forgive my quick ramblings, i promise that they aren't important and welcome you to skip them entirely. this story--part one, i ought to say--was born out of boredom. my normal fanfictions tend towards the painfully long and gen and actioney, so a fanfiction like this--silly, silly inconsiquencial ramblings--makes me wary by default. nevertheless, i've decided to join the rikku/gippal bandwagon by posting this here; we'll see how badly everyone takes it, huh? i apologize for any hideous abuses to characterization, humor, and writing skills i may make in this fanfiction... i love cuteness, but writing it isn't my forte.worries aside, i do sincerely hope you enjoy (part one) of this little story.


DALLIANCE

The problem with Djose is that it is permanently overcast. This bugs me. I like rain more then I should, being from the desert, and I like sun because good weather is, well, good weather, and the problem Djose has is that it can never decide which it should be. It's always a little chilly around here, a little damp, and a little cloudy. I don't get it. Luca isn't that far and can be having a heat wave, but up here we'll just be having drizzles of rain. Nhadala figures it has something to do with the mountains and the Moonflow, but the more superstitious think it has to do with the fact that the temple was lightning based.

By the way, it's not like there was any real thought put into the Machine Faction. It's not like I choose the temple out of symbolism the way the Youth League flocked around Mushroom Rock and the Djose Shore, or out of habit like New Yevon and Bevelle. This place was just conveniently located, pre-built and empty. That's all. People put way too much thought into things sometimes. Not everything is symbolic.

That day, it was raining. As mentioned, I like rain. Back in Home, we used to have huge parties when it rained because the event was so rare, and growing up in anticipation of every little cloud never really fades away. I was in a pretty good mood when I took my first break of the day, even though production itself sucked and Nhadala was about two weeks late in sending much-needed parts over. I had just stepped outside the temple to smoke—I know it's bad for me, but I'm nothing if not easily addicted to crap—and there was Rikku.

There was Rikku, and there wasn't Paine and Lady Yuna, which was pretty weird since the three of them are basically inseparable. And Rikku looked different, too. Shifty, kinda nervous. Like she had just stolen something valuable, and was worried people were going to chase after her, but she was walking towards the temple so I couldn't think of anything she could have stolen—yet, anyway. You never know with Rikku. She looks all cute, and flirts, and when you lean in close she's liable to pick your pocket and yeah I do mean that literarily. At any rate, I threw my cigarette over the edge of the bridge real quick, 'cause Rikku hates smoking—because of Cid, I guess—and always hounds me about it when she catches me in the act.

By the time she notices me, I'm leaning against the railing with my back to the chasm, all casual-like. It wasn't raining at that second, just misting a little, which is relevant only because otherwise I'm not sure what Rikku would be thinking, wearing a bikini top for a shirt. "It's you," she said, hesitating almost before walking over to me direct, "And none of that Cid's girl crap today," Rikku added with a cautionary kinda glare. We're speaking in Al Bhed, of course—I'm just translating it for you 'cause I'm a nice guy.

But anyway, I'm pretty wary by now because Rikku is nothing if not happy all the time, and she seems pretty upset today for some reason. She sat herself up on the railing—she's only clumsy when she's thinking about it—next to me like that was the plan all along.

"You okay?" I asked, after Rikku very uncharacteristically was quiet for about a minute and a half.

"Yeah," Rikku says, and then changes her mind, "No. I mean, I should be okay, but I'm not."

That made about zero sense, and I told her so. She began to swing her legs, hitting them one by one against the stone, and she wrinkled her nose. "It's just that… since Tidus came back," Tidus, by the way, is the name of this blond Blitzball player that Lady Yuna has this thing for. He used to be dead, now he isn't, and I don't really get it either. Rikku continued, thoughtful, "Yunie hasn't really been hanging out much. And I know it's 'cause she's happy he's back, and I'm happy too, but Tidus isn't hanging out with me either and…"

"You're feeling left out?" I asked, kinda amused by the idea. Rikku wrinkles her nose at me, looking really cute instead of annoyed, like she probably hoped.

"So I came here," Rikku finished, swinging her legs unevenly some more and thunking them against the rail. "You gotta have something interesting for me to do, right?"

"Where's Paine?" I ask. If Rikku can't stand to be around the lovebirds, Paine certainly can't either, and knowing her she's likely to get caught in some sort of trouble. Rikku and Paine are both great fighters, but Rikku is better at escaping and doesn't like to fight alone. Paine is too stubborn for that, she'd rather get mauled then run or admit she needed help. Without someone around to supervise, Paine's liable to get in over her head, you know?

She likes to act like she's a great master swordsman, but it's a fact that she didn't learn to fight until the Crimson Squad, because we got sick of having to protect her on top of watching our own backs. Nooj basically shoved a sword at her one day—the not pointy side of a sword—told her 'learn to use it,' and after that she joined me and Baralai in learning the fine art of Not Stabbing Yourself With It.

