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Summer In The City: Rikku/Gippal [FINAL FANTASY X-2]

Title: Summer In The City
Author: Parron (hinikuish   )
Pairing: Rikku x Gippal
Fandom: FINAL FANTASY X, X-2
Spoilers: For both characters and games.
E-mail: sparkling.onions @ gmail.com
Word Count: 5,000
Notes: Beta read by itsutsuboshi and owlmoose

Due yesterday, technically, but hopefully I can get away with a one-day-late thing. Thanks to owlmoose and itsutsuboshi for beta reading and putting up with my requests for beta-reading; thanks to various people on my friendslist for encouragement, support and enthusiasm!! when I drunkenly announced I was going to write this. ♥



I N T R O D U C T I O N;
i'm gonna go to babylon and get me some whiskey
if i hear one more song about angels



Spira is not a very nice place to live. Although it is a beautiful world, it is also a land under constant attack by an enormous creature known as Sin, which regularly attacks and destroys towns and cities, killing hundreds in a blow. For a thousand years, Sin is thought to be indestructible by any permanent means. The only way to receive an even temporary reprieve from Sin is for a Summoner to bring the Calm - for a man or women to Summon the Final Aeon, sacrificing himself for a short time of peace while Sin regenerates. The quest to stop Sin for good is the plot of the game Final Fantasy X, which follows a young Summoner named Yuna and her Guardians - her protector, Kimahri, her childhood friends and surrogate siblings Wakka and Lulu, her father's former Guardian Auron, her Al Bhed cousin Rikku, and a strange boy named Tidus. The group of seven cross Spira and are eventually successful, doing what no one had ever been able to do: destroy Sin forever, and bring the Eternal Calm... at the price of the lives of Auron and Tidus.


In a move never before made before by Square-Enix, Final Fantasy X was given a sequel, the game Final Fantasy X-2. Picking up on Yuna's life two years after it left off, with the defeat of Sin and death of Tidus, X-2 focuses on her new life. She's left her home to travel, hunting for spheres and treasure. Yuna's main companions in the game are a close-lipped swordsman named Paine and her former Guardian, Rikku, now trying to help her cousin have fun in her life. One of the main plot points in FFX-2 ends up going back and fleshing out the story of FFX, giving us a second story going on at the same time and even overlapping with Yuna and Tidus' story in points: the story of the Crimson Squad.


Around the time that Yuna began her pilgrimage, elsewhere in Spira, the Crusaders (the main military force of the world) was establishing a new branch: The Crimson Squad. Although he was not eligible to join the Crusaders as a regular member, the Al Bhed Gippal is allowed to try out for the squad. Over the next months he befriends his two non-Al Bhed team-mates: the Deathseeker Nooj and the Yevonite Baralai as well as the team's Recorder, Paine. The four of them became very close as a team, until Operation Mi'ihen, an attempt by the Crusaders and the Al Bhed to fight Sin with machina. They did not fight the main battle against Sin; instead, the Crimson Squad was is sent into the Den of Woe, where a mysterious presence drives most of the candidates insane, causing them to kill themselves and others. Gippal and his team alone are spared, thanks to what they believe is good luck. They escaped the cave... only to be arrested after giving their report. Once again, they get away, and ended up at the Mi'ihen Highroad's Travel Agency.


There, the four agreed to part ways, figuring it would be easier to hide out individually. As they said their good-byes, however, Nooj suddenly turned on them and shoots first Baralai, then Gippal in the back. Paine caught catches this on camera, but before she could can really react, he shoots her as well.


Although the wounds were not fatal none of the candidates spoke with or had anything to do with one another for two years.


Although the game was more light- hearted than FFX, X-2 does clearly have a darker side, which manifests itself more in politics than world-saving (although there is that, too). If FFX was about changing the world, X-2 is about living with those changes - and the trouble that change can bring. Spira had never been a calm world, and even without Sin, there are still plenty of fiends and racial issues, the latter of which is a particular problem in Spira.


