A/N: Personally, I think I'm horrible at one-shots. I have dozens on my computer that somehow turn into great plot bunnies and become multi-chapter. Plus some of em are just either too fluffy or pointless. So here's my second shot at a one-shot (my first one-shot being my first fic that became multi-chapter…). As for the title, it was taken from a song on the FF-X2 Soundtrack, "1000 Words." Really catchy. Anyway, I was going to update" Life or Something Like It," but it turns out that my muses began to fight over how the chapter should turn out. The one time my muses are back and they can't agree on how to end the chapter…
DISCLAIMER: I disclaim any injury I may cause to those who dare to pester me about needing a disclaimer.
On Silver Wings
Cause a thousand words call out through the ages
They'll fly to you even though I can't see
I know they're reaching you
Suspended on silver wings
Oh a thousand words
one thousand embraces will cradle you
making your weariness seem far away
they'll hold you forever
The young twelve year old girl jumped as she heard footsteps approaching the door. Thinking fast, she shoved the bundle of cloth she held in her hands underneath the bed along with her supplies. "Yeah?" Yuffie responded in what she hoped was a calm voice as the door opened.
Twenty-one year old Leon walked in, seeming to be looking for something. His sapphire eyes scanned the room before he asked his question. "Have you seen my jacket? It's been missing for the past week."
Yuffie nodded. "Oh, um, I think I saw Cid wearing it when he went down to the Accessory Shop earlier today. Said something about borrowing it for a night on the town tonight." She felt bad about lying, but Cid, in her opinion, deserved it.
"Old man…" Leon mumbled some other obscene words underneath his breath so Yuffie wouldn't hear. Yuffie smiled. It wasn't as if she didn't know those words anyway. "How along ago did he come by?"
"Um, like an hour ago." Her guilty conscience caused her to add, "Go easy on him, Squall. He's already upset about losing 100 munny to me from a card game last night."
"It's Leon," he answered automatically.
As the door closed, Yuffie fell back on the bed in relief. That had been close. For the past week, Yuffie had been making up excuses about the whereabouts of Squall's jacket. It'd been to the Laundromat, the maid had taken it to iron it, it'd gone to the dry cleaners to get out a stain. This was the closest he'd ever come to finding out the truth. When she was sure he was gone, she reached underneath the bed and retrieved his jacket. She felt sort of bad for taking it, especially when Christmas was around the corner and it was getting chilly. But his jacket was in threads, and she was sure he'd appreciate it…after he was done yelling at her and threatening her of course.
She resumed stitching, humming happily to herself. Yuffie remembered to thank Aerith for teaching her how to stitch and sew. Speaking of the devil…
"Yuffie? Are you okay?"
Yuffie panicked and hurriedly shoved everything underneath the bed as the eighteen year old walked in. "Y-yeah…why?"
Aerith sat on the edge of the bed. "Well, it's just that you've cooped yourself up in our room for the past week. That's not like you."
"I'm fine. Just…busy, that's all," Yuffie reassured her friend.
"Busy doing what?"
"Oh you know…things."
"Things. Try again."
Yuffie smiled sheepishly. "Am I really that bad of a liar?"
"No, not really," Aerith answered, crossing her slender legs. She tossed her waist length braid over her shoulder. "I'm just really good at reading people. So, what's up? Why all the secrecy?"
"Secrecy? Who's being secretive?" Yuffie sighed when Aerith gave her a pointed look. "Fine. I'vebeenworkigonSquallsChristmaspresent," she said hurriedly, keeping her eyes downcast.
Aerith blinked. "Okay, let's try that again. This time, take a breath in between words."
"I. Have. Been. Working. On. Squall's. Christmas. Present."
Aerith hid a smile. "What are you making?"
"I've been stitching his jacket back together."
"The one he's been storming about and looking for all week?"
"Yeah." Yuffie found the jacket and showed Aerith the progress she'd made. "What do you think so far?"
"I think you're better at stitching than I am," Aerith said in awe. "It's beautiful!" On the back of the jacket was a red angel's wing with intricate loops and color. The second wing was almost complete. "So this is what you've been doing all week?"
Yuffie nodded. "Do you…do you think he'll like it?" she asked shyly.
Aerith looked at Yuffie. "I know he will. But you have to keep in mind that Leon has a…different way of showing it."
"He has a different way of everything…" Yuffie pulled her knees up to her chest and let her chin rest upon them. "Aerith? Can I ask you something?"
The green eyed girl nodded, not bothering to answer that she already did ask a question. It'd only frustrate the younger girl, and Aerith was intent on figuring out just what was on Yuffie's mind. "Go ahead."
"Why did he change his name?" Her face took on a pensive expression. "He always yells at me to call him Leon, but he'll always be Squall to me."
"Well…it's a long story."
"I have time…I mean, I bet you Squall's gonna torture Cid painfully for a few hours before finally killing him."
Aerith chuckled at the image, and then grew serious. "It began about five years ago…you were about six or seven then…after we'd gotten to Traverse Town, we found out that many of the Gummi ships from Hollow Bastion that had been destroyed by Heartless. Out of the forty something ships, only three or four made it."
"What does that have to do with changing your name?" Yuffie interrupted.
"Well, we found out that our families hadn't made it."
Yuffie bowed her head. "At least you remember yours."
"But the memories are all I have left," Aerith said wistfully, feeling her eyes moisten. Brushing them away with the back of her hand, she continued. "Anyway, Leon had found out that a very close friend of his—you might remember her—Rinoa hadn't made it. They grew up together, just as we did, and from what I've heard, he was on his way to meet her when the attacks began.
