Author's Note: You guys know the deal. I don't own FFX-2 or any of the characters. I want to thank the person who inspired me for this fic – Brandi – and the person who read all my chapters faithfully and kept me going – Lee. I couldn't have done it without you guys.
Please feel free to review and tell me how I can get better. Normally I don't post to since I have a webpage of my own where I house fics, but I thought the universe could use some more Nooj/Gippal/Baralai-centric stories.
Gippal's face lit up when he opened the long-forgotten treasure box around the back of the dome in Zanarkand. "Hey guys?" He looked back over his shoulder toward Baralai and Nooj who were exploring and fiendhunting in the ruined city. The search for Spira's true past had not abated since the defeat of Shuyin and the destruction of Vegnagun -- if anything, it had picked up more for the three former members of the Crimson Squad. "Guys?" Gippal called, turning his eye back on the treasure inside the box, "Come here and look at this."
"If there's anything an Al Bhed can't resist, it's something shiny buried in a box," Baralai teased gently as he came to Gippal's side, supporting himself with his hand on Gippal's back as he crouched down to look at the incredibly shiny, light-filled object nestled inside velvet in the chest. "Whoa... it's a sphere," he said, reaching his hands out to take it in his palms.
Gippal smacked him on the wrist. "I found it first, it's mine to--"
"Don't touch it."
The two young men looked up at Nooj, who had suddenly come to stand above them. He was eyeing the sphere suspiciously through those glasses he wore low on his nose, appraising it. "Aw, why not?" Gippal objected, leaning forward to get a closer look.
"Because it's a dress sphere."
"A dress sphere?" Baralai looked at it closely now, too. "How can you tell?"
"There are no playback options," Nooj pointed out flatly, taking Gippal by the elbow and hauling him to his feet. "Now, leave it--"
"But someone else could find it," Gippal insisted, wrenching himself out of Nooj's grasp. "It's mine, I don't care what it is!"
"I thought these things were created, from old broken spheres," Baralai said, still gazing at it, mesmerized.
"They are," Nooj replied, his interest piqued by Baralai's observation. "But this one is obviously old... but, then again, sphere technology is an old craft..."
"No, wait, remember what Yuna said about her dress sphere?" Gippal crouched back down again, looking at the sphere in awe. "That Lenne girl... something about how spheres carry the emotions and memories of their previous owners."
"Like at that concert," Baralai murmured, "she said that she became Lenne."
"Dress spheres are so girly," Gippal muttered, but with a grin on his face. "I wonder how they work..."
"No, don't touch it," Baralai exclaimed, reaching out and grabbing Gippal's wrist before he could take the sphere. "It's dangerous. You don't know what it could do to you... we should take it back and have it examined."
"Are you kidding?" Gippal laughed and pulled his hand away from Baralai. "The worst it's gonna do is change my clothes. That's what dress spheres do, right?"
"Mostly," Nooj replied, looking over at Gippal now. "But considering that this one is here of all places... it can't be normal."
"Tch," Gippal replied, waving his hand flippantly. "Live life on the edge, guys. At worst, I'm gonna wind up wearing some skimpy dress, then you guys can have a good laugh."
Before the other two could stop him, Gippal reached forward and put both of his palms on the sphere.
Instantly, light engulfed him and when it abated, Gippal was gone.
"Hey, we never got to use these much, might as well!"
"If you want. There's nothing that can get us here."
"Alright, here we go!"
Gippal's vision swarmed around him for moments before it cleared, and he fell back, startled. Everything looked so strange, like he was in a completely different world. The light was bright, and there were leaves and flowers...
"Rikku!" he said, so happy to see the familiar Al Bhed girl that he forgot to call her by the stupid nickname that she hated so much, and with a burst of energy, he ran over to her.
But things were so strange, it was almost as if he couldn't see straight. He practically ran into her, throwing himself off balance.
Before he knew it, Rikku had picked him up in her arms. How she was able to do this, Gippal wasn't really sure, but he was relieved to have some sort of balance and support.
"Aww, you're awfully affectionate," she said patting him on the head and looking at him with that inquisitive look that Rikku was well-known for.
Gippal rolled his eyes. Wait... eyes? Plural?
He put his hands up over his face. No eyepatch. No eyepatch! He had both of his eyes!
How was this possible?
Was it the dress sphere?
"What's his name?" Gippal looked over to see that it was Yuna, the High Summoner, who had said that to Rikku.
Worst of all, she was looking at him with that same look on her face. Ugh, and she was running her fingers over his scalp... it felt so good, and Gippal couldn't help but to lean his head into the affection.
But he was pissed that Yuna didn't remember his name! How could she forget?? She had only, like, saved the world with his help! He looked at her, putting on the most discontent look he could muster. And he pouted.
"Aww!" Rikku squealed, practically right in his ear. "He's so adorable!"
Gippal really wished Rikku would quit it. He wasn't adorable, damnit. Drop dead sexy, maybe, but not adorable.
"So, what good is he?"
