Title: Memory Swing
Genre : Romance, angst
Word length 894
Sypnosis They were just two strangers in a strange new town, celebrating and mourning life.
Yaoi/Yuri/Pairings: Aerith/Lexaeus (but more like Aerith/Elaeus)
Note: And the great thing is that this is my headcanon. 8D
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and its characters do not belong to me. I am doing this purely for fun, not profit.
"Is there any particular reason you're all by yourself, stranger?"
Aerith smiles at the tall man who stands by the entrance of a nearby alleyway. Behind her, a brilliant bonfire glows, silhouetting the many diverse Traverse townies who dance around it. It's been one whole year since the refugees of Radiant Garden had arrived on this then-empty world. Since then, more and more refugees have come to Traverse Town from every corner of the universe. Yuffie was the one, unsurprisingly, to suggest a celebration.
What better thing to celebrate than staying alive?
The stranger, however, seems to be on Squal- ah, Leon's side of the fence, the pessimists' side. He only shuffles awkwardly at her cheer. Probably wondering at her cheer, if Aerith had to guess his thoughts. Even she's not quite sure how she can be so happy. All she knows is that she has to keep smiling, has to stay happy for all of the people who depend on her for that reassurance that everything will be alright...
And who knows? Perhaps if she can convince herself everything will be alright, then it will be, and she can forget the pain of losing Radiant garden, of losing some of her closest friends, and of losing...
"I'm only passing through," the stranger tells her in a quiet, deep voice that is familiar but foreign. "I... wouldn't want to intrude."
She laughs at that. "Don't be silly! Everyone's welcome in Traverse Town!" Even as he hesitates, Aerith reaches for one massive hand and begins to lead him over to the bonfire. They're an odd sight: a lithe young woman all in pink practically dragging a towering, muscular man with a hooded cloak draped across his shoulders and hiding his face.
It takes a few minutes, but eventually Aerith is twisting around the flames with the other residents of Traverse Town, her new dance partner tripping into step with her. The feel of his hand over hers is so achingly familiar, and Aerith tries to catch a glimpse of his face numerous times. With the withering flames and their quick-paced dance, however, such a task is difficult. The only part of his face she manages to see is his strong jaw and dry lips.
All songs must end at on point or another and this one they dance to now is no different. It winds down, and the dancers slowly disperse, wandering off for a drink or conversation. Aerith and the stranger are among the few which linger near the edges of the fire. They are still, and Aerith trembles as she stares up into the shadows of his hood. His frame, his voice, the feel of his strong fingers curled over hers as if reluctant to let go... The entire dance felt as though she were waltzing through a memory. This man is so eerily similar to the one she was in love with back in Radiant Garden, and- She had never actually seen him die, so maybe, just maybe...
"I don't think you ever gave me your name," she says softly, her heart near breaking with hope, and he hesitates-
"Aerith! Aerith!" Yuffie's voice rises above the crackle of fire, and the young woman in question turns around, almost missing how the stranger's hands let hers slip away. Before she can question him further, Yuffie is clinging to her dress. Aerith has to untangle the young girl's fingers from the fabric before she can turn to the stranger again-
He's already gone.
Aerith's shoulders slump in disappointment while Yuffie stares up at her innocently, unaware of what she'd interrupted. Thoughts swirl in her head, chasing each other into corners. Was she right? Was that really Aeleus? Or was that just one of the many refugees of Traverse Town whom she had mistaken for her long lost lover in her desperation? Perhaps... Perhaps she's just holding onto the past too hard...
Hidden away on top of a building, the stranger watches silently as Aerith smiles weakly at the girl clinging to her dress. She walks away from the bonfire, away from him... And that's for the better, he tells himself. It really is.
A small hand delicately places itself on one of his muscular arms. A young man looks up at him through his bangs, which fall across one side of his face. There are no words spoken, but in that silence, there is understanding. Resigning himself to the darkness, the stranger steps back and away from the edge and looks at the small group gathered behind him.
Familiar faces, familiar pasts, yet their names, the details- everything is different, now. Dark haired and loud Braig is now sharp-tongued and scarred Xigbar. Sarcastic and nimble Dilan is no more, with cold Xaldin taking his place. Detail-obsessed Even and teasing Ienzo now awkwardly take on the names of Vexen and Zexion.
And of Aeleus? Aeleus died in the crumbling, burning remains of Radiant Garden. What is left is called Lexaeus.
The only one who has not changed is also the only one not among them, and somehow, none of them are surprised at Xehanort's behavior. They only cluster together, an empty gesture of comfort for a pain that is not present. Xigbar lays a hand heavily on Lexaeus' shoulder and says, "You'll get to see your girl again. Listen, man, we'll fix this, alright?"
Xaldin nods grimly in agreement while Vexen just closes in on himself, already conceiving theories and experiments, desperate solutions. It is Zexion who has the last word.
"No matter what."
Thank you for reading! Reviews and constructive criticism alike is loved, but not mandatory!