Trying something different. Involves everyone, all standard disclaimers apply blah blah…your usual couples, nothing weird. Some follow the game and some are A/U…you'll know which is which
01. Beginning - She stood at the bar, wiping the wood surface over and over while her mind wandered miles away. It started with a smile, moved to a hug, and blossomed into a kiss. She smiled to herself suddenly, dropped the towel on the counter, and made her way to the door. She flipped the sign, closing Seventh Heaven for the day. She cast a glance to the stairs and smirked…
02. Soul- His work had been his central focus his whole life. 'If you're good at something, never do it for free.' His father had instilled a firm belief that he was over a lower class of man and he would spend the entirety of his life working from the ground up…funny how he spent most of his time in the clouds working his way down. He found lately, now that it seemed the world was calming down, no one needed faster, heavily armed, airships. He noticed Shera smiled a little more every day, and he found he couldn't stop himself from staring swell of her stomach, now full of child. He had found something that made his soul sing and his heart soar. It was better than flying, at least he thought so…Tifa agreed.
03. Frozen- It wasn't that she was cold, she was frozen. Her fingers were turning blue and even in the warmth of their room, she was sure she could still see her breath. Icicle Inn during winter was probably not the best place she'd chosen to come to collect her thoughts, but she did love the snow and bonding with her friends. She also thoroughly loved any excuse for Tifa's famous hot chocolate and Aerith's cinnabuns.
"Yuffie, you know we could have done this just fine at the bar." Tifa chided with a smile, she was enjoying herself just as much as the younger woman.
"Not the same." She said, taking a sip from her mug. "You can't have hot coco in the dry heat of Edge, and her cinnabun things taste way better here." Yuffie pointed animatedly to Aerith, who smiled and handed her another cinnabun.
04. Quiet - It was now, in the dead of night, that he found himself dreading the silence. It wasn't as difficult to ignore the demons and nightmares when he had the others to distract him. In the quiet of his home he relived all his nightmares, over and over again. He closed his eyes and an unexpected thing happened, he heard her voice. Echoing in the emptiness of the room.
"Open your eyes." She spoke softly, unsure and more than a little worried. "Please, Vincent…?" He gave in, his crimson stare a little unfocused and pointed in the direction of a young Wutaian woman dressed in faded blue jeans and a long sleeved green shirt. She had a bright orange scarf wrapped around her neck and a tentative smile. He stared a moment, waiting. "It's ok now, Vince…we did it, we stopped Hojo and you avenged her. You saved her, Vince." Her smile softened and he felt a familiar wave of relief.
"Thank you, Yuffie." He murmured before fading back into sleep. He wouldn't wake again until morning and neither would speak of it.
x05x. Hurt- It was devastating, crippling, mind numbing pain. Something no one should ever have to experience in their life time. As he lowered her into the deep abyss he felt a portion of his heart had been ripped out and now sunk with her. It was losing, losing Zack, his mother, his home, his childhood and innocence, it was a terrible hurt and he thought surely he'd die from this. He closed his eyes, forcing back the memories.
"We're with you, Cloud. Till the end…" Tifa's voice broke through, softening the ache. He turned and met her bleary eyes, mahogany soaked in tears. He made his way slowly toward her, placing a gentle hand on her shoulder in quiet acknowledgement.
06. Dark- Black, sticky, and aside from staining everything it touched, the stuff smelled awful! Marlene scrunched her nose up. "People really want this stuff? It smells so bad I can't breathe!" She scurried back behind Tifa while Barrett boomed with laughter.
"It's the future, Marley! No more energy crisis, no more killin' the planet, and it's renewable." He smirked at her.
"Still stinks…" Was her retort. Tifa chuckled at the girl.
"Well, can't win 'em all, huh Barrett?" She grinned at her friend.
"See how much she don' like it when it's buying all them clothes and dolls she jus' had ta have…" He grumbled good naturedly. So Marlene didn't like oil, she did like that it wasn't the lifestream and she also liked that it made her dad, uncle Reeve, and aunt Tifa happy.
