"Hey, honey, wake up." He dropped down on the bed beside her, jarring her awake.
"Go away," she groaned, jerking the blankets over her head. "I just want to sleep. Is that so much to ask? That tiny little cot in Bikanel was murder, and you hogged it half the time, anyway."
"It's not even noon, and you want to go back to sleep?" He peeled the blankets away relentlessly. She fought him for possession of the sheet, but he gently pried it from her clenched fingers. "Come on. We're already in Djose. You can sleep some more inside."
"Don't wanna." She was being childish and she knew it. But, goddammit, he'd married her, and she deserved the chance to make him at least a little miserable.
Only he wasn't. He wasn't anything but amused by her irritable demeanor. It was annoying and vaguely insulting.
"Our bed's waiting. Our nice, warm, comfortable, big bed," he said cajolingly. His palm cupped her bare shoulder, fingers kneading her tight muscles. She relaxed a little into the caress.
"Our bed?" She inquired innocently.
"I'll be sharing it with you, so it's our bed." He brushed a careless kiss across her cheek. "I liked your room better, anyway."
"I'll lock you out." He should be working harder to make her happy. He shouldn't just assume she'd forgive him.
"That'd be a shame," he said, "since I already moved all my stuff in. What will I wear?"
"You moved into my room? When?" She shifted around to face him, angry all over again at his nerve.
"Just after you left Djose for Bikanel. Couldn't sleep in mine." He slid his fingers through her hair, cupping the back of her head. She clutched the sheet a little closer. She knew what it meant when he looked at her that way.
"I thought maybe I'd just gotten used to sleeping in your bed," he continued. "So I moved back in. It didn't take even one night to figure out what was wrong."
"What, then?" She couldn't stop herself from asking.
"I got used to sleeping with you." He kissed her cheek, gently pulling the sheet away from her. His leg slid over hers, one of his hands curved over her hip, pulling her against him. She ended up caught against his chest as his fingers crept beneath the waistband of her pajama pants. His lips touched her collarbone and her breath left her lungs on a little sigh.
"W-we can't do this," she whispered finally. "Not on my father's airship." God, she'd never be able to look Cid in the eye again!
"It's not your father's airship," he replied, kissing the curve of her breast. Her fingernails dug into his shoulders. Did he think she was stupid or something?
"Idiot. I recognize it. It's definitely my old man's."
"I mean," he said, prying her sharp nails from his shoulders, "that it no longer belongs to Cid. He gave it to you as a wedding present."
Oh. Well, that was different, then. "Don't you mean he gave it to us?" she asked.
"No." He shook his head. "It's yours. He made that very clear."
Weird. "You didn't get anything?"
"Idiot." Now he was chastising her. But he softened the insult with a kiss on the tip of her nose. "You're my wedding present."
She melted. But just a little. It wouldn't do to let him get the idea that he was off the hook. So although she relaxed back against the pillows and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, she frowned up at him.
"This doesn't mean you're forgiven," she said.
"Of course not," he said seriously, but the corners of his lips tilted up just a little. Stupid man. Was he ever going to take her seriously?
With a sigh, she admitted to herself that he probably wasn't. But he was Gippal. He rarely took anything seriously. It was one of the things she liked about him.
No, she corrected herself. It was one of the things she loved about him. But she wasn't about to admit it. At least, not before she was through punishing him.
"So, when're you going to tell him?" Yuna studied Rikku curiously as she cut into her eggs. Rikku didn't pretend ignorance. Rather, she shrugged gracefully.
"When I get done torturing him, I think." She popped a bit of egg into her mouth. "How'd you know?"
"You're avoiding the strawberries. Usually you can't get enough. They make you sick?" Yuna made a face. "For me it's oranges. I can't stand the smell of oranges."
"Did I miss something?" Paine regarded both women curiously. "I seem to be perpetually out of the loop."
Yuna and Rikku exchanged glances for a moment. "We're pregnant," they said in unison.
"Oh, god." Paine looked horrified. "Please tell me you're kidding."
"No." Rikku jabbed one of her eggs with a fork, watching the runny yellow yolk slide slowly across her plate. "I'm definitely pregnant. I wasn't as careful as I should've been."
"But you love kids." Yuna had thought she would've been thrilled. "Gippal loves kids."
"Yeah, I do. I'm sure he does, too." She gave a long-suffering sigh.
"Oh, god," Paine said again. "Oh, god. There's going to be a little Rikku or Gippal running around soon. I don't think Spira is ready for that." She covered her face with her hands. Rikku and Yuna ignored her.
"Then, what's the problem?" Yuna asked.
"Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep Gippal from noticing that I keep throwing up in the mornings?" Rikku sulked. "If he found out I was pregnant, you know he'd go bonkers. I bet he'd insist I give up riding hovers. Then how would I get anywhere?"
"You could fly your airship," Yuna observed.
"Yeah, and he'd insist on coming along all the time." Rikku rolled her eyes. "It's bad enough that he asks me to marry him again ten times a day. I swear, that man doesn't even know when he's being punished."
Yuna giggled. "You're right; he'd probably be a little over-concerned. But could you blame him? It's his first kid. He does deserve to know. And really, if you love him, Rikku, isn't it time you let him know you've forgiven him?"
