Losing and illusion makes you wiser than finding a truth.
“Mom?” the team repeated.
Paine stepped back from the screen and shook her head. No, it can’t be. They died because of sin. “Shinra, check the date that sphere was recorded. “
Shinra typed furiously on his keyboard. After a few moments he responded, “it was recorded 3 years and 5 months ago.”
I was 15…my parents didn’t die from Sin. The warrior’s mind was running with thought after thought after thought. How could I have missed them? How come they never found me? Why still haven’t I found them? I’ve been all over this damned world and haven’t seen them. Why put this sphere in the cave I used to play at? Did they know I would eventually go back there? “Play it again.”
The sphere started once again and Shinra turned it up to max volume. The imaged jumped constantly. In the first part it looked as if they were in a temple. The second part looked as if they were on the bridge near the Djose temple. Paine’s mother’s voice could barely be heard. “Paine, my darling daughter, I know you will find this. You have always been strong and I know Sin could not take you. From birth I knew you were meant for great things. Upon your father’s and my return home, we found it in shambles. There wasn’t any sign of you but we felt you were alive and must have moved on ahead. I’m sorry we had to leave you that day. I pray every night that it didn’t happen but every morning I am answered the same. We leave this sphere where you and Tarja played. We know you’ll come back here. We have moved to Djose temple in hopes of finding a summoner who can destroy this fiend we call Sin. We will be working there and we have faith you will return to us. We love you, our precious warrior. Praise be to Yevon.”
Rikku broke the silence with a small “umph” as she reached towards the brick on the table. She stared intently at the markings that have mostly worn off. To blank blank blank…comma A, E. Paine must be the last word…three letters? Our. What’s this next one? That kinda looks like an L…little? To our little...”To our little” RIkku whispered under her breath.
“To our little spinel,” Paine said almost silently. A minute smile tugged at the corners of her mouth. “They used to call me their treasure gem…when I was little.”
Rikku touched her arm softly and held to her the brick. A shaky hand grasped the piece and held it under poignant eyes. A small gasp escaped Paine’s lips as she grabbed the sphere and left.
“Rikku, ku caa fryd cra fyhdc du tu,” Brother commanded. (Rikku, go see what she wants to do.)
The blonde hesitated but nodded and chased after Paine.
The warrior was in the cabin changing out of her clothes. She grabbed a towel and headed to the shower. Rikku clomped up the stairs and glanced at Paine’s area. The brick was resting on her nightstand, facing towards her pillow. The clothes she had just worn were strewn across her bed with no attempt of organization. The Al Bhed picked them up and checked the pockets before she tossed them in the laundry bin. She grabbed a clean set of the warrior’s clothes and set them on the bed. She laid down on her own sheets and picked at her nails, waiting for the silver haired girl to come back.
Inside the bathroom, Paine stood under the hot water as it cascaded down her body. Steam took up every area of the room and a faint sob could be heard. The warrior surprised herself with he own emotion. Tears mixed with water and soon she couldn’t tell if she was still crying or not. Her hair fell in front of her face and she pushed it out of her eyes as she leaned backwards and looked up. The light above her was barely visible from the cloudy vapor. Should I look for them? It’s been almost 5 years. I would have thought they would’ve found me by now. Maybe they don’t want to hear from me. This explains the dreams I’ve been having though. What should I do?
Rikku listened as the water shut off and the soft tapping of wet feet hit the floor. A few minutes later the door opened and a towel clad woman whose life just turned upside down, walked out. Her damp hair was hanging loosely over her eyes, still dripping a little. The sun made the silver glitter radiantly as she shuffled over to the clothes waiting for her. “Thank you, Rikku.”
The thief smiled with a tilt of her head, “it’s no problem. It’s what I do.”
The warrior quickly got dressed and sat down beside where Rikku was laying. She handed the girl her towel, who sat up and began drying her friend’s hair. They began doing small things like this about 2 weeks after Yuna left. Rikku loved to dry and brush Yuna’s hair, yet with her gone, she slowly fell into a depressed state. One afternoon, Paine decided she needed to help the little thief cheer up and she asked her if she’d mind fixing her hair. Rikku had teased it so much, from having withdraws, that the warrior sported a perma-fro for 3 days. Since then the blonde has calmed down and had actually given Paine a few other hairstyles. Both of their favorites being the simple tousled look with mousse to keep it looking wet.
“I don’t know what to do, Rikku. Should I find them? Should I say leave them alone? They didn’t even come look for me!”
Rikku jumped slightly at the tone of her friend’s voice. She cleared her throat, yet her voice was shaky and quiet, “we’ve been to Zanarkand, Besaid, and everywhere in between, Paine. It isn’t like you have a permanent address they could’ve found you at.”
Too busy wallowing in her self-pity, Paine failed to realize the practical side of the situation. She was right about that. It isn’t like she stayed in one place for very long. Even when she was with the Crimson Squad…they were all over Spira. Perhaps they did try and find her. Maybe they were waiting for her to find them. But what happens if they didn’t want her to find them? “What if they didn’t want me to look for them?”
“Then they wouldn’t have left you that sphere, baby.”
Another point made. That’s Rikku 2, Paine 0. “We should go to Djose and see if Gippal knows anything.”
Rikku wasn’t sure if this was a question or a statement so she smiled and nodded anyways. She folded the towel and tossed it at the foot of her bed. Pushing back the warrior’s bangs, Rikku leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. “Missed.”
The blonde smiled sweetly and pulled her into a soft kiss. Sitting back, she pushed Paine’s bangs back again and cupped her cheek. She opened her mouth but closed it and gave a smile. Retracting her hand, Rikku stood up and headed for the stairs. “Rikku,” a weary voice called out.
The Al Bhed turned back with a questioning look. “We can leave tomorrow. No rush today.”
“I’ll go tell Brother.”
“Hu bnupmas.” (No problem.)
Turning back around, she headed down the steps and toward the elevator. The boys were waiting eagerly when she got down to the bridge. “Zicc?” (Well?)
“Cra fyhdc du ku du Djose yht dymg du Gippal du caa ev ra\'c caah dras. Cra cyet ed fyc ugyo ev fa mavd dusunnuf druikr,” Rikku relayed. (She wants to go to Djose and talk to Gippal to see if he\'s seen them. She said it was okay if we left tomorrow though.)
Brother sank into his pilot’s seat and punched his hand. “Nekrd...fa mayja vencd drehk dusunnuf drah. Ku nacd ib.” (Right…we leave first thing tomorrow then. Go rest up.)
Buddy and Shinra left their seats and headed to the elevator. Rikku waved them bye and shuffled over to her brother. “Dryhgc Brother. E ghuf oui dfu ryja ryt ouin tevvanahlac pid drec naymmo sayhc y mud. Du ran yht du sa.” (Thanks Brother. I know you two have had your differences but this really means a lot. To her and to me.)
A hint of pink covered his cheeks and he waved his hand nonchalantly. “Frydajan. Ku yht kad uid uv rana.” (Whatever. Go and get out of here.)
With that, Rikku punched him lightly on the arm and left the room. After hearing the doors slide shut, Brother placed his hands behind his head, smiled to himself and sighed. He then rubbed his hair back and forth and leaned forward to press autopilot.