TR: Kekeke. Just a tiny break from Zanarkand University as a New Year's Gift to all of you!

Kia: Meaning, she's stuck, and she needs an excuse to think more.

Sen: *snickers*

TR: Gah…shut up you two!

Sen: Anyway…

Kia: Here it is!

Notes: text = Al Bhed

Foolish Insecurities

By: Theify Rikku

"Stop following me around, damn it," I muttered, getting slightly - OK, very, annoyed at the new recruit. I brushed my hands through my blonde hair, growing irritated every time he asked the same question. Finally, I grew so agitated, that I broke. "All right, damn it! Will you shut up if I told you?" He nodded eagerly. I grew weary all of a sudden, realizing I might be explaining how I lost my eye for a while. "OK…so it all began when I was about 6 years old…"

They had arranged a play date for me, something I definitely did not want to be going on, especially without my consent. I guess I wanted to be the boss of myself, even at that young age. I was pouting my lips off, but that didn't help me one bit. They didn't even acknowledge my pouting, and just pushed me through the door. I was greeted by an eager 5 year old and her melancholy brother.

While her brother stayed where he was, the girl rushed up to me with her large emerald eyes. Being the rude little twat I was, I planted my palm into her face and pushed her backward. She stumbled back a little bit, and her eyes stared back at me accusingly. I brushed it off and shoved my hands inside my pockets.

Her brother started laughing his head off. He fell to the floor, waving his arms maniacally. I was guessing he had some type of ADHD…or something. I shrugged that off too, and leaned against the wall. By then, the girl was bawling. I realized it wasn't only the fact that I had rejected her right off the bat, but also because when she fell, she had managed to scrape her elbow.

Her brother, although reluctantly, helped his sister up. "There, there, Rikku," he said, patting her back, although still keeping a far distance from her. So that was her name…even though my unpubertized self didn't know what I was feeling, I do now. I was starting to feel something that would develop over the years.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. I felt sorry for the kid, having such an uncaring, not to mention crazy, brother and all. So I went up to her, and pulled something out of my pocket. I handed her the red candy and said, "Here, for your troubles." She looked at me quizzically, but took it nonetheless. Now, don't get me wrong. I wasn't getting all soft. Mostly the reason I did that was Cid watching his little girl, and I didn't want to be exiled or anything. She popped the candy in her mouth, and wrapped her tiny arms around my neck. I was about to shove her off, but Cid came and interrupted.

"Hey, hey, none of that until you're 18," Cid said, prying his little princess off of me. "Go on, Brother, play with Gippal. Let me patch up Rikku's elbow." Brother looked at me awkwardly while my gaze remained nonchalant. That went on for a little while longer when he finally spoke.

"How you learn to be so mean?"Brother asked me. I scoffed at his question. "I'm Brother." I looked at him and his outstretched hand. Figuring it wouldn't hurt, I shook it. So that's how our friendship began.

"So that's how you and Brother became friends…" the recruit said when I stopped to take a breather. "Continue…"

I downed a glass of water, and continued on.

By the time a year or so passed, Brother and I were already playing in the sand that surrounded Home. We were searching for some ancient machina to dig up. It turned out Brother and I shared the same love for machina. I guess being Cid's kid, it kind of rubbed off. It was no different for Rikku. We were reluctant at first to let her play with us.

"Go away, little girl," I said, looking up from the hole Brother and I were digging. "There's no room for you here. This is only for big boys." Rikku pouted once more, tapping her foot behind her.

"That's not fair…" Rikku said. I stood up, and I looked down at her petite 7-year-old frame. I was about to shove her to the ground, but I had no idea why. I guess it was probably my way of showing that I had developed a brotherly love for her. But I couldn't bring myself to do it. I sagged my shoulders in defeat; she had used her puppy dog eyes to lure me in. No one could withstand that, not even Sin, nor Vegnagun.

"All right, Cid's little girl," I began, but was interrupted.

"I have a name! she whined. I only shrugged my shoulders and continued on.

