Author's Comments: It's finally here you guys. The last chapter of Heartbreakers. I remember starting this as a senior in high school and now I'm a second year at university. Time really does fly. It's amazing actually. It took me so long to write this chapter because I wanted everything to flow perfectly.
Right now, I'm on the verge of tears. Never before have I had such a response to a story. The friends I've come across here are wonderful and I wish you all the best. Don't worry, I'll still be writing. In fact, there will be a sneak peak of the sequel Sins and an Absolution coming up in the next couple of days so don't worry! I won't leave the story where it ends off. That would be unfair.
I wanna thank the readers, those who have emailed me, those who have alerted myself and the story and the reviewers animechick247, Sarah K.R. , Princess Nexda the fighter, Sayonara Yasashii Akumu, Khaotic Kal, Kanika Meskhenet, ventus4ever, KittyFox1, Kira Carmen, ShatterTheHeavens, Frooky90, rawrrbreee, Lazyxafternoons, Queen Micky, and Jinxfrost14.
I know I've said this like 57 times, but you guys are amazing. Really, you are. I hope you all stick around for the sneak peak coming up in a few days and for my other stories. Now that I have a week off, I'll be able to crank out some chapters soon.
Once again, thanks you guys and take care. Leave a comment and enjoy!
I will not stand by this time and watch my future crumble before me.
The doctor walked side by side with Tifa and tapped on the door to Jasmine's hospital room with her ballpoint pen.
"She's unstable," the doctor tucked the pen away in her coat pocket. She carefully observed Jasmine's odd behavior and leaned against the doorframe. Riku's mother had connections with the hospital and insisted that Jasmine be placed in one of the largest (and most secluded) rooms available in that wing with nurses checking in on her every hour on the hour.
"I'm afraid she might be a danger to herself and others." The doctor took a quick glance at her clipboard, studying it carefully.
Tifa refused to believe the claim. "No," she shook her head. Tifa recognized that smirk. "She's just thinking—Jasmine is NOT insane."
"We found her on the floor in the hallway laughing maniacally." The doctor seemed reluctant to continue with her explanation but did so anyway for the sake of Jasmine's guardian. "We had to sedate her. Jasmine kept screaming something about 'He is coming' and 'Gentleman' and 'not this time' to herself before she went unconscious. It was …unsettling to say the least."
Tifa leaned against the glass. 'It'll only be for a while,' she told herself for the twentieth time that day. 'It's for her own good.' She bit her bottom lip. "We're sending her to live with Vincent Valentine, her uncle, for a while. We figure that with all that's happened she needs to get away from the island."
The doctor was curious. "Oh? How is he with Jasmine?"
Tifa zipped up her hoodie. "Vincent is….quiet. Very quiet," she stressed, "and he's a bit of a loner. However, he cares about Jasmine more than anyone else in the world. In addition to that, Vincent Valentine is part of SOLDIER. Jasmine will be safe with him."
It was quite clear that Tifa did not want to give Jasmine up.
"Everything WILL work out, trust me." The doctor offered a small smile to comfort and console Tifa.
"I certainly hope so."
My sanity is slipping slowly but I will use that to my advantage.
"Be careful," a nurse advised. She led Jasmine's parents to an empty visiting room where Jasmine sat, back facing them. Jasmine was seated on the bench facing the window. The girl was so still that it was as if she were made of stone. It wasn't just odd, it was also very eerie.
The nurse held the door open for the Silva family. "She still isn't speaking much. Don't do anything to aggravate her," she advised cautiously.
Mr. Silva frowned. "I think I can handle my own daughter," he replied curtly.
The skittish nurse left without another word. She didn't want to have to face those angry hazel eyes any longer than absolutely necessary.
Sofia walked over to her daughter first, looking like she was approaching a tiger in it's cage. There was something very disturbing about the way Jasmine sat in her frozen state. It like Sofia expected the girl to pounce like a fierce predator with no warning at any moment.
"Jasmine," Sofia called softly. "It's me, honey."
Jasmine did not move, not even for the sound of her mother's voice.
Sofia took a seat on the bench where Jasmine was. She cleared her throat and tried to get a good look at her daughter. She noticed that Jasmine's hair was several inches shorter than when it was when she left with Vanitas. "You're hair looks good," she offered, reaching out to touch her hair only to pull her hand back before she could continue the act. "But then again, you're a beautiful girl to begin with. Hair doesn't matter."
Jasmine licked her lips and in a dark, low voice she said, "Funny how quickly you seemed to change your mind." She paused, "Too bad you couldn't change your minds about Vanitas. Maybe then I'd be in decent shape instead of stuck in some hospital."
Sofia's eyes widened in fear at the darkness of her child's tone of voice. It was definitely evil. "We were wrong," she started slowly. "We came here to apologize."
Jasmine closed her eyes and smiled. "I don't think that quite covers it."
Mr. Silva didn't appreciate Jasmine's tone. "Vanitas was insane. How was I supposed to know things would turn out like this?"
A sigh escaped Jasmine's lips. "Times like these make me almost wish I let Vanitas run you dry. You failed horribly as a father."
A mask of horror appeared on Sofia's face. "Young lady!"
"Oh shut up," Jasmine said calmly, yet sharply, causing Sofia to silence herself. "The things I went through with the two of you and Vanitas almost put me in my grave. From your gross negligence, to his obsessive behavior, I'm surprised I'm still alive right now."
