I just want to thank everyone for the great reviews of my last chapter! I really really really appreciate it! Here's Chapter 6 for everyone! Hope you guys enjoy! And please, Read and Review!
Rikku sat at a large, square table surrounded by laughing, drinking Al Bhed men. She was in a spacioius tent that was the makeshift dining area for the Bikanel Excavation crew. Rikku was exhausted. Earlier that day, after she and Gippal had gotten settled in their sleeping areas, Nhadala had taken them on a very long, detailed tour of the Bikanel Excavation site.
Gippal had actually been very serious throughout the tour, just as if he was back to just being the Leader of the Machine Faction. Well, he was serious throughout most of the tour. He did, at one point, find it necessary to shove Rikku into the oasis pool. Rikku had been peering into the pool at a small fish swimming around, when suddenly she felt herself being shoved into the clear, blue water. She emerged from the pool with a gasp to see Gippal standing at the edge of the pool laughing.
Rikku trudged out of the pool, soaked from head to toe, and was so angry with Gippal that she didn't say a word to him for the rest of the day. She had gotten her revenge later, though, when she dumped her entire glass of ice water down the back of Gippal's shirt. She thought he was going to jump out of his skin when the icy liquid hit his back, and seeped through his clothing.
"So, how do you like having to hang around Gippal all of the time Rikku?" Nhadala's words broke Rikku's thoughts.
"Hmm? Oh Gippal. Well, I guess I am just used to him by now. I've put up with him for so long anyways." Rikku looked down the table at Gippal who was busy telling the workers about one of his battles while he was trying out for the Crimson Squad. He had changed into a long-sleeved black button-up shirt, and white cotton pants. His sandaled feet were propped up on the table casually as he laughed, flashing his perfect white teeth.
"He is a handsome one though…isn't he?" Nhadala said to Rikku, when she noticed the girl eyeing Gippal.
"Yes….he is…" Rikku said quietly. "What? Uhh…I mean….Nhadala!"
Nhadala laughed at Rikku's slip up. She whispered, "Don't worry, I won't tell him."
Rikku shook her head trying to clear it. "Well, Gippal is handsome." She thought. "Any girl can see that. But that doesn't mean that he still isn't an immature dork." Rikku stood up from her seat. "Nhadala, I'm going outside, it's too noisy in here.
She quickly exited the smoky tent into the cool desert night. The wind had died down, and a bright half moon provided just enough light for Rikku to see her surroundings. She walked towards a nearby pool of water surrounded by a few palm trees about three hundred feet away from the hustle and bustle of the dining tent. Rikku just wanted peace and quiet for a little while. She took off her shoes and sat next to the pool, and dipped her feet into the soothing cool water.
"I can't believe I am following Gippal around while he prances around this place like a chocobo on crack." Rikku thought to herself, as she leaned back on her arms. "He'll never change. I can't believe he is actually thinking of marrying someone."
Suddenly a cool breeze blew through the desert, causing Rikku to shiver. She sat up and rubbed her hands against her arms trying to get rid of the goosebumps that had popped up on them. Out of the blue, Rikku felt a large blanket fall over her shoulders. She was startled, and looked up to see Gippal standing above her. His green eye glowed in the darkness.
"Cid's girl, don't you know that the desert may be scorching during the day, but it gets very cold at night. You should know since the last time I checked you grew up in a desert…"
Rikku sighed quietly. She didn't feel like retaliating at Gippal's smart remark. She suddenly had a weird feeling in the pit of her stomach. She was out here, alone, with Gippal, who was looking down at her with a serious expression on his face.
"What are you doing out here anyways Princess? Don't you realize that your adoring public in the tent is missing you?"
Gippal plopped down next to Rikku, and she felt his arm brush against hers. He was sitting pretty close to her. He pulled off his sandals, and dug his feet down into the cool sand. Rikku didn't dare look Gippal in the eye. She was glad it was dark, so he couldn't see the blush on her cheeks. She could sense his emerald eye looking at her.
Finally she spoke quietly. "I'm just out here thinking Gippal. The tent was too noisy and too stuffy. I needed some fresh air."
Gippal took a deep breath, and laid back in the sand, folding his hands behind his head. He looked into the sky and smiled a little. "You know, when I was younger, I would sneak out of my room back at Home late at night, and just run through the desert, trying to catch up with the moon. I remember, my mother telling me that if you ran fast enough, you could touch the moon and have any wish you wanted granted."
Rikku looked over at Gippal, who was staring up at the beautiful half moon. He reached his hand towards the sky, and seemed to brush his fingers over the beautiful lunar silhouette. "Stupid, I guess. I was a stupid kid, thinking I could do something like that."
