renay: Pink pony with brown hair and wings on a yellow background bucking hind legs in the air. (Default)
[personal profile] renay
WELL! I was all set to post this hours ago! I even got out of work early. What the hell, LJ!

Meanwhile, [ profile] owlmoose wrote me metafic for Damages. I don't think I have to say how awesome this is, but I will, anyway. THIS IS AWESOME. She totally did exactly what I hinted she should do at the beginning of the month. XD Read: In the Shadows (Paine, Nooj). asldkhalsfhhddhhdhd dude I heart Paine/Nooj so hard.

Plus! It feels so weird to almost be done with this story! So weird.

The Damages of Loss (22)
(Baralai/Gippal, Rikku, 1,437 words, G)
"Yet man is born unto trouble, as the sparks fly upward."

1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22

The pyreflies were thick around the window of the Celsius, drawn to the light of the cabin as night fell around Zanarkand. Gippal watched them hit, bounce back into the air, only to repeat the process again and again. They shined indigo and pink in a trail leading down the path Gippal and the others had taken to the ruins, to the chambers where there had been no Al Bhed, even after three days of searching.

Everyone was too quiet, not saying what they were all thinking. Their first dead end. No ideas around it.

"Maybe it's a code?" Rikku spun in the console chair. "Or the translation isn't perfect. It is pretty old."

"Even with older forms, it hasn't changed much," Paine said. "Nooj said what we had was close."

"And then he complained about how Al Bhed history is incomplete." Tidus snickered. "You could make a drinking game out of all the times he insults Yevon."

They all laughed, except Baralai. Gippal kept an eye on him, propped in the co-pilot's chair, staring at the pyreflies bouncing around outside. He hadn't been talking much to anyone but Yuna the last few days. Even with Gippal he was withdrawn, warm but distracted. It was stupid that it made Gippal want to drag him into one of the supply closets even more than normal, since that was what had caused all the problems before.

"So we're stuck. Stuck at the end of the world with no where else to look and and out of clues," Rikku said. "Game's over."

"When have you ever wanted to give up on a hunt?" Too accusing for Yuna, but there she was, hands on hips and suspicious. "Anyway, I was talking with Baralai—"

"Traitor," Rikki muttered, sinking into her chair.

"—And he was helpful in jogging my memory." She smiled. "The other temples."

Rikku flung her chair around, high back blocking her from view.

"Other temples?" Paine asked.

"Baaj and Remiem. The first one is a wreck in the middle of the ocean, and the other is in canyon beyond the Calm Lands, but no one goes there—there's a bit of a climb, and you need chocobos for some of the jumps." Yuna pressed her hands together. "This has to be where the other phrases are. I bet these temples were in use back then. We only found them by accident." Her face fell. "Or, well...Auron. So we could collect all the fayth..."

Tidus reached out to link their hands.

"So we go there next," Gippal said. "Check around."

"We have a stop in Kilika first," Paine said. Her face was blank. "If there are new temples, Nooj will want to come."

"So, we hit Remiem and Baaj, and the regroup. Super!" Tidus pumped a fist into the air. "Now can I please go wash the monkey off?"

Laughter rippled through the group. Walking around Zanarkand was walking into a monkey love nest. Gippal was pretty sure one had fallen for his leg earlier.

Gippal waited until the bridge had emptied, leaving him alone with Baralai and Rikku. His chest tightened when he looked at Baralai, head leaning back, eyes closed. Getting what he wanted was hard. Keeping what he had was turning out to be worse. "So, you were just going to keep your mouth shut."

Computer keys clattered behind the chair.

"You're going to be pissed at me forever?"

Rikku turned around, a slow rotation. Her eyes glanced across Baralai. "You're making a mistake."


"He's a jerk."

"He's made some mistakes."

"So you spending all that time locked up in Bevelle was just him making a mistake? Taking the airship? Calling you a slu—" Rikku cut herself off. "Never mind."

"He doesn't remember it, and you know it."

"So? He still did it." Rikku shot up. "Just because someone pressed his reset button doesn't mean he's soulmate material, Gippal. He's already making the same mistakes. Give it some time and this go round he might just stick a knife in you somewhere."