But I digress. Rikku went all red and her face went all crinkly and that meant she was mad. She hopped down from the rail and marched towards the temple, ignoring my question. Confused, I followed.

She marched over to Naida—Naida used to work at Rin's and used to be an amateur Blitzball player, now she's a reserve for the Psyches and works for me—and, ignoring me completely, smiled. "Got any job openings?" Naida is in charge of recruiting workers for in the temple. She looked at me and then back at Rikku.

"I guess so," Naida said after Rikku continued to ignore me glaring at her. "Let me get my book." She walked away to get her book, looking confused.

"Ri—ikku," I drawled, poking Rikku in the side, "Why're you pissed at me, huh?"

"Paine's in Kilika," Rikku snaps, and it takes me a minute to figure out that a) she's answering my question from five minutes ago and b) she's mad at me because I wanted to know where Paine was. This didn't really make much sense, though.

And then it occurred to me. "Oh!" I exclaimed, "I get it! You know, there's no need to be jealous. Paine totally isn't my type. She's too… Paineish."

"I'm not jealous!" Rikku exclaimed, a little too loudly because a few people passing by stare. She's also bright red, though, so it doesn't matter what she says. She's terrible at hiding things, always has been.

"It's understandable if you are, don't worry about it," I told her in my most reassuring tone.

She gave me a slightly confused look. "How so?"

"Well, lots of people are attracted to me, so I can understand if you're jea—SHIT," I yelled, as Rikku's foot connected to my shin. "HELL, Rikku! Why'd you do that?" I grabbed the foot of my hurt leg and swore again, for good measure.

"You're such a jackass," Rikku snapped.

"Then why're you mad?" I asked, wincing. Rikku kicks hard.

"Because you're an arrogant jackass!"

"Before that! The Paine thing." I noticed that Naida was back, with her book in hand, glancing at both of us and staying several feet away. Me and Rikku were getting loud, too, so she wasn't the only one staring.

"Would it kill you to ask how I'm doing?"

"I did! You're neglected, that's what you said… sheesh, I'm allowed to ask about my other friends, aren't I?"

"Yeah, but—" Rikku cut herself off, literarily clamping her hands over her mouth. "Whatever," she added, her voice muffled through her fingers, and she turned and stomped back towards the bridge leading from the temple. I watched her go, confused.

Naida stepped forward, clearing her throat. "You know, boss, might not be a bad idea to follow her."

I gave her an incredulous look. "What, and get kicked again?"

She shrugged. "Believe me, she wants you to follow."

Girls are insane. Contrary to popular opinion, I am not a complete and total man-whore. I mean, okay, a girl comes onto me and that's one thing, but I don't go out of my way to date usually, you know? Girls are way too confusing to bother with, so that's why right then I had half a mind to just let Rikku sulk in peace and go find some work to be done in the temple.

Of course, Rikku's liable to blow things up when she's feeling ignored and the right kind of angry, so…

I was careful approaching the bridge. Rikku was sitting on the railing in pretty much the same spot as before, but facing the opposite direction—looking over the chasm. It used to be a river, apparently, but mostly it's just a big, steep, rocky drop surrounding the temple on three sides. I leant over the railing next to her and cleared my throat.

"So," I said, not quite trusting myself not to upset her further, "how are you doing today?"

Rikku laughed sourly. "It's just that I came here to see you," she explained slowly, swinging her legs over the drop, "So I got a little pissed that you'd rather see Paine."

"Paine's less interesting then you are," I said truthfully. "When she's around, things are all quiet and mature and stuff."

Rikku smiled distantly. "Sometimes I wish I was like that. Mature and stuff."

I looked at her, trying and failing to picture it. "That'd be scary, Ri. I like you way better as spastic and cute."

"But it'd be nice to just… talk without worrying about stuff," Rikku explained, staring at her fingers in her lap. "You know? It would be nice to not mess up and say things you didn't mean to say, or get mad and… kick people."

"Yeah, that'd be cool," I replied, rubbing my shin with my foot as I thought about it. "But you know, Paine's really violent, too. Just… in a quiet way."

Rikku laughed and laughed at that, even though I didn't think it was all that funny. "I thought," she said finally, giggling, "That since Yunie and Tidus were together, I'd come here and… find a boyfriend, too. Stupid, huh?"

I climbed up onto the wall to sit next to her, carefully because to tell the truth my balance isn't what it used to be—just like depth perception—and I'm not too great around high cliffs and narrow ledges regardless.

"Well, keep kicking people and I'm sure you'll find one."

"It's not working so far," Rikku replied, grinning, and that's about when she kissed me.