Setting: Besaid, pre-canon.
Theme + Number: #85, "Small Talk".
Character/Relationship/Pairing: Wakka, Lulu, and Chappu.
Warnings: Small children. Brief discussion of death. Wow. Shock horror.
Summary: Their friendship began when a little girl came to Besaid to stay.
The girl came to the island when Wakka was five and Chappu was three. Not yet old enough to walk unsupervised down to the port, they stayed behind in the village, playing and waiting. So they didn't see her shuffle off the boat, a scowl fixed on her face. If they had, they might not have been so eager to greet her when she trudged into town with the group who had gone to meet the boat.
She was the same height as Wakka, but skinny, like a stilted beach house. She was paler than anyone living under the Besaid sun ever got, and her black dress was heavier than could be comfortable in the spring heat. She glowered at the world from under black bangs. The town's best weaver, walking next to her, kept trying to rest a hand on her shoulder. The girl just shrugged her off.
The grownups stood around in the square, talking to each other or to the people who had come outside for lunch and gossip. Wakka and Chappu ignored them; instead, they ran over to the girl, who was standing stiffly in the shade. She just stared at them.
"Hi," said Chappu around his thumb, which the best efforts of the grownups of the village at large had been unable to remove from his mouth.
"Hi!" said Wakka. "I'm Wakka, an' this is my brother Chappu, an' we live at the temple, an' we heard you were comin' on the boat, so we came out to meet you, so hi."
"Go away," said the little girl.
"Why?" Chappu asked. It was his favorite word.
"'Cause I said so."
"'Cause I don't wanna talk to stupid boys!" She glared at Chappu and saved a bit over for Wakka, on general principles.
If she was trying to scare them away, she failed spectacularly. Chappu popped his thumb out of his mouth, smiled broadly, and latched onto her leg. " 'ike you," he said indistinctly.
"Get off," the girl said, trying to push him off, but he held fast.
"He does that a lot," said Wakka cheerfully. "He's goofy. He'll stop when he gets bored. Are you gonna live at the temple? We live at the temple, an' it's nice there, but we never get to do fun stuff like go on boats. Was the boat fun? I wanna go on a boat, but Lukan says not 'til I'm older."
"Who's Lukan?" the girl asked.
"One of the priests. I like him best. He's fun." Wakka looked at the girl. "What's your name?"
"None of your business."
"It is too my business, 'cause if I'm gonna talk to you, I hafta call you something."
"Don't talk to me, then."
"That's not nice. Lukan says you should always be nice, even to goofy baby brothers who don't deserve it."
"Well, I don't wanna be nice!" the girl screamed. "I don't wanna be nice, and you can't make me! So go away and leave me alone!"
Chappu squeaked and let go of her to hide behind his brother. Wakka himself flinched back from her fury until he saw that she was crying.
"What's wrong?" he asked. "Lukan says that when you're sad, it feels better if you talk about it."
"I don't care what Lukan says," sniffed the girl, wiping her eyes viciously with the back of her hand. "Mama and Papa are dead, and it's not going to get any better no matter how much I say it. So there!"
Chappu peeked out from behind Wakka long enough to ask, "What dead?"
"Chappu, you silly, you know what dead is!" exclaimed Wakka. "It's what happens to grownups, when they get all quiet an' don't move, an' they do a Sending. You know!"
"Oh. Yeah." He looked at the girl. "Why?"
"They were on a boat," she said reluctantly, "and Sin came."
"I don't know why! It just did!" The girl's temper was back. "Now will you go away?"
"Nuh-uh!" Wakka said. "You didn't say hi yet, an' I don't know your name, an' you didn't answer my questions, an' I'm not leaving 'til you do."
"Fine," she said. "My name's Lulu. I come from Luca. I'm going to live with Aunt Rilla now. I hate boats. I got sick. Now will you go?"
"No," said Wakka flatly. "D'you wanna play with me an' Chappu. We're making a city, with a whole bunch of houses an' people."
"I don't play with boys," said Lulu, but she didn't move away when Wakka shrugged and went back to building little mounds in the dirt. Chappu joined him, laughing and squashing the houses in his wriggling. When Lulu knelt down, dragging her skirt in the dust, and started to stand twigs up in a pattern like the temple pillars, neither of them said anything, but she was automatically included in their explanations and stories.
When Lulu's aunt came to take Lulu home, Wakka grinned broadly and waved as Lulu walked away, calling, "Bye! See you tomorrow!"
"Bye!" Chappu agreed.
Lulu's aunt Rilla looked down at her niece kindly. "Did you make some new friends?"
"Maybe," Lulu said. She didn't smile, but when her aunt put a hand on Lulu's shoulder, she didn't shrug it off.