Final Fantasy and it's charcters belongs to Square. My ownership begins and ends with the words.

A short one-shot written before and for Elsewhere. Can be taken as one of the many nights Gippal recalls during his nighttime thoughts during the aforementioned story, or not at all. My take on probably why nothing happened between them so early.

Drabble. 500 words.

Shounen ai; Gibbara

Under the Sandy Sheets

Training is becoming more stressful than he imagined. But training for the Crimson Squad is meant for battle, where people will most certainly die, where things should be taken seriously. However, drills were blown out of proportion as of lately. A young man was nearly dismissed for tripping during a lap.

Gippal is sure his comrades know. Only, they don't talk about it. Why would they?

He knows he's lucky to be where he is, but as an Al Bhed, he doesn't wonder how long it will last. Perhaps all the Al Bhed mislead themselves, but for now he can let go of the past, of what he was taught will do no good to hold on to for too long.

Things happen, he knows.

So he didn't expect to make comrades. Actually, more like friends, if he were allowed to say that. All because the one in their squad from Bevelle—Bevelle—had been the one to start a conversation. A pitiful beginning from an almost equally pitiful boy, but the more Gippal looks at Baralai, it seems less so and then more so, as if he were sad and happy all at once.

He's unused to feeling more than one emotion at a time. He doesn't know what to do so he does nothing.

Maybe the spirals of giddiness and despair could be a result of the endless training and the heavy air emitted from the other tired squads, but Gippal isn't so sure anymore.

Sometimes, Gippal will look at his comrades, his friends, and think they will disappear. He cares about Paine, even Nooj, but he worries about Baralai.

Some nights, they would have to share beds. Baralai wouldn't really mind sharing their rationed blankets with him. A courtesy to Paine because she was female, plus Nooj wasn't really a touchy kind of person. Gippal almost shudders, wanting to slap himself for even thinking of sleeping next to Nooj, under the same blanket.

He hadn't seen many girls, the type he would normally date, around, so the lack of female energy might've been a factor to his odd thoughts, but no one else appeared affected.

Baralai confused him in that way. Yet, Baralai manages to be different, lacking faith in Yevon, questioning temple teachings. It's a soothing breath of fresh air, among the drama of Sin's coming.

Maybe it's the reason they get along. Of course, it could've been the missions, the sun, and the confinement.

On nights when they sleep next to each other, Gippal doesn't even notice when he watches Baralai sleeping. He doesn't know if Paine ever sees or if it bothers Nooj.

When he stares at Baralai's dark face, he gets to thinking—about stupid things that have no meaning and end, but those ideas flee without telling him, leaving him with nothing but the presence other boy. A few times, he's touched that face, wondering things he won't admit, for to do so would mean trouble. Gippal isn't ready to fall through.

~©Dec2003 JokaJoker