Such Great Heights : by SecretBox
They will see us waving from such great heights,
'come down now,' they'll say
But everything looks perfect from far away,
'come down now,' but we'll stay . . .
The festival was actually the perfect environment for Roxas. He wasn't acting like a complete moron nor was he struggling to not embarrass himself repeatedly. In fact, as the afternoon sunlight gleamed off of his tousled golden locks, reflecting some unknown emotion off of his chalcedony depths, he realized that he felt calmer, at peace, perhaps even happier. He wasn't brooding eternally like some cancerous rain-drenched storm cloud hanging in the dark sky. Instead, laughter fell off his lips like drops of sunshine as they giggled over the most trivial and randomly stupid things; her childlike enthusiasm for every new thing they tried was simply contagious and –- dare he say it? –- completely and utterly adorable.
To sum it up, she was happy and he was actually enjoying himself.
In fact, he was even starting to enjoy the way his breathing erratically picked up as the flower girl beamed softly in genuine delight, tugging him by the wrist in all her excitement from booth to booth. So far, he'd won a giant stuffed moogle that looked like the one that often frequented the Synthesis Shop, and a flowerpot that had some sort of contraption in it that danced when it heard music or clapping hands. She'd managed to convince him that she wasn't a damsel in distress in need of rescuing and "Yes, Roxas; I am perfectly capable of bearing such burdens on my own,"she'd giggled when he had offered to carry her prizes. He agreed, albeit a bit hesitantly, but the truth was he was still bothered by seeing her bear even the slightest of burdens on her own.
Roxas still had a difficult time adjusting to the dramatic change in wardrobe; having foregone her normal apparel, Aerith was donning a sundress that reached her knees just barely, and a matching hat that was far too big for her. The whole piece was in a warm, dusky aqua color that reminded him of the ocean on a sunny day. She looked gorgeous, like a fully blossomed azalea or a night-blooming jasmine: delicate yet strong. Remembrance of his initial reaction when she had first stepped out into pale beams of sunlight still caused him to mentally cringe.
All in all, the teenaged boy couldn't help but be left in eternal awe at the elder woman's sunny disposition that seemed to lighten up the entire amusement park wherever she went. The spiky-haired youth also noticed with a touch of pride glittering in his stormy sapphire eyes the way that every other guy within the vicinity couldn't help but stare in wonder at the dark-haired beauty as well. He didn't have a problem with them looking, surprisingly. They can look all they want, but I'm the one she showed up with, he thought. She's with me.
He had never met anyone quite like her before.
She looked so happy.
"Oh, Roxas!" Aerith exclaimed cheerfully as she turned to face him. Glossy peridot rose to greet eyes associated with the stormy ocean; if he had possessed a heartbeat, Roxas was indefinitely sure that it would have sped up with the way she had brushed her delicate fingers against his slightly rougher ones before grabbing his hand boldly. "Look at this! Isn't it positively wonderful?" Looking into the brunette's eyes, and seeing the absolute happiness reflected in her smile, he had to conclude that yes, it was indeed wonderful. And wouldn't it be even better if perhaps he were to wrap his arm around her slender frame instead of just holding her hand?
"Yeah, it's great," Roxas agreed softly with a tentative smile of his own. "Really great."
A blush danced across his face when Aerith's soft, full lips curled to form a roseate smile, sparkling gem-like irises locking onto those deep, navy blues of his which were flecked with chalcedony and ivory tints of emotion; overwhelmed by the inquiry of her gaze, he lowered his eyes to stare at his shoes timidly. He seemed to be doing that a lot as of late.
She giggled. "So, it's settled then," she chirped happily. Tugging on his hand, Aerith immediately took the lead as they began weave in and out of the teeming crowds of people. "We're going to ride the Ferris Wheel!"
All the color began to drain from Roxas' face as he immediately realized his horrendous mistake. He nearly dropped his cone of spun sugar as she set a quick, brisk pace, not wanting to waste anytime in arriving at their desired destination. Desperate, he tried to come up with any explanation, any excuse at all that would suffice besides the fact that he was utterly and completely terrified of heights as hopelessly wide, sapphire orbs took in the looming mechanical wheel straight ahead alit with a spectrum of colored bulbs.
"Come on!" she exclaimed and turned to look at him from over her shoulder, absentmindedly adjusting the strap of her dress. "It'll be fun!"
"Uh, you sure you don't want me to win you another prize?" Roxas inquired hesitantly, his voice tinged with the slightest hint of anxiety. "Like, maybe a teddy bear? Or something?"
"Believe me Roxas, the Ferris Wheel is so much better once you get up there."
"Better than a teddy bear?" Roxas sounded almost hopeful as she proceeded to lead him there.
"You'll see," she replied instead, eyes lighting up mysteriously.
Roxas sighed in defeat. There really was no room for argument when it came to Aerith. Arguing with the flower girl was like trying to make Saix crack a smile: a no-win situation. He should have realized that by now, he thought.
Despite himself, the blonde forced himself to smile as the words rolled off his tongue like water droplets sliding down a windowpane. "Whatever makes you happy, Aerith." He shrugged helplessly, trying to ward off that familiar awkwardness at hand that usually accompanied such a confession as he ducked his head shyly. Idiot. Purposefully spoken aloud or not, he had meant every single word and both of them knew that for a fact.
