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The Damages of Loss (24)
(Baralai/Gippal, Tidus, Paine, Rikku, 1,276 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 | 23 | 24



Gippal rubbed the water from his hair and bit down hard to keep his teeth from chattering. A few feet away, Tidus pulled up dry wood to light a fire. The hole that Rikku and Paine had managed to slip through to get deeper in the temple had been too small for his shoulders, and Tidus had refused to go farther into more cold water. Stuck waiting again. He had been in two of the temples on the entire trip—it was turning into Rikku's hunt more than his.

"How is it colder here than in Macalania?" Tidus's hand shook as he lit the pile of wood he was carrying with a spell. He laughed when the fire bloomed up. "Wish I had been able to do that the first time."

Gippal plopped down as close to the flames as he could get without climbing in. He thought of Baralai on the airship, wrapped in his pallet, warm and comfortable. He wondered how long it would take Baralai to wake up and be pissed after he realized the four of them had sneaked off the airship early, before the sun rose.

Gippal had a feeling he'd be sleeping on his own pallet tonight, but Baralai and Yuna were wiped, even if both of them wanted to ignore it. Too stubborn for their own good.

"There better be something here," Tidus said. "What was Macalania's again?"

"Dra cay frecbanc uh ran pmia knaah atka." It didn't mean anything to Gippal, but none of the phrases did. He still wondered what their point was, and was starting to think the Al Bhed had just marked the temples—maybe they didn't lead anywhere at all. "This temple isn't mentioned anywhere. Nooj even checked. But Yuna said Auron had them come here, so he knew about it..."

"Dead guys probably have other dead guys whispering secrets to them." Tidus rubbed his hands together. "Or maybe my old man told him, because he was always swimming around drunk on too many dolphins or something." He looked up. "Maybe Sin destroyed this place."

"I don't understand having a temple with no fayth." Gippal's nose was still cold. He leaned closer to the fire. "Makes me wish I had watched some of the spheres I stole for Baralai back in the day."

"Huh. That why he called you a thief?"

Gippal shrugged. "He pinned all the sphere disappearances on Trema, except towards the end. He only used me as a target once. He only needed to do it once."

"That's the dude that destroyed all the spheres of Spira's past. Yuna told me about him." Tidus grinned. "Little cracked in the head."

Gippal was relieved when he started shivering more. It was too damn cold here. "Guess he thought he did."

Tidus sat back, palms against cold colored stones and stared. "What?"

No more secrets, Yuna had said, and he'd been keeping this one for as long as her could remember. When Nooj found out he would probably beat Gippal to death with his cane. "He destroyed a bunch of iffy copies. Some blanks. I couldn't just take them out and leave empty spots, those archivists were too thorough."

The fire crackled, as hot as Tidus's gaze on him. His knees were too warm, or maybe that was just the shame rolling off of him.

"Wow. Nooj is going to beat you with his cane. In the head." Tidus squeezed some water from his hair. "It was nice knowing you." Curious now, he scooted forward. "Where are they? Those were like...those spheres were why Nooj split, right? Youth League and all?"

"Sure." Baralai couldn't cut him off for telling now, because Baralai didn't remember he had bribed Gippal with sex to get him to slip spheres out and to Baralai's private collection. Looking back now, it was ridiculous—it had already started, even that early. Baralai using, Gippal trusting. He didn't even know where Baralai had put the damn things. "It doesn't matter. I don't know where they are. He never told me."

The laughter echoed around them, bouncing off smooth and jagged rock both. "So they were never lost, until Baralai's brain checked out." A whistle, low, full of humor. "I think I'll just keep this story to myself. You can be the one to break it to Nooj and Yuna. Let me know so I can be somewhere else, really far away." He fell back on the floor, rolling with the amusement.

Gippal threw a rock at him. "Maybe after this is all over. If they're still around, they're somewhere."

"Good luck getting into Bevelle to find them." Sobered, Tidus sighed and stared at the ceiling. "Think there will be any news when we get back?"

"Who knows. Isaaru maybe dead, and now the six Crusaders sent to get him missing? Plus the group of Machine Faction workers that were repairing Bevelle vanished, too? There might not be a Bevelle left to search through if New Yevon doesn't respond to Lucil and Nhadala's demands." Gippal wanted to know about Isaaru, at least for Baralai's sake. Sphere reporters kept spreading the news of his blood covered office, but as far as Gippal was concerned, there was no body and he wasn't going to panic. Baralai kept doing that enough for everyone on the ship.

"I still don't think New Yevon has enough balls to off that many people." Tidus lifted a leg, swung it toward the flames. "But then, I remember not believing Yu Yevon could do what he did. So maybe I'm not so great at predicting things."

A rock skipped across the floor, and Paine and Rikku appear from around the corner. Paine had a hand pressed to Rikku's forehead. Gippal's throat closed, and he couldn't ask. Paine cut them both off when they scrambled to their feet, and led Rikku to the fire to sit down.

"She's fine, it's a small cut, don't freak out."

Rikku was too quiet, but she smiled at them anyway as Paine removed her hand. The gash was nasty, at an angle passing in her hairline. "Figures I'd get a head wound, right? I have to pick the one spot where you can't just throw some magic at me."

Paine had already tugged out the med kit. "This place is falling apart. The rock came out of nowhere." She glanced toward Gippal. "Want to know what's missing in the chamber of the fayth here?"

"So this is a real temple," Tidus said, without bothering to answer the question.

"Yeah, but without it's fayth." Paine ignored Rikku's hissing as she dressed the wound. "Fa nazuela, uin bymsc asbdo uv facd." She snorted. "It's like they were trying to be bad poets. Anyway, hole just the same as everywhere else. Anyone have any ideas?"

"Yojimbo." Tidus and Rikku said it in unison, flat and unsurprised. Gippal couldn't claim the same—he didn't even recognize the fayth they were talking about.

Paine pulled back and Rikku touched the bandage on her head. "It itches."

"Live with it until we get back to the ship," Paine stood. "Yuna buzzed me when we were on our way out. Nooj called." Her eyes were sad. "She wants us to come back as soon as possible."

Gippal froze. "What's happened?"

Paine had already headed for the exit, but stopped and looked at the floor, patterns that had been beautiful once upon a time. "Omega fired on Nhadala," she said. "They've started a war."

Date: Friday, 25 January 2008 12:42 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
drunk on dolphins oh my god you win you win you win.

Also: NEW YEVON ARE ASSHOLES. I do not like them! >:(

Date: Friday, 25 January 2008 04:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dior-anghel.livejournal.com
I've just frightened a friend of mine out of her wits. She's sitting next to me as I'm checking my email and all of a sudden it says, "bottle_of_shine has updated their journal!" And I go a little loopy.

I scared her even more when it said 'drunk on dolphins'. XD As [livejournal.com profile] lassarina said, you win you win you win.

And when the war started, HOLYJEEZ. CAN'T WAIT FOR THE NEXT PART.



Needed this. Life is a bit crappy right now, and fic is just what the doctor ordered!

Date: Saturday, 26 January 2008 08:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] solitaryjane.livejournal.com
Did I already tell you I love your Tidus? Well, I do.

Date: Saturday, 31 May 2008 11:08 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] tolkienkookad.livejournal.com
Ahahaha, I was RIGHT!

Oh, I love trying to predict things!

Bad Omega! Down boy, DOWN!

They need to put all the phrases together and play with them, I bet. Watch, they're going to get to Yojimbo and see one that says "Lol, suckers, this isn't real."

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