~~ Well, it was kinda discouraging to see I didn't get any reviews yet… T_T but I do plan on continuing, because I did notice that in my stats… that 30 people read it! So for those 30 people… Please just take the time to write a review. I would really appreciate it! ~~

The first sunlight brightened up the darkness of the moonless night. Rikku yawned, and stretched her sore limbs. She cringed lightly as her joints popped back into place. Six months had passed since the fateful day that Tidus and been able to rejoin Spira and the Fayth had finally been able to stop dreaming for good. Rikku sighed at the memory, and the feelings she had felt. While it was true that in time the feelings had subsided, every once and awhile they seemed to intensify. Those were the days that she left the village, and couldn't be found for a day or two. Whenever she had returned, she had made sure that all the wounds she had received from various fiends were healed, and she looked perfectly okay. At first Yuna had over reacted and had scolded her for being so reckless. However, as the time went by, she finally just accepted it.

Today Rikku wished she was anyone but herself… but not because of her feelings for her Cousin's Boyfriend, but rather because of what the date was. Today was her 18th birthday. Rikku cringed, as she hopped off of her bed, and ripped down the calendar hanging on the wall of her hut and ignited it using a fire gem.

"There. That settles that." Rikku murmured.

She gingerly opened the door, and walked out into the spacious hut. She shared this hut with Paine and Yuna. Yuna and Tidus decided that they wouldn't live together until they were married, so that left the infamous Gullwings living together. Paine had decided to stay, only because she was tired of chasing down her past and decided to work on her future. Rikku struggled staying in one place for too long however, as she had never been in the same place for more than a couple months, not since the death of her Mom. Rikku tip toed down the hallway, careful not to wake Paine or Yuna. It was only about four in the morning, and she knew that no one would be awake yet, only her.

Her socked feet met the hard wood floor of the kitchen, as she grabbed some ground up coffee beans, and grabbed a metal pot. Rikku opened the wooden front door, and walked out into the campsite. She smiled in relief, knowing that she had never told anyone when her birthday was, so she never had to worry about having to celebrate. She stopped for a moment, realizing that wasn't entirely true.

"I did tell…Him." Rikku thought for a fleeting moment.

That Him was known as Gippal.

'He knew it anyways….after all we, we had been friends since birth… and he was… much more than that.' Rikku thought, blushing slightly.

Walking to the small campfire set up behind the hut, she ignited some branches, and added some water from a nearby creek to boil, adding some of the grounds. She smiled as the delightful smell of coffee met her eager nose. She had never been a morning person, but nights of insomnia had left her with little choice. She pulled out her favorite mug, and poured the thick black coffee. She wrapped her delicate fingers around the steaming mug, and drank lightly.

'Thank God for Coffee.' Rikku thought.

She sat there in silence, watching the fire smoother out to nothing but red hot dancing embers. She poured out the left over coffee and water, walking away as it hissed slowly dying. By now, the sunlight was much more prominent, and she knew that Paine and Yuna along with the whole village would be waking up soon.

She re-entered the hut, catching her reflection in a mirror. She grimaced, seeing the dark circles underneath her bloodshot eyes. Her hair was a matted mess as some of her braids had come undone in the night, and her left over mascara and eye liner had run down her face, looking like black tears.

"God… I look like death." Rikku chuckled lightly, smiling.

"Now that's not a very nice thing to say to yourself." A voice traveled down the stairs.

Rikku turned around to see Yuna walking down the stairs. Unlike Rikku, she looked wonderful.

'Some people just get all the luck...' Rikku thought.

"How long have you been awake Rikku?" Yuna asked.

"Oh… I just got up a couple minutes ago actually." Rikku lied through her teeth.

"Is that so? Cause I could have sworn I saw a girl who looked remarkably like you outside our hut about two hours ago making some coffee." Yuna responded rather sarcastically.

"Oh. Well yeah. I got up for some coffee… but went back to bed." Rikku quickly covered up her lie.

