Challenge: rain, break, saved
Summary: So maybe she didn’t tell Yuna exactly how she’d gotten over her fear.
Note: Happy birthday, tofadeawayagain!
“Remind me again why we’re out here,” Rikku said, shivering in her wet clothes. She hated the Thunder Plains. It was cold, windy, and miserably rainy all the time, not to mention that there was a high probability of getting hit by lightning if one strayed from the protective towers.
“You were the one that wanted to get over your fear of lightning,” Gippal replied, shivering right next to her. His chest ached and he fought to put a hand over the healed bullet wound to soothe the hurt. It had been almost a year since it had happened, but the shiny, puckered patch of skin always gave him hell whenever he was in extreme climates for a long amount of time.
“I still don’t know why we have to be here to do that.” A rumble of thunder sounded, followed soon by a bright flash of lightning. The ground sizzled several feet away from them and Rikku buried her face in her hands, her shoulders shaking.
Warm fingers touched her bare arm. She turned into his hug and pressed her face against his shirt. At seventeen, Gippal had gone through what was probably his last growth spurt, which was good for her. She already had to look up to speak to him face to face, and if he had grown any taller, she’d have a constant kink in her neck. It felt good to be with him again. Traveling Spira to show everyone how to use machina had inadvertently brought her to his doorstep one day. They’d laughed, embraced and caught up on everything that had happened in their lives since they had left Bikanel to go on their respective ways. Rikku had a feeling Gippal had been leaving a lot out of his version, but couldn’t help being impressed with the skeletal beginnings of his Machine Faction. Where she was going to people’s doors to get them used to the once taboo subject, Gippal was creating a place for people to gather. Knowing him, it would be a hit one of these days.
“Where else are we going to find a constant stream of lightning?” he asked, his voice somewhat muffled as he bent his head to rest his cheek on her hair. Saved from the rain by the lightning tower they were under, he scanned the horizon for any signs of fiends. They hadn’t come across many so far, which was lucky. Fighting in mud wasn’t his idea of a fun time, especially against fiends that loved to throw out thunderbolts. Even if they both wore items Rikku had personally customized to deflect lightning damage – “I’m not going anywhere near that place otherwise,” she had told him before they had set out – the shock of one of the bolts hitting and then being deflected off was something that he wanted to avoid.
“You know thunder spells.”
Gippal rolled his eyes. “Yeah, like anybody could get me to cast one at Cid’s girl.” His girl, he thought adamantly, remembering all the hidden passageways at Home where he and Rikku often stole off to for pressing kisses and hesitant sweeps of fingers against skin when they were still kids. They weren’t so young anymore, and even though he hadn’t tried anything with her yet, he was aching to find out if her lips tasted just as sweet as he remembered them to.
Another crack of thunder and subsequent flash of lightning struck. It was closer this time, the tower absorbing it. Rikku made a distressed noise at the back of her throat and burrowed closer to him, her fingers bunching up in the fabric of his shirt. He held her shaking body tighter to his side with one arm, using his free hand to tilt her face up to him.
“I can’t believe the girl who went up against Sin is scared of a little light and noise.” His fingers cupped her chin firmly. “What happened to that brave guardian everybody keeps talking about?”
She huffed. “Oh, like I tease you about that fear you have of cactuars every chance I can.”
“Hey, those things shoot needles. That hurts.”
“Poor baby, don’t you know that those things are probably more scared of us than we are of them? Why do you think they run away so fast?”
“Then it’s a good thing that we’re not trying to break me of my big bad fear of them, is it?”
She shivered again, huddling against him for warmth and ignoring the way her feet squished in her wet boots. “If we were, we’d be dry.” She smoothed her fingers out over his shirt and tapped his chest in a random pattern. “Why don’t we just forget about this and head to the desert to work on that fear instead?”
He laughed. “No way, you’re not getting out of this that easily.” Another flash lit up her face, making her squeeze her eyes shut. “Look at me.”
She opened her eyes when she felt his fingers slide from her chin to her cheek. He licked his lips and moved closer, his thumb tracing her bottom lip. She let her eyes close again while he kissed her, her arms moving up to circle around his neck. His hand moved from her cheek to her shoulder and down, the warmth radiating from his skin welcome against her cold back. A crack of thunder made her jump, but the way Gippal’s lips slanted against her mouth and the firm hold he had on her took her mind away from the lightning that followed.
“Notice the lightning?” he whispered, his nose nudging hers.
Her fingers slid through his hair. “Not really,” she whispered back, stretching up on tiptoe to better align her body against his. A flash of light illuminated their temporary shelter. “Maybe just a little bit.” This time it wasn’t the lightning that had her shivering in his arms.
He grinned. “Then we’re going to have to work on getting you cured, aren’t we?” Rikku laughed against his lips before kissing him back, her fingers locking behind his neck. What small portion of her brain that wasn’t busy being thoroughly distracted idly wondered what other fears she could persuade him to help her get over.