Pairing: Sephiroth/ Yuffie (only near the end really), Leon/Aerith, (hinted at) Cloud/Tifa
Genre: general, angst, fluff
Warnings: …know who Tifa is.
Notes: Based off of the word 'tantalizing' I believe, also this was inspired by pingpong867…the genius that got me writing the other Seph/Yuffie and others. Also anything in '-…-' is a FLASHBACK. This was also co inspired by the song 'Moments' by Ayumi Hamasaki. Also, yea I might repeat things. Sorry. Also PLEASE REVIEW
Synopsis: Life is full of moments, both bad and good. Yuffie both knows this and cherishes the precious moments she has and tries to push forward through the past and into the future.
Disclaimer: Characters © Square-Enix and Disney, I claim no ownership.
She could count her precious memories on both hands and toes, she mused. Painting her toe nails a new shade of green in the sunlit room, a stray breeze helping to try the polish and brushing the curtains forward a bit. The radio played a new song and she bobbed her head and started to try and sing the chorus, as she continued to paint her toenails their new shade.
Still wrapped in a towel, the bathroom steam fell out into the colder air and disappeared. Working on the last small toe on her left foot, she sighed in contentment and fell back onto the bed and closed the bottle of nail polish and took a deep breath. The pungent smell of Traverse Town in summer heat, the cool breeze carrying the weak cherry blossoms and the sweet caress of food cooking in and around her apartment surrounded her and she accepted it willingly. Smiling to herself in her own personal joke, she got up from the never made bed and went to get dressed for the day.
She left her apartment building a half an hour later, refreshed and ready to go. She stretched when getting outside and shaded her eyes from the intense glare of the sun. Three months out of the entire year it wasn't darkness and she appreciated it.
A few stray children ran by, chasing after a ball bouncing away and she couldn't help but laugh and chase after it as well. Still laughing, she out ran the children and caught the ball after it bounced in a puddle of water and tried to wipe it off. The little girl with pigtails smiled brightly and thanked her graciously, the little boy blushing, mumbled his thanks. She smiled and said it wasn't a problem. She turned away from the children and stopped, her smile easing and fading away.
Leon walked by, a smiling Aerith in tow, she was smiling brightly, holding the older man's hand. A pang echoed painfully within, and he looked up at her, his face still smiling but his eyes not. She gave him a wistful smile and looked away, down at the cobble stone ground. She walked away and for a few minutes reflected on what had caused that accidental encounter. She had once- no, still- loved him. Even if it was never to be accepted or wanted, it was still there and he had destroyed it; or maybe it had been how he had shot her down that pained the most?
-She had stood in the rain that day, waiting for him. Hell, even for the weather, she had chosen her best for him that night. And she had sat at the park bench for over an hour waiting for him. Sure, she was freezing but for him, she could sit out in a blizzard. Tonight he was suppose to take her to one of the new restaurants and he promised he would take her at seven.
Seven had come and gone.
Shivering in the rain, she had gotten up and walked over to the restaurant to see if he was there already. When getting to her destination, she had froze in the rain, too shocked, she had dropped the umbrella and immediately was doused in the brittle downpour. He was there already, eating, enjoying himself with someone else. Aerith. Even for her age, she had gotten a hold of crying. She rarely had cried and now, she could help but bawl and collapse. She had collapsed in the street, in the middle of the rain storm and had cried for believing in something that was so obviously never could of happened..-
The memory ended with the little girl from before looking up at her, large blue eyes staring up into her violet ones.
"What's wrong, Yuffie-san?" Yuffie blinked and felt the twin drops that had been forming, break and fall to the ground. She inwardly cursed herself and whipped away the tears.
"W-what's wrong?" Her voice was heavy, deep and cracked. The girl looked even more worried, Yuffie continued to try and reassure the girl that she was fine. She asked again what the little girl wanted.
