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[Aeris/Luxord] - [G] - [23 Little Wishes]

Scene Title: 23 Little Wishes
Scene Rating: G to the nth degree
Warnings: None
Characters: Aeris, Luxord
Short Summary: Eleven years ago, a flower girl from the slums and a charming young man from Twilight Town literally ran into one another.

As soon as the trolley from Corel to the Gold Saucer stopped at the latter location, those on it poured out and fanned around the entrance to the park. All were teenagers from Midgar's public high school, a huge place in and of itself, and had been randomly selected from a raffle. Rather than listen to the teachers as they explained the park rules and safety issues, the excited teens bolted off for the rides as soon as they got their park points, or GP.
Among them was Aeris Gainsborough, a freshman from The Slums. She tilted her head as she stared at the park's entrance. "Well, that certainly looks fun!" she laughed. She followed the straggling students inside.

It wasn't every day that the Twilight Town High School Theater Company was able to take its members on a trip, but on this particular journey, they were supposed to be studying something known as the Event Square, something devised so that ordinary people could get the chance to act in a play, without knowing the script or the story. Luxord thought of it as a "Choose Your Own Adventure" play that sounded sort of hokey from its description, but, he didn't get the opportunity to travel out of Twilight Town much.
Gaia was a certainly different world from Twilight Town, and he was busy taking in all the scenery that he could. He had gotten a swift punch in the arm for spacing out while he was supposed to be listening to his friend talk about some scheme or other, which involved underage gambling and the distinct possibility of booze. Ffamran said that there was a "fine spirit found on no other world", but Luxord sorely doubted him.
As he arrived at the park, he was a bit taken aback. He had never been to an amusement park at all, and he was certainly not expecting this. He began to wander off from the rest of the group, who rushed to head to the theater before the show started. He just wanted to take it all in first.

Aeris' group that she followed headed off to the Event Square. However, their movements were a bit chaotic since nobody wanted to stay in line. The teacher in charge groaned as another group of kids, from a different city he guessed, came into view.

"Now we're going to lose everyone!"

"Oh don't worry." the other teacher shook her head. "They know to come back before we leave."

Luxord began to take a leisurely stroll through the park, taking in all  he could. Ffamran had disappeared, probably off to find another floozie or to meet up with his "contact". So many different things to see, but the show was starting soon, and he began to quicken his pace just a little. As he glanced to look over at some sort of odd giant chicken, he gazed for perhaps too long and ran smack into someone.
Flustered did not even begin to describe him as he helped the younger girl to her feet. He could feel his ears going red as he rapidly apologized to her for his foolishness. He was such a dolt at times.

Aeris had let out a yelp when she'd been knocked down, but graciously took the hand offered.

"Oh, that's okay. It happens." she dusted off her blue dress, then gave him a smile. "Just be more careful? You might bump into someone bigger than me next time."

"Still, I am terribly sorry for that. I'll be careful to look where I'm going more often," he remarked, giving her a sheepish smile. She did have the most unique eyes, some irrational part of his brain pointed out, and he did his best to ignore it and shove that in a corner of his mind. He was probably too old for her anyways.

"Ah...where are you headed off to?" he offered, trying to make small talk to relieve the situation. They both seemed to be going in the same direction...but Luxord realized he hadn't a clue to where the Event Station was. Perhaps he should have stuck with his group, he thought.

"My group is heading to the Event Square for the play." she said, keeping pace with him as they walked along. Everyone else was in front of them, she noticed. "It should be interesting, or so I hear. Not sure though. I've never been here before."

"That's quite odd. My group is headed there too...at least, they're supposed to be," he said, trailing off as he saw his best friend negotiating with a somewhat shady looking character. He decided to let him be and continue on, he was the reliable one of the duo, after all.

"I confess, I haven't been here before, either. Only to England, and that place is not anything like here, let me tell you," he said with a small smile. Much more fog, for example....but why was he prattling on to this girl like some awkward teenager? Luxord thought himself a bit above that, and resolved to stop being the silly towheaded fool he was at the moment.

Aeris was about to reply back when they stepped through the door and she was suddenly grabbed by a woman, a staff member from the look of her.