07. Twilight - It was her favorite time, just before the sun set completely the sky was the perfect mix of colors. Cid humored her, buying her a canvas and oil paint set for Christmas…then he bought the easel for her birthday, and the new brushes. He hung her paintings in the shop above his tools and near the windows. She thought it was sweet of him, even though he didn't like them very much.
Cid watched Shera paint, amazed with her gift for art. She seemed sure he didn't care for them, to which he always said: "I wouldn' put nothin' in my damn shop if I didn't damn well want it there!" And she would laugh, pat his hand and tell him she loved him for that. Ever since Alice had been born he realized there was so much he'd taken for granted, namely Shera and her love for him. Seeing her with their baby had made it clear, he could love her more, be better…and he really did enjoy the paintings. Especially the newest one by the larger window in his shop. The sun hit it just right every morning and it lit up the whole room…
08. Gift- She'd gone back to Wutai on a whim, but she'd left him a gift. It was a silver box emblazoned with wutanese writing and a little note stuck to the top. 'Because it was really yours in the first place…' Cloud smiled to himself, running a finger absently over the lid of the box. He opened it and inside he was surprised to see a veritable horde of mastered materia ranging from healing to summons. She really did love them, enough to return the materia she'd stolen in better shape than when she'd taken it.
09. Debt- "You owe it to your country, Yuffie Kisaragi! You are the empress, you must take the thrown!" He roared, his voice hoarse from a combination of coughing and yelling. She watched and absorbed the image of the man before her. He was frail and weak, his skin was pale and clammy.
"I will…" She bowed her head, giving up a fight for the first time in her life. Her heart ached, this was all too soon and she was far from ready. She felt him approach her, she flung herself impulsively at him, weeping into the fine silk of his kimono. He held her for a while, waving off Chekhov when she came to check on them. He wanted to treasure the feeling of his only child in his arms for just a moment longer…
10. Chasm- When it came to talking about his past it was a lot like trying to push molasses up a sandy hill…in heels. She didn't give up, in fact she was far more persistent in finding the truth behind him, the mad scientist, and the woman encased in mako than she had been when it came to 'liberating' everyone's materia for Wutai.
"It's a tragic love story and I want to hear it. Maybe talking about it will help you… " She blinked up at him with those doe brown eyes, full of innocence, compassion, and a healthy does of curiosity. Vincent sighed, taking a deep breath and nodded slowly. By the end of his story she was clinging to him and shaking in an effort not to cry. "I'm so sorry, Vincent…I never knew love could hurt someone so deeply for so long."
He remained silent, a part of him reveling in the show of a true, deep seeded, emotion from the young woman, and just like that a chasm between them closed. She understood his pain, felt it, and accepted him as he came. Slowly he returned the embrace, awkwardly wrapping one arm around her shoulders and placing the cool metal against the small of her back.
"I love you…" Her voice was muffled as she spoke around an escaped sob. He tightened his grip, bowing his head in acknowledgement, holding her until she'd fallen asleep in his arms.
11. Woods- "Isn't there a story about a girl in the woods?" Marlene and Denzel sat side by side, warming themselves by the campfire. Granted they only camped in Cid's backyard, it still felt like the real thing.
"Yeah, she gets eaten by a wolf…" Who knew Marlene could actually shriek, and at a pitch that could shatter glass? Denzel certainly didn't…or he wouldn't have scared her.
12. Silver- Tifa held the heavy metal in her hand, it was unbelievable how heavy such a small piece of jewelry could weigh. "And he gave you this…and you said..?" She eyed her friend, who grinned like a love struck fool.
"What else could I say?" Aerith was a dreamer and she had found her perfect man who gave her everything she'd ever wanted, including the promise of a white wedding and at house with a little picket fence. "I said yes, Tifa…we're getting married!" She laughed happily. "I can't believe it…"
Tifa grinned, happy for her friend. She palmed the ring for a moment more wondering when her Prince Charming would get a clue. With a chuckle she handed the diamond studded ring back. "Zack is a lucky man, Aer. I can't wait to see you walk down the isle."
