A/N: and here's the final chapter, just in time for the holidays! I took my time to build the anticipation to Terra's proposal.
Writer: Terra ForceXIII
~*~ Seasons Change ~*~
Chapter three: December, a time for Joy
Wonder if she's still awake?
Terra proceeded to unlock his front door quietly in case Aqua was already asleep, for today he had to work overtime again and ended up coming home around midnight. When he opened the door, he was only welcomed by the shadowy surroundings of his house and the peaceful silence.
He closed the door behind him and flicked the light switch on before the darkness took him, removing his work jacket with aching muscles and sullenly walked into the kitchen. He opened the fridge to see a box with a letter attached to it, a note from Aqua saying 'put it in the microwave for two minutes'.
After doing what the note instructed, Terra took his plate of food and ate quietly in the kitchen. When he took his first bite, he couldn't help but chuckle from the amusing coincidence. How even after Aqua's food as been made hours ago and only heated up in the microwave, it still tasted wonderful as if it was just brought to him by the five star Chef herself.
Following after his silent midnight meal, he took slow steps in entering his bedroom. He immediately noticed the still figure of his girlfriend sleeping calmly on her side of the bed, her body turned away as petite breaths escaped her lungs. Terra scudded his way close to her and sneakily wrapped one arm over her, his forehead resting on the back of her bluish mane.
Today's the day, exactly two days till Christmas. The streets and yards were covered in compact snow, the chilling air nipping at people's noses, children laughing as they enjoyed the wonders of winter, and the grey vapor exhaling from Terra's lips welcomed him in its visible presence.
Terra couldn't help but smile at the children playing while he was walking home from work, seeing one of the neighboring misfits throwing snowballs at one of his friends. The boy had fiery red hair that spiked around his head, a wide smirk on his face as he threw a chunk of snow at a blonde girl. The girl had slicked hair with two antenna-like tresses hovering down the back of her hair, a furious pout on her face as she chassed after the giggling boy.
Terra proceeded towards his snow covered house and fiddled with the keys in his packet, unlocking the door eventually to enter his quiet home. Aqua was still at work, and she just discovered today that she'd be working overtime today. But what she doesn't know is that Terra asked her boss to give her extra work time for the day so Terra could prepare their special night, if Aqua were to find out, she'd probably slug him.
How should I start?
Terra took the time to examine his living room, seeing all of the decorations Aqua put up for the holidays. Two stockings hanged over the fireplace, under the flat screen TV on the wall. In the right corner of the fireplace, stood the marvelous Christmas tree that Aqua carefully ornamented to perfection. If the fireplace was on, the ornaments would twinkle with different colors like twilight.
Christmas styled cloths covered the small tables on either side of the couch, with small statues of snowmen, reindeers, and other holiday icons were positioned on the tables. And finally, Terra's favorite visual treat, the many wrapped presents under the Christmas tree.
Terra pulled out a small black box from his pocket, flipping the top open to reveal the object of his hard work this passing month. In the box held a glimmering aquamarine colored gem, a large silver base with engraved patterns that swirled around the circular structure.
But after gazing at the ring, Terra finally realized what exactly he was doing. He was going to bind himself the rest of his life with someone, to pledge his affection to the one person he's been close to his whole life. And he wouldn't have it any other way.
He sat the ring down on the table and proceeded to his bedroom, trying to match his finest clothes in preparation for tonight. He'll get dressed, prepare dinner, have the fireplace going to set the mood, and finally propose to Aqua, a perfect setting for the occasion, in Terra's opinion.
He examined himself in the mirror while he buttoned up his black long sleeved dress shirt, leaving a few on the top unchecked which revealed some of his collarbones. He exited his room and took his time in preparing everything, first starting the fireplace while dimming the lights to give the orange haze more effect, then readying tonight's dinner.
Steak with backed potatoes, not exactly in Aqua's level of cooking but it's the best he could do, and he thinks Aqua would appreciate the effort either way.
After everything was in place, the brunette slumped on the couch for a breather. His dark blue eyes were in a trance, gazing deep into the flames of the fireplace while hearing the relaxing crackles of the warm flames scorching wood. He watched thoughtlessly as a piece of scorched wood broke in half, dozens of tiny sparks dancing upward from the smoldered ruble.