"I was wondering...I was wondering, if I can be like you when I grow up?" The reply was rushed, the girl trying to hide under her ball. Yuffie stared at the little girl and smiled.
"Of course, you can be like me." Her smile was genuine then, a warmth spreading through her and removing whatever darkness Leon's presence had caused her. The little girl squeaked in happiness and hugged the shinobi and then ran off.
Still smiling, Yuffie looked at her hands, Yuffie looked at all her fingers and smiled. She bent down her thumb and lifted it again.
"Out with the old and in with the new."
She was back in her apartment again, after her meeting with the little girl, she had gotten the needed groceries and a cone of ice cream. In the solace of her room, she started rooting out of her closet for anything decent to wear for the evening. Tonight was her birthday and for once she wanted to treat herself and to forget her old birthday. The buzz of her doorbell rang and she winced as when turning to look, she knocked over an old shoebox that when falling landed on her head and then tumbled to the carpet. Grabbing her head, she called out that she was coming and yanked open the door to see Aerith on the other side. The younger girl blinked and straightened up and asked why she was there.
Aerith was smiling and only said that the landlord requested her rent. Her plan of treating herself to dinner died then. Nodding and muttering, she went and fished out the needed munnies and handed it to the flower girl and closed the door. Leaning up against the surface of the wooden door, still clutching her head and she thought about that little visit. Aerith probably didn't even know about herself and Leon.
Getting up from the door, she went back into her bedroom to pick up whatever had spilled out of the old shoebox. Kneeling down, she began to pick up the old Polaroids and stopped when she realized who was in the pictures. The old pictures were of herself and Leon, out one of their 'training missions' or rather known as their dates. The painful memories resurfaced again, and her entire body quivered. Choking back, she quickly pilled the pictures into a large pile and picked them up and stumbled and dropping some on the way and went into the kitchen and threw them away.
She spent the rest of the afternoon throwing away old mementos and pictures.
Her birthday had passed uneventfully, she had slept after getting rid of old memories. Having not eaten in dinner, she realized she didn't have enough for breakfast at the Hotel. Cursing her luck, she sat out on her small balcony and looked down at the few people down below. She needed munny. She needed to pay for next month's rent and basically, to live by. Taking a deep breath of the scented air, the smell of vanilla drifting around. Picking up the small candle, she blew it out. From what she had remembered, she had liked the smell of vanilla. Leon didn't like it.
Getting up from the old fold out chair, she went to her closet and looked at her old clothes for fighting heartless in. She looked at the bright colors and touched the fabric lovingly. She had outgrown the clothes and needed new threads if she was gonna kick heartless butt again come summer ending. She looked at her dresser drawer where she kept her emergency stash.
She nearly pulled the entire drawer out, took the money, grabbed her conformer and a few shuriken, and some clothes into a duffle bag and left the apartment. Dumping most of the cash to her landlord, she left the building and headed towards the Gummi Port. She needed to get out of Traverse Town, even if it meant leaving until the end of summer. Running to the Port, she saw the little girl with the ball, staring at her, she smiled and the little girl smiled in return and bounced away with her ball.
She ran past a group of moogles conversing about whether or not Ultima was their greatest yet or if they could do better. Most of all, she ran past Leon without a second glance back and nearly ran into Cid and begged him to let her on the ship. When he said she could go, he ended up having to pry her off while she had latched onto him telling him "thank you, thank you!" repeatedly.
She had forgotten how hot and balmy the world, Hercules had called home was. Yet it was oddly refreshing to be somewhere else and far from the cobblestone and brick buildings of Traverse. Signing up for the next tournament, and given her tent supplies; she went to pitch her tent in the marked off section. After doing so, she headed toward the public bath.
