Epilogue: White Dress
9 Years Later...
"Something borrowed," Aerith murmured as she adjusted Kairi's beaded flower barrette resting snugly against the side of Naminé's head. Her hair was styled into a regal but plain bun, and there were a few stray locks framing the sides of her face in graceful curls.
Naminé smiled and tapped the little charm of her and Roxas' blue trimmed cake lightly. "Something blue."
"Something old," Aerith added and admired her old wedding gown wrapped around her future daughter-in-law's body. The design was simple—a sleek, strapless mermaid gown with elegant beading underneath the bust.
Naminé finished the old tradition, fiddling with the new pearl pendant (a gift from her future father-in-law) coiled securely around her neck. "And something new."
The blonde bride stared at her reflection. The rosy blush dusting her cheeks, the petal pink lip gloss coating her lips, and the lavender eye shadow painted along her eyelids—the makeup was hard to see, but Naminé preferred it that way. She didn't need to cover her natural beauty underneath a heavily painted mask.
"Are you nervous?"
Naminé broke her eyes away from the glass and fixed them on Aerith; her smile was warm but her eyebrows were threaded together. "I'm getting married. I'm starting a whole new chapter of my life. It's amazing, but…I guess I am just a little scared. I mean…what if things don't work out?"
Aerith's hands descended on Naminé's bare shoulders lightly. There was a maternal smile on her face. "This is an amazing thing, sweetie. You and Roxas will be starting your lives together, having your own family, and any problems that you face, you'll work through them. I know it."
"…You're right, aren't you?" Naminé asked in a murmur.
Aerith handed her a bouquet of white Peace Lilies and winked at the blonde bride. "Always. Now, you better get going. I think the procession's starting."
Naminé's eyes widened, and she hastily snatched the bouquet before hurrying towards the end of the makeshift aisle crafted at the end of her in-law's flower filled backyard with skirts raised.
The flower girl, Sora and Kairi's daughter Kailani, dropped blue lily petals onto the white carpet ahead of the glowing bride cutely. Her tiny blue bowed dress accenting her oceanic eyes perfectly as the little brunette went to stand by her mother, who was lining one half of the altar.
The sun setting in sky as the DJ played the music cuing her entrance, and Naminé was grateful for the good weather as she hooked one arm through Cloud's. He smiled at her kindly, and Naminé had to fight the urge to cry as she thought of the absence of her own father on this momentous day. It shouldn't still hurt that her parents hadn't called her in over four years or even bothered to send her a picture of her new baby sister, but…it did. It still stung.
'Except…I have a new family now with people who really love me, and a wonderful man who I still can't believe I get to spend the rest of my life with…' Naminé lifted her eyes and looked ahead at her waiting groom. Still blind, Roxas stood clad in a white tux; his veiled orbs closed and a serene smile on his lips.
She then moved her gaze to Cloud and whispered quietly. "Thank you, for everything, Cloud. This necklace, walking me down the aisle, just…everything. I wish I could repay you—"
"I think you can call me Dad now, and it's fine. You're family now, Naminé."
Naminé's legs wobbled slightly at Cloud's words, and a few stray tears threatened to cascade from her blue irises as she walked slowly down the aisle. "T-Thank you…"
Friends and Roxas' family stood, watching from their metallic seats as the bride passed. Tifa Lockheart, accompanied by Vanitas, sat in the front row alongside Aerith and the Satos with a joyful smile on her lips. Olette and Hayner were among those on the other side of the aisle. The couple was yet to tie the knot themselves, but from the mist rimming Olette's jade eyes, it was clear that the next wedding would be imminent.
Her three bridesmaids, Xion, Larxene, and a noticeably pregnant Fuu were all wearing strapless, knee length blue dresses with a white ribbon tied around each waist, while Kairi, the maid of honor, wore a floor length halter dress of the same color and a white band around her own waist as she held her two year daughter on her hip. Naminé locked eyes with each woman and smiled appreciatively. Fortunately, she didn't notice the little exchange happening between one of her bridesmaids and a certain golden eyed man.
Vanitas raised his eyebrows suggestively at the obsidian haired bridesmaid and mouthed something crude. Xion arched an eyebrow and mouthed back. 'Have some shame.' Vanitas snickered and apologized insincerely. Xion rolled her eyes.
When they reached the altar, Naminé's gaze never strayed from her groom. The white wooden arch, the crystal blue vases of Peace Lilies splayed beautifully along the freshly trimmed grass…nothing mattered but him.
"Who gives this woman away?" the Reverend, a kindly old man, asked looking up from his Bible with a gentle smile.
Cloud glanced at Naminé before nodding and placing her hand in his son's. "I do."
From their place alongside Roxas, Ventus and Sora were exchanging happy grins with their wives as if reliving their own weddings again.
