If there was one thing that could be safely said about the Al Bhed, it was that they had very odd taste in weaponry. Not that they had much of a selection, Gippal knew, given that just about everything that they had had been fermenting in the Bikanel deserts for a couple hundred years. But really, not everything they unearthed looked like it was made while under the influence of Lucan Skydust, just the things that worked best. It was as if the absurd-looking devices had managed to stupefy even the rust and dirt into not taking them seriously.
However, in the end, Gippal didn't care. Sure, maybe his trusty handgun looked ready to dispense candy rather than injury, but that was no big deal. It made it that much sweeter when he blew a fiend back ten feet with the thing (yes, even they didn't take it seriously).
Shuyin, apparently, didn't care either. It seemed as if all he needed to know was that it had the capacity to kill. He slid into Gippal's form as if putting on an ill-fitting coat, took control of Gippal's arm, and raised the gun to Baralai's forehead.
Baralai was laughing—very undignified, very un-Praetor-like, just like he used to—and there, Gippal could hear the sound of a million men dying to the tune of shattering glass.
Shuyin pulled the trigger and Baralai collapsed, a bloody hole between his eyes to accompany his smile.
From behind Gippal came the sound of exploding cannons and wrenching metal. His body spun around, seemingly its own accord, and he spotted Nooj, his usual pompous smirk even larger than normal. He was snickering into his hand—a building exploded, metal twisting and burning—and staring straight into the eye Shuyin was borrowing.
The punishment fit the crime; Nooj got his bullet through the glasses.
A door slammed to Gippal's—or was it Shuyin's?—left; a hard, cold, lonely sound, and Gippal felt himself being turned again. Paine was there, smirking at him. Though she was only chuckling, he could still hear in her voice the sound of someone walking away forever, of heavy metal doors crashing shut. Yuna was at Paine's side, giggling into her hands like a little girl, and there he heard the screams of a million furious Yevonites. He—no, no, both of them, he and Shuyin—forced themselves to believe that was all they heard. Yet the sounds beneath, of sex and pleasure and sounds of contentment meant for another man, was hard to mistake.
Yuna flew back just like fiends did when he shot them, blown too far away for Gippal to see the bullet in her chest (Shuyin appreciated that, no doubt). Paine didn't even grasp at her throat when the bullet tore through it, just stared at him as she fell like she was too good to be killed by Gipp—wait, no, Shu—
Then, he finally heard it: nothing more than condensed silence, looming, suffocating, coming from behind him, and he knew who it was without even looking.
She wasn't laughing. She was merely staring at him, eyes narrowed and arms crossed over her non-existent chest. She didn't even blink as he advanced on her, his gun trained at the middle of her forehead. She just kept staring, lips pursed like she was about to have one of her famous tantrums, and he couldn't help but smile. She was so damn cute.
The feeling didn't last long. A second went by, then an hour, a decade, one-thousand years, and her frown didn't wane. Gippal's smile, meanwhile, fell from his face like so much paint off a melting airship, and suddenly, it began to press down on him. The silence—the silence was worse than—he could hear—
He grabbed her with his free arm, dragged her to him and kissed her the way a starving animal kissed the skin of its prey. He was pressed to her so tight that he wasn't sure if he'd be able to pull back with all of himself intact.
He couldn't feel a thing.
He pulled away to find her staring. At him, not Shuyin, and it all the sudden hit him that all the others had been looking at him, too, when he—no, no, it was Shuyin, it was—!
He couldn't ignore it anymore. All those invisible sounds—loneliness, regret, confusion, disappointment—that swirled around him in the silence were all in her eyes, and he finally understood.
Those weren't the image of her crimes in the silence. They were—
Shuyin was gone. Gippal was the only one left, screaming in rage, when he jumped back and pulled the trigger.
When he woke up, shaking and drenched in sweat, he found himself face to face with Rikku's muscle-y, bare belly. The blankets were wrapped around him like some sort of elaborate trap, put there by his obviously none-too-restrained night terrors. Meanwhile, from the look of her legs and arms, Rikku had been making a valiant effort to keep a few for herself. At the moment, she seemed to be satisfied with her level of coverage and was curled up, facing him, and snoring loud enough to wake the dead.
Gippal wasted no time in wrapping his arms around her back and burying his face in her stomach, shuddering like a kid who'd had a bad—oh right. He was supposed to be going for an analogy there.
"Gippal," she moaned, feebly she slapping at his head. "Not right now, you perv. Knock it off."
He didn't listen to her, as was his way. He kissed the spot above her belly-button, nuzzling into her without saying a word. Sure, it would make her angry. He knew that, too; she always got mad when he didn't listen to her. But he needed to. He needed to hear her voice.
Anything else, but the silence.