Categories > Games > Final Fantasy X-2 > Necrosis Infinitum
Troubled Boy0 reviews
Rikku goes on the hunt for the new set of islands that the Al Bhed have uncovered. Another of the destruction of the universe tale? Okay, not quite, but things do get a little scary! Okay maybe not...
Waking up flat on his back in an inch of cold water was not the way Tidus normally liked to do things. He opened his eyes slowly, feeling the skin tight where the salt had dried. One of the flares was still alight, caught up high in the sphere racks, casting a red glow on the room. He winced and rubbed his sore head, fingers probing through his damp hair to find a knot the size of a blitzball. He skirted around it and searched his body slowly for any other damage. Nothing came to light and he cautiously sat up, mindful of the bump on his head. The room swayed in a dismaying fashion and he closed his eyes, whining under his breath. His whole body ached.
The vertigo passed after a moment and he got to his feet gently and stood, looking up at the thing that had saved their life. The metal door had been slammed shut on them, presumably holding most of the water at bay after the initial wave. Thick rivulets of moisture were sliding down it from above; the damage they'd done to the steel had warped it, and it was probably gaping up at the top where it didn't quite fit into the doorway anymore. A soft moan behind him made him whirl around and then curse as he clutched his aching head. Rikku was laying flat on her back, propped slightly against a stone that had buckled and come out of the mortar on the floor. Her right leg was bent out at an odd angle by the ankle; her hand trembled as she performed the same examination Tidus had done on himself earlier. One of the first rules of wilderness survival was knowing how to check yourself all over, because sometimes the pain didn't come until you realized your guts were spilling out of your belly. He went to kneel beside her as she finished. Her head turned to him and she smiled tightly.
"I think I hurt my leg a little, might've banged it up some," she said, voice shaky. Tidus felt an unexpected chuckle burst out of his chest and he sat there wheezing at her understatement, feeling his sore ribs protest. He wiped the tears from his eyes as his laughter subsided.
"Lemme check it out, 'kay?" He bent down to look closely at her leg, running a hand along the skin slowly. There. She hissed out a curse and her muscles tensed up.
"Shhh, I'll get a potion and you'll be back to bouncing around in no time," he walked over to his pack where it was twisted into the metal scaffolding that surrounded them. He opened it up and blanched. Shards of glass lined the inside, the delicate bottles smashed like the spheres that had hit the ground around them. He took a deep breath./ That's the last time I ever carry those tongue-burning liquids around in glass ever again. Nostalgia be damned./ Tidus glanced over where Rikku was watching him, her eyes dark.
"They're gone, aren't they?" He nodded and pulled out a smushed ration bar for each of them, and the metal canister of water everyone carried. He went back to her and opened the metal foil around the ration, tearing off a hunk of the tasteless paste. She made a face and took it from his fingers, chewing it slowly.
"Well," he said reluctantly, "I'd better, um, set it." He reached down and gripped her ankle gently as she braced herself, ready to scream.
It'd been five days. He turned a photo of her over in his hands, tracing the lines of her face on the thin paper. Five damn days, and not a word. Even for Rikku that was too much, feeling out the length of the leash Cid was letting her loose on. Even she would have checked in; the girl who had that habit of vanishing into the dust and sand, not showing up until days later when everyone had gone all crazy looking for her. He put the photo down on his desk with a grunt of disgust and stood there for a moment. He closed his eyes, catching a deep breath before he turned and kicked the metal chair, sending it hurtling across the room to crash into the wall loudly.
"Dammit," he hissed out and stalked over to it, grabbing it violently by the top rung on the back and slamming it back down on its four legs.
"What in the name of Spira do ya think yer doin', boy?" The voice cut through Gippal's thoughts. Cid was standing in the doorway. Gippal turned and looked at the older man.
"I'm going," he said, and then continued despite Cid's narrowing eyes. "I'm going to get her out of whatever mess she's gotten into." He knew Cid had reservations in the first place about sending his Baby Girl, Hope of the Al Bhed etc. etc., and was probably feeling a little guilty now that she hadn't checked in or even, y'know,/ returned/. The skeleton scout crews that had departed for the island to scope things out had come up with nothing, not a sign of the/ Vundiha/. That meant they could be somewhere the ships hadn't discovered yet, or they could have sunk to a very watery grave. That was Rikku, black and white, all or nothing.
He looked at the man he had once idolized and now respected healthily. Cid was going to let Rikku come back on her own time because anything else would show weakness, and normally, yeah, Gippal would have agreed with him, had it been any of his men out there. But this wasn't any of his men, this was someone he cared for in disturbing gut-wrenching quantities. And that made him just a little mad to get the hell out of here and /there/, where she was. Just because he respected Cid didn't mean he wasn't going to do something the old man would disapprove of now.
"I thought I told ya t' wait."
"You did, and I took it as a polite but empty request to save Rikku's rep," Gippal said, glaring hard at her father. "I am not waiting here patiently for another minute. No contact, none, and it's been five oajuh lincat days." He tried not to grind his teeth when Cid shook his head stubbornly. He would not murder the man he admired, he would not-
"We havta trust Rikku. She knows what she's doing-"
"No she does not know what she's doing. You don't either; you don't know what's out there. For all we know she's been eaten alive by some sort of huge thunder fiend." Spira, let it not have been a thunder fiend/, he thought. Cid was watching him with a strange expression, a mix between stomach illness and curiosity. Gippal continued, "I know you've got some good damn intentions when it comes to raisin' the Al Bhed and all that, but this is your /kutvuncygah daughter!" He stood there, a small part of his brain asking him why his chest was tight and icy, and why his hands were clenching into fists. The rest of his self told that part to shut up, or suffer immediate and swift painful consequences. Cid looked at him, squinting, his brows furrowing and making his forehead even more wrinkled.