On her way there, admiring the many grand and beautiful sculptures she bumped into someone. Apologizing, she looked up and saw Cloud. Crying out in happiness, she hugged him tightly and he did in return. He told her, he would meet up with her later near dinner. Bobbing her head, she nearly skipped to the public baths. She stopped though, while walking through one of the archways and past a training area, she spied the one winged angel himself practicing on a few pathetic heartless that seemed to be -running- from him. She watched his form, move seamlessly through the air, his trademark wing tensing and strutting, a few stray feather falling. She admired the wing and wished that maybe she had her own, looking down at a free stray feathers; she realized they looked familiar.
She thought about herself and the others. Cloud, Leon, Sephiroth, Aerith, Cid and Yuffie.
She realized then that everyone but Aerith had a darkness, either it be a wing or an animal it was there. And it would always be there whethere they liked it or not.
Summer was dying in Traverse Town. One could tell by the extra chill that ran in the air as many people started stocking up on supplies and necessities. They did not leave their homes unless it was dire. Everyone knew that. Unless you lived in the expensive 1st District, you were left to the elements. The said elements were the ones that had nearly caused pandemonium and had nearly killed Leon. The heartless had swarmed to an unprecedented level this year and had come earlier as well.
Aerith could fight, yes, but her whole battle experience was a healer. She never fought, she could but it made no difference. All she could deal was heal Leon and summon. In that one fleeting moment, near death and nearly losing his heart, Leon thought about the spunky ninja who had always been at his side, always fighting valiantly even if it meant losing her own heart for the sake of others. A large heartless reared up, its large body tensing just before it jumped. Aerith screamed, and in a hissing of air, a rather large shuriken was embedded into the Large Body's...large body when it exploded into munny and an assortment of items.
A cry of "Yuffie!" followed, when a pair of boots landed near his face and another hiss of air and the conformer was in her hands, the young girl dropped a high potion on him and ran forward into the fray with a loud cry. Leon got up and balanced himself with his gunblade, the once loud colors of green and tan were gone, replace with subdue colors of silver, black and grey. The young girl turned back, looking at him and told him to hurry up or she would get all the munny. Grunting, he shoved off his blade and went forward.
Soon all the heartless were gone and the two of them stood there in the remnants of it all, Yuffie picking up some of the left over munny as Leon watched her.
"…yeah?" She picked up a protega chain.
She dropped the chain and looked at him then, fully looked at him. Her eyes were wide as he stared back at her. She smiled then, head bowing slightly and walked over to him. She put two fingers together and pressed it against his forehead sharply, making him take a step back sharply.
"I'm sorry too. But being forgiven will not erase the past. I've found someone else now." She continued to smile and then walked away. Funny, she realized she no longer felt the echoing pain in her chest. She only felt light hearted.
During her time in the Coliseum, she and Cloud stayed close to one another. If it were drinking, sparring or just having a good time, they were near. It had started to ease the pain in her soul and it gave him peace. To say they were dating to them it seemed like stretching it but soon, they accepted it with open arms. Everyone has a scar, they were healing their own.
They continued on this way during the thirty-six hour days, until they mutually decided to end it. Both had gotten what the other needed, Yuffie had learned to stop crying or feeling horrible at the mere mention of Leon and Cloud had nearly healed the wounds of believing himself a devil. In the end, it brought the end pair closer then before. It was through this bond she met Sephiroth. Her first comment to him was why he wasn't living in his own mansion.
The silver haired man had made a fortune from beating everyone in the coliseum, a large chunk even from the ever-elusive Sora. Sephiroth only stared at her as she had continued to babble. He had put his hand over her mouth to make her quiet as Cloud chuckled in the background.
Yuffie fumed then and threw her ration of a bun at the spike haired man, Cloud laughed and in return she laughed at the bun got stuck in his hair and he couldn't get it out. Sephiroth watched the two with a faint smirk on his lips.