"You're our 100th lady!"

"W-What?"

"We picked the young man who came in before you as our 100th man, but we needed a young lady for this part!"

"Excuse me?"

"You get to be Princess Rosa." the woman explained, smiling wide. Aeris' eyes grew to the size of dinner plates, and she looked back at Luxord in surprise.

"Well...I suppose I'll talk to you later then?"

Ah...so this was the audience participation, he thought. But what ill fortune, as he did want to spend a little more time with her...he didn't even know her name yet, and yet he found himself almost flirting with her! That was Ffamran's job, not his!

"I certainly hope so. I'd like to know what you felt like when you were performing...but, break a leg!" he said as he flashed her a charm-filled smile and a small wave.
There was no requirement for that in his essay. He had no idea what was coming out of his mouth, but since he had mentioned it to her, Luxord felt obliged to at least follow-up, as promised.
Perhaps that wouldn't turn out to be a bad thing, he thought as he settled into his seat just in time.

Once the crowd was settled, the curtain pulled back to reveal the rather lacking background. Seriously, the background was just a little red house with trees and chocobos around it, and GOLD SAUCER written in clouds of smoking coming from the house's chimney. It clearly showed the budget of such a place, or that the Event Square clearly didn't have much of an allowance.

The male narrator called out then, "Long, long ago...an evil shadow appeared over the peaceful kingdom of Galdia. Princess Rosa was just kidnapped by the Evil Dragon King, Valvados. What will become of her? Just then, the legendary hero, Alfred, appears!" On cue, the dark-haired young man who had been walking in front of Aeris was shoved out onto center stage. To say he looked nervous was an understatement. His whole body was stock still and rigid as a board.

Luxord was slightly taken aback at the sight. The technical production seemed to be as if from a children's play, and the script was lacking in every way.
Granted, he had done several productions before, with a good company and crew, and to speak ill of what others may not have availiable was bad etiquette. However, he sent his best thoughts out to the poor sap on stage. With any luck, the play wouldn't stop midway through from the lead actor passing out from locked legs.

Just when the young man couldn't look anymore nervous, his savior arrived in the form of a man in a knight's costume. A twirling knight, at that.

"Oh! You must be the legendary hero, Alfred!" When the boy said nothing, the knight lowered his voice and muttered "Hey, it's your line...yes, you!" The boy gave him a nod, and the knight repeated his line again, adding "I know in my soul. Please, please save Princess Rosa! Now please, talk to the king!"

As the knight moved back toward the painted background, a man dressed as the king also...twirled right on into center stage.

"Alfred! You've come to save my beloved Rosa. On the peak of a dangerous mountain dwells the Evil Dragon King, Valvados, who's kidnapped Rosa. But you can't beat the Dragon now! Talk to the one who can help you!" At that, a wizard, again twirling, came in. The young man paused as he considered what to do.

Luxord honestly tried not to laugh. He could feel it beginning to bubble out of him and tried to quell it as quickly as he could. He quickly tried to focus on some other thing, such as rapidly untying his shoe with his other foot and bending over to tie it, chuckling to himself all the while. What a waste of a trip this was, as far as the dramatic side went. If Ffamran was telling the truth about gambling and the booze, perhaps his night could be turned around.
Or, perhaps he could talk to that pretty brunette girl again...she was nice, he thought. Cute, too.

After deciding for a minute or so, the young man went to the wizard.

"Um...you can help?"

"Yes! I am the great wizard, Vorman. What do you wish to know?" The boy paused again, thinking hard.

"Uhhh...how about, the princess' measurements?" A laughed roared up from the crowd, particularly the young men, and the horrible young actor's face turned bright red. Thankfully, the Narrator cut in about that time.

"Oh what is going to happen next!? Oh Legendary hero, look!" Aeris came walking onto the stage then, being steered by an actor wearing a green dragon suit.

"What ho! Do you dare ignore the Evil Dragon King!?" the dragon bellowed. It seemed he was the only one even trying to stay in character anymore. "I am Valvados! I haven't harmed the Princess. I've been expecting you!" Aeris, who was biting her lip to stifle a giggle, spoke up then.