The Reverend nodded his own head and proceeded with the ceremony, opening with a simple prayer before starting his brief speech. "I charge you both, as you stand in God's presence, to remember that love and loyalty alone will serve as the foundations of a happy and enduring home. If the solemn vows which you are about to make are kept permanently, your life will be full of peace and joy, and the home which you are establishing will abide through every change (1)."
Roxas and Naminé nodded, listening as the preacher spoke until he prompted them to stand on either sides of the altar. Ven helped position his brother, and the Reverend bent down to pick up a large sand filled vase from the ground. The glass was clear and already a series of photographs flitted across the digital frame nestled among the grains of sand—each a moment of their relationship.
"Before Roxas and Naminé exchange rings, they would like to share something special with you as they enter into this new life together. This vase," the Reverend said, gesturing to the glass, "is a physical manifestation of their love—a symbol that conveys their commitment to one another, how this love and commitment came to be and how the destinies of these two incredible individuals-." The Reverend paused to prompt the couple. Roxas and Naminé, in response, drew out their respective childhood mementos and dropped them into the vase. The star charm and blue marble gleamed as drops of waning sunlight rained on them. "will never be broken."
Roxas and Naminé stepped away from the altar and found each other's hands again. Larxene and her husband Axel's son, Reno, then trotted forward bearing the golden bands. Naminé reached down and picked up the rings, handing one to Roxas.
The Reverend, after speaking again, asked the couple to exchange rings. Roxas slid one ring along Naminé's finger first (though he had to do so twice since he goofed up the first time).
"With this ring, I thee wed."
Naminé slipped the other golden band on her groom and repeated the sentiment. "With this ring, I thee wed."
"Now that the rings have been exchanged, the couple is going to exchange vows. Naminé?"
Naminé released a shaky breath but locked her eyes on Roxas whose blind eyes stared straight ahead. "W-When I first met you, I didn't know that you would change my life. We were just a couple of kids sitting in a sandbox, but then you came to my high school and…you made me feel so strange. You broke through my mask, and I wanted to be with you in a way that I had never wanted before. And even when I messed things up, you brought me back to the person I was meant to be and showed me how to truly live. Now, we're getting married, and I want you to know that I will love you until my very last breath and even after that." Tears were now streaming freely down her cheeks and small sob was lodged in her throat. "S-Sorry."
Roxas squeezed her hands and wiped her tears away with the back of his thumb. "When I first met you, I was already in deep. You were so amazing. It was like I found my angel and even my little five year old heart stopped." Everyone laughed at this. "And when I heard you were at my new school, I had to bring you back…to me. I wasn't perfect, and there was so much that you did on your own, but we made it, right? We're off to a new life together now, and I couldn't be happier if I tried. You're beautiful on the outside and inside, and I love you Naminé. I always will, so…thanks for becoming my wife and making me the happiest man on earth."
Naminé wasn't able to choke out a reply, and Pence, the wedding photographer, hastily continued to snap pictures of the happy couple.
"With that said, I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss your bride," The Reverend announced, but neither blonde needed a prompt as Naminé threw her arms around her new husband's neck and pressed her lips to his swiftly. Roxas drew her body closer to his, hands on the small of her back as a chorus of wolf whistles and cheers erupted around them.
"Cakie, pwease!" Kailani cheered enthusiastically. She gripped Naminé's skirt with desperate hands and a pleading smile.
Naminé giggled at the little girl and nodded. "Let me go get your Uncle Roxas." Kailani bobbed her little head before running off to chase Reno around the table decorated with various homemade foods.
Roxas was chatting with Mr. Fitzherbert, Rapunzel's husband, and his two best men. "Anything I should be weary of?" Roxas asked jokingly.
The three men chuckled, and Eugene patted the newlywed on the back. "Just remember one rule, and you'll always be good: your wife is always right. Always."
"Always," Eugene repeated sternly. Roxas was about to reply when he felt a smooth hand on his shoulder.
"Roxas, it's time to cut the cake. Kailani is growing rather impatient," Naminé said, glancing back at the energetic toddler.
Roxas captured his new wife's hand in his and kissed it tenderly. "Alright. I want to try some anyway, considering it's strawberry and sea salt."
"You and your sea salt," Naminé teased lightly, "I'm surprised they were able to separate the flavors so well."
"I'm not. Zack's wife, Cissnei, is quite the baker. The only thing I'm surprised about is that she made it for free instead of charging us through the nose."
"Yeah," Naminé admitted, "but your Dad is her husband's best friend and business partner."
