Tangled and Woven

Summary: Gippal contemplates his feelings for a certain lovely bar singer and, as a slave to his desires, decides to walk her home late one cold autumn night. Despite the obvious attraction, he questions if his feelings are deceiving him and if he's misinterpreting the lovely Rikku's feelings for him. Will Gippal follow his heart or let his doubts win out in the end? And what havoc will either decision wreck on his tortured soul?

Author's Note: This is just an angsty little AU piece concerning Gippal, Rikku, and their secret desires. There really isn't much mention about where they are or if there are any prior ties of a relationship. Just assume that they've never met before when you read this piece. And don't flame me for the AU use of these characters. This piece is a bit different for me. It is short, to the point, and deliberate. I attempted to focus more on my use of language and the expression of feeling in this piece than actual plot or character development. Please let me know what you think; I would really appreciate all comments, constructive or kind.

Disclaimer: I own nothing, but credit me for my originality, yeah?

oh what a stupid girl

who believes all of what you say

but when you tell me

that I'm beautiful

I believe you

because you're so fucking beautiful

It was one fifty two on a Wednesday when Gippal decided he wanted her.

His actual resolution had occurred not more than twenty minutes earlier when he was only partially aware. But he still preferred to think that the decision to take her home was his own.

He didn't know he was in love with her yet.

It was twelve fifteen two days earlier when she came to the realization that she controlled him. There was a magic in her movements he couldn't quite understand –- grimy yet untouched; something in the way she made love through her music. A textured alto that sang words he could only dream to understand hypnotized him; held him to her.

When her stunning emerald eyes fell on him he knew he'd never be free again.

She was beautiful, a slender golden-haired blonde with stunning green eyes and creamy vanilla skin. She had high cheekbones, long eyelashes, and a sparkling smile.

They called her Rikku.

It was now one fifty five and he tried not to let his frustration show as he emptied yet another glass of bourbon. As the ice hit against his teeth and sent a chill down his spine he ignored the urge to shudder.

Gippal was only dimly aware of his surroundings; that he was sitting in a rickety chair near the back of a slummy bar. Another drink was brought to him.

He took a swig of it, watching Rikku playfully swing her hips on stage. She narrowed her eyes, flipped her hair, spun around in exactly the right moments to nearly drive him mad.

Gippal finished his drink without much thought and put the empty glass on the table with the others. He leaned back in his chair, blinking. Rikku wasn't on stage anymore. He'd thought it in a matter-of-fact way; nonchalant and without much care.

But he did care.

He stood, dropping money on the table, and removed his dark jacket from the back of his chair. If he walked quickly, Gippal might catch a glimpse of her in the back alley before she went home for the night.

Three minutes after two she walked down the rickety fire escape, still in stage makeup and her glittering costume. She looked like a prostitute; but he knew better.

Her eyes met his for a moment. They shined in the dimly lit alley, but from what he didn't know. Was it lust?

She was teasing his desires.

Something told him to follow her, to say something to her. But he bit his lower lip, watching her with yearning eyes. There was something magical about her; it put her on a pedestal just out of his reach.

"Aren't you going to walk me home?" her voice had come quickly, breaking the silence and almost causing him to jump. "You've been watching me every night for three days before now. I just thought you might like to introduce yourself."

"No," his voice was emotionless as he turned around putting his hands in his pockets and walking the other way down the street.

"Wow," he heard her say, even as his brain tried to process what had just happened and why he was walking away from her. "What a gentleman, leaving a lady to walk home all by herself."

"When did I give you the impression that I was a gentleman?" his voice was cool, flowing through the silent streets like the smoke pouring out of the bar he'd just left.

"Just shut up," she snapped. Then added, more politely, "and walk me home already."

Gippal simply raised an eyebrow at her, pulling his lip up in his trademarked smirk. He removed his hands from his pocket, holding them up in surrender. He obeyed her request, though not letting himself appear too eager to do so. "As the lady wishes."

His mind spun fantasies of him kissing her right there in the street, of clothes coming off and hands wandering, and he couldn't help but stare. Suddenly he realized, as the nights had worn on, his subconscious had begun to associate her with sex.

