Memories Are Nice, But That's All They Are

Humming caught her attention. Where was it coming from? Rikku was in the middle of throwing party decorations in the bin when the sound distracted her. Someone was humming. She looked around at the empty hall. Everyone else had somewhere better to be. Yuna with Tidus, Paine with Baralai and Brother was off being patronized by Cid for his poor taste in party gifts.

So who was humming?

The sound had stopped, so she shrugged her shoulders and continued with the clean up. Really, she didn't mind cleaning up after them this one time; after all, it wasn't like they had trashed the place. It had been some celebration though, with Yuna and Tidus officially announcing their engagement. The only people missing were Wakka, Lulu, and baby Vidina. They were extremely busy right now, what with that new business enterprise of Wakka's. It was okay that they couldn't make it this time; they were invited to the wedding after all.

There was that humming again.

Rikku stood straight and looked around again. What the hell was going on? Shinra and Buddy had pulled some pranks at the party, so it could be them, right?

"Hello?" She said, hoping he would just jump out at her now and get it over with.

A soft wind that sounded like purring rustled the trees outside the door closest to Rikku, but otherwise, her question went unanswered. But the humming was gone again.

'Creepy,' She thought, shivering involuntarily.

She was cold, that was it. There was no way some childish prank of either Shinra's or Buddy's could get to her. Oh, but boy were they in trouble when she got her hands on them!

She remembered the first time she'd met Buddy, when he and Brother were first trying out for the Al Bhed Psyches. They were barely teenagers, and Cid had forbidden Brother to go. But of course, the mow hawked moron had been dreaming about playing Blitzball his entire life.

Rikku went to watch them, and was rather impressed with both of them. Buddy had stamina and was powerful, while Brother had a strong throwing arm, and could swim faster than anyone else there. At the same time they got the good news that they were on the team, Rikku was being approached by an Al Bhed courier with a letter. It was from their father. Everything was about to change. Their mother had died. This was the turning point for Brother. He decided not to play Blitzball, and dedicated himself instead to making machinas safer. They would never rampage again, if he had anything to say about it.

Rikku sighed, shrugging off that particular memory. She finished with the first box of decorations, to be reused when someone else got engaged. She smiled at that. Gippal was a slow learner on the romantic front. Sure, he had charisma and a presence that earned him the "ladies man" reputation, but that required very little learning on his part. He was a natural at the art of making girls swoon.

But he was in an actual relationship now, and Rikku had hoped that he would be a natural at that too. He bought her flowers, repaired the machina she was overdue in servicing when she'd rather just go home and put her feet up, and reminded her how much he loved her when Tidus and Yuna tried to show them up.

'But still, he should have remembered my birthday last week, and stood up for me when my dad was trying to pressure me into settling down.'

Had that embarrassed him? She wondered sometimes, just how shameless he really was.

Humming again?

Rikku strode over to the door and peered outside. There was no-one there. The day had ended shortly before the celebrations began, so the sun was currently out of sight and the full moon bathed the dark trees in a kind of luminescent glow. They looked so alive. The engagement party had been over for awhile, so where was he? They had chosen this place, out of the way, but still near to Besaid Village. The entire village, and not just the forefront which had been built in the shadow of the temple, was quiet tonight. The only sounds were those from nature. Rikku sighed. Perhaps that meant that she was the only one not either asleep or otherwise occupied.

The smaller towns outside of Luca and Bevelle had no major power distribution, so had for years, been reliant on flame torches. Rikku knew a little of the black magic herself, and lit several torches while dousing more that were already lit – the ones she didn't need. They kept her warm at least. She looked again, outside. The night really was both beautiful and creepy.

She laughed at herself and returned to the clean up. The floor needed sweeping, the windows were dirty, and she had yet to locate the duct tape that had been used to tie Tidus to the chair. The smile on her face widened. Anyone watching from the outside would've thought it had been a hen's night or something, and not the actual engagement party.