Yuffie left Leon and his new fiancée, the word didn't bother her as she thought it would. Maybe she had truly gotten over him finally. Holding her conformer, she went into the 3rd district to see if anything was happening there. She only say Sephiroth there, talking to one of the rare inhabitants that came out. She continued walking, the smile on her face wider, feeling giddy, she ran to the corner store whose dim light was still on. Walking into the convience store, the small bell under the mat sounding her enterance there. The store owner had to take a second look before realizing it was indeed their rogue ninja who had finally returned.
The store owner left the counter and went to hug her, putting the conformer down, Yuffie returned the hug. A bounce of a ball, and Yuffie left the hug and looked down the aisle were the ball had come from. The little girl from before was there, tears in her eyes. With a cry of "I missed you!" the little girl bolted down the aisle and tried hug her. Instead Yuffie picked up the surprised girl and hugged her tightly. The little clutched to the older and said repeatedly that she had been missed. Some time later after all the well wishes and apologies to the little girl, Yuffie gathered the needed groceries and left the store where Sephiroth was waiting.
"It's...different here. Like Hallow Bastion yet...warmer." The statement froze Yuffie, trying to decipher what he was referring to. The weather was just the same but Hallow Bastion was just a little warmer...wait. Yuffie beamed up to her roommate of sorts and exclaimed that of course Traverse Town was warmer. Sephiroth hadn't been talking about the weather but of people. Sephiroth took out a spare apple meant for tonight's dinner and started to eat it on the way to their apartment, all the while Yuffie continued to talk about Traverse Town.
He had wanted to follow her home, which surprised both of them. The request had stunned Yuffie into silence and Cloud into confusion. Sephiroth then stated he wanted to know what it was like to not sleep and live in a tent; which made it more clear for her. He had lived with them all even if separated by barriers in Hollow Bastion all those years ago and since then had ended up here and had stayed. He wanted to see the world again and for himself, not through Yuffie's memories and stories. She had come to a compromise though; he would stay with her though he would have to teach her how to cook properly. Packing up their meager supplies was easy, it was Sephiroth's munny that had been the problem. He had so much of it. Most of it was sealed inside a vault in the coliseum.
They had come to a compromise on that as well. Cloud would guard it, even though the blonde said it probably didn't need guarding seeing as Cerberus often slept near it. Both ignored the fact, Cloud's voice held a tremor when saying the three headed dog's name. Getting eaten by it would scare anyone.
They left that day, Cid making a fuss over Sephiroth's wing and how it would 'make a mess', in reply with a quick flap a few black feather fell onto the metallic floor, stopping the conversation.
When getting there, it had been the middle of the night for Traverse Town in the dying summer. Pulling her duffle bag higher on her shoulder, she took a deep breath of the night air and exhaled. She missed this place. She turned back and looked at Sephiroth who seemed mesmerized by all the lights and goings of Traverse; she smiled, reassuring herself that she was doing the right thing. He turned to look at her, the colors splayed across her body, making her glow in the light. Turning from her, he looked up at the millions of star high above and felt at home.
He slept on the couch that night and she curled up in her bed, turning she looked out past her balcony and to the starry sky.
Taking her pointing finger, she bent it and straightened it again, she smiled and snuggled deeper into the pillow.
"One nightmare gone, a new dream to replace it." She drifted off to sleep. The next morning, she had fun throwing out all the spoiled foods in the refrigerator while teaching Sephiroth where everything was in the kitchen.
That morning they went out and had crepes.
After four months, Leon finally broke. That day leading up to it and the day it had happened had been interesting.
Leon had been mad, no rather infuriated, that Sephiroth was living with her. Had he been expecting her to bring back Cloud? All she did as he ranted was sit on top the Accessory Store's counter, swinging her feet and lightly having them tap the wood. Cid didn't seem as mad as she had thought he would be, she saw Cid as her father figure and he saw her as his daughter. Maybe Cid had known Sephiroth before Ansem had gone crazy? Cid had only grunted and had told Leon to keep it down, Aerith wasn't there. She was working at the orphanage, Yuffie remembered the place, from the last time she had visited a woman known as Tifa was working there.
