She can call her Besaid friends whenever she wants, but Lulu and Wakka never have the time – especially with a baby on the way. Maybe Lenne will become something like Rikku and Paine…

Just maybe.

X X X

"…and you know what? He says 'sorry babe, can't make it out of Bikanel today'. What kind of man is he? That's the second time he's ditched a date! Ooh…sometimes I could kill Gippal!"

"Rikku, you drive me to drink," Paine comments with a flat monotone. Yuna can't help chuckling at Paine's words, even when Rikku starts flipping out and continues to rant about 'Gippal' – this man who is not really Rikku's boyfriend, but might as well be because of her possessive nature over him. Yuna met him once and all he did was make her uncomfortable; he didn't even bother to hide his interest in Yuna, or more appropriately Yuna's chest. Gippal is a perfect example of a gorgeous man with an inflated ego to match.

"Why are you continuing to pursue him?" Yuna asks, opening the unopened pizza box on the floor. The three are currently relaxing in Yuna's apartment on a Saturday night, sitting on the living room floor surrounded by water bottles, board games and three pizza boxes.

"Because he knows how to use that thing between his legs so good!"

"Ugh," Paine remarks, a scowl on her face. "You don't mind being his sex toy, do you?"

"Hey, as long as I'm the only sex toy, I'm completely fine with it. He's so hot! Speaking of hot…Yunie, you got a hot man yet? We all know Paine is getting it in with Baralai real good…they're still talking, and that was like a month ago!"

Paine looks exasperated; Rikku's comments are taking their toll on Paine's patience. She looks at Rikku, highly irritated.

"We've kissed and do oral. Now that you know the truth, please shut up about my sex life."

"Are you for real?" Rikku exclaims, jumping from her position on the floor. Her chocobo slippers squeak due to the action; she must have bought them at the kids store. Sometimes it's hard to believe Rikku is a twenty-year-old adult.

"Yes. Now shut up."

The blonde sticks her tongue out at the silver-haired woman. "Since Dr. P. is being a party-pooper, are you getting satisfied Yunie?"

Yuna doesn't want to answer the question; if she tells the truth that implies she hasn't completely moved on – at least in her cousin's eyes. She hasn't even kissed anyone since Tidus, and that breakup was a month ago. Yuna has done a lot better, since she doesn't even think about the blond star anymore.

That isn't to say she doesn't hold interest in anyone. Quite the contrary, someone in particular has caught her attention, and Yuna isn't sure if she should embrace the feelings for this person or completely freak out and attempt to forget about it.

She really should feel comfortable telling Rikku and Paine, but…

How does she go about explaining that she wants to date a girl? A girl named Lenne who neither of her friends know, a girl named Lenne who Yuna has kept hidden from them for a month! Paine was practically in this situation a month ago, but the only reason Yuna knew about Paine's feelings was because of her insight. Although Paine was aware Yuna knew about her feelings, Paine wouldn't have confessed Rikku, and to her knowledge she still hasn't. Now look at Paine – she's moved on, or at least seemingly so. So far, Yuna is choosing to do the same and keep everything hidden.

But her feelings are quickly getting out of control; the idea of Lenne being with anyone else ignites a jealous flame in her chest. Yuna's unspoken feelings are truly driving her up the wall, making it hard to be around Lenne. Ever since they met, the two see each other and bond two or three times a week; now Yuna tries her best to seem busy so she doesn't have to see Lenne and deal with the tension of not revealing her feelings. She doesn't even know when it started; all Yuna knows is how much she cares for the other brunette.

Yuna recognizes that she thinks Lenne is the most beautiful person she has ever met, that she has the most caring and understanding personality in the world, that she arouses Yuna beyond comprehension and that Yuna doesn't care she is attracted to a female. She never was interested in females before, but something about Lenne drives her crazy.

Now explaining to someone else that she likes a girl…that's a little bit more hard to do.

"You like them that bad? You sure are being quiet about it," Rikku teases, a devilish grin creeping onto her face. "So who is it? That forbidden, huh?"

Yuna supposes she can tell them half the truth. "Yeah, that forbidden."

"Have you guys done anything super kinky? Does he blow Tidus out of the water?"

