Falling. Pt 3 aka the Epilogue
All Standard Disclaimers Apply
Summary: una calls and sets Rikku's brain in motion and Gippal has to prod her out of it.
Author's Note: I wrote this at work, and typed it really fast. Eep! So any spelling or grammar errors are as usual, my own. LOL
Rikku cradled the Djose commsphere in her hands. Yuna's face reflected and distorted in its blue curves. Her cousin made a face and Rikku tried not to giggle at the way her nose was bigger than her mouth.
"I don't know how you stand it. Anikki says you haven't left Djose for a month. How are you and Gippal managing in this heat?"
Rikku blinked. It'd been over a month. She'd been in Djose that long? She bit her bottom lip. "Umm, sweatily." She had to grin a bit. It didn't mean what Yuna thought it meant. Not that it appeared Yuna was paying attention or looking for any double-entendres on Rikku's part.
"Even here on Gagazet it's warm. Macalania's melting, all of the snow is gone here."
Rikku grimaced. Yeah that was bad. "Gippal decided to flip things around here time wise. So it's pretty late here for me."
Yuna tilted her head. "That's a not a bad idea."
"Sometimes, if it got too hot even for us, we'd do that at Home too and sleep through the hottest parts of the day." Rikku shrugged. "It worked out fine."
"I just wish it wasn't so hot." Yuna pouted. "It seems all I do anymore is complain about the heat and we came here to get away from it."
"And be romantic."
Yuna flushed. "Rikku!"
"What, all those hot springs…" She wiggled her eyebrows and giggled, as Yuna blushed more. "You are a bad girl, Yunie."
Yuna made strangled noises. "Me, what about you! Wiling all your time away at Djose."
"Gippal asks my opinion about things sometimes." Like, what to eat and where should they go out and if those pants made his butt look fat. He could be such a girl.
Yuna rolled her eyes. "Nice top, Rikku."
Rikku plucked at the hem and grinned. "You like it, there is this-"
"Wiling." Yuna put her hands on her hips. "You've been doing nothing."
"Shopping isn't nothing." Rikku crossed her arms. "You're vacationing and so am I."
"For over a month."
Yuna shook her head. "Anikki's says he's tried everything to pry you out."
Rikku was going to strangle her brother. Trust him to open his big mouth and blab everything that went on Celsius wise to Yuna. Argh. "Unless it's the North Pole, there's no point. It's hot." And she'd rather shop and go to the Djose spa and have lots of sweaty, she grinned, sex with Gippal than do actual work. "You could work." Rikku pointed at Yuna. It's not like Yuna had a full time job herself!
Yuna gaped. "But- but- Tidus!"
"He's been back months and months. Plus, he'd help. All that watching each other's backs, killing fiends, the rush of a finished mission. Very romantic."
Yuna made a face. "For you maybe."
Rikku snorted. "There were nights on the pilgrimage you could barely keep your hands off of him. I was young, not sheltered."
Red crept over Yuna's cheeks.
Rikku decided to quite while she was winning. "Just think about it, Yunie. Oh and peppermint oil helps cool you down. Don't use too much though or you'll freeze, even in this heat." Rikku shuddered. "Night… or is that day?"
Yuna's mouth opened and closed as Rikku shut down the commsphere. Another smile played across her lips. If Gippal were any indication of the reaction of males to the smell of peppermint, then Tidus would jump Yuna. Rikku licked her lips. That had been a fun afternoon. She walked out of Gippal's pseudo-office swinging her hips. At the door, she paused and looked back at the commpshere over her shoulder.
Over a month, really?
Gippal drowsed, his eyes closed but not really sleeping. He could feel Rikku curled half way on top of him, head under his chin, arm over his chest, leg bent over his, the other parallel. She wasn't moving, but she didn't have that dead weight, no way she was moving one hundred fifty pound sack of flour, feeling to her either. He cracked open his eyes a couple of times, but hadn't been able to see her face. Something was keeping his lover awake.
She stared at the wall, Gippal's heartbeat in her ear. Had it really been over a month? She'd been trying to count the days and had lost track before he'd taken her to the blitz tournament in Luca. That trip had taken up an entire weekend. It was when they returned he'd flipped the working hours from day to night. She could feel his chest moving up and down, slow, even. She hoped he was asleep, even if her mind was too much in a whirl that she couldn't. How long ago had that Luca trip been?