Mr. Silva stood in front of Jasmine, not even caring about her fragile state. "It's clear that you've had too much freedom here on the island. We're taking you back with us and you will finish out your senior year at an all-girls school."
Jasmine cracked her neck loudly and pulled on the hem of her white, hospital shorts. "If you think I'm coming to live with you, you're as insane as Vanitas is."
Sofia could see that her husband was getting angrier by the second. If this continued any longer, Mr. Silva might just strike the girl despite the fact that she was still under hospital care. "We should all calm down and take a deep breath. Jasmine," she turned to her daughter, "apologize to your father for being disrespectful."
She puckered her lips out. "Words mean little to me anymore. And if anything, you two should be the ones apologizing. I'm sure you've been made aware of everything Vanitas did to me. Tell me father, how does it feel to know you tried to sell your daughter off to some creep who beat her and sexually abused her on a regular basis?"
"Jasmine," Sofia warned, noticing that her husband's face was turning red.
"Tell me: how does it feel knowing that the daughter you shunned for all those years had to save your ass to keep you from going broke? I'd say that you should feel like a complete idiot but then again," Jasmine stared at her father hatefully and then her expression softened, "you probably can't fathom feeling such emotions."
Mr. Silva fell silent then and sighed. He tried and tried to find the girl he had known for so long who was silent, reserved, calm and rational but she was completely lost to him. The Jasmine he was looking at now was teetering over the edge of insanity, just like his previous protégée.
Jasmine rotated her wrist. "I need a break from everything and everyone so I can get myself together." She stared at her feet. "I want you both to leave me alone for a while."
"What are you talking about?" Sofia asked. "We're your parents."
"I don't care," her voice became strained and weak. "Leave me in peace and then maybe we can talk. I can't even look at you right now."
Mr. Silva reached out and grabbed Jasmine's arm, only to be swiftly knocked back on a bench. Jasmine had begun violently screaming and smacked her father clear across his face, stunning him and his wife.
Jasmine was livid now. "GET OUT!" She shouted at the top of her lungs, staggering back while pointing an accusing index finger at her father.
Several nurses stormed into the waiting room and dragged a frantic Jasmine away from the scene. The doctor who had been watching Jasmine at the moment entered and pointed to the door, eyes narrowed at Jasmine's family.
"You two must leave, NOW," she stressed. "Clearly you're aggravating her condition. It'd be wise to leave before you cause any more trouble."
Without another word, Mr. Silva left the room and disappeared. Meanwhile Sofia had watched as the nurses restrained Jasmine and injected her with a sedative. 'What have we done?'
You bring me up, you bring me down and I just can't get enough of it.
Sora yawned and stretched out on the sofa in his downstairs game room. Once again, he'd fallen asleep with the TV on. Today was a lazy day despite all the activity going on upstairs. His mother and the hired help were preparing for their yearly Christmas party. With the party preparations, visits from family and friends, the mansion was busier than ever.
The boy yawned once more and rolled on his stomach. He couldn't wait for the holiday. All his friends and family would be at the house celebrating another Christmas together. Sora didn't care much for the gifts he received—he already had everything he could have ever wanted. But this time around Jasmine, his newly appointed older sister, would be coming home from the hospital.
Everything would be perfect.
'It has to be perfect,' he thought dreamily.
A familiar, dark chuckle filled the silence in the room. "Damn, Sora, are you always so lazy?"
Sora shot up from the couch and frantically searched the basement for the all-too-familiar voice that mocked him.
And then Sora spotted him, sitting on top of a pool table while turning the white ball in his left hand.
"I'm calling the police," Sora told him, glaring at the older boy fiercely. He ran for his cell phone that sat on the end of the table in the middle of the room.
Vanitas raised his hand. "Don't even bother, I'm leaving soon."
"You've got a lot of nerve to show up here after all that you did to Jasmine," Sora growled, stopping before he picked up his phone.
Vanitas chuckled. "Me and Jasmine had a lot of fun together, didn't we?"
Sora frowned. "You're sick."
The dark-haired older boy nonchalantly shrugged his shoulders. "So is she. You just won't accept it yet. But," Vanitas set the ball down and hopped off the table, "that's not why I came."
Sora balled his fists. "Then why are you here? How did you get past security in the first place?"
Vanitas smirked. "You should know by now that I can get past anyone and anything to get what I want. I just don't give a damn."
"I'd leave if I were you," Sora warned, backing up, "one call and the police will be here to arrest you."
"Don't worry little cousin, I'll be gone in a bit." Vanitas then narrowed his eyes and smiled. "I just want to give you a heads up: I'll be back for Riku. He and I have a score to settle."
Sora's eyes widened in horror. "What did he ever do to you?"
"Jasmine seems a bit…distracted. I figure I should remove him from her path to clear her vision."
"YOU WON'T LAY A HAND ON RIKU!" Sora yelled fiercely.
Vanitas cocked an eyebrow at Sora's outburst. "Didn't know you had any bark…"
"I want you to leave Riku and Jasmine alone," Sora told him once more. "They don't wanna have anything to do with you."
Vanitas chuckled. "Well I can't say the same for Jasmine. We have a bit of unfinished business to take care of." He paused and crossed his arms over his chest. "She owes me a great deal for that stunt she pulled a while ago with my money."
Sora grumbled, "Jasmine should have taken you for all you're worth. You didn't deserve her."
"There's still a matter of twenty million," Vanitas dismissed Sora's statement. "I'm still going to get it from her one way or another."