"Please help me! H-Hero, save me!" she hoped she was doing alright, as she didn't do too well in public performances either. The dragon laughed at the young man and asked "Who is your enemy?! Name him!"

Luxord had tried to retie his shoe about seven times now, but as the rest of the audience began to laugh, he realized they were, perhaps, laughing for different reasons. Although, the girl he had met before seemed to be doing a fair job. She was much better at  her delivery and diction than the twirling wizard, which Luxord couldn't even begin to image who had dreamt him up.

Strangely, the young man in center stage walked over to Aeris and the dragon and...kissed the dragon's hand instead of hers. The brunette raised an eyebrow.

"Wait a second...what are you doing?!" Just then, the dragon was lifted up by wires into the rafters. In his place, a young woman, the same staff member who'd pulled Aeris into the gig in the first place, appeared wearing a blue dress. "You've broken the spell on me! I'm back to my normal self!"

"Look! Love has triumphed!" the king proclaimed happily. "Now let's all return to the castle and celebrate!" Both the knight and the wizard agreed with cries of  "Yes, let's!" before following the king as he twirled his way off stage. Shrugging, the young man did the same, as did the staff woman in the blue dress.

"Oh, how profound the power of love! And so the legendary hero Alfred and our story live on happily ever after." the narrator said, Aeris just stood there, dumbfounded.

"What in the world? Hey! I'm the princess! Did you guys forget?" she looked at the crowd and raised her hands in a helpless gesture. "They can't do that!" She grumbled a bit and walked off the stage in a huff.

When that atrocity finally wrapped up, Luxord sorely wished Ffamran had been there to see the absolute train wreck that was their little, dare he say it, skit. He couldn't contain himself after the horribly executed quick-change, and thought for a second he was having a heart attack from laughter. What a way to die: death by bad acting.
He managed to compose himself as he strolled outside the theater to check with the chaperone before heading off for what he thought was the general "backstage" area. He did fully intend on meeting her at least once more, he felt bad for the story not ending the way it probably should have, without crossdressing dragons and all that twirling rubbish.

Aeris was just coming out of the backstage area when he was head toward it, which nearly had them colliding into one another again.

"Oh, hello again." she laughed. "I...well, I'm not going to ask if you liked it. I was in it and I didn't like it at all."

"You didn't like it? I thought it was comedic, not for their intentions, but, well, you saw the production values firsthand, didn't  you?" he remarked. "At least you gave it your all, despite that rather...odd ending. Ah, you know, we keep running into each other all the time...perhaps we should know each other's names?" he said, offering his hand. "I'm Luxord, and it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance."

She took his hand eagerly. "Aeris. It's nice to meet you." she said, grinning back at him. "Well, this place is already tiring me out. Would you like to talk elsewhere?"

"Of course I would...although, I confess, i haven't the slightest as to where to go. Where would you recommend, Miss Aeris?" he said, trying her name out. It was certainly a bit unusual, but then again, most people had never heard the Mollusk language, excluding his family.

"Hmmm." she lightly tapped her chin as she tried to think. She remembered the many different Squares one could visit from when they passed through the lobby. "Well, there's a haunted house here somewhere, and chocobo racing. I think there's an arcade here too."

He pondered his options, and none of them sounded very appealing. That chocobo racing was probably where Ffamran was situated, and while he was his best friend, it was best for some time away from him...and perhaps from most everyone else, if he played his cards right.

"I mean no offense,  but is that all they have to offer here? Surely there's something here that is unique to the Gold Saucer and nowhere else..."

She tilted her head a bit, thinking hard again. An idea struck her fairly quickly, as she remembered one of the advertised rides. "Oh! What about the gondola? It's a popular one here, I think."

"A gondola? Like the ones in Venice?" he offered. Certainly a unique experience, as he realized he would never make it to Italy for quite some time, if at all. "If you're game for that, Miss Aeris, I believe I might be as well," he finished with that charming smile of his. Perhaps this trip would be worth it after all.

"Well, I don't know if a place like this would have a water ride, but it won't hurt to look." she felt her cheeks go a little red at that smile of his. He was definitely a charming one. She would have to remember him!

