Summary: The Gullwings have split to continue down their own separate paths, so Rikku supposes she must as well. Nineteen still hasn't changed her undaunted, optimistic persona, and although she lives alone amongst the sticky sand dunes of Bikanel Island, she lives with pride. That is, until he entered her tent that hot summer day and things just sort of . . . happened.

Please stick with this story 'til the end of the chapter at least. The beginning is a little flat, but everything starts to pick up once you get into it, I promise!

Disclaimer: I own the plot and idea for this story, but not the characters or the places mentioned (unless I happen to create my own). I am not writing this fanfiction for profit, either.

Author's Warning: Caution when reading this. If you are easily offended, please take note that this story is rated M for language and nudity so if you are easily offended by said adult situations, please click the back button now. Thank you!

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Chapter I: Operation Recreation

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After Tidus returned to Spira, the lands began to . . . change. Not to say it was his fault, of course, but that our world began to evolve at a much more rapid pace, as if it were a growing organism, finding that a moment to stop and catch its breath a waste of time. The Al Bhed began to rebuild Zanarkand. Rebuild Zanarkand? You can't rebuild holy ground, was what everyone thought, but apparently, there were no gods to strike them down from their progress anymore, contrary to popular belief. New Yevon desperately tried to stop them from continuing their mission, saying that Zanarkand was holy ground and that it shouldn't be abused with new age technology. The Al Bhed quipped that Zanarkand was a far more elite and sophisticated city then than anything Spira's built in recent decades, and that was over a thousand years ago! Don't you think it's time that we caught up with the progress that they in the past have made? Why are we still so primitive? Machina are not evil . . .you made it evil because of your former misuse of it, mistakes you've made in the past and present that contradict the holy teachings you've managed to pass off as scripture and punish the rest of us for your ancestors' idiocy!

New Yevon's reply was silent. I thought that maybe they needed Echo Screen, and considered shipping them a few bottles worth.

After that nobody else took the effort to try and stop us, the Al Bhed, after my people's excellent arguing skills stung the opposed. In a way, I felt guilty about helping my people out. We couldn't rebuild our original home, so we hijack the ruins of a thousand year-old city and try and make it our own? It reminded me of the time that no good Pops of mine turned Zanarkand into a tourist attraction . . . the place we had cried so many unshed tears long ago. When I brought this up with Gippal, the leader of our organization (alongside Pops), he just chuckled that arrogant chuckle of his and called me silly, that we're just making use of the abandoned land around us. These ruins would have gone to waste and disintegration if we hadn't taken charge. In a way, I guess he was right; yet it just seems so . . . wrong.

I also brought my case up with Yuna and Tidus, infuriated with my people for not a single one of them would hear me out. Surely Tidus would have a comment worth hearing, right? He lived in Zanarkand himself (well, kind of)! Wouldn't he want to protect the sacred ruins we had fought so many battles in?

But all I got was an interested look from him and a thoughtful one from Yunie. "You know," he recalled, sounding intrigued, "I wouldn't mind living at home again. To be able to see the bright lights; the city that never sleeps one more time before . . . whenever I leave." And that was all the public needed to hear to be assured that the Al Bhed were in the right for recreating the city or pyre flies and rusting metal. I, surely, couldn't protest, either. I mean, if he's okay with this, why should I be bothered? He's the one who should be sensitive about this subject, so maybe I'm just being paranoid. Wakka agrees with me, though, except that doesn't help my case much. Just look at Wakka! It's sort of like agreeing with Brother! But hey, Brother's in the clear: he's for Operation Recreation all the way. Maybe we just all miss home so badly, that we'd do anything (even hijack the ruins of an ancient city) to feel apart of something once more.

Well, I guess you could say I have this gut feeling that something bad might happen from all of this. Intuition, I think it's called. I mean, so many bad things have come from Zanarkand . . . that is because of a certain dogmatist city I know. Do you think some nasty big bad will erect itself from the ruins and get its revenge upon Bevelle?

I'm a little . . . afraid.

Spira, although a revolution has been sweeping the nation, hasn't really changed all that much. Just our technology and the way our minds are branching off into broader horizons, but we're all still apart of the same old Spira. New Yevon's griping; the Youth League is pursuing a universal change, and the Al Bhed are still cranky, machina obsessed loyalists. I don't feel much different from when I was seventeen; that being only two years ago, and I feel as if this world is moving on . . . without me. Maybe I'm still upset, sad with how the Gullwings broke up a year and a half ago. I tried to keep everyone together, but . . . my actions were in vain. Pieces of our group kept foiling away, becoming a pyre fly and drifting off into the Farplane. I'd like to blame Tidus; a miniscule selfish part of me had; yet I suppose it was bound to happen…eventually.

"But . . . but you can't leave!" I cried, tugging onto Paine's arm with all my might.