"We haven't even kissed," Yuna admits, blushing profusely. She's not about to correct Rikku that the 'he' is actually a 'she'.

Rikku's gasp of shock makes Yuna feel miserable. It's not that Yuna doesn't want to kiss them…in fact, she would give anything to kiss the living daylights out of them. Geez, when did Yuna become so crazy for sexual intimacy?

"He doesn't know you like him, do you?" Paine asks, her tone revealing she already knows the answer. Yuna shrugs.

"I don't know how they'd react. I'm pretty sure they don't return my feelings."

"You never know until you ask," Rikku says. "Though I find it really hard to believe, Yunie. I think I'm going to bug you until you tell them."

"I don't think that will be needed," Yuna replies. "It's getting hard to hide my feelings. Even if I don't want to, I'm going to be forced to one of these days."

"Wow," Paine murmurs, opening a water bottle. "I don't think you were this hung up during the time you and Tidus got together. However, I am glad to hear you have moved on from him. I wasn't going to sit back and watch you suffer because of his mistake."

Paine usually doesn't say much, so to hear her opinion means a lot to Yuna. It wouldn't be so bad telling Paine of her attraction to Lenne because she knows that Paine will understand. Truthfully, Rikku would understand as well, although she wouldn't take it as easily as Paine would. Nevertheless, despite knowing her friends will still accept her for her attraction, Yuna is still hesitant to be open about her emotions.

Rikku opens her mouth to express her opinion, but she is cut off by an unexpected thumping on Yuna's door. All three girls look confused; Yuna didn't invite anyone else over.

"Hold on," Yuna says to her friends, walking to the door. After unlocking the door, she pulls it open, only to be thrown into surprise when Lenne greets her sight. Her friend's face looking worse for the wear, her eyes solemn and full lips pressed into a frown. Yuna has to double-take; never in their relationship has she seen Lenne so sullen. Yuna immediately becomes concerned, temporarily forgetting that her friends know nothing of Lenne.

"Lenne?"

"I'm sorry for no notice, but I rushed over here. I need to talk."

Dread slowly crawls into Yuna's chest, but she chooses to ignore it. Lenne wouldn't end their friendship, would she? Yuna's emotions for the brunette are so haywire that it's hard to decide which emotions are rational and which are not.

"Come in…"

The brunette steps into the living room, the light providing a better view of her month-long friend. Upon seeing her friend in clearer conditions, Yuna is taken for a loop; she wishes she could hold Lenne in her arms and kiss the sadness away, relishing in hugging Lenne tight. Even when she isn't happy, Lenne still looks magnificent; she wears tight jeans showing off her shapely legs, the dark fabric complimented by an off-the-shoulder burgundy top. She wears beige platforms and gold jewelry, bracelets and hoop earrings making her glow. Combined with a light rose eye makeup and lip color, Lenne looks like a model out of a magazine. Yuna feels underdressed in her ripped, denim shorts and tight black top.

It looks like she could've been on a date. It makes Yuna bitter.

"Yunie? Who's that?"

Yuna turns to Rikku, the blonde's head cocked to the side in confusion and curiosity. Paine looks at Lenne, trying to decide if she likes the guest or not.

"My friend Lenne. Lenne, that is my cousin Rikku and my friend Paine."

Lenne bows her head in respect. "Nice to meet you all."

"You're really polite. You don't have to bow and stuff…" Rikku comments, her eyes analyzing the guest's figure up and down. "Wow, you're pretty. I wonder why Yunie hasn't mentioned you before…guess she wanted to hog you all to herself, huh?"

Lenne chuckles lightly, taking a seat on the couch nearby. Yuna feels very embarrassed as Lenne makes her way through the trash on the ground; she wishes she could've anticipated the surprise visit. She would rather Lenne not see the mess she is capable of making with friends.

"Can you guys occupy yourselves for a moment? Lenne and I need to talk."

Yuna joins her friend on the couch, sitting close to the distressed brunette. It takes her by shock when Lenne lays her hand over Yuna's own, her soft fingers lightly clutching Yuna's palm. Paine and Rikku do not miss this affectionate gesture; both girls glance at one another, attempting to decipher something Yuna herself isn't even sure she understands.