"Ha! Like you'll be able to outsmart her," Sora smirked. "She beat you the last time, what makes you think it'll happen again?"
Vanitas fell silent for a moment. "You seem sure of yourself."
"I know so. You won't get away with half crap you pulled last time."
"Oh? Is that so?" Vanitas took a step toward Sora. "Care to make a little wager?"
Sora blinked. "Wager?"
"Are you stupid or something? A bet dumbass," Vanitas quipped.
"I know what it is," Sora growled.
"Good. Seeing as you seem confident in both Jasmine and Riku, I say we make a bet here." Vanitas cleared his throat and leaned against the pool table. "I'll disappear for a while. You won't hear anything from me and neither will anyone else. If Jasmine and Riku manage to outsmart me the second time around—which I highly doubt—I'll turn myself in to the police."
Sora couldn't believe Vanitas. There was no way he'd actually turn himself over to the authorities. "You're lying."
"I'm not done," Vanitas continued, "however, if I manage to get a hold of Jasmine and Riku," his eyes glowed dangerously, "you'll have to be the one to pay Jasmine's debt."
Sora understood the magnitude of the situation. It wasn't just Jasmine involved now. It was Riku and himself. He and Vanitas had always been at odds for as far back as he could remember. In addition to that, Vanitas knew how much Sora would inherit in the future from his parents. It was as if he was taking out anyone and everyone who would stand in his way.
"I don't have all day Sora. Make a choice."
Sora swallowed hard. "Will you promise to leave Riku and Jasmine alone?"
"I can't speak for Jasmine seeing as we have a different deal, but I can promise that I'll leave you and Riku alone."
Vanitas held up his hand to stop Sora. "That's between me and my fiancée." He then extended that same hand to Sora. "Do we have a deal, little cousin?"
Sora stared at Vanitas' hand. He had no choice but to agree. But this is where he had the advantage. Now he would have time to come up with a good plan to stop Vanitas once and for all.
"I mean—" Vanitas interrupted Sora's thoughts, "we can sweeten the deal." Vanitas reached into his pocket and pulled out a picture of Sora, Roxas and Kairi, "If you don't go through with this, I can go after that sweet little redhead you seem to be fond of as well."
Sora's face paled instantly and he felt himself swaying on his feet.
"I've seen her around. She really is quite pretty. Not as attractive as my Jasmine, but she's still a cute girl."
"You won't touch Kairi or any of my friends," Sora hissed dangerously.
"All you have to do is agree with me and you won't have anything to worry about. So," he lowered his voice, "do we have a deal?"
Sora closed his eyes and exhaled deeply. Instead of fear or panic, his face was a mask of confidence. He reached out and took Vanitas' hand.
This time I'll be the one pulling the strings.
Demyx burst through the doors to Jasmine's room and threw his arms around the girl. "You IDIOT! You had me worried sick!"
Axel came in behind the blond and shook his head. "Do you think you could be a little less dramatic?"
"My girl escaped death here!" He cradled Jasmine's head in his arms. "I'm allowed to be emotional!"
The redhead leaned against the doorframe and stared at Jasmine. She was right all along. If she did happen to survive the incident, she wouldn't be the same.
"You look like hell," Axel deadpanned.
Demyx's jaw dropped and he released Jasmine. "You're so rude!"
Jasmine chuckled, causing Demyx to step aside and stare at the girl in awe. "I think that's fair enough to say. Certainly feels like it."
Axel smiled. "You know, when I first met you back when you were dating Roxas, I should've known that you were gonna be quite the handful." He studied her face and tilted her chin up with an index finger. Her eyes were wild and (what seemed to be) a permanent smirk was present on her face. "You look older too. You're not that little kid anymore."
Jasmine silenced herself. "It's so strange the effect one person can have on another," she began, placing an index finger on one of her temples and staring off blankly.
Demyx blinked and sat down next to her. He took her free hand and held it. "Are you talking about Vanitas?"
She nodded. "And a few others as well," Jasmine answered. "I never expected myself to be the type of person to be influenced by the people around me. And now look—all of you have left your mark on me."
Axel stared at her intently. "Who are you now?"
Demyx stared at Axel curiously. "What the heck kinda question is that?"
The redhead pointed to the raven-haired, battered teen. "She knows what I'm talking about."
Jasmine's shoulders slumped. "I'm just trying to find my way to a happy medium. I know I'm not that innocent little girl who first arrived to the island and I accept it. It's natural to mourn for the loss of your innocence amidst tragedy and heartbreak but I have to move forward." Jasmine gave a heavy, painful sigh. "And I know that the personality I developed to deal with all this is still creeping around."
Axel rubbed his eyes right where his tattoos were. This whole event had been more taxing than he had anticipated. "I know what you're talking about. But the thing is, you always had that separate personality hiding inside of you. It's yours. But you're determined to not live your life in the way that you have in the past so you shouldn't give it much thought. You survived by going off what YOU think is best. I'd be pretty damn proud of myself if I were you."
Demyx's face was blank.
Axel rolled his eyes dramatically and Jasmine cracked a smile.
"You guys crack me up," she said with a monotone voice.
Demyx placed a hand on her shoulders. "It's too bad you're in the hospital. I wanted you to perform with me on Christmas Day." The blond grimaced. "Instead I'm with some newcomer who firmly believes that she is your replacement."
Jasmine raised an eyebrow. "I'm not famous, Demyx. It's not like I've been out there in the industry for very long. Besides, it's not like I have a distinctive style to begin with."