"True," Roxas agreed. He almost couldn't believe that it had been five years since his Dad had teamed up with Zack to run their own mechanic shop. Though, what was probably more unbelievable was the fact that his parents still lived with his Aunt and Uncle. Roxas understood that with all the children moved out, it was much roomier, but it just seemed strange that his parents didn't want to move out now that they had their finances in order. "I guess I was just expecting her to charge us something."
"Well, she didn't, so let's go cut the cake before Kailani has a tantrum of epic proportions," Naminé smirked, wishing her husband could physically see the tiny tyrant scramble around the yard and jump, without warning, onto her father's back.
Roxas snickered as he heard his cousin complain loudly and allowed his wife to lead him over to the round table where their white and blue-trimmed cake was sitting in preparation to be cut.
At the sight of the bride and groom gathered around the cake, the guests quickly flocked towards them with plates ready. Aerith came forward first to hand Naminé a knife. The blonde took the blade gratefully and placed her husband's hand on the handle before slipping her own hand on top of his, guiding the blade into the sugary tower.
The first slice, divided into rows of strawberry and sea salt, was dropped onto a blank white plate. Naminé fed the a small clump to her new husband, gently stuffing the cake into his mouth with her hand. Roxas, in turn, picked up a chunk of his own, but unlike his bride, did not manage to find her lips. The cake was smeared lightly onto her face until the blond man's hand found her nose and realized that the cake was, most likely, not being consumed by his wife.
"I smeared cake all over your face, didn't I?"
Naminé didn't respond right away, but took another handful of cake and smashed it in her husband's face. "Yeah, but now you have cake all over your face too."
Roxas grinned, capturing each side of his wife's face before leaning in for a sugary kiss. "And…we taste delicious."
Naminé smiled against his lips and murmured. "Is food all you can think about? I thought you'd be stuffed by now"
"Unless I have another kind of hunger," he whispered huskily. Naminé's face flushed.
"Mommy, when I have cakie too?" Kailani whined, breaking the couple apart and reminding them they weren't alone.
"Your piece is coming next, Lani," Naminé consoled, patting the little girl's head. "I'll even give you a big slice."
Kairilani's face brightened and she beamed. "Yay! Tank you, Auntie Nami!"
Naminé giggled and handed the toddler a cake filled plate and plastic fork. "You're welcome sweetie. Now, who else wants cake?"
Kairi raised her hand and stepped towards her best friend. "I would, if you don't mind serving another slice before your mother-in-law takes over." Naminé handed her maid of honor a slice of cake.
"Here you are."
"Thank you. Oh and by the way, nice look," Kairi teased, "that frosting is really your color."
"I know, right?" Naminé fluffed her bun mockingly.
Kairi snorted, nearly spitting out pieces of the cake. "Nice one. I'm sure your husband loves that pose (if he could see it), Nam."
"Oh, he does." Naminé and Kairi exchanged glances, straight faced for only a moment before bursting out into girlish laughter.
From a short distance, Xion watched the scene unfold with a small smile on her face and one hand on her hip. "Strange how much everything has changed since junior year…"
"Cake?" Vanitas' voice suddenly inquired, holding out an extra plate and fork with his signature smirk.
Xion snatched the food and utensil from the obsidian haired man and eyed him wearily. "What do you want, Vanitas."
"No thank you for the cake? Ouch."
"Thank you," Xion said flatly, "but really…I don't know why you keep…pursuing me. We just wouldn't work out."
Vanitas scowled and seized her hand. "Says you. I know I don't have the best track record, but I know when I care about someone, and I won't let you go. So, face it. You're stuck with me."
"Vanitas…" Xion muttered, "I'm not fa—"
Vanitas cupped the raven haired girls cheeks and stole a tender kiss from her lips. Xion pressed a finger to her humming lips, eyes wide as she stared at her golden eyed counterpart in shock. "You…kissed me?"
"You didn't like it?"
A few tears strayed from her blue irises and Xion wiped them away quickly. "It's not that…I actually…" She couldn't force the words from her mouth, but opted for a more physical answer. Yanking him forward by the tie, Xion molded her lips against his. '…liked it…'
"Alright ladies and gentlemen, before we open up the dance floor. Mr. Strife-" the DJ paused to point to Cloud standing in the middle of the grassy dance floor, "would like to ask his new daughter-in-law to join him for the first dance."
"Would you mind, Naminé?" Cloud asked, holding out a hand to the newlywed.
Naminé's voice shook as her hand hovered over her father-in-law's. "B-But…isn't the first dance usually the daddy-daughter dance?"
"I know I'm not your father," Cloud started to explain hurriedly, "but I thought if I could—"
"I would love to," Naminé sniffed, clasping his hand as tears rained down her porcelain cheeks. Cloud smiled and placed his other hand on her waist as Steven Curtis Chapmen's Cinderella slowly drifted from the speakers.
