Huge delay in writing, but if you've stuck with me this far in, thank you! This is the last chapter in the Hoping for Snow legacy. I'm not sure if it even deserves to be called that, but Hoping for Snow 1 and 2 have accumulated 36,000 hits and I couldn't be happier. I hope this is the dream ending you've been waiting for. Enjoy.
The Inn is tastefully decorated with white, blue, and green ribbons. They loop around the bar and along the frames of the doorways. There are two tables set up with silky white tablecloths and gorgeous blue and green flowers as centerpieces. Vanille had made all of the place cards and they sit atop a table, organized neatly. Outside on the warm sands of the beach, under the calming rays of sunlight sits the tables in which people will sit at during the reception. Each chair is pulled out slightly, with a crystal on its seat, elegantly carved with the name of who will be sitting there. A dance floor has been set up alongside a DJ booth. The wooden floor of the dance floor is actually about 6 inches off the ground, held up by small sturdy pillars, the reason being that Hope wanted it close to the water. And later, when the high tide comes in, the water will rush beneath it, giving it the illusion of dancing on a float on the ocean. Over to the far left of the view from the mouth of the Inn is an elaborate walkway leading to an altar. Spindly white chairs are placed in neat rows along the aisle and a ring of thin ribbons laces through all of the chairs. The air smells sweet with flowers and there's only a slight breeze.
The wedding starts in an hour. Guests have already arrived, Vanille having been the first. She's currently talking to Lebreau about how excited she is, the tears that have been in her eyes so constantly lately, nowhere to be found. She catches Hope's eye and smiles warmly. Lebreau and Vanille are both dressed in flowing knee length gowns made of a silky bright teal. Hope had asked both of them to be his "best men". He didn't know whether to call them best women or groom's maids, so he avoided official titles. He chose Vanille because they had always been so close and he felt so at peace with her around. And most people were a bit surprised to find out Lebreau was his other choice. But over the past few months, they had grown extremely close. She had helped him through so much and he felt that he had connected with her. Yuj saunters into the room, his sea-blue tux slim fitting. He heads to Lebreau and gives her a friendly kiss on the cheek, to which Hope can tell she's hiding a blush. Her love for him will never fade, and instead of making Hope feel upset, it makes him a bit hopeful. Maybe things will work out for them in the end. Yuj next turns to Vanille and hugs her before glancing over at Hope. Hope smiles and he approaches cautiously.
"Hey man, about before…" Yuj starts in a low voice. Hope holds up his left hand, a glistening engagement band on the ring finger.
"It's fine, really." He smiles, forgiving Yuj wholly. He doesn't want any negative moods or any lost friendships to intrude on his perfect day. Yuj's face breaks into a smile and he pulls Hope in tight for a hug. Hope hugs him back, but then he feels another set of arms around them.
"Mind if I join in?" Hope looks up to see Maqui, dressed in a light blue tux, a bit more detailed than Yuj's. Yuj grabs him by his neck and holds him close.
"Totally, little man." Maqui makes a strained face.
"Easy, easy! Do you know how hard it was to style my hair without goggles?" He squeaks. Hope can't help but smile. He's glad that Snow had chosen Maqui to be one of his best men, it really meant a lot to Maqui. After Yuj releases Maqui and moves on to greet Fang, who had just arrived, he turns to Hope.
"I'm so happy for you, dude." He says, blue eyes bright with sincerity. "This is a huge step, you ready?" Hope smiles and nods.
"Of course I am. I'm just nervous." Hope looks down at his cufflinks, adjusting them a bit. They're a pearly white to match his white tuxedo. His vest is a teal, almost matching Vanille and Lebreau's dresses and his own eyes. Maqui pats him on his arm.
"Don't worry about it, man. Everything's gonna be awesome. Especially since I'm the DJ." He winks before moving on to greet Fang as well. Hope follows him and smiles warmly.
"Hey Fang, thanks for coming." Her recently cynical side seems to evaporate as she hugs Hope's slim frame and kisses him on the cheek.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, Hope." Her accented voice says sweetly. He grins and compliments her on her light grey dress before walking off. He sits on a ribbon twirled bar stool and taps his fingers anxiously on the bar. So much could go wrong. What if I trip? What if we bump noses when we go to kiss? What if, what if, what if? Anxiety works its way into his throat and he feels his chest tighten. He hadn't had time before to worry with all that was going on, so it was finally all catching up to him.
But then Snow walks into the room and everything changes all at once. Hope's heart soars as he walks over to kiss him on the cheek. Hope hugs him tight and smiles.
"I'm so excited."
"Today's the day." They both say at the same time.
