A/N: With almost 6 months of absolutely no activity, I'm back! I thought of doing a Full Metal Panic fanfic at first, but I didn't have time to re-watch all the episodes again. Since I've played FFX-2 four times already, and I had this chapter written since last month, I said hey...I'll release another one. )

A few notes about this story: It takes place roughly one year before the beginning of Final Fantasy X, and both Rikku and Gippal are 15-years-old. Home is still in one piece of course, and the feeling of this story is much more lighthearted than my other two fics. Since this features the young version of Rikku and Gippal and how they met each other, it just had to be lighter in mood.

Oh, and this story will be much shorter than the other stories I've done, but I hope you all enjoy it!

DISCLAIMER: All characters/places mentioned in FINAL FANTASY X, FINAL FANTASY X-2, and the FINAL FANTASY name belong to Square Enix. I'm just borrowing them all for a bit of fun. )

Strawberry Kisses

By Ryee

Chapter 1: Cute Intruder

"Nice job here, Rikku. It seems like you're ready to go down there on your own!" Cid exclaimed proudly, eyeing the work that his fifteen-year-old daughter managed to complete.

Rikku beamed, standing up to look down at the machina. "Thanks, Pops!"

She had just finished assembling the machina parts one by one, attached the engine, and it was now running smoothly. Only took twenty minutes this time. Not bad at all.

"Now that your job is done for the day, you're free until tomorrow," her father began, bending down to switch off the machine. It was going to be used for tomorrow's underwater dive, and it was a first for Rikku as well.

"Sure thing! I'll see ya later tonight!" Rikku replied, glad that she had the rest of the day to herself. She stood up, dusting herself off.

"Oh, Rikku. One more thing..." Cid spoke up again, following after her.

"Yeah, Pops?"

"Before you go off, I need you to stop by the house with me real quick."

Rikku paused, seeing her father scratch the back of his head. "Uh, sure. What's up?"

Cid began heading in the direction of their house. "Just something I need you to do," he replied. She began following after him, gathering up the remaining tools and carrying them in the bag.

Cid was already a good distance ahead of her, but she could easily see the high roof of their home. Above them, the sky was a brilliant blue, the sun hot, the air humid. The weather there in the desert was always that way, and she planned to spend a vacation someplace cool for once.

They had finally arrived, and Rikku waited for her father to unlock the door. He stepped in, dropping his own bag in the chair near them.

"Alright, Rikku. I need you to wait here for a bit. I'll be back soon," Cid instructed her, already heading out the door again.

"W-Whoa, wait, Pops! What's goin' on?" she asked in confusion, crossing her arms tightly across her chest.

"Just wait! I'm comin' back!" Cid exclaimed. "In the meantime, why doncha clean up or something?"

Rikku stood at the door, still holding the tool bag in one hand. Finally closing the front door, she took off her gloves and threw them on the table, moving quickly towards the bathroom.

A shower. I've worked all day, so it's the least I deserve!

Rikku reached down, kicking off her boots and pausing to grab a towel from the nearby closet. She knew she had a good twenty minutes before Cid would be coming back. He always said "in a bit," but those usually meant that he'd be gone at least 15-20 minutes.

Stepping into the shower, she couldn't help but sigh at how nice the water felt against her hot skin. She had oil and dirt all over, and it was a relief to wash all of the day's work away. Working the shampoo out of her hair, she rinsed off for another five minutes before finally switching off the water.

Rikku felt refreshed, wrapping the towel around herself and running a brush quickly through her hair.

She paused, hearing a door close outside. A frown crossed her features, wondering why Cid seemed to be early that day. For a few seconds Rikku debated with herself whether to be afraid because of a possible burglar or to just stay inside the bathroom until her dad banged on the door to get her out. If it really were a burglar, he would probably find her eventually. If it really was her dad, then he'd knock to see if she was alright...right?

Rikku held the towel tighter around herself and tucked her hair behind her ear. She took a deep breath, cursing herself for being so paranoid. But a tiny voice inside her was still frightened. She took a deep breath. Turning the doorknob, she flung the door open quickly and opened her eyes.