"It was this way." she said, leading him back to the lobby.

Luxord's demented inner voice began to do a joyful dance at the sight of her blush. While part of him relished that he had gotten her, hook, line, and sinker, another rational part fussed him for thinking that. They would probably never see each other again, after all, and this would never be a serious relationship. The phone bill would be much too high for them.
He followed her through the lobby, being careful not to spend too much time gawking. This was not one to lose, he thought.

She looked around the lobby, and she let out a happy noise as her eyes settled on the pathway to the gondola ride.

"There it is!" she pointed at it. Making sure he was beside her before she started walking again, Aeris again led the way to the ride. Needless to say, it certainly didn't look like a gondola. More like a miniature cabin or shack. "Hmmm...somehow, I figured it would look like this."

"Hm. No, I hadn't quite figured that...I was counting a bit more on boats, but perhaps there is a different meaning of the word that I'm forgetting," he said with a small sigh. "Perhaps the evening is still salvageable?" he said, swiping his pass card to pay for their ride. He stepped lightly over the gap and offered his hand again in support.
He had seen Ffamran do this same trick too many times in order for it to not work.

"Yes, I think we can still get something nice from it. It's not that bad." She took his hand and stepped over the gap. "Thank you."

He had anticipated being able to catch her and ever so carefully use her momentum to pull her closer to him, where, of course, things would only get better.
However, he didn't anticipate the gondola suddenly jolting and sending him off-balance. And, due to his failed trick, he ended up pulling her down as well. He lay on the floor and tried to compose himself after having a girl he barely knew nearly crush his pancreas.
'Oh, Luxord,' he thought to himself, 'what a smooth operator you are.'

Aeris' face turned scarlet as she just lay there on him. After a few seconds, she bolted upright. "Oh! I'm sorry. Are you okay?" she tilted her head. Nevermind she was still practically straddling his legs.

"My lady, it is entirely my fault that you fell. I'm quite sorry for that, I wasn't expecting it at all," he said, trying not to think of where she was situated at the moment.

She blushed again and scrambled up to stand. The attendant for the gondola came over then and shut the door.

"Sorry for that folks! Please sit, the ride will start shortly."

"Yes, thanks." she laughed a little and sat down on one of the benches.

Luxord pulled himself off of the floor--heavens knows what had been on it--and stood, dusting himself off and quickly fixing his curly hair again. Best appearances and all that.

"If you don't mind me asking, is this seat taken?" he asked, gesturing to the seat next to her.

"Go right ahead." she grinned, scooting over to allow him room.

He quickly took the offered seat in case of another sudden jolt. He had made a fool of himself twice already, he didn't need to do so again. He felt like putting his arm around her, but he thought it best to refrain and let her be a little more comfortable first.

No sooner did he sit down, the gondola gave another jerk and went into motion. The car began moving along the rail and took them high into the sky around the Gold Saucer. Aeris' eyes were wide as she looked out the side window.

"Wooww, we're so high up!" she laughed.

Luxord had to admit, he wasn't expecting to be this high up. His eyes also widened as he saw the whole park lit up from as high as they were. He joined in with light laughter of his own.

"I didn't expect this either, Aeris! What a wonderfull idea!" he said, anxiously wanting to sneak his arm around her...but he remembered what happened the last time he tried to be sneaky, and refrained.

Truthfully, she was always a little scared of high places. It made her feel much closer to the sky, the very same sky she felt was trying to draw her in. But in the pure elation of the moment it was forgotten. The fireworks were beginning to be set off, and the first ones crackled overhead in brilliant displays of pinks, reds, purple, blues, and greens.

Granted, he and Ffamran had set off several grosses of fireworks over this last summer--nearly setting MacGregor's field on fire, once--but he had never seen fireworks from this height before. It was a totally new experience for him, and his face was bright with a smile straight from his carefree, wondrous boyhood days.

"Wow..." he breathed, taking in as much of the spectacular sight as he could. All pretenses had been forgotted and overwritten by the display, and Luxord hadn't even realized he had put his arm around her shoulders until a few moments later. He decided quickly to let it be, and his attention went back to the fireworks as they lit up the night sky.