"Hey, hey! Save it for the honeymoon, you have more guests to greet!" Lebreau says, gently pushing them apart in an interpretation of her usual brashness when addressing them. Hope smiles again and Snow ducks in mock-fear.
"Yes ma'am!" He straightens up and solutes. She gives him a motherly look. Snow trots off to greet Maqui and then turns to his other best man, Gadot. They share a short masculine hug and chat about something or other. Hope's heart nearly freezes as someone else walks in.
She's wearing a pearly pink dress that almost matches her hair and falls just below her knees. Her eyes are lightly outlines with a grey liner and she's wearing two inch heels that make her almost as tall as Hope. He gets up and walks over to greet her.
"Glad you could make it, Serah." He says politely. He looks off behind her for a moment, wondering.
"Light isn't coming, don't worry." She half laughs as she says this, no doubt expecting this question in the first place. Hope's body loosens a bit and he smirks. "I'm just glad you let me come still." Hope stares at her for a moment, remembering what he had decided on earlier about no negative moods.
"Serah, it's okay. I understand your reasoning. We might not be able to be…you know, close friends or anything. But I'd still like us to be okay with one another. You were once…" Hope swallows, trying to keep his voice steady. Serah looks at him with wide blue eyes, delicate lashes curving slightly to frame them. "A really big part of Snow's life. And without you, he wouldn't be who he is today. I might not like everything that's happened to get him to this point, but I honestly wouldn't change it for anything. Thank you for still trying, even though I've done nothing but make you unwelcome."
Hope inhales after he says all he feels he needs to. Before he can react, Serah's arms are around his neck. He hugs her back, a bit confused. She steps back from him, looking right into his eyes.
"Thank you so much for this, truly. I'm so sorry for everything I've done and I promise to never make a mess of anything for you two again." Serah looks close to tears so Hope gives an understanding smile, still unsure of whether to take her at her word or not. He doesn't give a hint to his doubt as he thanks her again for coming and moves on to greet Sazh.
"Hey Hope! Love the decorating. Lebreau do it?" He says happily, being at ease with everything.
"Of course." Hope laughs. "Good to see you again, glad you could make it. Hey Dahj." Dahj looks up at him with a smile and reaches up to hug him. Hope can't get over how cute he looks in his little green tux, identical to his father's. He also feels a swell of pride for having a friend like Sazh. He's a wonderful father and a great friend and he's done nothing but help Hope whenever he goes to him. He feels that a lot of people don't appreciate the amount of caring and the value of friendship that Sazh can have for people. Hope hugs Sazh, truly happy for him being there.
"Okay, can I have your attention?" Lebreau's voice breaks the hum drum of the chatter around her. A few other people native to Bodhum have showed up as well, Hope notices. He feels a big guilty for not having greeted them, then he sees Snow standing with them and assumes he had taken the responsibility upon himself. "The ceremony will begin momentarily, so if you could all find a seat along the aisle. Yuj, meet me at the altar." Hope had almost forgotten that Yuj would be the one to marry them. People start filtering out of the Inn, aside from Lebreau and Yuj who instead have started a conversation here as opposed to their designated meeting spot mentioned moments ago. She starts explaining the ceremony to him again just as someone else walks in.
Hope rushes over to his father and gives him a huge hug, nearly toppling him over. Bartholomew stands tall, his light brown and silver hair combed neatly into place, his glasses set perfectly on his nose, and his attire, which happens to be a white suit, neatly in place. Just the dad he's remembered for years. The one that he thought would never understand him. The one that now accepts him for everything he is and supports him on everything he does. Snow leaves to find his place at the altar, giving Hope a quick smile beforehand.
"Can we talk?" Bartholomew asks his son. Hope nods and leads him to his shared room with Snow. Before he rounds the corner into his room, he steals a glance at Yuj and Lebreau. Her hands are in his blue hair and their lips are pressed together. Hope smiles, tears almost welling in his eyes with happiness as he enters his room.
Yuj takes his place at the altar, a little bit behind the waiting Snow. Snow is wearing a broad black tuxedo with a blue vest, coincidentally matching his eyes as well as the suits his best men are wearing. He looks over at the tanned Gadot and the small Maqui and can't help but feeling proud of them for sticking by him for so long and throughout all that's happened. Snow looks down at his shoes, tears threatening. He can't remember ever being as happy as he is right now. It's really happening and he can't believe it.
Bartholomew sits on the grey and black patterned bedspread and Hope stands against the wall next to the closet that houses the couple's clothing and Snow's bandanas. Hope was really worried about asking his father in the first place, but he thought it'd be really special for him to give him away at his wedding.
"Hope." Hope looks up at his name. "I'm so happy for you." The older man smiles, and when he does, tiny creases form at the far corners of his eyes.