Wonder what our children would look like?
Terra shook those thoughts out of his head, slightly embarrassed to have already been thinking of those personal matters before even proposing. He got up from the couch and walked into the kitchen, examining the steak in the oven and the time. Aqua should be her in a half an hour.
But she didn't show, four minutes later and she still hasn't come home yet. Terra was getting concerned, constantly checking his watch every minute in a feeble act of doubt. It wasn't until he saw his phone flashing a red light on the table, confirming a missed text message. He picked up his phone and checked the message, his heart beginning to race from the little contact picture of Aqua on the side of the message.
As it turns out, Aqua texted him an hour ago telling him that she'll be home later than usual. She must've thought that Terra had overtime again so she figured she could be out a little longer. But what worried Terra was the way she told him.
Aqua: I'll be home later than usual; I got some things to think about…
Terra quickly put on his jacket and exited his home, practically jumping into his car and speeding out of his driveway. He had to find her, before she thinks of things that'll hurt their relationship. So first he'll check her restaurant and ask her friends where she'd gone after work.
No leads, everyone said that she'd just left without a word. But the employees also said that Aqua hasn't been acting the same lately, which haunted Terra's thoughts while he drove around town. Could she be made at him or depressed about the halt in their relationship? Terra didn't want to think about it, he just wanted her back.
But it seems that even the heavens are trying to stop him, for a wave of thick snow started fall from the cloud covered sky. The snowflakes were large and durable, perfect for making layers of white blankets to cover the earth. But it didn't help when it comes to driving, especially when you're trying to search for someone on the streets as well.
After seeing no progress in his search, Terra parked his car in the side of the street next to the open sea. The ocean was a dark shade of blue, the grey clouds stretching out to make a thick wall that gave the sense of imprisonment to the city. The snow continued to fall and the ocean waves crashed against the barrier separating the beach from the city.
Terra stared out into the ocean for comfort but instead found something that caught his eye, something blue that stood near the railing on the street. There was only one person with hair as blue as the ocean.
"Aqua!" He gasped, quickly exiting his car.
The blue haired woman was leaning against the railing with her arms crossed over the cold metal bars. She gazed out into the sea with half lit eyes that showed inner sadness, her scarf brushing to the side from the chilling breeze. But she quickly game alive from the calling of her name.
"Aqua…" A familiar voice spoke behind her.
She turned, her gaze meeting her boyfriend's for the hundredth time. He was panting, his breaths apparent in the cold weather. It took some time before Aqua came to her senses again, her blank expression quickly shifting into surprise.
"T- Terra… what are you doing here?" She blurted.
"I could ask you the same thing!" He retorted, taking a few steps closer to her. "Why are you out here all by yourself? You'll catch a cold."
"I- I just needed time to think… about what to get you for Christmas…" She stuttered.
Aqua flinched from that comment, finding Terra's serious tone to be discomforting. Before she could retort, he'd already grasped her and firmly and walked her over to his car. He opened the passenger door for her and she quietly entered, a tiresome sigh escaping Terra's breath while he walked around to the other side.
When they returned home, Terra helped her remove her jacket while Aqua tried not to make eye contact. After getting comfortable, the two instinctively smelled something burning. While Aqua was puzzled by this smell, Terra immediately jumped and ran straight to the kitchen. His prediction was correct when he witnessed black smoke escaping the creeks of the oven, the brunette unable to hold back a swear while he quickly grabbed the oven mitt. When Aqua expected the kitchen, she squeaked in fright and came to Terra's aid.
After exterminating the fire and smoke, all that was left of the steak was tiny charcoals of shriveled meat that could easily be mislead as black coal. The oven was broken, the once sparkling kitchen was now reduced to grey thanks to the spread of ash and smoke that covered it, Terra's cheeks had smudges of black from wiping his face after dealing with the fire.
All in all, this was a bad start.
The couple stood in the ash covered kitchen, panting and exhausted. But Aqua had enough energy to give Terra an earful, she gave the brunette a scolding frown and growled fiercely.
"How can you be so stupid?" She yelled, making him jump back on the counter. "You left the oven on!"
