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How many people want to take bets that my 500 words a day will always, always be broken by word counts like 999 or 1100? I'm a freak.

The Damages of Loss (7)
(Baralai/Gippal, Brother, Rikku, 1,129 words, G)
"Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

"E tuh'd fyhd res uh so creb!" Rikku waved her fist in Brother's face.

"Ed'c hud ouin creb!" Brother countered. He looked out of place in the dark and somber temple where he was bright and colorful. Only his eyes matched.

Gippal stayed back from the argument which he expected would turn physical at any moment by the look on Rikku's face. She had been angry and smug leaving the meeting, convinced she had more cards up her sleeve. Gippal had resisted comparing her to the old Baralai. The last time she had punched him it had taken weeks for the bruise to fade and his jaw to stop popping.

"Ed sekrd yc famm pa! Fru nabmylat ymm dra yen vemdanc mycd cissan cu fa teth'd nuycd?" She threw up her arms. "Fru ihlmukc ymm dra tnyehc eh dra crufanc? Sa, sa, sa!" Her voice echoed around them, bouncing accusations like knives back at them.

Brother crossed his arms. "Oui fyhd du rind Gippal suna po gaabehk res uvv dra creb Buddy yht sa famlusat res du?" He shrugged. "Ouin lruela."

Rikku faltered. "Oui fyhd du pnehk Baralai uh yh yencreb," she said. "Yh yencreb. Fryd ev ra redc rec rayt yht nasaspanc fru ra ec yht dygac drec uha, duu?"

Brother grinned. "Oui lyh kiynt res."

"Tysh nekrd E'mm kiynt res!" Rikku said, and then slumped, looking back at Gippal. "He was supposed to be on my side."

Gippal kept his face carefully blank when he looked back to Brother, wondering if he was ever going to tell her the truth, or keep protecting her until the end. Brother only stared back, and finally said, "Drec bmyla sygac sa vaam tendo. E'mm pa uh dra creb."

"Why are all my family members traitors?" Rikku wailed. She rounded on Gippal as Brother beat a hasty exit to the door. "You're insane. You're nuts, bonkers, crazy, I don't even have enough words to describe how bone-headed you're being." She shoved him back into the wall and it hummed into his skin. He understood she was upset on his behalf — he understood better than anyone, because it was his dreams that had been stolen. She had made his dreams hers, and hadn't escaped unhurt, either.

"I have to do this," Gippal said. "Cut it out with the doom and gloom."

Rikku's lips trembled, desert blossoms in a breeze and gripped his shirt. "You don't have to. You want to. You can have more than one true love, Baralai doesn't have to be yours, you don't have to keep torturing yourself over how you both might've lived happily ever after — "

"E-excuse me?"

Gippal and Rikku froze; Gippal cursed himself for getting so mad and not paying attention and watching his mouth. The lift down wasn't quiet by any means. Baralai stepped forward, hands linked. His robes were back in place, but his hair was still loose, falling into his eyes.

"Ah — you're being loud and I heard my —" Baralai cut his sentence short. "What language was that?"

"It's Al Bhed, stu —" Rikku wheezed when Gippal shoved a fist into her stomach, even as his eyes burned. His throat closed like it was filled with sand, and Rikku stopped whatever nasty thing she was going to say to touch his face. "Gippal?"

Baralai's expression dropped. "I — I forgot, sorry. I knew about the Al Bhed, but..."

Rikku was still against him, shaking. She looked back at Baralai and said nothing, like her words had gone into hiding. He realized she hadn't seen Baralai yet, and couldn't decide if she was shocked or angry.

"I taught you once," Gippal said, straining to keep his voice from breaking. Baralai's face was smudged and Rikku's hand was cool on his skin. "You were shit at conjugating verbs, though."

Baralai smiled. It reached out, like a question, and Rikku said in a rush, "We could teach you again. I mean, you'll be on a ship with three of us." It was that easy, and Gippal wished he had made her meet Baralai before.

