Meet Me At…

Ten minutes…

The silver-haired Praetor sighed, unceremoniously dropping his hand to his side after looking at his watch. He was a touch edgy, which he usually wasn't he has a knack for keeping his cool, but when it came to a certain blonde-haired Al-Bhed…

Baralai frowned beneath his high collar.

Gippal always had this kind of effect on him… and it irritated him to no end. Even back during the time of Sin, when they were on the Crimson Squad together with Paine and Nooj, Gippal always found a way to get under his skin. Almost like… he ENJOYED it.

Knowing Gippal, he did.

Not that Baralai didn't make an effort to ignore the moron. Maybe not 'ignore', but rather not show his feelings to him. However that only seemed to make Gippal more determined. Either that, or Baralai's control was slipping.

Baralai didn't want to think Gippal smart enough to see through his mask. But he also didn't want to admit that his prized self control was being dissolved by an overactive, one-eyed, cocky, SOB Al-Bhed.

Baralai rubbed his face.

For all his faults slowly appearing before his eyes, he waited. And waited, and waited. Baralai, being who he was, always arrived at a destination early. Not to mention (much to his irritation) he arrived a whole half an hour early due to his excitement to see Gippal. He hasn't seen any of his friends for so long…

And Gippal… Being who HE was always arrived late, and usually being chased by something.

Like the time they adventured into a cave while on the Crimson Squad, and decided to spread out, meeting back at the entrance in one hours time. Gippal was a half an hour late and had a whole family of bears hot on his tail.

Or the time they went through the Djose Pass. They all had decided the day before to meet outside the hotel with chocobos at 9:30 am. Gippal woke up late and managed to piss off the heard of chocobos while trying to get one to ride. Fleeing from angry birds while riding two-zie on a quickly angering bird, wasn't Baralai's idea of fun.

And how about the time they were enjoying themselves in the Calm Lands. Gippal wasn't late then, they had nowhere to go, but he did come running up with a hive of bees following. Nooj wanted to kill him…

Baralai winced physically.

Then… there was the time right before the meeting of Spira, the whole gang, Yuna, Rikku, Paine, Nooj, himself and Gippal wanted to go to dinner before everyone set off on their own. Gippal was twenty minutes late, and he came barreling down the street… with a flock of love-stuck Yevonite girls chasing.

The Praetor was much desired among women, with his beautiful silver hair, and soft tan skin, light on his feet, and poised composure. He was used to women flocking over him, this was nothing new…

However, he had never been so afraid of women before in his life.

They were hunting Gippal down with a look in their eyes that Baralai had never seen before. Like… they were starving to death, and Gippal had the last apple in the whole world.

Through all of that, Gippal just laughed and gave his cocky smile.

That irritated Baralai even more. His frown darkened.

And here he was, standing at the corner of the restaurant that Gippal specified in his note (that he slipped under the door of Baralai's office. Baralai had to read the note four times to figure out what it said, Gippal has horrible handwriting) with… he looked at his watch again, seven minutes until 7:00 pm when Gippal said to meet.

Baralai crossed his arms and calmly leaned against the brick building. He might as well get comfortable; it was going to be a while. He suppressed his annoyance.

Why did he do this to him? Why is it that Gippal was the only person in the whole world that really gave Baralai such a serge of emotions?

Several things all at once hit Baralai like a tidal wave.

He was wild.

He was outgoing.

He was stupid.

He was charming.

He was tall.

He was funny.

He was clumsy.

He was carefree.

He was a good fighter.

He was a bad dresser.

He was always hungry.

He was annoying.

He was there when needed.

He lightened the mood.

He was handsome.

He was cute.

He was muscular.

He was… REALLY charming.

He has… every trait that Baralai liked and hated all at the same time.

It was irritating, whatever Baralai failed at in his personality, Gippal was bound to have.

For a while, Baralai played with the fact that maybe he had a crush on the Al-Bhed. It made sense to him, as to why Gippal got under his skin. Still made sense to him, but he pushed that thought down into his stomach with an uneasy gulp. There was no point in torturing himself over a love that he knew would never happen.

Gippal liked girls. End of story.

Even so… the thought to him still felt odd… As with women, men also enjoyed the many wonderful traits of the young Praetor. So therefore he was used to men being in the flock as well. But the thought had never really crossed his mind as to falling for the same gender.

Until Gippal that is.

Again, Gippal is the cause of so many emotional struggles within the Praetor. And that annoyed him.

Baralai looked at his watch again.

Five minutes.

Despite himself, the anticipation was killing him. He could almost hear every deafening tick of his watch. His eyes darted to every last person who walked by in an almost paranoid frenzy.

Heh, maybe edgy wasn't the best way to describe his mood.

It was more like panic.

Baralai was panicking.

His feelings for the Al-Bhed had developed during their friendship… but he hadn't REALIZED his feelings until they last parted, about six months ago.

Would he still feel the same?

Had Gippal changed?

What if he can't control his emotions?

What if in his attempt to control his emotions he ends up pushing Gippal away?

Will they be able to pick things back up as best friends?

What would they talk about?

What if they don't have anything in common anymore?

What if while he's eating he chokes?

What if he trips and falls?

What if he trips Gippal, and HE falls!

Yep, Baralai was panicking.

He took a deep breath and rubbed at his bandana. Calm down, don't panic. It was just Gippal after all. Forget your feelings for him, respect his taste for women. A friend is the best you're going to be able to get from him.

And that, despite the aching twang in his heart, made him feel better. His frown lightened, ever so slightly. He absent-mindedly pushed his silver bangs from his face.

After a moment he sighed again, and began to enjoy the night. The sun was setting in Bevelle and gave the city a romantic crimson glow. Baralai loved the sunset. It always seemed to calm him.

Suddenly, he heard loud footsteps to his right. He looked, and sure enough there was Gippal off in the distance running like a bat out of hell towards the Praetor.

He wore the same outfit as he did six months ago, much like Baralai, with only mild modifications. Same hair cut… same eye patch. Baralai couldn't help but smirk.

Even seeing the Al-Bhed running towards him, he didn't panic. Looking at Gippal made his heart stop hurting. Gippal had a way of jumbling his emotions up, but also had a way of setting them back in place. That also irritated Baralai, but he didn't let it bother him.

He glanced at his watch again… 6:58 pm… Hmm. Gippal looked the same, but something in him changed. Baralai could see that just by Gippal being on time.

Baralai pushed himself from the wall just as Gippal came skidding to a stop before him. The Al-Bhed leaned in a bent over position for several seconds gasping for air, and putting his hand against the wall for support, then quickly as if nothing was wrong, he grabbed Baralai's hand.

Baralai's heart stopped beating.

Gippal jerked it toward him and peered at the Praetor's expensive watch. Triumph crossing his sun beaten face in a wickedly handsome grin.

Something in Gippal really had changed. Baralai took his hand back and did his best to hide his grin beneath his collar. He smoothed the wrinkles in his robes as Gippal stretched his back.

Gippal's triumphant grin faded to an almost shy charming smile.

Baralai melted before the Al-Bhed, but he maintained his composure.

"It's good to see you again, 'Lai." Gippal almost whispered. He held out his hand, seeming to try and give the Praetor something.

Immediately Baralai put on his friendly smile and began to reply. "It's good to see—" He abruptly stopped when he noticed the object in Gippal's hand.

A single white rose.


Author's Notes: You like? I wrote this for my best friends 19th birthday. She's begging me to write Gippal's side and I'm not sure if I will. If this ends up having two chapters, then I did write Gippal's side. XD This story is for all the Gippalai lovers in the world. Because there is just not enough Gippalai out there. XP