Author's Note: I know I said it would be awhile before I wrote another story, but I couldn't help myself. (smiles) This one probably won't be updated as often as my previous story, but I will persevere and find the time to write this. This story is also going to be kind of strange after it gets started. Couples included: Leon (Squall)/Yuffie, Cloud/Aerith, and maybe Sora/Kairi.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or any of the characters. They are owned by Disney and Square.


The Curse

Chapter One: Demons on Ice

"I can't believe we've actually come back to Traverse Town," Yuffie said enthusiastically as she jumped out of the Gummi ship and walked through the entrance to the First District. "I mean, I thought when Sora sealed Kingdom Hearts two years ago, the walls separating the worlds would be restored."

"That's why we're here, Yuffie. To find out what happened, remember?" Leon told her for the hundredth time, annoyance creeping across his normally stoic face as he rolled his blue eyes at the eighteen year-old's excitement. Turning to Aerith, he asked, "When's Sora supposed to arrive?"

The Flower Girl thought for a minute, "Tomorrow, I think."

"So, what's Traverse Town like?" Cloud asked, running his hand through his spiky blond hair. "I mean, is there anything around here to do?"

"Oh, that's right. You haven't been here before have you, Cloud?" Yuffie asked, knowing the obvious answer.

"No, Yuffie. Of course, he's been here before. Why would you think he hasn't been here before? Maybe because he was lost?" Leon declared sarcastically. "Idiot," he hissed under his breath.

"I was just being polite. You don't have to jump all over me, Squall." Yuffie placed her hands on her hips and glared at him.

"It's Leon," he growled menacingly, stepping up to her with his fists clenched at his sides.

"Just because you think you're all that--" the ninja yelled before she was interrupted by Aerith, who had stepped between them to stop the argument from becoming physical like so many before had become.

"Now, children," she began, emphasizing the word 'children' and sounding like a mother scolding her children. "We just got here and all you two can do is fight." She gestured towards all the shops and people surrounding them, saying, "Can't you just enjoy all the hustle and bustle of Traverse Town. It's been so long since we've done any real socializing, what with being at Hollow Bastion by ourselves for the past two years." She looked at Yuffie and Leon, noticing the tension between them. "We're not going anywhere until you apologize to each other." She backed out from between them, staring at them with her eyebrows raised expectantly.

Yuffie narrowed her dark blue eyes at the twenty-seven year-old man in front of her, "Only if Squall goes first."

"It's Leon, damn it! And I refuse to apologize. This is so stupid! I'm leaving!" He turned his back on the group and walked toward the Third District, his many belts slapping against his leather pants with each step.

"Fine! I didn't want you with us anyways!" Yuffie screamed back him. He flipped her off, the only acknowledgment she received that he heard her. "Did you see what he just did? He flipped me off!" she said accusingly as she turned to face Cloud and Aerith.

"Well, Yuffie, I think you deserved it." Ignoring the shocked look he received from both girls, the Cloud continued, "You were acting childish."

"I don't need this," the ninja muttered, putting her hands up in front of her defensively as she left them standing in front of the entrance and started towards the Second District.

"Well, I guess it's up to me to give you the grand tour," Aerith sighed resignedly, looking up at Cloud's azure eyes. She suddenly grabbed his arm and pulled him excitedly, "Come on, let's go to the Item Shop. You've got to meet the shopkeepers there. They are the cutest little ducklings. Their names are..."

Cloud stopped listening and followed her, knowing she could and probably would continue to ramble about how adorable they were for the rest of the night.


Leon walked around the Third District, looking for something to do, anything to do. The last time he had been here, the place had been overrun with Heartless. He could always expect a fight in the wide expanse in the center of this district. But now, the place was filled with people milling around, chatting when they recognized someone.

"People!" he sighed disgustedly, trying to think of someplace quiet to sit and think. He was always like this after a fight with Yuffie. Yes, she was annoying. And, yes, he started a lot of the arguments they had. But that didn't change the fact that he was in love with her. He came to this realization just a few years ago, when Sora had been flying around everywhere sealing the keyholes. For the first time, Leon had actually seen Yuffie as a woman and not a child when she fought alongside him in one of the tournaments at the Coliseum. But, because of the age difference, he tried to block these emotions out.

Sighing, pushed these thoughts out of his head as he cut through the crowd and headed towards the door to the Second District, planning on cutting through to the alley. Once in the alley, he could hide in the Waterway. He could always plan on being left alone there.

He ignored the townspeople's protests and glares as he pushed past them, knowing they wouldn't dare to stop him. And if they did, well, he had the Gunblade to scare them off. Not that he would actually hurt them, but frighten them, yes. He slung the weapon across his shoulder, relishing the fact that a path was immediately cleared for him. Strutting to the large doors, he turned to look back at the crowd. He gave them his trademark "go to hell" look, then pushed the doors open and walked through. He didn't hear the murmuring of the crowd as he left.

"Who's was that?" someone asked quietly.

"I don't know," another faceless voice said.

"Wasn't he here a few years ago?" a slightly louder question this time.

"Yeah, he helped fight the Heartless."

"What's wrong with him? He seems so...I don't know...arrogant."

"He was always like that, save 'em and ignore 'em."


Yuffie sat on top of the Gizmo Shop, her slim legs hanging over the edge. She loved to just sit up here and watch the people underneath her scurrying about with their little lives, oblivious to the fact that they were being watched. One person in particular had caught her attention. She watched him cross from the Third District entrance to the Alley, her eyes boring holes in his black leather jacket, the red wings on the back barely visible from this position.