The races of Spira can easily be divided into two groups: Those who follow the Yevonite religion, and those who do not. Of the five sentient races, only one falls into the latter category : the Al Bhed. Not only do they refuse to worship Yevon, but they also make a living using machina, ancient machines salvaged and repaired before being put to use as weapons, transport, and other such things. Forbidding the use of machina - believed to be the original reason for Sin's creation - is the most sacred of Yevon's teachings, and as such, the Al Bhed are a hated outcast race. They are all blonde, and all have distinct green eyes with a spiral shaped pupil. Both features are used to identify them and segregate them from the Yevon culture.


As well as being the victims of racism by the Yevonites, the Al Bhed also face the normal dangers of fiends, a harsh desert life, and Sin. Several years before the game began, Sin destroyed the island where the Al Bhed once lived several years before the game began, scattering the race throughout Spira. A faction of the Al Bhed ended up on Bikanel Island, where a man named Cid took over leadership, bringing the Al Bhed together and building them a city-fortress called Home. Rikku, one of Yuna's guardians, is his daughter. During FFX, Home is destroyed and the Al Bhed are scattered once again.


By the time FFX-2 rolls around, the Al Bhed have divided themselves into two fairly distinct groups - those who still follow Cid, and those of the Machina Faction. The Machina Faction is a new group in Spira who have no interest in the politics that are dividing their world--although, their military power is so great that they are treated as a political force anyway. They make their headquarters in the old Djose Temple, acting essentially as arms dealers, as well as working to create new machina and salvage old ones from the Sanubia desert, near Home's old location. The salvaging efforts are lead by a woman named Nhadala, and the Faction as a whole is lead by the former Crimson Squad candidate Gippal.


This essay focuses on the pairing between Gippal and Rikku. Practically from the moment Yuna - and we - first meet Gippal in X-2, he is presented to us as a viable romantic interest for Rikku: she is shown to have a crush on him, and the game informs us that they have known one another for quite some time. If the game really did mean to make Gippal out to be Rikku's canon love interest, they were completely successful: R/G is the most commonly shipped pairing for either character, and one of the most prevalent ships in the fandom in general, possibly surpassing even Yuna/Tidus in popularity.


In this essay, I will try to show you why.



R I K K U;
she will kiss you till your lips bleed
but she will not take her dress off



Rikku is one of the very first characters we meet in Final Fantasy X. At the time, she is a fifteen year old Al Bhed girl salvaging in some ruins--the very ruins that Tidus has found himself in after getting sucked into Spira by Sin. She convinces her brother to take him in, but soon Tidus is separated from her by a Sin attack. Later in the game Rikku re-appears as Yuna's attempted kidnapper and then Guardian. She attempts to hide her identity as Al Bhed from the other members of the party at first, but even after she's revealed to be of the "cursed" race she stays by Yuna's side. Rikku is the only member of the party other than Tidus to want Yuna to stop her Pilgrimage, and together they spend much of the later part of the game plotting ways to make Yuna change her mind.


In the end, Yuna doesn't use the Final Aeon, and isn't killed in the defeat of Sin; instead, Tidus dies, unable to live without the fayth sustaining him. Rikku goes back to the Al Bhed, continuing her salvage work and traveling throughout Spira trying to educate the former Yevonites about machina, as shown in the "Eternal Calm" video released before FFX-2:


YUNA: (narrating) Rikku sometimes visits us here in Besaid. She's been traveling around Spira salvaging ancient machina and teaching people how to use them.




At some point, she becomes estranged from her father and begins work as a Sphere Hunter with her brother and friends. On a visit to Mount Gagazet two years after the end of FFX, Rikku is given a sphere containing footage of someone who looks remarkably like Tidus. Her delivery of the sphere to Yuna is what prompts the action of FFX-2.


The word best used to describe Rikku is bubbly. Cheerful and optimistic even in the worst of situations, Rikku seems a prime candidate for the phrase "when life gives you lemons, make lemonade." She lost her mother at a young age and by the age of fifteen was working a physically intensive job on a salvaging ship, before embarking on a mentally intensive job as Yuna's Guardian. Rikku sees the best in others and is fairly perceptive of emotions, although she's flighty and doesn't pay attention to what doesn't interest her. She isn't unaware of the bad things in the world, but Rikku tries to ignore them - both a strength and a weakness in Spira.


