Title: Quick Change

Pairing: Rikku and Gippal

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy X-2

Dressphere: Gun Mage

"Seriously? Seriously?"

Rikku fiddled with the contraption in her hands.

"What?"

"Didn't we just go through this?"

"I have no idea what you're talking about."

Gippal ground his teeth together.

Rikku ignored his obvious irritation.

Gippal considered himself to be a patient man. After all, he accepted Rikku into his work force knowing full well just how much of a handful she sometimes was (read: always was). He even recently offered to teach her how to safely use firearms. Much like the one she now held in her hands.

Except not really.

Because. Well.

"Rikku, what do you have in your hand?"

She pulled something out of her pouch and loaded it into the device in question. Which only frustrated him more.

Because he didn't know what it was.

Seriously! He was Gippal. He singlehandedly ran Spira's largest machine faction. He was an Al Bhed. He was a member of the Crimson Squad, and a damn good one at that.

Gunpowder practically ran in his blood.

And of course Rikku of all people came along with the one particular gun that he didn't know how to use.

He wondered if the universe was out to get him.

When Rikku only continued to ignore him he decided to take evasive action.

He pulled the weapon out of her fingers and held it above his head.

"Hey! Give me back my gun!"

"So it is a gun?"

She scoffed. "Of course it is. It has a trigger and ammo and everything! What did you think it—"

Rikku suddenly had a lightning strike of intellect.

A cruel grin seeped onto her face.

"Oh...I see."

Gippal pretended not to notice her, inspecting the gun instead.

She folded her arms and popped her hip out, posing in her superior I-know-something-you-don't-know fashion.

"You, the great Gippal, do not know how to use a gun."

He scoffed. "I know how to use a gun, kid. This is no gun."

"Yeah it is! You can even use this special ammo with it to learn attacks from your enemies and then use it against them."

Gippal blinked at her.

"What?"

Rikku took the opportunity to snatch the weapon out of his now lowered arm. She jumped back gracefully when he made a lunge for it.

"What is it with you and stealing my stuff?"

"Did you of all people seriously just ask me that?"

She stuck her tongue out at him. When he took a menacing step towards her she raised the gun in defense.

Gippal instantly froze.

His hair just grew back and he didn't want a repeat performance. Or worse.

"I just want to see it—"

"Nuh uh. Paws off."

He sighed, raising his hands in surrender.

"Come on, Cid's girl. I just want to—"

"Disengage now."

"...What?"

She poised her finger over the trigger.

"I said disengage."

They stared at each other for all of a minute before Gippal made a split decision and tackled her, grabbing her around the legs.

Rikku screamed bloody murder, her gun misfiring and shooting a long stream of flames towards the ceiling.

Gippal experienced actual fear for his life. He honed his warrior instinct and ripped it from her hands while she was off guard. He was on his feet and sprinting towards the door in the next second.

Her screams echoed behind him as he launched himself down the steps.

"COME BACK HERE YOU FREAKY CYCLOPS!"

Gippal stared at Rikku's gun.

He had managed to get far enough away before she came running after him, giving him time to hide. Once he was sure that she was off of his trail, he came back to the workshop and laid the weapon out on an empty workbench.

So. This thing could shoot flames at his head. Lovely.

What was that thing she said about learning an enemy's abilities?

He picked up the weapon of mass destruction, holding it gingerly less he accidentally misfire and bring the whole work area down in flames.

Which was just ridiculous.

Gippal was supposed to be the one that knew about this kind of stuff, not Rikku. He was the one that was currently teaching her how to use a gun properly. And he didn't believe that for one second she would know how to use this strange gun better than he could.

(Although, her being able to identify it as a gun while he couldn't wasn't exactly reassuring.)

There was only one thing to do.

He fished his tool box out from under the bench.

He would have to take the gun apart in order to unlock it's mysteries.

"GIPPAL!"

His head snapped up just in time to see Rikku slam into him full force.

He groaned and glared up at her.

She had him on his back with his wrists pinned beside his head and her legs straddling his waist. Her eyes were narrowed. Her nostrils flared with fury.

"You stole my gun and then you were going to break it?"

Gippal had to fight the urge to snort. "Please, like I would actually break it."

"You don't know how it works! You would've broken it for sure! And I know I'm a super awesome mechanic and Al Bhed and stuff, but really. If you screwed it up there might not be any hope for it."