"Sometimes coffee just isn't enough, huh?" Yuna laughed lightly, dropping the subject.

"Haha… Yeah." Rikku laughed.

With that Paine walked down the stairs too. She ignored the good mornings and went straight for the coffee.

"Well aren't you a pocketful of sunshine today aren't you?" Rikku asked teasingly.

"I could have slept later… but some idiot set something aflame earlier this morning and the smell woke me up." Paine said rather sharply, her red eyes locking into Rikku.

"Well… sorry about that." Rikku chuckled nervously.

"You're gonna be sorry." Paine mumbled as she sat down to drink her coffee.

"Anyways… Rikku! Paine and I have to head over to the other side of the Island today to look for something for Lulu. It's a special herb. Wanna tag along?" Yuna asked, as she began to fry up some eggs.

"Ummm… actually, I needed to do something today for Brother. Maybe next time." Rikku responded.

"What does he need?" Yuna asked, curiosity shining in her bicolored eyes.

"Some stuff for our Mixes. Besaid has some stuff I should look for. I'm gonna get washed up, and then go actually." Rikku smiled.

"Be safe." Yuna warned.

"Oh don't worry. I'll bring some potions and such with me. Besaid doesn't have that strong of fiends… not like the Omega Ruins or anything. I'll be able to handle myself." Rikku smiled, as she walked up the steps.

"She lit something on fire?" Yuna asked Paine the moment she heard the water running for the shower.

"Yes. I wonder what is was." Paine replied.

"Let's go check!" Yuna said excited.

"You can't just go into her room. That's a total violation of her privacy." Paine retorted.

"Look… you know sometimes she's really weird. I stopped asking, but she has me worried." Yuna responded.

"You know Rikku though… she won't say anything until she's ready so let it be." Paine answered back.

"Fine," Yuna sighed, " Since we're both ready, let's head out before it gets too warm outside." Yuna said, strapping her twin revolvers onto her hips.

"Let's do it." Paine smiled slightly, sheathing her blade across her back.

Rikku stepped out of the shower, and quickly began to dry off. Her fingers lingered on a scar… a deep scar, a scar that not even an X potion could have healed, located on her wrist.


-Flashback-

The feeling of sadness began to drown the young fifteen year old Al Bhed heiress. It had been precisely five years since her mother's death. And it was her fault. She had seen the most beautiful outfit in the local store in Kilika, and had to have it. It was Al Bhed battle gear, that was colored with deep burgundy and orange. It was perfect. The shorts were slightly longer than she was accustomed too, but the shirt was a half shirt, with a high collar, and it came with night time goggles. Since Rikku was about to begin going on treasure searches for lost Machina with her family, she thought it was due time for her first battle outfit.

The day that she was supposed to go with her Mom to Kilika, her Mother had felt like it was an odd day, and that they should stay in the Desert. Heart broken, Rikku had yelled at her Mom that she hated her and that she had broken her word before running to her room, and slamming the door shut. Rikku cried herself to fatigue, before she had fallen back asleep.

When Rikku had awoken later that night, she found that her Mother was not home. She walked through the empty house, calling for her father and her brother. No one responded. She hated waking up alone, so she rushed out of the house. As she exited she ran right into her best friend, who was three years older than her, Gippal. He came from one of the most respected families of the Al Bhed, and was a genius when it came to weaponry for the Machina. No one could believe the raw talent he had. Despite his talent, he longed to be a Crusader, to help fight Sin. However, he knew that this was an impossible dream due to his lineage as an Al Bhed.

As Rikku had ran into him, she looked at his face. It was not as happy as it always had been. In fact, he held nothing but remorse.

"Gippal, what's wrong? You look like you just ate some Shoopuf poo!" Rikku giggled.

"Rikku… I… There's been a horrible accident." Gippal responded.

"Accident?" Rikku asked, her playfulness gone.

"One of our boats was attacked by Sin… and we lost all of our crew members and Al Bhed on the ship." Gippal explained, tears filling up his one visible eye.