What had she been doing for over a month here? Shopping and spa treatments couldn't have taken up all of her time. Sure there had been a lot of sex with Gippal and sometimes she helped him at the Machine Faction. It couldn't be cleaning or cooking. They'd both been doing that or going out to restaurants and clubs. Just… Her heart pounded and sweat formed in her palms. Was she turning into Yuna? After she'd been so blatant and obvious and vocal about how Yuna's attitude annoyed and confused her. How embarrassing. Was she just throwing her freedom away for a man? Well, she could have left at any time, she supposed. She hadn't realized how long, over a month. What about adventure? What about work? What about fame? Or doing something important in her life that brought honor and glory to the Al Bhed? How had she forgotten all of that? Shouldn't she be doing something?
Her mind churned. She had to work eventually, even if working meant killing fiends for gil and that was a lot of work and not safe to do by herself. Sphere hunting wasn't fun without Yunie. Or Paine, she added as an afterthought. And she had the same problem, it wasn't safe to sphere hunt alone. Excavation with her brother was more work than killing fiends for less reward. She wasn't digging. Digging was a joke, maybe if she was short on gil. Just no. She'd excavate with Anikki first.
What was wrong with her? She used to love to do those things, back when she had others to do them with. She was helping Yuna and could ignore that it wasn't the best use of her talents and abilities. If she could remember what those were.
It wasn't so bad being at Djose with Gippal. She'd probably gone on without notice if Yuna hadn't said something. Why did she have to say something? Rikku had been happy, just fine and now…
Where had her brain gone? She had to do something worthwhile with her time and she didn't want to just up and leave. Not when her and Gippal were doing so well with whatever they were doing. More than friends, more than sex, just what… She couldn't put a finger on the word she wanted for their relationship.
Gippal finally opened his eye. She wasn't sleeping and thus, he couldn't sleep. He craned his neck to the side and still couldn't see her face. "Yuna have bad news?" He asked. Yuna had asked to speak to Rikku.
Rikku started, jerked out of her thoughts of 'boyfriend, significant other, friends with benefits, gray area…' "Wha-?"
"Yuna, did she have bad news?" Gippal shifted his shoulder a little so he could put an arm on her hip.
"Oh no!" Rikku lifted her head and shook it.
"Then what's wrong?" He asked. He needed to see her face, so he carefully rolled up on his side, she ended up on the bed next to him.
He reached down and smoothed her brow with his index finger. "Then what are you thinking so hard about?"
She opened her mouth, closed it, opened it again and licked her lips. Her mind raced. She'd been thinking about a lot of things. The time, them, "Work." She shrugged.
"Work is good though." He ran his fingers over her hip.
"I- I guess." She inhaled. "I just don't know what to do." She paused. "I mean-" She sighed. "I don't know what I mean." She closed her eyes so she wouldn't see the hurt in his. "Working might mean leaving." She finished in a whisper.
Well, he rolled his eyes, that really wasn't exactly a huge problem. "Things are about wrapped up here in Djose and my feet are getting itchy."
Her eyes snapped open and her jaw dropped. What was he saying? "Gippal."
"So, we can go wherever you need."
She pushed up on one arm. "You can't leave Djose. Your work, your home…"
He repressed laughter. It could be fun shocking Rikku. "My home walked through my door complaining she was bored."
"Plus, you have a pillow on the bed, a tooth brush and everything else in the bathroom and you've taken over the closet. You buy groceries, you help cook and clean. This is your place too." He didn't know how she couldn't see that. She'd moved past being a guest a long time ago.
"I haven't decorated." She said and scowled, as if her statement was supposed to prove something.
"I wish you would. It needs it." He muttered. Rikku giggled. He wrinkled his nose. "My point being, Djose can take care of itself if we need to go wandering."
She went quiet. That helped, it really did. "It might not involve wandering."
"Then we'll have to get out to Luca or even Bevelle more to satisfy my itchy feet." And yours, Gippal added mentally.
Rikku made a face. "How about the calm lands or Gagazet hot springs instead?"
"Those sound nice, relaxing. I like springs, cold when it's hot and hot when it's cold…" He trailed off. Her brow had furrowed again and he didn't like that look in her eyes, sad, confused, like when he'd left that first day.
"So, you'd go with me because your feet itch."
"Hell no!" The words exploded from his mouth. What type of guy did she take him for? He inhaled. "I've lost my home once. I'm not going to again." He slipped his hand to the base of her back. "No stopping, remember?" He frowned. "I'll allow pauses if you do but no outright stopping"
One of her eyes closed. "No stopping what?"
He stared at her. "Us."
Rikku's toes curled and her stomach jumped. "No stopping us?"