Rikku looked at Gippal's handsome profile in the moonlight. "What would you have wished for? If you did touch the moon?"
Gippal brought his arm down slowly and draped it across his chest. "I would have wished to have one more moment with my mother. Just one more moment to tell her I loved her. Never happened though Princess…Things like that just don't happen in real life."
Gippal rolled over to face Rikku and propped his head up with his arm. Rikku was looking into the sky again, counting the many stars that surrounded the moon. After a while of silence, Rikku turned to Gippal with wide eyes.
"Gippal, why are you getting married to a girl you have never met? I just don't understand how you can do it. Don't you want to marry someone because you love them?"
Gippal was taken aback by Rikku's sudden question. He didn't exactly know how to answer her. "Well, umm…" he sat up and brushed the sand from his arms before continuing. "Cid's girl, I never really thought about marriage at all before this whole thing happened. I am going to do this for my…our…people."
Rikku looked into Gippal's face and saw a shadow fall over it. Nervousness? Sadness? Rikku wasn't sure. She did know that she was feeling queasiness in her stomach. Rikku wrapped the blanket that Gippal had given her tighter around her shoulders. She felt sorry for this man who was sitting next to her. All his life he had endured hardships. From losing his parents at a young age, to the tragedy of the Crimson Squad, to now this whole situation. Now he was going to sacrifice his entire future for the safety of his people.
Gippal looked over at Rikku who reached up and wiped her cheek. He leaned in closer to her to see tears running down her cheeks. "Rikku. What is the matter?"
Suddenly, he felt the small girl's arms wrap around his neck. Gippal's eye opened wide, surprised at Rikku's surge of emotion. He had known her practically her whole life, and yet, he had never really been this close to her.
"Thank you Gippal. Thank you for doing something so selfless for our people." Gippal listened to her quiet words, and felt his pulse begin to quicken. He slowly put his arms around her back, and hugged her tightly. He felt her tears soak through his shirt.
"Rikku, don't cry. Please. Not over me. Not over this. I will marry this girl. I don't know her. I don't even know if I can make myself love her. But it is worth it, to never have to hear of another attack on our people again."
Rikku rested her head on Gippal's shoulder. She never realized how mature Gippal could actually be. She felt her heart beating quickly. What was this she was feeling? She felt so comfortable in this man's arms. Could she actually have feelings for Gippal! Even if she did have any kind of feelings for Gippal, she couldn't let them show. Not when Gippal was getting married soon.
She finally released herself from their hug and got up slowly. "Gippal, I hope you are happy with this girl. You deserve happiness for what you are doing."
Gippal stood up and attempted to put a hand on Rikku's shoulder. Rikku backed up slowly, though, and quickly turned and ran back towards camp.
Gippal bent down and picked up the blanket that Rikku had left on the ground. He swung it over his shoulder. "Damn it." He swore to himself as he watched Rikku's form disappear into her tent.
The Next Day
Rikku awoke from her restless sleep to hear Gippal's voice shouting orders at workers, and the whirring of an airship engine. Suddenly Nhadala stuck her head into Rikku's tent. "Rikku! Get up! Gippal's getting ready to leave!"
Rikku jumped out of bed. "Well tell him I said 'thanks for letting me know'!" Rikku started to gather her things quickly. Five minutes later she emerged from her tent, her thief dressphere equipped, and her hair disheveled. She spotted Gippal loading some machina parts onto their airship.
"Hey Cid's girl, nice of you to join the party."
Rikku handed her things to a nearby worker to load onto the ship. "Well thanks soooo much for letting me know you were getting ready to leave!"
"Aww Princess, you looked so peaceful this morning. Your arm draped over the bed. The lovely sounds of your snoring. The drool on your pillow." A couple workers who were loading parts near Gippal chuckled to themselves, but quickly stopped when Rikku gave them a glare.
She was slightly confused at Gippal's behavior towards her. He was acting like his old self again, even though last night he was as serious as Rikku had ever seen him. She didn't have time to work things out in her mind, though, as workers quickly moved her out of the way to finish loading up the airship.
"Gippal, what is all this? Machina Parts? Why are you loading them onto the airship?"
"We're doing a little delivery work Princess. Djose Temple is where we are heading. And then it is back to Bevelle." Nhadala approached Gippal with a comsphere. She whispered into his ear, and Gippal took the comsphere into his tent.
When he arrived inside the tent, he shut the flaps down quickly and put the comsphere up to his ear, and heard Nooj's voice loudly.
"Gippal! What the hell do you think you are doing? When will you be back?"
"Well Nooj, it took you longer than I thought to track me down."
"I shouldn't have had to track you down in the first place Gippal!"