13. Fire- It started with a snide comment about his clothes and his lack of interest and it ended with her writhing beneath him, whispering his name like mantra. The fire that started between them was insatiable, unstoppable, and all consuming. He was possessive by nature, she was his and no one else's and he would make sure she knew it…that he wasn't leaving again, that he was here now and would remain there until she willed him to leave. He promised her he would protect her and so far he'd failed, she had been hurt and by something worse than Sephiroth. He had hurt her. He could amend it now, and tomorrow, and the next day…he could make the wrong right if he stayed.
14. Birthday- "I've got one wish for my birthday." Yuffie mumbled, huddling deeper into her coat. She idly wished he'd fix that stupid heater in his apartment.
"And what would that be?" Red eyes skimmed the same page of a book he'd been trying to read when she topped by. So far her incessant chatter had kept him from being able to finish a single page.
"I've…you know, it's stupid. Never mind." She grinned sheepishly, her cheeks tinting pink.
Vincent watched her out of the corner of his eye, hiding a smirk behind a veil of midnight black hair. "You're lying."
Yuffie smiled brightly, taking a deep breath. "It's silly and you can't laugh…well you wouldn't laugh, but no smirking when I tell you."
"Agreed." He gave up on the book and sat it on the end table beside his chair as he shifted his attention on her. She felt the weight of his stare on her, making her more than a little nervous.
"I've never been kissed, well I mean I did kiss a boy when I was, like, six…but that doesn't count. I want to be kissed by a man." Vincent hid his shock, not so much shocked by her request as much as the fact that she clearly meant for him to be the one to do it. He tossed the idea around, it wasn't so much really.
"Very well…on your birthday I'm sure Reno could be convinced to do the honors." He artfully dodged the pillow flying for his head, a small smile lighting up his features at her vehement protests that anyone but Reno be the one.
15. Life- Barrett had the life, he had a job that made him happy. Lived his life well and thoroughly, as well as having someone whom he loved to share it with. Marlene had been an inspiration, and despite his initial reticence to do what Dyne had asked, he felt now he was honored to have her with him. She had stared death and horror in the face, seen life at its worst, and came out of it all as pure as the driven snow. She was a saint, mirroring Aerith every step of the way.
16. Death- It changes everything. The way you smile, how often you sleep, even how hungry you are. Yuffie hid in her room in Seventh Heaven, she'd arrived late that night and snuck in the window. She couldn't face them yet, she wasn't ready. He was gone and she had debt to pay. The door creaked, her head shot up and she locked eyes with Cloud.
"You came back…" Yuffie nodded slowly, unable to look away. "I'm sorry, Yuffie. If you need…anything…" She nodded again, biting back tears of fear, loss, and love. Their love for her was an amazing thing, something she'd never been able to quite understand, but for which she was eternally grateful.
17. Drinking- Cid had suggested it, Vincent had vehemently opposed it, Tifa didn't see the harm, and Cloud thought she could use a little fun.
"You're not accustomed to her behavior when she imbibes alcohol." Vincent's voice edged on nervous and Cloud, for one, was rather surprised.
"She'll be fine, we're all here watching her." He answered with a roll of his eyes.
"Can you out run a shuriken or an infuriated and drunken ninja?" There was a pause there, Tifa looked up suddenly as a fifth round was knocked back…and Cid found himself flying through the air and landing in a rather undignified heap by the door.
Cloud's mouth formed a perfect 'o' of surprise and before he could do anything Vincent had made his way to where the young woman was currently drowning her sorrows in whiskey. He gently took her elbow and to everyone's shock and relief she quietly followed, handing Tifa the bottle as she passed.
"Baby don a bad, bad thing." She slurred as she threw a sloppy wink at the bar tender. Cid let out a litany of curses as Barrett took a picture of him before offering him a hand up.
18. Repentant - Over the years the two of them had learned to accept their lives as they were. He had lost a friend while the other had lost a love, however unrequited. They had spent so long trying to repent for sins, sins that were never theirs to begin with that once they had been forgiven they didn't know what to do with themselves. Vincent surprised everyone, himself most of all, by returning Yuffie's affection. Cloud followed his lead, giving up his wandering ways in favor of starting a real life with Tifa.