She giggled again, happily gazing out at the display. Fireworks were a rare thing to see in Midgar unless you went up to the Plate during the holidays. Aeris had always been far too busy spending those days with her mother or tending to the church than running around the Plate with school friends. "They're shooting off so many too!"

"They are, aren't they...oh! Look at that one!" he exclaimed, pointing out one that erupted in a shower of blue and green sparks. For once in a great while, he felt totally relaxed. Something about this just felt...right.

The brunette just smiled as she watched the rest of the fireworks. The gondola was even higher in the sky now, and they had a great view of both the brilliant light display and the lights of the the Gold Saucer. Even the chocobos could be seen running under them on part of the outdoor track.

"This...this is wonderful! Thank you ever so much for letting me see this with you," he said, moving just the slightest bit closer to her to better fit his arm. She hadn't said anything about it, so he assumed he was all right. "Aeris, dear, how can I ever repay you for this wonderful suggestion?"

She blushed a little as he drew closer, then smiled. It was nice having someone so close, especially a nice young man such as himself. Being around him was comfortable, even though he was still technically a stranger.

"Well, I suppose that if you're ever in Midgar, you can pay me back by buying flowers from me." she said, grinning playfully.

His heart sank a little. He had never really heard of Midgar before, except for a vague mention in Worlds Geography class, and he doubted he would ever get to be there.

"Well, I don't think I'll be able to do that...I'm not from this world, as you can probably tell by my accent...is there something else I could do?" he asked as his ears began to flush their telltale red.

She tilted her head, feeling a pang of guilt as the miserable look crept up on his face. She closed her eyes and tapped her chin, thinking. "Weelll, I suppose you can make it up by smiling and continuing to be my date for the night!" she said with a grin.

A hopeful smile crossed the blond's face. That, he could certainly do.

"I believe I can do that. After this, where else would you---" He was quickly cut off as the ride gave another hearty lurch...and stopped. The lights cut out, leaving the two in darkness lessened only by the colorful fireworks.

Aeris let out a yelp as they were left in darkness. A voice came over the monitor then, the attendant from before.

"Sorry about that folks! The electrician's on his way over here to fix it, so just sit tight!" Aeris shook her head a little. "You would think they'd check for that before they open the ride..."

"You would suppose, yes. Perhaps it has something to do with whatever threw us to the ground before?" he mused as his eyes tried to adjust to the sudden darkness. "But...I suppose this gives us a bit more time to get to know each other," the blond said, giving her his charming smile again, even though she probably couldn't see it in this light.

"Hmmm, you're right." she nodded. "So, would you like to tell first or shall I?"

"Ladies first, I insist."

She leaned into him more to get comfortable. "Very well, let's see. Perhaps I'll start with the basics. You know my name already." She grinned, "I live in Midgar, where I help with the upkeep of a church with my mother."

He wasn't quite expecting her to snuggle up to him so soon, but he figured that they might be there for quite some time, and made himself as good as a pillow as he could.

"You know my name as well. I come from Twilight Town and England, which is where I got this accent from. My father is a repairman and a watchmaker, and my mum writes and helps my uncle edit his work. He's an ornithologist, but mum says he has the language skills of a first grader." He quickly added, "And, there's Ffamran, of course. He'd punch me if he knew I forgot him."

"Wow, your family sounds like a lively bunch." she laughed. She only had vague glimpses of memory regarding her father and real mother. "Ffamran? Is he your friend or your brother? The way you talk about him, I'd think it's the latter."

"Oh, he's not my brother. Not really. He's from Ivalice, and we've been his exchange family for a while. He's like...a combination of the two, really," he concluded. "We do speech and debate and theater together. Do you do anything extra at your school?" he said, trying to skirt the possible age issue between them.

"Well, I'm in the gardening club." she said, taking the hint and carrying the subject elsewhere. "Every year we make bouquets and other arrangements for school events. It's a bit expensive sometimes, but it's really a lot of fun! Especially the arranging of the flowers."

