Disclaimer: I do not own anything from Final Fantasy x-2.
A/N: Ok…I had help with this fanfic, so I don't all the credit of it. The quotes on every chappie are actually real quotes, so I don't take any credit for them either… (sighs) the first few parts of this chappie will be kinda boring, so I hope you guys won't mind and continue to read it.
In this story, Gippal and Rikku don't know each other. And they will be kinda OOC.
Nwaiz! I do hope y'all enjoy my latest fanfic!
Now, on with the story…
Wedding is destiny, and hanging likewise
Gippal turned and strode across the endless entryway, the heels of his boots clicking loudly on the black Italian marble squares. He took the wide oak staircase two steps at a time.
This was his first visit in more than four months; he'd been too busy working at the Machine Faction. And his father was ill, possibly dying. He felt his heart rate quicken with fear.
He turned at the top of the steps toward the east wing and quickly made his way down the huge carpeted corridor to the large double doors that opened onto his father's bedroom. He raised a gloved hand to knock, shook his head at himself, and quietly let himself in. His father's bedchamber was vast, very warm, and in the early evening, it was filled with long depressing shadows.
Gold brocade curtains were drawn over the windows, and for a moment Gippal felt his breathing quicken at the feeling of being closed in. His eyes went to the grandly ornate bed on its three-foot dais. He could make out his father's form, but the dim lighting shadowed his face.
"Dad." Gippal said, stepping onto the dais and leaning down to the quiet figure. "I'm here."
His father slipped a bony hand from beneath the brocade coverlet to clasp his son's strong fingers. "It's about time, boy."
He met his father's intense hooded green eyes, eyes a shade darker than his own, and lightly touched his fingertips to the thick silver hair, smoothing it back from his broad forehead.
"Yes." He said. "I came as quickly from Djose Temple as I could. I received your message last night. How're you feeling, dad?"
"Could be my last prayers." His father said, his voice sounding more frail then before, weaker. "Well, it doesn't matter. I've had a full life and a son to be proud of to carry on my line."
"You're not going to die, dad. Where is your doctor?"
"In the kitchen, doubtless stuffing his mouth with Albert's ham." His father turned his head on the pillow and coughed.
The cough was dry and harsh. Gippal felt himself grow cold with fear, felt his throat choke with tears, and he clutched his father's hand tightly, wishing that he could give him strength. "What did he say?"
Chandos slowly eased his head back on the pillow, his eyes closing a moment. When he opened them on his son's face, Gippal felt seared by their intensity. "He gives me perhaps two or three more weeks. The fool wants to bleed my life away but I won't let him."
"No, dad, you are right. I remember…from my Crimson Squad Days."
Chandos heard the deep pain in his son's voice, and said softly. "You saw too much, my boy. But you're strong; you survived from the horrors in that Cave. The horror of it will grow less, you will see. Now, I must speak to you, Gippal."
"You're tired, dad." Gippal began.
"No," his father said firmly. "Listen to me. I will live to see your wife, see that you take that wife, as you promised to do."
Gippal stiffened at those words. That damnable oath! He'd forgotten; perhaps he'd wanted to forget about it.
Gippal slowly seated himself on the edge of his father's bed. The time had come and there was no way out of it, he knew. For nearly a year now he'd managed to escape the inevitable, throwing himself into work and sometimes into the wildness and ceaseless fun of Luca—gambling, drinking, fighting.
A wife. I don't want a damned wife, not now. But what hope do I have?
"Go to Bikanel Island, son, and chose a wife, then bring her to me."
I don't want to marry some little savage from Bikanel Island, tie myself to a female I've never even seen, all because of your damned honor, your ridiculous oath made when I was 9!
Instead, he said: "Yes, Dad. I will leave soon. I suppose it would be only fair to send a message to Cid and inform him of my coming."
"Conyon has already seen to it. He sent a message via the CommSphere two days ago. You may leave in the morning."
"I am well caught." Gippal said, more to himself then to his father.
Honor. Is a damnable thing.
He'd said something of a sort a year before when his father had told him of the oath, told him it was his responsibility to make good on that oath. Indeed, he remembered yelling at his father that he should marry one of the girls himself. "It's you who owe Cid your life, not me. Why don't you make one of his daughters your wife? Why leg-shackle me to some unknown girl? I did nothing, save be your damned son!"
"You've the choice of three young ladies. I'm sure one of them is certain to please you. Cid wouldn't birth any Malboro's. You are fortunate that none of the daughters had yet married."
"So you're said, many times." Gippal said, and sighed deeply.
"You're nearly twenty-one, son. Time to set up your nursery and ensure the succession." The old man allowed himself to cough again, his frail shoulders shaking.
