Chapter 1: Chapter 1
A/N UPDATE: I uploaded this a long time ago and I never read it directly from the website, otherwise I'd have realised sooner the indentations between paragraphs was messed up when it was reformatted to Story format. I've changed it to DocX so it should be all fixed now...basically one wouldn't know when one scene ended and another began- I mean what the hell? How can anyone make spacing in that format? It didn't even recognise a series of ~~ or - or a fricking smiley face. Sorry for the confusion. Stupid .
MOAR UPDATES: I couldn't change the format so there are lines. Enjoy the lines.
Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy X or X-2. I also don't own the title 'A series of unfortunate events.' It just really accurately portrays the fanfiction so I borrowed it.
A Series of Unfortunate Events
The Gullwings were making their way back to the Celcius. They had just met Gippal, leader of the machine faction, and received the letter they needed to show Nhadala so they could dig in the Bikanel desert.
The team walked on in complete silence. The two leading seemed totally oblivious to the young female dawdling behind. Deep in thought, reality assaulted her harshly as the eldest female broke the silence.
"Oh no." Yuna voiced worriedly as she desperately searched through her belt pockets.
"What's wrong?" Paine asked. Rikku had run to catch up with the two.
"The letter," Yuna replied, "I must've dropped it." She ran a few steps back toward the temple, her head darting in all directions, her eyes searching frantically for the white envelope amidst the dull brown of the dirt path.
Paine took a step towards Yuna.
"We can always go back to Gippal and ask for another letter." She calmly suggested.
The mere mention of that name lit up Rikku's eyes. In an instant she sprung to life, ready to bat away any possibilities of having to meet him again. She didn't want to risk her feelings coming out for everyone to see.
"No. We don't have to do that." Rikku assured, "I'll go find the letter!"
Yuna and Paine stood silent. Rikku stuttered. Fearful she may have sounded too suspicious, she quickly added an afterthought.
"Uh, I mean, Gippal seemed pretty busy when we saw him, I don't think we should bother him. You know, busy, busy, busy! He does have a lot of work to do being the machine faction leader and all. It really does sound like a lot of… work…" Rikku's voice faded somewhat as she suddenly found the dirt on her shoes very interesting. She mentally slapped herself for thinking her first sentence had been too suspicious. Compared to that string of words she had just unloaded, her first statement had been as suspicious as a fluffy bunny!
Yuna and Paine stared at Rikku for about a minute. The embarrassment hanging over her was very obvious as she tried to hide the red forming in her cheeks.
"Uh… okay, Rikku."
Rikku lifted her head to see Yuna. Her tone of voice was awkward and she sounded confused. None the less, Rikku ignored it and replied quickly.
"Alright, soo… I'll go find Gip- I mean, the letter, a-and you guys-"
"-Will wonder why the hell you almost just said Gippal's name?" Paine stared at her openly. Her expression was fully questioning.
Rikku chuckled nervously. Why did she almost say his name? Seeing Gippal was the absolute last thing she wanted to do! … right?
"I wasn't going to say his name! I was just, uh…" Rikku visibly gulped. What the hell do I say? "I was just… rambling on about the random thoughts and obscure absurdities that infinitely plague my mind."
Paine raised an eyebrow at this. Yuna continued glancing between both girls, clueless as ever.
"I could go on, but maybe it's in your bestest interests to just ignore everything I've said." Rikku concluded.
"Agreed. Let's go Yuna."
Not even Paine could argue logic like that.
"Where're you going?" Rikku called.
"To Celcius, of course. You said you'd take care of the letter and Gippal."
"I said you'd take care of the letter. See ya later!" Paine called, concealing something that looked suspiciously like a cheeky grin as she started toward Celcius. Yuna scurried along after her, still bearing a confused expression. Rikku mirrored that look as Yuna brushed past.
When Yuna and Paine had reached a safe distance from Rikku, out of earshot, Yuna spoke up.
"What was all that about?" She asked.
Paine's eyes stood fixed on the road ahead.
"He's going to drive her crazy." Paine said more to herself than to Yuna.
The still confused girl raised an eyebrow at this response. She still pondered the possibility that Paine and dear Sir Auron may have had something in common: those intelligent remarks that gave Yuna the impression he knew something she didn't. Paine was armed with a few of those, and after being there to have witnessed one, Yuna had yet to demonstrate an example of her own intelligence…
Rikku walked slowly down Mushroom Rock Road toward Djose temple. Her eyes scanned every inch of the path in front of her for the lost letter.
"Why am I so embarrassed to go see that idiot?" Rikku thought aloud.
