A/N: Well, this is my first Final Fantasy 7 fic on ff.net. I'm a long-time fan but a first time writer for the game ^_^

Disclaimer: I do NOT own Final Fantasy 7 or "I'll Always Be Right There" by Michelle Branch ^_^

Note: This is a Cloud/Aerith fic! ^^

Lyrics are in Italics

* * *

Looking beyond the decorated horizon, Cloud Strife sighed tiredly. He gripped the railing of the Highwind as it speed at full speed through the skies. The whipping wind battled with Cloud's blonde hair, but failed to displace any of it. His once cold eyes were now melancholy and filled with anguish. Too many things had happened; too much pain.

It had been 2 months since Sephiroth had been defeated. The terror of Meteor had subsided, and now the world concentrated on pulling itself back together, to surpass the damages that ShinRa had inflicted throughout the Planet. Still, there were some things that couldn't be repaired.

Like a broken heart.

When you're all alone,
And you need a light,
Someone to guide you through the night,
Just remember that I am here,
To hold you close and dry your tears

Ever since Aerith's death had occurred, Cloud was the only one having constant trouble of letting her memory go. Her bright, beautiful, optimistic eyes continued to haunt his mind. The sweet smile that played on her lips continued to float throughout his memory, and her tender voice was all he heard. Losing her was something Cloud was not prepared for.

Then again, he wasn't prepared to fall in love with the flower girl either.

"Life just loves to screw me over," Cloud sighed, leaning on the railing of the Highwind. "But this time, it went too far."

"Yo Cloud," a strong voice called him from behind. The blue-eyed man turned to face Barret, who was staring at him intently. "Somethin' wrong wit you?" Cloud turned away from him to once again face the horizon. The setting sun shone bright as the day was fading and night was rising. The mixture of pink and purple, red and orange, blue and black was a sight that was all too beautiful. The clouds rose high above the image, making it seem as if they were headed towards the entrance of Heaven itself.

"Everything's wrong with me," Cloud complained. "Or should I just pretend that everything's just fine? Oh yes, my hometown is gone, my family is dead, I'm going crazy, the girl I love died in my arms, the Planet was nearly destroyed, and now I have to live the rest of my miserable life with all this in my mind. Oh yes Barret, my life is just fine." Barret raised an eyebrow at the blonde, who walked over and punched a wall of the Highwind in frustration.

Barret stayed silent as he watched the youth take his anger out on the ship before saying, "You still miss her." It was a statement, not a question. Cloud whipped around to face the leader of AVALANCHE.

"I just keep replaying her death over and over in my mind," he confessed, raking a hand through his spiked hair. "I can't help but feel as if I could've done something to save her, instead of just standing there like a moron at watching that bastard kill her right in front of me." The ship had just stopped and Cloud realized that they were in Cosmo Canyon. "What are we doing here?" he asked.

Barret walked passed him. "Nanaki's got something you might want; and some information that might change ya perspective of Aerith bein' gone and all."

With that, Barret stepped climbed down the Highwind, leaving Cloud alone and confused.

* * *

Once they were inside Nanaki's home, Nanaki led them to the top of the house, which overlooked all of Cosmo Canyon, letting them see the town and gaze up at the now clear and brilliant universe.

"What is it that you wanted to tell me, Nanaki?" Cloud asked. Nanaki looked at Cloud before bringing in a pouch in his mouth. He handed it over to Cloud, who took it and opened the small bag. As soon as he did, Cloud's eyes went as wide as saucers. He looked at Nanaki with an astonished expression.

Oh-ooh

With trembling hands, Cloud reached in and pulled out the White Materia.


And just when you thought you were falling,
But you know I'll always be right there.

"How…How did you get this?" Cloud asked. Nanaki gave him a lopsided smile, a glint in his fiery eyes.

"I can't tell you how, but I can tell you why," he answered, his voice deep and gruff.

"Why?" Cloud demanded, clutching the precious gift in his hand. Nanaki gazed up at the shinning stars, his eyes becoming softer.