Demyx jumped to his feet. "Are you kidding? You're the sweet and sexy girl who goes for the dark pop/rock with class and a killer voice! Of COURSE you have style!" He began to pout. "I can't believe Angela stuck me with her. But then again, you're still bandaged up and sick. I'm not gonna ask you to get up onstage and sing for my sake," he finished dramatically, falling over the girl.
The redhead smirked. "You're subtle. The girl just got over a traumatic experience. Give her some time."
Jasmine let the thought sink in. She'd heard the whispers around her over the past few days. Things were going to change very soon. There was a good chance wouldn't even be on the island and she wouldn't be able to sing or see her friends and family again.
"What time do I have to be there?"
Even if I lose myself it has to be done.
Sora, Riku, Kairi and Roxas pulled up to the hospital and checked the car into the parking lot.
Kairi got out first and unlocked the trunk, pulling out a giant brown teddy bear. She handed the bear to Riku and then handed Sora a purple gift bag. Once everything was out of the trunk of Roxas' car, she shut it and the four of them headed to the front.
Sora skipped ahead of everyone else. "My sister is finally out of the hospital!" He yelled, practically beaming at the thought.
Riku snickered. In his arms he held a gorgeous bouquet of purple roses. "Stop running before you trip, hurt yourself and end up in a hospital bed yourself."
Roxas and Kairi laughed while Sora halted in his tracks, right in front of the entrance.
"You guys are evil," Sora whimpered.
Kairi walked up to his side. "I didn't say anything," she offered.
"You were probably laughing internally," he argued weakly.
Before Kairi could open her mouth, Riku butted in. "Exactly."
The brown-haired boy rolled his eyes dramatically. "Shut up. Let's just get Jasmine out of this hospital. It's Christmas and I'm sure she's sick of looking at those white walls."
"I agree," Roxas chimed in. "When I got my tonsils taken out, I thought I was going to lose my mind."
Sora recalled the incident. "I remember. You were calling Naminé over every chance you got."
Roxas blushed a bit at the memory. "Hospitals suck." He walked over to the receptionist's desk. "I wonder how Jasmine has been able to survive it this long…"
Riku fell silent at the back of the group. A few days ago, when he had gone to check in on Jasmine, he had been stopped by the nurses and came about some startling news.
"What do you mean I can't see her?" Riku asked, clearly confused by what the doctor said. He was standing at the receptionist's desk with the same doctor who had cared for Jasmine and two other nurses.
The doctor shook her head. "I'm sorry, Riku. I know you've been here for weeks, constantly supporting Jasmine…however…" her voice trailed off.
Riku shifted the weight to his other foot and stuck his hands in his pockets. "'However' what?"
She held the clipboard to her chest. "We don't think it would be a good idea for you to see her at this time."
Riku's eyes widened. "Did something happen to her? Is she okay?"
The doctor hesitated. She had been advised by the police to not share any information regarding the incident with the girl's ex-fiancee. Despite the fact that the hospital had state of the art security, Vanitas had managed to sneak in and send the girl into a fit. Now the hospital moved Jasmine to a more heavily guarded area. If word of the incident got out, it could ruin the hospital's reputation.
"Jasmine isn't feeling well right now," she repeated once more.
Riku was becoming irritated. He knew the doctors were keeping something from him. "I'll stay here as long as I need to find out what happened. And even if I you don't tell me, someone else in a higher position will." It was rare that Riku exerted his social status to get what he wanted but if Faye was involved, he'd be more than willing to step out of character.
The doctor tensed up. She knew who Riku was and his family. Conceivably he could find out whatever he needed. All he had to do was make a phone call and that was it.
"Excuse me for a moment," she stepped from the receptionist's desk and motioned for Riku to follow her. Riku nodded and tailed after her. She was moving quite fast down a hall he had never seen before.
After a silent walk for a few, the doctor spoke. "You know, I've never seen a boy your age care so much for a girl in my life. Not even most couples are this dedicated to their loved ones."
Riku did not answer. He watched carefully as they came to a door with some sort of security lock near the door handle.
"We checked the security tapes," she typed in the code and a beeping sound was heard. "Vanitas found Jasmine the other night and came into her room. We found her in the hallway a total wreck."
Riku froze on the spot, his anger rising. "What? How could he even get inside? The security knows to be on the lookout!"
She whipped around and told him to be quiet. "Yes we know that. For some reason, one of the main cameras malfunctioned and so we only have footage of him leaving the hospital. We're still trying to figure out why the cameras failed like that." They came to another security door down another hall and she punched in another access code. "We don't know exactly what happened between them, all we know was that she was out in the hall and had a weapon to protect herself."
Riku balled his fists. He had hoped and prayed that Vanitas would have been caught by now. He saw pictures of the wreck. From the damage to the front, Vanitas should not have survived. But then again, Jasmine shouldn't have survived either.
"And what happened after that?"
"…we had to sedate her. She's not in good shape at all."
Riku's heart dropped. How could the situation get any worse? 'She was already almost on the brink of death.'
They came to a room with a large glass window from floor to ceiling. That particular hospital room was extremely large yet empty save for several monitors and the bed that was right next to the glass. But what interested Riku the most was the girl sitting on top of the bed looking more like a broken- down doll than an actual human being.