There goes my tough guy persona . . . Roxas thought crestfallenly as he followed her to his untimely doom.
What tough guy persona? a voice in his head piped up suddenly. It sounded genuinely curious.
Roxas didn't have an answer.
Soon, they'd reached the slow moving ride that had just come to a screeching halt. A thick, short man with a heavy mustache checked their heights, approved of the newly acquired yellow tickets, and made sure that they were properly settled into their small, pumpkin-orange cart. Aerith sat down on the bench, daintily buckling herself in as her eyes wandered over to Roxas who blushed faintly.
"Isn't this fun?" she quipped pleasantly. But Roxas was a bit preoccupied at the moment as he watched the operator lazily push the button again as if in slow-motion, cowering as the carrot-colored cart they were seated in began to move up.
Roxas knew he couldn't lie to her; with that sudden realization he let out along, anticipatory sigh and began his uneasy confession of the afternoon. "Um, Aerith? There's something I have to tell you," he admitted in a soft, lugubrious tone.
"Oh?" She smiled. "And what would that be?"
Roxas grabbed the side of the moving platform suddenly, inhaling shakily. His eyes floated to the azure sky overhead in order to avoid looking at the ground below. "I, well, I don't know how to say this without sounding like a total wuss," he mumbled underneath his breath self-consciously as they began to ascend higher up into the air.
"You're afraid of heights, aren't you?" Aerith said suddenly. Her features softened as her emerald eyes stared into his pools of light sky-blue, and even though they would usually seem dark if you looked at them from afar, today, they were unusually bright as they reflected an understanding at his situation. "I'm so sorry Roxas, I didn't know."
"I-t's okay," he managed to stammer out in his embarrassment. "The sooner we go up, the sooner we go down, right?" There was a long pause as Roxas attempted to calm his breathing, sunflower eyelashes fluttering against his cheeks briefly. When he opened his eyes again he smiled at her, and the atmosphere became less tense.
Suddenly, the ride came to a jolted halt. Roxas immediately clenched his eyes shut again. "W-why did we stop?" As painful as it was, he cracked open one eye fearfully and looked down, catching sight of a scantily clad teenaged girl by the name of Yuffie Kisaragi in the operator seat. She had pushed the stop button; Yuffie grinned boldly up at him when she realized she had been spotted, giving him a big thumbs up sign. A brooding Leon sat completely unmoving beside her, and Roxas reflected briefly that he looked like he had been dragged along on the ninja's silly escapade unwillingly. "I'm going to kill her when I get down."
"It's not so bad up here," Aerith half-whispered, "The sunlight, the breeze . . ."
But Roxas didn't notice all those things anymore. What he noticed was how the brunette's hair, which was surprisingly free from its usual braid, serenely billowed out from behind her narrow shoulders. The dark tresses danced through the gentle air like a river of warm chocolate, each tip coiling and flexing beyond her vision, as if trying to soar upwards and merge into the endless blue sky above. He noticed how her eyes were rounded, dark pools of emotion, ringed by the palest jade with the sun above them. All of a sudden, Roxas lost his fear of heights completely, and he knew that the time was right. Never did he imagine to be doing this stuck on a Ferris wheel so high up in the air, not the most romantic of places, but it didn't matter anymore.
"Aerith?" Roxas breathed quietly as his sun-kissed, unsettled features took in the petite brunette sitting just a few inches away. Her facial profile was locked to one side, as if she was looking out beyond the warm rays of the sun beaming down upon them. An expression on her face which could almost mimic insightful repose had settled across her soft, feminine features. She turned then, and the smile that spread across her face as her gaze held his was enough to make him nearly forget everything. She had that effect on a guy.
"Yes?" she replied back softly, all smiles and light.
His cheeks were turning red again, much to his irritation. "Would it be alright if I kissed you?" he asked quietly, and his eyes were alit with swirls of midnight blue as they locked onto her lush pink lips. Now, when she was just a hairsbreadth away . . .
She giggled, "I was wondering when you'd ask," and he saw her close her eyes instinctively; cheeks flushed a rosy hue and lips parted just as he leaned in to claim them, and suddenly Roxas felt like he was flying.
The kiss . . . it was the most incredible thing Roxas had ever felt in his entire life. For a second he forgot how to breathe. The teenager shivered feverishly, and the feel of her lips seemed to echo throughout every nerve ending in his entire body, drawing him into a euphoric, heady haze. His grasp on reality slipped; he pushed closer to her, desperately needing to increase their contact as his hand began to trace a path up her sensitive skin, his nails leaving the white flesh a pale pink. And for one single, fleeting moment in time, everything was perfect, and no one could bring them down from such great heights. So caught up in the moment were the two of them that they failed to notice just how close they were to the bottom of the Ferris wheel. Both were too preoccupied with each other. Alas, the moment ended all too soon as the Ferris wheel stopped to a jolt, causing the two of them to jump apart rather quickly.
"Um . . ." Roxas began breathlessly, and Aerith lifted one hand to her mouth in order to contain her bubbly laughter. He helped her out of the cart, his entire face a deep shade of cherry-red.
That was better than anything I could have imagined. Roxas couldn't help but feel giddy as she shot him a side-long glance. And for some reason, he felt lighter than he'd ever felt before. Maybe, no, it was her fault; she'd surely caused this burgeoning feeling of giddiness and happiness to override his senses and blossom in his chest . . . yes?