Project ID: Bottles of Summer
Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X, or Final Fantasy X-2.
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Author Talk: Goodbye, everyone! It was fun! For me, anyways. Maybe someday I'll come back and write this the sequel it's set up for. Until then, take care, and thank you all for reading!
Prompt Used: Ace — #21


"So, I was thinking," Gippal began without turning to look at her, "D'you know how lame it'd be if some twerp ran me out of business?"

Rikku rested a hand on the sword's hilt in greeting, and snuck a look at him. He'd changed more than she'd thought he would. Darker clothes and a leaner face.

"Are you sulking?"

"You're too young to understand."

"I'm eighteen in like a week!"

"Yeah, yeah," he clicked his fingers towards where she stood, "You know, you were supposed to wait for me."

She glanced down at her impromptu grave, "Something came up, you know?"

"Huh," he shifted, finally turned, walked towards her lazily. "So, are we gonna do this or what?"

"We?"

"Well, you know," he shrugged, "I've gotta wipe out the competition or the Machine Faction's gonna be taken over by a Yevonite." He stopped just before her and she reached up to prod at the new ring through his eyebrow.

"You don't have to make up an excuse to do the right thing, Gippal."

"Whatever. Are you tagging along or not?"

"Tagging along?" Rikku repeated, and then smacked his arm, "You jerk! Don't go taking over my story when it's just getting started!"

"Sure, sure. What're you even doing here?"

Rikku faltered, glanced away. "I was saying hello to an old friend. What's your excuse?"

"I heard there was some maniac crossing the ocean in a pink tugboat and wanted to see if it was true."

"It's a ship!"

"It's an abomination and I'm having someone put holes in the bottom."

"WHAT?"

"Yeah, well. It's for your own good."

"YOU SUNK MY BOAT?"

"I thought it was a ship?"

Rikku gaped at him for a moment. Then she dumped her canteen over his head.

"So you've stranded me in the middle of the desert?! You jerk!"

Gippal pushed back his now sopping hair from his eyes and glowered at her, "Relax, would you? I've got a ship."

Rikku opened her mouth to say something scathing about her rights as an individual and that he wasn't allowed to treat her like a kid anymore--but lost the train of thought. "Can I drive?"

"You're like a maniac," Gippal complained, but dug into his pockets and pushed the keys into her hand. They were still wet from his skin. She clenched them, and looked up, smile bright.

"You make me so mad," she announced, and looked at him for too long, so that it became awkward. Blushing, she pushed the keys into the pocket of her shorts and stepped around him, marching off.

"Other way," Gippal said. She stopped he hadn't moved. She had the sense he was waiting for something.

"What?"

"I thought you were going to miss me."

"Miss you?" Rikku stammered, but recovered. She put her hands on her hips and scoffed. "You? Please. Why would I miss you?"

"You attack all the women who come near me."

Rikku stared at him, speechless. She experienced the painful kind of blushing. "You're a jerk," she said, again, but with a bit of a thrill.

Gippal smirked, but it wasn't a wholly unkind expression, "I guess. Ship's over that way. We should get Nooj and Paine to help us. Anyone else you can think of?"

"Le Blanc'll come," Rikku began, but then stopped and shook her head furiously, "Um, actually, let's not invite her."

"If Nooj is coming along, so will she."

"You know, Paine and Yuna and I were just fine by ourselves. Three is a great number, really." Rikku broke into a trot, drawing alongside him. She could see his hovercraft now, squatting low on the horizon. She glanced behind her, noting their footprints through the sand. His strides were almost twice as long as hers.

Gippal's hand fell on top of her head, pushing her hair into her eyes. She cried out and swatted at him, pushing away and fixing her hair as best she could. It still didn't feel right, even when she'd stopped fussing with it. "What was that for?"

"You," he said casually, not looking at her, "I mean, jeez, would it kill you to sit around and mope a bit? Did you have to make me chase you all across Spira?"

Rikku stared at him wordlessly.

"Seriously, Rikku. Our adventure has been totally delayed."

"Well, you left first."

"You said you'd wait."

"I did not!"

"It was implied!"

"I did wait! You were the one who acted like you'd forgotten me!" Rikku snapped, and then took off running. She climbed into the hover and locked the door's, fuming. Gippal's hand beat lazily at the window.

"If you think I forgot, you're kind of stupid."

Rikku opened the door grumpily, "I'm not going to be your sidekick. You can't just drag me around and take off whenever you want and go off philandering with Pus."

"With what?"

"You heard me!" Rikku said fiercely, gripping the armrest too tightly. Gippal blew out a breath.

"Fine, I'm sorry I blew you off at Djose. But you did the same thing."

"You were different!"

"So were you!" Gippal snapped, then kissed the corner of her mouth much too quickly. He looked almost angry about it. "Why'd you grow up without me?"

"I didn't. I'm still short."

"That isn't what I meant."

Rikku nodded, and then said, "You kissed me."

"Yeah."

"Well, that's okay. I'll exact my revenge later. Or right now."

And so she did, because she'd been kissing Gippal since they'd been children, and so it was only the natural thing to do. Of course. Completely ordinary.

Rikku let go of him and fell back into her seat, staring abashedly at her hands.

"I missed you."

"Promise?"

"Yeah."

"Okay, then," she sniffed, and crawled over to the driver's seat. Gippal got in behind her, and shut the door. Rikku reflected upon this new development.

"How would you feel about getting 'reserved' tattooed onto your forehead?"

"Rikku, drive."