"Leon had tried to get to her, to see if she was okay, but Cid hauled him onto a ship. Weeks later, when we finally got to Traverse Town, he discovered that she'd been on a ship that didn't even get a chance to make it out of Hollow Bastion. So I guess he blames himself for what happened, and changed his name to help ease the pain."
To Aerith's surprise, Yuffie's reaction was not what she expected. "He's such a coward!"
The young girl was practically trembling with rage. "Isn't that what happened to Cloud-niichan?"
Cloud. Even after four or five years, it still hadn't been any easier to sleep at night. Still, somewhere in her heart, she knew he was somewhere out there. "Yes."
"You haven't changed your name just cus you lost a friend! What makes it right for Squall to do that?"
"Yuffie, it's not the same. Leon thinks that if he'd been a little sooner and got to her, she'd be here now. The thing is, it's probably true, and Leon knows that."
"I used to think he was the bravest person I know. But he's hiding behind a name cus he's afraid to face his past," Yuffie said bitterly.
"We all have our ways of coping, Yuffie. And this is just how he gets through each day. You can't patronize him for that."
Yuffie sighed. "I guess you're right."
"But that's why you're good for him."
Aerith stood up to leave. "No matter how much Leon corrects you, keep calling him 'Squall.' You're his only reminder of his past. Whether he wants to remember or not doesn't matter. He needs to." She walked to the door of the Red Room and was about to leave when Yuffie called out to her.
"Don't tell him about the jacket. I want it to be a surprise."
"And can you help me come up with excuses? I'm running out of em."
Aerith raised a hand to her mouth to stifle the giggle. "No problem."
"Thanks." As the door shut, Yuffie resumed working on the jacket. Though she didn't know it, the gift would help him much more than she'd ever know.
"—we're supposed to go to the café tonight for a Christmas party."
"I'm not going anywhere until I find my jacket," Leon replied stubbornly.
Yuffie threw up her hands in defeat. "You're such a baby! Cid was nice enough to lend you one of his and you threw it back in his face—literally!"
"Because he's lying about having my jacket! Didn't you tell me he used it a few nights ago for a 'night on the town'?"
"I'm sure he was just too drunk to remember what he did with it," Yuffie said with a nervous chuckle. He was getting closer and closer to the truth each second.
"Are you sure he had it? I mean all week it's like someone's had my jacket! Aerith to sew on a few buttons, the maid to iron it, the Laundromat for it to get washed, the dry cleaners for a stain when I know I didn't stain my jacket, and now to Cid who claims he doesn't have it. You're the only one who hasn't—" He stopped. It was so obvious now.
"Hasn't what?" Yuffie asked. "I respect your privacy, unlike everyone else around here seems to."
"You have it. All week you've been feeding me some bull about where my jacket is. And you are not leaving this room until I get it back."
He wanted to throttle her, shake her, or something, but he had to admit that she had been clever in her escapades. "Look, just give it back and I won't tell Cid that you framed him, deal?"
"You don't understa—"
"It was a great prank and all, Yuffie, but it's cold and I need my jacket. Hand it over now before I lose my patience."
"Please, just hear me out."
Leon crossed his arms and sighed. "Fine. What reason could you possibly have for lying to me and taking my stuff?"
"Well…would you believe me if I told you it was a surprise?"
He gave her a look that said, "Try again."
"Fine. But you spoiled it yourself," Yuffie said exasperatedly while marching over to the bed. She got down on her stomach and shimmied underneath the bed. Leon heard the sound of several things being shuffled around, and he wonder just what she kept under there. A triumphant, "Aha!" told Leon that she'd found whatever she was looking for. "I was going to give it to you tomorrow morning," Yuffie began, "but since you're such a spoiled little boy, Merry Christmas."
"What?" Leon was confused as Yuffie pushed a box into his hands.
"Go on, open it."
He did as he was told and untied the silk sapphire ribbon that encircled the box. "My…jacket? You stole my jacket, put it in a box, and call this a Christmas present?"
"No, no! Just try it on before you bite my head off," Yuffie said, grumbling the last part.
"What the…?" As he lifted the cloth out of the box, he saw that a pair of ornate, highly crafted angel wings were stitched on the back. Leon glanced at Yuffie. "Did you do this?"
Yuffie shifted uncomfortably. "Yeah. If you don't like it, I can get Aerith to fix it," she said hastily.
"No, I like it. It's just that…it's great," Leon replied for lack of better adjectives. A man of his stature didn't say words such as, "beautiful" or something like that. "I…thank you, Yuffie."
She looked up to meet his gaze. Yuffie almost didn't recognize the emotion in his eyes. For once he wasn't looking down on her with annoyance or contempt. "I made a pair of angel's wings on the back to remind you that all the people we've lost…they're watching down on use, you know? They'll be with you forever if you don't forget them."
"Those are some pretty deep words, Yuffie."
"Yeah. Ojiisan—my grandpa," she added at his look of confusion, "would always say stuff like that. I guess this means that he's right for once."
Leon looked down at the petite ninja. She was much more perceptive than he gave her credit for. "Thank you," he quietly said again. This time, he really meant it. You're welcome, Squall—er, Leon." Maybe she'd humor him—just this once…
A/N: Less fluffier than I thought it'd originally be, but oh well. It's getting late, and I should go to bed now. I can't afford to oversleep again and miss my bus.