Quality Time: Gut Punch
by PrettyGothGirl
Summary: Yoorvin reveals his plans, Gippal admits he's a traitor and Rikku gets in her metaphysical punch to the gut.
A/N: And now, xXx. Yummm. Vin Diesel. Not much to say about this chapter. Last week, I discovered that in the anon review box, there is no longer a place to put your email and I'm almost positive that if you put it in the review normally, the site will take it out. I'm not happy about this at all, since to get my email you have to have an account here. Please, if you do give me an anon review, try to leave me your email even if there are lots of spaces between the main name and your email provider. Thank you. Otherwise, my email is in my livejournal profile. So, onwards!

Yoorvin leaned over and kissed his love's cheek. "You ladies go have fun."

'Love' gave Gippal a long look, she touched 'Darling's' arm and hooked her arm with Rikku's.

Rikku smiled at Yoorvin. "Yoorvin."

Yoorvin smiled back and half bowed. "Aziza."

The ladies drifted away. The men watched them leave.

Gippal grinned at Yoorvin and swirled the top of his glass to make the liquid slosh. "Your card game went well."

Darling's man interrupted. "I don't see the point."

Gippal looked down into his drink and looked at the man sideways. Yoorvin tilted his head back and looked down his nose.

"It is a new age, think of the opportunities." Yoorvin raised his voice until he could be heard around the room. The chatting groups quieted and turned towards him. "What is standing in our way?"

Gippal stopped swirling his drink. "More like who." He didn't say it loudly.

Darling's man whipped his head towards him. "And what would you know if this?"

"My operation might be small, but I've got connections." Gippal smirked. "As for Yoorvin's plans, nothing, other than the hope they're mutually profitable for all of us."

"The Al Bhed elder and his cronies." Yoorvin finally answered his own question. "And without Heiden we would not know of this threat at all."

Gippal nodded. He really should thank Rikku, but Gippal didn't want to bring her into this conversation in any way shape or form.

The eyes narrowed and Yoorvin took a step towards the gathered groups. "We, the Al Bhed, have always prided ourselves on being closer than family. And we must live up to this ideal if we desire to survive."

"And shall we have a leader? This 'family' of yours, are you volunteering for that position Yoorvin? Shall we imitate the rest of the Al Bhed there?" Another man stepped forward, his hand on his empty belt. Gippal noted the motion.

"Already, we are ready to fight." Yoorvin gestured. "This is what Cid wants. He desires us to be divided, so that we may be easy to destroy."

Gippal stilled. Cid was not going to be pleased about this.

"We won't lay over and die like spineless flans." This came from another leader.

Yoorvin continued. "Together, we could stand up to the strength that Cid represents. Free enterprise unrestricted by his rules and regulations."

"This is a fool's errand. Cid allows us to do what we want, how we want." The fourth man's voice was loaded with scorn.

"For how long?" Yoorvin asked. "How long will it be until the pressure of the human's fledgling government has him doing more than looking in our direction? Would any of you want to face his daughter or his niece?"

Gippal had a hard time keeping his lips from twitching. Yoorvin didn't know Cid well at all if he thought Cid would be pressured by any human government, Cid would do what he wanted, when he wanted, right by human standards or not. That was Cid's way. He had the best interest of the Al Bhed in mind as their leader, whether or not his decisions were the best ones. Hell, Cid had made plenty of bad decisions. Witness the destruction of Home. That would be a sore subject for years. It didn't make him any worse of a leader. In fact, Gippal found it a bit comforting that Cid could make mistakes in his people's eyes. As a kid, he'd wondered if he was the only one that questioned Cid's ways, well, other than Rikku and Anikki.

"His daughter ain't so tough." The bandit leader laughed.

Gippal tilted his head. "She won't be caught off guard like that again. You can guarantee it."

"More mysteriously gotten information." Darling's man glared. "If one didn't know better, I'd think you were workin' for the venerable," he sneered, "Elder Cid."

Gippal sneered back. "He doesn't pay half as well as one boost does. There's no profit in working for any of his family."

"You're just a dirty worm."

Gippal smirked. "Yeah, but for which side?"

Darling's man stepped back. He frowned, evidently unsure of how to respond to Gippal's arrogant acceptance of being a traitor.

"Think of it gentlemen, a family." Yoorvin rubbed his chin. "A family made up of many families all working together for one goal, gil."

