Reflective Rikku-centric one-shot. "When I was young, I decided that I wanted to be like the sun." A look at Rikku's attitudes and her thoughts at the end of the game.
Pops decided ages ago that my annoying brother would take over as the leader of the Al Bhed when he grew up. He was a boy, and older, and he didn’t think I’d take the job seriously, anyway. I never cared much about politics and stuff like that. So, I decided that people would notice me ‘cause of my personality, not my position.
I tried to smile and laugh as much as possible. I’m not saying that I tried to change myself, really. Pops always complained that I never sat still and never payed enough attention to important stuff. I was just trying to expand on that, you know?
Still, a lot of people expected me to act more like the daughter of the Al Bhed’s leader. I never minded it much, though. It just meant that they didn’t know me yet. And I couldn’t change who my dad was, so why get upset about it? That’s what my wanting to shine like the sun turned into: not ignoring the bad stuff, but just paying more attention to the good stuff. I mean, I couldn’t avoid stuff that would make me sad or angry, but life’s much more exciting when you smile than when you frown!
I know that my attitude is kinda immature, but I’ve thought that way for so long that it wouldn’t feel right if I tried to change it now.
For a while, I tried to overwhelm every bad feeling with happiness. People used to ask me if it was tiring being so happy all the time, but it really wasn’t. The only times I really exploded from bottling all those emotions up was when I was a young teenager, and Pops said that that happens to everyone. Apparently Brother was a lot worse than me. I can sure believe that!
It never felt like I was bottling up my emotions; it was almost as if I wasn’t covering up the negative feelings, but completely destroying them.
Eh, that doesn’t sound right, though. I guess I’m no good at explaining it. Let’s put it this way: I never felt like I had a Dark Rikku hiding away inside me or anything. It felt like I was perfectly fine being happy all the time. After a while, though, being happy started to feel kinda empty. I realised that without some bad feelings, the good feelings just weren’t worth as much.
Living in the Sanubia Desert, I learned that the sun can be harsh and dangerous. So I let myself get sad and angry, but just made sure that I could always come away from stuff with a smile. Instead of squashing down those negative feelings completely, I just let them slide over me.
I still wonder whether my new attitude came from the habit of forcing myself to be happy all the time. Was I really letting all the bad things go, or was I pushing them away? It felt like it was too easy to be happy, like I was immune to the bad feelings or something. I’d decided to let myself feel them, but why didn’t they affect me much? I don’t have any answers yet. I’m just considering it a good thing that I can be happy so easily!
Really, I didn’t want to be like the sun anymore; I wanted to be better than the sun. I wanted to shine as brightly without being as deadly as the sun.
Sure, I learned to fight and could be tough if I wanted to, but I needed that to be able to protect myself from fiends when we were salvaging machina. But the sun treats everyone the same, no matter who you are, and I decided to only fight when I needed to.
I guess I just wanted to be ‘light’: Bright and shining, but not as harsh as the sun. And even when the sun goes down, there’s still some light from the moon and stars!
Still, it was hard to try to be light all the time. After I met Yunie, I learned that the more light there is, the more chance there is for darkness to get in.
I really meant what I said about me being the merriest in our group. I’d only just met them, but I could already see that Yunie’s fate was on everyone’s minds. Everyone’s but Tidus’, that is. He didn’t seem to notice it, though, so I decided that I’d be the one to cheer everyone up. I wondered why he didn’t seem to worry about Yunie dying when he obviously cared about her, until I realised that he didn’t know. I felt bad about telling him when he broke down like that. I was supposed to be cheering people up, not telling them that our Summoner would die if she finished her pilgrimage. But what he said to Pops later, it amazed me.
That conversation between Tidus and Pops made me realise just how different Tidus’ world was to ours. He thought like an Al Bhed sometimes. He didn’t believe that the Final Summoning was the only way to beat Sin. He refused to accept that Yunie was gonna sacrifice herself. It started to give me hope that maybe she could survive. Tidus helped me discover that I didn’t have to be the only source of light. I didn’t need to always be giving out my light; I could take some from my friends if I needed to.
So Tidus and I pooled together our light and hope to try to find a way to save Yunie. But we were running out of time. Yunie couldn’t quit her pilgrimage, even when Yevon betrayed her. But I couldn’t let my light be put out, even when Zanarkand was right around the corner.
Tidus changed when we got close to Zanarkand, though. I think everyone else thought it was just the idea of his home in ruins that was bothering him. I thought that for a while, too. But his smile was different. It was more forced than before. I thought that there was more to his sadness than just knowing that we were almost at Zanarkand, but I know I’m not very good at noticing stuff about people, so I didn’t mention it to anyone else. I dismissed it as just my imagination getting ahead of itself.
It wasn’t until we were preparing to face off with Yu Yevon that I realised that there was more going on with Tidus. He said that it was the last time we’d fight together. That was gonna disappear. He was saying goodbye. But why? Why did he only tell us that then? I could see how much it hurt Yunie. Why would he have to disappear? We were about to defeat Sin for good without Yunie dying, why’d we have to lose somebody then, when we should have been celebrating? It didn’t seem fair to me, that we’d have to go through this. I’d accepted my negative feelings, but what was I supposed to do when I felt happy and sad at the same time?
The aftermath of the fight was the hardest it’s ever been for me to smile. I could only watch as Auron turned to pyreflies. And then Tidus...
When on the pilgrimage, we’d expected to lose Yunie so that Sin would be gone for ten years. In the end, we lost Tidus and Auron after making Sin go away forever. Two people gone to save countless lives; was it selfish of me to think that it was too high a price?
I couldn’t believe that he was disappearing right in front of us. I didn’t notice him turning transparent at first. I was left with a rush of adrenaline from the fight, and was celebrating our victory and admiring the view. It was really pretty with all the pyreflies around us. I’d pushed Tidus’ words to the back of my mind until he started talking to Yunie. When he started walking away, I couldn’t help but stumble forwards, wanting to stop him. I tried to pull myself together. I had to think of something positive.
“We’re gonna see you again?”
There had to be a positive in what was happening. He couldn’t be leaving us forever, could he? But he didn’t answer. He just kept on walking until Yunie fell straight through him. I had to stop myself from running to Yunie. If he really wasn’t gonna come back, Yunie needed that moment with him alone.
I tried to be the happy, energetic Rikku. I waved as enthusiastically as I could, with both arms, jumping about like I normally would.
But I couldn’t stop the tears.
I could tell that the others felt as bad as I did. Kimahri didn’t show any emotion, but we all knew him well enough to know that he was far from not feeling anything.
Lulu gave a small wave before looking away. I could tell that she was finding it hard to say goodbye. She had always been so calm and composed, but she was struggling with that for once.
We could see right through Tidus now.
As I turned away to wipe my tears, I saw Wakka rub his head then stare at the ground. He’d been the first member of our group, after me, to meet Tidus, and had taken him under his wing. I’d overheard him admitting to Lulu that he thought of him as a younger brother, and not just ‘cause he looked like Chappu.
And then he was gone.
Yunie just stood there, as if he’d come back if she stayed there long enough. I knew that I needed to find the positives in the situation: the rest of us were alive and mostly unhurt. Sin was gone. I could grieve for Tidus and Auron later. Yunie needed me, needed all of us. I slowly walked up to her and called her name. She turned to me. She was still crying. I gave her the biggest smile I could manage.
“We did it, Yunie. Sin in gone.”
It was all that I could say. I needed to share my light with Yunie. After all, I was the merriest.