Gippal looked over now. Okay, that was definitely Paine who had said that. Man, it was nice to have two eyes! He didn't have to turn his head all the way around to see someone. But seeing Paine was so much better than seeing Rikku, and Gippal immediately dislodged himself from Rikku's grasp and went to hide behind Paine. Why were these girls acting so strangely around him?
"Oh, he likes you, Paine!" Rikku clapped her hands together and peeked around Paine's body at Gippal.
Gippal hid further, but his efforts were thwarted when Paine reached around and grabbed him by the waist and shoved him into Rikku's waiting hands. Gah, back in that girl's grasp! Had to get away...
"So, come on Rikku, what's his name?" Yuna pleaded, running her hands down Gippal's spine now. Why was she doing that?
"I don't know, why don't we ask him?" Rikku looked down at Gippal and raised her eyebrows expectantly.
Gippal didn't know what to do. Not even Rikku recognized him? Or Paine? What in Spira was going on?
Oh wait! He remembered now! The dress sphere! And he had two eyes... it must have completely changed his appearance. They probably didn't recognize him because of the dress sphere. It made perfect sense. "It's me, Gippal," he said, looking back up at Rikku. Hah, bet that was unexpected! He wished there was a mirror so he could see himself.
"What did he say?" Yuna asked, looking down at Gippal's face.
"I dunno," Rikku replied, patting Gippal's nose. Gippal wished she would just stop. "What'd you say again, boy?"
Gippal sighed. "Gippal! It's me!"
Rikku giggled. "Well, I can't understand what you're saying, but I guess I didn't expect that. Though it sounds like you said 'Ghiki', so that'll be your name!"
"Ghiki?" Gippal replied incredulously, rolling his eyes. "You're just playing with me now, come on..."
"Good thing we never used this sphere in battle," Paine remarked in her usual flat manner. "You two would have spent too much time standing around gawking at the monkey and we would have been dead before we got anything accomplished."
"MONKEY?!" Gippal was furious. How dare Paine call him something like that?? "What did I ever do to deserve to be called a--"
"He's getting a little hyper, Rikku," Yuna said, putting her hand on Gippal's head again. "Maybe you'd better change back before he wakes up Uncle Cid..."
"Yeah, that's a good idea," Rikku replied sadly, patting Gippal on the head. "Sorry boy. Maybe sometime when Pops isn't sleeping, I'll bring you out to play again and see what you can do, k?"
"No, wait, Rikku," Gippal tried to protest, but before he got very far, his vision went blurry again, and a strong light came out of nowhere and he was lost in it once again.
Gippal shook his head, his vision clearing, and returning to normal. "...guys?" It was so nice to be called by his actual name.
"Hey, hey," Baralai said, and it was then that Gippal realized that Baralai was cradling him in his arms. How embarrassing. "What happened to you?"
"Let him recover his senses," Nooj said, offering Gippal some water. "I imagine getting sucked into a sphere has quite the effect on the equilibrium."
"Sucked... into... a sphere...?" Gippal thought he had lost his mind. Maybe he had just passed out and had some really weird dream. Regardless, he took the water and quenched his dry throat with it.
"Yeah," Baralai said, allowing Gippal to sit up a little more. "You put your hands on it, then there was this light, and you were gone..."
"And you reappeared just now, but it's been almost ten minutes," Nooj added, wincing a little as he adjusted the way he was sitting on the ground. Gippal made a mental note to have a look at the mechanics of Nooj's leg later.
"Ugh," Gippal replied eloquently. He had a headache. "I think I passed out, and had this really messed up dream..."
"We kept hearing you shouting your name, and some other things," Baralai said gently, looking back over at the sphere, "from inside, I mean."
"What did you dream?" Nooj offered the water again.
Gippal took the water... again. He felt like such a pansy. "I was with the girls, you know, the Gullwings," he explained finally, "but they were acting all weird. Like they couldn't understand what I was saying, and they kept calling me 'cute' and 'adorable' and acting like they didn't recognize me."
"Well, cute and adorable aside, it is a dress sphere," Nooj said with a smirk. "Your entire appearance was probably changed--"
"I had two eyes," Gippal broke in suddenly. He put his hands to his face... the eyepatch was back. Only one eye, as if his depth perception didn't indicate that right off.
"--okay, but I've never heard about them adding body parts," Nooj finished, that smirk disappearing from his face.
"It was so weird," Gippal continued, lowering his head. "And Paine called me a monkey!"
"A monkey?" Baralai looked like he was repressing a snicker.
Nooj, however, was not successful in his similar attempts.
"Jackasses," Gippal muttered, and then laid back fully on the ground.
"Probably better than being a monkey," Nooj replied flatly.
Baralai's voice broke the momentary tension. "So, what do we do with it?"
"We should keep it," Nooj answered, shifting his weight and making various parts of his leg clink together.
"Man, you've gotta let me look at that when we get back to camp," Gippal said, lifting his head and looking at Nooj. "That thing's been making too much noise."
Nooj didn't respond.
"I guess we're taking it then," Baralai said quietly, looking at the sphere. "But maybe we should talk to Lady Yuna about this before we do anything else..."