"Rikku, I'm sorry, but all of my questions have been answered. Everyone is moving on with his or her lives, and maybe I should as well. I can't keep dabbling in the past," she replied coolly, yanking her arm out of my desperate grasp.

"But we still have so much more to learn! So much to see! So many spheres to uncover!" I rambled, grabbing at any excuse to keep her on the Celsius for just a moment longer.

Paine stopped at the portal and sighed, a gloved hand running across her face as fingers massaged throbbing temples. She finally turned to me and replied, softening her voice and trying to sound rational, "Please, Rikku, understand this: we are not the Gullwings anymore. Yuna and Tidus left to go live in Guadosalam to pursue a career in…politics, Shinra abandoned us to go help speed progress in Zanarkand, and Brother and Buddy seem to be growing restless without them. I'm actually surprised that I was this late in the game to finally leave. Well, enough is enough. I'll be located in Bevelle, if you ever need me." With that said, she nodded her final farewell to me and teleported to her lover, Baralai.

I was left staring at the floor, pondering on what to do with my life now. Buddy and Brother would always stand by their beloved ship, but what of me? What of poor, little ol' me? They'd find new recruits for the Gullwings shortly, and I didn't want to be apart of that select group of people . . . apart of strangers. So, I did what any desperate girl at a time like that would do . . . go back home.

Ha, much help that did. Pops was busy with Gippal and their plans the entire time I was living in Bikanel Desert, and all of the other Al Bhed were occupied as well, reconstructing torn down skyscrapers and digging up feasible parts for more helper machina. Once again, I spend my days here, on Bikanel Island (sometimes visiting Zanarkand as well, with a cheerful smile on my face and a ratchet in one hand; progress really is being made), waiting for something exciting to happen. I know this usually isn't like me, I enjoy looking for fun instead of waiting around for it to surprise my sniveling boredom, but I'm at a crossroads right now and I've already walked every crevice and corner of Spira five times around. I guess I've camped out at these crossroads for far too long, I've realized, but what is there to do but . . . wait?

That is, until he came back for me. That had to be the turning point . . . the point of no return.

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Gippal smirked at the entryway to my tent as I fiddled with a machina toy, repairing it for an Al Bhed child.

"Still tinkering with toys, Cid's girl?" He asked, shattering my silence and concentration. I jumped, startled, and dropped the toy as my hands flew into the air, letting it drop to the sand and disassemble.

"Oh, now look what you've made me do!" I exclaimed as I dropped to the floor from my springy bed and fetched the broken pieces, clambering about and shooing the sand aside to try and find the missing nuts and screws.

Gippal just laughed at my earnest search. I must've looked pretty childish, digging around like a kid in a sandbox, but I'd promised to repair this toy for a crying child! Gippal is such a jerk! He never considers anybody else's feelings but his own!

I could hear him shuffling his way through the sand to where I was crouched down, but didn't dare look up at him. Seeing that handsome mug of his would be far too painful, only to remind me that I was feeling kind of . . . well, nostalgic. So I kept at it until I found all of the missing pieces and screws and pounced up abruptly, almost knocking heads with the sneering, spiky blonde before me. He was only a few inches away. The closeness of our bodies was so sudden that I dropped all of my pieces again, each nut and bolt slipping out of my fingers one by one with soft 'puts' to the sandy floor.

"Oh, pooey . . ." I trailed off as his lone emerald-green eye burned into my own, flaming with a sadistic passion that didn't belong to Gippal. That glare of his . . . so intense, yet I found myself frozen in the limelight of his guttural gaze.

"Rikku . . . " He trailed off as well, voice husky with hidden emotion. A large hand with lengthy fingers wandered its way to my blushing cheek, the rough leather of his glove pressed against my skin. I wasn't aware of what he had in mind, why he had shown up out of the blue just to embarrass me, so I stood there and furrowed my brows wondering if I should push him away or not.

"Gippal, are you okay?" I asked, voice brushing a whisper. It was noisy outside, what with all of the expeditions and hovers driving about, yet I could only hear his breathing. He inhaled sharply and trailed both hands down the small of my back, his intense gaze never wavering from my own befuddled eyes.

Okay, this is becoming a little too close for comfort.

"Gippal, what are you doing, let go of me," I demanded and I pushed against his chiseled abdomen as he found his way to the hem of my denim skirt. Before I could smack him a good one, he sensed my intentions beforehand and pulled me against the warmth of his body with strong, unrelenting arms, head bowed to lick the lobe of my ear. His body radiated heat, scolding my bare skin as he refused to loosen his tight grip. The Bikanel Desert was already searing hot out as it is, so I was sweating bullets by the time my own warmth reacted and raced to the surface.