"Yeah, sure."

Paine grabs for Rikku's hand, dragging the blonde behind her to Yuna's bedroom. When the two disappear, it is like a dam immediately breaks; tears begin to fall from Lenne's eyes, one quickly coming after the other. Yuna brings herself closer to the crying brunette and places her hand on her arm, rubbing the skin with tenderness and concern.

"I can't do this."

Yuna swallows the lump in her throat. "This?"

"I can't hold in everything anymore. I need you to hear me out, Yuna."

Lenne takes in a deep sigh before continuing. "I never mentioned him to you before, but I have a boyfriend. I didn't want to bring him up, truthfully because I am ashamed. Five years…I'm ashamed of the man I've been dating for five years. To think I wanted to get engaged…"

"Lenne…you're not making sense," Yuna murmurs, her hand massaging Lenne's too tense shoulder. "I don't understand why you wouldn't want to mention him. Did he do something?"

"Shuyin is always doing something, Yuna," Lenne moans as her tears come down faster. "He's become a criminal! At first, it was stealing; he isn't very well off, so I understood how desperate he has become. However, I told him I did not approve of the thievery and it would get him in trouble. He stopped, or at least he told me he did; I recently went into his closet for something…do you know how many things I have found? I approached him about it, and he…he exploded Yuna."

At this point, Lenne is sobbing and has difficulty getting her words out. Yuna wishes she could be more of a help, but all she can do is comfort Lenne and encourage her to talk.

"He said he was tired of his shitty life and his trouble with the police. He told me he killed someone…he told me he would continue to do it as long as people gave him trouble. Then he showed me the drugs and I didn't know what to do…"

"When did this happen?" Yuna whispers softly, inwardly horrified at the sudden changes in Lenne's life.

"Before I came here. After he showed me the bag of powder, I had to leave. The only place I could go to is your house, Yuna. I just…I can't deal with it."

"Lenne, it's dangerous. I'm sure you recognize that it's dangerous, and it's a situation you do not want to be involved in. I know you love him-"

"I don't."

Yuna's eyebrows furrow. "You don't what?"

Lenne's eyes harden, staring into Yuna's blue and green orbs. "I don't love Shuyin. Not anymore…and I feel like I'm betraying him, because I know he still loves me."

"You can't help it-"

"And I feel like I'm betraying him because I want someone else."

This leaves Yuna speechless. She doesn't know what she should express; should she ask who she wants? Yuna is selfish in solely desiring Lenne's attention, knowing that Lenne could be interested in anyone Yuna hasn't met before. Whatever decision Lenne is making, Yuna will only protest if it puts Lenne into further danger. If the brunette wants someone else, who is Yuna to stop her?

Despite her constricting chest, Yuna manages to speak. "If you don't love him anymore, there is nothing left of the relationship. He wouldn't hurt you, would he?"

"No." Lenne shakes her head surely. "But I'm still afraid of him. His temper frightens me, and if I told him I didn't want him anymore…I'm scared of what he would do to harm himself. He'd go on a rampage Yuna; he's already murdered someone who knows how long ago, and I don't want to risk another's life. And if he manages to find out who I'm interested in…he wouldn't hurt me, but he wouldn't hesitate to hurt them…"

"He shouldn't haunt you. If you need anything, please let me know," Yuna states, holding Lenne's hand against her chest.

"You're a wonderful friend."

Yuna smiles reassuringly, faking the pain in her heart. "You too. Do you need to stay here for the night?"

"Would you be comfortable if I did?" Lenne asks, wiping the tears from her eyes, her sobs now controllable. The question puzzles Yuna; Lenne has stayed over her apartment many of times. What's with the sudden need for permission?

"I've never minded before. Why would I mind now? Does he know me?"

"Oh no, I've never mentioned you around him." Lenne takes in a deep breath. "If I did, then he would know the person I left him for."

…Did Yuna hear Lenne correctly? Did Lenne just insinuate who she's attracted to, and did she just admit that person was Yuna?

Is she dreaming?

"Yuna?"