"You can play with us, just this once," I told her. The look of joy on her face could not be surpassed. I guess she really did love machina. Secretly, I had wished that the reason she wanted to play with us specifically was because she wanted to be with me. But my ever so pessimistic mind never allowed the thought to penetrate much further.

So the years kept on in pretty much the same fashion; me never learning to stand up to the might puppy dog eyes, and Rikku knowing that I could never back down.

When I was about 16, Brother and I found a really huge machina, somewhere within the far reaches of the Bikanel Desert. We had kept this large machina a secret for four months, we wanted all the glory to ourselves. We had also managed to ditch Rikku for that amount of time.

However, one day, Rikku followed Brother and I to the desert. Brother and I spotted her, and began to run quickly away from her. I was one of the fastest runners at Home, but Brother's big bulky body was never one for endurance. So he tripped, and Rikku finally caught up to us. She was out of breath, but still had that familiar, gleaming smile on her face.

"What now, Cid's little girl?" I asked, very agitated.

"I want to go with you guys…wherever you are going…" Rikku replied. I rolled my eyes and picked the bulky brother out of the sand hole he had fallen into.

"No. I mean it this time. This is big kid work, nothing for anyone like you," I spoke, maybe with a little too much agitation in my voice, for Rikku's eyes began to tear up. I heaved a big sigh, about to let her follow us. I knew she was about ready to use her secret weapon, but I wasn't going to fall for it this time. I turned away from her. "Why do you keep following us? You know…no one really likes you…" I guess that was the weak spot. Rikku hated being hated. She clenched her tiny, 15-year-old fist into a ball, and boy had I underestimated her. She clobbered me so badly, I fell into the sand hole I had just pulled Brother out of. I looked up, and saw her face was overrun with tears. I felt so horrible, never had I felt so dreadful in my life.

I guess what I said was way out of line. When Rikku ran off, Brother glared at me and ran after her. I had to pull myself out of the sand hole. I felt so…terrible. I ran after them as soon as I pulled my lanky body out of the hole. It had been a few minutes, and they were probably quite a ways ahead. But I wasn't going to give up. I could feel the sands moving in the air and underneath my feet. A sandstorm was coming.

Within a few minutes, I had caught up to Brother, who was collapsed on the floor. Like I said, his bulky body was never one for endurance. I knelt down next to his tired figure. He was all right, just needed a little cool down.

"Which way did Rikku go?" I asked, very concerned. Brother shrugged. "Damn it! I punched my fist into the sand. I saw Cid approaching, I guess he felt the sandstorm coming as well, and left Brother there to be picked up by Cid. I ran off in any direction, determined to find that perky little girl that always brightened up my day.

I ran any which way, not knowing whether I was running in circles, away from Home, towards Home, whatever. I only had my mind set on finding Rikku. I almost gave up, but I saw her bright yellow hair, fending off a fiend in the middle of nowhere. I ran straight to her, wanting to protect her, but tripped over something. A machina! I dug it out as quickly as possible and ran to the terrified Rikku's side. I aimed the machina at the giant bird and pressed the trigger. I hit it dead on, but it did not die. I fired all the rounds, but still, it did not die

"Damned persistent fiend!" I yelled. I was too caught up in trying to protect her that I did not notice her admiring eyes glued on my frustrated body. Nor did I notice that Rikku had spotted another machina not too far away. Being the brave girl that she was, she ran to get it…to try to help me.

It was too bad the fiend had to eat her up.

"The Zu ate her!?!?!" said the recruit, almost choking on his water. I couldn't help but laugh.

"No, I was fibbing," I said, still laughing. "You looked too serious." The recruit gave me an angry face, but I ignored it and continued on.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah. Rikku got up and went to the machina to grab it for me. I was too concentrated on yelling at the machina that had no more bullets that I did not see Rikku slip away. Unfortunately, the Zu did. It moved its large body swiftly, and I looked up to see it making its way to Rikku. I dropped the no longer functioning machina and ran like the wind after it.

