Author's Note: I don't know why I'm doing this. I can't write more than one story at once...I don't think. Anyways, this idea has been nagging me all day and I have to write it down before I forget it. So, here we go.
Summary: Believing she can never marry the man she truly loves, Yuffie prepares to marry a man that she believes will make her more 'content' with life. The story begins with Yuffie, 4 years after the events of Kingdom Hearts. The Prologue will be 'present time' and, since most of the story will be flashbacks, I will write 'X years prior' or something to let you know when the real story takes place. I'm not going to list pairings this time because I want it to be a surprise, kay?
[Disclaimer: I do not own any recognizable characters. Anything that is not easily recognizable, I probably created in this thing called my 'brain.']
A twenty year old woman, wearing only her underwear, stared into the mirror in front of her, evaluating her reflection. Her once short ebony hair had now grown long enough to just barely brush the tops of her shoulder blades. The angles her once lanky body had possessed had grown into womanly curves. And her once perky smile had become more softer over the years, showing the maturity nature had bestowed upon her. But it wasn't her hair, curves, or smile that caught your attention. It was her stunningly dark indigo eyes that drew you in. It was the way these eyes showed her emotions in their depths, showed both her pain and her loss. And although she knew she was considered beautiful by the world's standards, she neither showed it nor cared.
A knock on the door drew her out of the reverie she had fallen into while gazing at her reflection. Quickly picking up the white terry cloth robe she had lain on the chair moments before, she wrapped it around herself. "Come in," she called quietly.
The door creaked open, revealing a woman slightly older than herself with bright green eyes and long chestnut hair cascading down her back. "Yuffie, I came to make sure you were up," she said quietly as she pushed the door open completely and walked into the room.
"I've been up for hours, Aerith," Yuffie replied, giving her twenty-six year old friend a soft smile. "Do you really think I could sleep late on my wedding day?"
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Aerith asked softly as she smoothed the skirt of her light pink dress, her head lowered so she could not see her friend's face.
Yuffie sat on the chair where her robe had been placed earlier. "It's a bit late to back out now. I mean, the preparations have all been made."
The pink-clad woman raised her gaze from her skirt to Yuffie. "Yuf, you're like a sister to me. We've been through so much together." She paused, taking a deep breath. "I just want you to be happy. If you can't be happy doing this, then don't do it. Forget about the preparations, forget about everything. Just don't do this if you're not going to be happy."
"Aerith, happiness is not an option for me, anymore. You know that as well as I do." The ebony-haired woman stood up, turning away from her company.
Reaching out a hand, the green-eyed woman laid it on Yuffie's shoulder. "Yuffie, I know you feel like that right now, but happiness comes to everyone again."
"No, it doesn't." Yuffie pulled out from under her friend's hand, turning her head so the tears in her dark eyes wouldn't be visible. "You don't understand, Aerith. You have Cloud. You have your 'true love,' if there is such a thing. I don't." She hastily wiped away the few stray tears that had spilled their dams and trailed down her cheeks.
"Yuffie, Cloud was gone for nine years. I know how you feel," Aerith began, consolingly, but she was not allowed to continue.
"But Cloud came back, Aerith. Cloud came back," she repeated emphatically. Her shoulders started trembling as sobs threatened to wrack her body. "You know as well as I do that he won't come back like Cloud did. He has no reason to come back like Cloud did."
Closing her eyes, Aerith held back the few tears that had welled up in her eyes at her friend's sadness. She grabbed Yuffie, turning her around and wrapping her in a fierce hug. "Yuffie, don't do this to yourself. You have to move on."
"That's what I'm trying to do," the younger woman choked out into the comforting shoulder provided her. "I hope by doing this, I can move on. I'll never be able to forget him, but I want to be able to wake up in the morning without him being the first thought on my mind." Her sobs subsided as Aerith rubbed her back.