Jasmine was bundled up in the covers, completely oblivious to the fact that Riku was standing right next to her through the glass. Her head was tilted back and her empty eyes seemed to be fixated on the ceiling with her lips parted slightly. Her breathing, Riku noticed, was very uneven and her skin was very clammy. It seemed as though all the progress she made in recuperating had gone to waste. She was back to how she was when she first arrived.
"We were considering letting her go early, but we can't let her go. Not like this…" She cleared her throat. "Jasmine is unstable right now. She doesn't need anything startling her." She turned to Riku. "I'm sorry, but that's just how it has to be."
"She's GONE?" Sora yelled at the top of his lungs. Riku and Roxas shot each other worried and confused glances at the outburst.
The young receptionist covered her ears. Sora was a lot louder than he probably intended. "Yes she's gone. Faye was checked out at around nine in the morning—two hours ago."
Kairi looked to Roxas. "That's weird. Tifa said we could pick her up. I don't understand."
"It wasn't Tidus or Selphie," Sora told the group, turning his back on the receptionist. "They're back at my place setting up the game room."
A wave of dread washed over Riku. He brushed past Sora and the others to get to the front desk. "What did the person look like who brought her home?"
The receptionist blushed. The young man standing before her was extremely attractive. "Umm, h-he was blond, h-had on sunglasses," she stumbled over her words a bit, "like a celebrity or something."
Riku looked over his shoulder. "Do you guys know anyone like that?"
Sora pointed to Roxas. "Other than this dude, no."
"Oh!" The nurse exclaimed. "And there was a redhead with them too." Her blush deepened. "He was really attractive as well."
"Where could she be?" Kairi asked, clearly sounding concerned.
"She seemed to know them if that helps. They all seemed to be laughing as she left the hospital." She reached into a desk and pulled out a small white envelope. "The blond one told me to give you guys these and to come to Traverse Square at two o'clock."
Despite gaining this new information, Riku was still on pins and needles. He took the envelope from the receptionist, thanked her and then headed for the exit only to be trailed by the others.
"Should we call Tifa?" This question came from Roxas.
"We have to. If she's not there at the house then Tifa is clearly going to have a problem with all this. Let's give her a call now."
"I hope she's alright."
And even though it kills me to do this, I'll do it only because I love you.
"I don't get it," Demyx watched as the makeup artist applied Jasmine's eyeshadow. "Why don't you have the scars covered up?" The two were backstage at Traverse Square getting ready for a concert.
Jasmine was wearing a completely backless dress revealing the carving Vanitas put in her skin. Despite the protests of the makeup artists and wardrobe staff, Jasmine refused to cover up the rather grotesque scars. She jumped to her feet, winced a bit and shook it off.
"It's not like they're going away anytime soon. Besides, they serve as a reminder," she told the blond. Jasmine held out the poufy skirt of her gray dress. "Well," she gave a turn, "what do you think?"
Jasmine was wearing a short, gray, collared halter dress with a black, lacy bandeau top underneath it. She kept some of the bandages on her legs simply for the fact that those wounds might open during the concert. Over those were black, lacy, thigh high socks and she had black, fingerless gloves on her hands and a white bow-tie around her neck with knee high combat boots.
Once Demyx saw how bad the scars were, he tried to talk Jasmine out of the concert. Something about her didn't seem…right. There was definitely something going on with Jasmine but no matter how many times he asked, she would always say that she was fine. He figured he could have a talk with her once they were done performing.
"You look amazing," he beamed, keeping his thoughts carefully hidden. Demyx stood up and gave her a hug, being ever so careful as to not put any extra pressure on her back. "Now," he pulled back her bangs, "let's give them a show."
The pain in your eyes is impossible to ignore.
Sora, Riku, Kairi, Roxas, Naminé, Selphie, Tidus, and Tifa's group headed down to the Traverse Square. There were thousands of people all crowded around a stage in the middle of the square. Luckily, Selphie had managed to get them through so that they were all fairly close to the front of the stage.
"I don't get it," The brunette called, "why isn't Jasmine in the hospital?"
Zack frowned. "That girl is too unpredictable."
Aerith put her hand on his shoulder. "She's probably going to be here enjoying the concert. After all, it is Demyx performing. His Christmas concerts are huge."
"She shouldn't be out in all this," Tifa said sternly, "she's not well enough."
Yuffie turned to face Tifa. This was one of the first times that she'd ever seen the young woman so serious. "Does she know Vincent is coming to take her after Christmas?" Yuffie made sure to say this low enough to where no one besides Tifa could hear her.
Tifa sighed. "I haven't had the chance to tell her yet."
The raven-haired woman whispered in Tifa's ear, "You're doing the right thing. Don't stress about it, okay?"
The roar of the fans in the square silenced the group. Within moments, the band began to play and the dancers stormed the lower half of the stage. While the crowd was in awe by the performance put on by background performers, Riku scanned the crowd for any sign of his girlfriend.
'You'd better not be hurt,' he thought, frowning as he did so.
A familiar song blared through the speakers and (if it seemed at all possible) the crowd went even wilder, especially when a familiar blond-haired musician stormed the stage with his trademark guitar in hand.
Demyx, ever the performer, introduced himself to all those in the square with a classic smile that melted the hearts of all those watching. After that, he went straight into one of the songs that were on his newest album that had yet to be released. Despite holding a guitar and singing, he still walked down an aisle into the crowd and interacted with them, never missing a beat or slipping on a note. There was a reason why he was one of the most successful musicians of his time.
The pain to see you in this way breaks me.