"He was an ass," Rikku defended. "A high-handed, overbearing ass."
"But you love him," Yuna said.
"And you're going to have his demon-child," Paine quipped. Rikku flung a piece of ice at her.
"Fine, fine," she grumbled. "I'll tell him."
"You look pensive." Gippal ran his fingers through Rikku's hair, kissing her temple. She sighed, setting her half-empty wineglass on the edge of the tub. She slid away from his between his legs, crossing her arms over the side of the tub and resting her chin on them. She sneaked a glance at him.
"I might have something to tell you," she said slowly. He chuckled.
"Might?" he asked."So, what might you have to tell me?"
She sighed again. He would be happy. She knew he would. Or at least, she hoped he would. Maybe that was what bothered her. She didn't know for sure, and she wouldn't know until she told him.
"Rikku, come here." He held out his arms, and she leaned into them. He caught her up against his bare chest, locking his arms around her. Warm water swished up around them and gradually settled. Bubbles clung to her skin, vaguely rose-scented.
"I love you," he murmured in her ear, his lips stirring the hair there. She shivered a little. She always did when he said that. There was something almost erotic about it, about the way he said it.
"I love you, too," she said. And froze. Because she'd never said it before, not to him. A warm, heavy sort of peace settled over her, like maybe that was what had made her so uncomfortable as of late. That the big secret she was keeping from him wasn't her pregnancy, it was her love. Sooner or later he'd figure out that she was pregnant. But if she didn't tell him she loved him, how would he ever know for sure?
She could feel his smile against her neck. The fingers of his right hand linked with hers.
"Now," he said softly. "Isn't there something else you'd like to tell me?" And his left hand slid up over her hip, coming to rest right over her abdomen, caressing the skin there gently.
She spluttered. "How'd you know?"
"It was the strawberries," he said. "You stopped eating them. You love strawberries. Also, you're kind of loud when you're throwing up."
"But you gave me wine," she said plaintively. Had she no secrets from him?
"It's non-alcoholic," he assured her. "So, will you marry me now?"
"We're already married," she said.
"Yeah, but…" he hesitated, bringing her fingers to his lips. "The first time, I married you because I wanted to. I want you to marry me because it's what you want."
She smiled. Maybe he was a jerk sometimes, but he was her jerk, and that was all that mattered. And if he wanted to get married again, well, then they'd get married again. Besides, with two anniversaries there was some amazing gift potential.
He was already dressed by the time she finally rolled out of bed.
"You're late, sleepyhead," he said, ruffling her mussed hair as she yawned on her way to the bathroom. Actually, waddled would probably be more appropriate than walked at this stage of her pregnancy, but to say so would be tantamount to suicide.
When she emerged from the bathroom, he helped her into her clothing, and ushered her downstairs. He knew if they didn't hurry, they'd be late for their own wedding.
The trip through Kilika took forever, since they had to actually walk the streets. They made it to the venue almost thirty minutes after they were scheduled to start.
"Sorry we're late," Gippal said apologetically to the small gathering of people. "But someone had to stop three times to go to the bathroom."
"Well, someone's child is sitting right on my bladder," Rikku snapped back.
"Are you sure you two want to get married again?" Baralai asked.
"Yes," they responded in unison.
"You'd think they would've gotten tired of it by now," Tidus sighed to Yuna. "But no, they just keep getting married."
Yuna held the hand of their seven-year-old daughter. Their son, Rio, now nine, was playing a board game with Rikku and Gippal's eldest child – a son, Soren, almost seven – in the corner of the room.
"I swear, they must have fifteen anniversaries by now," Paine remarked.
"Seventeen," Gippal blithely corrected.
"We get remarried every time I threaten to divorce him," Rikku explained.
"Ah," Nooj said. "He makes a lot of mistakes, then?"
"Only when she's pregnant," Gippal said. "This time, I – horror of horrors! – burned the toast."
Rikku suppressed a giggle.
"If he's so bad, why do you keep getting married?" Nooj, who had never married – despite Gippal's assertion that Paine was perfect for him – couldn't seem to fathom it.
"Because we love each other." Rikku looked at him like he wasn't quite bright.
"Mama! Papa!" Rikku and Gippal turned towards the doorway as their two little girls – Zyda, five, and Tegan, three – raced towards them. Gippal caught them up in his arms – Rikku was too big around the middle to do much bending anymore. Cid followed his granddaughters into the room, grinning sheepishly.
"Sorry we're late," he said. "The girls wanted to bring some flowers from the Moonflow for the ceremony." He hugged his daughter fondly, then took the girls to sit with the rest of the children.
"All right, now that we're all here, let's get this show on the road. Everyone ready?" Baralai asked.
As everyone settled down into their respective places, Gippal slid his palm over Rikku's stomach.
"How's number four?" he asked, kissing her cheek.
"Just fine," she said, hiding a smile against his shoulder. She hadn't told him yet, but in all likelihood, she was carrying numbers four and five. Gippal had had to miss her last doctor's appointment, the one during which the doctor had revealed that she'd thought she heard multiple heartbeats. She had an appointment in Luca with a specialist next week to be sure, one he'd promised to go to.
So until then, it was going to be her little secret.