A/N: There's a lot of giggling in this chapter. I dont know why. XD

Thanks for all the reviews so far! It's always good to see other Tikku fans out there!

Chapter 2: My Summer Love

Rikku raced ahead of the other two girls as they made their way across the island of Besaid to the beach, where Brother waited with the Celsius. As she reached the waterfalls, she slowed down to gaze up at the cascading waters shimmering above her, the sun's rays scattered and turned to liquid as they shone through. She smiled.

Rikku loved Besaid, if for no other reason than it reminded her so much of him. The bright sun, blue sky, warm sand, cool waters... everything here somehow brought a memory of him to her mind: a smile, a laugh, a touch.

Her favorite thing to do here was to explore and find a nice, secret spot that seemed untouched by time, and just lie down and watch the clouds pass by. They used to do that together, on the pilgrimage, whenever they could steal a moment from the worrying and the thinking to just live, to just breathe in the air and cast all their cares to the wind. It was the only thing that kept her sane during that time.

"Hellooo, Spira to Rikku!" She spun around to find her cousin watching her with a particularly curious smile.

Paine stood behind Yuna, also amused. "Were you distracted by something shiny?"

Rikku laughed, slightly embarassed. "Hehehe... Yeah, I was." The admission sent all three girls into a fit of laughter, even the normally composed Paine.

Once they had all calmed down, they set down the island path together. Yuna turned to her cousin and smiled. "So, Rikku... tell us about this new ship you helped Gippal design!"

Paine raised an eyebrow. "You helped design the Highwind?"

Rikku giggled. "Yup-yup! But no telling secrets until the the big unvealing tomorrow!"

Yuna sported a mock-frown. "Aww, no fair, Rikku! Can't you tell us just a little?"

"Nope! I promised Gippal I'd keep it a secret, and a secret's what it's gonna stay!" She laughed as Yuna tried her best to pout. "But why don't we ask Paine to tell us all about what she and the guys will be doing now that they finally get to man their own ship?"

"Oh! Yes, Paine, tell us about your plans!"

Paine shot a glare at Rikku, but humored her friends anyway. "Well, we're going to be taking on an exploratory mission."

Yuna's eyes widened. "Ooh! You mean, like discovering brave new worlds and that sort of thing?"

Paine smiled at Yuna's enthusiasm. "Yeah, that sort of thing. Really, it's just glorified cartography, but it'll be fun to be back with the guys again."

"And they're gonna be looking for secret islands and hidden caves and buried treasure!" Rikku gestured wildly for emphasis. "Just like pirates! Arr!" She threw a hand over one eye and scowled. Yuna giggled.

"Stop that, you look like Gippal," Paine scolded. At this, Yuna and Rikku erupted in a fit of giggles. Paine smirked. "Heh."

They rounded the path, coming up on the hidden cave. Rikku playfully hopped down the moss-covered steps, watching the sunlight and shadows dance beneath her. As she reached the bottom, a mischievous look ran across her face, and she shouted back to the other girls."Race ya!"

Before Yuna and Paine could react, Rikku was already running onto the beach. "H-Hey!" "That's not fair!"

Rikku skidded to a stop in the sand just in front of her brother. She leaned forward with her hands on her knees, laughing and trying to catch her breath as Yuna and Paine jogged towards her.

"Hullo, beach babies!" Brother greeted the two girls warmly, his arms outstretched in a comical manner.

"It's 'babes'. And, ew. No." Rikku grimaced and stood up, her exaggerated expression of disgust sharing that same cartoonish quality as her brother's odd movements.

"What?" Brother innocently turned to his sister and shrugged. "Fine." He turned to lead the way up the ramp to the ship, arms helicoptering at his sides. "Let's gooo, babies!"

Rikku sighed loudly, annoyed, as Yuna, for lack of a better reaction, laughed nervously.

As they boarded the ship, Paine set out to ease the tension.

"One-man sideshow," she shot.

And suddenly, once again, the two cousins were bursting into laughter. Paine smiled.

My Summer Love: Cleared!