Rikku is a character whose strengths are also her flaws - she is outgoing and friendly, but nosy and flighty. She is cheerful enough that it can be grating, and while her simple, direct way of thinking keeps her more clearheaded and straight-forward than her other companions in X-2, it also leads to her being the least obviously clever of the girls. Not to say that Rikku is stupid; she's intelligent and a quick thinker, just not in a scholarly sense. She knows what she needs to know and is clever enough to make the rest.


She's not one to dwell on her past, and hardly mentions anything of it during either game. Rikku is seen to be upset and angry on a few occasions, but she's by nature a forgiving, loving girl. It seems like she'd hate to be alone more than almost anything else, and it's not only that she wants herself to be happy--Rikku's care-taking of others, Yuna especially, is intense. She wants the best for her friends, and loves them dearly. Her philosophy on life is pretty simply summed up in the her monologue in the FFX Vocal Collections, a special CD of songs and dialogue performed by the FFX cast:


"If your face cries, your heart will start to cry too, so, smile."


[...]


It doesn't mean you should force yourself to smile, it means you should do it naturally. That's hard to do when you've given in to pain, but, you know, I'm always thinking, "if I could start it off, that would be great!" In the beginning, it's a small smile. But if I'm with everyone, wherever we go, it'll become huge.




G I P P A L;
he was perfect except for the fact he was an engineer
and mothers prefer doctors and lawyers





Gippal first shows up in Chapter One of FFX-2 as the eighteen-year-old leader of the Machina Faction in Djose Temple. Rikku introduces him to us and Yuna as "kinda annoying" but "all right." This proves to be a generally accurate judge of his character: Gippal is kind of annoying, but he doesn't generally mean anything by it. He comes off as flirty and amused with himself, brash and good natured... if somewhat obnoxious. Gippal is known for wandering away and being easily distracted, and is rarely very motivated to do anything. To call him "laid back" would be an understatement.


This is impressive considering his past: at the same time that Yuna was on her Pilgrimage, Gippal had joined up in the Crusaders at the age of sixteen. As far as we know, he is the only Al Bhed to be allowed into the Crimson Squad, meant to be the elite of the elite. In truth, Gippal doesn't usually act much like a soldier, and seems to be the weakest of his companions, but the fact that he was even accepted as a candidate speaks to his talent. Although shot and left for dead by his friends, Gippal bears them no grudge during the game - he is surprised and pleased to see Paine again, even when she pretends not to know him, and when confronted by Nooj and Baralai in the Bevelle Underground, Gippal sides with Nooj - the man who shot him - over Baralai, which is at the very least a very good attempt at neutrality. He's an effective leader in the Machina Faction, even if he wanders away a lot (which various people around the Faction complain about even if we don't see it much in the game), and his workers rely on him and trust him (all the same, it's hard to imagine the Machina Faction staying organised and together without the work of Nhadala, who is something of a younger, more serious Rin).


He's smart and a good mechanic, trusting and clever, and successful in building an Al Bhed base in the middle of Yevon territory - in a Yevon temple, no less. But Gippal isn't entirely a model young man, either: he's lazy and flighty, laid back to a fault; it takes a lot to get him motivated, which can be both good and bad. On one hand, he was probably the first of the Crimson Squad to forgive Nooj (Paine, for her talk of misunderstanding, also spends a lot of time trying to validate that claim, and Baralai's rage is well documented); on the other hand, he can't work up the motivation to fight to save the world, either. He's a constant flirt, teasing both Rikku and Yuna, and comes off as more than a little cocky. Gippal takes pride in being called a jackass, and has something of an ego: "Gippal is awesome" is one of the questions on his wage-raising quiz Machina Faction diggers take, and the correct answer is given as "yes."



E V I D E N C E;

but love is the answer to a question
that i've forgotten
but i know i've been asked




From the first time we see Gippal, it is made clear to us by the game that he and Rikku know one another already: Rikku introduces him, which alone suggests that, and when they speak it's even more clear. Although the game doesn't tell us in detail how they met, it is implied that they have known each other as for several years at least: Gippal was at one point a friend of Rikku's older brother, and Aniki and Dachi speak of him in familiar terms. Aniki appears to have a long-standing rivalry with Gippal ("he's always been really competitive with him, but Gippal's never noticed"), which implies that they have known one another since childhood.


