". . .I'll keep you company
In one glorious harmony
Waltzing with destiny forever. . ."
~ Dark Waltz,
Hayley Westenra


The last of the cars had finally come . . . although late, Lightning mused, watching the scene below her. The window had been opened to let in air. She was on the second floor of the estate, which the car had come to an easy stop in front of, resting at the bottom of the stairs. The car itself seemed new; an impressive design, it looked as if it could cleanly sped through the rain that didn't want to cease. The lady ran a finger around the rim of her glass, inclining her chin. The owners are probably wealthy, like so many others here. Windshield wipers were on at their fastest speed; it indeed was a rainy night. Not even the moon was out. Even so, it seemed the most of people who had lived in this dreary city had grown used to the weather, having never complained when the topic was brought up.

Lightning paused, sipping her drink. The door to the car had opened. From what she could tell from her viewing point, there was a couple. The man had come prepared, opening an umbrella. They were probably also residents, but like the guests before them, had to get in. Lightning had been through the same process as the guests down in the street.

There had been a burly man who had opened the door to the car; dark hair slicked back and a scar over his eye; he had greeted Lightning and her company with a friendly smile, welcoming them. She now assumed that the man who was greeting the last of the guests was now thoroughly soaked through his suit. Lightning smirked, watching. The man was still there doing his job as the couple pasted him to go up the stairs.

At the top, and protected from the downpour would be two men dressed similarly to the doorman. Lightning had lost sight of the couple at this point, but she remembered what happened when it was her time. The first man on the right was bespeckled, pushing his glasses up as he read over a clipboard with what she had assumed was the guest list. To Lightning, he seemed to be the smarter one of the two men. The other, which didn't seem to belong here at all with his unruly blond hair, had winked at her when she stated her name. He bounced a shotgun on his shoulder as his friend took names. He was for security most likely but his attitude was surely not that of a trained guard.

An unexpected whistle made the lady jump, attention return back to the street where it originated. The car hadn't pulled away yet. Lightning concluded that the whistle had come from the doorman, setting her glass on the windowsill. He had done so again as a third person came out of the car, turning to the look at the entrance. Who is this guy? Unlike the others, the burly man gave the young man a pat on the shoulder, walking with him up the stairs. A third but different pitched whistle was replied with. A friend of the doorman with his status?

She could have sworn she heard a laugh come from down there as well, but had realized it was behind her. She gently picked up her drink as footsteps came to her side.

"I knew I'd find you up here," came the rough voice with a soft laugh. Lightning turned to face Sazh Katzroy. The dark skinned man smiled, reaching his hand up as his young Chocobo chick hopped out on its hiding place from his Afro. He continued, setting the chick where Lightning's drink once sat, "You know the party's downstairs."

The lady huffed, sipping from her glass. The wine tasted expensive, but that didn't mean a thing. It wasn't exactly a party that was happening downstairs. It was the "getting-ready" for the annual military conference that was supposed to take place later in the evening. Held every year at the Royal Family's estate, it was an invitational conference where the different miltaries could share ideas. Lightning herself was graced to go as a representative for the Cocoon Army, as was Sazh. Both were dressed formally but Lightning wanted nothing of it. It was an honor to go, yes, but with a short black dress and heels, she did not like the fact that most of the guest thought of her as a delicate woman instead of the soldier she was. All her concern was what was asked of her; to go and show the councils what the best of Cocoon had to offer.

" I understand," she replied simply, casting a downward glance at the street. The car was long gone. "But once I go back down there, I'm suffocating in the masses of men."

Sazh looked around the room. It was mostly empty save for a few other people. Good thing too, it was assumed that they didn't allow pets. "Well, there are a lot of people down there. Most of them brought their families. You can't bl—"

"—I can," Lightning interjected, turning to her co-worker. She folded her arms, annoyed. Sazh seemed surprised, cupping his hands over the chick as thought not wanting the chocobo to hear what Lightning had to say. "There is barely any room for the rest of us to move, let alone breath," she hissed.