"Oh Noojie-Woojie, don't worry. The Princess and I will be back in less than 24 hours. Are the 'Guests of Honor' there yet?" Gippal rolled his eyes. Good thing the comsphere was audio only, and not video too.
"They're here Gippal. Arrived on time yesterday. They are doing nothing but waiting on you. We told them that you were very ill in your room. The Praetor isn't stupid, though, he won't wait much longer. Don't mess this up."
"Alright, Alright. We are heading back. Tell the Praetor to keep his panties on."
"Just get here Gippal." Nooj said as the comsphere convo ended abruptly. Gippal sighed as he walked slowly out of the tent. "Time to get back to reality." He thought.
Rikku sat at the control panel on the airship that Gippal was piloting and sighed quietly. She looked over at him. He was sitting in the pilot's seat, concentrating on the horizon. He hadn't said much to her since they had taken off. It almost seemed like his cheerful spirit had disappeared since he knew that he was to be returning to Bevelle soon..
Rikku had wanted to say numerous times, "Let's just keep going Gippal! We don't have to go back to Bevelle!" Rikku knew that Gippal would never do that though. He had made a promise, and she knew that if there was one thing Gippal was good at, it was keeping his word.
Almost as if Gippal could feel Rikku looking at him, he turned and looked into her eyes. Rikku felt her pulse quicken, and she swiftly broke his gaze, and pretended to take immense interest in the navigational screen in front of her. Rikku now knew that she was having romantic feelings towards Gippal, but there was a lot of confusion mixed with those feelings. She knew she could never let Gippal see that she had these feelings.
For one thing, she was his hired bodyguard, and bodyguards did not have romantic relationships with their clients. Rikku was hired to do a job, and she was going to do it to the best of her ability. And for another thing, Gippal was engaged.
Suddenly the airship came to a stop. Rikku looked out the front windows to see the electrified Djose Temple, and a dark gray sky that surrounded it. It looked as if it was going to pour rain any minute.
"Come on Princess, wake up. Time to move this machina." Gippal stood up and stretched.
Rikku jumped up from her seat and followed Gippal outside. The were greeted by numerous Al Bhed, all shaking Gippal's hand, and patting Rikku on the shoulder.
After the excitement had died down, Gippal stood on the airship's cargo dock, and yelled, "Ymm nekrd oui Al Bhed tukc! Fa haat du kad du fung! E'ja kud haf machina!" (All right you Al bhed dogs! We need to get to work! I've got new machina!)
The workers all buzzed with excitement. They all followed their leader, who was acting like he had never been away. Rikku smiled a little as she watched Gippal flash everyone a grin, and begin to hand out boxes of machina parts to the various workers. Rikku decided to stand to the side, out of all the excitement. She had a headache anyways.
Rikku was suddenly startled by a bolt of lightning flashing across the sky, followed by a loud clap of thunder. Then the sky opened up and the rain came down in sheets. Al Bhed workers scrambled everywhere, trying to get the valuable machina parts into the temple. Rikku could barely see through the rain, but she could hear Gippal shouting orders in Al Bhed in the distance. Another bolt of lighting lit up the darkened area, and Rikku saw Gippal handing the remaining machina parts to a worker, then Gippal took off running into Djose Temple to escape the pounding rain.
"Hey wait up!" Rikku yelled. She ran quickly towards the entrance of Djose Temple. Right before she reached the front door, she stepped into a small hole that was filled with water, and fell forwards, bumping her head hard, into the side of the stairs. Rikku's eyes glazed over as everything went black.
Later that Night
"I don't know…..What am I….Yes I realize I was supposed to be back…but there was….."
Rikku heard a deep voice trailing in and out of her consciousness. She opened her eyes slightly to see Gippal's blurry form standing at the door of the room she was in. He looked as if he was speaking into a comsphere.
Rikku sat upright quickly and the room began to spin. "Oogh….where am I?"
She looked down to find herself sitting on a large bed, covered by a soft blue down blanket.
"Princess, you are such a klutz." Gippal had finished his conversation, and was now standing next to the bed she lay in.
"Where am I?" She asked again, looking around the large room.
"You're in my room Princess. Remember? Djose Temple? Machina Parts? You fall down go boom?"
Rikku looked up at Gippal, who was grinning. "Well, I don't see what you find so funny. That fall really hurt!" Rikku rubbed the small bump that had formed on the side of her head. "Owwie! Who were you talking to?"
Gippal sighed. "I was talking to Nooj. Telling him what had happened to you, and telling him that we would be delayed coming back to Bevelle."
Gippal went over to his dresser and began to search through his drawers. He finally pulled out a large white t-shirt and a pair of old sweat pants. He tossed them to Rikku.