"Gippal," I gasped furiously as he trailed a lone hand beneath my skirt, cupping a bare cheek as his other hand pulled the fine material all the way up over my waist. He didn't say I word but I could tell by his breathing pattern that he felt cool and under control while violating me, allowing his passion to straddle him senseless. I can usually pack a good punch when the occasion calls for it . . . but now I was rendered helpless against such powerful, familiar arms. Damn g-strings.

My hand unconsciously found its way to the back of his head, caressing the soft blond roots and allowing my desire to ride me as well. My eyelids became heavy and breathing became difficult and rigid; my body needed him at that very moment. I guess I was more nostalgic than I thought. He fell on top of me on the stiff, springy bed that I slept on every night (though I didn't mind the uncomfortable tossing and turning as much as the sand in my eyes this past year), and straddled my hips. Gippal used brute force to snap open my bikini bra with anxious hands and I was fully exposed by the time my senses caught up with me.

Wait . . . this is wrong! I shouldn't be doing this! I should be fixing that toy for the kid I promised! What is wrong with Gippal? No, what is wrong with me Thoughts raced through my blurry head, every question popping up without a single decent answer. I couldn't focus; I was wet before Gippal even brushed his rough fingertips against my sensitive nipples. I could tell he was hard since his waist was pressed between my thighs, the pressure so fiery and intense it bruised. My legs were spread around his waist and I don't know how they got there, locked around his rocking hips. This is so wrong.

Before I could protest and shoo him away from my numb limbs and torso, I sighed a wordless moan. His lips were locked around my left nipple, tongue caressing the tip lightly and leaving a wet trail from one soft end to the other. In a defiant ecstasy I realized that my hands were still massaging the back of his head and, huffily remembering where and who this was, slid my fingers through his greasy spikes and yanked them back sharply, his head violently jerking up with it. He growled—growled!—and I hissed silently from the sudden pain since his teeth had violently tugged my nipple up with it. Ouch, that's gonna be bruised tomorrow.

I caught my breath as he stumbled backwards and shouted, "What are you doing? We shouldn't be doing this! This isn't like you, Gippal!" My eyes were still glued shut from the embarrassment so I couldn't read his reaction . . . but it wasn't what I had expected at all. Regaining his taut composure, Gippal wrapped large hands around my wrists and forced them down to the head of the bed with my head slamming down to the mattress with it. I felt completely helpless, locked in the shadows of his body looming over mine. He gathered both of my small wrists to one bronze hand and used the other to untie the cross-stitch of his tight, leather pants. He must've just gotten back from Zanarkand (since it's pretty cold up there) because no sane Al Bhed would wear black, skintight leather in the Bikanel Desert. Also, his bootstraps crawled all the way up to his knees, making it near impossible for him to fully remove (er, peel) his what he calls pants off, so maybe I just had sand in my eyes for thinking he was going to . . . 'unsheathe' himself. Not such a bright idea to wear an outfit like that if he ever planned on raping me that day (even if he's been wearing that same leather-clad attire ever since he decided he needed a 'change' in wardrobe almost year ago). His shirt wasn't even an actual shirt; it was just metal welded in with straps of leather to protect him from sharp machinery at work.

There's definitely no way he can rape me, I thought with false hope in the millisecond I had to conjure up a plan, those pants must be glued to his butt! And what about his underwear?

But lucky me soon found out that briefs and boxers weren't one of Gippal's top priorities. This whole time he hasn't been wearing underwear! EW! So much for the new wardrobe! He was fully exposed, lean and erect, and the only material separating us now was my orange bikini bottom. Little to say, that wasn't much; he could easily snap the string holding it all together and be inside of me before you can say Macalania Woods . . . and that was exactly what he had in mind. Gippal leered down at me masochistically and let one of his hands creep its way down to the bright string. A desperate reminder flashed across my mind right then. Duh! Your legs are still wrapped around his hips!

Right as he snapped the string, I jammed my knees into the sides of his ribs and began attacking his calves with my feet, driving the heel of my shoes into his muscled calves. He cried out in pain and loosened his grip around my wrists just long enough to let me sit up slightly and land a blow to his jaw. His head jerked to the side, body wrenching with it as his butt smacked hard onto the end of my stiff bed. There wasn't any time to cover up and Gippal would be on top of me again before my feet could ever reach the sand, so I did what I always did whenever Gippal was being a dick (or, in this case, acting with his dick): I punched his blind eye. It was still covered with that damn eye patch, but I knew what effect it had on him.

Gippal cried out in pain and clutched at the surrounding skin around his eye, but that only made him yelp out louder. A blurry wave engulfed his body as what seemed a sadistic aura began to ripple out of his pores. He cried out in pain once more and cursed a guttural word that held no meaning as the blur faded into an enigma.

"Fuck, Rikku, what was that for?" Gippal hollered after a moment of grinding bared teeth, closing his left eye tightly as I sat back down on the bed to try and catch my stolen breath.