They are friendly with one another, probably because of their somewhat similar personalities; Rikku and Gippal seem to see the world in the same way and share the same thought processes in many ways. Gippal and Rikku are physical with each other, he patting her head and other such teasing gestures. Although there is nothing particularly romantic or sexual about their interactions, Gippal especially is never shown to reach out and touch anyone else, and there's a unique playfulness to their interactions. They have a different air with one another than with their other friends. Gippal teases his friends; stealing Paine's camera and giving her nicknames, for example, but doesn't touch them, and Rikku is downright flirty with Gippal. Although she loves her friends and is affectionate with them, she never openly flirts with anyone else.


For more concrete evidence, start with a rather infamous scene in the R/G fandom. The second time you run into Gippal in the game, he at once approaches Rikku and shoves her head (in a seemingly affectionate way). He asks how she's doing and she replies, to which Yuna mentions that the two of them "seem close." Without a moment's pause, Gippal turns to Yuna and says cheerfully, "We made quite the couple." Rikku acts very surprised and embarrassed to hear this and shoves him, at which point Gippal adds, "Rikku's always good for a laugh." Later, on the airship, Rikku vehemently denies ever having been involved with Gippal; protesting so strongly that Paine points out her denial seems more suspicious. It's quite possible that Gippal was just teasing, but given that he seems to favour teasing the people he likes over other signs of affection, it still rings of the two of them being close.


The only other major scenes that can be interpreted as R/G take place in on the Farplane, at the very end of the game. The girls are racing to reach Vegna-Gun, and on the way they find Gippal, leaning against a rock, and apparently injured. Rikku at once runs over to him, acting very concerned. That's about all there is to it, but it shows that Rikku at least cares a great deal for Gippal's well being. After you defeat Vegna-Gun, you see Rikku quickly running over to Gippal, Nooj, and Baralai, where Gippal is once again sitting on the ground, injured or just tired.


There are a few smaller details, as well--Rikku asks after Gippal at several points during the game ("So, Gippal was here?"), and wants to offer him and the Machina Faction discounts on the Gullwings' fiend-killing services. She also seems slightly jealous when she learns of Paine and Gippal's friendship:


RIKKU: So, who taught you to speak Al Bhed?

PAINE: I wonder.

RIKKU: Gippal?

PAINE: I guess he got me interested.

RIKKU: (mildly angry) I knew it! That guy's always been a player!



Note that Paine at once assures Rikku that that was not the case at all.


A common idea in R/G fanfiction is that they were childhood friends and sweethearts, growing up in Home together and dating until she went on the Pilgrimage and he to the Crusaders. However, canon contradicts this assumption; Rikku didn't know what the Crimson Squad was until Paine told her and Yuna, and in FFX she showed no signs of having anyone special or even of ever having had romantic feelings for someone.


RIKKU: Umm... I don't get excited, you know?

LULU: Even though we're facing Sin? Rikku, amazing as always!

RIKKU: Not that! You know... when your heart races and throbs. That!



This exchange from FFX suggests that she's never been in love or even infatuated before, which shoots a few holes in the idea of Rikku and Gippal being childhood sweethearts. Of course, it's interesting to note that by FFX-2, Rikku claims makes exactly the opposite claim:


RIKKU: That's not a dream. Not if your heart's pounding like that. You and someone you care about are connected somehow. That's what it is.

PAINE: How worldly.

RIKKU: I've felt that way, too.



She declines to say about whom when Paine asks, but it raises an interesting point about Rikku and romance: At the age of fifteen, Rikku had never been in love or had strong feelings for anyone. At the age of seventeen, she has. She knew Tidus, Wakka and Auron in FFX (her most common love interests in fanfic besides Gippal), but didn't feel anything romantic for any of them -- but at the age of seventeen, after Tidus and Auron are both dead and gone, and Wakka is married, she has found someone she likes in that way. Who he is, the game doesn't say, but of the male characters in the game, Gippal seems by far the most likely.