She didn't really like him, did she? That question constantly rang in her head, like a phone no one was going to pick up. He was so annoying! Not to mention he was a total playboy. He gave her no respect, not one itty-bitty witty bit of it! None! Gippal can only be described as a jerk. And this Rikku doesn't like jerks. Nope, nuh uh, never ever, ever like them ever!
So then why did this feeling she got inside betray that whenever he was around?
"Why are you betraying my feeling thingies? Why?!" This sudden outburst naturally attracted the eye of a few passer-byers. Rikku's gaze traced over the forming crowd nervously.
"Look!" Rikku called, dramatically pointing out in a random direction, "Uhm… A Chocobo!" She finished pathetically.
Not one eye shifted their gaze to follow her outstretched finger.
"Heh heh…" Rikku grinned uneasily as she slowly inched away from the circle of people. "Bye!" She turned suddenly and high-tailed it out of there, not stopping until she had reached a safe distance from the nosy passer-byers.
Once that distance had been reached she skidded to a halt to catch her breath.
Thanks a lot Gippal…
In absence he manages to humiliate her. In having absolutely no control of the situation he manages to humiliate her. Disguised as a mere thought scurrying across her mind and somehow he still manages to humiliate her! Gippal just exists to humiliate her!
Rikku shook her head, trying to clear her mind of anything remotely connected with Gippal.
Breathing? Nope, the spawn of the devil/Gippal does that, better stop. No wait, what are ya doing Rikku? That's just silly. He is the devil!
Rikku's eyes fell on Nhadala's letter, sitting solitary in the middle of the road.
She rushed up to it, but just as her eager fingers were about to brush against its smooth surface, a dog, bolted out of nowhere and snatched it up in its mouth.
She stared openly at the dog, eyes wide in astonishment.
"Where the hell did you come from?!" she gaped.
The dog just jumped back happily, wagging its tail madly.
Rikku inched closer to the dog, her hands out, ready to grab him.
"Thaat's a good doggy… stay right there…" Positioning her feet - she pounced!
"Ah!" Rikku squeaked as the dog jumped out of the way mere milliseconds before impact leaving the Al Bhed girl to collide with the ground.
"Owwie…" she rubbed her head thoughtfully. The dog jumped around yipping happily, totally unaffected by her attack. He thought it was a game.
Which is why he suddenly scampered off, aiming for the temple.
"No doggy! Come back here!" Rikku was up and instantly on his trail, silently cursing to herself as she sprinted. "I can't believe this…"
Rikku almost had the dog now. The letter in his mouth was slowing him down a lot and she was just on his tail. But she wasn't gonna risk pouncing again in case she missed and he got too far ahead… plus that bump really hurt.
"Alright doggy… huff huff… No more… huff… Miss nice Rikku…" Reaching into her pocket she pulled out a black fist-sized object. Detaching a ring from it, Rikku threw it at the speeding pup. A small explosion erupted on impact. The dog yelped and immediately dropped the letter, then continued its getaway.
"Budget bombs." She smiled victoriously to herself. "Beats me why they're called budget bombs though. They couldn't budge a… um… something that's uh… really hard to budge!"
Real smooth, Rikku old girl…
A spark of light quickly caught Rikku's attention, immediately she ran over to the source. Picking up the letter, she blew and fanned vigorously at the growing ember burning the edge.
Unfortunately Mother Nature was not on her side, when a gust of wind suddenly took advantage of her loose grip on the letter. Rikku sped after it as it dipped and floated through the air. It appeared as if a ghostly hand had grabbed a hold of it and was doing so for the soul purpose of teasing Rikku.
"Meanie…" she mumbled to herself as she flailed around, desperate to catch the floating parchment. An irritated frown was slowly crawling on to her face.
Her chase didn't last very long. While passing the Djose temple bridge, the letter took a detour. Dipping over the edge, it landed gently on a rock on the riverbank. The bridge wasn't very high above the river so Rikku attempted to grab it. She leaned far over the edge until gravity eventually took effect and she toppled over into the sparkling shallow waters below…
A piercing shriek signalled the expected splash. "It's COLD!"
Rikku sat shivering, submerged ankle-deep in the icy river.
After a moment's grumbling and being –in short- pissed. The sound of obnoxious laughter erupted from above.
"Oh God…" Rikku sighed heavily, bracing her nerves for the inevitable meeting with that complete ass.
"Hey Cid's Girl, isn't it a bit too cold to go swimming?" Gippal called.
"Not funny!" Rikku grumbled indignantly.
"But you've even got your bikini on."
Rikku's eyes narrowed on the testosterone charged, idiotic male asshole above her. 5 seconds within meeting him and she already wanted to kill him. That must be a new record.