"Aerith wanted me to," he responded calmly. "Though you may not believe it, she is still watching over you, protecting you…" Nanaki paused. "…Loving you with all her heart." Cloud gazed up at the sky, hardly daring to believe what Nanaki was telling him. Was she really there with him? Cloud raised the White Materia as he saw it glow in his hand. The pale green orb glowed brightly in his hand, a warm feeling spreading around Cloud. Cloud looked up at the sky and saw a shinning star up in the night sky.

Was this a message?

"She took care of you when you fell into the lifestream," Nanaki informed him. "She guided you as you confronted your past. She fought with you when you defeated Sephiroth. Cloud, she saved the world with you."

Cloud looked at Nanaki.

Nanaki gave him a sympathetic smile. "She was never gone."

* * *

When you're all alone,
And you need a friend,
Someone to help you to the end,
When you need someone to catch you when you fall,
I'll be there through it all

Cloud lay in the darkness of his room, clutching the White Materia in his hand.

"Should I…believe him?" Cloud asked himself out loud. He lifted the orb and stared at it in fascination. The very color of the orb reminded him of her lovely eyes; how the shone brightly when she was happy, and how they glimmered when she was sad. Cloud pressed the White Materia to his lips before shutting his eyes and drifting to sleep.

* * *

Cloud opened his eyes to find himself in a beautiful garden. Wild flowers grew as far as the eye could see, and the sun shone brightly from the deep blue sky. The fragrance in the air was sweet and pleasing to the senses. Golden butterflies frolicked about, their small but beautiful wings gliding them through the tender breeze.

"Cloud."

Cloud turned around to see Aerith smiling at him, holding a basket of flowers in her hand. Her eyes were shinning brightly with happiness and her face seemed to be glowing. Her long chestnut hair was tied neatly in her braid, and her now white ribbon floated happily in the heavenly breeze. Except now, her dress and jacket were pure white, making it seem as if her were an angel. Cloud half expected from angelic wings to emerge from her back, and a halo to appear above her head.

Oh-oh

Just when you thought you were losing,
But you know I'll always be right there.

"I've missed you Cloud!" she squealed, all at once embracing him tightly. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him in close. Instinctively, Cloud's arms wrapped around her waist tightly, everything feeling so right. He could almost feel her smile, the happiness clearly evident. Cloud shut his eyes, the warm familiar feeling of holding her in his arms too wonderful for him to handle. She pulled away, her face glowing with pure adoration and happiness.

"What is this place, Aerith?" Cloud asked the beautiful flower girl. Aerith smiled as she took Cloud's hand in her own. Cloud's face flushed red as he felt her soft hand, all at once missing her gentle touch.

"This is just a place in your mind," she responded. "A place where you're happy. And apparently, your heart is telling me that I belong here. Not that I mind of course," she winked at him. With a tender look in her emerald eyes, Aerith leaned in and rested her head against Cloud's shoulder.

"Aerith," Cloud said.

"I watch over you, Cloud," she sighed. "I make sure you're all right. It's not that I have to, I want to watch over you."

I'll be there through the good times,
And the bad,
And we'll be there for each other,
You're the best friend I ever had.

Cloud reached over and lifted her chin to capture her gaze. She stared deeply into his eyes, which were now soft, warm and inviting. Her face flushed red as she felt Cloud lean in closer to her. With a magical touch, Cloud ever so gently pressed his lips against Aerith's, pouring his heart and soul into the heavenly kiss. Aerith clung onto Cloud as if she would break if she let go. The taller of the two deepened the kiss, throwing logic out the window. All that mattered to Cloud was that he was with Aerith.

Once they pulled away, Aerith embraced Cloud, holding him dearly to her heart.

"I love you so much," she whispered.

"I love you too," Cloud replied, not wanting to ever let Aerith go. She pulled away from the tender embrace with tears in her eyes. "Hey," Cloud said softly, wiping away her tears with his thumb. "Don't cry."

Aerith's eyes glimmered with unshed tears. "I'll wait for you forever, Cloud." Cloud nodded, kissing her softly once again.

Oh-oooh

And just when you thought you were falling,
But you know I'll always be right there.
Oh-oooh whenever you need me,
I'll always be right there.

"But how will I know you're with me?" Cloud asked her. She smiled despite her tears. She took his hand in her own, and placed on his chest; over his heart.

"I'll always be right there," she whispered.

I'll always be right there…

~Owari~