He rolled them over so that he was on top of her.

"I'm not incompetent like some people—"

"Was that a slam towards me?"

"So I wouldn't have broken your toy. It's really not all that complicated, kid."

She raised an eyebrow, looking much too smug and all-knowing for his liking. "If you knew how it worked, then why were you going to take it apart?"

"...You know what? Why am I even explaining myself to you?"

He was surprised to find himself on his back once again. Since when was Rikku able to do that?

She stared him down with her most serious face. And not her I'm-trying-to-look-serious-so-that-you'll-let-me-do-this face. This was her serious serious face.

"Why can't you just admit that I know something that you don't?"

He probably would have pouted if he wasn't Gippal. "You don't know something that I don't."

"Yuh-huh! I know how to use this gun and you don't! You didn't even know that it was a gun!"

He moved to push her off of him but she held him down. Which only added to his annoyance.

"Move Rikku."

"Not until you admit it."

"Admit what?"

"That I may just be good at something that you're not!"

Gippal growled. "No! Because you're not good at it!"

He expected her to puff out her chest and rise up to argue back at him like she always did.

She didn't.

Rikku stared at him with her lips pressed tightly together and an uncharacteristically blank look in her eyes.

She moved slowly, lifting herself off of him. She picked the gun up off of the table and exited the workshop. She didn't say a word. She didn't even look at him.

Gippal sat up and cursed loudly.

She was pissed.

He found Rikku a little ways down Mushroom Rock road.

She had the strange looking gun clasped tightly it her hand. He watched as she loaded in a new ammo cartridge with ease and aimed it at a stalagmite. She pulled the trigger once and sent a flurry of needles though it. It crashed to the ground in pieces.

Gippal flinched. He recognized the attack. A cactuar used it on him once as a kid.

He suddenly questioned whether or not he would be able to make it out of this encounter with his head still on his shoulders.

He took a hesitant step forward and cleared his throat.

Rikku's shoulders tensed. She knew exactly who was there without turning to face him.

Gippal rubbed the back of his head awkwardly.

"Look...I'm sorry I said that you weren't good at shooting a gun."

She loaded a blue colored bullet and took aim again.

He sighed. "Hey, I said—"

"That's not why I'm mad at you, idiot."

He bit back a retort. She was insulting him, which was better than not saying anything at all.

"Okay...so, why are you mad at me?"

Rikku whipped around to face him and it almost pained him to see the dry tears on her cheeks.

"You wouldn't just suck up your stupid pride and admit that I was finally better at something than you were!"

Gippal looked down at his feet and kicked a rock.

"My pride isn't stupid..."

She threw her hands up in the air, turning away from him again.

He frowned and gripped her shoulder.

"Fine, I'm sorry okay?"

Her shoulders fell and she looked at him tiredly.

"Why couldn't you just admit that I'm better at something than you are?" She stared down at her boots. "When we were kids, you were always the one that had it together. You knew how to do everything and you were always so good at it. You always had to show me how to do everything." She laughed without humor. "You even had to show me how to use my own gunner dressphere."

Gippal sighed. She wasn't really mad at him. She was just tired of feeling inferior.

He thought, dryly, that he could relate.

He contemplated for a moment, briefly lamented the loss of his man card, and then said, "You grew up without me, Rikku."

When all she did was stare at him in confusion he blew out a frustrated breath.

"I liked being the one that always showed you how to do stuff." He threw a hand out, randomly gesturing at nothing. "Then when I joined the Crimson Squad to defeat Sin, you ran off and took care of it yourself. And then you did it again with Vegnegun."

A look of understanding came onto her face. Gippal ran his fingers through his hair.

"You...you got stronger. And you didn't need my help. And you've always needed my help."

He felt her touch his cheek, forcing him to meet her gaze. She gave him one of her big smiles that only Rikku could give.

"You're such a boy sometimes."

And she hugged him. She squeezed her arms around his midsection and pressed her cheek against his chest. Gippal slowly brought his arms around her shoulders.

"I'm always going to need you, Gippal. I'm just not a kid anymore, that's all."

A feeling of relief washed over him. He scoffed.

"That doesn't explain why you act like a five-year-old all the time."

"Shut up, we're having a moment."