a/n; AH! I've been gone for an unforgivably long time. But I guess these kinds of things happen - I knew I had to post something before going back to school, anyways. Dunno if this matches the tone of any of the others but - I hope y'all enjoy it nonetheless.
And I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and/or holidays, and an awesome New Year!

:xi: oath


There was something different about this year, in Edge. The obvious reason would be the rains – the death of a malefactor, three non-absolutes, a distant specter which was buried but never left. They had cleansed not just the one town, but it had cleansed the entire world. The darkest indents of the hills were only able to maintain a deep gray, and the monsters of the forests and the deserts refrained from slaughter for as long as they could, before they could not keep themselves from some form of sustenance.

Gaia had become less cutthroat, the knives duller. Clouds were still somber and fat with moisture, but the sun was just still as bright with yellow fusions.

But these were not the full spectrum. The main, obvious reason this year was unusual was only subjective toward the people as they saw it. Different lives hold different shades, and for certain people the rains were the background for greater things.

For Tifa, it had been the main thing for a long, long time. It saved Denzel, Cloud, and indirectly, Marlene. It saved her whole family, and it brought them back together. She did not believe there was more of a miracle to be created underneath any other circumstances.

But the world had turned, and at the end of the year, Edge held its first ever dropping of the ball. It seemed the whole town came to the center square, with a mechanism the WRO helped to make. It attached to the tip of the giant fountain, raised by multiple metal bars. It had carved in indentions in each of the bars' placement on the ball, for security and a smooth drop. The end would be at the tip of the limestone structure of the carving, now hidden by the contraption.

It was a strange, happy thing hanging above the town. It was a sign, a beacon of many variations for everyone who gazed up to it.

So when the night came and the hour of new drew near, the excitement buzzed like electricity through every nerve and every pupil of everyone huddled around.

Around Tifa, Marlene and Denzel were beaming with their grins and eyes glittering with the stars. Barret was behind both of them, resting his real arm upon Marlene's petite shoulder. Red's flame burned with much more vivacity than she had seen it. Cid had brought Shera, and though it wasn't very surprising, there was something very affectionate about the notion.

Yuffie had been fidgeting near Vincent for half an hour, but as the ten second mark drew near, she took the initiative to clamber up onto his shoulders, whispering excitedly into his ear, "It's almost time Vince! The ball's starting to glow!"

Vincent had had a look of blank disregard up at the slowly glowing ball; his face betrayed not one of his hidden emotions. But as Yuffie climbed up onto his back and ripped his cape, trying to find a foothold and handhold, he grunted and had a sour look on his face. His mouth curled in such a way it would have been easy to believe it was an impatient sneer. On closer inspection, it resembled a smile.

Cloud stood beside her, as silent as ever. But it was a comfortable silence, a protective silence if there could be such a thing. He was close enough to her so she could feel his warmth, even through her jacket, and she thought she was complete right then. Something was so fulfilling, standing there amongst her companions, so tightly knit against the cold and the fountain.

And the beauty started at the countdown.

Ten.

They all looked up.

Nine.

People chanted, the excitement finally bursting through the arms and legs of all the people.

Eight.

Seven.

Six.

"Do you feel it, Vince?" she heard Yuffie say, and she realized her arms were tense.

Five.

She shook them, trying to loosen them, somehow. She took a deep breath through her nostrils.

Four.

She closed her eyes, and she tried to feel it overwhelm.

Three.

But it didn't.

Two.

She felt him take her hand. It was in a delicate manner, soft and slow. It took him two seconds, two whole seconds, of encompassing her hand fully.

One.

And it took Tifa a split second to look up at him. It was only to find he was gazing at her, and it seemed, the only person not gazing at the lit ball.

People hugged and screamed and the couples, as it always indelibly goes, kissed.

But they did not see it. Their silhouettes, entangled hands, the color of their eyes – the little things said it all.

And Tifa felt it.