"Is that were Daddy is?" Rikku asked, knowing as the leader of the Al Bhed, he would be the one dealing with the chaos.

"Well… Rikku…." Gippal began to cry.

"Gippal!" Rikku responded, immediately embracing the older boy.

"It was coming home from Kilika… Rikku…. Your Mom… She…" Gippal couldn't finish the sentence, as Rikku gasped.

"… No…" Rikku forced out through trembling lips.

"Rikku…" Gippal whispered, seeing the realization hit Rikku like a ton of bricks.

"NO!" Rikku screamed, as she ran away.

"Rikku! Come back!" Gippal shouted, but his voice seemed miles away to the young girl, who sobbed for her lost mother.

Rikku now at age fifteen could still remember that day as clearly as yesterday. As the years went by, the a pain had only intensified. Her father, Cid did not blame Rikku for the incident, and did his best to try and reassure Rikku. Through many sleepless nights and even more tears… Rikku was finally able to at least leave the house and interact. Gippal and her had grown from best friends, to that of lovers. She craved his touch, the way he made her forget all about her past. However, tonight it was too much. Rikku took the blade of her weapon and pressed the cutting edge to the inside of her wrist. She winced at the pain of her skin being torn open, but didn't stop.

She watched the her red life supply as it began to pour down her extended arm, and drip onto her bedspread. She dug deeper, feeling white hot pain shoot through her, but still did not stop. She widened the cut, forcing her arm to stop trembling. She gasped as she felt the sudden release, as the main vain was sliced in half.

She felt herself shift in and out of consciousness, her vision becoming more and more blurry. She faintly heard the door of her room being kicked open, and the feeling of him shaking her slightly. His angel light surrounded him, as he got a tourniquet on, and applied potions slowly as to not rush Rikku's body into healing too quickly, and then becoming unresponsive.

"Rikku… Please… Stay with me…" Rikku heard faintly, as she closed her emerald eyes.

She awoke the next day, grimacing in the dull pain in her wrist. She looked down, and saw that she had been cleaned up, and changed into fresh clothes. Her bedspread had also been changed, and her wrist was bandaged up. Next to her, Gippal lay beside her in a gentle slumber, tear stains running down his face. Rikku slowly entangled herself from his hold, and packed her needed clothes. She packed everything, lastly putting on the necklace that Gippal had given her. It was a silver locket, that could only be opened with a special code in Al Bhed. When you opened the locket, a transparent image of herself and Gippal emerged, like a sphere of them smiling. Rikku could not bear to not have it. She slid it around her neck, and left a hand written note for Gippal for when he awoke.

Quickly, she ran out of the house. She ran to the docks and caught the last ride to the Moonflow. She had heard rumors of her Cousin traveling to become a Summoner. She would go and offer her assistance to her. The boat left the dock, and Rikku watched as she left the only place she had ever known. A sense of fear settled deep into her stomach, but she could not wait any longer. She couldn't see Gippal in pain because of her weakness anymore. As for the rest of her family… she knew that she would be missed but the faint words of her mother echoed in her heart.

' Live each day like you're dying.'

Well Rikku was tired of being in the same place. She had to get out, to see the world. The last thing she wanted was to look back, and think of all she could have done.


- End Flashback—

Rikku's eyes opened back to reality. It had been three years since she had left home. She had run into Gippal with Yuna and Paine on their journey, but had quickly left. She could see how he had looked at her, when she had walked in. She couldn't bear to see him hurt though, and they quickly left to the next town much to Rikku's relief.

Rikku slid the familiar necklace on her, and walked to her room. She got dressed in her usual outfit, and re-braided her long blond hair. Whenever she looked in the mirror, she saw her mother staring back at her. She was a mirror image to her. She smiled though, because she was thankful. Her Mother truly had been a beautiful woman.