"Thanks dad." Hope gives a little smirk, anxious to just get out of the room. He really trusts his dad, but being alone with him always made him feel a little suffocated. They had never gotten along as well as him and his mother.
"I can't tell you how honored I am to be giving you away." His smile falters a bit so he's forced to look down to hide it.
"Actually, I'm just relieved that you're, like, okay with all this." Hope scratches the back of his pale neck, trying not to look as awkward as he feels. Suddenly Bartholomew is standing up and taking a stride toward him.
"Your mother would have been so proud." This time Bartholomew isn't smiling, but crying. He touches his son's shoulder and tries to smile again. Hope is so overwhelmed that he doesn't know how to handle himself. He hadn't thought about his mother for a while and it all came rushing back so quickly that he felt his heart clench. "I love you, son. And she does too." Hope finally gives in and lets a sob out, it rushes quickly from his throat and he loops his arms around his lean father, burying his face in his chest. He wanted to say thank you, because it's exactly what he needed to here. He wanted to never let go. He wanted to tell his dad how scared he was that in the end he would never be good enough. But his father seemed to understand everything in that moment and all the unspoken thoughts in Hope's mind began to blur into something better. Something that made him happy. And happiness is just what he needs.
Snow hears the music start and notices all the eyes in front of him turn around in bemusement. The moment has arrived, Hope emerges from the Inn. The rays of sunlight cast down from the sky illuminate Hope's sea green eyes and cast a shine onto his white hair. The beauty of this moment is almost too much to bear for Snow. He straightens up and tries to look like the man he is, as opposed to the scared boy he feels he is in this moment.
Hope is holding on to his father's arm, as if he might topple over at any moment from the excitement. He finally reaches the beginning of the pathway leading to his future. His future with Snow. One foot in front of the other, Hope and his father walk by smiles and eyes filled with happiness as well as the flower petals Lebreau must have spread along the way. The salty breeze wisps through Hope's hair, and for the first time, he really feels it. He can feel the sand under the fabric of the catwalk leading to the altar, even through his shoes. He doesn't dare look up, just in case Snow's eyes decide to make him faint from nervousness.
Finally, the moment arrives. He's a foot from the altar. He turns to hug his father. Bartholomew turns away after to sit in a seat beside Fang in the front row. Hope's eyes finally trail upwards. He sees Lebreau and Vanille smiling widely, tears in Vanille's eyes. But instead of sadness running down her face, it's pure joy. He sees Gadot square his shoulders in an attempt to look tough, but he can see the kindness in his eyes. Maqui looks so happy he might burst. Then he sees Yuj standing on the altar, crooked smile in place. Then his eyes flick over to Snow. He looks so handsome, so strong, and so…perfect. Hope steps up next to him and looks him in his eyes, seeing the love that they hold for him. He only prays that his eyes convey how much he loves Snow, especially in this moment. His heart seems to be fluttering about in his ribcage. Yuj begins the ceremony. They recite what they need to recite, they listen to the rest of the speech, and then Dahj comes up the aisle, rings on a blue pillow.
Hope and Snow both reach down to take their opposite rings and their fingers touch. It amazes both Hope and Snow how that touch felt as wonderful as the first time they had kissed. In that touch was safety and happiness. They stand up straight again as Dahj trots over to his father.
"Do you, Snow Villiers, take Hope Estheim, as your lawfully wedded husband?" Yuj looks up innocently at Snow, as does Hope.
"NO!" A scream from behind the crowd. Everyone turns in their seats, shocked. Gasps are heard all around. Hope and Snow's heads are snapped toward the noise. Hope almost falls to his knees at the sight of it.
Lightning is standing at the mouth of the aisle, fira in her hand. Hope had never seen her act so frightening in all his years of knowing her. She's dressed in a purple formal dress, and it's ripped up the side, as if she had just come out of a fight. Her eyes blaze with hatred and Hope sees that she really has lost her mind, at least in this moment. The fire casts crude shadows across her face, and her eyes reflect their burning passion. Everyone freezes, scared to move. All at once, Hope can feel his dreamlike state fall away. Everything had been so perfect.
"You promised, Snow." Light says through clenched teeth.
"Lightning, what are you talking about? Stop it!" Snow takes a step off of the altar. Hope's breathing becomes unsteady.
"You promised that you would never make her cry again." She takes a challenging step forward and her voice rises to a shrill scream. "YOU PROMISED!" Fire is shot from her hand, catching on the fabric trail before her. People stir uneasily in their seats, still too afraid that sudden movement will make them Lightning's next victim. The fire starts eating away at the material. Snow feels powerless, what is he supposed to do? Hope can't breathe, he's so upset. Lightning readies herself to launch another fireball, the flames in front of her flickering wildly. Snow realizes that he's too late; he can't do anything to stop this. It's ruined. It's over. He closes his eyes and waits for it.
