Title: What town is the wishing star watching over now?
Author: Dagas Isa
Feedback address: email@example.com
Date in Calendar: December 11
Fandom: Final Fantasy X-2
Word Count: 2000
Summary: Two wishes Rikku makes on two snowy winter nights with Paine five years apart.
Spoilers: Vaguely for the end of FFX-2
Advertisement: Part of the FSAC:DW10
Disclaimers: All Final Fantasy X-2 characters and concepts are the property of Square-Enix.
Author's Notes: This story takes place in the same continuity as this series of Rikku/Paine one-shots over at AO3, but it stands completely as an independent story.
Beta: Biggest thanks to Muusu for looking this over for me.
"Remember," Paine said as she glared at the valiant but failing space heater just a few feet from our bed, "this is a one-time thing. And don't get any ideas." The Celsius stayed grounded in the Calm Lands where Paine and I had spent the past three days wrangling chocobos for Clasko and Buddy and Brother had taken the opportunity to do some much needed tune up on the engines. Even if the CommSpheres weren't reporting massive snow all across Spira, we wouldn't be going anywhere.
"Right! Once-in-a-century blizzard. No ideas. Got it." I pulled the blanket around us and let my arms fall around Paine's waist as hers fell over my shoulders. Then I closed my eyes and tried not to think of Yunie, probably back on Besaid snuggling with you-know-who or Gippal on Bikanel snuggling with who-knows-who. I missed them and touching and being touched, and Paine…this sounded so creepy after I thought it, but she smelled so appealing—just plain soap and herself, no perfume neccessary. I nuzzled her and let myself inhale her scent.
My eyes opened to find her staring at me. Did she guess? My heart pounded in my ears, and though I'd never really thought of Paine as more than a friend—I had other loves and she'd kill me if she thought I was using her as a rebound—pressed up to her like this, I could hardly be blamed for getting any ideas.
"Rikku," Her voice was quiet—hardly more than a whisper actually—but stern.
I winced. "Yes?"
"This is a once in a century event," Paine let that statement hang in the air, and she brought her face closer to mine. Did she know? Was she trying to say something? I knew she liked girls; I'd watched her flirt in her way. Could she tolerate me, just for a night?
"Paine?" Her face was so close, I could almost kiss her by accident, and I wouldn't regret it later either.
She smirked. "Yes."
"I know you said no ideas, but I have a really, really good one about how we can get warm." This was where she would grab her sword and carve away all of my respect points. Maybe, if things went well, my end would be quick at least.
But no, Paine just smirked. "Extraordinary circumstances call for extraordinary measures." Her hands definitely strayed down my back and sides, all the way to my tush. We were definitely thinking along the same lines then.
Sure of myself, at least for that night, I kissed her.Please, I prayed then, as our clothes became unfastened, let this be good.
Silly me, I thought my wish had only referred to that night.
The winter night was cold even for Macalania. Snow drifted down from the sky so lazily that one might be lulled into thinking that no one and nothing could possibly wander these ice-covered roads looking for trouble. The seventeen fiends we had confronted immediately before would have disproved that thought, but right now in the aftermath of those battles, the only two not settled in for a long nap were Paine and I. Don't worry, we were getting paid to clear the fiends, a special favor for O'aka and the newly rebuilt village before the roads closed for the winter.
Of course it was on a night like this that we first…
"Hey, Paine," I asked, watching the trails of snow my shuffling boots left on the road, "do you remember the first time we slept together?" I shivered. The air blew sharp that night; even I was wearing a thick coat over my black mage's dressphere, and I hated any sort of excess bulk in my clothing. I couldn't wait until we could head back into down where a roaring fire would be built up in our room at the inn, and Paine and I could strip down to our skivvies and curl up together.
Paine drew her coat around her. "I do," she admitted, "though I thought it would be a one-time situation. Something as rare as a Spira-wide blizzard."
"Yeah…" I never told Paine about what had really gone on inside my head the night that started it all. She had her idea that it had been a one-night-stand between friends that bloomed into something more a few months later. Lucky coincidences had their place in romantic stories, and ours was no different.
"Did you ever think it would turn into something like this?" I asked. My eyes couldn't meet hers. They looked up at the snow falling down, behind at the trail we were leaving between the former temple site and the village, and ahead at the village wall where the warm glow of lanterns bade us welcome.
"Never," Paine smirked. "I always thought we'd never managed to live together without killing each other long enough to ever become anything more than friends."
"Thanks for that."
"And, I always thought you loved Yuna."
"I did…I guess…" It was hard to put into words what exactly guardians grew to feel for their summoners. No matter what, love became inextricably connected to success. Maybe not romantic love—there had been a few high-summoners whose greatest bonds had been with family or friends—but I'd have deluded myself if I had dismissed the intensity of my feelings back then as 'mere' friendship or cousinly affection. "Yunie matters to me, you know, but it never would have worked between us. She always would have thought of him. But feelings can change…" I struggled for the words, "you've been more important to me for a while now."
