Author's Note: Okay, here's the scoop. I was inspired, so I finished this story. I hope everyone enjoyed it. I will thank each reviewer personally at the bottom. Enjoy!
[Disclaimer: No, I don't own anything.]
Yuffie lay on her bed, looking at the glaring red numbers on her clock. 11:34. Only twenty-six minutes til Valentine's Day, she thought bitterly. She really didn't want the day to come, but it was unavoidable. Remembering the past week, her lip curled in disgust.
She had come out of her room the other day to find Cloud and Squall cooking. Thinking it was kind of strange, she asked, "Um...what are you guys doing?"
Squall turned around and glared at her through his black eye. Yuffie gasped at the sight, realizing that Cloud had actually found him. "If you can't tell, maybe you need some glasses," he snarled.
"Sheesh, it was only a question, Squall--" she was broken off by the look of rage passing in his eyes.
"LEON!" he shouted, slamming the pan he had been holding down on the stove, spilling water everywhere.
Trying to ignore his outburst, she decided to try Cloud, he was generally more human. "Cloud, why are you guys doing the cooking?" She hoped that at least someone would answer her since Aerith was no where around to take pity on the poor ninja.
The blonde slowly turned around, allowing her to see how bruised his nose had become over the course of the day. "We're being punished," he admitted sheepishly.
"Punished?" Yuffie couldn't imagine anyone brave enough to punish these two men.
Cloud sighed, knowing how ridiculous it sounded. "Yeah, Aerith got mad at us for fighting and said we had to do all the chores for a week."
Yuffie began laughing hysterically. "Aerith punished you two?" she managed to gasp out between guffaws. Remembering Squall's eye, asked Cloud, "I take it you found Squall this morning, huh?"
"Leon," came the angry voice from the stove.
The blonde chuckled, "Yeah, but I wouldn't have found him if you hadn't of told me where he was hiding."
It seemed as though time stopped for a moment, Yuffie sucked in a deep breath to prepare for the onslaught from Squall. He spun around angrily, azure eyes raging as the centered on her. "You told him?" he hissed.
Yuffie gulped, nodding, trying to explain, "Yeah, um, well...it was an accident, Squall...I didn't mean..."
"It's Leon," he seethed, "and thanks a lot, brat!" The kitchen door slammed shut as he said the last part, leaving Yuffie and Cloud alone in the kitchen.
The ninja stood in stunned silence for a moment, before getting a hold of herself and leaving as well, trying to hide the tears from Cloud. As she left the kitchen, she heard the blonde mutter, "Great, now I have to cook dinner by myself."
For the next five days, Yuffie avoided everyone. Mostly, she stayed in her room, only coming out for food when she was sure no one was awake. Aerith had come to her door countless times, trying to coax the ninja out, having no luck. The closer it came to Valentine's Day, the more sure Yuffie became about what she had to do. She had it all planned out and she would do it when the clock struck midnight, signaling the official start of the accursed day.
When the time came, she cautiously opened her door, hoping against hope that no one would see her and try to stop her. They would all be better off after she was finished. She silently crept to the balcony where she had come so many times before for the calming effect of Rising Falls. Leaning against the rail, she looked over and saw how far it was too the bottom. Yes, she thought, it's quite far enough. She carefully climbed onto the rail, preparing for the jump.
Squall had a bad feeling about this night. He couldn't describe the emotion, but it felt as though something bad were about to happen. He had been lying in bed, trying to sleep when this feeling of dread came, and he couldn't ignore it. Roaming the hallways quietly, he tried to figure out what was making him so nervous, but to no avail. Just when he was giving up and going back to bed, he suddenly felt a pull toward Yuffie's room. Obeying his instincts, he made his way there, finding the door open but the ninja gone.
"Where did she go?" he whispered softly, wondering if she had anything to do with the strange feeling he had this night. Thinking she may have gone to the kitchen for a snack, he began to head in that direction. You have to tell her, Leon, his mind told him. He hadn't seen her since that day in the kitchen, and he missed her. It's now or never.
As he was passing the balcony, he saw a shadow out of the corner of his eye. Giving it his full attention, he saw a figure climbing onto the railing, oblivious to the danger. Before he could make a conscious decision, he was out there, pulling Yuffie by her waist back from the edge, causing her to squeal in surprise.
He spun her around, making her face him before speaking. "Yuffie, what were you doing?" he asked, fearing the answer.
She looked around before finally meeting his gaze. He could see so much pain in her dark eyes, it seemed as though she had lost all her will to live. "I'm so tired of being alone, I just wanted to end it all," she whimpered as she struggled to free herself from his grasp.
