Diving for Pearls (part 1) Title: Diving for Pearls (part 1) Setting: Sometime during the pilgrimage Themes: 33) Exploration, 34) Fumbling/clumsy, 49) Sphere(s) Pairing: Auron/Rikku Warnings: Nope Summary: Rikku goes treasure hunting and just when she gets the find of the century, a certain totally mean, totally dumb someone lays claim to it. Split into two parts because of its length - Rikku's dialog was a blast to write, so I let her blabber away unfettered. Very mild Rikku/Auron.
The campfire was cozy and all, but after about a gazillion years of watching Tidus and Yunie making googily eyes at each other and Wakka gaping at Lulu's ever-expanding boob-crevice of doom, Rikku's fingers itched for excitement and adventure and maybe a little gil. The sun was only just starting to set - hovering like a bloated Bomb on the horizon. Plenty of time to go exploring; she could go, kick ass, and come back before her time to take watch. The Macalania Woods were a veritable treasure chest!
There were only Auron and Kimahri to contend with, but she was certain she could out-wit both of them with her hands tied behind her back. If they noticed her escape (which they probably wouldn't, on account of her being awesome), she could pull out the old "girl business" excuse, the reliable get-out-of-jail-free card that was guaranteed to end any line of questioning. With another glance in their direction, Rikku slid backward into the forest, and when she was a decent distance away from the red warmth of the campfire, she skipped gleefully toward freedom. Ha! Once again, Al Bhed princess extraordinaire had vanquished her foes and conquered the day. And Brother had said that she was too green to go on a pilgrimage! Next time she saw him, she'd buy a hat, sprinkle the thing with pepper, and watch him eat ever scrap of it.
Lady Luck was at her side and Rikku slipped through the shadows undisturbed. A few time she got the flash of eyes in the growing shadows, but nothing lunged at her, and her recently polished claw and targe went un-splattered. She grinned as she slid down a small hill, strange silver-diamond dust of the forest rising in sparkling clouds of coolness rising behind her, and then jumped up with a twirl and thumbs up. She had seem something in the darkness, and since Lady Luck was practically in love with her, there was only one thing that something could be.
The fuzzy, star-twinkle glow of it was only visible in her peripheral vision, but Rikku was sure - damn sure - that she'd seen a sphere. Years of training (years, months, a couple of hours until Pops got fed up, whatever) had sharpened her already amazing instincts, and she could practically feel its pulsating warmth, a little bit of fire in the shadows. The whispering memories trapped in the sphere called to the living, to her, desperate for recognition and release. She dropped to the ground, wiggling and slipping as her fingers searched through the splintered twigs, limp leaves, and rough stones until - "Ha!" The sphere reached back, tugging her hand closer, and finally the smooth warmth was in her palm. She exhaled a burning breath and then whooped as she squirmed backward out of the brush and back to the path. A sphere in the first five minutes! Could the day get any better?
Rats. Rats and crap and life sucked.
It was amazing how much power one little word had. He could have stabbed her in the back with his overcompensation-sword-of-death and gotten the same reaction, which was entirely unfair, considering that she talked at him for hours and barely got him to blink. Damnation! Lady Luck had ditched her, dumped her on the side of the road, and it figured that he would be the one to find her. Auron of all people, who was even worse that Kimahri when it came to conversation, which was saying a lot considering that Kimahri practically didn't even speak the same language as her. And she'd bet a thousand gil and Wakka's stupid blitzballs that he wasn't going to talk as much as scold.
"What are you doing?"
From her not particularly comfortable seat on the ground, staring up at the tower known as Auron was practically giving her vertigo. For once he was given her all of his attention - All of his undivided, intense, extreme attention, which focused on her like a laser beam. Her cheeks were warming, heating up to the point of practically melting, and her brains boiled and fried along with them. "Nothing! So much nothing. So much nothing it's not even funny."
"Why did you leave the camp site?"
"Hey, you guys aren't my collective babysitters, you know. I come and I go like the wind in the trees and the wind in your pants and stuff. I am the wind. I'm like a little tornado of coolness. I rock like a hurricane. And, um, an earthquake."