"Yes, I promise." Gippal said quickly, pain at his father's distress holding back his bitterness. He thought of Constance, well-dowered and beautiful, still hopeful of a proposal from him that would never come, that would have never come in any case. He couldn't believe that he would marry a nobody with no wealth and no connections, all because Cid, leader of the Al Bhed, had saved his father's life in the Moonflow 13 years before.
And I am the prize. For what that's worth to anyone.
"Life is very unexpected." He said aloud.
"Damn right." said Chandos, his voice rumbling and deep. "You are tired, my boy, and you must rest before your journey. You will bid farewell to me in the morning."
"Dad." Gippal said, and his father knew his son was frightened that his dad would be dead by morning.
"No, Gippal. I shall be fine—for several weeks yet. I will live to see your wife, it's a promise."
Gippal felt tears clog his throat and shook his head. "You have never broken a promise to me." He said, "Never."
"I do not intend to begin now. Go now, my boy. I wish you well with your courting."
It was dismissal and Gippal rose as quickly as he had when he was younger, heeding his father's orders.
"I will return with my bride as soon as possible." Gippal said, turned, then paused a moment. "You will be all right."
"I will be waiting." Chandos said. "Gippal…"
Gippal stared down at his father, trying to control the burning tears that threatened to overflow.
"You are my son, and I'm damned proud of you."
Gippal could only nod. He turned and strode from the bedchamber.
At seven o'clock the following morning, Gippal bid his father good-bye, relieved that he looked no weaker. He had a hard journey before him, five days to reach the Bikanel Deserts, where Cid lived. Another week to select one of the daughters, then a couple of days to let her ready herself for her marriage, then five days to return.
"We're going to Bikanel Island." Grunyon, his personal assistant, said the obvious after some twenty miles of silence on Gippal's airship.
"Yes." Gippal said between his teeth. "To get me married."
Grunyon sighed deeply. He sincerely doubted that life would be pleasant in the near future.
Rikku stood at the northwestern edge of the Oasis, staring out over the calm, clear water. A cloud drifted across the sun and the air chilled suddenly. She wrapped her shawl about her shoulders, knotting it over her breasts.
It was absolutely silent.
She wouldn't leave here. Never. She felt a frisson of dread as she played again in her mind the incredible scene with her father just an hour before. One of her sisters would have to leave. She didn't want to think about it, but she couldn't help herself.
Rikku, her older sister, Sister, and seventeen-year-old Rielle (a/n: yeah, I will be using Rielle in this fanfic again) were seated in the sparse and severe drawing room. Their father strode into the room.
Cid, leader of the Al Bhed, a formidable man, tall, barrel-chested, completely bald, paused before his array of daughters, looking at each of them in a judging way.
"Dad, what is it?" Rielle asked, fidgeting on the edge of her chair. "Kennard is to visit and I must see to my face."
"I think." Rikku said, studying her father's face, noting the barely suppressed excitement in his green eyes, eyes the same color as hers. "That we are about to see a performance of a Family Drama."
A smile played about Cid's mouth at his daughter's tart voice and words. "Have you nothing to add, Sister?" he asked his eldest daughter, his voice bland.
"No, father." Sister said in her calm, well-modulated voice.
Cid walked with light steps to the fireplace and leaned his shoulders against the mantelpiece. "I have three very lovely daughters." he announced. "You, my dear Sister, are all of twenty-three now, ready to be a wife and a mother. Despite your occasional lapses into the artistic realm, and your vagueness, you're a good soul." At this double-edged compliment, Sister started, staring at her father, but his attention was now fastened on Rielle. "And you, child, are but seventeen. But a grown woman, nonetheless, you are bright, bubbly, vain, probably too pretty for your own good, and spoiled."
"But it's true and you know it…however, you too would make a passable wife, if your husband took the time to beat the foolishness out of ya." He turned to his last daughter.
"I'm ready." Rikku said, grinning and crossing her hands over her breasts in a martyr's pose. "Bring out your finest artillery, Pops."
"You, Rikku." Cid said, unperturbed, "are a handful. Willful, too independent, a mouth that won't be silenced, and damn excellent with machina. You would be sorely missed by our people were you selected." He didn't add that he would be the one who would miss her the most; he didn't have to. She knew it.
"Selected for what?" asked Rielle. "Dad, please! Kennard will be here shortly, and I must—
"Marriage." Cid said, interrupting Rielle. "One of you is shortly to be wed."
There was a moment of stunned silence, then a volley of exclamations.
"Whatever do you mean, father?" Sister said, her voice at attention.
"Oh crap! What should I wear?" Rielle wailed, quickly reviewing her wardrobe.
"This is an altogether stupid display of drama!" Rikku said, cutting to the core.
"The man who will make his selection is the son of a friend of mine. A very rich son, to be exact. He will arrive shortly."
There was another moment shocked silence; then Rikku said, laughing, "What a joke, Pops! What would a proud rich man have to do with us? Come, I wish to go outside. Finish your joke and be done with us."