Squall looked at the small ninja, desperately trying to think of something to say that would ease her mind. "Cloud's not worth dying over, Yuffie," he finally whispered as his grip on her shoulders tightened, knowing how close he had come to losing her.
Her eyes widened in surprise, "Cloud? What are you talking about?" What does Cloud have to do with anything? she asked herself.
Sighing, the Gunblade wielder elaborated, "The other night, you said you wished you were Aerith, remember?"
"Yeah, because she has someone that loves her and I have no one," she admitted, feeling another wave of depression hit her. "Now, please, let me go," she cried as she tried to wrench herself free from his grip.
It was Squall's turn to act surprised. She doesn't love Cloud, his mind sang happily before he was able to speak again. "Wait a minute! You're not in love with Cloud?"
"No." Confusion marred her pale face as she looked at Squall like he was insane. "Squall, are you okay?" She reached up a shaky hand and placed it on his forehead, feeling for a fever.
The touch of her hand on his brow sent sweet chills through his body. "Then why were you so happy when he returned?" he persisted.
"Because he's one of my best friends and like a brother to me." Okay, Squall has finally lost his mind. I knew it was only going to be a matter of time before the stress got to him. Maybe I should go get Aerith–, her thoughts were interrupted by Squall's voice.
"But the other night, you were talking to yourself and you said that he doesn't love you. I thought you were talking about Blondie." Yuffie blushed, her face turning various shades of crimson as she tried to avoid his piercing gaze. "Who were you talking about?" he demanded softly.
"You," she whispered as she looked down at the ground, knowing that it was only a matter of seconds before he told her how foolish she was and let her finish the job she had come out here to do. But his hands never left her shoulders, so she lifted her face to his, questioningly.
He stood in shock. She had been talking about me. How could I have been so stupid? He mentally kicked himself. "Y-you were t-talking about me?" he stuttered quietly, hoping he had heard her right. She closed her eyes and nodded. "Why didn't you tell me?" he prodded.
"Because you hate me and I didn't want to give you something else to hold over my head," she whispered softly, the pained look in her eyes growing deeper as she lowered her head.
He took one hand off her shoulder and gently lifted her chin, forcing her to look at him. "I don't hate you, Yuffie. I could never hate you," he murmured so quietly that she could hardly hear him. But she did feel his lips when they kissed her forehead. And she did feel it when his arms encircled her, pulling her into his chest. And over the sound of his heartbeat pounding in her ear, she could have sworn she heard the words, "I love you."
That was when the sobs came, wracking her body as she just let it all out, not caring if her tears soaked through his shirt. "Why are you crying?" he asked ever so gently, stroking her back to calm her.
She sniffled loudly and tried to compose herself enough to be able to talk. "I-, I nearly killed myself be-, because I thought you hated me," she cried, tightening her grip on his shirt.
"Shh, it's okay now," he soothingly whispered as he rested his chin upon her head, thinking himself how close he came to losing his ninja. Rocking her gently, he continued to rub her back as she let all the past two years' pain come out.
She finally dried her eyes and looked up to meet his gaze, "So, um, you punched Cloud because you thought I loved him?"
Squall smiled gently, "Yeah, I was just so angry that I couldn't help it."
Yuffie squinted in the dark, trying to see his eye. "How's your eye?"
"It's better, it's still bruised, but it's better." Feeling the cold wind whistle through the air, he pulled the now shivering Yuffie toward the door. "Come on, let's go inside, it's getting cold."
She walked with him, leaning her head against his shoulder as they went. "It's Valentine's Day, you know," she told him slyly.
"Really, is that so?" He leaned down to kiss her, capturing her lips with his own and pulling her towards him. He backed her up against a wall and continued the assault, moving down to her throat as she ran her fingers through his tangled locks.
"Ahem," someone coughed from behind them. Both Yuffie and Squall jumped apart to find Cloud and Aerith watching them. The blonde had a smirk on his face while the flower girl was smiling gently. "So, what are you two doing up this late? Or do we want to know?" Cloud asked laughingly.
"Blondie, unless you want another nose job, I suggest you move along," the Gunblade wielder growled, glaring at the two interrupters. He noticed that Aerith had grabbed Cloud's arm and was dragging him back down the hall to their room. Turning back to the ninja against the wall, Squall asked, "Now, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?" But, Yuffie didn't answer, she simply grabbed the collar of his jacket, pulling his face down level with hers so she could kiss him herself.
Author's Note: It's finished! I hope everyone has enjoyed this story. Now it's time to say thank you to all my faithful reviewers.
Annjirika: Yeah, I do have a twisted mind, don't I?
Vulpes Lapis: Happy Half-Birthday!
Okay, I think that was everyone. If I missed you, I'll say thank you right now! Okay, well, until my next story idea comes or until I find termites for the writer's block on The Curse.