"Listen you- shut up!" She pointed at him, fully ready to unleash the terribly terrible dragon Rikku on him which, from experience, isn't all as terrifying as she makes it out to be, but still! Anyway, luckily for Gippal, the erge to kill instantly flew out of Rikku's head upon remembering her mission. She spun around only to find the empty space of where the letter used to be. The impending thought that it may have been washed away made her ever more frantic.
"I guess you don't want this anymore. Shame…"
Rikku looked up just in time to spot Gippal walking away. Under normal conditions this event would have found her quite relived, hell, she would have celebrated. Had Gippal not been walking away with her letter!
"How the hell did you-?" Rikku stood bearing a puzzled expression.
He just kept walking, completely ignoring her, if not speeding up a bit.
"Hey wait a minute! Where do you think you're going? Give that back!" Rikku started trudging through the water, aiming for the rocky edge… and then Gippal's head.
"You want it? Come and get it!" Gippal teasingly waved the letter in a mocking manner, provoking Rikku to speed up.
Water splashed everywhere as Rikku desperately tried to reach the edge but the ground was getting muddy and it was hard to move.
Great. These boots cost a fortune!
Rikku grumbled as she finally reached the edge. She hauled herself up then immediately scanned her surroundings for any escaping Gippals…
Her eyes settled on a retreating figure nearing… the other end of the bridge. Rikku was furious. From where she had previously sat in the river, the other edge was closer and no mud threatening the life of her boots!
Instantly, she shot off after him, flexing her fingers slightly, ready to strangle him if she had to… and if she didn't have to.
Rikku didn't know why but somehow she managed to catch up to Gippal very quickly. Strangely enough, it seemed he was slowing down on purpose. Or maybe it was just his humongous head weighing him down.
Either way, she managed to get close enough to tackle him.
Gippal was not expecting this obstacle but almost, out of what looked like pure reflex, he twisted in mid-air and landed on his back, taking the full impact of his and Rikku's fall.
Gippal's eyes remained closed as he lay on the ground with Rikku on top of him. The Al Bhed girl propped an eye open, taking in her surroundings and not much caring about her current position. The lingering anger she had felt was blinding her of that fact.
Her gaze slid down to her right, landing square on the letter.
In a swift motion, her hand shot out, gathering up the letter. She began to get up off the enemy but these actions were halted when she felt his loose grip on her upper arms suddenly tighten. She tried harder to push away but to no avail.
"Let… go!" She grunted out as she fought against him.
Showing no proof he heard, Gippal continued to cling to her. Her attempt to free herself from his grip stopped instantly when she noticed he was staring at her. He was gazing into her eyes as if he could see through to her soul. Those beautiful eyes… uh, well… 'eye' was burrowing into her. Rikku found herself mesmerized by this lingering stare. His expression was so peaceful and gentle looking.
Without knowing it, she slowly moved closer and closer toward him… towards those eyes… uhm, eye...
Suddenly, she found herself shoved back abruptly and the letter snatched from her hands.
With that parting word, if it is a word, Gippal high-tailed it out of there back towards Djose temple, leaving a beet red Rikku to deal with her shock.
It took her a moment to register exactly what had happened. Had she really come that close? That close to exposing what she held most secret above all else? Not that she was particularly good at keeping secrets- but this one is hard to keep locked up. And even worse is that it is the most fragile. Worse still is that she's not even sure it's true! He's not her type, he is so good at making her want to kill him, he's a jerk, he's a playboy and he messes with her all the time! Everything she hates about guys- he has! So why? Why that feeling? Why is it that he can bring any emotion out of her so easily? It's like… he has her heart.
"Did… did he have to actually play with my emotions like that just to get a stupid letter?" Rikku asked herself, feeling her anger rise at every word she uttered and reality now tumbling back, "What a bastard!"
Furious, she got up and stomped off in the direction he had left. She eventually found him talking to one of the Al Bhed workers. She marched right up to him.
Gippal had felt her presence before she'd even approached the bridge. That girl seemed to produce a thick, dense aura whenever she got mad. Like the shiver you get from a cold draft that mysteriously appears inside a room- then you turn around and there's Rikku! Ready to butcher you.
She's cute when she's trying to be scary.
"Gippal!" She huffed.
Gippal was suddenly torn from his thoughts when the lunatic herself came growling.
"Not right now, babe. Can't you see I'm talking to uhm-" he shot a hesitant look toward the man standing near him as his mind tried to zone in on that lost name. "Uh, Roy! That's it!"
"Um, my name's not-"
Gippal cut him off with a friendly slap on the back… that almost sent him stumbling to the ground.
