[identity profile] first-seventhe.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] brokenprism
Small Steps

Fandom: FFX
Characters: Yuna, Rikku
Rating: G
Spoilers: end of FFX

For: The Alphabet Meme, [livejournal.com profile] owlmoose, for K: "kittens, Rikku & Yuna"

Summary: A small gift helps Yuna - and Besaid - keep moving forward.

- - -


The shout came from outside, and Yuna had enough time to stand and brush the dust from her skirts before the doors swung open and Rikku burst in – Rikku seemed to always be bursting, exploding with energy and sunshine and citrus – grinning from ear to ear, holding a covered basket in one hand and a crumpled piece of parchment in the other, which she foisted in Yuna's general direction.

"Here!" Rikku presented her with the piece of paper, as if Yuna should instantly know its origin and purpose – but yes, actually, she did, because that was her small careful temple-trained handwriting, those her own words to Cid last week.

"I've found you a solution!" Rikku clasped her hands on the handle of the basket and swayed, slowly, from foot to foot. The grin turned sly. "Wanna see?"

Yuna's mind was turning, rapid-fast, but she had an easier time following Rikku than most: maybe it was the blood they shared, either acting as a connection or in a more general way, enabling Yuna to think Al Bhed at least half of the time. She'd asked Cid for ways to better keep the foodstores in the temple basement; the basket must contain some solution he'd come up with for her. And quickly. She beamed at Rikku. "Yes, show me!"

Rikku set the basket down and lifted the lid, and Yuna stepped back as the machina set two tiny orange paws on the edge and poked out a tan-and-orange-striped head… two green-gold eyes looked up at her, and the machine let out a plaintive and curious mew.

Yuna blinked. "It's a kitten," she said.

"Well, duh!" Rikku scooped it out, and another tiny head followed the first: black and grey, this one, with bright green eyes that squinted at her from the basket. "Pops said he'd come up with something to keep the room cold, but it would take a while. Until then, these'll take care of your bugs and rats!" She cuddled the orange-and-tan one. "Aren't they cute?"

Bemused, Yuna bent to pick up the dark one: grey fur, with thin, noble black stripes through its sides and across tiny paws. The kitten contemplated her seriously, its head tilted as it met her gaze boldly – it then yawned, with some sort of feline approval, and turned lazily to regard Rikku.

"Kittens," Yuna repeated.

"Yup!" Rikku held out the squirming tan handful. "Here, meet this one. I think you'll like 'em. Pops always says, no way you can keep anything fresh without a couple cats to watch your back. Although I think he's a bit biased. Part cat himself or something." She grabbed the black one out of Yuna's arm, with appalling disregard for the safety of the poor tan kitten, whose paws wheeled through the air frantically until Yuna got a better hold on it. This one was curious, looking up at her with playful eyes and batting at her hair-wrap.

It was as much of a gift as she could expect from Cid – estranged no more, that was true, and he wasn't having any trouble with her requests for machina: small enough to not alarm any of the temple-goers, yet big enough to have some importance, as she tried bit-by-bit to integrate her other half into what remained of Yevon. She was lucky; Besaid was more easy-going than most temples, and worshiped her besides. She was also lucky that Cid had only sent kittens, rather than kittens and the giant re-fredger-ator (which she still couldn't pronounce) he had initially threatened. Something small, she'd said in the letter. We must encourage the small steps before we can ask Spira to leap forward.

Small steps, indeed. She set the tan kitten onto the ground, and it bounded away from her, only to turn and look at her over its shoulder – and then leap, sideways, onto all four paws, before it batted at something in the air and bounced off into the shadows of the temple corners.

Rikku laughed. "He's the troublemaker," she said, setting the dark kitten down on the ground, where it contemplated both girls for a moment before slowly and deliberately moving off to where its companion was currently chasing dust-mites. "This one's tons more serious. And grumpy," she said, as the grey kitten approached its playful tan friend and delivered a chastising swat; the tan one seemed completely unaffected. "Little T just wants to play, but-"

She stopped, suddenly, and Yuna frowned a little; "You can name them whatever you want," Rikku clarified, hastily, waving her hands in the air. "They're yours now."

Yuna felt her lips quirk into a smile. "What have you been calling them?"

"I-" Rikku turned pink, and she shoved her hands into her pockets and looked at the ground. "Shut up," she said reluctantly. "I had one playful little blond kitten who was friendly as a lost Chocobo and just as clumsy, and one dark-haired snarly grumpy kitten who took out a fly at six weeks like a real badass – what would you have named them?"

Yuna's heart sank, the familiar clenching feeling wrenching her heart; and how could this sorrow-pain, this awful empty sense of loss, be so familiar?, and how could something so familiar still hurt so badly?

Rikku glanced up at Yuna, her face scrunching as her eyebrows sank in adorable remorse. "I've been calling them Teedy and Ron-Ron," she said in a very small voice.

"I-" It's okay, Yuna was trying to say, because it was okay; she'd moved on, she was healing, slowly, maybe not Curaga but at least Regen trickling over the chasm of her heart – but something had choked the words in her throat, and as she opened her mouth again she found it was a laugh, bubbling up from the bottom of her lungs and out into the empty chamber of the Temple. Yuna laughed, and the kittens turned at the sound, Teedy bounding back towards her with an unbearably curious look on his face, already lovingly devoted in that instant way of kittens, the dark kitten - Ron-Ron - slowly plodding behind him with a disapproving look so utterly like Auron she couldn't breathe for laughing—

"Shut up," Rikku repeated, but there was a hint of a smile in her voice, and more than a hint on her face when Yuna caught her breath and glanced over at her cousin.

"Ron-Ron." Yuna tried the name out, and managed to pronounce it with minimal giggling. "I am fairly sure Sir Auron would not approve of his namesake."

"He would too," Rikku protested, scooping up the small dour dark kitten, who looked up at her with feline exasperation written across his face. "He's a hunter. He catches flies and crickets, doesn't he?" She pursed her lips and made kissy-noises at the kitten, who watched her stoically. Yuna giggled again.

Something nudged her leg, and she glanced down to see the small tan kitten - Teedy, her brain supplied, almost automatically, and even as her heart wrenched with the memory Yuna bent to gently lift him. Teedy batted at her hair-beads, again, and then sniffed her ear in inspection. Something about it – it wasn't that she was healed, yet, but she was healing, and something about the poor blonde kitten lifted her heart. Maybe, she thought, maybe it was nothing: just the thought of the Besaid basement stores, and the coarse dry sacks of grain, safe from mice and rodents. Maybe it was better, really, to let that simple thought lift her heart, rather than dwelling in memories and regrets. Small steps, indeed.

"Little T," she said out loud. And then, glancing up at Rikku: "And the infamous Sir Ron-Ron. Besaid is honored by your presence."

Rikku grinned, and bobbed something that might have been a curtsey, were her hands not full of kitten.

"Come on, then, my honored furry guests," Yuna said, smile creeping back onto her face and into her voice, "and we'll find you a nice place to sleep."



June 2011

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