"What is that?"
"What? What is what?" It wasn't fair, the way that he hypnotized her. She was practically on the verge of death now: her heart was small and tight and beating so fast that it whirred, her stomach had folded in on itself, and all the water in her body had decided to jump ship and make its escape through her palms. Crap! Crappy crap! She dropped her gaze from his face in a desperate attempt to regain some of her footing. "Um... this... stick? This stick here? This is a stick."
"In your hands. Give it to me."
"Um... um, girl business!" One eyebrow maybe quirked a little, but that was all the reaction that her until that moment completely faithful, never-failed, tried and true, best excuse ever got. She could practically see the poor little excuse shrivel and die. Score one for the big guy.
Rikku heaved a sigh. It was over, completely and utterly over. She climbed her feet and dusted her silver dusted butt off before taking a shaky step toward him. It was useless to resist, beating her head against the wall would be less painful and more rewarding, so she convinced her fingers to unclench and dropped the glowing sphere into his waiting hand. "It's not fair, you know," she grumbled at her feet. "I found this one all by my lonesome and that means it's totally mine, and I bet even Seymour would agree, even though probably in the next second he'd slit my gizzard and probably steal it because he's a bastard like that. Point is, no one appreciates spheres more than me, you dig? I don't even know why I just gave it to you - It's like cutting off a leg and my nose and I like both of them where they are, thank you."
"This was probably left for Tidus."
"Yeah, well, Tidus is lame like three blown-out tires. Besides, you don't know that. Maybe my great-great-great grandma dropped it here after being chased by evil Yevonites, and it contains a password to a secret cave where a treasure of gil and kittens and X-potions await chosen one. And that's me, by the way. Tidus is a pretty good princess, but I'd totally beat him in an awesome contest. He'd probably get the tiara tangled in his hair. Or die in a tragic accident involving blitzballs and unmentionable places."
He made a sort of grunt-snort, and when she looked toward him again, he was rolling the sphere around his big palm. The firelight of the sphere illuminated his hand, and she could see the snaking scars and calluses on his fingers. "You haven't watched it yet."
It was more a question than a statement, but Rikku humored him and replied with a nod. "I was totally going to, until a certain someone who will remain nameless filched it."
The certain someone narrowed his eye at her, and again Rikku's stomach launched into an elaborate dance routine, complete with her liver doing the can-can as back-up. "You're a bigger thief than me, you know, and I'm not even talking about about your height, you massive mutant shoopuf."
He rubbed his chin, and a rush of triumph momentary quieted the weird flopping of her innards. "And you used intimidation, too," she added. She was winning against him for once and if she played her cards right, she could get Auron to buckle and release his prisoner. Maybe the fickle Lady Luck hadn't completely forgotten about her. "You're the legendary guardian of larceny. I bet this whole pilgrimage is just a cover for your career of crime and debauchery. You were probably scoping out the area for swag and loot and other synonyms when you stumbled upon me and the ill-gotten booty of the century."
He made another grunt-snort as he shook his head; he was probably wondering how to throw her off a cliff without Yuna noticing. She'd have to admit defeat. And then steal it back as soon as he fell asleep. "You sure you don't want to renounce your life of depravity and give it back?"
The sphere rolled across his palm again before he closed his fingers over it. "Very well," he said, and then, as she started to do a celebratory jig complete with whoops and hollers and butt-shaking, added the fine-print, "We'll watch it first."
Close but no banana. Rikku's feet stopped in mid-pirouette, "Wait wait wait. We'll? Watch? First?" When his eye went back into piercing-soul mode, Rikku swallowed the rest of her complaints. He was giving a little; even though it was probably painful for him to admit how totally, utterly wrong he was, he was trying to make amends, in his stupid, stuffy, sexy way. Rikku nodded furiously, desperate to appease him and stop the chaos of improper thoughts that bounced around her skull. "Right, Boss," she said, and then before either of them could change their minds, snatched the sphere and grabbed his hand with her own and gave it a firm shake. "It's a deal and a date."