But something happens.
"Lightning stop!" Just as the fire jets forth out of her outreached hand, a gust of water puts it out. Everyone's eyes fly to the second row, where a girl in a pink dress is standing.
"Serah?" Her name escapes Lightning's lips like an exhale.
"I can't do this anymore. I have to stand up to you. You can't do this to them." She steps into the aisle. "Go now!" Hope can't believe what he's seeing; Snow opens his eyes in alarm wondering how Serah had learned any Ravager skills in the first place.
"You wouldn't do anything to your sister. Your only sister." Lightning stares at her younger sister incredulously.
"Don't think I won't." Her voice comes out weakly as she strains her neck and locks her jaw, her eyes glassy with tears. Lightning furrows her brow and aims a flurry of fire for the altar. It's extinguished almost immediately by her sister. She tries again. Serah blocks it once more. Lightning stands up strongly, making her sister feel inferior, the sun making her shadow seem ominous. Snow steps back to stand with Hope, who can't move from the shock he's experiencing.
Light lets out a scream and launches a longer wave of fire, this time, at her sister. The audience can't do anything but watch. Serah lets out a huge burst of water, shocked that her sister would challenge her so directly. Light takes a step forward and does it again. Serah summons all of her strength to hold her back. Lightning repeats her actions, putting more rage into the fiery inferno with each step. Sweat beads on her forehead, making her pink hair stick to her skin. Serah gives all the fight she has, holding her at bay. Light is suddenly right in front of her.
"You can't hurt me Serah, admit it. I'm your sister and I'm doing this for you." Her eyes shift from angry to concerned and she reaches out to stroke her sister's face. "I'm here to help you." Serah looks down and to the side, feeling all the horrified eyes on them. The Farrons, the new show of deceit and hate. She clenches her fists.
"I" She lifts her coiled fists. "Don't." She steps back from Lightning; her sister's face a mask of confusion. "Need." Serah's fingers begin to sparkle. "Your." Serah sets her feet apart and readies herself; Lightning takes an uneven step backwards. "HELP!" A tsunami breaks out from in front of Serah, aimed directly at her dearest sister. The force of the water beats the breath right out of her, lunging her back. But the water doesn't let up, it forces her way back, past the tables, past the dance floor, and out of sight. Awe sets over the crowd. Everyone stares at Serah, waiting.
She turns around and focuses her eyes on Hope. She gives him a curt nod and Hope can feel the respect bond between them. It makes him feel so good that she would stand up for what's right, even if it meant turning her back on her sister. The pathway is singed and the guests are mortified, but nothing seems to be ruined for Hope. He just felt another new beginning in the eyes of Serah, his new friend. She straightens up and clears her throat.
"I believe we were at the I do's? I'd hate for that to go up in flames." Everyone gives uneasy laughter at first, wondering how the joke will go over. But then Hope bursts out laughing, so unlike himself, that everyone follows suit. He wipes a tear from his eye as his chest starts to hurt from chuckling. Snow stands directly in front of him, waiting calmly for him to catch his breath. The atmosphere feels lighter, almost better than before Lightning had arrived. Snow slips the silver wedding band on his love's ring finger. Hope does the same to his.
"I do." Snow whispers, the familiar drawl of his voice low and intimate.
"I do." Hope says, looking up into Snow's eyes and biting his lip.
"Just kiss already!" Yuj orders, a laugh on the edge of his voice. Hope wastes no time. He leaps into Snow's arms and kisses him full on the mouth. Snow wraps his arms around Hope and kisses him deeper, feeling the depth and the warmth in him. He can feel their breath mix, and their hearts beat together, faster than the speed of light. They kiss for the first time as husbands and Bartholomew doesn't bother to wipe the tears that stream down his face. For that one moment, perfection has been reached.
Hope's revenge for his mother, Snow's rocky relationship with Serah, everything and anything seemed like a different time, a different world. They finally break the kiss and stare into one another's eyes, finally understanding true love and happiness all at once. Serah rushes over to hug them both. Snow puts a hand on her back to hug her back. Then Hope puts a hand on her back to hug her. And while their hands rest on her back, they find each other, and clasp tightly.
"Forever." Snow says over Serah's hair, looking into Hope's eyes. Hope can't stop smiling; this is everything he's ever wanted. A dream come true. He feels reborn, his heart is weightless. Everything is right, his world is complete. He watches as Snow's stubbly jaw loosens and a smile is formed on his lips.
I really hope you liked it; I wanted to make the ending perfect for you guys. Thank you so much for your continued support, I really can't say that enough. This concludes the Hoping for Snow era.