Gippal clapped Yoorvin's back. "Count me in." He nodded at the bandit's leader and left the group. He'd think more about it later and maybe he would warn Yoorvin about not dabbling in things that would really get Cid's attention and quick action, like slavery. It hadn't been a bad thing when the human's accidentally wandered into territory that the Al Bhed considered theirs and gotten themselves in dire straights. 'Working' their way home was a good deal all things considered. That is if they ever got back to where they belonged, most did, eventually. Now with the humans' partners in building a better Spira, it was an idea best contemplated and cast aside.

He wanted to find Rikku. He wanted out of here. Cid needed to know what Yoorvin was planning and all the other crime gangs he'd dragged into the mess. Things were getting complicated. As for what he needed, well that would be taken care of when he saw Rikku.

The heavy bass of the usual music in Yoorvin's clubs thrummed through his body as he left the calm oasis of the card room. Before he turned Yoorvin in, he was going to ask him about the secret to his soundproofing. It was incredible.

He scanned the room. Rikku lounged near the door, almost posed. Surrounded by people, none of them the ladies she left the room with and still very obvious in the fact she wasn't part of their group.

The short dress lengthened her legs to near impossible proportions, exposing skin he wanted to stroke. It shouldn't be different from everyday, but in an odd way it was because the dress was something he had chosen and she wore it for him. There was a lie in that somewhere. A lie he didn't care to examine too closely. She flipped her hair and it dragged across her shoulders and exposed her neck. His eyes were drawn to that movement, mesmerized.

It got him through the crowd and by her side. She watched him under her lashes, gauging him. He grabbed her hips and drew her to him. He tilted his head. Their lips touched, barely brushing. Did she still taste like strawberries? He pressed down, parting the seam of her lips with his tongue. Before he could delve further, her tongue darted out and curled around his, delving into his mouth. She ran her tongue between his bottom lip and his teeth. He pulled her closer, until he could feel her body against his. There was too little fabric separating her breasts from his chest. He tightened his hands and curled his tongue around hers. Her hands delved into the hair at the nape of his neck. He closed his eyes to focus on the heat, on the pressure, on the feel of her pressed up against him.

He drew away from the kiss slowly, eyes opening. Her expression was what he expected and needed. Her eyes hooded, lips parted and swollen. Her cheeks slightly pink. She still cared. She still needed him. His fingers relaxed.

Then she blinked and it was gone. "Did you enjoy that?" She asked. He wasn't stupid enough to answer that question, if he could answer that question. His brain still hadn't turned back on. It didn't require an answer. She smiled. "Good." It faded. "Because it's never happening again."

She tried to move away. If he'd been holding her softly she would have managed it. His hands clenched on her hips. He stared at her. There were no words. None. The air left him. She couldn't have hurt him more if she'd punched him. He could not lose her. He'd waited, two years he'd waited holding his peace, biding his time as she'd sought adventure all over the world. Even as he'd wanted to grab hold of her and nail her down because saving the world had been his job. He'd been furious (and scared to death, which had made him angry) when he found she'd gone off and taken on Sin. But, he'd held his peace. She was how she was and he'd admitted to himself after he calmed down that saving the world was a Rikku thing to do. It'd helped she wasn't around then. Then she'd been kidnapped and every single instinct he'd been repressing had sent him hounding to her rescue, even if she didn't need rescuing. Then Cid has his crazy idea, and then there was their fight and now this. He couldn't live in a world without Rikku. All because of a stupid joke that had pushed a button he hadn't known existed and still didn't know what it was.

They wouldn't be having this problem if she'd do as she promised and yelled at him.

Here it was, the moment to settle this. So they could be angry at each other about something else and still be working together.

Movement over her shoulder caught his eye. The group that had kidnapped Rikku moved together towards the door.

The moment passed.

He inhaled, his body and brain working again. He looked into her eyes. "We'll discuss this later."

"Discuss." She said as he wrapped his arm around her, steering her towards the door. "What is there to discuss?"

He thought, if she had to ask the question didn't deserve an answer. The street loomed. It was going to be a fun conversation. He licked his lips.

Strawberries.


Heiden: German for heathen

Aziza: African for gorgeous

reviews are love, love me?!

PS: Dr. Mario, I'm not sure how to answer your question. For this chapter they're in Luca, for the first chapter they are somewhere, out there on Spira probably isolated. Other than that. I have no idea.