Author's Note: I'm back and inspired! I'm actually trying a multi-chapter fic, so warning now to be patient with me. I hope you enjoy and offer me ideas if possible.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of the characters, all are creations by Square Enix.


It's automatic, just by being by your side. Just by you looking at me with those eyes. The excitement won't stop. I can't say no. I just can't help it. – "Automatic" by Utada Hikaru.


It was hot.

Sweat caused the sheets to cling to her skin. To his skin. It even glued their skin together. Groggy and with an unbelievably awful headache, her braids rustled as she sat up in the semi-darkness, noticing that it was sometime around early morning despite the curtains. Hamsters hammered her brains for memory, a feat that would not be conquered due to her hangover. Piercing pain stabbed at her temples, triggering an acidic reaction within her stomach. It burned, but she knew she had nothing to rid it with.

Her makeup clung to her face and she felt it stick like a mask. It was worse that her sweat also stuck to her body, making her skin stick to herself once she was in a sitting position. Her tummy was sticky, her thighs were sticky, and her breasts made it no better. She groaned quietly to herself, looking over at her partner. He rolled onto his back, a deep scar over his right eye, where it hid behind his eye-patch. In a way, it made him look cute. Beneath the lids, she knew his green and cloudy gray eyes were staring in vivid colors of his dreams and memories. There were scratches on his chest, and she bet they were from the many other women that Gippal involved himself with or his carelessness with his machina.

It explained how he lost his eye after all.

Lifting her hands, Rikku finally attempted to massage out her massive headache. To no avail. The Al Bhed woman emitted another groan, causing the blonde man beside her to stir. Caring less about the noise she made, she glanced over to see his eyelids flutter open. His glowing orbs stared at her for a moment before he smiled a goofy grin and stretched out his naked body. "Hangover?"

"Ugh…" Rikku stood and wobbled a bit before plopping herself back down onto the bed. Then she felt the sheets beneath her rub against bare skin, and she groaned more harshly. She didn't need someone to explain the night to her to really get the gist of it. The explanation was in his bed.

Gippal chuckled at her response and reached for his patch on the small table beside the bed.

"Poor Cid's girl, you shouldn't be getting drunk just because of Yuna. She'll still be your friend."

"Don't call me that. And I am not doing it just because of Yuna," she hissed. It was bad enough that she had a hangover, but a morning after with Gippal only intensified her pain. Not only that, but he seemed to have hit the nail on the head. "How do you know any of that anyways?"

"You really don't remember a lot of last night do you? A shame actually, it was quite fun."

His laughter echoed off the walls inside her skull, causing Rikku to groan and bury her head into her hands. It was true, she couldn't remember anything from the night before, it was all in a haze. All that she could remember was the shock she felt from seeing Tidus appear from Besaid's waters after their return. All of Spira was celebrating, especially Yuna. That night, Besaid held a welcome party, and a celebration for the continuation of the Calm.

She couldn't stand it.

So, with little words said to Paine and Yuna, she happily pretended that she was going back Home to celebrate.
Though really she only wanted to rid herself of the oncoming depression. The reality that hit her and the disgust she held for herself wrapped her into a state of self-hatred and denial.

Rikku was just like Brother. She had unknowingly fallen in love with Yuna, was completely blindsided. Which made sense, Yuna was extremely beautiful, strong and kind, an ideal woman who waited for her long lost lover, devoted as ever to not only love, but to hope. To a cousin, of course she would admire her right? So why was she jealous once she saw Tidus and Yuna embrace?

She was devastated. Emotions rampaged within her, fought to be happy or outright jealous and anxious. Not only did she struggle with her composure, but she lost a grasp on her identity. She wanted to find it again. That road led her to Bikanel Desert and booze to block out the unhappiness. Sure, it was unlike her, but she bet that even Baralai was sharing a few drinks for himself. However, after she had arrived with Brother, Rikku couldn't really remember events beyond saying hello to her old man Cid and toasting to newfound joy.

"Do you have—oh." Before she could request aid, Gippal had already slipped on pants and obtained Elixir from a cabinet while Rikku was struggling with her new realizations and reflections. She gratefully accepted and knocked back the healing item. Instantly she felt the hamsters return to their wheels. Already she could think better and remembered that she did have way too many drinks. That she was agreeing with Brother at his anger towards Tidus' return, and that she wanted to feel like a normal girl and targeted Gippal to help her with just that.

There was nothing wrong with her; she wasn't really in love with Yuna. She fell in love with her character and shining inspiration, not her beautiful eyes…or legs…or her curves… or that chest of hers. Rikku emitted another groan until she got a knock on her forehead and was greeted by a close-up of Gippal.

"Have you been listening to a thing I've said?"

Rikku stared at him blankly, noticing that her acidic reaction had also disappeared; she no longer felt like she was going to upchuck shots from the night before. She felt rather normal, finally. She really was normal after all.

Right?

"I'm sorry, I'm still dealing with the hangover."
"I can see that, though my Elixirs work pretty well. You'll feel better in no time." With another goofy grin, Gippal turned around and retrieved Rikku's belongings and offered her a towel as well. "Brother told me that he was leaving sometime around mid-morning last night before he drank himself to death. I figured you'd like to clean up before you take off with him?"