"Here blondie, throw these on. They may be a little big, but they will do for the night. Besides, anything will be better than what you have on. Your clothes are soaked, and covered in mud." Gippal pointed to Rikku's colorful scarf and her shoes that were in a pile on the floor.
Rikku suddenly realized she was lying in Gippal's bed! She felt under the cover she had draped over herself, and was thankful to feel her bikini top, and skirt were still on her. They were very cold and wet, though.
"Were staying the night here?" She practically yelled at Gippal, who was again searching through his drawers.
"Yes, Princess, we have no choice. I don't know if you noticed, but there is a huge storm outside. I'm not flying through that. Besides you've been out for hours. It's almost midnight. Too late to fly back anyways." Gippal pulled out a pair of black shorts and went behind a small curtained area in the corner of the room.
Rikku heard him shuffling around, and knew that he was changing out of his clothes.
"What is he going to do? Sleep in the bed with me?" Rikku jumped quickly out of the bed, her head still hurting. Gippal emerged from behind the curtain, and Rikku's eyes widened.
"What's the matter Princess? Never seen a guy with his shirt off?" Gippal had nothing on but the black shorts he had thrown on. His tan, muscular body was picture perfect. He walked over to his dresser, and threw his clothes in a pile on the floor with Rikku's scarf and shoes.
He looked over at Rikku, who was still gaping at him. "Princess, you are filthy. Go and change over there. There's a wash bin behind the curtain too. Wash your face and arms off."
"Gippal! What are you thinking? This isn't some sort of slumber party! Isn't there another room I could stay in? Or a room you could go to? I'm not sleeping in the same bed as you!"
Gippal laughed loudly, the muscles in his stomach rippling. "Cid's girl. Come on! Do you really think I would want to sleep in the same room as you if I had a choice? There are no other rooms in this temple that aren't filled to the brim with machina or machina parts. Even the two spare bedrooms are full of shit. Of course, you could sleep in the worker's quarters. I'm sure they would love to have your company." Gippal winked at Rikku.
"Great. Just Great. Well I will just sleep…on the floor." Rikku went behind the curtain where Gippal had changed, and pulled off her dirty bikini top and her skirt. She took the washcloth from the washbasin that was behind the curtain, and dipped it in the basin's warm water. She ran the cloth over her face and body, washing away the dried muddy water that had caked her skin. She felt her hair, and decided that she could do nothing about that. She would have to shower when she got back to Bevelle. She threw on the t-shirt, and slipped into the sweats Gippal had given her. Both of them were too big for her, but they would do just for the night. At least they covered her body, and right now she needed warmth. The cold rain from outside had chilled her to the bone.
When she emerged from behind the curtain, she saw that Gippal was laying the blanket on the floor beside the bed, and he was throwing a couple of pillows on the floor. Rikku breathed deeply as she couldn't help but notice how handsome he looked. How the black shorts he wore brought out the deep golden color in his skin, and left little to her imagination, which was running wild at the moment.
She walked slowly over to where Gippal was, and grabbed one of the pillows on the floor, and began to fluff it. She knew that she would need it to be as comfy as possible since she was lying on the hard floor. She put the pillow down, and started to lie on the floor when Gippal said, "Princess, what are you doing? That's my spot, get up on the bed."
Rikku looked up at Gippal who was holding a black sheet, most likely to cover himself with.
"Wha? Gippal, this is your bed. You should sleep there."
Gippal took a deep breath, and grabbed Rikku gently by the arm, practically lifting her up from the floor and shoving her into the bed.
"Oh Princess, I insist. Wouldn't want you reporting back to daddy, that I treated you like a commoner!" Gippal laughed as he plopped himself down on the floor and covered up with the black sheet. "Be a doll, though, and turn off the light switch. I'm beat."
He grinned up at Rikku who just sat on his bed giving him an evil glare.
"Do you always have to make such stupid comments?" She said loudly, jumping up, and pulling up the sweats he had given her. They had almost slipped to her ankles as she walked over to the light switch and flicked it. The entire room was engulfed in darkness, and Rikku was glad for this. She didn't want Gippal to see the smile on her face as she got back into his bed, and snuggled down into the soft covers.
End of Chapter 6
Well, I am almost done with the next chapter, and I was really having a hard time writing a little snippet of it….
Can you guys give me your opninon? A scene in my next chapter was becoming a little graphic (sexually I mean) Not TOO graphic now….just a little more than I've written in a story before…I must've written and re-written it about 10 times! I can't decide if I want a scene like that in this story, or if I should keep the innocence. (because this story is pretty innocent so far) What do you guys think?
And thanks again for the reviews! You are all AWESOME!