He laughed softly. "My mum has a garden, and she does some arranging and such. I don't have any skill in that, I'd kill a dandelion," Luxord said with a smile. This Aeris was perhaps one of the more interesting girls he had dated so far. Most of the other girls' only activities were stalking him and Ffamran and going to parties.

"Awww, I'm sure you're exaggerating. Flowers are easy to take care of if you know how to properly care for them." she said. "Maybe I'll have to teach you some day!"

He blushed at her remarks.

"No, I've found I just can't get anything to grow right. I can landscape well, though. Father and I did the work for the courthouse back home...but someone else maintains it, thankfully," he said with a sheepish grin. "Father's teaching me all that he knows, though, so I could maybe, I don't know...fix your furnace one day?" He quickly thought of his last words, and made sure they weren't some innuendo that would have slipped out his mouth. That would certainly ruin the moment for him.

Whether she got the innuendo or not, he probably wouldn't ever guess. "Well, perhaps I'll hire you to come do some landscaping for my house then! Just leave the planting to me."

He again looked sad at this. "Well, to be honest...we don't have much. I'll probably never be able to come back here again," he said, gazing out at the fireworks.

She didn't let her smile dampen even a moment. Her hand reached over to give his a gentle squeeze.

"Call it a hunch, or woman's intuition if you will...but I don't believe that." she said softly, "This won't be the last time we meet, Luxord."

He looked at her, and his heart lifted at her hope. He squeezed her hand back, and just smiled. "Let's hope your intuition is right, then."

"I know it is." she replied, her eyes shining even in the dim light. "And when we do see each other again, I'll say 'I told you so,' and you won't be able to do a thing about it!"

"I anxiously await that day, then, Aeris," he said with another smile, as he leaned over and gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Perhaps I'll get to have another wonderful night with you?"

"I guarantee it." The brunette leaned her head against his shoulder, and her hand moved up around his back. Perhaps her surety they would meet again was due to her Cetra heritage. Or perhaps it was just a lucky guess. Either way, she hoped she was right. Just from being with this nice young man, she wanted to know more about him than could possibly be learned in only a few hours.

"When we do meet again, I can tell you about my twenty-three tiny wishes."

"Twenty-three? That is quite a lot...is there any of them I could grant while we still have time together?" he asked somewhat cheekily. Nevertheless, he was still quite content to just hold her and enjoy what they had for now.

"Hmmm, perhaps you can." she said, deciding to be equally cheeky. "Close your eyes. And don't peek either! I can tell if you're peeking!"

He chuckled at this. Two can indeed play at this game, he thought as he obliged. "I promise I won't peek. You have my word."

"Good!" she gave his curly head a light rub. Both her hands moved up to cup his face between them, and by then he could probably tell what was coming. Since the lack of lights gave her only a dim view of his face, she used her hands to tell exactly where his lips were. Her own lips found his and pressed against them shyly, a clear sign she was new even to a kiss.

He felt her hands on his face, and at first he was confused, but that quickly passed when he felt her kiss him. She was less experienced than he was, he could tell, but he was fine with it. He began to return the kiss, ever so lightly and gently.

Aeris let out a satisfied groan. She could suddenly see why so many of her classmates tended to skip class to spend the time with their significant others. Since she was new to the entire experience, the kiss was as chaste as could be and she pulled away after only a few seconds. Her face was flushed red.

"Thank you." That was one little wish fulfilled.

Luxord gently smiled.

"My dear, you're quite welcome," he said, lightly kissing her again on her forehead and pulling her closer.
After a moment of them sitting together, he asked, almost in a whipser, "I'm...I'm your first, aren't I?"

"Mmm," she said, giving a little nod. "The very first." She closed her eyes as she leaned her forehead against his. "It's an honor for me."

"It's even more of an honour for me, dear," he said, content to relax like this for the rest of his life, whether he was suspended hundreds of feet above the ground or not.

She was just about to speak again when the lights for the ride came back on. Having gotten used to the darkness, the girl let out a little squeak and kept her eyes shut tight.

"Sorry about the wait! We're about to bring you back in!" the attendant called.

Luxord groaned and closed  his eyes quickly. That hurt.

