Gem: Okay, well, that last chapter was kinda amazing and fast-paced and this one's not much better. So I don't put a useless author's note in, I'm going to describe two of the foods up here. Applecake is flat like a pizza almost. On top of it is sliced apples and it's eaten cold. Crap, now I want some. Also, aesukies are a type of cookie. (I don't think I spelled that right). They are shaped like a diamond and have a slit in the middle. One end of the cookie is pulled through this slit so that it has a twisted look to it. (It's done before you bake the cookie.) After the cookie has cooled, powdered sugar is sprinkled on to it. It's actually quite good.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything except the plot, my character, the characters' kids, and the food!

It was a day in early June when Garnet, Yuna, Rikku, Paine, Lulu, Tidus, Wakka, Blank, Ruby, Cinna, and I came running out of the school at the final bell. We were all very excited to be done with our junior year. The last month had been a total rush between all the court procedures, AP testing, everyone coming to watch the Lithuanians dance over Memorial Day weekend and best of all, seeing our senior friends graduate. They were heading off to college, and we were going to be seniors. Marcus and Zidane were waiting outside for us.

"Come on! We're going to make cookies," said Zidane as he grabbed me and Garnet.

"Yer a bit excited 'bout makin' cookies."

"There's applecake at home too!"

Applecake? Grammy and Pappy had made applecake? No wonder Zidane was excited. That stuff is so good! We were pretty much dragged home and nearly bombarded my house. Everything was already set out on the counter and we began to make all kinds of different cookies. Aesukies, buckeyes, chocolate chip cookies, whatever else we had the ingredients for. The kitchen was pretty much covered in flour and whoever had clean hands would feed people pieces of applecake. Yuna had bought containers last week so we made up little tubs for ourselves and then ones for other people we knew including those that helped us that day.

The kitchen was a mess when we were done. The trashcan was overflowing; there was flour everywhere; and there were no more places to put cookies except perhaps on the floor. By the time we were done, it was past dinner time. None of us wanted dinner though since we had also finished the applecake.

"So what do we do now?" Yuna asked. Her hair was smeared with flour as were her cheeks.

"Video games," I said. I too had flour in my hair but not enough to turn my hair grey.

We all cleaned ourselves up and I honestly didn't think that you could fit seven girls, me included, in one of my bathrooms. But we did and soon we all looked a bit better. Well, at least none of us had flour in our hair.


To realize
The value of a sister
Ask someone
Who doesn't have one.

All the girls were sisters in spirit. We had been through so much together and opened our arms to people we didn't even know at first.

To realize
The value of ten years:
Ask a newly
Divorced couple.

I think that Yuna and Rikku realized long ago how precious the other was. I watched them splash each other while cleaning the flour out of their hair.

To realize
The value of four years:
Ask a graduate.

Zidane and Marcus were graduating next week. It was unbelievable for all of us but they had been in a daze since their last day.

To realize
The value of one year:
Ask a student who
Has failed a final exam.

We had made it through our junior year. And none of us had failed our finals.

To realize
The value of nine months:
Ask a mother who gave birth to a stillborn.

We'd become closer and learned more about each other in the last month than we had in all the years that we knew each other.

To realize
The value of one month:
Ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby.

One month. Was that all it had been? It felt like so much longer.

To realize
The value of one week:
Ask an editor of a weekly newspaper.

One week. Was that all that was left before Zidane and Marcus graduated?

To realize
The value of one hour:
Ask the lovers who are waiting to Meet.

It had certainly taken more than one hour to make all the cookies but even in that time, we didn't always have to say something.

To realize
The value of one minute:
Ask a person
Who has missed the train, bus or plane.

One minute. Our decision three years ago only took one minute. We were going to help whoever we could.

To realize
The value of one-second:
Ask a person
Who has survived an accident

One second. Two years ago, one second was all we had to be shocked before we made our decision. This past year, one second was all we needed to open our arms to others like us.

To realize
The value of one millisecond:
Ask the person who has won a silver medal in the Olympics.

One millisecond. Had we ever had a decision made in one millisecond? I would probably never know.

To realize the value of a friend:
Lose one.

We had not lost any friends. Rather, we had gained several. And the few that we gained understood almost immediately what had happened.

Time waits For no one.
Treasure every moment you have.
You will treasure it even more when
you can share it with someone special.

I smiled as we all piled out of the bathroom and headed downstairs. We were ready to face any new challenges that were sent our way.

It was seven years later. We had managed to stay friends through college. That was the biggest challenge since we were scattered. Zidane had proposed to Garnet Christmas Eve of her senior year and she accepted. A week later, Tidus and Yuna were engaged. And on my twenty-fourth birthday, Marcus came and visited. He took me to a local restaurant for dinner and there it was that he proposed.

"Gem, you home?"

"Door's open!" I yelled.

In trooped Yuna, Rikku, Lulu, Paine, Garnet, Athene, Aries, Tifa, Yuffie, Quistis, Selphie, and Rinoa. During our senior year, our groups had merged into one big group and some of us wound up at the same college by accident. Yuna had her son Ramunas with her and he was looking around at everything. He cooed and Yuna set him down in the living room where she kept a watchful eye on him. Rinoa also had a young daughter named Irena. Her daughter would cry every time Ramunas came too close to her. We sat in the living room eating cookies and talking.

Cookie day hadn't died out but it had since become a biannual event. And everyone participated in it if they could. We began to rotate the houses since two couples had children. Looking back on it, I realized how much had changed and how much hadn't. We were friends and some had already started their own families. Yuna ran her own counseling practice out of her home so she could keep an eye on Ramunas and the rest of us were successful in the paths we chose to take. So much had happened and I'm hoping that whoever reads this next uses it to change the world for the better.

"That's all Mumma's diary says. That's the end," said Kazuko. "Why did it take this long for us to find this out?"

"I don't know Kaz," said Ramunas. "But at least we finally have insight into the lives of our families."

All the children who could come had gathered. Kazuko, her brother Rahim, Ramunas, his sister Kat, Irena, Aya, and Leeba to be exact. Some of them had children of their own now and in Kazuko's case, a grandchild. Gem had wanted to see a great-grandchild born before she died and she got her wish.

"Our parents deserve to be remembered for everything that they've done. Rahim, do you remember planting flowers on the graves of Mumma's great-grandparents?"

"Yes. That will be a tradition for all of us just as cookie day became a tradition for our parents."

"Let's keep cookie day alive," said Irena. "You see how important it was to our parents. Maybe it'll become just as important to us."

They placed the diary out where anyone would be able to read it. Like it had been said, change the world for the better and they were bound to do just that. Change the world one step at a time as they had been told. As they began their own cookie day tradition, they could feel the spirits of their parents watching them and knew in their hearts that their parents' tradition would continue for quite a long time.

Gem: I debated about whether or not I should finish it but I decided to do just that. Please leave a review and tell me if I should explain the time between Gem's diary ending and when the kids read it.