It was about to grasp her with one of its sharp claws, but I had made it just in time. I pushed her out of the way. If the Zu wasn't angry before…it was now. Luckily for both of us, Cid came running at us, with back-up, and the machina fired at the fiend, and it disappeared into pyreflies.

I was still holding Rikku to the ground, afraid that if I let her go, she would get into trouble again, and I wouldn't be able to save her. Finally, Cid pried me off of her, and I saw blood on the ground next to her.

"Don't tell me she dies…" the recruit interrupted.

"Damn it, you want to hear the story or not?" I asked, growing agitated by having my memories disturbed. The recruit looked scared and nodded his head. I smirked and continued on.

Once again…I continue. OK. So like I said, I was lifted off of her, and I saw a pool of blood next to her head. I grew frantic, thinking I had not succeeded in saving Rikku from danger. I fell to my knees, unable to take what my life would be like without her to brighten up each day. She was like the air I breathed. If I didn't have her, I wouldn't be able to survive. She was what kept me sane.

Finally, Cid approached me, and put a firm grip on my shoulder. "Kid, you all right?" he said, looking straight at me.

"Why are you checking on me? Look at your daughter!" I was growing frustrated at this man's incompetence.

"Son, she's fine," Cid told me. A wave of relief swept over me. "It's you who's not."
"What are you talking about?" I asked. Before I could hear Cid's reply, I fell into a pit of darkness.

"You fell into another sand hole?" the recruit asked. I ignored his inept question, and continued on.

When I awoke, I was back at home, and was feeling all right. Especially since Rikku was by my side, holding my hand. I smiled softly at her sleeping figure that was leaning on my…hospital bed. I nearly jumped out of my sheets, if it wasn't for Rikku sleeping. I breathed in deeply, probably much too deeply, for Rikku awoke.

"Gippal! You're all right…I'm so glad…" she said, half-asleep. She smiled wearily at me. I could not help but to smile in return.

"What are you talking about, you silly girl," I said, looking at her. "It's you who anyone should be worrying about." Rikku's eyes averted to the floor.

"Gippal…you don't feel it…do you?" she asked me, her voice getting slightly softer. I was more confused than ever. She helped me out of bed, and led me to the mirror. I nearly fainted from the shock, plus the fact that I wasn't fully healed yet. The whole upper right corner of my eye was covered in bandages. I shook my head slowly in disbelief. No way could this be happening to me. I felt Rikku's hand give my shoulder a squeeze reassuringly. "Gippal…I'm so sorry…you've…lost your eye. Just for me. A stupid girl." I smiled softly at her.

"No, not a stupid girl," I told her, lifting her head up so I could stare into her wonderful green eyes. "A special one…" Rikku smiled at me, tears almost forming in her eyes. "Don't cry, Rikku. You're much more beautiful when you smile." She ceased her tears, and a smile formed on her face. "Cid's litte girl…" Rikku sighed and punched me in the arm.

"Some things never change, Gippal!" she quipped. We both laughed. In fact, we laughed the whole time, until visiting hours were over. Then, she left me, and I felt alone. The next day she was given an assignment. She was to capture a summoner. I never saw her again after that…

The recruit looked at me, a saddened look on his eyes. Well, I couldn't see his eyes, but I knew that he was feeling pity for me, and I didn't want any of it. "Well, you've heard the story. Now get the hell back to work," I ordered. He saluted me and went to help someone out with the machines. I was actually glad that he had asked me that. It was a load off of my chest.

I rested my head back, but was again bothered by his voice. "What now…?" I whined.

"Someone's here to see you," he said with all seriousness. I stood up from my chair and fixed my clothing. I peered out the door, knowing it was probably someone who wanted to dig. It was. I went up to speak to the trio.

"Well…if it isn't Cid's little girl…"

TR: So…how was it?

Kia and Sen: *sleeping*

TR: -_-;; I really hope you didn't find it as boring as these two did. Anyway. Please review if you liked it. I would really appreciate it! Bye!