Rikku’s eyes open and she stares up at the ceiling. The morning rays shine in through the windows as she stretches and rolls over onto her side. Across from her is Yuna, who is still in a somber sleep, and even further across is an empty bed. Paine…you must’ve carried me down here last night. It seems you’re always looking out for me. Why are you so kind? I see the way you are around Brother…calling him an airhead and such. You keep serious near your old friends…Nooj, Baralai, and Gippal. You don’t show much emotion and it’s so hard to read you stoic features. But…you’ve always been there for us…me especially. You got back Yunie…it was all your plan and you carried it out. I should make it up to you, Paine, I’ve-
The door opening down below and the steps revealed a tapping of the warrior’s boots disrupted Rikku’s thoughts. Rikku shuts her eyes and heard the sound come up the steps. Reaching the top of the stairs, the tapping hesitates slightly and begins again, only softer. Paine walked past the two occupied beds and sat down on hers. Rikku heard a soft sigh and slightly opened her eyes to look at what Paine was doing. The warrior had her face in between her hands and her elbows rested on her knees. She looked up towards Rikku and the thief quickly shut her eyes again. Looking at the clock, Paine reads 8:37 and decides to let the two sleep in. She lies down on her bed with her arms behind her head and grins slightly. Heh, I wonder what Tidus is going to do when he finds his girlfriend not there.Paine closes her eyes and waits for the other girls to wake up. Rikku sits up and throws her legs over the side of the bed. She scratches her head and yawns. Still intoxicated by sleep, she barely thinks as she walks over to Paine’s bed and lies down. Paine looks at the young girl, who’s eyes are closed, and is already getting ready to go back to sleep. A slight blush makes its way through her natural pallor and tints her cheeks pink. Rikku’s arm pulls Paine close as she smiles lightly into the older woman. An aroma of vanilla fragrance infiltrates Rikku’s nasal way and draws her into a dreamy state. Feeling the Al Bhed’s fingers caress her side slightly, Paine closes her eyes again and leans into Rikku a little and falls asleep. Paine…I think I like you…more than I should be allowed…but I can’t help it…you grew on me…you’re one in a million Dr. P. Wow, and you make a wonderful ‘body’ pillow. Heh, body pillow, I’m one funny kid.
Rikku nestles into Paine and drifts off to sleep, knowing deep inside that Paine would be there to protect her and watch out for her.
“Rikku! Paine! Wake up! By all the Aeons in Spira if you don’t get up right now I will throw you both off the ship by myself!”
Rikku, surprised by the gunner’s yell, jolted so far off the bed and fell to the wooden floor below. Paine sat up immediately and aware, ready for a fight. She then looked at Yuna’s tense face and relaxed her body, seeing it was nothing to be frightened of. With an annoyed tone she glares her eyes, “What…”
“What?! What do you mean just what?! If anything I should be asking that around here! Why am I on the ship? Where is Tidus? Did you all kidnap me? Wha-“
“Calm down princess…Rikku and I retrieved you from Besaid last night and we brought you back to the Celsius.”
Paine glanced down at Rikku who was rubbing her hip from where she fell onto the floor from Yuna’s outburst. “Rik…Bro…we all missed you and wanted to see you again. You never even gave us the time of day when you were with Tidus and this is the only way we could actually see you without seeing him. You two have been joined at the hip since he came back…just who do you think helped you find him?”
“I know Rikku helped me find him but, Paine, I love him and-”
“And you don’t love Rikku?!”
By this point Paine was standing next to Yuna and Rikku was sitting on Yuna’s bed, listening intently to the verbal exchange between the two, not wanting to butt in for once. “I do love her but-”
Paine speaks softly, “But you love him more…don’t you? Rikku came to you with hope that you would find him and so you’d be happy. She risked her life trying to find him, as did I and the rest of us in some form or another. The past weeks Rikku has not eaten well, slept well, or even acted her usual self. Last night was the first time she looked healthy in some time. Yuna, you owe it to her to at least know she still exists.”
Yuna turns her head and stares intently at the ground. “I know she still exists… I just want to be with Tidus…he’s more important to me right now.”
Resisting the urge to slap her, Paine grabbed Yuna’s wrist with a vice grip and yanked her to the other side of the room where the chairs were. She turns the ex-summoner around briskly and burns holes into her with her crimson eyes. “Don’t you ever say that again…since when was Rikku not important enough to you? Since when was your cousin and not to mention also your best friend, not important enough to rank higher than that boy?!”
“He’s not a boy! He’s a man, Paine! He’s my man and he loves me with all of his heart and I love him with all of mine! Just because you don’t know how to love and never been loved doesn’t mean that everyone is just like you!”
Paine was taken aback for a moment before snarling quietly through clenched teeth, “You don’t know me, Yuna. You don’t know what I know, what I think, what I feel… I feel strongly towards Rikku…THAT is why I wanted to bring you back. Honestly, I could have managed without you here. It was for that little thief over there, who’s crying right now, that I’ve done what I’ve done. You better get your priorities straight in your mind because turning your back on the one who has helped you the most is immoral and it will come back to get you. Remember that, Yuna, she will always be your cousin and love you…but will Tidus…always be your ‘man’?”
Paine turned away from the speechless Yuna and walked towards Rikku who was still crying. She kneeled down in front of the young girl and placed her hand on Rikku’s knee. “I’m sorry Rikku…I guess she needs time to set things straight in her head. Girl isn’t all there, but I’m sure you already knew that.”
Rikku snorted out a small snot bubble at Paine’s joke and smiled. The warrior wiped some stray tears from the blonde’s cheek and stood back up. She held out her hand to help Rikku off the bed. The two walked down the stairs and towards the elevator, Rikku never letting go of the warrior’s hand.
A.N. Well, another chapter is finished. I was going to make this longer…but I became too lazy. Lots of stuff going on, ya know? (Heh, I pulled a Raijin) But anyways, lemme know what you think and um…yeah I know the people are kind of out of character but I tried to let them be that way without actually letting them be that way. Okay I’m done, peas review : ]