Disclaimer: I hope you've figured out by now that I do not own Final Fantasy X-2 and Square-Enix does.
Chapter Eight: You Gotta Have Fayth
This was it, she thought, the white light engulfing her. They were going back.
The heat from the light faded and Rikku opened her eyes. Gippal was nowhere to be seen so she wasn't sure if it had worked. She tentatively raised one of her arms in front of her face, looking away until she couldn't take the tension anymore. Was it her arm? Or Gippal's?
Okay. One… Two… Three…
She quickly chanced a glance at the arm in front of her and found that it was hers. She cried out in happiness, recognizing the voice as her own as well. It had worked! They were back. She got to her feet to look for Gippal. Where had he gone?
Suddenly and unexpectedly, Rikku felt an arm wrap around her neck and the unmistakable feeling of a noogie.
"Guess who?" Gippal's voice rang out.
"You big jerk!" She tried to sound angry but the thrill at being back in her own body won out. "We're back…"
"I still can't figure out is why this whole mess happened in the first place. Why did the machina cause us to switch bodies?"
"I can answer that for you."
A short hooded figure appeared from out ofa flash of light.
"Who're you?" Gippal asked, sounding quite rude.
"It's the fayth," Rikku answered quietly. What was the fayth doing here?
"Alright then, why did this happen?" Gippal demanded.
"It's kind of a funny story actually. You see, we, that is to say us on the Farplane, were bored and you two were just hanging around here on Spira so…"
"Wait," Gippal interrupted, having a shrewd suspicion where this was going, "what about the machina? When I fixed it we switched back!"
"Ah yes," the fayth said, "about that. It really had nothing to do with you two switching bodies. We were just really, really, bored."
"You guys have that kind of power?" Rikku interjected.
"Of course. Exchanging souls between bodies is nothing for us," the fayth answered.
"But-" Gippal started.
"As I said, we were bored to death, no pun intended."
The room suddenly went dark. Both Rikku and Gippal had fainted.
Author's Notes: The end. I told you it was going to be short. I had to put a twist on the ending. I love a good twist ending :) So the machina had nothing to do with it :) Unexpected, yes? I hope you all have enjoyed it. I certainly have enjoyed writing it. The Leblanc-Ormi switch was joked about in an earlier chapter and I threw it in at the last minute. It will not be resolved, by me at least. If anyone wants to use that idea they can. I'd love to read it.
Thanks for your comments about how you write your stories. The best ideas usually come to me as I'm typing it up on the computer (or before I go to bed :) ).
Thank you to all reviewers. I honestly never thought this fic would have become as popular as it did and would not have finished it without your constant support. When I posted the first chapter I wasn't sure people would like it at all. So it was really a big surprise (that people liked it and that I actually finished it). Thank you to:
rikku luver, J06, Lacus Clyne, dragonmaster, Riu, BlueEyes11142000, Rainbow Phoenix, Fanfic-Lover, Master Thief, I'm just a person, kingleby, Al bhed Princess, Shikamaru11, Jezzi, Static Raven, ty5yh47t, Naanaami, Knight-Goddess, Evil is Sexy, milkie, Minako, Rikku, Ying Ying 54, Terra, Dreamcherry5000, Steel Balrog, Rena, Shara, K14princess-Rock, Call Me Baka, oOoDancingQueenoOo, Mikusan, Rikku SWiRLS, witchyinuyashagurl, RatherNotTell, FlyHigh4Life, fightingcomet, CloudRox1, Andrea Roberts, crazycari, Jezzi, Auron's Fan, Procrastinator-staring2moro, DiamondLucy, tasuki's love, Soulstorm, MJP, habbo, BlueEyedRikku and ChloKes, amanda, hahahafds, Rayne-Shadow-Goddess ...
… And all future reviewers (you're out there, aren't you?) You're all wonderful. Now, please enjoy the following one-shot. A cute Rikku/Gippal fic.
Rating: G (or K)
Genre: General/Fluff (when will fluff get its own category?)
Summary: Rikku's excited about her first day of first grade. But what happens when she brings a special friend that attracts the attention of the wrong sort of people?
The Teddy Bear
Rikku smiled at her reflection in the mirror as she brushed her golden-blonde pigtails. This was it. Her first day in first grade at Bikanel Elementary. She had been dreaming of this day for months. Now that it was finally here she was about to burst with excitement. She put down the brush and walked over to her bed, the covers strewn haphazardly across it. A bear sat amid the chaos, a small, rust-colored teddy bear with black button eyes and olive green overalls. Rikku looked at it fondly before picking it up and hugging it tightly in her arms.
"Hello Mr. Teddy, are you ready for school?" she whispered to the bear.
