‘Tis my opinion every man cheats in his own way, and he is only honest who is not discovered.
“Attention please everyone! Our next battle starts with members of the Gullwings, Paine and Rikku, and the young couple of Raztodow and Dvacka. Let’s get it on!!!”
Rikku tightened her grip on her daggers and waited patiently, like Paine said, for her opponent to attack first. “Paine… drao ynah'd tuehk yhodrehk. Tu fa gaab uin bucedeuh?” (Paine…they aren't doing anything. Do we keep our position?)
“Hah hah! Look at them Dva! They are too afraid to attack us first! Look at the one with short hair! She is shaking in her little boots! Bah hah hah! Look DEAR! Look at them,” yelled Raztodow boisterously.
“Raz…shh. Don’t take them likely…I’ve seen them fight before. They shouldn’t be underestimated. The one in black has strength and has extreme battle smarts. The little one…she’s quick…possibly quicker than I. Though she seems innocent, she has seen her share of battles….I’m sure.”
“Gnah…whatever Dva, lets beat the shit outta em. Damn pussies…HAH literally Dva! That was a good one that I jus-”
“Damnit Raz! Shut up! Don’t underestimate them,” yelled Dvacka hitting her boyfriend on the back of the head.
“Ow…fine…let’s just fight,” pouted Raztodow rubbing his head.
Dva front flipped off the block and ran towards Rikku. Raz jumped off the block and landed with a loud thud; his huge size made indentations under his feet where he landed. He stomped off towards Paine with his burly fists tightened. “Damn fools, they have Dva’s respect…only I should have her respect…time to feel pain dykes!”
Reaching Rikku, Dvacka raised her chakram and sliced downwards. Crossing her blades quickly, Rikku managed to block the attack. Wow, this chick is pretty fast. I better stay on my toes. Dva pulled back and lunged again at a dodging Rikku. Wah! That was a close one! She’s good.
“DAMNIT! STAND STILL, YOU,” Raz shouted.
Paine rolled to the side to avoid the monstrous swing of the giant man. Standing behind him, she brought down the blade of her sword with extreme force. Reaching behind his head, he clapped his hands together and managed to trap the blade between his palms. Raztodow pulled upwards and threw the sword and its owner over his head. Paine landed on her side and scrambled quickly to her feet. Damn, he’s extremely strong. He’s strong but not that bright…and slow at times. I wonder. My speed is enough for him…but Rikku’s…it would annihilate him. How’s she doing? Paine glances at Rikku and sees the girl take an elbow to the stomach. Rikku! Eragh, I’ve trained with Rikku enough to know how to fight against speed…which that girl has plenty of. Time for a partner switch.
“Rikku! Cfedlr baubma!” (Switch people!)
“Fryd, fro?’ (What, why?)
“Ev oui tuh'd vekina ed uid po dra aht uv dra vekrd E'mm damm oui yvdan!” (If you don't figure it out by the end of the fight I'll tell you after!)
Rikku nodded and ran towards Paine and Raz. Dva followed closely behind her. Lifting up her weapon she threw it at Rikku who was stopped beside Paine, facing Raztodow. Just as the chakram was a foot from Rikku’s temple, Paine ricocheted it off her sword with a swift motion. The chakram flew right back at its owner with blazing speed. Surprised, Dva’s eyes widened and she barely got out of the way of the airborne weapon. The chakram then hit the stone block and fell to the ground. Paine smirked and sauntered toward the girl in an intimidating like way with her sword on her shoulder. Though not knowing what the clank behind her was, Rikku just kept her gaze on the huge being in front of her. “Heh heh…seems I was too much for your girlfriend to handle. What you need is a man, missy. A big, strong man to protect you and keep you warm when it’s cold. To watch over you and make sure nothing happens to you.”
“What?! Let me guess, a big, strong man like you. Right?”
“Well, I’m happily taken, but I got plenty of friends that could take care of you and keep you safe.”
“Listen buddy, what she can do and does for me is more than what any man can do for me. She protects me, watches over me, and can keep me warm. She’s my best friend…she’s…..” Rikku lowers her voice to a whisper, “my everything now…”
“Eh? What was that?”
“Nothing fathead! Come on!”