"Something the matter, Cid's little girl?" Gippal did a poor impression of looking interested as he draped an arm over 'Roy's' shoulder. All the while the poor nameless man was hunched over, groaning in pain.
"I have a name…" Rikku mumbled sadly.
"Of course you do." Gippal replied in the way a mother would say to a child who claimed to be superman.
Rikku snapped a heated glare on him that could melt an ice block.
"Give me back that letter. Right. Now!" She demanded.
"You want the letter?" Gippal raised an eyebrow.
"Yes! Give it to me!" Rikku took a menacing step forward, trying to intimidate him. But it proved difficult when he was so much taller.
"Gippal!" She almost screeched. They had drawn a bit of attention by then. "Give. It. To. Me. NOW!"
Gippal stared at her, smirking.
"I'd love to babe, but this is hardly the place or time. What would these people think if they witnessed such an activity?" He said casually, flashing a boyish grin.
Rikku's face blew up like a balloon- a red one. The second that comment was uttered everyone had turned to stare in shock.
She wanted to kill him- screw that, she was going to kill him. She just wanted to scream her head off right then but she was also torn between running away to hide before he saw that the smear of red that was now burning her cheeks wasn't all because she was angry.
Oh my god Rikku! Get that image out of your head- he is a menace! A menace! …Sure has a cute butt though… Ahh! No! Stop it! Remember you're angry! Grr! Anger! That's right. Good. Good! It is the cute butt of evil!
"Give. Me. That. Letter!" She spelled out through gritted teeth. She clenched her fists tightly and pretended she was strangling Gippal with them. Yeah. That made her feel better. Maybe she had found a new stress relief?
Gippal just stretched his arms out and rested his hands behind his head.
That was her pose! That is so plagiarism.
He flashed a coy smile. Like he had it all figured out. Like he knew something she didn't.
"Well, I would… if I knew where I'd put it."
"What?" Rikku's eyes narrowed.
"I forgot where I put it." He replied innocently.
Rikku glared incredulously at him. He knew exactly where he'd put it!
Why does he keep tormenting me? Doesn't he have a life?
Rikku opened her mouth, as if to say something… then suddenly closed it. Spinning on her heel, she walked off, grumbling silently.
Gippal, still amused, watched her retreating figure for a minute before starting a steady jog in her direction. He slowed down to a walking pace when at a small distance.
Rikku knew he was following her. She was debating whether or not she should turn around and scream at him. But she knew that was undoubtedly what he wanted.
She settled for ignoring him. He would probably fill this lagging silence soon anyway. That's what people with big mouths do, don't they?
She was ready to explode. She had searched everywhere for that letter- the temple's storage rooms, the agency, the fayth's chamber room, through the ruins around the temple and all the while Gippal had been playing the 'Hot & Cold' game behind her.
"You're getting hotter, Cid's girl… hotter still… damn, you're hot now."
"My name is Rikku! And if you won't tell me where you hid the letter then just leave me alone!" Rikku snapped.
"Really now," Gippal looked genuinely hurt, "Most women enjoy my company – they also enjoy me."
A clean slap pierced the air, as everything else seemed to fall silent.
Rikku stood glaring at him with a murderous intent. The side of Gippal's mouth was curled into a light smirk as he rubbed his red cheek thoughtfully.
"You're not even playing the game right! Everywhere I go it's 'You're getting hotter, Cid's wittle gurrl-'" she spat out those last words as if they were a disgusting taste in her mouth, then continued to imitate the machine faction leader's voice in a dramatic and highly mocking manner. "'You're boiling, Cid's gurrl! You're so hot right now, I can see the steam rising!'" Literally.
Then came the inevitable reply to that particular beating; "I don't sound like that!"
Rikku eventually found out where Gippal had hidden the letter, and when she did, sufficed to say, she was not a happy bunny…
"You hid it in my back pocket?!" Rikku yelled in disbelief.
"Yeah, I totally forgot about that." Gippal replied unconvincingly.
"When did you do this?!"
"Uh, the second I got it?" He offered, before adding an afterthought. "…When you were having your way on top of me." His eyebrows wiggled suggestively.
Rikku sighed deeply. It was already hard enough suppressing the erge to stab him every 2 seconds.
"Wait." She stopped as an oncoming thought crossed her mind. "Then what was that paper you were holding when you ran away?"
"Oh, that!" He chuckled, "Yeah, that was the blue print for a machina we're currently working on in the temple. When did you notice the letter wasn't blue, Cid's girl?"
"Go on like that and you will be getting closely acquainted with my fist!" Rikku's smiled sweetly, secretly proud at her witty retort.