Chuckling, Sazh scooped the chick up in his hands when it chirped. "Don't be surprised then. I had actually come up to get you and bring you back downstairs. I was wondering if you'd like to join my family and I when the opening speech begins," he shook his head slightly. "But since you don't like the fam—"

"No, Sazh." Lightning waved a hand quickly, cutting her friend off once again. She had forgotten that Katzroy had also brought his family. "It's fine. I'll come," With that said, she tapped her wineglass impatiently. Sazh nodded, allowing his Chocobo to fly back in his hair with a smile. The lady shook her head disapprovingly as she walked past him to go back downstairs.

Despite the cool rain outside, the inside was warm with laughs and clinks of glasses, soft music in the background. The Royal Caelum Family had put up special banners around the ballroom, each representing an army. Lightning could spot Cocoon's own at the far side. Perhaps that's where the other representatives were? Anything to avoid talking with the people gathered.

She looked back at Sazh curiously, who seemed to notice her distress. He laughed and patted her on the shoulder, coming to her side."Yes, they are all over there. Don't worry your pretty little head off, miss. You're not lost."

Lightning pressed her lips together, furrowing her eyebrows angrily. She smacked Sazh's hand away. A soft chirp from Sazh's afro followed, Sazh himself looking mildly surprised. "I'll meet you over there,"she returned softly, turning away to go get herself another drink while Sash drifted into the sea of people.

And there they were waiting at the refreshment table

The welcoming trio from earlier were speaking with the last guest to come in, and a round of laughter erupted between them. Lightning huffed at the sight of them, wondering if they knew that it was an important night. They continued talking as the lady went to refill her glass, soon hearing them break apart and walk away for whatever reason. Their conversation must have been trivial. . .unimportant.

Lightning stood up straight and took another sip of wine. A young man had come next to her with his empty glass, ready to have it refilled. The stranger had an air about him. No doubt wealth,Lightning thought to herself, moving aside so he could get want he wanted. She watched him over the rim of her wineglass and as though he could feel it, the dark-haired man hesitated and stood up straight. For someone of wealthy roots, he had looked like he had just gotten out of bed judging by his hair. Lightning sighed, taking a drink.

The soft music playing grew louder, the classic pace of a waltz bubbling up. The guest next to her looked toward the musicians. Lightning had to take interest in his puzzled but yet surprised expression.. The young man stole a glance at his watch, blinking. Hadn't he realized there was a dance?

That's what he gets for coming late,Lightning thought rather amused.

He quickly refilled his glass before hurriedly walking away. Lightning's gaze followed him curiously. He was headed for the entrance to the estate wear most people had come in. It was odd, but she had to admit it was smart. Lightning turned to see couples dance. She scowled. They was no way she'd agree to dance.

Deciding to follow the other's decision a short while later, she made her way behind the onlookers to get to the open doors. It was still pouring but no one was outside except for someone trotting quickly down the stairs as if he was late. The water didn't bother him at all, Lightning observed quietly, watching him meet with his companions from earlier. They stood in the middle of the street,talking about something she couldn't hear over the rain. The blond fellow tapped his gun on his shoulder. He seemed to be the one to notice Lightning at the top of the stairs. He whistled to his friends,and the young man who'd been at the refreshment table turned.

Lightning knelt to set her glass down before heading down the steps,crossing her arms. The others must have said something to the man before departing quickly as the lady reached the bottom step.

"Some friends," she commented, watching the man quickly turn away, hands on his sides. No eye contact, Lightning noted.

"They mean well enough. You haven't known them as long as I have however," he said calmly, glancing over at Lightning cautiously.

The lady shook her head, looking the young man over. His suit was starting to soak, his shoulders were already there while the rest was speckled with water. His dark wet hair stuck to his face, bangs dripping. Lightning was sure her hair was the same way, along she couldn't tell with the rain. "I don't," she replied. "Nor do I plan—"

"I'm sorry," he said quickly, frowning. Lightning could tell that despite his calm exterior, he was growing anxious. "but I must be going. . .?"

". . .Lightning." she offered. "My name's Lightning."

A small smirk tugged at the man's lips. He paused a moment. "In that case, call me Storm."

A/N: Part two coming up soon!
And I hope you all remember when people thought that Noctis's name was Storm?