Rikku continued to stare at Gippal blankly. She was staring at his green eyes, trying to see herself in them. Then her gaze wandered to his light stubble that was appearing on his usually clean-shaven face. His adam's apple did not bob as he was staring at her in confusion, though she was becoming familiar with his masculinity. His muscular chest and arms, his broad shoulders and thick neck; they all made her feel…uncomfortable.

"Wanna go for round two?"

She shoved him away, "Keep dreaming." Rikku smiled as she saw his pout and flipped her loose and frayed braids behind her. "But thanks for the shower."

"No problem, Cid's girl."


During her soothing shower, Rikku regained her composure, and somewhat of her usual bubbly behavior. She forced herself to forget about most of the past night. She told herself that her feelings for Yuna were normal, sisterly. She wasn't a pervert, and even if she was, isn't she at the age where she felt experimental? Wasn't that normal?

She would have to tackle this from a different angle. But she couldn't confide her feelings for Yuna in anybody… Wait.

Her spiral, emerald eyes grew to the size of saucers, or a galaxy. She told Gippal, didn't she?

Panic began to consume her. The pounding of the shower water was becoming too much for her, she could hardly breathe through the hot steam forming, she needed to ask him right away about the night before. What did she tell him? How much did she tell him? How did he react? Exactly what happened? Did she say anything else when she was moping with Brother?

As quick as lightning, as afraid of it as she was, Rikku dressed and whipped herself back into beautiful shape. Her signature scarf had returned to her neck, boots back on her feet, headband held back her tightly braided hair to expose her shining smile, and her bikini had returned to hug its seductive owner, hiding her treasures.

Returning to her somewhat bubbly self, she stepped in stride towards the kitchen, where she found Gippal fully clothed and making some sort of peasant breakfast common in Bikanel Desert.

"Gippal," she nearly sang. He turned around and grinned at her.

"Well you sure know how to clean up don't you? Brother dropped by and told you to hurry and shower. He went to visit Cid and is going to check on the Celsius before you guys leave."

Rikku merely nodded as she watched him cook. "Of course, he probably went to complain to him about Yuna." It was as if acid burnt her tongue at the thought of it. She felt her stomach churn a bit, but her expression never wavered. "Anyways, Gippal, when I was talking to you last night…What exactly did I tell you?"

The thief's expression was playful, yet she wasn't trying to portray sexual interest. Rikku tried to convey genuine curiosity.

Her portrayal flew right over Gippal's head. His eyes shifted to her, and roved over her body before he offered a suggestive smile. "Why don't you just tell me, don't you remember?"

The Al Bhed woman stared at him and wondered whether she should speak to him in a different tone to convey her sincerity about the matter or if he would let up on the flirting if she played off his attempts at another round. She went with the latter.

"Oh come on Gippal, really, tell me."

"Well… You were speaking pretty dirty." His charming smile began to irritate her.

"E sayh ed Gippal, E tuh'd nasaspan yhodrehk. Damm sa."

Her curt response, in Al Bhed no less, surprised Gippal. It finally dawned on him that she was being serious. He cleared his throat out of a small amount of fear and sighed before he answered, "Oui fana nyspmehk ypuid Yuna. Yht ruf Oihy fyc paehk cdumah vnus oui po Tidus." The man paused before he continued, "I didn't really understand it. But I could kind of see it from your side. I would be hurt too if my best friend would leave the Gullwings after all we worked for." He balanced on his one leg scratching his cheek.

Relief seemed to waft throughout the thief. So she didn't say anything conspicuous to Gippal. And thank goodness for that. After hearing her necessary response, she offered him a huge smile.

"Well thanks, I couldn't remember what I had said. So I'm assuming you nurtured my soul, eh?" Rikku's tone was on the verge of sarcasm, and it was such a change that Gippal raised the only eyebrow he could.

"You okay, Cid's girl? Need another Elixir?"

"No, I'm about as fine as fine can get. I'll see you next time Gippal."

Rikku sauntered out of the hut that belonged to Gippal, feeling revitalized. Her secret was kept safe. Now she just needed to find a way to cope with it. Denial was getting her nowhere, but it kept her from the bad influences.

Maybe training can help me sweat out the denial… She knew the one person she could depend on.

"Brother! We're heading to Besaid right?"

The tattooed man nodded as he heard his younger sister stroll up behind him, her boots clanging on the metal ground that was the Celsius. He grumbled softly, "Unfortunately, yes. I have to see my beloved with another man, and it kills me." Brother glanced at the box near Shinra's work station. "Luckily Shinra won't be back with Buddy for a few days… I brought extra alcohol."

Rikku shook her head, her braids rustling and brushing along her back.

"Well good, because I have someone I need to talk to."

"We're taking off right now!"

The young thief smiled to herself. Paine will help me get through this rough time. I am normal after all.


Translations:

Rikku: I mean it Gippal, I don't remember anything. Tell me.

Gippal: You were rambling about Yuna. And how Yuna was being stolen from you by Tidus.

Trust me, this will not be a RikkuxGippal fic. I thought long and hard about this story so it's sure to be filled with drama. But I am very pro RikkuxPaine.