As Leon continued to rant, she blissfully blocked out the words and imagined how she could pair up Cloud with the dark haired girl.
"Are you even listening to me, Yuffie?"
"Nope!" She replied happily, a smile on her face as she imagined Tifa meeting Cloud.
"Yuffie, Sephiroth is nearly double your age! He-"
"You and him are practically the same age, that didn't stop you now did it?" The statement stopped all the words being spoken in the shop. Her legs stopped swinging as she looked at the brunet levelly, Cid chewed on his toothpick and snapped it.
"Fuck it, deal with yer own problems Squall, leave her alone." The blond haired man took out a pack of cigarette and left the store, lighting up one of the sticks along the way. It was still quiet as the door swung close and the two continued to stare at one another.
"What's that suppose to mean?" His voice was tempered steel.
"You know what it means, Leon." The way she said his name...not good. i> Damnit. /i> Her eyes weakened and she closed them, damn her voice for getting soft then.
"I said I was sorry."
"Well sorry isn't good enough, Leon! You should have told me!" Her eyes snapped open and she stared at him, her gaze intense.
-As she bawled in the street, looking like some pathetic wounded creature. Her cries drowned in the rain, a few people walked by looking at her and quickly moving away from her. As she cried in the rain, familiar voices were heard. Looking up even in blurred vision, she saw Aerith and Squall...no, Leon leaving the restaurant. Dropping something, Leon leaned over to pick it up when his eyes caught hers. Her breath had hitched, before absently leaving her umbrella and bolting back to her apartment.
The next day, she had stayed in all day, sick as she had ever been. Crying and having her heart broken not helping at all, Tifa had been with her, those long days. Even in the sickness induced heartache she realized, she had collapsed only half way home. How did she get home?-
"Yuffie! Get back in here!" The shinobi ignored Leon's protests and left the shop, nearly knocking over a poor moogle on her way out. She went and hid behind a few of the broken crates and sat down and tried to think about that night. A piece was missing. She thought about the black feather and how she had recognized the small thing. She stopped and stared down at her feet and quickly left the 1st district heading straight to her apartment building. A black feather. She remembered its high glossy exterior and how she had found it so amusing to see it in her hands that night when she was nearly delirious in sadness and sickness. She remembered him, the high gloss of his silver hair as it shined in faint light making a halo effect as he had laid her on the bed and prepared the bed to put her inside.
Rushing past the open glass doors of her apartment complex and nearly knocking over Aerith's on the way to the staircase. She jumped the first five and continued up in the near spiral, her feet thudding and hurting from the impact. Skidding and nearly hitting the other wall when leaving the stairway, she ran up to her apartment number and started fumbling for the keys in her pockets. Curse her luck for forgetting to take the keysout of the apartment. She banged her head against the door and cursed as the pain blossomed.
He came back four hours later.
And she was sitting in front of her own door, waiting for him to return. He had made a sound of surprise and she had made a noise of pain before getting up from the floor and nearly falling against him. A mumble of 'Finally you get here' and they were both in the semi warm apartment. She went and sat down on the couch, seeing his blanket on the other side of the couch, she scooted over and fell upon it. Nuzzling her head into its fuzzy warmth. In the background, she heard him turning on the coffee maker before coming back into the living room and sitting where she once sat. She curled up tighter, staring at the pale paint of her wall.
"It was you that night wasn't it. You were the one who took me here." Her voice was soft in the dim light her lamp gave, a rustle and the man's wing seemed to respond for her.
"You could have told me." She smiled despite herself, she wasn't happy, she was sad. Sad that she was just a burden, he was probably only here to make sure she hadn't done anything stupid. Like try and kill herself or something, which was stupid now that she looked at it. But before it had looked so nice…
"I thought you knew." She shoved herself up and more onto the blankets, basking in his scent, the tantalizing smell was of vanilla and something else. Something uniquely him.
