TITLE. While Little Girls Grow
SUMMARY. In which Gippal witnesses Rikku's victory dance and is thoroughly distraught.
NOTES. Again, I apologize for this.
DISCLAIMER. I don't own FFX-2.

"What," Gippal's voice cut through the desert winds, strained. His eyes felt gritty and dry, and the right one blurred red. Rikku abruptly stopped dancing around the three Zu corpses. "What was that?"

She blinked at him innocently and rested her claw on her hip. "What was what?"

"That," he waved his gun around. Rikku stared at him, pretty and fifteen, like he was possibly demented. He couldn't blame her; he was bleeding rather profusely from his face. "The thrusting."

"Oh!" Her face lit up, actually lit up and Gippal experienced what he was certain was a heart attack for about five long seconds. "That was my victory dance! Wasn't it superrific?"

"No," he deadpanned, grimacing, "it was the exact opposite of that, actually."

She had a rather pretty pout. Gippal briefly considered bludgeoning himself with the butt of his gun, then scrapped the idea. Rikku would whine about having to clean up the mess. "Meanie!"

"Mean is making me watch that abomination," he said flatly, digging through his pants. He'd dropped his last potion somewhere in the Oasis when Rikku had bent over in her impossibly short shorts to re-tie her shoe and— it wasn't like he'd tripped or anything— seriously, he hadn't been staring— he'd decided the sand and his face should get acquainted.

She glowered at him. He stuck out his hand; the palm of his glove was split open and the skin underneath was purplish. Poisoned, probably. His eye started to burn something fierce. "You got any potions or antidotes on you, kid?"

She shot him the blandest look he'd ever seen and gestured to her clothing – or lack thereof. "Do I look like I have pockets?"

"I don't know," he hissed, and wiped blood off his cheek. It was still fairly wet. "You seem perfectly capable of whipping grenades out of absolutely nowhere during battle."

She rolled her eyes. "I filch them off the fiends, moron."

"It's not like I'm watching what you do when I'm trying to save your scrawny ass, brat."

"You would want to protect my ass, you pervert."

Gippal made a frustrated sound and flailed a bit. Rikku watched him calmly. He did not like the feeling that their roles had been reversed and ceased all spastic movement. "Rikku, seriously, I need a potion. My eye's retarded."

"Gippal, that's not your eye, that's just you." He glowered at her. She bit her lip and stepped towards him. "Let me see."

"Only if you promise to never do that dance ever again."

She huffed a bit, eyes darting over his face, and slumped. "Okay."

Her fingers were gentle when they pried his eyelid open wider. He smirked. "Just be glad I'm the one who saw it, and not Brother."

She blanched.

"Yeah!" Rikku punched the air. "Take that, you overgrown tulip!"

Gippal watched her bounce from foot to foot giddily while Paine wiped slime off her sword next to him. When he'd ask them to sort out the fiend problem near the Djose Highroad, he hadn't exactly expected to be helping.

He also hadn't expected Rikku to have hips. It was unnatural. Wrong, even. Wasn't she, like, twelve? Who'd decided she was allowed to parade around in a bikini all the time? It definitely wasn't him. Didn't she have a brother and — what the hell why was she doing that dance?

Paine sighed behind him. It was one of her Someone Please Shoot Me sighs. He knew it well. "Are you quite finished?"

Rikku's hips stopped thrusting. "Just one more?"

She widened her eyes and stuck out her lower lip. A lesser person would've crumbled; Gippal was most definitely one of those. Paine, however, was not. "No."

"Pleaaaaase," she whined, hands clasped to her chest. She started hopping again. Paine raised an eyebrow at her in annoyance. "Just an itty-bitty one?"

"Fine," Paine conceded. Rikku beamed and then rolled her hips again. Gippal's lungs contracted violently while his mind went to A Very Bad Place. Paine snorted. "Okay, that's enough."

"B – but!"

She looked from Rikku to him, then back. "Do you want to kill him?"

Rikku giggled. "Maybe just a little."

Gippal stopped choking, crawled out of the figurative gutter, and started for Youth League Headquarters. He'd heard good things about their showers. As in, that they were colder than Mt. Gagazet's summit.

Rikku, much to his dismay and delight and a whole lot of other contradicting words that described their not-quite relationship, followed him.