"An' what are your intentions exactly, Gippal?" They stood, man to man, eye to eyes, unblinking. Cid put his hand on Gippal's shoulder and held it in his strong grip, restraining the younger man from going out the door. With a jerk, Gippal broke the contact and grabbed his gun off his desk, shoving it back into its holster at his hip. He wrapped his hand around the strap of his trunk and started dragging it to the door, causing the metal to squeal across the floor.
"When I figure that out, you'll be the second to know," he said, and left Cid to stand there alone.
Tidus's stomach rumbled. He looked longingly at the ration bar, wondering if his self in two hours would curse his self now for eating it. Rikku was propped up against a slab of metal that had washed into the room when everything had gone to the Farplanes in a pretty be-ribboned hand basket. Her leg was wrapped with his blitz knee-brace to keep her from jostling the break. She slept, skin slack and gray. He swore softly. All their potions, smashed, and nothing to heal her now. He didn't know much about the healing arts, that was more Yuna's deal, but he did know that un-treated breaks could go septic.
Also, their food was running low. As it was they'd had to start rationing how much they were eating a few days ago. He'd tried pushing the great steel door open, but it hadn't moved an inch, and he didn't want to risk setting off any grenades if Rikku wasn't able to supervise. From all the moisture still pouring down from the ceiling, the chamber outside had to be filled with liquid still, and it probably wasn't a good idea to let that rush in here before Rikku could even chance at swimming. Everything that was leaking into their shelter was laden with salt, or they'd have been a little better off. Where was a cache of luck spheres when you really needed them? And how many days now? Three, maybe four? Not possibly five, no, it hadn't been that long, couldn't have been. Tidus didn't know what day it was anymore, and decided he didn't really care either, as long as the food and water lasted. Rikku shifted slightly to get more comfortable and moaned softly. He crawled over to her and felt her forehead, no sign of a fever yet, but you could never be too sure.
"Ty," she said quietly, not bothering to open her eyes, "water?" She shifted again and winced as her leg twinged. He held one of the metal canisters to her lips and she sipped slowly, savouring the drops like only the desert-born could. He was a little envious. He'd feel the pinch before she did. He still wasn't sure why they hadn't been contacted by the crew, or even heard anything other than steady drip of water. No sound came from the room outside what had been the Hall of Eternal Memories. Well, it'd be the hall of their Eternal Memory not too soon from now. She coughed a little and he pulled the container away.
"Better?" he asked. She smiled up at him tiredly.
"Have you wondered... why, why... we haven't run out of air yet?" He blinked at her.
"Uh, no," he said, scratching the back of his head. She smiled again, eyes falling shut.
"Find out f' me... 'kay?" Her voice trailed off and her breathing deepened. Asleep, again. Tidus sighed. Dammit. He looked up at the ceiling.
"I really hope you hold some sort of hole that I can climb through up there." He set down the water by her where she wouldn't spill it, and a few ration bars in their wrappings and approached the rusted racks that had held all the spheres before most of them had fallen and smashed. "Don't collapse on me now," he muttered to the metal scaffolding and began to climb, his boots slipping from time to time on the slick steel. As he mounted higher a cool breeze brushed his cheeks. Rikku's delirious hunch had been right. The ceiling opened up above him, what had once been stained glass was broken, the curling leading still lining the edges of the hexagonal skylight. And beyond it, away from the steady run of water, he could hear the waves crash against the shore. They had to be somewhere in the cliffs, which meant a cave, which meant getting out and living to tell the whole horrible story.
Rikku waited until Tidus's feet scraping on the metal faded upwards and away. She reached over and pulled one of the sphere cases towards her. She wanted to watch more, while it was private. Tidus was her best friend, and in some ways understood her better than even Yunie, but this was Al Bhed business, and he wasn't Al Bhed, not strictly, not yet. She opened the case and pulled out one glimmering sphere, fingers stroking along the smooth surface to turn it on. It whirred softly and the picture emerged, flashing on her face.
"We've done all we can/," the same Al Bhed woman from before spoke quietly, making Rikku strain to hear her. "/The Haf Binedo are mad, there is really no other way to put it. To think that Machina can be used to alter people, to make them better must be madness. Nothing is more sacred than the sanctity of a person, and the Haf Binedo/ do not see this. They only see mistakes that must be corrected, the weakness that must be fortified. I am afraid that this is the punishment we must suffer for the choices my ancestors made so long ago, in chasing after every secret Spira had to hold. We... we have made a decision, it is not an easy one... or.../" the sphere cut out, going black. Rikku sat, staring blankly at the orb cupped in her hand. Machina to fix people? Noojster had his metal limbs, but that had been a mercy to the man, and not... but machina to /fix people/? As in they-weren't-broken-first fix people?
Machina were wonderful in and of themselves and could do amazing things, but they weren't people. She swallowed hard and watched the sphere again, noting the sadness and urgency in the woman's face. Haf Binedo was an Al Bhed term literally translated as new purity, but meaning much more than that. It meant that whenever this had happened, the Al Bhed were fighting against other Al Bhed. Which hadn't happened in recent history, hadn't been a part of the story that Rikku could remember. Her mouth went dry at a sudden thought. Had it even happened yet? Tidus had gone one thousand years into the future. Maybe the future had come countless years to the past. The only question that remained was why?
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