A/N: When I started free-writing the outline of this fic two weeks ago, I had no idea it was going to lead me this soon to the end of this story. I am still so surprised at how quick everything happened, and after two years of writing this, it is finally over. I am so sad, like I usually am when I finish a fic but I had so much fun writing it as well. Thank you so much to my readers and reviewers; I tried to answer all of you so you know how grateful I am for all of your support. And also to my silent readers! You all rock! Anyway I hope you liked this fic...
Shortly after the events of that day, Gippal was exonerated of all wrongdoing in the death of his friend Fajio and allowed to go home to Rikku and his daughter. He took a much needed couple of weeks to readjust himself not only to freedom after being in confinement for over a month, but also to the new needs of his little one before returning to his post at the Faction. After being through his ordeal, Gippal really appreciated the little things, like getting to feed Lelah, playing with her, and taking little naps together on the sofa. In that time Gippal never let Rikku do a thing, insisting that he take care of things since she had been through so much as well. Rikku was not complaining; it made her very happy to see father and daughter bonding. She was afraid that the bonding window had closed between them during his absence, but that all faded once he laid eyes on her.
Fajio was taken from the temporary tomb that Alek had placed him after he passed away and was buried and sent properly, courtesy of Yuna. She also did a sending for Slovak despite all of the chaos he caused when he was alive. Yuna was not the type to deny anyone of the right to move on, no matter how wicked they may have been. They had all come to the conclusion that Slovak was just troubled, and had difficulty accepting change, and to put it simply- he was a sore loser.
Gippal returned to the Faction, making Alek his second in command. With the addition of two new members to replace Slovak and Fajio, there was once again a strong, reliable digging team. It took a while for the new members to adjust to the old ones and vice versa, but eventually the team became successful and profitable once again.
Baralai and Nooj were given their positions back to them in the Triad, although they had never formally lost them in the first place since the jury was not a valid one. Gippal's position was not changed either; It was more or less frozen when he had disappeared. There was a small ceremony which was filmed for all to see in Luca's main court, and everyone was glad to have the young man back in his place.
All that was left was for things to slowly go back to normal, and they had as time went by.
One Year Later:
"Da! Da! Da!" Lelah chanted repeatedly from her crib, waiting for Gippal to come in and pick her up so she could have her breakfast. He stuck his head in the door and smiled as the now one year old stood up, leaning on the crib's bars and chewing on the wooden surface to soothe the many teeth she now had coming in on the bottom.
"I hear ya, Lelah Muja!" Gippal said, picking her up and taking her downstairs to the kitchen. "Let's be real quiet like mice! Your momma is still sleeping and she needs all the rest she can get, right?" He nuzzled his face into hers, kissing her cheek as she continued to giggle. Once in the kitchen Gippal fastened Lelah to her feeding chair and handed her a Sippy cup full of orange juice. As she drank the contents of the cup happily, he fixed her a scrambled egg to eat, throwing on a few more for him and Rikku, along with some bacon and sausage. The smell of the bacon and sausage wafted up the stairs and coaxed Rikku out of bed.
"Do I smell bacon?" She said groggily, wiping the sleep out of her eyes. "I hope you made a little extra cuz this one seems really hungry this morning!" Rikku patted her eight months pregnant belly and licked her lips as she headed down the stairs and over to Gippal. Wrapping her arms around him from behind, she rested her head on his back, sighing contentedly. "Thanks for doing all this."
"Anything for my girls!" Gippal replied, turning over the sizzling bacon and removing the finished ones onto a paper towel. Once one was patted dry he picked it up and put it into Rikku's mouth. "How's that?"
"It's amazing!" She replied, chewing the piece of bacon slowly so she could enjoy it. Ever since she'd gotten pregnant again, the taste of everything seemed so much better than it was, which was a change from her pregnancy with Lelah when she felt sick from practically everything. As Gippal put the food on the plates and brought them to the table the comm. Sphere rang. Rikku took the plates from him and set them on the table as he left the room to answer the call. After being gone for a good ten minutes, Rikku began to panic, wondering if he was going to have to go out on a dig again so soon before she was due. When Gippal finally returned, he immediately saw the concern in her eyes and facial features and knelt down beside her as she sat in her chair.
"Don't tell me..." Rikku started, swallowing a piece of sausage she'd put in her mouth before he came in. "You've got another dig?" She tried fighting the disappointment and upset she was feeling, but that was nearly impossible while being pregnant.
"Yeah." Gippal sighed, holding Rikku's hand in his. "Al said they've detected some kind of mass in the middle of Bikanel. They think it's an old structure of some sort!"
"When do you leave?" She wasn't looking at him now; her face felt hot and her hair covered the tears that started to form in her eyes. Lelah sat happily in her chair, picking up pieces of egg and shoving them into her mouth, oblivious to the moment.
"Well, Alek and the guys leave in about an hour or so." Gippal replied, lifting himself off of the floor and seating himself next to Rikku. Without another word about it he began digging into his own food. "Damn...my eggs are all cold."
Rikku watched him curiously, unable to register what he had said at first, but when she understood a hopeful smile crept back into her face. "You mean...?"
"I'm not going, Cid's girl." He stated simply, shoving a piece of bacon into his mouth. "Vicks and Wedge are perfectly prepared for a dig like this with only Alek watching over them. They don't need me...not as much as you and Lelah do right now." Gippal picked up both of their empty plates, bringing them over to the sink and started washing them. Rikku stood from her chair, took Lelah out of her seat and went over to Gippal. He put his arm around the both of them and hugged them into his chest. "From now on, I'm not going anywhere until my son..."
"...or daughter" Rikku interrupted.
"Or daughter..." He continued "is born. And that's a promise I intend to keep."