It's also worth noting that, after the scene where Rikku mentions she's felt that way before, if you speak to Paine on the Celsius, she'll mention say that, in her opinion, it's not exactly a mystery who this person Rikku likes is.



C O U P L E;
some of the bulbs never opened quite fully
they might so i'm waiting and staying awake
things i have loved i'm allowed to keep



There's a fairly strong case made in the game that, at the least, Rikku has a crush on Gippal. She's flirty around him, asks after him a lot, and denies his "quite the couple" remark a bit too strongly for it to have been convincing. However, Gippal's feelings are not so easily read.


Although it's clear that he's fond of her and considers her a friend, there are no signs in the game that Gippal thinks of her as more than that, only the one line that may have been completely a joke. Rikku isn't hard to read, and it's possible that Gippal knows of her crush on him but doesn't feel the same, and just likes to tease her. It's possible he has never liked her romantically, or did at one point and got over it, or thinks of her as a close friend or younger sister. In part, this may be because Gippal is the most minor of the major characters in FFX-2; most of the plot comes from the girls, Nooj, and Baralai, and Gippal is only around for a handful of scenes, most of them too serious to consider romance.


At the same time, though, he is undoubtedly fond of Rikku, and it's clear she has some feelings for him. So it's not so much of a stretch to picture them starting to date at some point. Unlike Yuna, who isn't one to act on her impulses and do things lightly when it comes to romance, Rikku and Gippal are more carefree, and light. Not everything has to be true love, and, well, they're both flirts. It's not difficult to picture one of them asking the other out.


As a couple, they fall nicely into the rule of "don't be too different, and don't be too alike." Those old chestnuts "about birds of a feather flocking together" and "opposites attracting" are both partially correct, but only partially--while that those sorts of relationship can work out, ideally the best couples are alike in some ways and different in others. Rikku and Gippal are model examples of this: she is more energetic and could drive him into action, he is cleverer and a better planner. Rikku's smart enough to make her own plans and decisions, but she prefers to let someone else lead, and Gippal is the capable leader of the Machina Faction.


And they're similar, too. Outgoing, friendly, good with people and energetic, they both have a simpler, more straight-forward way of thinking than some other characters. They say what they think and feel without dwelling on it, and have the same Al Bhed heritage. They were from Home (Gippal wasn't explicitly stated to have lived there, but he was headed there after the Crimson Squad; plus he knows Rikku and Aniki from childhood) and raised in the same culture. Almost most refreshingly, they don't take everything as seriously as the other characters. They're serious when they need to be, but they don't treat everything as life or death. They know how to let go.


As a couple, Rikku and Gippal could work in several ways. On the one hand, they could just fall together and be together, with no explanation on their parts. On the other, they could date on and off for months and years. Or they could date, break up, and remain good friends (which may be the canon answer already). Or they could get together and never marry, living separately, spending months apart, and still managing to have a brood of hyperactive children. They're both unpredictable, and there are many realistic outcomes. It's very possible that their relationship would be completely unconventional, but it's just as possible that they could marry and have lots of children and live happily ever after in Djose Temple.


Arguments between them probably would happen, although they'd be quick and over fast: Rikku especially hates that sort of thing and doesn't like to dwell on problems, and if Gippal couldn't hold a grudge over being shot he probably won't over a couple's spat, either. But I can also easily see them breaking up several times; if they fell in love, they'd probably patch things up quickly, but if not I can see the relationship ending just at that moment, forever. However, them being who they are, I imagine that the first scenario is more likely: unlike the more romanticised "true love" of Yuna and Tidus or Shuyin and Lenne, Rikku and Gippal seem as though they'd function more normally, falling in love over time.


They would probably have a million blonde children, of course. That much is a given.




O T H E R P A I R I N G S;
poor little rich boy, all the couples have gone
you wish they hadn't, you don't want to be alone




Rikku and Gippal being as popular as they are, it is inevitable that they are shipped with other people. With Rikku fans it's much more obvious, since she has been around as a character longer; before there was FFX-2 (and even during), she had the fortune to be a popular character with no canon romantic interests, so the fandom tried to find her a few. Most commonly, you see Rikku paired with Auron, Tidus, Wakka or Paine when not with Gippal. Gippal in turn is usually paired with either Baralai or Paine, although Gippal/Yuna isn't unheard of.