After thirty minutes and still no sight of Jasmine, Sora was now on pins and needles. He yanked the nearest person, who happened to be Roxas, and pulled him close.
"I'm gonna go through the crowd to see if I can find her!" He screamed, trying to speak above the crowd.
Roxas nodded. "If she's in this mess, she could be hurt. We'd better go find her!"
Sora and Roxas grabbed Riku, telling him of their plan and he offered to go with them. "It'll be easier if we all go. This crowd is too big to find one person!"
As soon as the crowd calmed considerably, Demyx was now standing on the far right hand side of the stage facing the audience. He sat on a stood and handed one of his dancers his guitar. Still smiling despite jumping around on a stage and singing for thirty minutes straight, he did not show any signs of fatigue whatsoever.
"Are you all enjoying the show?" He asked the audience, getting a roar of screams in response.
"It's been a crazy year," he continued, "I'm not gonna lie to you and say that everything was easy. But throughout the year, there have been a lot of positives."
Sora darted for the opposite side of the stage while Roxas headed for where Demyx was. Riku decided to head toward the aisle that split the crowd in half, searching desperately for Jasmine.
"I got to meet so many of my fans in person," Demyx repositioned himself on the stool, "I was able to tour in places I never expected to, and I came across some people I now hold near and dear to me."
Once the screams died down, Demyx continued.
"I met a girl this year," Demyx said thoughtfully, looking into the cloudy sky up above. It was starting to sprinkle a bit but he didn't let this stop him. "This girl," he chuckled, "was one hell of a surprise. See, she was this quiet, shy bookworm who didn't have much to say when we first met. Very pretty," he pointed out, "but very quiet."
The stage lights began to dim and on the opposite side it was completely pitch black.
"After a couple of hours, I realized that she had a real fiery personality, a sick ass voice, and piano skills I wish I had. THIS girl," he was very firm when he said this, "is the strongest woman I've ever met and will ever meet in my life and because of her, one of my singles shattered records all over the world."
The crowd was quieter now, wondering who in the world Demyx could be talking about.
Demyx pointed to the screen behind him and the music video for "Heartbreakers" appeared from the very beginning. Once Jasmine appeared on the screen, the crowd went wild and cheered.
"Faye has been feeling very sick so performing is impossible at this point." All those in the audience sighed while Jasmine's family and friends looked to each other with wild, bewildered expressions plastered on their faces. Demyx scanned over the audience and soon, the sound of a piano filled in the area. He smiled then. "BUT with her being incredibly strong as an individual, she's also stubborn as hell."
Demyx then slipped into a piano version of the song "Heartbreakers" and sang softly to the audience. He then looked over to the other side of the stage as soon as his verse was over, smiled and pulled the mic away from his face.
The other side of the stage was now lit and the mystery piano player was now revealed to all. Jasmine sat at a white, grand piano and sang the chorus to Demyx, holding back her powerful voice to the point where it was almost a whisper.
All of Jasmine's friends and family froze at the sight of the girl sitting on the stage, belting out flawless notes and performing for thousands of people.
"Oh my God," Tifa whispered, awed, shocked and excited all at the same time.
Riku froze amidst the crowd and stared at the close up image of Jasmine on the screen.
Sora and Roxas reunited, the two of them smiling at each other and giving themselves high-fives.
"That's our girl," Sora beamed.
Once Jasmine was done with the chorus, she stood up and slowly walked over to Demyx who did the same, singing to him with a loving expression in her eyes. She pulled the mic from the stand off the piano and continued on her way towards him, fear shaking her to the core but determined to not let it show.
'I hope you're watching,' Jasmine thought as she stared at Demyx with a mental image of Riku burned into her mind.
Soon, Jasmine and Demyx were standing in front of each other, holding hands as they did so. Once the song was over, the music died down and cheering resumed.
Demyx grinned. "Kill em," he told her sternly, loud enough for everyone to hear.
A familiar smirk crept up on Jasmine's face. The music to one of her songs began to play and she nodded her head. Jasmine playfully pushed him aside. "With pleasure," she answered.
From the moment the guitarist began digging into the strings and the percussionists hammered away at the beats, Jasmine felt as if her body was charged with energy she never knew she had. It was all too surreal, like one of her dreams. But this time, she knew that this was no dream.
"I know I've been gone for a while," she told the screaming fans, "things have been crazy and I know I've been gone for a while. But I'm gonna make it up to you, right now!"
With that, the musicians flipped the script on everyone in the square and a brand new song no one had heard before began to play. This one, another rock/pop fused tune blasted through the speakers and Jasmine headed down the aisle, singing one of her original, unreleased songs from when she first began with Angela's group.
Jasmine performed at the level of a seasoned musician. Her energy was above and beyond, her vocals were on point and her dancing was phenomenal. She continued to travel down the aisle, bending down to shake the hands of her male and female fans as she went.
Tears streamed down Tifa's face. 'My daughter…'
Aerith noticed this and threw her arms around Tifa, watching Yuffie, Zack and Jasmine's friends scream as loud as they could for their friend. "She's going to be just fine."
Once the concert was over and the crowd had dispersed, only Jasmine's group remained. After Tifa spotted Angela talking to a man in a black suit on the stage, the group was then allowed past security to get onstage.
After Angela and that man finished their conversation, Riku stormed up to his mother with a wild look on his face. "How could you NOT tell me this was gonna happen?"