The first few dances after that faded easily as the sun finally tucked itself under a veil of stars and the white lanterns strung about the yard cast an ethereal and dream-like atmosphere through the rhythmically charged air.
The wedding guests moved their bodies to each new beat that erupted from the speakers, but the bride and groom only swayed together—oblivious of those surrounding them as the notes of Simple and Clean melded with the air around them.
Naminé nuzzled her face into the crook of Roxas' neck, breathing in his scent. "Ready to use that degree of yours and write the next Grammy-award-winning score?"
"If you're ready to animate the next classic, Miss Disney intern?" Roxas whispered back and kissed her lips lightly.
Sora and Kairi danced nearby with their daughter between them as Ven attempted to spin his pregnant wife around. Even Vanitas and Xion were dancing alongside the other couples like Aerith and Cloud who, from their own wedding, still knew how to waltz.
"I'm a little nervous," Naminé confessed softly, "but…having you by my side, I know that I'll be okay." She pressed her forehead against his, counting the freckles dotting the bridge of his nose as his warm breath drifted across the plains of her skin. The moment was perfect.
Roxas moved his hands from the small of her back down to her hips, admiring the curves of his bride's body. "You know…the doctor did tell me that it was possible to naturally regain my sight over time. But…I don't think I'll be holding my breath anytime soon. I'm content the way I am, unless…what do you think? I know it's hard having a husband who can't see—"
Naminé placed a finger to his lips, a smile in her voice. "I love you the way you are, Roxas. Blind or not. That doesn't matter to me because, either way, you're the man I love. If you regain your sight, then you regain your sight. If you don't, you don't."
Roxas planted a swift and loving kiss on Naminé's lips. "You're amazing, you know that?"
"Go on…" Naminé said jokingly.
"Trust me," Roxas replied smoothly, "I could go on all night." A hue of red tinted Namine's cheeks as she wrapped an arm around his neck and kissed her husband deeply.
'No matter what, I won't give this life or this love up for anything…'
A/N: The story is officially over...this feels so weird. It's like a chapter of my own life has just closed, and it really is bittersweet. But I hope that you all enjoyed not only this epilogue but the entire story as well. It was a lot of work, but well worth it. Now, I guess I'll be putting my energies into How To Save A Life, Torn Between You, and Dark Side (with Three Wishes, Changing Tides, and Into The Lion's Den on the side). So, if you'd like, you can go read those, and maybe even drop me a line or two in a review:) I would love to see you guys again so this isn't some sort of goodbye.
1. The introduction to the wedding ceremony was a sample I found from Mary Fairchild on since I had no idea how to write that.
2. Kailani is a name that means sea and sky which is why I picked that name for Sora and Kairi's daughter.
3. Roxas and Namine are married later since they decided to pursue their Masters at a relatively slow pace so that they could also have jobs.
4. The colors blue and white were chosen for their symbolism. According to blue is the color of the Virgin Mary, and is associated with girls who have similar pure qualities. In addition, it is the color of water and the sea, with all the symbolic references already discussed for that element - that is, blue usually indicates femininity, life, purity, etc., just as water does. White, in turn, can represent purity simplicity, and in Christian tradition, starting anew-something that is really the main theme of this epilogue.
5. Peace lilies, according to is a bright, springtime flower that represents rebirth and renewal.
6. The Half Alive Soundtrack will be posted on my tumblr: scoobysnack1107. My blog is called Ars Scribendi which is Latin for the art of writing.
7. Fuu and Ven are married just to clear any confusion:)
8. Any and all art work is appreciated. I have a deviantart under the name scoobysnack1107 if you decide to make some and want to let me know:)
9. Review replies will probably pop up on my tumblr.
THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH! I know I always say that, but I really do thank you guys so much. Your support has been amazing over the past four years, and I could not have had the dedication to finish this without you all cheering me on!
Please read, favorite and review if you can:)
X-blade025: That's how I looked at it, and in this case, yes it is lol. She will indeed. That's what I was aiming for, so good it gave off this vibe. Haha, no random keyblades here. Thank you and haha, I recently finished FFXIII and couldn't help myself. Aww, you're too sweet, I can't wait to read your feedback and reply to it:) Thank you for everything!:D!
Shino: After all that's happened in the story, I'm glad things turned out well in the end and aww, thank you! I just write my best and try to be original. Hope you like the epilogue and thank you for your support!:D!
MoonLitSpraklesofTwilight: I'm sorry I haven't replied to your previous reviews. When I couldn't send you a PM, I just ended up ADDing about replying so I apologize for that. Anyway, at least those were happy tears. Thank you and yay! I'm super excited to see what you come up with! Aww, you're so sweet, and I can't wait to see more feedback from you:)