The first thing to remember is that in this essay I've been trying to prove not only that the Rikku/Gippal pairing is a valid one, but that it is also one with a fairly large amount of canon backing, something that all the other popular pairings lack significantly. Auron/Rikku fans cite evidence such as "Auron looked into her eyes on the Moonflow" for their ship, but in context he was doing that just to check if she was Al Bhed or Yevonite. In turn, Gippal/Baralai fans cite things such as "they sat next to one another in Paine's Sphere" as proof that they are more than friends or companions, ignoring equally contrary evidence -- in the Bevelle Underground, Gippal draws his gun on Baralai with no hesitation -- in order to do so.


There's also a question of dynamics. No one can deny that Tidus and Rikku get along very well and are close as friends. Going the next step and shipping them doesn't seem unlikely, except that they are so close and friendly that they feel almost more like siblings--especially when you also consider that most of the bonding they do is over saving Yuna, who Tidus openly shows a romantic interest in. Gippal/Paine has a similar dynamics problem -- they show such a fun dynamic, but it seems to come off more like one of an older sister and younger brother than love interests. While you can argue that Gippal and Rikku show a brother/sister dynamic as well, there is also the way Rikku openly flirts, something she doesn't do with Tidus, and something that is slightly harder to write off as "like brother and sister." Do you flirt with your siblings?


The third problem that these 'ships have is one of "canon love interests." While Gippal/Yuna can be validated by the idea that Tidus doesn't have to come back in the end of FFX-2, it's generally agreed that he does. Yuna's feelings for Tidus are very explicit, and it would be difficult to picture him coming back and her leaving him... especially leaving him for someone who is in many ways very similar to him. The problem with Wakka/Rikku is just the same: by the time FFX-2 comes around, Wakka is happily with Lulu and they are expecting their first child. Although nothing says that he couldn't split from Lulu, it's highly unlikely seeing as all signs point to them being happy together and in love in the game.


It's not to say that any of these couples are bad or wrong to ship--I ship a few of them myself. I only created this section to prove a single point: that Gippal/Rikku is, all things considered, the easiest and less conditional ("if he weren't dead," "if she wasn't involved with someone else...") pairing for them both, with a dynamic that doesn't ring of incest were they to date.




F A N D O M / M E T A;
hey remember that time i would only read shakespeare
hey remember that time i would only read the backs of cereal boxes




Why do I ship Rikku/Gippal? When I played FFX, Rikku was one of my favourite characters, and although I considered shipping Tidus/Rikku, in the end I had to give him up to Yuna (and then he died, so). Before starting X-2, I had read that there was a guy Rikku "totally flirts with," and I was curious to find out who. I liked Gippal at once; he's charming and annoying all at once, and while he certainly would grate my nerves after a while, he's great fun to watch. And Rikku really was flirting with him. The couple struck me at once, because it seemed lighter in tone than the other romances the games give us, and because I was fond of the characters from the start. But after I started to look at them in more depth, I started to like the idea of them as a pair more. They play off one another well, and they don't fall into the sometimes hoary idea of true love and soul-mates.


However, when I first entered fandom, I was somewhat disappointed. Seeing as they are both popular characters on their own, the R/G pairing is vastly popular, and as a side effect of that, a large amount of the fanbase for them consists of the metaphorical thirteen-year-old fangirl. Not to say that the fandom is bad, just that it has a reputation of being filled with the loudest of idiots, and tends to be avoided by the more 'intelligent' fans. And the reputation is somewhat earned; you see some of the most vehement, immature fangirls in the R/G section of the fandom, enough so that when I first realised I liked R/G my reaction was to pretend otherwise rather than admit I liked the pairing. Which leads to why I signed up for this essay: in this is my an attempt to prove that not only the metaphorical thirteen-year-old can enjoy the pairing, that R/G is a perfectly fine 'ship for anyone.


Since the Rikku/Gippal fandom is so vast, the hard part is not finding fanworks and recs, but choosing them. There are so many good fan-fictions and writers that there's a massive pool to choose from. However, I tried to be selective and pick only a few of my personal favourites, stories that I think represent the pairing at its best, as well as some additional links and resources.