"Oh?" Gippal grinned, "You mean as closely acquainted as I almost got to your lips?"
Something inside Rikku snapped right then, causing her blood to flood well over boiling point. She'd been pushed many times that day but that one comment sent her over the edge.
And that's exactly what happened to her and Gippal when she threw herself at him.
Gippal was taken completely by surprise and had little time to react. The force instantly sent them both tumbling down the slope of the Djose temple river.
Rikku felt her legs flip upward through the air before slapping down into the thick muddy waters below.
Gippal lay on top of her.
Rikku groaned inwardly as she tried to recover her lost breath, but it proved very difficult with the heavy built machine faction leader on top of her.
"Hey." She took in some air to yell at him. "Get off me!"
"I dunno, I kinda like it up here." Came the reply.
At this response, Rikku forcibly shoved him off. She began trudging off through the muddy waters, aiming for Celsius. She was going to walk out on all of this and she didn't plan on looking back- she'd already suffered enough embarrassment to last her a lifetime.
She did not notice, however, her now, crumpled, soaked, beaten letter floating over by Gippal's feet.
She thought it was in her belt pocket…
Gippal calmly reached down to fish it out of the water, giving it a little shake as he did so to relieve the abused letter of its wet baggage.
"Hey Cid's girl!"
Rikku spun around angrily, excess drops of water flew from her drenched hair as it whipped back to stick to her shoulder.
"What?" she barked.
A second thought suddenly hit Gippal. He quickly hid the letter behind his back before Rikku eyed it. He raised his head up to meet her intense glare.
"Um…" What was he gonna say?
Rikku glowered intently at him, her impatience rising dangerously with each passing second. He looked nervous with his hands behind his back and his gaze averting hers every so often.
Perhaps he was trying to apologise? Yeah, fat chance. Not even fat, it was obese! But whatever he had to say, it looked really hard to say it.
"What is it?" It was obvious she was trying to sound calm, but it came out more annoyed than anything.
Gippal looked up to meet her gaze once again. For a moment he said nothing. But then the right words came to him…
He smirked, then in a cool tone replied, "You're cute when you're mad."
Rikku's eyes burned with so much fire and rage, Gippal could've sworn that a little more would have triggered simultaneous combustion.
It took every ounce of her willpower not to grab his neck and squeeze until she felt better. Fortunately for Gippal, she managed to release her anger and frustration in a single strangled sound.
Rikku stormed off.
Cue mini storm clouds hovering above her head.
"Rikku! We were about to go look for you, you were gone for so long! Where have you been?" An anxious Yuna hurried over to Rikku as she entered the Celsius bridge doors.
"Yuna wanted to go look for you. I wanted to leave before you came back." Brother corrected while stepping out of his chair.
Rikku shot him a glare before turning back to face the worried Yuna.
"Rikku you're soaking! Is that mud? What happened to you?" Yuna's voice rose in alarm as she took in Rikku's appearance.
"I just… had trouble getting the letter is all." The battered Al Bhed assurred truthfully.
"Are you ok?" Yuna paused to pick out a stray leaf stuck in Rikku's golden locks.
Rikku gazed up at her with a smile, touched by her concern.
"Yes, I'm fine... Thank you."
"Just… for asking, Yunie."
"Oh." Yuna smiled back. "You're welcome."
Rikku felt the sides of her mouth twist up into a small smile. She was lucky to have a cousin like Yuna to keep her going. Even if the gesture was as simple as asking how she was feeling.
She'd totally forgotten how upset she'd been before when-
The blonde lifted her head to see Paine approaching her.
"Do you have Nhadala's letter?"
"Oh!" Rikku gasped suddenly, remembering the accursed parchment she'd been tracking all day. "Yeah, I've got it right-"
She reached into her pocket, expecting the letter to brush against her fingers. She realised it was empty.
"Uh…" Rikku's brow furrowed as confusion swept her. She continued her search through her other pockets on her belt.
In her head, her mind rewound back to retrace her steps and recover the letter's whereabouts. Then it dawned on her.
Rikku slowly raised her head as realisation hit her like a tonne of bricks, and the anger she had felt came flooding back like a speeding train. Her eyes started burning with an intense fury as she stared fiercely at the wall in front of her. The nervous twitch above her right eye painted worry on Yuna's expression once again.
Rikku stood silent, glaring holes into the wall. Her body started shaking. With all the anger building it was impressive she'd managed to keep it bottled up until she had gotten back outside… holding Paine's sword.
…I hope Gippal can run fast…
A/N: YAY! Please R/R! I hope you enjoyed it! I'm going to bed…