19. Misery- Marlene watched the rain fall outside the suite at the Golden Saucer. She had stayed back since it was later and most of the booths she enjoyed were closed and alcohol was now being served, she didn't particularly like intoxicated people. She counted the drops as they fell and was soon fast asleep, dreaming of her mother and the stories she used to tell her on rainy days. Stories of fairytale princess' and hero's in shining armor…fantasies that never came true, not for her or her family. None of her stories had ever stared an orphaned young girl amidst a world war that had rocked the planet, quite literally, to it's core.
'A prince on a white horse, a fair maiden trapped in a tower on high, a knight, guardian angles…' She thought of Cloud, Barrett and Cid standing on the 'Shera', the deck was solid white and they looked rather proud of themselves…like princes. Yuffie and her uncanny knack for getting stuck in ridiculously high places, and Vincent always being there to get her down…
"Marley? Honey, are you ok?" She felt a soft hand brush across her cheek and wipe away the tears there. She opened her eyes slowly, adjusting to the dim light of the lamp. Tifa sat beside her with a comforting smile. How did she always know when something was bothering her? How did she know just the right time to hug her, or kiss her cheek, or when she would need to have someone just sit with her? Guardian angel…
"You're my angel, aren't you? Mother isn't here to watch over me anymore so someone else had to." Tifa felt her heart jump to her throat.
"Marlene, she never left you…she's watching over you right now." Tifa assured, combing her fingers through her hair. "Just like Aerith and my father, they never really leave you, they just go somewhere else for a little while." Marlene let out a small sigh as she curled up beside Tifa.
"Will you stay with me tonight?" Her answer had been Tifa taking off her shoes and climbing into the bed beside her. Marlene quickly drifted off to sleep again, smiling to herself. Maybe she really did have the fairytale family her mother always told her about.
20. Breathe - It was hard to remember that one simple act when he was standing there without a shirt on. Really, was she a hormonal teenager all over again now? Then again, her husband was quite the catch.
"What'cha starin' at…get over here." Cid smirked at the faint blush on her cheeks, kissing her senseless as soon as she was safely in his arms.
"You really are one handsome man, Mr. Highwind." Her voice sent a jolt through him. Since he'd never been very good with words he did the next best thing. Since when was it a crime to spend all day in bed appreciating your wife?
21. Intimate - The intricacies of lovemaking were not beyond Yuffie's young and still inexperienced mind. It was more that she had never been one to wait, she was impulsive and reckless to a fault. However, Vincent was never in a hurry and now was no exception. For seven months they had been learning the others ins and outs, finding all the things that made the other tick, and adapting to something neither of them had really expected to happen.
"The act is not meant to be rushed, it isn't forced…think of it as giving a gift." He attempted to explain, her curiosity peaked when she read one of Tifa's cheesy romance novels.
"I was never good at giving or receiving gifts…c'mon, I always peeked and I have never taken my time taking the stupid wrapping paper off. Seriously, I'd probably fall asleep if you took this long to get me naked." She chuckled at his bemused expression.
"I don't believe you would fall asleep if I was doing those things to you, Yuffie…" He stood, leaving her speechless in his living room. After a moments hesitation she leapt up and ran after him, eager to put him to the test.
22. Jubilee - White lilies adorned each one of the pillars and the ends of the pews, wrapped in beautiful off white silk ribbons. A white carpet, in place of red, had been rolled out and Reeve stood at the alter, which was set just in front of the massive lily garden Aerith had hand raised, with a handsomely dressed blond swordsmen.
The wedding march began and their was a collective gasp as Tifa began her steady walk toward him. Her eyes glittered with joy and love as she made her way down the isle, Barrett smiling and about as proud as he had ever been as he gave her away. Yuffie, Shera, and Marlene all smiling brilliantly at her. Vincent, Cid, and Denzel stood looking on with shared looks of awe at the beauty of Tifa in her wedding gown.
White Wutaian silk hung off her shoulders and clung to her curves, the dress falling around her while Alice continued to decorate the isle with flowers in front of her. Her hair was encased in a hand crafted silver net, looking very much like a tiara.
