Author's Note: I kept pecking on this, and it refused to cooperate until the prompt deadline passed!
Why did Lulu burn everybody else with glowers and spells, but soothe Rikku with a voice like cool water?
Rikku didn't know, but she was grateful. She was also feeling better behind the steering yoke of a snowmobile. Of course, if the mage hadn't practically begged for a ride (a Yevonite, but not like that stupid jerk Wakka), Rikku would have turned the snowmobile around.
Why did Wakka have to be so mean?
Lulu answered gently, hugging Rikku's middle like a moogle. "His brother died in battle, using forbidden machina. Wakka needs reasons for Chappu's death. 'Life isn't fair' isn't good enough for him, so he lashes out."
"It isn't fair to blame you or the Al Bhed. I know, Rikku. I'm sorry."
"Thanks." Windburn froze Rikku's tears to her cheeks. "At least you don't hate me."
"Hate you?" The older woman's laugh made Rikku feel warmer. "On the contrary. You don't know how precious you are to Yuna...and to me."
A kiss brushed her ear as the engine slowed and her heart beat faster. "I won't let them harm you, any more than I would let harm come to Yuna. Understand?"
The entrance of Macalania Temple came into view. Rikku's shoulders tightened. Killing the motor, she swung a leg over the seat and twisted to face the mage. She buried her face against Lulu's— okay, yes, her breasts, it wasn't like she could avoid 'em— and felt an odd mix of guilt and triumph in the midst of misery. "Yeah. Like, you could get in big trouble, defending some heathen Al Bhed—"
"Who is Yuna's cousin and a friend." Uncalloused hands stroked her hair. "Be brave. Yuna needs you."
"Yeah!" Rikku sat up with a feeble fist-pump. "Right. Let's go help Yunie!"
Lulu glided after her, more conflicted than her words belied.
A heathen. A pure heart. The teachings could not reconcile the two. Yet the mage felt proud of her when the girl stood before the doorkeeper and answered his belligerance with dignity. "I'm Yuna's guardian now, and that's all I want to be."
Rikku glanced over her shoulder at Lulu, seeking reassurance.
The mage winked back.
Rikku grinned and skipped past the priest.
A gem, she was: concentrating and giving back the light of others, transformed by the light in her own heart.
Yuna had always been precious. Now Lulu guarded two.