"A shame. I could have stayed like that forever, I think," he admitted, blinking his eyes quickly in an attempt  to get them to adjust sooner.

"As could I." she said, giving him a sympathetic smile. She had to squint to see him, though her vision returned to normal after a few more seconds.

The fireworks outside had persisted the entire time that the fireworks inside were going on, but they had began their finale, and the colored explosions shone throughout the night.

"That means they're ending soon...does that mean the park closes soon, as well?" he asked, not wanting this night to ever end.

"I'm afraid so." she nodded. "Usually there's only an hour left between the end of the fireworks and the closing of the park. You know, a chance for everyone to try out the last of the rides and so on."

"Only an hour..." he repeated sadly as he let it sink in. "Well, why don't we make the best of this hour as we can? Would you care for dinner, perhaps?"

"Oh, that would be lovely!" she nodded. "Let's make it a night neither of us will forget!"

"Certainly, Aeris. As you wish," he said,  pulling her into one more gentle kiss before their gondola ride together ended.

She returned the kiss, being a little more bold with it this time, then broke it as the door opened. "Well, the rest of the park awaits, good sir."

He grinned as their kiss ended. She's getting better at this, he thought, still very proud to be the young woman's first.

"The rest of our evening together lies in your hands, my lady. Come, let's enjoy what we can," he said, taking her by the hand and standing up to leave. "I would be ever so proud to escort you off of our fine carriage," he winked.

She giggled again, smiling and gladly holding onto his hand. "Do lead the way." Once they were off the gondola, she slid her arm around his slightly crooked elbow.

The rest of the evening was spent seeing the rest of the sights the Gold Saucer had to offer. From the racing chocobos, to people knocking one another silly in the battle arena, to even the arcades and the haunted house. Aeris was all smiles the entire time, and it seemed as though their last hour together had lasted forever. However, reality came crashing back onto the brunette's shoulders as they passed into the lobby and noticed her teachers rounding the students up.

"Oh, I have to leave now." she said, looking up at Luxord with obvious disappointment.

He looked over and saw the rest of his classmates gathering together as well, Ffamran still making a ruckus from...well, whatever he had gotten himself into.

"As do I, Aeris," he said sadly, holding her hand just a little bit tighter. "We'll see each other again, though, won't we?" he asked, a small hopeful smile forming. Secretly, he thought this wouldn't be the case, and she would forget all about him, and he about her, and the two would never see each other again.

"Again, I can guarantee it." she nodded, smiling widely. She gave him a tight hug, hoping to the heavens she didn't start crying. The only thing that kept her from doing so was the overwhelming calm feeling that they would indeed meet again.

He returned the hug, giving her a kiss on the forehead again.

"Oh, Aeris, don't cry. We'll see each other again, don't fret," he said, because he needed to hear those words as much as she did. "Here. Dry your eyes, dear." He offered her the handkerchief from his pocket. "And don't worry, you can keep it."

She took the handkerchief and dabbed it at her eyes lightly to catch the tiny tears forming there.

"Thank you. I really had fun tonight Luxord." she said with a broad smile. "It's definitely the best time I've had in my whole life!"

"As did I. I hope I never forget this night, or you," he said, pulling her close for one last embrace. He could hear Mr. Paulson asking where he was in the distance, and their time together was running out.

Likewise, Mrs. Roento was calling for her. She pushed him away gently, reluctantly, and gave him one last smile.

"Until we meet again, good sir. I'll be waiting." She gave his hand one gentle squeeze, then went off to rejoin her group.

Luxord couldn't stand the sight of her walking away from him like that. He quickly ran after her and gave her one last kiss.

"To remember me by," he whispered when they were through, as he ignored the cat-calls coming from his group of students. No doubt the loudest of them was Ffamran, but he was just jealous, Luxord thought.

Aeris' face was red as they parted finally. Oh how she wished they could've been in their own world, far away from everyone else and able to enjoy one another forever. She waved to him asher group made for the trolley back to Corel. A few of her classmates giggled and laughed, a few joking harshly and a few giving her praise. No one said anything directly to the flower girl. The entire way back to Corel, she cradled his handkerchief against her chest. He is special, the planet told her, and he would appear again.