Marlene leaned over to Shera, whispering with an unsteady voice. "She looks like a real princess, doesn't she…?"
"She's beyond beautiful." Shera felt her own eyes begin to water.
Yuffie grinned at Vincent before whispering back at the other two. "That isn't the dress or the make-up, that's all joy, love, and triumph shining through right there. She's shining from the inside out." Shera and Marlene smiled and nodded in agreement. The dress was incredible, and her hair did look lovely…but it was all in her smile and the honest, deep, and pure love shining through her eyes in that moment, and she had never seemed more beautiful then that moment.
23. Turkey- It was Nanaki's favorite time of year, he wasn't ever really thrilled with food the way Yuffie and Tifa seemed to be, but there was one thing he could never get enough of. Tifa's Thanksgiving turkey and Yuffie's sweet potato pie. He'd gorge himself, never once complaining when his stomach protested later. He loved Turkey, and that pie…
"Uh, Red, you're drooling…that's kinda gross." Yuffie cocked an eyebrow at the fire cat. He snorted at her, embarrassed by his momentary lapse. Yuffie chuckled and cut him a rather large slice of one of the pies that had been cooling on the rack above him. "Don't say I never gave you nothin'." She winked.
"Yuffie! Don't let him fill up on pie before we eat!" Tifa chided from the other room.
Yuffie spun around, half expecting her to be right behind her. "How did you know?!"
"I felt a disturbance in the pies…quit feeding him before dinner." She could tell Tifa was smiling, she could hear it in her voice. Yuffie smiled and shrugged at Nanaki as he finished his slice in two bites.
"She's good…I'll give her that." And with that she returned to her pie making, sending Nanaki to bother Marlene and Denzel.
24. Solace- If being the last of his species hadn't been enough, losing Bugenhagen had been a test to his will to go on. Yuffie had been a perfect source of comfort and had been there day and night for him, seeing as how she had dealt with this herself and they were, technically, around the same age she seemed the most logical choice.
"It isn't the end, Red, you still have us. We'll always be here for you…we're your family." She spoke softly, running her fingers through his mane. "Besides, you know Bugenhagen wouldn't want you to mourn his death…we should be celebrating his life." Nanaki slowly lifted his head, meeting her gaze.
"You're right…" He stood slowly, shaking the dust off, glancing back at Yuffie. "How soon could everyone be here."
Yuffie smiled brightly at him. "They've been here the whole time, just in case you needed them. He felt a great swell of love for his friends in that moment. He should have known they wouldn't be able to stay away when he was hurting…
25. Change- Over the years they had all changed dramatically. Yuffie was ruling Wutai, and doing a pretty good job of it. She was currently carrying her first child and happily married to her silent gunman. Tifa was busy working on her third child, which Cloud secretly hoped was a girl.
Cid and Shera opened a flight school, their daughters among the first twelve students.
Reeve had finally settled down with a lovely woman from Kalm.
Barrett had, after three years of watching Marlene and Denzel grow closer and deeper in love, finally agreed to let her marry. She was twenty two and to his delight, wouldn't go against his wishes. Denzel didn't mind, he could understand a little of what Barrett felt when he thought of Marlene in a white dress and walking down the isle. His little girl had finally grown up and had become an incredible woman.
Nanaki had found another fire cat, in fact he found a whole tribe, and had been welcomed as a long lost loved one finally rejoining the fold. He introduced them to Avalanche and the people of Cosmo Canyon, who welcomed them as warmly as they had accepted Nanaki. Within two years he had found a mate and fathered three cubs…
The change came slowly and less than willingly. It had been a struggle from start to finish, but at every reunion they all agreed it had been worth every step they took to get there, even though it had been pushing molasses up a sandy hill, or pulling teeth, losing loved ones, and putting the will to survive to the test. It was a victory to top all others…they had fulfilled their promise to one young woman who had selflessly given everything she had just to see the day everyone found their peace.
Totally random, sort of…I got the idea from a prompt board I saw, and I didn't want to steal anyone's ideas so I just picked 25 random words. Enjoy…review if it suits you.