Raz yelled and charged at the thief. Rikku easily dodged his attacks and managed to get in close and strike him in the ribs. She avoided punch after punch and countered with swift strikes to the face, ribs, kidneys, and knees. The battered Raz then began swinging wildly and purely by chance, clipped her. Losing her footing, Rikku stumbled and Raz whapped her hard on the head. Crumpling to the ground, Rikku whimpered. Hearing her cry, Paine stopped her fight with Dva and looked at Rikku upon the ground with the large man above her panting angrily. NO! Dva then punched Paine hard on the cheek, causing the warrior to stumble backwards. As the other girl tried to follow up with another lightning quick attack, Paine used her training and moved to the left and grabbed the girl’s wrist and pulled her forward into the ground. Paine then turned back to Rikku. Raz was hovering over her, laughing. Paine’s eyebrows furrowed and she reared back her sword and threw it at the man who easily rivaled Bartello’s size. The sword pierced through the air and found its way into Raztodow’s thigh.
“Eragh,” Raztodow screamed in pain. The man hunched over and squeezed his eyes shut. Rikku opened her eyes and blinked away her blurred vision. Seeing Paine’s sword imbedded in the man’s thigh, she smiled. Always watching over me. Shaking her head, she rolled over to her side, pulled back and kicked Raz hard in the chest with her right foot and then the face with her left foot. The burly man fell back fast to the ground. Dust spiraled up around him as he connected with rock, hard Spira. He was covered in dirt, bruises, scratches, and blood from Paine’s sword and Rikku’s cuts with her daggers. He laid there and started to reach for a potion. Rikku kicked his hand with the vial in it, causing it to shatter. She then pulled out Paine’s sword from the muscular thigh, making him scream out in agony.
“Give up,” Rikku ordered simply, leaning over and holding her dagger to his face firmly.
Raztodow winced and yelled, “Dva! DVA! H-help me.”
Dva heard her boyfriend’s cries but couldn’t do anything to help him. This warrior has had the upper hand since she pulled her into the ground. It was like she knew every move she was going to do next. Even her speed wasn’t helping her gain the upper hand, if anything her speed was being her downfall. Whenever she would strike, Paine would dodge it and counter attack the second quick attack. There was no way for her to win… was there? And now with Raz on his back over there…there was nothing she could do. But she knew this would happen…she has seen these two fight before. They move beautifully…they know how to use their opponent’s skills against them. Heh, Raz and I were lucky they weren’t fighting side-by-side. If so, we’d been out of this fight a long time ago…they know how the other fights and choreograph, it seems, the battle. I’ve guess we’ve postponed this long enough. “I QUIT!”
Paine stops her sword inches from the girl’s shoulder. Stepping back she nods slightly. “Raz! Give up!”
Raztodow, with Rikku’s blade still to his cheek, squished his face like a little kid and turned his head to the side. “F-fine…I GIVE UP!”
Rikku stood up straight and smiled with her head tilted to the right. “But really girl, you should get yourself a man. A man can do so much more for you.”
Rikku’s smile faded into a look of hatred and her nostrils flared slightly. “Yeah, just like you did for your girlfriend.” She then kicked him solidly in the ribs and walked towards the warrior. Her warrior…she knew Paine had to have feelings for her too. Otherwise she would have protested against this little competition. It was all a matter of getting Paine to admit it. Which she would…Rikku would make sure of that.
The ref came up between Rikku and Paine and held up each their hands. The crowd roared in satisfaction. Rikku beamed brightly and Paine smirked with a raised eyebrow looking around. Rikku then bounced next to Paine and grabbed the girl’s face and pulled her into a very brief kiss. The crowd yelled even louder and whistled. Pushing back Paine’s face, Rikku smiled seductively. “We have to make it seem like we are really a couple.”
Paine’s face had reddened and her stern eyes had softened at Rikku’s remark. The girl was right. They did have to make it believable…otherwise they could be thrown out of the tournament. Paine tilted her head forward with a small grin. Rikku beamed again and her heart began beating even faster than it did during the small kiss. Taking the warrior’s gloved hand in hers; the Al Bhed then led herself and Paine under the stadium so they could recuperate.
“Wow! What a battle and a passionate couple! Hah hah, but things can only get better as we near the championship battle! As the grounds crew removes the fallen Raztodow, will the next fighters please come up? Will Ziv, Svetlana, Harkyn, and Melantha please come to the stage?”
“Man Paine! We totally whipped their butts from the start! It was all fwish fwish pow boom boom,” exclaimed a very excited Rikku punching at air.
“I don’t know Rikku…as I recall…you were on the ground in the fetal position near the end there.”
“Psh, a minor detail Painey poo! We still so totally won!”
Paine cleared her throat at the nickname and shook her head. “Yeah, whatever you say.”
“Yeah, that’s right. WhatEVER I say! Hm, and right now I say I have to go to the little Rikku’s room. All this fighting has got me excited-”
“Just like a dog when company comes over, huh? So excited they piss all over themselves.”
“Hah hah hah…you are so funny,” Rikku said in a monotone voice. “I hope you make a career as a stand up comedian.”