There was a quick rap at the door, breaking the stillness in the room and causing the two women to jump in shock. "Yuffie? Aerith?" a male voice called, cracking the door open. "Are you decent, Yuf?"
Yuffie wiped away the tears from her wet cheeks. "Yes, Cloud. I'm decent. Come on in," she answered.
A twenty-seven year old man with unruly blonde hair stepped into the room, his bright blue eyes scanning the expressions on both women's faces. "Is everything alright?" he asked quietly.
Smiling softly, Yuffie nodded her head. "Just the normal pre-wedding jitters, that's all." But out of the corner of his eye, Cloud could see Aerith, his wife of three years, shaking her head ever so slightly and keeping her eyes downcast.
"Okay. Are you sure everything's fine?" he repeated. She nodded once again. "Well, I have to go check on the other nervous person in the building." He started for the door, then stopped and turned to his wife. "Aerith, can I see you for a minute in the hall? They seem to be having trouble with the decorations and want a 'Flower Girl's' opinion on what should be done." He spun the lie quickly, having become adept at it when he was a mercenary only four years ago.
Following him out the door, the green-eyed woman looked at him, her eyebrows raised. "Okay, Cloud, where are the decorators?"
He smiled apologetically. "I lied about that. I just needed to get you to where I can ask you about Yuffie. It's more than just pre-wedding jitters, isn't it?"
Aerith closed her eyes and rubbed her forehead. "Yes. She's thinking about him, again." Sighing, she covered her face with her hands. "I just wish she would reconsider this. I think she's being too hasty. This won't make her happy."
"I know, I know," the blonde murmured as he pulled his wife into his arms. "But we can't stop her. Nothing we can say or do will stop her. You know how stubborn she is."
Nodding against his chest, she pulled away. "I have to help her get ready," she whispered. A bitter smile coming back across her face as she shooed him away. "Go check on Pierce, he may be getting cold feet." Cloud chuckled softy, giving her a quick kiss on the cheek before heading down the hotel hallway to see how the groom was doing. Aerith took a deep breath, then opened the door to the Green Room to rejoin Yuffie in her preparations for the day.
Yuffie was standing in front of the closet, pushing her clothing aside to find the lacy white wedding dress still in its plastic protector. "Did you fix the decorations?" she inquired as she pulled the dress out of the closet and lay it carefully on the bed.
"Hm?" Aerith asked confusedly, before shaking her head and realizing that Yuffie still believed that's why she was in the hallway to begin with. "Yes, everything's going to be perfect."
Yeah, everything will be perfect, except for the groom, Yuffie thought caustically as the sadness threatened to overwhelm her again. "Aerith, maybe you should go check on the caterers. You know, make sure everything's going to be perfect with the food, too." She prayed her friend would go. She just needed a few minutes by herself to collect her thoughts and try to compose herself.
"Do you really think I should?" The indigo-eyed woman nodded her head vigorously. "Well, okay then," Aerith consented, giving Yuffie a parting glance as the door shut behind her.
Taking a deep breath and sighing, the now alone Yuffie reached back into the closet, pushing past all the clothing to the very back where she had hidden it from everyone. It was the one thing she had left of him. She pulled it out, and buried her face into the black leather that still somehow smelled like him. Even after two years, the black leather jacket still carried his scent. The scent that smelled of his cologne and his masculinity. The scent that was distinctly him. The scent of a man she hadn't seen or heard from for over two years.
Two years, 4 months, and 18 days, she recalled unwillingly. But, who's keeping track? She let out a bitter laugh before dropping to her knees and weeping uncontrollably as she cried his name out into the leather. "Squall..."
Author's Note: Okay...there's the prologue....tell me what you think in a review. I don't know when I'll get to update....this weekend hopefully. Oh, for the faithful readers of "Against the Current," I have the next chapter mostly written, but this story was taking over my brain. I think now that I have this part done, I can get that chapter finished and posted soon. Anyways, review!