Title: Wounded Animals.
Setting: Besaid Island, pre-canon (Get used to this).
Theme + Number: #5, Wounded.
Pairing/Characters/Friendship: Wakka, Lulu, and Chappu.
Warnings: Death of small furry creatures, possible death by cute.
Summary: "Wakka is the kind of boy who brings hurt baby animals home with him." Lulu can't convince him and Chappu that it's not a good idea to get attached to things that are going to die. Cameo appearance by SevenYearsOld!Yuna.
Wakka is the kind of boy who finds hurt baby animals in the woods and brings them home with him. Since 'home' for him is the Besaid Temple of Yevon, he doesn't get told not to bring them inside and take care of them. Except, that is, for the one time he found a tiny Ice Flan and tried to convince the priests that he could train it, but that was only once. (Chappu took it for Lulu to practice Fire on. Wakka didn't speak to either of them for almost a whole day, which is a long time when you're seven.) Anyone in the village who's lost a pet knows to ask Wakka and Chappu first if they've found it, because if it's still alive to be found, the odds are they have.
So his and Chappu's room at the temple is likely to be, at any given time, inhabited by at least two kittens, puppies, birds, or whatever else Wakka has found recently. Chappu loves taking care of them almost as much as his big brother does, and their guests never lack for care. The boys name all of them, which Lulu says is stupid, because some of them are bound to die, so why bother?
"Why not?" Wakka says every time she brings it up. "They're friends, and friends should have names, ya? If they don't, they might all die. You don't know it doesn't help."
"You don't know it does," Lulu says, but Wakka always insists on being allowed to give them names, and Chappu backs him up, so they win. Eventually, Lulu gets fed up with their lack of imagination (Ohalland XXXVI is the last straw), and demands to help name them. She thinks Selina is a better name. Wakka and Chappu compain that it's girly, but Lulu points out that it's a girl kitten, so she gets her way.
Some of the animals do die, for all the love they receive, and the three of them bury the little bodies in the woods behind the temple.
"They'll turn into fiends if they don't get Sent," Chappu said once, when he was six.
"Idiot," said Lulu affectionately. "Only people turn into fiends." Chappu accepted this, because Lulu reads more than they do and should know.
The boys cry when they have to bury the dead pets. Lulu says they're being stupid, if they cry like that over everything that dies they'll never stop, and no, her eyes aren't watering. It's the wind, nothing more. So there!
All this makes it rather inevitable that, when little Yuna is brought to the Temple to be raised, Wakka is the one who follows the sound of crying to find her sitting at the bottom of a hill near the beach path, and that Chappu follows him, and that Lulu sighs and follows them both.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Wakka asks.
Yuna looks up at him and sniffs. "I fell and I rolled down the hill and I hurt my knee and I don't know how to fix it and I got all turned around and now I don't know how to get back to the temple."
Her knee is, indeed, cut and bleeding, and she has a lot of little scrapes from rolling down the hill. There are leaves stuck in her hair. Lulu just has to look at Chappu to know what he'll say. She doesn't even bother looking at Wakka. Some things are too obvious.
"Aw, don't cry," says Chappu. "You're too cute to be sad." Lulu thinks that someday, when Chappu is no longer eleven years old and a stupid boy, that line might work.
She counts off in her head. Four…three…two…one…
Wakka crouches down so he can look Yuna in the eyes. "C'mon, smile!" He makes faces at Yuna until she giggles despite herself. "Attagirl!"
"I like you," Yuna decides firmly. "Can you tell me which way the temple is?"
"You sure you can climb back up the hill with that knee?"
Yuna blinks down at the cut. "I…think so."
Wakka grins conspiratorially at her. "Tell you what: me an' Chappu'll bring you back, make sure you don't go getting lost again, ya? Lu can come too, to scare the fiends away."
"Wakka…" Lulu says, while he and Chappu are making a chair out of their hands and encouraging Yuna to hop on.
They both ignore her. "So what's your name, little lady?" Chappu asks.
"I'm Yuna!" she replies. "Who're you?"
"I'm Chappu, and that's my big brother Wakka, and Miss Fussypants over there is Lulu."
Lulu resolves that Chappu is going to get a spell's-worth of water on his head sometime very soon. "You'll be late for blitzball practice, Wakka."
He shrugs, swinging Yuna from side to side. "I can still make it if I run back."
"I don' wanna be a bother," says Yuna.
"You're not bothering anyone," Chappu tells her. The two boys start to walk up the hill, Yuna balanced carefully between them like a dog with a broken leg. "Except for Miss Grumpy Lulu, there, and she doesn't count 'cause everything bothers her." Lulu says nothing, but a bubble of water appears over his head and drops, and suddenly she's breathing hard, like she's been running. Chappu laughs and blows his wet hair out of his face. "Especially us. See?"
"She's not just another wounded animal you can take in, you know," Lulu says, feeling compelled to be the voice of reason. "She's a human being; you can't keep her on a towel in your room at the temple."
"She's got her own room at the temple, right, Yuna?" Wakka replies. Yuna nods. "See? No problem!"
Lulu sighs. "You're missing the point, Wakka. A little girl isn't someone you can pick up by the path and adopt just like that. And if you think you can--"
"Who's talkin' about adopting her, Lu?" Wakka asks. "I'm just giving this lovely lady a lift back to the temple."
She glowers at him. "I've seen you two trying this before. Remember that bird anyone could have seen wasn't going to live? I told you not to get attached, but you--"
"Ah, c'mon, Lulu," Chappu says with a lazy grin. "Yuna's not gonna die any time soon. And weren't you the one who said yesterday you wished you had a little sister?"
"That's not the--!"
"See ya, Lu!" The two boys, Yuna sitting between them, walk on up the road. Lulu sighs again and follows, just as her friends knew she would.
Sometimes she hates that they know her so well.