Rikku walks into Yuna’s Luca apartment to discover Paine sprawled on the sofa and absorbed in a sphere. It powers off as Rikku approaches, and Paine looks up at her with something very nearly resembling a grin. “Whatcha watching?” Rikku asks curiously, plopping down on the arm of the sofa; she’s almost dry after her walk back and she doubts Yuna will care too much, anyway. She has to be used to it by now, considering how frequently Tidus does the same thing – although she has seen Yuna scold him mildly about it at least three times. It’s sort of endearing, because it took her so long to learn that no one expects her to be sweet and forgiving all the time.
“Yuna won’t like you getting her couch damp,” Paine says, as if reading Rikku’s mind.
“Yes, well, I’m exhausted after a long practice, and I am doing Tidus a very big favor, so if she wants to be mad at someone, she can just yell at him again,” Rikku announces. “Not that she would,” she adds. She can’t actually imagine Yuna yelling unless something serious like the fate of Spira is at stake – she’s fairly sure the couch doesn’t qualify.
“Are you actually going to play in the game tomorrow?” Paine asks her, a note of incredulity in her voice.
“I don’t see why not,” Rikku huffs a little stung by the skepticism despite her best efforts. “It’s too late for him to get another alternate, and he couldn’t get another that’s half as cute even if he had all year, anyway. And I may be small, but that that makes me very fast, which is a huge advantage, you know!” She surreptitiously rubs her arm, wondering when the bruise from one particularly hard tackle, which she was not quite fast enough to avoid, will wear off. Hopefully Paine doesn’t notice it. “What do you think I’ve been doing for the last week, if not getting ready for the game?”
“Oh, nothing,” Paine says. “Here’s hoping you survive.”
“You’re mean,” Rikku tells her. “For your information, meanie, I’m a natural at Blitz.”
“Oh really,” Paine says. She doesn’t look like she believes a word of it.
Just then Yuna comes walking in from the kitchen and sighs, “Rikku, please tell me you’re not making my couch soggy again.”
“She is,” Paine says.
“I’m not!” Rikku protests. “I’m dry. Mostly. Tidus says he’ll be home before dinner; he has an interview.”
Paine pulls herself into a sitting position to make room on the couch – more than she did for Rikku. Rikku pouts. “You need to sit down,” Paine tells Yuna.
Yuna laughs and puts her hand protectively on her rounded stomach. “I’m fine.”
“You’re not fine,” Paine insists. “Sit down.”
“You’re making her uncomfortable,” Rikku giggles. “Paine, you know, people have babies all the time.”
“Get a towel before you ruin the couch,” Paine snarls.
“Hey, don’t take it out on me,” Rikku tells her. It is clearly time to change the subject. “Anyway, what is that you’re watching?”
“Nothing,” Paine says.
“Oh, that’s the sphere Wakka sent me to give to you,” Yuna responds at nearly the same moment. “He says it’s to keep you from getting overconfident before your big game.”
Paine snorts. “Yeah? I though it was a not-so-subtle hint for her to stay home.”
“Hey!” Rikku says, pouting. “Stop making fun of me! And gimme that, it’s mine!” A brief wrestling match ensues – one that Paine lets her win when Rikku starts tickling her sides, and Rikku switches the sphere on.
She is treated to the sight of herself, several years younger, bobbing in the ocean. “Oh!” She says. “This must have been right around when…”
Wakka comes barreling into the picture and knocks into her hard enough to make her lose the ball she is holding and turn an out-of-control underwater somersault, then come up to the surface sputtering. “HEY!” sphere-Rikku squawks, “YOU JUST HIT ME! I’M A GIRL, YOU KNOW!”
Wakka is laughing. “Yeah, that’s a tackle, you know? Still think you can play with the big boys, huh?”
“Ooooooh, that’s it, you’re going down,” sphere-Rikku announces. The image zooms in on her. She retrieves the ball, then tries to draw a dagger simultaneously, but Wakka disarms her easily with another tackle, and she squeals underwater as she goes speeding into a school of brightly colored fish, which scatters at the disturbance.
On Yuna’s couch, Rikku flushes a deep red as she watches Wakka continue to get around her. This is punctuated with squeaks, gurgles, and splashes from her, and hearty laughter from Wakka.
“So much for being a natural, klutz,” Paine says with a chuckle. “You don’t look all that fast, either. Little, yeah, but that’s nothing we didn’t know. Maybe you should stick to treasure hunting.”
Rikku smacks her arm. “I’m better now!” she insists. “I was learning.”
“Is that what this is?” Paine asks. “Looks to me like you’re getting your ass kicked.”
“Pa~aine!” Rikku whines. “Yunie, make her stop! It’s not that bad!”
Yuna, who is standing behind Rikku for a better view of the sphere, giggles. “It’s pretty bad,” she admits. “But you’ve gotten much better,” she hastens to add when Rikku looks ready to burst into tears. “I’m sure you’ll be fine.”
“I can’t wait for tomorrow, personally,” Paine says. “I’ve never been that into Blitz, but this promises to be priceless. Go out there and show us what you’ve got, midget!”
“I hate you!” Rikku announces. “I’m not talking to you anymore.” She shoves the sphere at Paine and flounces off, leaving a wet spot where she had been sitting.
“You really are hard on her,” Yuna says, but with a smile that suggests she knows exactly why this is.
“It builds character,” Paine tells her, refusing to acknowledge the underlying meaning of Yuna’s words. “Now sit down, you’re making me nervous.”