"I only figured it out today that it was you; maybe it was the smell of vanilla or Leon being an ass, but I figured it out."
"Vanilla?" She giggled despite herself, the smile still there.
"Yea, vanilla. You smell like vanilla. You never knew that," she moved and looked at him, still stretched out on the blankets. "Since that day, I've liked the smell of vanilla. How'd you get in here back then?"
"I asked and you gave me the keys, it wasn't hard." She closed her eyes and breathed out. Great. She had been delusional on top of being sick. That little revelation didn't help at all.
"Why did you come back?" Her voice quivered even though she willed it not to, damnit, she was supposed to have gotten over this. Her only reply was him moving up from the couch and moving closer to her and laying a soft kiss to her forehead. Blushing, she turned and looked up at his standing figure.
Sitting on her bed, listening to the now old song of the radio she painted her toenails. Now she knew the song by heart and she smiled and laughed lightly when she heard it coming on, wrapped in only a towel, she was bent over, applying green nail polish.
It had been some time since that night Leon had broke down and he and Yuffie had fought, it had been months ago. Leon was to married to Aerith and both were happy and that's what mattered most. Heck, Aerith was expecting. Painting the last toe on her right foot, she carefully flexed her toes, and blew on them to make them dry faster as she closed the bottle. When they were finally done, she pulled out some clothes and went to change.
Fifteen minutes later she was running out of the apartment building in a rush to get to the 3rd district, singing the song on the radio in her head. Getting close to the doors leading to the 3rd district, she threw on the large oversized dark green hoodie over the baggie shorts and ran through the doors. Running into Mad Hatter's, she spied the person she was looking for. With a sound of glee, she went and surprised the woman by hugging her tightly.
"Yuffie!" The older woman laughed and hugged her back.
"I'm sorry! I was late! I said I wouldn't be late." She pouted and the dark haired woman just laughed. The fighter was looking for something decent for Cloud later that evening. The two of them were suppose to go to Wonderland where Cloud had put it, they were going to give her an 'unbirthday party' due to Tifa's silently protest of feeling old. The young shinobi's eyes sparkled and dragged Tifa to the other side of the store explaining that this and that article was perfect for the occasion.
A few hours later the two brunettes came back to Yuffie's apartment and reminisced about the past or conversed over current events. As the day started dying out and Tifa left to try and catch the last gummi ship, Yuffie collapsed onto her bed's comforter. Sinking into the bed, she turned and looked at the nightstand. Clenching both hands but two fingers and all her toes and released them again, she smiled as she got up and hugged the picture.
"Out with the old, in with the new." She whispered softly. Even if her relationship with him wasn't picture perfect or movie worthy it was still hers and she cherished. Placing the picture frame on the bedside dresser, she left the room and went to prepare dinner. Even if on that night he kissed her forehead and quietly held her until she fell asleep, it had felt perfect right. She didn't care nor bother with the stereotype or forced conclusion that on nights when love is exposed one is to have mad sex all night long or that its only suppose to be your one true love.
i> Life is never like that. /i> she thought, as she rinsed out the vegetables. Life is full of mistakes and surprised and explorations, not to fit along one solid storyline. It would have been nice, she couldn't lie if they did have sex then. But when it did happen it had been sweeter, more fulfilling, more...perfect. Taking out the wok, and taking out a few packages of meat, she went to work cooking. While cooking, she grabbed at a bottle of spice accidentally knocking over a small photo package. Cursing her luck, she went back to the wok. The pictures that lay bare on the cool surface, were picture of the two of them and there friends.
Some of were of Tifa and Cloud and their first meeting, it had caught the rare moment when Cloud was flustered. Some were of Yuffie hugging Tifa, the two of them looking happy. The last were of Yuffie and Sephiroth, her smiling brightly taking up most of the film, while he was in the background smiling or smirking along the way.
Now she had more memories then she could count on both hands and toes and she liked it that way, it made her feel whole.