Summary: Gippal knew he had several options when he met up with Rikku again, and sometimes the consequences weren't immediate.
Author's Note: So, right, yet again, a pseudo sequel, alternate universe, stand alone, beating a dead horse thing to Options One and Three. And if you read closely, you might see the inspiration for Option Four. :)
After the Events of Final Fantasy X-2
Gippal didn't hear the door open. As there wasn't a physical door other than a flap of cloth he wasn't surprised that he didn't. He heard the cloth flap in what he thought was a breeze. He'd even felt a faint but blessedly moving air on his face for a moment. So because it was the wind he didn't look up from the books he was reviewing from the time he'd gone into the Farplane with Nooj near the very end of what he was privately calling the "Great Machina Travesty." All that metal and all that technology, gone in a big explosion of bits of metal and fasteners, it was a waste. Caught up in his work, he promptly forgot that the door had opened at all.
Overall, he wasn't that disappointed with what he was reading. Sure, productivity had gone down. People had run away, but he wasn't expecting Rikku, Paine and Yuna level of heroics from his employees. In fact, he expected a certain amount of self-preservation and sense from them and not the near suicidal jump into any dangerous situation brainlessness that had come over the female gender of late.
He turned a page. Productivity was increasing and people were reporting again from work. He half believed the story that Rikku and company had defeated some huge fiend in the desert. Fiend encounter reports were going down which was a good thing. There was even talk of salvaging Home, which potentially meant more work for him. Yep. Life was good.
A hand with black fingerless leather gloves attached to an arm with fluttery white sleeves tugged the book from his hands. He snatched at it and looked up at Rikku. She smiled at him and tossed the book over her shoulder. He gulped. It wasn't a pleasant smile. He opened his mouth to protest or say something, when her other hand swung around and slapped him across the cheek. The room rang with the crack of flesh hitting flesh. His head turned and his eye stung.
"Shit." He blinked. "Ow." He turned his head back to her. "What was that for?"
She put her hands on her hips, eyebrows rising. "Repeat after me. Rikku."
He mouthed another curse. Damn it. He'd forgotten about that. The string of curses continued in his head, insulting his heritage, his intelligence and sexual orientation. He knew at the time that treating her like an annoying younger sibling was going to come back and bite him. He swallowed and tried to look as contrite as possible. "Rikku."
She sighed and plopped down into his lap. He leaned back into his chair. What the hell was she going to do next? She put a hand under his chin and turned his head. "You've got a big red spot on your face."
His eye narrowed. "You just gave it to me." He felt like shaking her. He clenched his hands instead.
"You're lucky I didn't punch you."
He winced as she probed the cheek gently with the tip of her finger. "I actually expected that. Why didn't you?"
"I didn't want to break my hand on your brick like skull." She clucked her tongue. "I didn't mean to hit you that hard." She leaned down and pressed a kiss on his cheek.
"That's not going to make it all better." He muttered.
"You used to think so." She said. He flushed. He loved getting bruised when they were younger, just so he could have Rikku kiss him. It had been a great scam.
He squirmed. "Yeah, well-" His eyes darted around looking at everything but her any of her. He didn't dare look down at her breasts and lap. "I- I'm sorry." He finished, finally willing to meet her eyes.
Her lips twitched almost into a smile. "See that it doesn't happen again."
He relaxed and loosely wrapped his arms around her. "But it's so much fun to push you around."
"Ever since you got bigger than me…" She wrinkled her nose and frowned. "I can still break you in half."
He grinned. "After seeing you beat up Vegnagun, I have no doubts about that." He leaned his head back and stared down his nose at her. "I didn't expect it to be this easy. I thought I'd have to grovel some."
"You can still grovel." She sat up and shook her head, earrings and hair bouncing. "I'd like that."
"I'm sure you would." He smirked. "Thus, I'm not going to do so, since you forgave me so easily. I wonder why that is."
"And you expect me to tell you?" She snorted.
"Well, since you aren't going to grovel. You can forget it." She crossed her arms.
"Aww, come on."
She turned her head away. "Nope."
He grabbed her wrists and pried them away from her body. He dragged her closer. "You can tell me." He said. Her head turned back to him, eyes widening. He grinned. "I can keep a secret."
"Just like you kept the one about us being a couple?" She asked, voice tart. The breath it took to say the words caressed his lips. He shivered despite the heat of the day combined with the heat of their bodies.
He wrapped her arms around his neck. "Yuna wouldn't have believed me at all, if you hadn't been so defensive."
"Fine, blame me. You could have said we-" Her voice caught as he ran his hands down her sides and then teased the base of her back. "-were old friends."
"Well, there's old friends and then there's old friends." He murmured and caught her bottom lip with his teeth. "We were the second, not the first." He kissed her. She groaned, moving her mouth against his. Her tongue darted across the seam of his lips and he opened his mouth for her. His hands cupped her butt for a moment and then ran down her thighs. He tried to slide his fingers under her skirt. His fingers butted against the hem and wouldn't move it was so tight. Her tongue distracted him, flicking against his gently and then rough. He dug his fingers into her thighs and she arched into, pressing all her curves against him. She swept her tongue between his bottom lip and his teeth, making his stomach tighten and an ache sweep through him.
She pulled away from him fractionally. "However, I am susceptible to bribes."
