This is my first fic, so any ideas would be welcome. This story takes place after the events of Final Fantasy X, and all is not well with Lulu. If the story gets a response at all, I will add subsequent chapters.

Disclaimer: Final Fantasy and the characters contained herein belong to Square. I merely bask in their reflected glory.



Lulu sighed and turned over in her bed, pulling up her covers as she did so. Besaid was a tropical island, true, but as the winter came, the night air could have an unpleasant bite to it that often surprised those who weren't expecting it. It was not the night wind, however, that was keeping her awake tonight.

It was two o'clock, and she was no closer to sleep than she had been when she went to bed three hours ago. It had now been two months since she and the others had liberated Spira from Sin, and her insomnia was growing worse and worse. At least during the pilgrimage, in spite, or perhaps because of, all the privations she had to endure, she had always fallen asleep the second her head hit the pillow. The price of peace, I suppose, she thought wryly, turning over again.

The bad thing about insomnia is that it gives one too much time to think, she mused. Finally admitting defeat to the hope of getting any sleep, she put her arms underneath her head and gave herself over to her thoughts. So many lost…her mind flashed to images from her childhood when Sin attacked Besaid, killing her parents and so many other loved ones, decimating the village…images of Chappu, waving from his boat, his blond hair lighting up like gold framed against the setting sun, the last time she'd ever see him…images of the attack at Killika where she'd seen people picked up by the fury of Sin's storm, their mangled bodies coming to rest like grotesque marionettes, their limbs broken and faces smashed beyond recognition…

Tears streamed down her cheeks, unbidden. Yet she had survived, in body at least, to the time of Eternal Calm. She knew better than to attribute her fortune to anything other than luck, and the ability to have been in the right place at the right time. She didn't deserve to live any more than they deserved to die.

While on the pilgrimage her emotions had been kept in check. But now she felt nothing more than a wrenching emptiness. Everything near and dear to her had been torn away, violently and senselessly, taking her heart along with them. Now there was nothing left of her but a shell of her former self, and emptiness. She buried her head in the pillow and gave herself up the sobs that welled from deep within her. She had lost too much to pretend otherwise here, in her hut, alone in the dark. There would be time enough in the morning for her to put on her wise and uncaring Ice Queen mantle once more.

***

Wakka studied the woman coming toward him with concern. There were dark circles under her eyes that no amount of make-up could hide, and her face looked drawn and worn, tight lines appearing around her mouth that he had never noticed before. And, unless it was imagination, she had lost weight, too—she had always been on the thin side, but now she looked positively gaunt. Her eyes looked glossy and unfocused, hollow, as if she was not looking so much outward as inward.

"Hey, Lu!," he called, forcing a note of cheerfulness he did not feel into his voice as he came up to her. "How about some breakfast with me this morning, ya? I promise not to do the cooking," he added, with a conspiratorial wink.

At the sound of Wakka's voice, Lulu visibly gathered herself, forcing a smile that was quickly gone. "No thanks, Wakka. I'm not hungry. Maybe some other time?"

He grabbed her arm and tucked it into his. "I'm not taking no for an answer," he replied, leading her to the town's only café. Lulu appeared on the point of protest, but surprisingly, came with him without comment, allowing him to lead her to an empty table in the corner of the restaurant. In spite of her wishes, he ordered them both a big breakfast, overriding her objections: "I'm paying, remember?"

The both held their peace until the food came, and the waiter had left, leaving them in relative privacy. He broke the silence first. "Do you want to tell me what's wrong? Or am I going to have to pry it out of you?"

"Nothing's wrong, Wakka. I just haven't been sleeping that well lately, that's all." She picked at her food, looking down at her plate. She gave him a smile as she looked up. "Nothing a little rest won't cure."

Wakka wasn't taken in. "Lu…"

"Honestly, Wakka! You'd think I was under interrogation with the way you dragged me in here! I'm fine, just a little tired. If it makes you feel better, I promise I'll go to sleep early tonight."

Wakka studied her carefully. He still didn't believe her, but what could he say? He nodded, and started in on his breakfast. "Promise me, though, if there is anything wrong, you'll come to me, ya?"

She looked up at him with those dark, luminous eyes. "I promise, Wakka. Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to go and meet with Yuna." She stood, and breezed off, hair beads clinking gently. He watched her saunter out in that oddly graceful way of hers, as if she was somehow floating rather then walking. Then he looked down and sighed. She had left her breakfast untouched.