Chapter XII - Sedem Fundamenti

The crystalline droplets hit the metallic surface softly, their muted sound lost within the constant reverberation of the motor. Her lowered head was placed deftly between her petite hands, as she sat propped against the harsh walls of the airship. Her mental comprehension within the past few hours had slowly declined to nil. She could barely even think without the painful sting of the recent events washing over her body like a tsunami. Her home was gone, destroyed by the very contraption she sat in at the moment. It had swiftly ended the suffering of the dying structure with a few brisk salvos; reducing the once great structure to a pile of listless rubble.

She groaned softly and buried her head deeper within the protective confines of her arms. Slowly her world of happiness she had meticulously fabricated was fading. Hundreds of innocent souls had died that day, on account of voracity and brainless hatred. She would never see Keyack's wolfish grin, or any of her friends ever again. Within this world of prejudice and destruction, what need was Sin? Humans could easily annihilate Spira themselves without his aid.

Rikku growled and rose from her chair suddenly, the clattering of the metal upon metal reverberating endlessly in the small room. She kicked at the fallen chair bitterly, her verdant eyes surging with rage. She hated Yevon! She hated it! All that wretched religion stowed within its people were false prophecies and hazardous odium. The Guado were know different, lost helplessly in their past. They couldn't open their blinded eyes and see the destruction they caused by their ignorance. The Al Bhed were people too, they could bleed and feel pain, they could laugh and cry, and they could die; just like all the others. Rikku released another strangled yell of rage and slammed her foot into the wall, causing her to retract in pain and knock against another form.

She slunk slowly to the floor, recoiling at the feet of whoever had just entered the room. Suppressed sobs elicited from the girl as she curled obliviously at the foot of the intruder. She didn't care who it was; it could be Wakka for she cared, coming to rub in the stupidity of the "savage Al Bhed". She just wanted to die right there and join her brethren on the Farplane.

The figure sunk down behind her, pausing briefly for some unknown reason. Hesitantly two arms wrapped themselves against the dejected girl, pulling her into a soothing cocoon of empathy. Rikku didn't even open her eyes and clung desperately onto the figures clothing, as if it was her last salvation upon this abject globe. She pressed her face into the soft clothing of the individual, sucking in deeply, as heavy sobs wracked her slight frame. A large hand closed onto the back of her head, holding her against the powerful chest of the stranger.

Rikku felt she could have melted into the warm stranger, all her troubles and tribulations fading away to a soft hum in the recesses of her mind. Her profound snuffles soon faded too, leaving only the occasional tear drop and sniffle in its wake. She simply continued to cling to her momentary pillar of stability.

She felt the man's chest rise and fall in an even rhythm, her hand and cheek pressed against it wantonly. The cadenced beat of his heart was enough to lull even the most troubled to their dreams, and slowly the calmed girl was heading down that very road. Yet, instead, her eyes slowly fluttered open, her sudden wave of curiosity getting the best of her.

A blur of scarlet and ebon flared before her bleary eyes, intermingling randomly. Slowly her haphazard visions cleared and she was gazing at the crimson coat of none other than Auron.

Rikku pulled away quickly, the man's mild embrace failing and sending the jittery girl hurtling to the floor. She hit the harsh metallic floor with a light thud, a surge of pain rushing up her back. Her muscles cried at the sudden action, still not fully recovered from the strenuous activities prior. Yet, the pain was bland in comparison to her shock.

An ebon-gloved hand lowered to aid in her ascent. Rikku gazed at the outstretched hand dumbly, her position still coiled, as if the hand was a hissing viper. She inhaled deeply and latched onto the man's hand, which quickly pulled her to her feet. She swayed uneasily for a moment, until she fully regained her balance. Her green eyes then flew towards the looming guardian, still wide with surprise. Now, she was wishing her curiosity hadn't bested her. Lingering sensations of the compassion rooted within his warm embrace still coursed within her. Perhaps, the seemingly callous guardian wasn't as unsympathetic as assumed.

"Why aren't you in the cockpit with the others," Rikku questioned lightly, forcing herself to turn away. Her emotions were surging like the troubled waters of the seas. Pain, fear, sadness, and joy seemed to collide into one large uproar of sentiment, nearly knocking the weary Al Bhed off her feet. She could hear Auron shift faintly behind her, his great boots shuffling noisily on the abrasive terrazzo.

"I was asked to leave," Auron replied vaguely, a slight sense of irritation creeping into his sonorous voice. A faint smile shimmered across Rikku's ashen features. Her father was as equally stubborn as the guardian; Auron's fervor for Yuna's continuation of her pilgrimage most likely infuriated her father. It wasn't a surprise that he sent the reprehensible man from his presence. My, if he only knew how captivated his daughter was with the enigmatic individual; he may lapse into heart failure.

"What did you do," She asked, craning her neck slightly to get a glimpse of the man. His lone eye seemed to roll in indifference, and his head shook faintly. Rikku's smile grew and she turned fully around.

"Any sign of Yuna?"