Its eyes caught the glint of the early morning sunlight and Rikku knew it was just as excited for the day as she was.
"Mornin' Pops," Rikku said happily as she entered the kitchen, bear in hand. Cid muttered a sleepy good morning before returning to hide behind his morning newspaper. Rikku scrambled up onto her chair, sitting Teddy in front of a box of cereal, while pouring a bowl of her own. She wolfed it down at record speed. "Caw we goh twoo skew now?"
Cid looked up from the paper, plainly confused.
Rikku swallowed and asked again. "Can we go to school now?"
He chuckled. "Not yet. Go wake yer lazy brother up."
She slid off her chair but before she could make it to the stairs, the aforementioned lazy brother appeared in the doorway.
"No need. He is here," Brother said, performing a series of over the top gestures with his hands.
Rikku giggled. Cid, however, did not look amused.
"What did I tell you about those tattoos, boy?"
"Relax, old man, they're only temporary."
Rikku took a closer look at Brother and saw that indeed some of the wild pattern was already rubbing off. Brother had been nagging Cid for ages to get real tattoos but so far Cid was winning that battle. 'It's not right fer a boy yer age to have those things' Cid argued. If Cid relented the next thing Brother would want would be a mohawk.
"Well, come on then," Cid grumbled taking one last look at Brother, "let's go." He grabbed the car keys and headed out the door.
Brother followed, doing some grumbling of his own. Rikku only managed to catch something like "useless old man" before grabbing Teddy and hurrying after Brother.
Five minutes later Cid pulled up in front of the school. Rikku had her face pressed to the window. The moment the car rolled to a stop she flung herself out the door.
"Seeyouloveyoubye!" she shouted running towards the building.
Passing through the gates she saw kids playing tag. She thought about approaching some of them and asking if she could join but decided against it. She was suddenly overcome by nerves. Brother caught up to her but was soon hailed over by his friend Buddy, leaving Rikku alone.
After wondering what to do for a few more minutes she finally settled on the swings. They weren't being used at the moment and they would be a good spot to just sit and watch. She wandered over to the rusty swing set, Teddy in hand.
"Hey look at the baby."
Rikku looked up. Three boys, not much older than she was, had approached the swings with huge smirks on their faces. It was the tallest among them who had spoken.
"I'm not a baby!" she challenged, her usual spunk showing through as her nerves were forgotten.
"If you're not a baby then what are you doing with this?" The tall boy ripped Teddy easily from her arms.
"Hey give that back!" Rikku jumped off the swings and lunged at the boy, trying desperately to snatch Teddy.
"Give that back," he mocked, holding Teddy high in the air above Rikku's head. His friends laughed.
Tears ran down Rikku's face as she continued to try and grab the bear. "Please give it back, it's precious to me!"
"You hear that boys? The baby wants her precious dolly back!"
They laughed again.
"Here, Wedge, catch!"
The tall boy tossed the bear to one of the other boys. Wedge laughed before tossing it to the third boy.
Biggs fumbled the bear, tearing its arm. Rikku cried out but the boys continued their game of catch.
"Ha ha, see how much you can rip it," the first boy called out as he once again lobbed it to Wedge.
"No, stop it!"
"Sorry, baby, we-"
"Ow!" Biggs suddenly cried out, rubbing the back of his head. "Something hit me!"
"Don't be such a- Ow! Something hit me, too."
Suddenly the three bullies were showered by incoming rocks, well, pebbles really.
"Let's get out of here!"
The boys dropped the bear and ran out of sight, covering their heads to prevent any future rock attacks.
"Hey, you alright?"
Rikku looked up at the sound of the voice. A boy stood there. He had spiky golden locks and friendly green eyes. A slingshot stuck out of the pocket of his loose fitting cargo pants.
"I can't stand jerks who pick on girls," he said with disgust. He picked up Rikku's bear which now looked as if it had been through the war. Both its arms were missing and its overalls were completely ripped off. One of its button eyes was gone and both legs were hanging by mere threads. "Is this yours?" he asked kindly.
Rikku nodded, blinking the tears out of her eyes. Teddy, her Teddy was…
The boy smiled. "I can tell this bear is important to you." He handed her the bear. She took it.
"It was my mother's. She gave it to me before she died." Rikku's voice, which had been so strong up to this point, faltered at these words. Here she was telling a complete stranger something very personal. No not a stranger, she reminded herself. Her savior.
"I'm sorry," he said awkwardly. "But I'm sure he can be fixed up in no time."
Rikku shook her head. She had a distinct feeling that Teddy would never be the same. "No, I don't think so."
The bell rang causing the students to stampede toward the doors. Most of them were chatting happily. Rikku had a hard time believing she had been like them just this morning. She took one last look at Teddy before reluctantly tossing it in a nearby trashcan and following the others inside.