Every. Waking. Moment.

When he looked at her he thought of sex. And when he thought of sex he could only picture her.

She was taking small steps, walking just in front of him, barely out of his reach. He almost wanted to touch her and throw his self control out the window. But he moved his hands back to his pockets.

"You smoke?" she pulled the pack of cigarettes out from under her glittering skirt.

He wondered for a moment what else she might have been hiding there. She'd taken one cigarette out of the small box and held it with her lips, bringing a lighter to the tip. Offering the box to him, Gippal snapped out of his thoughts.

"You'll die from those." What he had really meant to say was different. Quite a lot different.

He took the package from her hands before she could return it to its place beneath her skirt. Her hands were cold, undoubtedly from the near-arctic weather they were enjoying that evening. He put a cigarette in his mouth and lit it.

Gippal put the package into his coat pocket, smirking at her reaction to his thievery. Her head cocked to the side and her jaw hung open for a few seconds in shock; it was nearly enough to make him lose control.

He continued walking, not looking back at her. She had followed him with her eyes, he could feel it. It was now two fifteen and he had no idea how close they had gotten to reaching her apartment, but knowing that he was having at least some impact on her boosted his confidence.

"You coming or should I find your apartment on my own?" his words were cool, biting nearly as harshly as the cool night air.

She huffed and he watched as the warmth of her breath traveled in soft white puffs of air towards the heavens. Or maybe he was watching the smoke from her cigarette. Either way, it wasn't long before Rikku was leading the way again.

Gippal had the impression that he'd caught the faint scent of vanilla as she'd passed by him on the sidewalk. Cold cloth sleeves on their coats brushed against one another slightly, but other than that, there was no contact between the two. No sign that they were even aware of the other's presence.

And they walked together in silence for a long time. There were only the sounds of the chill breeze whipping in between the brick buildings and the steady, even pattern of their footsteps on the brick sidewalk. It was the last stint of autumn before the winter chill would set in permanently.

She stopped in the middle of the brick sidewalk and climbed the rickety steps to stand in front of a worn looking oak doorway before she finally spoke again. And her voice was small, almost a whisper, "Well, thanks for the walk. You'll come inside to warm up, won't you?"

Rikku stood still for a moment, looking over Gippal completely before reaching for the bronze door knob behind her. Her heart was beating fast as she felt her breath becoming labored. It wasn't often that she invited strange men to her apartment. But then again, it wasn't as though she thought of this stranger in a sexual way, was it?

There was something in the look in his eyes, the sound of his voice; it made her uneasy but the feeling excited her all at once. She would not regret inviting him inside; Rikku had decided it, promised herself that. But she didn't even know this stranger's name.

"What did you say your name was?" her voice was calm as she broke through the silence that had settled between them. There was uncertainty for a moment before she realized that he wasn't going to answer her on either question.

"Goodnight, Rikku," he returned his hands to his pockets and turned around to begin walking away. He cringed as he realized that he'd just been staring at her; fucking her with his eyes.

But he was sure that he wasn't the first to make that fateful trip to her apartment. She'd been calm, relaxed, toying with him from the moment that she'd spotted him in the alley. Gippal wouldn't let himself be another of her late-night gentleman callers.


He stopped mid-step for only a moment and looked over his shoulder back at her; a final glimpse of everything that he was giving up. Smirking, he lifted his chin to break the bitter wind and continued on his way; back to where he had come from.

"I'll not be forgetting you, Rikku," he whispered.

But his words were lost in the night to the wind.

Lying in his own bed at one fifty two on a Wednesday, he dug the pilfered package of cigarettes from his pocket. Running his fingers over the side where the plastic still covering the box had wrinkled from wear, he smirked. It was then that he realized he wanted her.

Turning the package over, he brought it close to his face. It was familiar; the sand-white box exuded her. There was the particular scent of her unwashed hair and cheap cosmetics that almost masked the addicting scent of nicotine. But there was an unmistakable scent beneath all of it.


And Gippal wanted her all the more.