"Where is Squall going?" she whispered softly, already forgetting her fight with him earlier. She pulled her legs back up onto the building and stood up. She climbed down the ladder and jumped into the crowd. She wove her way through the people and headed for the Alley, hoping he wouldn't get too far ahead of her. Finally reaching it, she walked through and looked to the right and left for him. Not seeing any sign of him, she decided he must have gone to the Waterway.

She silently debated whether or not to disturb him in there. She knew he liked to go there to be alone. Okay, Yuf, you can be nice and give him his privacy. Or, she smiled wickedly, you can sneak up on him. She walked quickly to the bars and climbed into the icy water, trying not to make any noise. Allowing herself to be fully immersed in the water, she swam as quietly as she could into the cavern.

She continued to glide through the water until she reached a large protruding rock, which she hid behind, peaking around to watch Squall. He was sitting on the ground, back leaning against the wall. He seemed to be completely relaxed. He's asleep, Yuffie thought. Oh, this is going to be so good.

An evil smile played across her lips as she silently pulled herself out of the water. She stealthily walked over him, praying he wouldn't hear the water dripping onto the rocky ground. When she reached him, she lowered herself so her mouth was only inches away from his ear. As she was about to yell, she felt fingers grasp her leg, pulling her down. She squealed as she fell, bruising her butt.

"How did you know, Squall?" she asked, rubbing her hip.

"It's Leon. For a ninja, you're kinda loud," he said, head leaning against the wall and his eyes still closed.

"I'm not loud!" Yuffie protested indignantly.

He opened his eyes and looked at her. "Maybe if you hadn't yelped when you realized how cold the water was, you could have pulled it off." Ignoring the blush spreading across her cheeks, he continued, "What did you want anyways?"

"Hmm? Oh, nothing. I was just going to try and scare you," she admitted, looking disappointed. "But I guess that didn't happen."

"Yuffie, the day you scare me is the day that I'll see demons on ice," he told her shaking his head. He noticed the confused look on her face. "You know, when hell freezes over? Demons on ice?" She still appeared to be perplexed. "Never mind, Yuffie, never mind." With that, he pulled himself up off the ground and reached down to help Yuffie to her feet. "Come on, it's getting late. We better go check in at the hotel."

Yuffie nodded, surprised that he had helped her up as he had never done that before. Are you sure hell hasn't already frozen over, Squall? she silently thought as they walked out of the Waterway.


"No, Aerith. You can't do this to me!" Yuffie protested, eyeing the pink clad lady like she was insane.

"Please, Yuffie. It won't be so bad. I promise." Aerith begged with the ninja, large green eyes filling with tears. "Do it for me, please."

Yuffie tried not to look at the tears. No one could refuse the Flower Girl when she did that, not even Squall. "Okay, Aerith. You win. But if Squall starts to snore, I'm coming in here and throwing Blondie out on his butt." She gathered her things and headed for the Green Room. She stopped at the door and turned back, "You owe me big time, Aerith."

As soon as she opened the door, she immediately regretted it. Cloud and Squall stood there arguing about something. The blond seemed to be pleading with the other man about something.

"For the last time Strife, no."

"Hey guys." The two men looked down at her carrying her bag. She noticed the surprise spread across Squall's face. "Aerith's making me room with you, Squall."

"It's Leon."

Cloud smirked at the Gunblade wielder, who was leaning against the wall. "Well, I guess that settles it Leonheart." He walked to the Red Room, laughing silently.

"So, um...which side of the bed do you want, Squall?" Yuffie asked sweetly, trying not to annoy him any further.

"It's Leon, and we are not sharing the bed," he said angrily.

"Well, where am I supposed to sleep then?"

"I don't care," he yelled. "But we are not sharing the bed." Because I'm not sure if I can control myself, he silently added. Leon left his post at the wall and began to unpack his clothes, putting them in the dresser.

"Fine," Yuffie resigned. "I'll go ask the manager for a cot." She left the room, slamming the door. I just don't get him. One minute he's helping me up and the next he's yelling at me.

She returned a few minutes later with the uncomfortable looking cot. Not seeing Squall in the room, she wondered where he could possibly have gone off to. That's when she heard the shower begin to run in the bathroom. Sighing she took the cot across the room and opened it. Curling her lip in disgust at the stained thing, she went to retrieve some extra blankets from the closet. She made her bed, adding the extra blankets for padding, then sat on it to see how uncomfortable it was. Well, it's better than the floor.

She heard the shower shut off, and then heard Squall cursing in the bathroom. Seconds later he walked out with nothing but a towel on, muttering, "I forgot my clothes." She tried to control her blush as she stared at her partner's back, who was fumbling around the dresser looking for clothes. Damn, he's hot, why haven't I noticed that before, she thought as she tried unsuccessfully to pull her eyes away from his toned body. He found what he was looking for and stalked back to the bathroom to dress. Yuffie still had the glazed look on her face when he came back out, dressed in shorts and T-shirt this time.

Squall lay on the bed and watched her slowly get up to prepare for bed. A small smile graced his lips as he thought, she was staring at me.


Yuffie rolled over on the cot once again, sleep weighing her down. She looked at the clock. Two o'clock, and I still haven't gotten any sleep. Damn this cot. Glancing over at Squall, who was sleeping peacefully, an idea popped into her mind.

She got off the cot and crept to the opposite side of the bed from Squall, careful not to make any noise. She painstakingly pulled the covers down so he wouldn't awaken, then slowly lowered herself into the bed, relishing the warmth radiating from his body and the softness of the mattress. She fell into a deep slumber, knowing she would regret her actions in the morning when Squall awoke.

On the other side of the bed, Squall kept his breathing slow and steady, hoping Yuffie wouldn't notice he was awake.


Author's Note: I don't know when I will update again. It will probably be within the week, maybe sooner. I do have a paper due this week, so I need to devote some of my time to that. Anyways, I hope you have enjoyed what you have read so far.