Oh~! Could it be?
Mmyes, we've reached the end of our rather long respite, dear readers. How will things turn out, I wonder...?

Also, Lady B's got something in store for you at the very end, so be sure to read the final author's comment...

"You haven't been yourself lately, Claire," Serah said softly as I guided her across the dancefloor. I winced a bit as she used my given name but I also understood that she reserved "Claire" for when she wished to discuss something particularly important on her mind.

"What do you mean?" I asked, feigning ignorance. Despite how intuitive my sister was, I didn't expect her to figure out I'd had two one-night-stands with Lebreau.

"I know that since we, well, came back, things haven't been easy for you. You were a Pulse l'Cie, and people still treat you like that."

Admittedly yes, that was part of my problem.

"But there's something else," she said looking into my eyes. The almost pained look on her face wasn't fitting of a blushing newly-wed bride. That familiar guilty ache in the pit pf my stomach returned and I forced a soft smile and shook my head, "Serah, I'm fine," I assured her. But she wasn't convinced. She gave me a stern look and moved in closer, lacing her fingers behind my neck as if to prevent me from backing away. The music had changed from a waltz to a slower song for couples. I figured it would have been more fitting for Serah to dance with her groom, but even he was busy dancing with someone--Lebreau, actually.

"Light," she said, using my preferred name as if to gain my favor. She sighed and looked down at our feet for a moment before looking back up at me, "You can't keep running away."

Don't start.

"I know I've said that you can put off your problems until another day, but Light..."

"Serah..." I said, trying my best to make it seem like there really was nothing off. I should have known better.

"Claire," she said, using a warning tone with me. I cringed again and shook my head, "There's nothing to discuss, Serah. Not tonight--this is your night."

She smirked, "Yes, and I plan on spending it with my husband. But you, Lightning..."

I sighed. She really wasn't going to let it drop.

"You're not the only one your actions are affecting."

"What's that supposed to mean?" I asked cautiously, clearly she knew more than she was letting on.

She looked down at our feet again, then back up at me, "I was listening at the door last night."

I jerked back in response, but as planned, Serah had her hands firmly locked to keep me from...

From running away...

"She loves you, Light," she said softly.

I didn't think my face could get any redder. I suddenly could hear Snow's voice much closer to us than I had before. He was talking to Sazh about ten feet away at a table--but where was Lebreau?

"Last night when you left," Serah continued as my eyes searched the room.

"It's just a little loose around the... well.. chest," I explained as I emerged from the bathroom. I looked up to see Lebreau leaning against the counter, clutching a towel until her knuckles were white while the other was wiping away frustrated tears.

"Lebreau?" I called softly. She quickly wiped away her tears with the towel and sniffled before turning to face her guest.

"Yes?" she said, acting as if nothing was off. She forced a smile, "Let me get my sewing kit."

"She hardly spoke a word the entire time I was there," Serah explained quietly, "When I asked her what was wrong, she would dodge the subject.

Where is she...? I thought in frustration, trying to keep my attention on both my sister and finding Lebreau.

"Then I brought you up."

I looked at her with full attention, I wasn't liking where things were going...

"Did Lightning ice the cake?" I asked, trying to put a smile back on Lebreau's face as she attempted to fit the dress. She offered a curt nod in response as if trying to dodge the subject again.

"I could tell," I said with a giggle, "She never really had any talent for stuff like that."

"Don't say that," Lebreau quickly cut in, "She really..."

I could tell I struck a hard note with that last comment--but at least I had found a bit of clarity.

"She really did her best," she said, pausing in her sewing as she fought tears, "She really... wanted to do a good job for y... for you, Serah."

You idiot, I thought, How could you just leave her in a mess like this?

"You're probably right," I quickly chimed in, "It doesn't matter if it's the prettiest cake."

"I don't know what you did," she started, "But you hurt her."

"If it means anything... I'm glad you're alive, Light."

I needed to find her.

Serah pulled me into a hug and she whispered into my ear, "Go get her."

The look on my face must have spelled it out. I nodded and quickly went over to Snow, leaving Serah on the dancefloor by herself.

"Where is she?" I interrupted his conversation with Sazh.

"I told him that--wait, where's who?" Snow blurted.

Sazh gave me a knowing look and thumbed in the direction of the door, "She left about five minutes ago. You'll catch her if you rush."

I could feel my face growing hot--exactly how many people could see what was going on between us? Not Snow apparently.

"Who? What's going on?" Snow asked frantically.

I shook my head at him, "Go dance with your bride," I said dismissively.

He raised an eyebrow and shrugged, "Whatever you say, sis. Go get 'em."

Smooth one, Lebreau, I scolded internally, forgetting to get a key from Yuj.

I knew where my head was. I could hardly pull my eyes, much less my mind from her. As she circled the dancefloor with her sister, she circled my mind, torturing me, making my stomach do flips as I remembered the mistakes I'd made.

I pushed the door of the receptional hall open, and almost ran into the same soldier making rounds in my head.

"L-Light!" I blurted, taking a step back in surprise.

Her face was a light pink, but her usual cold expression was plastered on that face of her's. In fact, she almost looked angry.

She took another step forward, and I in turn took another step back to get out of her way, head hung in embarrassment. "Sorry," I murmured.

"What are you sorry for?" she demanded. Her loud voice shocked me a little in the quiet hallway.

Just don't say anything. You'll just wind up embarrassing yourself again.

Instead, I kept my eyes down and waited for her to pass me by. However, she didn't seem so intent on leaving.

She tipped my head up with her index finger and brought her lips down on mine.

What... What's going on...?

We stood there for a few seconds, before she pulled away. She looked down at me, her expression a bit gentler this time. She grabbed my hand and pushed the door to the reception hall open slightly.

"May I have this dance?"

Goodness... What could possibly be in store for our heroines?

If you're curious, take the dive and visit Lady B's LiveJournal for the hidden epilogue written for your eyes alone~
ladyanyablack (dot) livejournal (dot) com, or you can just click that little homepage link on my profile.

Thank you, dear readers for sticking with me through this journey; I would just love to hear your final thoughts, comments and critiques in the reviews--whether they be positive or negative.

All my love,
Lady B