He hadn't wanted to do this, but Yuffie had talked him into it. It was hard to argue with a bride on her wedding day, after all.
So, in front of their friends and all the other guests, Vincent led her out onto the dance floor.
Her wedding dress was more formal than he had expected of her, much fussier, but she looked beautiful in it, even more so as she looked up into his face with a small smile on her lips, just as the music started.
"You look…" he trailed off, still staring at her. They hadn't had much of a chance to talk today.
"Lost for words, Vince?" she asked, eyes sparkling. "How unusual."
He had to smile a little. "You look beautiful," he finished. His voice was hoarser than normal. Her eyes widened in surprise and she quickly ducked her head to hide the blush that coloured her cheeks. He could still see the tiny curve of her lips, however.
He was intensely aware of her smaller hand curled in his, of the warmth of her body as he guided her closer to him, then away again as the music dictated. He had forgotten why he had not wanted to do this, forgotten about all the people watching them. It was just Yuffie and him and the music as they danced. He couldn't believe that this day had finally come.
He twirled her around one last time before the music ended. He held her to him for one more moment, a moment too long as the audience around them started applauding, the outside world abruptly making itself known and coming between them.
Yuffie smiled at him for one last time, though her smile wavered, before she turned and rejoined her husband, where he stood watching with a tolerant smile as his new bride danced with what the world assumed was her comrade and friend. She put her hand on his arm and faced her people with a bright smile and shining eyes while Vincent melted back into the crowd.
He could tell that her happy smile was just a mask she showed to the world, one that had taken him years to see through. He was the only one that knew that the sheen in her eyes was caused by suppressed tears, not through excitement or joy.
He met her gaze one last time over the heads of the crowd, before he turned away. That dance had been their goodbye, and they both knew it. It was the only reason he had agreed to come to her wedding.
He couldn't believe that Yuffie was married. He couldn't believe that he had actually let her go through with it.
The worst thing, he realised now, was that if he had given her a choice, she would have chosen him. She would have fought to have been with him, if he had only let her know that he would fight alongside her.
Instead, when her father had started to pressure her to marry a Wutainese lord, he had done the right thing, the noble thing. He had stepped away to not cause conflict between her heart and her duties. He had left her free to marry another man.
It was the second time he had walked away from something he wanted, and it was the second time he had been wrong. Now Yuffie was tied to a man who was much too old for her (though much younger than him, he thought bitterly), one who saw nothing but her title, for the sake of a country that would never appreciate all that she did for it.
He glanced one more time at Yuffie, who was standing between her husband and her father as they conversed, her bright, empty smile still carefully in place.
Then he slipped out of the party, out of Wutai. He was alone again. It seemed he never learned.
They had been so close to being happy, but he had let it slip away. So close, and yet so far.
A/N: Yes, I know I've done the whole arranged marriage thing before, but this time there's sexual tension on both sides. I have a bit of a liking for angsty, unfulfilled love stories. Besides, I'm on a train and I'm bored. The title was taken from the song So Close by Jon McLaughlin, which inspired the story.
Reviews are always welcomed. If you have a spare moment, I'd also appreciate it if you could vote in my poll. I need some help deciding what to write in my next Yuffentine. Thank you!