Angela winced at the volume of her son's voice. "It was a last minute thing," she admitted sheepishly, "but I bet you liked it, huh?"
Kairi, Naminé and Selphie ran up to Angela. "Can we see her?" They all said in unison.
Angela laughed at their eagerness. She pointed to the black curtain behind her. "Jasmine's taking off her makeup, go for it."
With that, the kids dashed backstage while the adults stood on the aisle.
"That's some girl you've got there," Angela said to Tifa. "I'm glad she's got a mother like you to look out for her."
Tifa smiled bashfully at the comment. "Actually, I can't take credit for what Jasmine has done. Everything you saw out there was all her."
Angela put a hand on Tifa's shoulder. "The man I was talking to, wants to have Jasmine tour with Demyx after his next album comes out in a few weeks. It'll be a summer tour so she won't be missing anything with university."
"Good," Aerith said.
"We'd kinda like her to have SOMEWHAT of a normal childhood," Zack agreed.
Tifa shook her head. "You're wrong," she looked to Zack, "she's not a child anymore. And Jasmine was never normal to begin with."
The kids got backstage to see Demyx hovering over someone stretched out on a black sofa.
"Her and normal don't belong in the same sentence," Tifa added.
Riku smiled at the sight before him, taking a place next to Demyx. Jasmine was lying on the couch with her knees pulled to her chest, sleeping soundly, still with her outfit and makeup on.
"Take her home," Demyx told Riku.
"You should come by my house for our family's Christmas party," Sora said, "I mean," he added hastily, "if you aren't busy you know…"
"Are you kidding?" Demyx was all smiles. "I'd love to!"
Riku carefully picked up Jasmine and carried her bridal style down the steps with their friends following closely behind.
Tifa watched as Riku carried her daughter away. 'She's beyond anything I've ever come across in my life.'
Someone like me never learned how to love. I finally did and the pain following it was immeasurable.
Riku walked with Jasmine back towards his house. It was rather cool outside, even for one in the morning but the heat from Jasmine's body kept him content. She was finally back.
"You scared us shitless when you weren't at the hospital," he told her again.
Jasmine smiled weakly. "My apologies," she replied, holding tight to his hand as they walked up the driveway to his home. "It was just something I had to do."
Once the couple was let inside, Riku took her face in his hands and kissed her softly. "Fine. But don't do that again. I almost had a heart-attack."
Jasmine inhaled, thankful that the house was dark so that he couldn't see her face. "Are you sure your parents are fine with me spending the night?"
Riku rolled his eyes and led her up the stairs to the guest bedroom. "My parents adore you. Of course they don't mind." Once they were near the bedroom, he stopped, causing her to come to a complete stop.
"What's wrong?" she whispered.
Without warning, Riku took her into a tender, tight embrace as if he were afraid to let her go. "I thought you were going to die." In response, Jasmine buried her face in his chest and latched her arms around his torso. "Especially when we found out that Vanitas was still alive."
"I'm not afraid of him," she said into his chest. "He will be caught."
"I should have seen all the signs ahead of time," Riku continued. "I should have never let him harm you. I don't care if I would have been killed."
Jasmine pulled back and punched him square in the chest. "Shut up! If you would have died, everyone would have been devastated! Don't talk like your life isn't important! It's more important to me than mine."
Under the light from the shadows of the moon was Riku able to get a good clear view of her face. The fatigue and exhaustion was clear on her face. It was as if she was still a ghost of her former self. Even her speech was tighter and more controlled. Jasmine was still not at ease.
"You need to be more quiet," Riku advised. "We don't want my parents waking up."
Still, Jasmine was on edge. "If you say something that stupid again, I'll—"She was silenced when Riku stole her lips with another kiss. Only this one was more passionate, heated and love driven with a hint of desperation than any other kiss Jasmine had in her lifetime. Once it was done, Jasmine's breathing was ragged and heavy.
"Shut up," he said, more playfully this time. Riku led Jasmine to her room. "When you're done, come to my bedroom. Alright?" He pushed open the door and shut it before she could cut the lights on.
Jasmine felt chills run down her spine when Riku finally left. She crossed her arms over her chest as if she were hugging herself. 'Something is happening,' she realized. After calming herself down, Jasmine cut on the lights to the guest bedroom to find that it had been completely filled with purple roses everywhere. Everything in the room was in a lavish, purple and gold theme down to the bedsheets, carpet and the walls. There on the king-sized bed was a box and a letter sitting on top of it. Carefully, Jasmine hopped onto the bed (her back was killing her) and sat on her knees in front of it.
Just as she reached for the letter, her phone vibrated violently, startling her. Feeling as if a weight dropped in her stomach, she swallowed the feeling and opened the text message. Jasmine's lips began to quiver and she dropped the phone to the bed.
'I can't believe this,' she said mentally, letting her head droop. 'I should have known not to expect anything good to come from this.'
With a heavy heart, Jasmine replied to the text and set the phone aside. She reached for the letter but pulled back, not wanting to know its contents just yet. Instead she opened the box to find that it was a royal purple, long sleeved, collared, nightshirt that looked as if it would reach her knees. Jasmine discarded her clothes on the side of the bed and slipped into the pajamas.
After much debate, Jasmine snatched the letter. It was from Riku.
"This might be incredibly inappropriate considering the past events. But then again, considering the events that just occurred this might be the best time to do this.
I love you more than you could ever know and I've loved you…probably longer than even I'm aware. I am not going to lose you again and at least this way, I know at least we'll be tied together in a more permanent way.