She felt her mouth drop at the young man who stood before her. He had a hand raised in a position as if he was about to knock on the door. An eye patch covered one eye, and his blond hair was spiked attractively. His only good eye moved down her body slowly, and for the first time Rikku snapped out of her shock, remembering that she was only wearing the towel.

Cid jumped out of his seat, alarmed at the scream. He quickly ran towards the hallway bathroom and gaped at the sight. A short towel covered his daughter, and she was screaming at the young man who was standing in front of her.

"Dad, who the heck is he?!!!" Rikku exclaimed from the other side of the closed bathroom door. She had rushed back into the bathroom in a flurry, leaving the blond young man standing speechless outside.

Cid scratched his head in embarrassment and replied through the door. "Uh...well you see, Rikku. He's the one I needed to introduce ya to. Sorry 'bout all this," Cid added to the boy. "Rikku, we'll be waiting for you in the kitchen, all right?"

Rikku leaned against the door heavily, her face a charming shade of pink. She could hear Cid chuckling as his footsteps faded away.

Argh, if only he said something!

She knew she was blushing hard, and it was all because of her stupid dad!

She stopped herself from thinking anything more and pulled on her shorts and tank top. Cursing herself for sounding like a fool earlier, she toweled her hair dry and put it up. She looked at herself in the mirror one last time before stepping out into the hall hesitantly.

Before entering the kitchen, she took a moment to make sure she looked presentable. Nothing like making a fool out of herself in front of that boy, so it didn't matter anyway, right?

Who is he, anyway?

"Ah, Rikku. You're finally out," Cid spoke up, standing from his chair and making his way over to her.

She said nothing, nodding at her father. From the corner of her eye, she could see the boy from earlier stand up as well. Still not making eye contact with him, Rikku focused her attention instead on what Cid wanted to say. She felt embarrassed looking the boy in the face.

Cid smiled apologetically to his daughter and cleared his throat, grabbing the young man by the arm and pulling him in front of Rikku.

"Uh, Rikku. This's Gippal. He's about your age, and you'll be going with him for tomorrow's dive," Cid explained, checking his watch.

Rikku looked from her father to the young man with her mouth opened in shock. He smiled sideways at her and held out a gloved hand.

"Pleasure to meet ya," he said smoothly.

She looked down at his hand and shook it hesitantly. "Nice to meet you, too..." she smiled softly.

"All right then, Rikku. I gotta get goin'. You have the day off today, so why doncha show Gippal around the base. He'll be staying with us for a while, so get to know him," Cid spoke up. He picked up his gloves and began heading out towards the front door.

Rikku stared after her father in alarm. "W-wait, Pops!" she exclaimed after him, seeing the door shut.

Oooh! I'm so mad at him! And what am I going to do about this "Gippal?!!"

She paused in her step, sighing in defeat.

"Rikku...right?" a deep voice spoke up.

"Yeah..." she answered hesitantly, still embarrassed at how he had seen her during their first encounter.

"I uh...sorry about earlier. I really didn't know you were gonna open the door!" Gippal chuckled, reaching up to smooth his hair.

Rikku studied him. It was difficult to read his expression clearly. "It's um...it's okay." She paused, seeing that he was moving closer to her. "Is it true that you're going to be staying here for a while?"

He stopped in front of her, shrugging his shoulders. "Yeah, for now. Your dad offered since he said I'd be great for the team here."

"Oh, so that's why..." Rikku trailed off. She realized that this Gippal must have some serious talent if Cid even went so far as to let him live with them.

I wonder just who he is...?

"So...where are you taking me, Cid's Girl?"

Rikku's eyes flew to him, her mouth open. "Wh-What did you just call me?!"

He laughed, wrapping an arm around her shoulder and leading them towards the door. "Your dad said to show me around...so...let's go!"

She couldn't react quick enough, since he had already taken them both out the door.

End of Chapter 1

A/N: Hope everyone liked it so far! I'll try to write the next chapter soon, and I promise that it'll be longer! )