Author's Note: Hi there! This is my third Kingdom Hearts story. Currently, I have one finished and I have temporary writer's block on the other (The Curse for the few faithful readers I still have.) So, this story was born because I have to write something. Originally, I was going to make a long one-shot, but after I began writing this, I decided I could turn it into a longer chaptered story. Yep, it's a Valentine's Day story. And it's going to be angsty for awhile. I hope to have it finished by Valentine's Day, since that is what the story revolves around, but you never know. And yes, it's a squffie with a dash of Cloud/Aerith thrown in. Anyways, enough rambling from me and on with the show. Please read and review. Reviews equal more chapters! Don't forget that!

Disclaimer: I don't know if people actually read these things or not, so we're going to have a little test to find out. I don't own Kingdom Hearts. But, if I could own something, or someone rather, from Kingdom Hearts and chain them to my bed, do you know who it would be? Come on, everybody. Try and guess! And I almost forgot, I don't own the title to this story either, it's a song title by Reba McEntire, I think.

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THE FEAR OF BEING ALONE

Chapter One

"I hate Valentine's Day," Yuffie mumbled, curling her lip in disgust, as she looked at the calendar, seeing how close to the aforementioned day they truly were. Only one more week, she thought bitterly, until I remember once again how much it sucks being alone on Valentine's Day. Squall sat across the kitchen at the table, quietly reading the paper, ignoring her, as usual. Yuffie walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out a Dr. Pepper before sitting across from the twenty-seven year old.

Squall lowered his paper to glare at her, especially eyeing her drink of choice. "You're not going to actually drink that this early in the morning, are you?" he asked, sickened by the thought of that much sugar so early in the day.

"Yeah, what's it to you, Squall?" the ninja said as she popped the top and took a large swallow of the sweet and bubbly liquid, smirking at him as she did so.

"Damn it, Yuffie! How many times do I have to tell you, my name is Leon! It's Leon! Is that so hard to remember?! Come on, say it with me now. L-E-O-N!" he growled, slamming his fist down onto the hard surface of the table.

"Sheesh! What's up your butt?" Yuffie stood up to leave the stoic man to himself in the kitchen as she went to the spacious library of Hollow Bastion to read something to take her mind off the upcoming holiday. She opened the large library doors and realized her mistake. There, under the stairs, were Cloud and Aerith, all over each other. There wasn't even enough space in between them for a few air molecules.

Aerith jumped when she heard the doors slam behind the eighteen year old ninja. The flower girl's face turned a few interesting shades of red before she was able to speak. "Oh, um, hi there, Yuf," she stammered. Cloud had backed away from his beloved so she could actually speak without it being muffled by his body.

"Geez, you guys, shouldn't you get a room or something. I might be blinded for life," Yuffie muttered as she turned around to leave the two lovers to themselves. As soon as her back was turned, Cloud had Aerith backed into a wall, assaulting her throat with his lips as she ran her hands through his spikey blonde hair.

Yuffie went back to the kitchen, hoping Squall had left it. No such luck, he was still sitting there reading the paper. He looked up at her as she slammed the door behind her, anger crossing her face. "Don't even ask!" she yelled at him as she plopped down in the chair at the table.

Squall sat there, staring at her, wondering why she had been so moody lately. One minute she was her normal perky self, the next she was throwing things and yelling. He was about to open his mouth to say something sarcastic, but decided he valued his life and wasn't quite ready to be murdered. He went back to the paper, reading an article about Valentine's Day. Oh, how he hated Valentine's Day. Sure it was great if you actually had someone with you, but when you were a loner, you just became sickened by the sight of all the couples strolling around, holding hands, making out. Like Cloud and Aerith, he laughed caustically.

"What are you laughing at?" the ninja demanded angrily of him, eyes glaring daggers at him. She hated it when they laughed at her expense, like they always did. She remembered all the times she had tried so hard to please Squall, only to have it backfire and have everyone laugh at her, not realizing how deep the laughs had cut. She hid the pain all too well behind her happy-go-lucky facade. They were all too stupid to see past the mask and see the hurt deep inside of her. And she hated them for it.

"Nothing," Squall muttered, noticing the fury growing in her dark eyes. He had never seen her this enraged in the fifteen years he had known her. What happened to the bubbly girl I once knew? he questioned himself, looking at her with an inquiring gaze. But she's not a girl anymore, she's grown up, and I still treat her like a child. "So, do you want to do anything today?" he asked tentatively, trying to bring back the sparkling personality that he missed.

She simply scowled at him, narrowing her eyes. "Since when does the 'Great Squall Leonheart' actually want to do something with me? I am just a child after all." Sarcasm dripped with the word 'child.' She recalled all the times those very words were thrown in her face when she tried to join Squall, Aerith, and Cloud when they went somewhere. Usually, it was Squall who said it. After all, he hated her.

"Fine! Have it your way, Yuffie! I was just trying to be nice." Squall rose indignantly from his chair, knocking it down in the process.

"Squall is never nice. He has never been nice. And he wouldn't know nice if it were to bite him on the butt!" she yelled at his back as he stalked out of the kitchen. "Are you listening to me, Squall?" She emphasized the name 'Squall,' hoping to get a rise out of him.

