Disclaimer: Anything you recognize from the games -- KH & KHII -- does not belong to me.

A/N: I don't know where this came from, really. I wrote it in a mad hurry because inspiration is like gold to me, nowadays, and when I was finished I didn't make any significant changes. Partly because I was lazy, but mostly because I'm tired of being my own worst critic. I just wanted to write something, crap or not, and put it up, regardless of how bad it is. So, sorry if it makes your eyes bleed. I did try, really; Aerith-centric (don't know why), canon and preKHII. Comments and criticism are appreciated.

alice fools- ×°▫»



Aerith sits in her hotel room, and pretends.

She pretends she is far away from Traverse Town, far away from this world where the sun never rises and it is never here to set, and in a place where there is always sunshine and always laughter. She pretends she's not in this world of eternal darkness because she does not like the dark, or the danger or the death. She hates Traverse Town where the moon is forever and all the light is razor-gray.

She hates to think she'll have to live in this town, maybe until the war is over. When the topic is brought up, Aerith is quick to insist they should stay only until Radiant Gardens is restored and free of heartless, and not until the end of the war because that is too long and Aerith is afraid of what this place is doing to her. She feels as though she is withering and crumbling, all dry petals and dieing leaves, as though the darkness surrounding her is sucking the very green from her eyes.

She's afraid of more things than she can name. But most of all she's afraid of tomorrow (of the third district, of the dark alleys, of the unknown places, of the secrets). She's scared for Yuffie and Squall, but Yuffie smiles and says they're doing just fine here. This place isn't half-bad once you get use to it, she adds and Aerith thinks that Radiant Gardens isn't half-bad either, as a matter of fact, it isn't bad at all. It's sunny and warm and beautiful and it has a night if that's what Yuffie cares about---but most importantly, it's home.

But this is home too, Yuffie would say with her lips in a frown. And Aerith will look away without replying, because she always has a hard time arguing with Yuffie, and then she'll think, this isn't home because home is where the heart is and home is where you belong. Home isn't dangerous and dark, and home certainly isn't lonely.

This world is nothing like home, because at home, Squall is Leon and Yuffie is still a child. There is sunlight and wild orange, gold, red and purple flowers all around and thriving. Home doesn't make little girls into killers and it doesn't destroy people from the inside-out. There isn't any secret places to train alone and hidden from the world, and night doesn't stay long enough for tender little ninjas to learn to become shadows.

Maybe Yuffie doesn't remember what home is like, but Aerith can't forget it. That's why she can't go a day without pretending she's there and not here, in this forever darkness.

When she's in her hotel room, she pretends. She pretends that she's home where she's safe and needed and warm, because in there she doesn't have to worry about tomorrow, or her silly ninja and quiet gunblader. Yuffie would eat more because she really was too skinny and Squall would sleep at night instead of patrolling the streets for heartless like he always did. She wouldn't have to worry about anything because everything would be okay.

In Aerith's little home in her pretend world, the beds would be warm, and the floors would be swept and there would be scary little monsters under the bed that Yuffie would be afraid of. But that's all they would ever be: scary little monsters under the bed and not living, breathing creatures that can make you draw blood or pull you under the bed with them. No, nothing like that because Yuffie is still just a child and she could never defend herself against anything that real.

And of course, she'd have a small garden, or maybe a big one; there she'll plant flowers of all shapes and sizes, and all colors of the rainbow. Everything would grow big and healthy because there's golden sunshine here in Aerith's home, and the darkness is only temporary.

But best of all, in her pretend-world, she won't have to sit in a lonely hotel room and worry about tomorrow, or pretend that Traverse Town is bright with sunlight. In her world, she won't have to sit and close her eyes and pretend.