Rikku found it difficult to concentrate the rest of the day. Miss Lulu's lessons on addition and subtraction seeped out of her brain as soon as they had entered. That bear had meant everything to her. Her mother had entrusted Rikku with its care as her mother had done before her. Rikku remembered how excited she had been when she received it as a present on her fifth birthday. She had always loved and admired the bear, how its eyes sparkled in the pre-dawn light and how it felt when she touched its head. After her mother had fallen ill and passed away the next year, Teddy was all Rikku had left to remind her of her mother. But that was all gone now.
"Rikku? Rikku?" Miss Lulu's voice snapped Rikku out of her daydreaming. "Aren't you going home now, dear?"
Rikku looked around and noticed all the other kids had gone. The bell must have already rung. Face flushed with embarrassment, Rikku muttered goodbye to Miss Lulu as she hurried out of the classroom to meet Brother.
By some miracle Brother was still hanging around outside the school for her. He grumbled something about how it was rude to make people wait before stomping off toward home. Rikku followed; extremely relieved he wasn't in a talkative mood. She didn't feel much like talking right now.
Once they reached home, Rikku scrambled up the stairs to her bedroom. She shut the door, fresh tears falling as she thought of Teddy. She ran across the room and flopped face down on the bed. What did she do to deserve this?
An hour later, Rikku heard Cid come home from work. Normally she would get up and greet him but understandably didn't feel like it today. Instead she continued to stare up at the ceiling, just listening to the sounds around her. She heard Cid ask Brother where she was. He muttered something about her "going upstairs a while ago." A few seconds later Cid's footsteps thumped up the stairs and approached Rikku's door. He knocked a few times but Rikku didn't answer. She really needed to be alone right now. Finally he got the message and went back down the stairs.
The next morning Rikku woke up and headed down stairs with considerable less gusto than she had the previous day. Cid looked up from his paper, a concerned expression on his face, but said nothing. She made herself a piece of toast and sat down quietly at the table with a glass of orange juice. Brother entered the kitchen a few seconds later and immediately became aware of the subdued atmosphere. He glanced briefly at Rikku before he sat down in front of his bowl of cereal.
Fifteen minutes later Cid snatched up the car keys and Rikku and Brother silently followed him out the door.
The school loomed in front of Rikku. It looked ten times bigger than it did yesterday. She took a deep breath and stepped through the gates, Brother at her side. He opened his mouth to say something but decided against it. Instead he put his hand on her shoulder in a reassuring sort of way and wandered off to find Buddy.
"Rikku!" a voice called her name.
She looked behind her. It was the boy who had saved her yesterday. He was running down the sidewalk toward the school, waving his arm in greeting. He stopped in front of her, panting slightly.
"I'm glad I caught you," he said through short breaths. "I didn't know if I'd ever see you again."
"How did you know my name?" Rikku asked curiously. Surely this was not the most important point of conversation right now but she was sure she had never seen this boy before, aside from yesterday of course.
"I've been stalking you for a while now," he answered with a completely straight face. At the expression on Rikku's face he cracked a smile. "Just kidding, I heard it from the boy with the weird tattoos. He was calling you."
He held out a small rust colored teddy bear with a red ribbon tied around its neck. It almost looked like Rikku's old bear. His face turned slightly pink as he spoke, "Um, here, this is for you. I hope its okay. If you don't want it, I'll understand."
Rikku reached out to take the bear, finding something odd when she held it. "This-this is my bear. But how did you-?"
"After school yesterday, I picked him out of the trash. I knew I could make him as good as new for you. I tried my hardest to make him look like he did before but…" he shrugged in defeat.
Rikku smiled. "It's perfect."
A light blush fell upon the boy's face. "O-oh."
She hugged the bear close, taking comfort in the familiar feel of its fur on her skin. "I don't know how to thank you for this."
"Your smiling face is thanks enough," he answered honestly.
Now it was Rikku's turn to blush.
The boy turned to leave.
"Wait!" Rikku called out, just realizing something. "I don't even know your name!"
He spun around, a huge grin on his face. "It's Gippal."
"Gippal," she whispered. She looked down at her bear. "Teddy, your new name is Gippal."
Author's Notes: That was a pretty long one-shot if I do say so myself. It came to me as I was going to sleep :) I was thinking of the episode of Cardcaptor Sakura, "Sakura, Shaoran and the Elevator." What did you think of it?
I finished reading (and re-reading) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince this weekend (as I'm sure many of you have). I love it :) And I also got this chapter up like I said I would. Well, thank you all again (how many times have I said thank you throughout this fic? I'm sure it's a record) and please leave a review :)