"We were idiots too long about-" Gippal stopped, dating wasn't the right word, they didn't date. They lived together, they made love or he considered it love, not sex. "-About being in a romantic relationship." He finished. It was lame. He considered them lovers but even that seemed too casual. "You know, together instead of single and moon pining."
"I did not pine." Rikku muttered.
He tapped his fingers on her spine. "Uh huh, sure."
"Only a little," her voice rose in a whine.
"You know where this is leading."
"Sex, lots of it." He said and nodded.
She tried to scowl, but the grin won over it. "I maintain I crushed and pined only a little."
"And I bet Paine and Yuna would not agree."
"Yuna was too busy to notice." Rikku sighed. "Romantic relationship." She said.
"Well, I try to be romantic and you've tried too." He paused. "As long as you tell no one how cheesy I am. I have my pride."
"Oh?" Her eyebrow rose. "No dignity but pride?"
A flash of memory of him falling and her laughter and he didn't blush or feel embarrassed. "Reputation?" He tried.
She snorted and ran her toes along his calf. "And what about bragging?"
He smirked. "Brag all you want."
"Good, Tomorrow I'll call Yuna and brag about my perfect boyfriend who buys me flowers, rubs my back, feeds me in bed and runs my bath."
He flopped onto his back. "Oh fine." He thrust out his bottom lip.
She rolled on top of her, holding her face over his. She leaned down and sucked his bottom lip into her mouth. His hand pressed her to him, their stomachs touching, a few, too short minutes of bliss later, she pulled away smiling. "I called you my boyfriend." She said.
His mind didn't process what she meant.
She dimpled. "You didn't protest." She tossed her hair over her shoulder. There was a point at one time he would have done so. "Does this mean I get jewelry to celebrate my change in status?"
His brain caught up. "I think you have the wrong marker."
She pouted. "Then you aren't perfect. I can't brag about a less than perfect boyfriend."
"Good." He said. He hid a grin.
Her lip quivered. "I'll get you jewelry too."
"You just want jewelry." And if she wanted jewelry he was more than willing to get his girl jewelry, didn't mean he couldn't have a little fun with her first.
"Boyfriend jewelry." She corrected him. Boyfriend jewelry was important. It was like the boyfriend coat or the boyfriend shirt, a visible status symbol worn on the body.
"And you're greedy."
"Since I'm paying for it, do I at least get to pick it out?"
She sighed. "I don't have to have jewelry if you're going to sulk."
Oops, too far, he thought. He cupped her cheek. "I'm teasing you. It's a great idea." He ran his thumb over her lips. "I just want to be sure you don't have something already in mind."
Rikku rested her head against his hand. "Nothing gold, or copper, nothing pink. Something sparkly."
"I like pink."
"Hey, I have to continue as I started, perfect." He paused as a bit of reality and his too well honed sense of logic hit him. "But I'm not really perfect." He muttered.
"I won't tell you finally admitted it." She grinned at him, dimple appearing in her visible cheek.
Gippal shook his head. "I don't want to go three steps back to go one step forward."
"Then why are you bringing it up?" She almost yelled.
"'Cause I never asked!" He hissed back. There he was making a jackass out of himself.
Disregarding the fact she hadn't been sure what they were a few minutes ago. She started in on it. "I said don't stop. You agreed! He had sex. I'm your girl, woman, whatever. Asking seems kinda unnecessary at this point." She rolled her eyes. "We go out, we stay in, sounds like dating to me or something."
"I want to make it official."
Her eyes softened and she smiled. "You are such a softy." And she loved that about him.
"So are you."
"Shhh… it's a secret."
He brushed his lips over hers. "Care to make it official?"
He chuckled. "How so?"
"Long enough that you owe me jewelry." She stuck out her tongue.
He snapped his teeth at it and she stuck it back in her mouth hurriedly and giggled. He snickered and said. "Then I'm late."
"Really?" She drawled.
"Yeah, we've been dating one month, two weeks, five days and twenty hours."
"Do you know down to the second?"
"No." He stated. He hadn't been paying that much attention. He knew the hour only because he'd randomly checked the clock at some point and it had stuck in his mind for some reason. "But it'll have to be an extra nice present, take you out to dinner someplace really fancy, make you get dressed up..." He tucked her hair behind her ear. "I insist on loose hair though."
"Flowers." He continued. She picked up her pillow and hit him with it. He started to laugh. She hit him again giggled. He wrestled the pillow from her hand, hitting her with it once. She shrieked. He tossed it over the edge of the bed and rolled her over still laughing. He kissed her, kissed her until they both moaned. "It's a date."
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PS. Thank you all for reading this lovely tiny trilogy!