He waved back as they left, and watched her go, until she was just another detail in the background. He felt a hand on his shoulder pulling him backwards, and to no surprise it was Ffamran. With one final look back, he went to rejoin his group, some of the female persons looking thoroughly put out. Their trip back to Twilight Town awaited them, and as much as he was looking forward to being home again, he wanted ever so much to see her again. As he sat on the train to go home--next to Ffamran, of course, who wanted to share what all Luxord had missed-- and went through the final role call, he felt something in his pocket that didn't feel like his keys or his wallet.

When the object was pulled out, it was revealed to be a little note made from a ripped out page of a mini-notebook. It was neatly folded, and the handwriting on the front was distinctly feminine, reading "To Luxord."

Ffamran, upon catching sight of the note, quickly began to tease him, but Luxord just shoved him off. The blond opened the note--girls always folded them so oddly, with all of these twists and turns and complications--and read what was inside, trying to keep it out of Ffamran's grasp.

Once opened, the note read:


"Luxord, keep this note handy for the day we meet again! You're going to need it!
   
I mentioned my 23 little wishes. Well, I figured you wouldn't remember them all by the time we see each other again. So! I put them all together into one:
   
I'd like to spend more time with you.
   
Love,
Aeris Ifalna Gainsborough.
"


His heart soared at the content of her letter. He read it twice again, and then quickly placed it in his wallet. When questioned as to what was in it by half the people on the trip the next morning, his answer was obscene, to say the least, but he knew he'd keep that letter close to him for as long as he could, in case he ever saw her again.

----

Aeris finished up the last of the laundry and headed off to her and Luxord's room. Elmyra, who normally dropped in this time of day, had just stepped back out since one of the other ladies from the neighborhood called her over for a chat. Aeris set the laundry basket down on the bed and began looking through them for matching socks.

Luxord began to load away the emptied suitcases in the storage closet and started to settle in again. After cleaning the kitchen windows--so the sun could shine through again, though god knows he needed more sun--, he settled down with his laptop to pay the incoming bills quickly and perhaps order a little something for Aeris at the same time.

"Honey!" he called up the stairs, "do you think you could grab my credit card for me? It's in my wallet on the nightstand!" He had indeed found her something that he thought she'd like, but he wanted to keep it a surprise for her. A belated extra Valentine's Day gift, perhaps.

"Alright! Hold on a moment!" she called. Setting the socks down, she plucked his wallet from the nightstand and began going through it.

"Hmmm, oh here it..." she stopped as she noticed a rather familiar note. It was a bit yellowed with age, but otherwise it looked as though very good care had been given to it. Her lip trembled slightly as she eased it out and read it. Her heart leapt in her chest, and warm tears moved down her face.

Luxord made his way up the stairs carefully. While his leg was recovering, all of the walking from terminal to terminal made it act up again. Something was taking her too long.

"Aeris, love, did you find it? It's on the nightstand, isn't it?" he said as he walked into their bedroom. It looked as if she was in the middle of doing something, but she had stopped.

"Yes, I found it." she said, her voice wavering. She held up the little folded note and gave him a broad grin. "And this as well."

His eyes grew wide at what she had found, and he smiled.

"I've kept that all these years so I could find you again. I thought I had lost it, but I found it after I broke my arm. Did you...did you know it was me the whole time, as well?" he asked, taking her in his arms as he had done ever so long ago.

"I...I admit that for the longest time, I thought that entire night had been just a dream. It was too wonderful." she hugged him back tightly, her face buried in his chest. "And the moment I met you, I was so happy! It was real, all of it."

Aeris lifted her head up, tears sliding down her cheeks.

"I knew it when I first heard your name."

He smiled and kissed away her tears. "I suppose you still have my handkerchief, then? The one with the starling on it?" he asked, content to just hold her.

"Of course I do. It's in that music box on the drawer," she tilted her head towards said drawer, "Where I keep all my other precious things."
She rested her head against his chest again. "Thank you for giving me my greatest wish."

"You've always been welcome, Aeris, my love," he replied. He smoothed her hair back and kissed her gently. "My only love."

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