"That'd be nice," he said. "Thank you. I guess you probably had things to do before I interrupted." Baralai's hands danced around his hips, and Gippal was shocked with it, Baralai showing any nerves at all. "Don't let me hold anything up. I won't get in the way."

"Excuse me, the Gullwings are one hundred and fifty percent hospitable," Rikku said. "We won't even make you sleep in the engine room."

Baralai blinked. "Thanks?"

Rikku backed off, the corners of her mouth straining towards the ceiling. Gippal looked away, because he hated to see her lie, at all, especially for him. "I'm gonna go out and help Brother prep the Celsius. See you...soon?" She was gone before Gippal could answer, leaving he and Baralai alone, the silence between then tangling with the hum of Bevelle.

"The others have offered to come, too," Baralai said after the awkwardness had faded to safe distance. He tilted his head. "Paine...she said just for a little while. She's..."

"She does her own thing a lot," Gippal said. "Plus, Nooj won't come, and she spends time with him."

Baralai looked down at his boots. "You're all close. I could see it when you all left the meeting room."

Gippal wouldn't have called them that. He had spent enough time by himself in the past few months to say that maybe he didn't know his friends as well as before. Baralai had once been inside the circle enough to understand how it worked sometimes when they just didn't hang out as much. Now, he could only look in at a group he didn't belong to — a group he had snubbed repeatedly. Gippal grimaced and shoved the thoughts away. "They're good people."

Baralai nodded, "I'm lucky to have good friends," he said. Then, his cheeks coloring, he added, "I'm glad you came. I've been going through my things, and you and I — you — " He shrugged as Gippal reeled, "— of everyone, I'm glad you came." He straightened. "I have to pack, though. I don't want to hold you up anymore."

Gippal broke the surface of the panic he felt starting in his chest, the need to run away fighting with the pleasure caused by Baralai's words. "Sure," he said. "I'll help." He followed Baralai back to the lift, the warmth of him nearby making it hard for Gippal to remind himself that this was no longer the Baralai he had known.

It was just getting harder for Gippal to care.

Date: Monday, 7 January 2008 09:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]


I feel like I need to keep commenting, but I'm not sure how many more times you want me to say "OMG THIS IS SO JOKES!!!" >D UH, because I can keep saying it a lot, is the thing.

Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2008 03:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
So, I feel weird commenting again when I don't have much that's new to say, but then I'm enjoying this so much I feel guilty if I don't comment.

I've said it before and I'll say it again - I like your amnesiac Baralai, because he's very believable - despite the differences in him, I could pick him out as Baralai from a mile away.

Hopefully that made sense... X_X

Date: Tuesday, 8 January 2008 08:36 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I have to say this again :/ -I really really like how your characters are put down in here, especially Gippal and Rikku's relationship, it's a big (but good) change from how I see them normally x) Or maybe I'm just not reading enough good fics.

Date: Wednesday, 9 January 2008 12:33 am (UTC)
lassarina: I'm not coming out until the stupid people have gone away.  ....I can wait all day. (Default)
From: [personal profile] lassarina
MORE HINTS OF BACKSTORY. Nay you're being evil and not revealing! EVIL EVIL EVIL woman!!!! MOAR PLZ.

It's interesting to see how much baggage they all have except Baralai, and how their baggage affects him. ALSO I STILL LOVE YOU SO SO SO SO MUCH FOR INLINE TRANSLATIONS.

Date: Wednesday, 9 January 2008 07:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I know I told you this already, but I still really like how Rikku does a double-take and a... well, not quite a 180-degree turn, but 90 degrees at least when she sees Baralai for herself and realizes that he really isn't himself. She's fiercely protective of her friends, but she won't turn down someone really in need, either, and that's really very her.

More intrigue! Now you have me wondering much more about Brother. The hints dropped here about Baralai's crimes are pretty tantalizing; I like how that's coming together in little bits and pieces, and I'm really curious how that will read when you pull the story into a unit.

One thing that caught my attention: Rikku says something about three Al Bhed on the ship. Does that mean Buddy's no longer with them? It hadn't occurred to me even to wonder about that until now.

Anyway, yay for this moment. Now I'm off to read the next...


renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)