"Rikku…" Cid said with awful calm. "Shut ye Trap."
"Who is he, Dad?" Rielle asked, cocking her head to one side. It was a pose she'd practiced before the mirror for many hours. She knew it made her thick hair tumble seductively over her right shoulder, showing off her slender neck. She would save her special pout for a more appropriate moment. "Is he a relation we didn't know of? How weird."
"No, not really. But he soon will be." Said her father, not noticing her feminine efforts.
Rikku sat forward in her chair. "Tell us." She said, her voice suddenly tense, for she knew when her Pops was serious and when he was not. He meant what he said now, and she felt suddenly frightened.
Cid responded to the seriousness of Rikku's voice, and said. "Listen well, all of you. It all began thirteen years ago, just after your mother died in childbirth. I was in the Moonflow, returning from visiting a friend. It was late and a dark moonless night and had started to rain. I sought shelter. Instead I found a villainous nest of bandits. They'd captured my rich friend, planned to butcher him after they'd gotten some ransom money."
"In any case, I saved his skin. He was most grateful, as you can imagine. The short and long of it was that he offered me anything—money most likely was on his mind. I'd lost your mother, and was feeling like a miserable excuse for a man. That was why I risked my hide for the fellow. I simply didn't care. In any case, I never intended at that time to remarry. And I had three daughters whose futures were uncertain. I told him that I wanted a husband for one of my daughters. He agreed."
"That was a long time ago," Rikku said sharply, breaking the silence. "A very long time ago. I have difficulty believing your rich friend would truly give up his son, particularly to an Al Bhed nobody. That is not the way marriages are made."
"Lord Chandos is a man of honor." Cid said, his voice a bit cold and formidable. "Now girls, have you any questions?"
"Questions!" Rikku jumped to her feet. "You've never said a word about any of this! This is outrageous! Marry a man none of us has ever seen? What could you be thinking about, Pops? What if he is a toad? As ugly as a Sand Worm? What if we all hate him? I can't imagine he could possibly have much fondness for us!"
"Fondness had nothing to do with this." Said Cid sharply. "He will be here shortly and…well, look each of you over, I expect. The advantages can't be lost, even on you, Rikku. The one he selects will be able to help the others. A season in Djose, then in Luca and Besaid. New clothes, parties, eligible gentleman, all that."
"It's stupid!" Rikku shouted.
"Shut up, Rikku." Rielle said, her green eyes narrowing in thought. "There are three of us, what makes you think he would select you?"
Because Rikku is beautiful, intelligent, loving, and only occasionally willful. She is more like me then any of you, and has grown beautifully and matured quite well over the years. Cid thought.
"What's his name and what does he look like, Dad?" Rielle asked, cutting to the root of the matter.
"Gippal is his name and he is Al Bhed, just like us. He is a fine-looking young man, so Chandos has told me." Cid said.
"I wonder if he's interesting enough to paint." Said Sister in a wistful voice.
"Do you know, Dad, what kind of lady he likes?" Rielle asked, trying another plasticized ploy of running her fingers through a lazy curl of blonde hair on her shoulder.
Cid was quiet a moment, marveling at the different tracks his daughters' minds took; he remembered the words from Chandos' last letter. "Yes, a bit." He said. "He evidently fancies ladies who're charming, witty, very happy, in fact, and of course beautiful."
Rielle laughed her gayest laugh. "Ah, how wonderful!"
"All of you are pretty enough to attract his attention." Cid added, "So we needn't concern ourselves about that. I'm sure it will be a simple matter of personal taste, and none of you girls—I repeat, none of you—will be jealous of the one he picks."
The questions had flowed on and on until Rikku was ready to scream. She'd escaped as quickly as possible, tugged on old walking boots, and made her way to the Oasis.
"What a horrible mess." She said aloud.
It came to Rikku suddenly and she leapt to her feet, staring over the still gray water of the Oasis.
I will ensure he doesn't want me. He wants a witty, charming, happy female. Well, I shall be boring, timid, shy, rude, a nobody.
She touched a hand to her thick, braided hair that was quite a wild hairstyle.
A bun, I think. Yes, a very severe bun at the back of my neck. A sweater—my old gray one, I think, should do it. It would make this Gippal bilious. And a sampler to stitch—there must be one somewhere, perhaps tucked away in the nursery.
She wasn't really undermining her father's plans, she decided, turning away from the shore. Gippal would be happier with either Sister or Rielle as a wife. She was merely reducing the field, saving the poor man time and effort.
Smiling, she strode from the Oasis and back towards her Home.
I should never want to go to Djose for one of their insane Seasons.
TO BE CONTINUED…
A/N: That's it for the first chappie. So what do you guys think? I have the feeling that it's a bit too serious at the moment, but I do promise that it'll be more mental a few chappies later.
Nwaiz! Next chappie will be posted next week!