But of course, she had no intention of do all of the tidying. She was no doormat. Paine had promised to drag Baralai back in the morning to clean up anything she and Gippal didn't want to do. She groaned, staring around.

'Where is he?'

Rikku remembered the day she'd met Gippal. He'd been just as unreliable back then, as well. Of course, five year olds could hardly be called responsible.

They had just moved into the metallic walls that made up the new Al Bhed Home, and Cid was off busy elsewhere. Rikku's mother, Arrika, was supervising them, while tending to the toy machina Brother had broken in a tantrum. He had no friends back then, and despite the fact that their father was the leader and well liked, neither Rikku nor Brother had had any real friendships outside of family – each other, and cousins, etc. But that was all soon to change, now that so many more families were moving in.

The other kids responded well to Rikku and her "funny" demeanour, as they called it, but Brother was too weird. She kept trying to involve him, whether it was with her new male friends, or their cousins, who didn't much like him either.

Rikku had met Gippal on the very first day anyone had started to enjoy Brother's company. He'd finally found the comedian within him and a group of boys were laughing along with his jokes. But there was a cute boy in the corner attracting a different kind of attention. Even back then, the girls fawned over Gippal and, having recently found his confidence, Brother was not one to share this attention.

So while the boys competed with each other – only it seemed Gippal was unaware – Rikku watched this cute boy in awe. Later, she would approach him, like him and be liked in return. Their relationship was off and on, mostly due to his popularity.

Rikku remembered it clearly. She dropped the garbage bag in her hands.

Humming again?

That was it; she was fed up. "Who's there?"

"Just me." It was Gippal. "What's got you all uptight?"

She narrowed her eyes at him. "Where have you been?"

He shrugged. "Just out getting some fresh air. Huh?" He frowned at her expression. "What's wrong?"

"I keep hearing humming," she said, "and I don't know where it's coming from."

Gippal looked around. "I didn't see anyone coming in. I didn't hear anything either. Maybe it was just your imagination."

"Maybe." She sighed. "Come on and help me with this stuff, will you. It's not going to clean itself."

"Look at you, all responsible," he said, grinning. "You never used to be like that when we were kids."

"Hey," she complained. "I was given command of the salvaging team when I was thirteen, remember?"

"And how long did you hold that position?"

She poked tongue at him. "Two years, so what? I only left back then because I ran into Yuna and decided I wasn't going to let my cousin die. If it hadn't been for Sin, or her Yevonite father, she might've been with us when all our families started moving into Home."

"Not with your father's temper, and disapproval of her mother's liaisons," he said cheekily, and then cocked his head at her. "Cid's girl is just like him."

Rikku smacked him. "Hey!"

He laughed. "All right, I was just kidding! So where do these paper lamp shades go?"

They worked for only a minute before Rikku heard humming again and turned to see if it had been Gippal all along. He was grinning from ear to ear.

"What?" She asked suddenly self conscious.

"Are you happy?" He sounded serious, though his face was still smiling.

She thought about that. "Sure. With everything that's been going on lately, I can't complain. In fact, while waiting for you to come back, I've been thinking about things."

"What things?"

She frowned at him. "The past. What does it matter?"

"And what were you thinking about just now?"

Rikku felt herself blush. "Our first night together."

Only days after returning from wherever he had faded to over two years ago, Tidus had met Gippal and noticed the "exchange" between him and Rikku. He'd then decided to play match-maker, and it took him a month to get these stubborn two together. The first night they'd spent together had been a very romantic affair that both Tidus and Yuna had set up for them. It was an awesome memory.

"You were lost in happy memories," he said, also a slight pink on his cheeks. "And you were humming."

"Me?" Rikku's eyes widened. "Are you saying I was the one humming all this time?"

Gippal nodded. "Yep. I make you happy." She went to smack him again, and he grabbed her hand, pulling her close to him. "Very, happy," he said.

He kissed her and when she managed to get her breath back she whispered, a cheek in her voice: "Memories are nice, but that's all they are."

A/N: Like? Me too. Review! You love me, you know you do!