"Bribes?" He asked before sucking on her bottom lip.
"Bribes, like chocolate." She kissed him, running her fingers into his hair. Tingles spread through his body and he felt like he was floating. "Pretty things."
"Sexy nightgowns?" His voice dropped into the husky range.
"Mmm, those would work. Flowers."
He ducked his head down to nuzzle her neck and growled as the fuzzy scarf got in his way. He kissed the sensitive spot under her ear. "Sex."
"Hmm, no. Bribes lead to sex." She rubbed his unhurt cheek with hers.
"Picky, picky." He wrapped his arms around her and sighed. She continued to stroke his head and the back of his neck. He had missed her. He grimaced. Spira, he'd been so close to screwing everything up. He was lucky it was Rikku, who didn't like public scenes but was unafraid to slap him then forgive him, especially if he really, really deserved it. "Next time you drop out of my life for two years, don't show up with a celebrity." He grumbled.
She giggled. "Why not?"
He scowled. "I'm not saying."
She pulled back, grinning. "You were nervous."
He flushed. "I was not."
"You were too. You wanted Yuna to like you."
"How was I supposed to know what you were saying to her about me? You could have been saying all these nasty things and I would never know." He scowled. "I didn't know you weren't talking about me at all."
She giggled and kissed his nose. "It didn't seem fair when she didn't have Tidus to gush about."
"So, I didn't know what to do. Ignore you completely or grab you and make a run for it." He paused and tilted his head a little. He actually hadn't considered that one. "Well, grab you and kiss you senseless." He amended.
"I wouldn't mind. As long as you gave them back afterwards."
He blinked. "Gave what back?"
"My senses." She jutted her bottom lip out. "I need them."
He groaned. She was pouting. "I'm going to eat that lip." He muttered. She straightened her face to solemnity and stuck her tongue out at him. He growled. "All right, that's it." He grabbed her waist and stood. She squealed as her butt landed on the top of his desk. "I'm going to take you right here. I was going to wait…"
She flipped backwards across the desk and ended up on her feet on the other side. She braced herself against the desk and stared at him. "Bribes first."
He took one step to the side. "You stuck your tongue out at me."
She moved one step in the opposite direction. "It seemed like the thing to do."
He paused to think about it. "Uh huh. No good." He vaulted the desk. She backpedaled but it didn't do her any good as he caught her around the waist and threw her over his shoulder. He reached down and scooped up the ledger book.
She huffed and slapped his butt. "What are you doing?"
"I'm going to read somewhere more comfortable." He strode out the tent.
"What does that mean?"
He smirked and didn't say anything. He nodded at his workers whose eyes widened at Rikku's kicking legs. She slapped his butt again. "Gippal, what does that mean?" She sounded a little panicked.
He shifted her a little and ducked into another tent. He sighed as the cooler air inside passed over him. He would have been in here earlier if he hadn't felt an obligation to be accessible to his workers. Screw obligation.
"Put me down!" She wiggled more.
He dumped her on the bed. She bounced, her eyes wide. He tossed the book next to her and started unbuckling his clothes. She stared at him, jaw dropping. He pulled off his shirt and kicked off his boots and overalls. Her mouth opened and closed, at times she swallowed. He flopped down on the bed next to her in his pants. He pursed his lips at her face. "Are you going to take those extra clothes off or do you want me to decide what goes?" He stretched to reach the light and rolled over on his back.
She licked her lips. "I have work." She looked ready to bolt, but she didn't sit up.
"Boots, scarf, sleeves, gloves, and hair. Run and I'll catch you again." He sat up and stared down at her. "I am due some compensation for being slapped."
"Which you deserved."
"Granted," he tugged at the scarf working it off from around her neck without strangling her. He would never argue otherwise. He had a tendency to be an ass and she continued to stick around. It was one of her best selling points, after being beautiful.
Her eyes darted back and forth. "I didn't mean for this to be a long visit."
He managed to yank her gloves off. "I'm being selfish. Everyone else has had you for the last two years. Be selfish in return." The sleeves were next. For a girl who had so eagerly sat on his lap and kissed him, she was acting skittish.
"I guess." She bit her lip and kicked off her boots.
He tried to think about it from her perspective and couldn't. He rolled his eyes and decided it must be some sort of female reasoning he'd never get. She sat up, reached up behind her head and untied the bandana. He ran his eyes down her body and smiled. He lay back down to watch her. She pulled out the ponytail; seemingly unaware of the way she held her hands pushed her breasts up. Her gaze was fixed on her lap. She glanced up and met his eyes, flushing. She dropped her hands and all her hair fell down with them. She clasped them in her lap.
He sighed in exasperation. "I'm not going to eat you." He wiggled his eyebrows. "Even if I really want to."
She turned a deeper crimson. He stared. She was such a contradiction, one moment a sex goddess, the next completely shy. He half sat, grabbed her hand and pulled her down so her head was on his chest. She lay still for a few moments. He began to stroke her back and she sighed, relaxing. He rolled his eyes and picked up the ledger, opening to were he'd left off. He ignored the little squirming motions as Rikku made herself more comfortable and continued to stroke up and down her head and back.
Profits were up, productivity was increasing, business was expanding and he had Rikku back. Life was better.
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