“Why would I need to be a stand up comedian when I could do it just as well sitting down?”
“There you go again! One of these days everybody is going to know how truly funny you are,” Rikku said, already on her way to the bathroom.The silver haired girl just watched the thief as she took a right into the corridor. One of these days…everyone…how truly funny I am. Do I want that? Or do I just want her to know how funny I can be? To make her comfortable…I don’t want to be who I was. I want…her to like me. Even if I had to change, I’d change a hundred times just so she would enjoy my presence. But…what happens if I push her away? How many times would it take before she never would come back? Rikku…I can’t tell you what I truly feel…not yet…I don’t want you to be afraid of me. I need to hold these emotions in a long as possible…because you may not feel the same way…and if you know I like you…our friendship may never recover.
Rikku finished washing her hands and grabbed some paper towels. Throwing them away, she hummed “Real Emotion” and walked out of the bathroom. Someone then grabbed her and tossed her against the wall. Ready to get crazy on them she balled up her fists and was ready to let lose until she saw who it was. “Tidus?”
Tidus leaned back with his hands behind his head and smiled. “That was some fight you two had out there earlier. You two must have been training hard.”
Not feeling comfortable, Rikku just nodded. “Oh come on now Rikku. After all we’ve been through, you can’t even give me a one word answer? Hm, alright, I’m not going to beat around the bush…I still like you Rikku…I want to…have something with you.”
Rikku’s eyes widened and she shook her head. “B-but Paine and I… and Yunie and…and”
“Come on…we both know you and Paine just entered for the prize. You two aren’t really together. Y’all are just using each other to get something. Oh, and that kiss, pretty hot…way to play it up…it looked as if y’all actually cared for each other.”
Rikku wanted to yell. She wanted to tell him they do have feelings for each other. She wanted to say they weren’t using each other. She wanted to do and say so much, but instead she just stood there…not being able to move. “And as for Yuna…she’s a nice girl but…we had something Rikku…you can’t deny that,” Tidus said soothingly as he touched her cheek. “We had chemistry and raw emotion. Don’t tell me I’m the only one who felt it.”
“But-but Yunie, she went to the ends of Spira to find you! She risked her life, ours as well, to find you and bring you back. She loves you.”
“I love her too…but that doesn’t mean I can’t love you also. You and I connected in a way that Yuna and I haven’t yet. We were just meant for each other. Remember, it was you who I met first…not Yuna. We were meant to be together.”
Tidus moved closer to Rikku who lowered her head and closed her eyes. Searching her heart…did they have something those years ago? Did they have raw emotion? Could the feeling for him she thought was hate actually not be hate? What did she feel?
Paine looked at the huge clock on the announcement tower and noticed that Rikku has taken a little too long to have just gone the bathroom. The warrior stood up and walked to the corridor to see if the young girl was okay.
“You feel it…don’t you Rikku? You understand what I’m talking about.”
Tidus cupped her face. Rikku, still with her eyes closed, tried to sort out what it was she is feeling. Who is it I really like? Who do I want? All of a sudden she felt a pair of duck-like lips on hers. Is this what she wanted? Does she like this? A face. A face formed in her mind, but it is too dark to see who it is. The face slowly became clearer.
Paine turned down the corridor and came upon the stairs that went down towards the bathrooms.
It was the face of a warrior. A certain leather clad warrior with gorgeous, silver hair, toned body, and crimson eyes.
Tidus kept his lips pressed tightly against Rikku’s and began to open his mouth. No. NO! This isn’t what I want! This isn’t who I want! “NO!”
Rikku broke away from the kiss and stepped back. Rubbing away at her lips forcefully like an unseen virus had embedded itself there, she began to cry. “No! I hate you, Tidus! I hate you! I’ve never felt anything more for you than pity! And now… I don’t even feel that. You are nothing to me. You hear that?! Nothing! And I do have feelings for Paine!” Rikku kept stepping backwards as she yelled. “I like her a whole lot! She’s been there for me! She’s been real towards me! I like her for her…and best of all…she likes me for me. I know if I have no where to run she will be there. I used to think Yunie was that person…the one for me to run to…but now…I know that it never was her. It has always been Paine…since the day we first met. The evening at the Moonflow…with the pyre flies. Since then…it has always been her for me to turn to...it just took me this long to realize it…and that sickening kiss, for me to finally understand.”
Paine heard, what seemed to be Rikku’s voice, screaming. She quickened her pace down the stairs and reached the bottom.