Auron removed his gaze from the sidewall and aimed it on the girl. From his silence, it didn't seem that there had been much luck in their search. Rikku lowered her gaze, and mindlessly began to scuff at the unblemished floor. An uncomfortable silence fell upon the two, or perhaps Rikku was the only uncomfortable one. Her emotions were beginning to ride away with her logic once more, and thoughts of the guardian sank deeply into her tangled mind. She needed to sit down.

Her eyes scanned the room and upon meeting the small loveseat in the corner she instantly tottered over to find respite from her aches. She collapsed into the soft material of the pale azure couch, her muscles relaxing upon contact. She couldn't remember the last time she had sat down on something other than the unfeeling ground. Unfortunately, the comfort did not lead to the respite from her poignant thoughts. Clips from the previous hours raced like a film in fast-forward through her mind. Keyack's struggling breath, the heaps of dead carcasses, Tidus.oh, poor Tidus. The way he had fallen in despondency to his knees, his vivacious cerulean eyes clouding up with blinding tears. Her words had been insensitive and brisk, yet the pain that was coursing through her allowed little else.

Modest crystals began to form once more at the corners of her verdant oculars, threatening to spill out, staining her orange shirt an even deeper shade of ginger. She suppressed them, however, aware of the older guardians gaze. What did he think of the pitiful Al Bhed now? The Al Bhed that had clung to him like a little child to her mother, she had acted so juvenile. It was foolish to think he felt anything other than pity for her pathetic soul.

"Why do people hate us so much.?" Rikku whispered, not evening knowing the words had slipped from her mouth. She stared abjectly at the floor, he gaze seeming to stare beyond the metallic sheen. Auron's gaze remained unfazed as he stared at the despondent individual. The man swallowed thickly and uttered a brief sigh. He slowly walked toward the couch, upon reaching it; he lowered his form onto it gently. He slipped the shoulder from his coat, and it slid limply to his side. He knitted his newly freed fingers with his raven-gloved ones, and let his hands hang passively between his legs. He didn't look at the miserable girl, but focused his calculating gaze upon some unobtrusive object located on the other half of the room.

"I just don't understand. Yes, we've gone against the teaching of Yevon, but we haven't purposely hurt anyone. Yet, all Yevon does is attack us and blame us for all their problems.It's not fair!" She cried, stomping one of her sneakers harshly against the floor, the echo reverberating angrily off the metal-bound walls. She tightly clenched her eyes closed, as if she tried hard enough she could wish the world peaceful and cause all the humanly troubles to float equably out the window.

"Life's not fair, complaining will not change things," Auron replied gruffly, his harsh voice devoid of all emotion. Rikku forced her eyes open, her vision was blurred, but she still managed to make out the strong features of the man seated beside her. Was he always so.accepting? He spoke like a man defeated, like a man who had lost something precious a long time ago. Yet, what could that debilitating item be?

"What will then, Auron.when will the pain finally end.?" She reached out, her petite hands clutching onto his bare arm. The muscles tensed at the foreign contact, but he didn't pull away. He simply looked at the girl, his now deciphered look placed calmly in his russet eye; acceptance. The pause was an extended one; perhaps, she didn't expect him to answer her arbitrary ranting.

"I...I don't know," He stumbled over his words for the first time to Rikku's knowledge. Rikku swallowed lightly and nodded in accord, could anyone ever know? Or perhaps a better question was.would it ever end? Perhaps, Spira was doomed to twist forever in its morose spiral of ennui, of death. The sins of eons before condemned to haunt the lives of the guiltless. What a dismal world they dwelled within.

Auron's brow was knitted in deep thought; his countenance had acquired a gloomy haze, as he sat his hands idly twisted themselves. Rikku wanted to cry; cry for the man that refused to shed his pent up tears, cry for the man that blindly accepted his pain as punishment for failures of a past life.

Rikku's lowered her left arm, propping it beneath her limply, and with her right she began to slowly trace the contours of his potent muscles, making her way gradually toward his shoulder. Auron froze, his fiddling hands clenching at the alien caress of the girl's gentle hand. His face remained focused, almost intractably, upon his hands attempting not to show evidence of any hidden sentiment that may rear its dusty head. Rikku raised her left hand to Auron's rough cheek and gently pulled him away from his meticulous inspection of his hands. His gaze drifted languorously to Rikku's own, locking momentarily. Rikku paused her stroke when she reached his shoulder.

"Rikku." Auron's voice was lower than normal, holding a warning tone. It wasn't harsh, no, his tone was more pleading. As if he was begging her not to pull him deeper into this world, not to shackle him to any one place. Rikku's mind understood his pleas, yet her heart refused to listen. She knew this man could feel. She just wasn't sure why he wouldn't.

She closed her emerald eyes and lowered her hand. Instead, she leaned in against his powerful shoulder, content with cuddling with a limb if he was going to be stubborn. She pulled her feet from the harsh ground and rested her aching limbs happily upon the homely cushions of the couch. Gently she rested against the guardian, closing her eyes in peace. Auron released a sigh, and placed a caring hand upon the resting girl, leaning his head back upon the couch.

Rikku smiled faintly in her slumber. All good things come in due time. She could.she would wait.