Reach into your pocket."
Jasmine did as she was instructed and was surprised when she felt something cold and metal graze her fingers. As soon as Jasmine realized what it was, her eyes began to stream tears down her face and onto her feet. She held the item and clutched it in the palm of her right hand, bolting through the door to Riku's room only to find him standing beside his bed wearing a white dress shirt, slacks, dress shoes with purple rose petals sprinkled across the room.
Riku felt his heart racing as he saw Jasmine hold up the engagement ring he had given her with a shaky hand. It was similar to the ring he'd given her on her birthday except the purple diamond was much larger and across the white gold band were tiny, numerous diamonds that glittered even under the dim lighting.
"Y-You…" she said, voice trembling with tears continuing to pour down her face.
"I'm not letting you go again," Riku said, finding the courage to continue on no matter what. "I won't watch you walk down the aisle with another man. I'm selfish," he slowly approached her and stopped when there was only about a foot of distance between them. "I want you for myself. But I will do anything in the world for you." Riku took her hands and stared lovingly into her eyes. "It doesn't have to be right away, but I do want it to be before we graduate from college."
Riku bent down on one knee and Jasmine felt her heart completely stop.
"Faye Silva, will you marry me?"
Jasmine tore one of her hands from Riku's and covered her mouth. Never before had she felt pain like this. Life was not supposed to be this cruel.
Still, Jasmine nodded her head while muffling her sobs.
"Yes?" Riku's eyes lit up.
Jasmine pulled her hand from her mouth long enough to give him a smile. "Y-Yes," she said shakily. "I will."
Riku took the ring from her free hand and slid it on her left hand on her ring finger. With a smile, he kissed her with all he hand and then brought her once again to him with an embrace. Jasmine continued to sob into his shirt, not even bothering to muffle her voice.
'What have I done?' she thought. 'He doesn't deserve this.' Jasmine squeezed her eyes shut and made a choice.
She looked up to him, her eyes slowly but surely drying. For the briefest moment, Riku saw a flash of agony.
"We should tell our parents," Riku said slowly, heart swelling from her answer.
Jasmine put her hand over his mouth. "Shhh," she told him softly, glad that the lights from the candles were starting to go out. She made a nod toward Riku's bed.
Jasmine did so again, this time she urged him there with her eyes.
Riku then realized what she meant and his pulse quickened. "Faye, are you sure?"
Jasmine's only response was a teasing kiss. She pulled him by the belt loops of his pants and sat him on the bed. Jasmine grabbed the candle that sat on his nightstand and closed her eyes.
'I don't deserve you,' Jasmine told herself, blowing out the light.
She set the candle down and straddled his lap, kissing him until they were both breathless. Slowly Jasmine began to strip him of his clothes and he did the same for her. Soon, the only thing left was the heat of their bodies warming them as they became intertwined in each other, their heavy breathing and heartbeats synced together perfectly and a fog of love, lust and agony that faded into the night.
I'm not sorry I loved you, but I'm sorry you loved me.
Riku shivered despite being tangled in his covers. It was as if heat was torn from his body and he began to shiver.
He never was good with the cold.
He smiled as he kept his eyes shut. His girlfriend-turned-fiancée was lying next to him. All he had to do was wrap his arms around her soft body and soon all would be well again. Riku could bury his face into her hair and latch an arm around her middle to pull her close. She wouldn't fight him like she would have when they first met. Now they were engaged and he just knew that she wanted him as much as he wanted her.
Riku's mind played over the events of the night. He had been with a girl or two before but that meant nothing. He and Jasmine made love for the first time after she accepted his wedding proposal. Nothing else in this life would top the feelings from when she said "Yes", to when they were together, and to that final kiss when they fell asleep.
He was in heaven.
Riku turned over on his side to where Jasmine should have been and was surprised to find the spot bare.
"Faye?" He called softly. Once his vision cleared, Riku realized that she was no longer in the room.
He kicked his feet over the edge of the bed and cracked his neck. 'She probably went to the bathroom or something,' Riku told himself.
Riku's eyes fell on his nightstand and oddly enough, a letter was sitting on the edge as if it were about to fall over. Knowing that he didn't leave a letter there, he picked it up and read it, his eyes widening in fear. When Riku came to the last line, he slapped the letter down and held his head in his hands, the last lines of the letter playing over and over in his head like a never-ending nightmare.
"…to spend my future with you would mean more to me than anything else but my days are numbered. I'm leaving the island. I can't tell you where or for how long. I don't even know that myself. Part of me believes I'll never come back."
The rings that Riku had given her sat on his nightstand by a lamp.
"I will not live long enough to make it to the aisle but if I could, I would do it with you. You say you care about me. I love you more than life itself and so that is why I'm giving you yours back."
Riku rubbed his eyes and cursed himself. 'This can't be happening…'
"I'd give anything to spend the rest of my life with you but I will not put you through this pain again. So I'll have to hurt you one more time. I pray it is the last."
A tear slid down Riku's cheek and the last words she wrote were now burned in his head and heart.
"I'm sorry, but I do this only because I love you."
So how's that for an ending? I really hope you guys liked it. Anywho, check out the sequel. It should be up at or before Christmas. I'm trying to publish the new story on the day that this one ended (inside of course).
I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.
All the breaks with italics were Jasmine's final thoughts leading up to the ending by the way.
Take care everyone and look out for my updates as well as Sins and an Absolution.