...this story is still a one shot. ignore all this "chapter two!" silliness. because this story is a one shot. my denial is fierce to behold, isn't it? see, see, shortly after posting the story, i was joking around a bit about it, and ikonopeiston got into this amazingly funny, um, joke type story thing. the idea which i blatantly stole from her and used in this omake-sequel-thing. it was just that awesome. credit for the idea goes to her, not me. everyone should go read and review her fanfics now, too. :P
o m a k e: the problem with parties
Although it was true that it was technically winter, the weather in Bevelle was still fairly mild, only requiring a light coat at most. Which was exactly why Rikku, adorned in a bulky parka, caught Baralai's eye as she shivered her way up the Highbridge.
In the two months since Baralai's birthday party, the two of them had become friends of a sort. They certainly weren't close, but as it turned out "cross-dressing to win a bet of ten thousand gil" was one of those bonding activities, and they had spoken more after the event than they had ever spoken before.
Not that Baralai still wasn't incredibly wary of Rikku. He had been on his way to lunch when he spotted her, so Baralai didn't mind stopping and waiting for her, since it was clear that Rikku was approaching him specifically. He began to regret that decision when he saw she was carrying a brown-paper package, however.
Deeply, deeply regret.
"Yo!" Rikku chirped, too close now for for Baralai to safely pretend he hadn't been waiting for her and run away. "Happy New Year's!"
"Hello," he said, resigning himself to a difficult conversation. "New Year's isn't for another month."
"For you Yevonites it is, but the Al Bhed celebrate it this week," Rikku said brightly, even as she shivered and bundled herself further into her parka, playing clumsily with the buttons through the wool of her mittens. "Here," she said, holding the package out to him, "I got you a present! I made it myself."
Baralai took the package like it was about to explode. "It had better not be any sort of clothing," he said warningly, deciding that it would probably be a lot like her to get him something worse than a dress this time, like something pink and fuzzy or—something.
"You're so boring," Rikku sighed, not answering his question. "Oh, hey, Yuna asked me to tell you that she's throwing a New Year's party on Besaid next week, and that you're invited. Everyone is. Even Leblanc is gonna show."
"That's nice," Baralai said politely, although 'ominous' was more the word he was thinking of. "I'd be happy to come." As long as I don't have to wear anything for a bet, he wanted to add, but didn't.
"Great!" Rikku chirped. She shivered suddenly. "It's so cold here, geez. Dunno how you stand it. Besaid's a lot warmer, I've been hiding out there lately. Hurry up and open your present before I freeze to death, okay?"
"I don't really want to," Baralai said truthfully. "Rikku. If this is clothes of some kind—"
Rikku blinked and smiled sheepishly. "It's not?"
"No more bets, remember?" Baralai said testily. "If you have any intention of winning more money by making me wear some sort of—thing—to that party—"
Rikku blinked rapidly and waved her hands nervously before her. "No! No, it's nothing like that! Really!"
"I don't believe you."
"Ehe..." Rikku scratched her cheek. "Well, it is clothes, but..."
"Then, no," Baralai said, holding the package out toward her, with no sympathy whatsoever. Rikku didn't take it. "I'm not doing it again."
"But it's not a dress!" Rikku insisted. She had the amazing ability to completely miss the point, even when the point was made again and again.
"Then what is it?" Baralai said, annoyed. "A pretty swimsuit? I don't care, I'm not wearing it."
Rikku frowned at him. "Oh, that's right, you guessed it. Inside that innocent little present is actually a speedo. A speedo, that's right!" she was getting loud and her body language was getting expansive, a habit undoubtedly picked up from her brother. People were starting to stare. Baralai was starting to get embarrassed. "But not just any speedo! This one has lace trimming, and embroidery, and yarn bobbles all over the place!"
"Would you shut up?" Baralai hissed, blushing bright red at the very idea of the garment. And at all the people giving the two of them very strange looks.
"It is my gift to you, oh Sir Praetor! I humbly present it to you," Rikku said, her face suddenly dangerously serious.
The words 'I hate you' just weren't enough. Baralai wanted to kill Rikku, violently. Then she rolled her eyes and put her hands on her hips. "I'm kidding, you idiot. It's a scarf. A perfectly innocent, manly blue scarf. Figure you need it, it's freezing up here."
"...Oh." Baralai felt embarrassed for a slightly different reason now. He cautiously unwrapped the present. Sure enough, all that was inside was a soft, hand knit, sky blue scarf. "Thank you very much."
Rikku giggled. "No problem. You're just fun to tease, you know?"
"I've heard," Baralai said dryly. He wasn't half as cold as Rikku was, but he tied the scarf around his neck obligingly. "It's nice."
"I made it myself!" Rikku said brightly. "You shouldn't be so paranoid, you know. I already promised not to bet about you anymore. Besides," she added, thoughtfully, "The swimsuit is for Nooj."
O W A R I (for real this time..?)