Gippal pressed his hands to his face. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Baralai shift and stare at them with wide eyes. "Listen to yourself. I don't want to fight over this. I want you to stop acting like you're my—"

She flinched away. "Shut up."

He dropped his arms. "I wasn't going to say that. Give me some credit." He walked away, faced the stairs to the exit. "If this is a mistake, I'm willing to face it. Don't try to control people, Rikku, it doesn't look good on you." He tossed a smile over his shoulder. "You can even refuse to let me cry in your lap if it all blows up in my face."

Rikku's frown only grew deeper. "You'd just go to Paine. Then I'd look like a meanie."

He reached out and gripped the stair rail, wrapped his fingers around it. "Stop taking it out on everything. Go punch some fiends, steal some gil, lecture me when we're alone, whatever, but don't keep making everyone feel like crap. Don't start lying."

"I love you," she said, head hanging. It was as good as a fist to the jaw.

"I know." He had known, had made that choice knowing it would hurt her more than him if it didn't work out. He wasn't a real winner in the friends department these days, either. "I'm sorry."

His apology broke over her, cracked whatever was holding her together. She was flushed, pink with hurt. She didn't even look at him again before darting to the stairs and out the door.

He couldn't go after her because he didn't have what she needed. Maybe he had never had it.

Baralai was still watching him. "She's effective at making me feel like I don't exist."

Gippal shook his head. "I don't think she'll do it again. It's all so messed up. This, finding out about Cid." He scuffed his boots along to the floor to meet Baralai as he climbed out of the seat. "Me choosing you."

Baralai blinked. "There was a—" He paled. "Are you telling me—no wonder she hates me."

Their reflections jumped off the dark windows. Gippal reached out and tugged Baralai to him. "I shouldn't have phrased it that way. It was never really a choice. We dated, it didn't work for me." He nuzzled into Baralai's neck, ignored the fact he was tense and unhappy. "Wanted someone else."


"Well, I only make it obvious every second of the day." Gippal slipped his hands around Baralai's lower back. "She's just upset in general. She doesn't really think you'll murder me." He leaned back. "You won't, right?"

It teased a small smile out, but it was sad. Baralai ran his fingers around Gippal's neck. "You wanted me, but this can't have been what you imagined. A lousy consolation prize, me, but broken."

"You're not broken." Gippal brushed his hair out of his eyes. Baralai never had to go back to Yevon and cut it ever again. He had been debating whether it would be wrong to lie and tell Baralai he liked it longer. "Maybe forgetting means you're fixed, ever think of it that way?"

Baralai's look was severe, but it softened when Gippal winked at him. "Not really."

"I'd take you either way." Gippal pressed them together. "Obviously."

Baralai only dipped his head, trying to hide his smile. When he raised up, his expression was a mixture of worry and wonder. When he leaned in, his mouth was warm and gentle and curious like he was asking a question, except only to himself. He cupped Gippal's jaw with his free hand, so firm and confident with it as he licked into Gippal's mouth it was all Gippal could do to keep his knees from shaking.

When Baralai pulled away he buried his face in Gippal's shirt, pinned him in with his arms. "I won't forget," he said.

Baralai's heartbeat against his chest. "What?"

The words were whispered into his skin, hot with breathe and relief. "That I don't deserve you. That I'm lucky." He pressed his lips to Gippal's neck. "Thank you."

Gippal stared at the swooping pyreflies, setting his vision on fire, and tightened his grip. This time, he knew he wasn't going to let go.

Date: Wednesday, 23 January 2008 11:49 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
*quivers* I'm dying with joy, here. Dying. That last little bit was lovely. I kind of wanted to melt.

Ha! I feel really smart, now, because when they were looking through the temples, I was like, Um, what about Baaj and Remiem?

Small typo - near the end, it says hot with breathe and relief. I think you mean breath?

Date: Thursday, 24 January 2008 02:24 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
awwww. awwwww. ♥ ♥ ♥

Date: Saturday, 31 May 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I love this. This whole story. I'm so psyched that I get to read it all together :D

One thing--Would the secret fayth with belgimine and stuff not count because it's not a real temple? Maybe someone did it after the fayth had been stolen?


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