"What was that for? What was that for!" I shouted back, drawing my foot up to my stomach and kicking him with shaken anger in the stomach. He fell to the sand and coughed noisily, desperately trying to breathe at a normal rate again. I slid off of the bed and walked around to the edge only to find him hacking hoarsely and clutching at his bruised ribs on the floor. Ugly colors began to blossom on his jaw and peeked out from underneath the patch on his eye, but I didn't pity him. He was about to . . . well, you know! I'm still a virgin! I didn't want Gippal to pop my cherry, especially if he was doing it out of force and desire, not love! So I kicked him in the stomach over and over again until he pleaded with misty eyes for me to stop. That's when I bent down and punched his still exposed privates with rippling knuckles, but he was no longer hard. In fact, after the impact I made, my fist rested there for a short second and I could feel how soft and tender it was. Gross! I thought as I yanked my arm away.

"Oh, he bleeds," I hissed through gritted teeth as his head lulled to the sand and spurted out dribbles of bright blood.

"Fuck, Rikku, please! Oh shit. Stop!" He coughed, clutching weakly at my ankle. His lips were smeared in shiny crimson that trickled down his chin and onto the sand, creating a small puddle of blood.

"Why should I?" I spat, a lone hot tear trailing down my cheek. I don't know why I was crying. Maybe I was just so upset over the fact that he tried to rape me . . . or maybe it was because I had to watch him squirm in a writhing pain that I had caused. I couldn't believe that I had just beaten the crap out of Gippal and wanted to erase all of his bruises and pangs at the same time . . . but no, no one gets away with almost slipping Rikku the hot beef injection! Not without having to answer to Mr. and Mrs. Fist, first! So I crumbled to the ground beside him and let his hand slip away from my ankle. My hand landed in the pool of blood beside him, but I didn't mind. My poor Gippal . . . what had come over him? What possessed him to do that to me? And why had I almost allowed him to do that to me? There could only be one explanation, but what?

"What did I do?" He whispered, tongue licking the drying blood off from around his lips. My shoulders heaved as I sobbed quietly, my left sandy hand reaching out to lightly finger the bruise inching around his jaw line. I felt so horrible; a stone-like lump was caught in my throat. I tried to swallow it down, but it only pained me more.

"You . . . you don't remember?" I asked confusedly as he winced beneath my touch. I pulled my hand away hastily and kept it hovering above his jaw, but didn't dare touch it again. I no longer bared the burden of anger for him, surprisingly. It evaporated like the scattered rain after a storm. I just didn't want to hate him, and I especially didn't want him to hate me.

Sometimes . . . you can feel so weak.

"I kind of remember coming in here . . . and you were messing around with some toy," he recalled, furrowing his brows. He rolled his head upward to see my shattered state and gasped to find that my bikini set had been snapped. "The rest is fuzzy. What happened there?" He asked weakly, clearly making point of my half-exposed breasts as he hastily looked away in disdain.

"You tried to . . . do something to me . . . and I kicked the crap out of you," I laughed half-heartedly, tears streaming down my cheeks and neckline. I smiled but when he didn't return the gesture, I frowned again.

Quizzical lines creased his face. He felt along his ribs to make sure none were broken and traced his hand all the way down to his . . . um, little friends. Wincing again, he covered his bruised parts with one hand while his other found it's way to my own, one that was still resting in his pool of blood. "Oh."

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A/N: Hello! Grimmy here, that was my first FFX-2 fanfic. Please take kindly to the plot, it's only just developing. I hope none of you were upset with my 'sometimes' graphic writing, and hopefully you didn't find it lame. I did, I hated writing that scene up there (well, not really . . . thinksmischievousthoughts). Okay, I take that back; I love writing scenes like that XD. Anyway, obviously, no, Gippal was not responsible for his actions, but that's all I'm going to say. Also, I'm sorry if Rikku and Gippal seem a little out of character. I don't know why, but I thought they were. Rikku should be more outgoing yet I made her seem like a house wife . . . then again, there are a lot of fanfictions out there that make an OOC Rikku and oftentimes Gippal, so I thought, "Hey, if you aren't satisfied with their work, why not make your own?" I've been writing since . . . forever! My other fanfictions are at harshdecember, an account I truly despise as of now. Gawd I sucked at writing. I hope that you found my current writing coherent and neat, because I'm a little rusty (I've been drawing more lately and have been considering an FFX-2 manga). I just want you to understand that I'm not too friendly with flames (which is if you just bash my fanfiction without criticism), but will accept thoughtful criticism, which is either relevant to my writing style or the plot. Oh yeah, I'm also a big Rikku/Gippal shipper (Rikku is so adorable! ) obviously, so expect much lemon . . . and even twice as much drama.

(chapter written in August of 2004, chapter reedited in September of 2005)