She smirked. "Important, huh?"
"Very important," I said. "I'd climb a thousand Gagazets and outswim fifty Hypellos to be with you."
I put my finger to my chin in exaggerated contemplation and found an appropriate correction. "I'd climb a thousand Gagazets and outswim fifty Hypellos to hear you sing."
"Hmmph." I knew as well as Paine that she wouldn't be caught dead singing, mountains and Hypellos be damned. Still, even in the cloud-filtered moonlight, I could see her cheeks straining to contain a smile.
I wrung my mittened hands together. "What about you?" We had been together for a while now—more than actually—to the point where formerly interested suitors knew better than to bother deluding themselves into thinking we were only friends and a certain other couple (a high-ranking Youth League official and her female lover) had suggested that the four of us go on a vacation together sometime.
Paine turned to me, "I thought you'd drive me crazy after a year."
"And?" I couldn't effectively poke her without freezing my fingers off, but there sure was a lot of wet snow around just waiting to be used. She looked up to the sky, no matter that the stars were nowhere to be seen tonight. I scooped some snow up and molded it into a loose sphere.
"You must have because I can't imagine not putting up with your antics."
"Paine…" From her, that was as good as a sonnet. I looked at the snow in my hand and for once, actually thought twice about throwing it. I tipped my hand and let the snowball fall to the ground and watched as it made a crater between our footprints.
What I forgot is that the old adage about those who hesitate and their being lost gets passed around for the reason, and at that moment Paine—and the soft impact of snow on the back of my coat—reminded me why.
"You!" I gathered up some more of the snow and, without bothering to give it an aerodynamic shape, flung it at her.
"I saw the snowball. Self-defense!" Paine's voice rang clear in the night. She ran but not without stopping sporadically to pick up material for her own arsenal.
We chased each other down the road occasionally stopping to launch more attacks on each other and toppling into the snow, though admittedly me more than Paine for that last one. Once we reached just outside the newly built village wall, we paused. Just beyond its threshold would be an inn where we could spend the rest of the storm someplace warm and snuggly, but even with snow soaking into my boots and dribbling down the front of my coat, this patch of masonry and winter road felt like our own world right here—an endless adventure waiting to happen. I wasn't ready to get cozy just this very moment.
Paine approached me, her boots making perfect tracks next to my shuffling steps. A gloved hand still moist from half melted snow cupped my face, while the other one touched my hip and brushed away a lingering snow clump. I recognized that glint in her eyes as her lips came down to meet mine. The goosebumps that ran up my back from that long, icy kiss weren't the kind that made me want to bundle up in another layer of fabric—quite the opposite, I wanted to take my clothes off and wear her.
And of course she knew exactly what I thought. Paine pulled away, though the hand on my hip remained in place. "Come on. Let's go in before we get frostbite."
"Welcome to O'aka's!" Wantz greeted us as we entered the former site of Rin's Travel Agency Macalania, now the flagship (only) location of O'aka's Inns and General Stores. "Would you ladies like to buy anything before you retire for the night?"
All I wanted was Paine's clothes on the floor next to mine. "No, I think we're good." We ran past him and into the corridor.
"Very well. We've already prepared a fire…" Wantz's voice faded into the distance.
"Clothes off. Now." The click of our room's lock punctuated Paine's command. Already, she began to rid herself of her soaking outerwear. My mouth got dry as she revealed more skin and grab-able areas, and my hands seemed to forget how to move. When she caught me gawking—and who wouldn't, she's freaking amazing—she glared. "Well? What are you waiting for?"
"Oh, sorry." I pulled off my coat and peeled away my damp shirt. The fire-warmed air caressed my skin, but even that comfort was nothing was compared to the sight of Paine watching me disrobe. Just for her, I did a little striptease, putting my thumbs in the waist band of my skirt and giving my hips a little wiggle before it dropped to floor. "How's that?"
I full well knew the answer. Paine marched past me and grabbed my wrist, and as she pulled me over to the bed, I just sort of fell on top of her. My head landed right in the middle of her bosom, and I couldn't resist giving the side of her breast a little kiss. Paine's arms wrapped around my shoulders.
A sense of déją vu filled me. "This is almost like our first time, isn't it?" Almost as soon as I said it, the feeling had passed. The weather was almost the same, the situation almost the same—coming in after the cold to warm up and the reassuring comfort of her arms around me—but after so much time together, I knew the curves of Paine's body as well as I knew my own. I knew how to touch her to make her lose her dignity—in fact, half the fun would be just watching her bite her lips to keep her moans in secure in the knowledge that I'd have her shouting my name by dawn. The resemblance between now and then was nothing but a coincidence.
"No," Paine said. Her hands skimmed down my sides, grabbed my hips, and dragged me up to a more convenient position. "It's going to be better."
And as our lips met in warmed up kiss, I totally believed that.
Please, let this get even better.
Hey, it worked once, right?