Rikku turned around to run up the steps and ran right into Paine. Paine caught the girl and gently pushed her back to look into her eyes. Those emerald eyes…with the Al Bhed trademark of spiral pupils were moist and red. Rikku forced herself onto Paine and hugged her tightly as she cried on her shoulder. The warrior wrapped her arms around the younger girl’s waist and glanced up at Tidus. There, he stood. His frizzy blonde hair with split ends, stupid uneven shorts…. stupid, uneven, short shorts, his duck lip, and his damn cocky smile. All of which she hated even more. Paine wasn’t one to hate people…no, she was one who just avoided someone she didn’t get along with. But Tidus, she could honestly say she hated. For reasons, she reckoned were because of the way he treated Rikku, she wanted to kick his ass right there in the corridor. Leave him battered and bruised…and yes…even for dead. But she’d have her chance soon enough…no doubt they would be in the championship battle…not a doubt in her mind. She’d wait until then…he would pay.
“Come on Rikku, there’s nothing here in this hallway.”
Rikku pulled away and wiped her eyes. Holding onto Paine’s hand, they turned up the stairs and left Tidus alone. Tidus watched the two leave hand in hand and it turned his stomach. He growled underneath his breath and went up the stairs to find Yuna, a safe pace behind the two girls.
“Paine…I’m sorry. I’m-“
“Rikku, there is nothing for you to apologize for. What did he say to you?”
“He said he still likes me…he said that we had raw emotion and-and that I shouldn’t be near you, just him. Paine I’m so sorry! I-I don’t know why he would do this. Why would he do something like this?”
Paine bit her lip. “I can’t tell you why, Rikku…but if you feel for him, the way he apparently feels for you…then,” Paine’s voice was full of sorrow and her expression was one of grief, “I guess…”
Rikku’s heart felt as if it was trampled by a shoopuff. She shook her head vehemently and hugged Paine tightly. “Please Paine…,” Rikku whispered barely audible, “don’t give up on me.”
Paine’s chest tightened. Rikku, I’d never give up on you, I’d always be there for you. She pulled Rikku in closer and placed her hand on the back of the thief’s neck protectively. They stayed there like that for a few minutes until Rikku stepped back and sniffed. She then punched Paine in the stomach. “What the hell was that for,” Paine said covering where she was just hit.
“You let me go to the bathroom alone. I could have been hinting for a hot make-out session in the little Rikku’s room but noooo…you stayed up here.”
The older girl squinted her eyes and stood with her mouth slightly agape. She then smirked and raised her head. “Well, as I recall I was on my way down to the little Rikku’s room, maybe I was just playing hard to get, and maybe I just like to see you wait.”
Rikku pouted…how is it she can do that…just…make her feel so…so…oh what is the word? The Al Bhed tongued her cheek as Paine raised an eyebrow. The warrior then tilted her head and walked past Rikku to the fighters’ warm up arena. Rikku stood there for a second watching her. Was she swaying her hips on purpose? That little tease…she knows I like her…doesn’t she? Hm, maybe…maybe not. Rikku beamed a grand smile and jogged to catch up with Paine. As she ran passed her she slapped her hard on the ass. Paine’s eyes widened. Ouch! Rikku shook out the pain in her right hand as she continued to sprint towards the room. The sound of heels on marble floor could be heard behind her. Rikku turned her head to see the silver haired girl gaining on her with an evil glint in her eye. Panicking, she ran as fast as she could possibly go. The heels behind her came closer. How can she be faster than me? She is going to get me before I reach the doors! Paine had cast haste on herself in order to catch up with the blonde. Otherwise, this chase wouldn’t have been as close. Just as Rikku reached the doors Paine pinned her against them, with haste upon her, her breathing was notably quickened. With every breathe Paine drew in, Rikku felt her breasts gently graze her back. Rikku’s eyes were now lidded and she bit her lip with a grin. Paine turned the young girl around, noticing her flushed face. Her eyes were intense, her lips pouty, her cheeks reddened, her breathing uneven. Oh God…Rikku’s in heat!! Rikku’s new lascivious look caused Paine to blush…to the extreme.