A R T S I T E S;





[PUREPEARL] - A Japanese fanart site with a massive X-2 section that is almost entirely R/G. She also draws doujinshi, although that isn't so well represented on that part of the site.


[kuro-ist] - Another Japanese art site; this one focuses a little more on Rikku herself, but there are a few R/G 'pics as well.


[casa*N] - Yet another Japanese site; this one has a very large section for Rikku/Gippal art, with some Tidus/Yuna and Baralai/Paine as well.


[Gippal-x-Rikku-Club] - Exactly what it sounds like, this is the Rikku/Gippal deviantart club.



F A N F I C T I O N;

JoeyStar;

[Rikku's Story] -
I suppose that most people already in the R/G fandom know of this story; it is certainly one of the longest, most popular, and best written Rikku-centric 'fics out there. It has a plot beyond just "get the two together," and in fact can be read for the overall story just as easily as for the romance... especially since the romance kinda takes the backseat for many chapters.


1FRICKENGIRL; 1frickengirl

[As Slick As Her Blades] - This was one of the very first R/G fanfics I read. I always like her older stuff, because she does a great job of characterization through situations, and not taking the characters too seriously. She writes the most amusingly arrogant Gippal I've yet to see.

[Slicker than her Blades] - The quasi-sequel to the first linked story, they both can stand on their own.


Heath Wingwhit;

[Twisting The Knife] -
The summary warns that this is "not your typical GxR;" that would be accurate. It's not exactly a fluff piece, but what it is is brilliantly characterized and painfully good to read.


 


O T H E R L I N K S;





[QUITE THE COUPLE] - Currently the only R/G community on Livejournal. The mods put a lot of effort into keeping it active.


[Kindled Spirits] - A large, selective Rikku/Gippal C2 on ff.net.


[The Biggest GippalRikku Collection] - A second R/G C2 on ff.net, this one aimed only to collect all the R/G stories, regardless of quality.

Comments

Hmm...I don't seem to have a Rikku icon. Must rectify.

Anyways, lovely manifesto! :D I enjoyed reading it very much!
Thanks! 8D I'm glad you enjoyed it.

I

You handled this very nicely. I particularly appreciated your opening comments which refreshed my memory of the two games (something I need to do periodically). While I am not completely convinced of the validity of the OTP you defend, you make a thoroughly workmanlike stab at it and it merits consideration. ;)

Re: I

OTP? Wassat? XD Remind me to tell you sometime the reasons I signed up for this essay (besides the fact that I was mildly intoxicated and thought it would be fun). That said, I hadn't figured on you liking the essay or pairing, so I'm pleased I didn't get an outright pan from you. ;)

And hey, I'm willing to refresh your canon memory whenever, no matter the question. Ask KJ - canon whoredom is my special talent. I could probably quote half of both games at you from memory. XD

I

Thank you for the offer; you may live to regret it since I get stuck on some of the damnedest points.

As to the Pairing - I have no particular object to this one. My problem lies with Gippal himself. I have a hard time thinking of him ever establishing a long-lasting bond. He strikes me as more of the browsing bee type, dipping in at various flowers which catch his eye: Rikku, Baralai, Lulu, Nooj's leg. He is a charming lad but not one of the faithful ones. Heh!

Haven't you heard? I no longer say anything unkind to anyone. ;)

Re: I

Thank you for the offer; you may live to regret it since I get stuck on some of the damnedest points.


On the contrary! I ENJOY sounding like I know what I'm talking about. ;) I'm a show-off by nature, so I like appearing smart. XD

I have a hard time thinking of him ever establishing a long-lasting bond.

