Chapter 1: Her Duties

It was a cold winter night in Bevelle as Yuna Aeon tucked in her two little brothers, Pacce and Shinra, into bed.

Pacce was young and naive, while Shinra was brilliant and exceeded those years older than him easily. Pacce was six, and Shinra was eleven.

"Do you have to go?" Pacce whined.

"Unfortunately, yes. I'm sorry, this is very important," Yuna frowned. She hated leaving them home all alone, but what she hated even more was the man she was about to meet for a certain engagement. A certain engagement that she also hated.

"Then… will you at least tell me a story?"

"Well," Yuna started. She knew that she didn't have enough time.

"Pretty please with a cherry on top?" He gave her the puppy dog eyes. No one. Resists. The eyes.

"Okay, but just a short one," she caved in and smiled.

"Yay!" Pacce jumped up and down on the bed excitedly.
Yuna laughed lightly. "But you have to settle down so I can tuck you in."

Pacce immediately laid down in bed and let Yuna smooth the covers over his tiny body.

"Now then… Once upon a time—" Yuna began to launch into the tale, but was interrupted by her boorish father.

"Yuna! You don't have time to tell him another one of those ridiculous stories! We're going to be late, and you know how much Seymour hates waiting."

"But—"

"No buts! Put on your engagement ring and let's go!" He commanded.

"Yes father," Yuna whispered as she got up and pulled out her engagement ring, slipping onto the proper finger. She walked back over to Pacce and sat down next to him on the bed.

"I'm sorry I couldn't tell you a story, Pacce, but I promise I'll tell you a good one tomorrow night." She smiled and gave him a kiss on the forehead and walked over to Shinra's bed.

"Make sure you watch Pacce and stay out of trouble. Okay?" She leaned down and gave him a kiss on the forehead, too.

"Good night boys," Yuna smiled and dimmed the lights and went and closed the window. She was about to lock it when all of a sudden Pacce called for her not to.

"What is it, Pacce?" She turned to him.

"Leave the window unlocked! He might come back for his shadow tonight."
She raised an eyebrow. "Who's he and why wouldn't he have his shadow?"

"Peter Pan," Shinra yawned.

Yuna turned to him in surprise. "You mean the one in the stories?"
"Yeah!" Pacce smiled and nodded his head vigorously.

Yuna didn't like the sound of someone coming in through the window, but before she could do or say anything, her father rushed her out of the house.

It was 9:30 exactly when Yuna and her father arrived at the restaurant where they would be meeting her new husband.

There sitting impatiently at a table was Seymour Guado, the man Yuna's father was forcing her to marry. When they walked up to him Seymour stood up.

"I've been waiting here for ten whole minutes." He hissed angrily at Yuna.

"My apologies, I was tucking in my little brothers."

"That's no excuse." He glared at her and all she could do was stand there and take his harassment.

"I'm sorry." Yuna gritted her teeth. "It'll never happen again."

"It better not."
Seymour sat back down as Yuna and her father took their seat at the table.

"So let's start planning." Braska changed the subject.

The entire time, it was just Braska and Seymour talking while Yuna looked out the window daydreaming about the life she could have had if her mother hadn't died a couple of years ago in that car crash. The kind of life where happy families go for picnics on Sunday afternoons, and go out for nice meals on Friday evenings, and where mothers fix the holes in the young children's teddy bears and help older children with their homework.

"Well, we should be going," Braska stood up, snapping Yuna out of her happy thoughts. She stood up as well and pushed her seat back in.

Seymour took her hand and kissed it with his icy lips, sending unpleasant shivers down Yuna's spine. She hastily pulled her hand back and tried to smile politely. This did not go unnoticed by Braska; he wanted to make a quick retreat so Seymour couldn't get angry.

"Well, let's get going dear," Braska rushed Yuna out the door.

As Braska and Yuna were walking home, Braska decided to have a little chat with his daughter.

"What was that back there at the restaurant?" he demanded.

"What was what?" Yuna asked, trying her best to sound confused.

"You know what."

Yuna looked down. "Father… I don't want to marry him. Please don't make me! I hate him so much!"

"It'll look good on my campaign if you're married to Lord Mika's son. Don't you want me to become senator?"

Yuna stopped dead in her tracks. Didn't he respect her at all? Didn't he care? What kind of father was he?"

"I don't care about your campaign!" She yelled, clearly frustrated. "Why are you doing this to me? I don't want this life! I hate him and I hate you! I'm not going to marry him!" At this point tears were falling down Yuna's face. "IT'S MY LIFE, NOT YOURS!"

"You listen to me!" Braska hissed venomously. "You're marrying Seymour and that is that." He grabbed Yuna's arm and started pulling her home.

"No!" Yuna yelled and yanked her arm out of his grasp. "I won't do it! I won't!" She turned around and started running as fast as she could in the opposite direction of her father.

"Yuna! Get back here!" Braska ordered. But Yuna just ignored him and kept running. She cried, too. She cried for the life she was stuck with, and for the life she would never have. She cried because no one would even hear her crying. And if they did, no one would care anyway.

It was nearly midnight when Yuna finally got home. She didn't intend to stay. She was going to collect her things and escape.

Yuna quietly entered the house and walked up the stairs, making sure not to awaken her brothers, or, more importantly, her father. She quietly pulled out a suitcase and stuffed clothes in it, adding a bit of money she had saved up. And just as she was ready to pull the suitcase out the door, she heard the window open.