Paine swallowed hard, “You’re it…”
Rikku lessened the space between them as she leaned closer to speak softly into Paine’s ear. “Ya know,” Rikku nipped Paine’s ear softly, “I could really care less at this point.”Paine released a shuddered breath. Even for Rikku…this bisexual humor was crossing the line. The warrior noticed her reflection on the glass door. Her usually pale face was now deeply flushed, her crimson eyes were wide, and a thin veil of sweat covered her features. She still felt Rikku biting at her ear. Rikku is just playing around…just making it look like we’re really together. She isn’t really into me…but even so…doesn’t mean I can’t play it up too. Let’s just see how far the little blonde will take this. Paine smirked and raised an eyebrow. Placing her hands on the thief’s shoulders, she gently, yet forcefully, pushed the girl back against the doors. Rikku’s eyes were still dazed as she looked up at the warrior. Paine bent down and pulled away at Rikku’s scarf with her teeth. Kissing her neck gently, Paine was sure Rikku would snap out of it any second. The Al Bhed’s breathing increased, her eyes closed, mouth opened, and her eyebrows raised slightly as she tilted her head. She just gave me the okay…SHE JUST GAVE ME THE OKAY?! No, no, no, no…she’s is supposed to push me away and say ‘No, Paine!’
Now embarrassed by what she was doing, Paine bit Rikku’s neck to subtly jolt her back into reality. “Paine!”
Rikku stepped away from the glass doors and was readjusting her scarf. Paine noticed the outline of perspiration on the door and smiled to herself. “What,” she said, standing up straight.
Rikku thought for a moment…this is what she wanted…to have Paine show emotion towards her…to have Paine hold her…to admit that she had feelings for her. If she said something now, then it might make her recoil back into her black little shell. She couldn’t have that…even if the bite did sting a little…she’d get through it and continue on her plan to make Paine pour her unadulterated feelings out to her. Rikku inwardly nodded and grabbed Paine’s hand. She smiled up at her, “Nothing Painey poo. Come on…let’s go inside the warm up arena.”Paine allowed the girl to lead her into the large room. She never ceases to amaze me…but I wonder why…she didn’t say anything about what just happened. That isn’t like her to be quiet about something.
“Oh my God did you just hear that?”
“No, hear what?”
“Harkyn and Melantha just got disqualified! They were using excessive force.”
“Oh man! I figured something like that was going to happen! I’m just surprised that they didn’t make the call sooner.”
“What do you mean?”
“I was watching the fight before I came down here to warm up. When it started, Harkyn ran full force towards Ziv and started pounding on him. I swear the guy didn’t have a chance. Harkyn was hitting him with cheap shots to the face and back and stuff. Now I’m talking hard punches, the kind of punching where your face looks like you’re constipated and whatnot! Oh, and the girl…Melantha…she was kicking the shit out of Svetlana! Boom, pow, whammy! Just knocking the crap outta her. I could’ve sworn the two were going to get some broken bones. I reckon the refs cut Ziv and Svetlana a break on this one. That fight should’ve gone to the other two hands down, no doubt about it. Whoever goes against them in the quarter-finals is going to have an easy time. Heh, Sin, even I could smack the crap out of that couple. Then again I guess any ol’ couple could’ve entered. Like that Varon and Nixie, they are ancient looking and…”So the dark couple went and got themselves eliminated. That leaves the “easy” couple for Rikku and me to take care of. At least I can conserve my energy for Tidus’ beating.
Rikku crept around to the other side of Paine, “Whoa, did you get all that Dr. P?”
Paine nodded. “Looks like we just got ourselves a shoopuff’s ticket to Easyville,” Rikku smiled and leaned back with her hands behind her head.
The warrior poked in the stomach, “Let’s not get too sure of ourselves, they may have just been playing around.”
Rikku grunted with a pouty look on her face, “You sure know how to take a girl’s good news away.”
“I try…no really, I do,” Paine said in her usual monotone voice.
The two girls walked to an empty corner with mats on the floor. Paine turned on her intercom, “Brother?”
“What,” he said agitated, “All My Hypello is on right now,”
Paine gave a quizzical look to blushing Rikku. “It’s his favorite soap.”
“Well, I’m sure Shinra has an empty sphere, go and record it, but right now I want you to start watching the competition.”
“Why would I want to see people beat each other senseless?”
“Because Yuna will be fighting…and if Tidus is suddenly knocked unconscious, Yuna will need you to come in and save her.”
“Yuna?! Oh our love so pure! I will watch just for you!!!”
Paine positioned herself down on the mat and closed her eyes. Rikku stood there confused. Paine placed her hands behind her head and yawned, “Brother will now watch the fight and when Yuna and Tidus win their match he will yell about how courageous and magnificent she is. This is when his squawking will wake us up and we can begin warming up for our next battle, quite refreshed”
“Heh, the Brother Alarm System, complete with witty remarks, gas, and absolute Yunie obsession,” Rikku chuckled as she sprawled out next to Paine. Using her hand to prop her head up, she gazed at the older girl with much admiration.
“I’d appreciate it if you didn’t stare at me while I sleep.”
Rikku smiled and curled up into Paine. Placing her hand on a pale stomach, Rikku played with the strap until she fell into a content sleep.