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Man Made Blizzard

Title: Man-Made Blizzard
Rating: G
Challenge: towel, snowflake, free
Words: 867
Summary: “That doesn’t look like snow.”
Note: Happy birthday mandyiam! This turned from Gippal/Rikku to more of a Gippal + Rin snippet set sometime before Of Bad Gil Pieces and Airships.


“Um, what are you doing?” Gippal balanced himself on one foot, a piece of string in his hand. The stool he was standing on wobbled precariously. He gave Rikku a look that all but screamed isn’t it obvious what I’m doing?

“Making snow.” Sweat rolled down the side of his face and he decided to ignore the sudden nine-year-old irritation that had entered his room. And what was she doing in his house in the first place? She had one of her own, complete with two older brothers to pick on if she really wanted to.

Rikku watched from the doorway as Gippal stuck his tongue out in concentration. “That doesn’t look like snow.”

“Yeah? And how would you know?”

She sputtered before jamming both hands on her hips. “You don’t either!”

“Yes I do.”

“No you don’t.”

“Yes,” He tied the string onto a bar of his ceiling. “I do. Rin showed me some he brought back from Machalania. He’s been everywhere in Spira.”

Jealousy quickly flushed Rikku’s cheeks. More than anything, she wanted to go to the places that Rin and the others that ventured away from Home talked about. The closest she’d ever been away was to the shores of Bikanel, where if she imagined hard enough, she could see the lands that went beyond the sea.

“That’s not a snowflake,” she defiantly said, pointing to the many strings Gippal had already tied around the room. “That’s just pieces of material you balled up.”

“It is too a snowflake,” he protested, hopping down from the stool. “Rin said that each one was different.” He couldn’t hide the admiration in his voice. It wasn’t just because Rin always hung around his house or that he was dating Gippal’s mother either. The man actually listened to Gippal when so many other adults just treated him like any other kid. He taught him things too, spending free time in the afternoons when he was around to go over the Spiran language that everyone outside of Bikanel spoke. It was much different than Al Bhed, but Rin went slowly so that Gippal never got lost. It was kind of neat, like they had a secret language that many others around them didn’t understand. Gippal’s mother Lina understood it perfectly, but she never sat in on any of the lessons, saying something about letting men bond together without a woman’s influence, even as she gave both of their foreheads a kiss. Rin always laughed and winked at her before turning back to the book full of Spiran fables he wanted Gippal to help decipher for their lesson.

Rin also knew that Gippal had a head for math, so sometimes he let Gippal practice balancing the many ledgers that came with each branch of his travel agency, quietly correcting any mistakes Gippal might have made without making Gippal feel dumb.

He wiped sweat from his forehead and flicked on the cooling unit installed in his room. With a turn of his wrist, the air coming from the vent went from hot and stagnant to blissfully chill. “Look, I don’t care if you think it’s stupid,” he told her, climbing onto his bed. He stared up at the ceiling, watching as the breeze the unit made caused each of his handmade snowflakes to flutter. “But I’m gonna see real snow one day. Until then, this is gonna have to do.”

Rikku didn’t say anything, but she watched Gippal stack his hands behind his head. Shifting on her feet, she went towards his bed and lay down next to him. “What do you think snow feels like?” she asked, mimicking his position.

“Dunno. The stuff Rin brought back melted really fast once he took the lid off the container it was in. It looked kinda soft though.”

***

A few hours later, Gippal’s mother came back from the errands she had been running. The dry heat at her back was a sharp contrast to the cold air inside her home. Rubbing her hands over her arms, she shook her head as she checked the nearby thermostat. How many times have I told that boy not to mess with the switch? She picked up a pair of boots her son had left near the kitchen. Honestly, she thought, I did not carry him for nine months just so I could be his maid. Going inside his room to drop off his boots and a book she had found on their kitchen table, she paused to take in the sight in front of her.

Gippal was sound asleep, his arms circled around Elder Cid’s daughter. Rikku was curled into a tight ball, her hands clutching at Gippal’s shirt. His cooling unit was on at full blast, which would explain why the rest of the house was so cold. Lina went over and turned it down to a more comfortable setting.

That’s when she noticed the many fuzzy white wads of fabric Gippal had suspended from his ceiling beams. Her eyes widened when she bent to pick up the remnants he had left over.

She didn’t know whether to laugh or ground her dear boy. Those had been the good guest towels he had butchered.

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