Rikku looked out the window, and saw that her day dreaming had wasted a good part of the day. Sighing, she knew that it was too warm outside to go and get the herbs and ingredients, so instead she pulled out her music sphere. She casually flipped through the songs, until one song caught her attention. She turned it on, and put the volume on as loud as it could , and began to sing.

"Whew. It's sure hot out here, I'm glad we got all those herbs early!" Yuna exclaimed as she brushed off a couple drops of sweat off of the back of her neck.

"I agree." Paine chuckled, as they opened the door.

They both stopped as they heard the sound of music being played.

"Is that…rock?" Yuna asked.

"Rikku listens to… rock?" Paine asked, clearly intrigued.

They walked up the stairs, and heard the sweet soprano voice of Rikku singing along.

"She can sing?" Yuna asked, taken back.

"Well she is your cousin. I guess it makes sense." Paine shrugged, referring to Yuna's performances in Luca and in the Thunder Plains.

"My hands shake cause today…I know you're going to break my heart and…My life without you in it…Is a life not worth living….I'll be strong but i wish i was someone else, Anyone but me tonight…" They heard as they opened the door.

Rikku was sitting on the windowpane, her legs hanging over the edge. Yuna and Paine remained silent as they listened to the rest of the lyrics.


All alone

Tonight

And I wish I was strong enough to breathe

Without you

In my life

I wish I was anyone but me.

So I'll start to pretend I'm okay

But you should know by now that

My life is smoke and mirrors,

The one thing is crystal clear

That I'm the one wishing i was someone else,

Anyone but me tonight

Here I stand

All alone

Tonight

And I wish I was strong enough to breathe

Without you

In my life

I wish i was anyone but me.

Inside i start to fall apart.

And I'll pretend I'm holding on

So I guess I'll bleed in silence

I guess I'll bleed in silence.


Rikku finished singing along as soon as the song ended. She stood up, and swung her legs back over.

"Ah!" Rikku screamed in surprise.

"Geez, it's just us." Paine chuckled.

"I didn't hear you come in…" Rikku sighed, trying to get her heart to stop pounding.

"That was a really pretty song. Who sings it?" Yuna asked, smiling as she sat down on Rikku's bed.

"It's by a band called Madina Lake… A… friend of mine is the lead singer." Rikku said, struggling with the last part of her sentence.

"A friend huh?" Yuna smiled.

"Who's the guy?" Paine asked, sitting down next to Yuna.

"Guy? Guy!... There's no guy… I mean the lead singer is a guy… but me? No… I don't have a guy!" Rikku said completely flustered.

"Oh sure you don't… that's why you can't talk and you're blushing!" Yuna chuckled.

"Spill it." Paine said.

"I…," Rikku started, before realizing that she had forgotten to put the sleeves on, the sleeves that covered up her scar. She quickly put her wrist behind her back, covering it with her other hand.

"Rikku?" Yuna asked again.

"His name… is Gippal." Rikku forced out.

"Oh, that Lady's man we met in Djose?" Paine asked.

"I would never have guessed that you had feelings for him, the way you avoided talking to him and everything." Yuna chuckled.

"I… It's a long story. I don't have feelings anymore..." Rikku sighed.

"Well come on. I had to share my past with you two. Come to think of it… you don't talk much about yours." Paine responded, with a raise of her eyebrows.

"I just believe… that the past… it's like regrets. It's just better off unspoken." Rikku said as she shook her head.

Yuna was about to respond, until they heard a light knock on their front door.

"I'll get it." Rikku said, running down the stairs.

"Wait! Come back here!" Yuna yelled, as her and Paine rushed after her.

Rikku reached the door and flung it open, and gasped as her heart fluttered to her throat.

"Rikku…. Happy Birthday." The figure said, as he stood in the doorway with a wrapped box in his hands.

Yuna and Paine reached the door, seeing Rikku standing there in shock.

"Gippal…."

~~ There we go! The first official chapter! I hope you all enjoyed it. So please Read and REVIEW~~

+Awoken Dreamer+