A/N : This is old. D:

Disclaimer: Ohemgee. Like, yeah, I totally own KH and KH2! Riku's my smoochy-kins and Sora's like Kairi's #1 hoe! And Selphie's a gangster! ZOMG. And like wow like, omgosh isn't obvious that I'm totally a guy? Yes, I love me some sarcasm.


Day and Night


In the morning, all Radiant Garden is alit with rose-twinkled lights shining through the luminescent clouds as the sun makes its way up, up, up into the citrus tainted sky, lighting up the sleepy little town with its various colorful shops and windows far, far below. Even before the dawn breaks, Leon is already awake with his navy eyes firm with resolve and one hand poised on his gunblade as he patrols the perimeter of the town. He stands atop the Bailey, the very image of a glorious prince taking care to look over the ruins of his slowly but steadily rising kingdom.

Oh, right. Glancing down amusedly at the cup of warm coffee in his grasp he takes a sip, careful not to spill the steaming liquid. The image of a gently smiling Aerith running out after him in nothing more than a flimsy nightgown flashes across his mind's eye, causing his grip on his mug to tighten dangerously as he pushes away such inappropriate thoughts to the back of his mind. In the early sunlight, she had been lovely and bright-eyed, a smile touching those rosy lips as she had pressed the freshly brewed mug into his hands earnestly. Here, I'm sure you'll need this she had said, still smiling.

During the day Leon tells himself to think of Aerith as the beautiful, bright little sister he would have been proud to have if his parents hadn't died so early in his childhood. And in the sunlit hours he mostly sees her in, he can almost convince himself that that's all she's ever been to him the entire time he's ever known her.

But somehow, it's always different when he thinks of her at night.

In the mornings when Leon sees her, she is both more and less than what he expects. Smiling up at him from her perch on the ground, he notices that there is a smudge of dirt across her ivory cheek as she is tending to her precious garden. When he nods in her direction she returns to the task of trimming her primrose bush, clipping away the dead buds and branches. Helping it along, just as she does daily for the people she knows and cares for in real life. She is the healer of the group, after all. Her hands are impossibly warm and soft when they caress his forearm, skirls of green magic flowing around his red-rimmed wound after a particularly scandalizing run in with a Heartless; Aerith is sweet and caring and gentle and reliable and the single kindest person he's been with in his entire life.

During the course of the day, he can always spot her helping out people from around the town whether they are good friends that she has gotten to know over the course of a few days (He can still remember the first time she brought Tifa home, like some kind of wayward puppy. "We have an extra room, don't we?" she had asked with those impossibly wide emerald orbs of hers, hopelessly hoping as she held the raven-haired girl's hand in hers in a sisterly fashion. The younger girl had looked both overwhelmed and embarrassed as she had ducked her head, a curtain of hair falling into her red eyes. "Whatever Merlin can whip up," he'd replied in a grumble, feeling something pull at his heartstrings when Aerith smiled happily.) or just aquaintances she vaguely knows from the streets. Even after a hard day of battling Heartless, she's willing and able to stay by his side and aid him in anyway she can. She frowns when she gets hurt on occasion and scrunches her nose cutely as he wraps her up with bandages. She always says, I'm not that strong, am I? And after one full year in this strange, new world that they are forced to call home, he's willing to admit that she's saved his ass more often than he can remember. If it hadn't been for her, he isn't sure how they're mis-matched family of misfits would have stayed together seeing as she is the glue reminding them of her past, present, and future.

All told, she isn't doing so bad for a girl who had been raised with riches in the castle (and absolutely everything at her disposal) and lost everything in the course of a single dark, dreary day of gaping holes and whirlwinds of shadows.

During the day, Leon does his best to protect Aerith from all of those who would hurt a gentle soul as her, and tries very hard not to grit his teeth when Cloud (who is ridiculously in love with her even though he will never admit it, who always touches the side of her face when he secretly wants her attention, and who always, always receives the brightest of her smiles even after having kept her waiting on him for so, so very long) smiles the ghost of a smile down at her as he brushes back a lock of hair out of her blushing face.

During the day Leon tells himself to think of Aerith as the beautiful, bright little sister he would have been proud to have if his parents hadn't died so early in his childhood. And in the sun lit hours he mostly sees her in, he can almost convince himself that that's all she's ever been to him the entire time he's ever known her.

But somehow, it's always different when he thinks of her at night.

At night, it doesn't matter how young she is, or how often she reserves the most genuine smiles of her day for someone else. At night, it doesn't matter how many people would dissaprove if he stole Cloud's girl from right under his nose.

At night, it doesn't matter what Yuffie would say or the slews Cid would undoubtedly throw his way for consorting with a flower girl who was undoubtedly too good for him and way out of his league to begin with.

At night, it didn't even matter if the woman in question was clearly in love with someone else and ridiculously happy with waiting for him and had never so much as given him a second glance out of the corner of her eye.

At night, none of this matters because she is somehow always still with him despite everything else against him in the world. At night, she is the phanton of a sweet dream pressed against him, the soft, yielding lips parting against his mouth in a gentle sigh, the small hands holding his in the afterglow of something more beautiful than anything he's ever known in the absence of light.

At night, she's everything he wants and nothing he can have and he thinks that if he does not come to terms with this soon, he might finally drive himself mad.

In the morning, when all Radiant Garden is alit with rose-twinkled lights shining through the luminescent clouds as the sun makes its way up, up, up into the citrus tainted sky, Aerith is everything Leon knows he shouldn't desire and realizes he won't ever receive. But in the dark, she's the ghost of a heavenly dream whom he wraps himself around as he threads his fingers through her brown hair, his in a way that even reality can't disrupt.

At night, he is Squall and she is his.

--fin.