"I'm sorry, I must have heard you incorrectly," Yuna apologizes, unknowingly clutching Lenne's hand tighter against her chest. Does Yuna want Lenne so much that she is having hallucinations, fighting so hard to believe what she wants to hear? "I swear you just said you left him for me."

"That's exactly what I said. Are you uncomfortable with that?"

Oh, if Yunalesca could throw anything at her, Yuna definitely wouldn't have expected this. She doesn't know what to say or what to feel. Anything that would come out of her mouth would be unintelligible, possibly borderline stupid. And her heart…it's thumping madly, relief swallowing her chest whole and blossoming a pleasant emotion.

Since Yuna has no idea what to say, she does what her heart has commanded her to do for weeks now – Yuna looks deeply into Lenne's eyes, reassuring herself that the situation is real. When Lenne blinks, those long eyelashes whispering against her cheeks, Yuna cuts whatever strand of sanity she has left and presses her lips against the other brunette's.

The moment Yuna feels Lenne's lips underneath her own, all of the worry is lifted off of her shoulders. Lenne is quick to respond to Yuna's advances, sliding her arms around Yuna's neck and pulling her closer. Yuna moans appreciatively, climbing atop her new lover to settle on her thighs. She closes her eyes and presses her lips down harder, her tongue sneaking to lick for Lenne's permission. When the brunette returns to gesture, Yuna's hands tighten around Lenne's shoulders and her mouth widens. Tongues slide against one another, noses bumping and each girl harshly breathing – it may not be the most elegant kiss, but Yuna couldn't ask for anything more. This is perfect.

As Yuna pulls away, eyes half lidded in desire, she watches as Lenne's own dark orbs open. Her brown gaze reveals reciprocated lust, encouraged by a lick of her lips.

"I suppose you're not disgusted by my feelings…"

"Never," Yuna moans out, diving in for another kiss. This one is more passionate; Yuna does not know what to do with her hands as she tongues everything Lenne has to offer. Her hands slide down her brunette's arms, thumbs rubbing gently across the fabric of Lenne's top. Yuna finally finds comfort in resting her hands on Lenne's chest, fingers kneading the supple flesh of her new lover's breasts. The touch has an immediate effect; Lenne breaks the kiss to release a gasp of pleasure, her chest pushing outwards for more of Yuna's touch.

Yuna can't even think; she just follows what she feels is right. Her hands move in circular motions, watching Lenne's breasts mold against her fingers. She can feel Lenne's sensual gaze on her, begging Yuna to continue her touch.

"How long have you wanted this?" Lenne breathily groans, clutching the couch beneath her. Yuna wets her lips.

"A few weeks now…I'm glad you mastered up the courage to tell me your feelings. It would have been inevitable for me to confess to you, but this works out fine…"

"I thought you were beautiful the moment we met," Lenne admits, quickly swallowing her words to release a moan of pleasure. Yuna's hands have made their way underneath the top, her lips now finding a newfound destination on Lenne's neck.

"I can't believe how fast I lose control when it comes to you…"

"Yuna…" Lenne moans again and those hands find their way underneath her bra, fingers now pinching her nipples with a gentleness that sends shivers up her spine. "I'm not looking for a one-time-only…"

"I couldn't do that," Yuna replies, removing her lips from her lover's neck. She looks into Lenne's eyes, amazed by the pleasure and affection she finds there. "I care for you, and I can't share the person I am interested in."

"Enough," Lenne commands. She buries her fingers in Yuna's soft hair and harshly pulls her down for another kiss, spreading her legs to comfortably accommodate Yuna in her lap. "Don't talk anymore."

This next kiss is rougher, the desperation for one another reaching its peak. Their teeth clash and their bodies are restless; both eagerly roll their hips, trying to find the friction they crave. Yuna finds it on her lover's navel, groaning in pleasure as she feels the pressure rub against her, while Lenne finds it on Yuna's leg.

As Yuna's tongue goes to lick at Lenne's lips, they both freeze as a scream echoes throughout the room. Fear clutches Yuna's chest, but it's too late.

Rikku is standing at the entrance of the room, jaw dropped and form frozen. Paine is right behind her, eyes wide with her arms loosely folded across her chest.

"What the FUCK YUNIE?"