This is true. I sort of have the same problem, but I also sort of can see it as a "Spira" thing - this is a world where the idea of settling down and having children must be deeply, deeply ingrained in the population's minds, so I can see him not being quite as opposed to the idea as he might be in "our" world. But as mentioned, Rikku being who she is, too, I can see them both flitting around for years, eventually settling down (exclusively) with one another only after they're both old enough to have grown out of constant partying. *laugh* So, when they're 90. ;)

I

It must be a natural survival trait evolved when so much of the population gets wiped out with such numbing regularity. In the story I am witing currently, Rikku and Gippal have married and, so far, produced four boys and a girl. Gippal is aiming for his own family professional blitzball team. I forget - how many kids will he need to father to achieve that ambition? It is a good thing Rikku is extremely fertile. ;)

Re: I

He's well on his way indeed; only one more kid and he can start Blitz training. ;) Unless he is planning on having those children play FFX-2 styled Blitzball - in that case, he'll need to hope for triplets. *g*

I

Thank you. It sounds like he will make it if Rikku can just hold out.
Awesome job. It was a pleasure to read :D Although reading it made me realis all the many things i've forgotten from both games.
Dammit! I don't have a Rikku icon >< Dang rule about having only 15 userpics..
Anywho, please keep writing :D
^^ I'm glad you liked the essay~!
While I'm not a huge fan of this pairing, I always thought it was rather cute, and you do a great job here of pointing out little details about it. This is a very nice essay indeed.

I also have another fanart site for you:

Omega Booster
Also has some Squall/Rinoa and a fair amount of Tidus/Yuna.
Oooh, nice. Thanks for the link! I'd never seen that site before, although I think some of the art looks familiar. *___* Niiice.

Anyway, I'm glad you like the essay. ^^
Good job, interesting read. 8D And good evidence cited all over.

(Though I'm a little twitchy about your generalisation of my other, more-extreme-Rikku OTP Aurikku: Auron/Rikku fans cite evidence such as "Auron looked into her eyes on the Moonflow" for their ship, but in context he was doing that just to check if she was Al Bhed or Yevonite.

But you know what? Aside from that, fantastic job. 8D)
i very much enjoyed reading this, having looked forward to it when i first found out you were taking up this task months ago =). i especially liked your "other pairings" section because sometimes, especially when reading a really good non rikku/gippal fic, i find myself doubting the couple and whether they really should be with other people. your evidence section was also very nicely done, and making me want to replay so badly now to see all those parts you mentioned.

im really glad it was you who wrote this, because even being a fan, i can trust that you'll write it unbiasedly and do the couple much needed justice. (with awesome graphics in addition!)

im in a bit of a hurry so im sorry if my review is incoherent and awkward sounding. but its also because im also in a state of omfg eep! O___O she actually read my work?!?!? and its making me a little lightheaded and faint.

wonderful job, and thanks for putting the effort and time into writing this!
Like a billion months late, Parron-chan replies! *is dork with full time job* ANYWHO

I'm glad you liked this; I obsessed over it a lot. I've written a essay for this place before, but for a much more obscure couple. Since R/G is so mainstream (so to speak), I was really worried not so much about convincing people but... but not alienating fans that already existed. *laugh* Since my views on the pairing kinda differ from the "THEY HAVE A TRUE LOVE" general fandom.

"Actually read your work?" *laugh* If a rec is enough to get you silly, I wonder how you'd react to the cold hard fact that your stories are probably what got me into the pairing to start with! I loved the casual sort of silly dynamic you gave them in your earlier stories, and if I hadn't read them, I probably would never have gotten to really like the pairing. *g* The recs are well deserved, I think!
This was a wonderful essay, I liked it a lot :)
^^ Thank you, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Loved reading this, long-time Rikku/Gippal fan. =33

And did I mention I adore the Regina Spektor lyrics? <33
XD You're the first/only person to notice the lyrics, so, thank you for that! I'm glad you liked the essay~ *___*
I love the essay. I'm not a big GippalxRikku shipper, but I definitely like them, and your essay just solidifies my shippy-ish feelings for them. Aha~

I don't know what song the lyrics you put in your subtexts are from, but its wonderfully appropriate and awesome.

Good job!

(Anonymous)

RxG

What did you mean by that?

Or they could date, break up, and remain good friends (which may be the canon answer already).

(Anonymous)

Re: RxG

I can answer that: she's refering back to the canon "quite the couple" remark, stating that it could be possible that they dated between FFX and FFX-2, broke up, and are now just really good friends.
blue by darkhavens

January 2018

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