"It's Leon! And I hear you just fine. You're right, ya know. You are just a child," he spit the words at her. "In fact, I would go even a step further and say you're a brat!" He ducked out the door as the plate came crashing into it, shattering all over the floor.

Infuriated, Yuffie sat in her chair as the angry tears welled up in her eyes. "Of course, he's right. I am just a worthless brat," she murmured under her breath as she lowered her head onto the table and allowed the sobs to rack her small frame.

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Squall left the kitchen, hearing something crash into the door as it closed. He knew how close he had come to being beheaded by the plate. After all, she was a ninja, and a very good ninja at that, he admitted begrudgingly. "What set her off this time?" he wondered aloud as he walked through the palace halls, hoping to find something to ease the boredom.

She hadn't been the same since they came back to Hollow Bastion. The change had come slowly, albeit, but it had come. At first, it was just simple things, like occasionally becoming depressed and retreating to her room for no reason. Then the yelling had started. She would become mad for something trivial. For example, when Squall teased her about being a child she would start yelling and shouting obscenities, but she would be back to normal within the hour. Lately, however, she had taken to throwing things and holding grudges for weeks at a time. In the beginning, Aerith had told Cloud and Squall it was simply teenage hormones causing the mood swings. But would they do that for two years? Squall asked himself. And would they become increasingly worse? He had to admit, he was starting to worry about the small ninja's mental health. Maybe the strain of fighting the Heartless was too much on her. Or, maybe it's because the Heartless are gone and she doesn't have a way to release her anger, safely. He shook his head, a headache starting to come because of the constant stress of worry. He had tried countless times to push these thoughts out of his head, but they haunted him. He was afraid he would wake up and find her gone. But why would I care if she's gone? She's just a pest. He sighed, but she's my pest.

He spun around and began the trek back to the kitchen, intent on finding out what was wrong with her this time. He had to try and help her, even if she did hate him. He could not allow another person from his life be destroyed, even by their own hands. Becoming more anxious as disturbing images filled his head, he started to run, only to crash into something petite.

"Ow! Can't you watch where you're going, Squall?" Yuffie demanded as she rubbed her hip which had smashed onto the hard, stone floor. She arose slowly and painfully from the floor, and began to walk back down the hall to her room when Squall grabbed her arm, pulling her back to him.

Squall noticed her red-rimmed eyes, realizing she must have been crying. "What's wrong, Yuffie?" he asked quietly, praying she would answer him and not hurt him.

She turned her head, looking longingly down the hall to her room. "You wouldn't understand. Now, please, let me go." She practically begged the last part.

"Try me," he whispered. She began to desperately attempt to wrench herself free from his grasp. He only held on tighter. And when she began to dig into his arms with her nails, he simply grabbed both of her wrists, leaving her unable to fight. "Tell me," he commanded gently.

"No," she hissed as she kneed him in the groin, causing him to release her as he fell to the ground, clutching himself and crying out in pain. "Don't ever try to stop me again, Squall. You might not live next time," she screamed at him as she ran to her room, slamming the door.

Squall lay there, moaning in pain when Cloud found him. The blonde looked at him for moment before asking, "What happened to you, Leon?"

"Yuffie," the Gunblade wielder hissed in pain as Cloud laughed at him before helping him to his feet.

"I can believe it. She seemed kind of pissed when she saw Aerith and I in the library earlier." Cloud started down the hall when Squall called to him.

"She got mad at you for being in the library?" he questioned, perplexed at why that would anger her.

"Yeah, she caught Aerith and I, and let's just say she didn't like what she saw." He left Squall leaning against the stone wall as he continued through the corridor to his room.

Squall pinched his nose with his thumb and forefinger in thought, trying desperately to put the puzzle pieces together. Running a hand through his shoulder-length russet hair, he gave up, knowing how mysterious the ninja could be. And how dangerous, he thought as he remembered the recent pain she had just bestowed upon him.

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After she slammed the heavy oaken door, Yuffie sank to the floor, leaning against it, trying unsuccessfully to hold back the returning tears. She hated herself for what she had done to Squall, but she was even more furious at him for pretending to care. "How could he?" she cried softly to herself.

She continued to sit there and weep for what seemed like hours when she heard a soft knocking on her door. Quickly, she reached up from her position on the floor and locked the door. The person on the other side had heard the lock click and the knocking became more insistent, accompanied by a voice this time.

"Yuffie? Are you okay?" Aerith asked gently through the thick door.

The ninja choked down her sobs enough to answer the flower girl. "I'm fine. Now, please, leave me alone." Please, I don't want to see anyone again, she silently begged.

"Are you sure?" The door knob rattled as Aerith tried to open the door, finding it was locked. "Please let me in, Yuffie," she demanded gently.

"Please, Aerith, I want to be alone," Yuffie pleaded, desperation creeping into her voice.

"Okay, but, remember, if you ever want to talk about anything, I'm there for you."

Yuffie nodded, forgetting that Aerith couldn't see the nod. She heard the light footsteps go down the hall as the flower girl left her room. Yuffie sighed in relief.

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Author's Note: Okay, there it is. I will continue it, but the I have an exam on Monday so don't expect another chapter until Monday night at the very earliest. I have an idea where this is going, but you never know where the muse will take me. Also, please review and try and make a guess as to the question I posed in the disclaimer. I'll answer it in my next chapter. Until then, enjoy!