Terra let out a sarcastic huff. "Yeah, I realize that! Thanks!"
The upset bluenette took another glance at the oven, a whine escaping her lips. "Great, now I can't make anything for the Christmas party! This is all your fault!" She pointed fiercely.
Terra was taken back. "My fault? You're the one who decided to take a little stroll around town for no god damn reason!"
"I needed time to think!" She explained.
Terra walked closer to her, making Aqua take a step back. "About what?"
"None of your business!"
Terra's cheeks boiled red with rage, his teeth clenching as he struggled to hold back the deep groans. "It is my business when my girlfriend is sad! When she doesn't tell me what's wrong or what's hurting her!"
"You're hurting me!" She sobbed, stunning Terra when he finally noticed the tears in her eyes.
He watched as Aqua tried to hold her firm expression, making Terra's heart ache from her weak attempts to stop her quivering lips and stray sobs. She looked away and covered her face in her hands, not wanting him to see her in this vulnerable state.
Damn it... I'm an idiot...
Terra slowly came behind her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders, resting his chin on the top of her head. He felt her shake, but didn't mind his comforting embrace. After much silence, when Aqua's sobs lightened a bit, Terra took his chance to try to turn things around.
"You know... I think I know how to cheer you up," He whispered calmly.
Aqua wiped her eyes again. "Terra, I'm crying and all you can think about is getting me in bed."
Terra choked a bit and tried not to laugh, his cheeks heating up from the embarrassing misunderstanding. He was glad that he was behind her so she couldn't see his smile.
"That's... not what I had in mind."
Taking Aqua's silence as a yes, he politely took her to the living room while still having his arms wrapped around her. Thankfully, their was a glass gate that kept the fireplace safely inside the chimney, so everything was still in place. The room was dark, with only the fireplace providing an orange haze that made the Christmas decorations twinkle brightly.
Aqua awed in astonishment, now trying to hold back tears of joy. Everything seemed perfect, the warmth of the fireplace, the beautiful glow of the tree, and the romantic atmosphere that resulted from Terra's preparations to make this night special.
He brought her to the carpet in the center of the living, the fireplace, the couch, and the Christmas tree surrounding them. While Aqua wasn't looking, Terra sneakily started the soft music to complete the mood. He took Aqua's waist without a word and began swaying back and fourth, surprising her from his blunt actions. She brought her arms around his neck and moved along with him, her head resting comfortably on his chest.
They danced without a word, swaying across the living room carpet as their large shadows from the fire moved along with them in sync. But after the music changed to another slow song, Terra halted their dance and took Aqua's petite hands firmly in his. He looked into her eyes, memorizing the beautiful mixture of ocean blue and a hint of orange.
"Aqua... I know that I've been very selfish and that I've been taken you for granted," He spoke, trying to keep his voice in a steady tone. But his racing heartbeat was making it difficult.
He took a long breath. "I don't want anyone else but you and only you. I- I want to spend the rest of my life with you, and make you the happiest woman alive every day."
When Terra took a knee, Aqua immediately gasped, taking her hands away to cover her mouth. More tears cascaded down her cheeks and Terra smiled weakly.
"Aqua..." Terra stuttered, pulling the black box out of his pocket.
He presented her the ring, opening the top to reveal the glimmering jewel that made Aqua's heart skip. Terra's mouth opened but his words were still in his lungs, sobs escaping Aqua's lips from the anticipation.
This is it...
Terra took another breath and spoke again. "Aqua... will you marry me?"
Without warning, Aqua tackled Terra to the ground and embraced him in a tight hug.
"Yes..." She whispered.
And their you go, I hope you'd enjoyed this little three-shot. :) Happy holidays! I know that I didn't reveal Tifa's third baby, so I'll just leave that to you guys! ;D
Special thanks to AquaStormXIV, MonMonCandie, KC-Chan13, ,Sue-per Z, truthlieslovestars, R o x a s L u v s C o o k i e s, and resistance123 for the wonderful reviews! Thanks to all of you, and have a happy holiday season!
Terra ForceXIII out! ;P
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or Final Fantasy, original story and characters belong to their original owners.