Advent of Dreams
Author's Notes: Okay, it's been bothering me that fanfiction.net has so few Cleris fics and CloTi / AerSeph fics are taking over the world, so… Here's a Cleris fic from me to help balance the odds! =D Set two years after the game, this is an AU fic for Advent Children.
Disclaimer: Square-Enix owns Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children, its predecessor and all their characters. I don't own anything, though I wish I owned Cloud. ^_^'
Oh yes, Cloud's thoughts are in '…' and spoken dialogue is in "…".Chapter 1: Tending to My Dreams
Before my drift-wood fire I sit,
And see, with every waif I burn,
Old dreams and fancies coloring it,
And folly's unlaid ghosts return.
Green--a colour that has haunted him for years. From warm tendrils to cold, piercing, green eyes, he had never been able to escape it. It filled his nightmares, often leaving him broken the morning after. At times he welcomed it, hoping that perhaps a pair of loving verdant green eyes would greet him in the endless horror. Now here he stood, surround, by the endless sea of green.
'It's so cold here.' Cloud shuddered.
"Cloud…" He looked up and saw the Lifestream around him taking the shape of a dark alley. The sounds of explosions ricocheted off the walls behind him, the pounding matching the rhythm of his beating heart. It was her.
He turned. "Aer…"
There she stood, selling flowers beside a street lamp. Beautiful, just like the day he first laid eyes on her.
Cloud rushed forward and held her in a tight embrace. He swore he would protect her, from the incessant explosions, from the impending doom, from Shinra, from Sephiroth. From himself.
".....So, we meet again."
"Don't you remember me?"
"Everything is white..."
"What did I do? I don't remember anything..."
"If everything's a dream, don't wake me."
"Then, get me out of here. Take me home."
Memories, so many memories, each one boring deeper into his heart.
"Make it stop. I can't take this anymore, make it stop." Cloud pleaded, whispering into her ear. He shut his eyes, trying in vain to block out the images that flashed across them.
"Slow.... down.... Don't leave me...."
'No, no, I'm not leaving you, it's just…' His thoughts trailed off.
"Cloud... so you did come for me."
"You should have... an older girlfriend, one that'll take care of you. I think that would be the perfect type for you."
"I'll take you someday… keep hoping."
"Wow! I'm really looking forward to it! Let's ride the Airship together, OK? Promise, promise me!"
"No, NO!" He covered his ears, hoping to drown out the voices. Too many promises, too many broken promises.
"So even you will fight for someone else. I had you figured wrong I guess."
"But you're different. Things are different..."
"But I'm..... we're here for you, right?"
"I'll come back when it's all over."
"Cloud... I'm searching for you... I want to meet you."
"The Promised Land... I think I can meet her... there."
"No… Stop. Please stop…" He pleaded as the waves of memories assaulted him, tears flowing from his shut eyes.
'Screams… This is too painful. That's it, I must be screaming. No, that's not right, I'm not…screaming.'
He forced his eyelids open only to find her soaked from head to toe in blood. Silver twin snakes slithered down her cheeks and merged with the crimson river. Her eyes were glazed over as they stared at her blood-soaked hands while her soul wept and shook with cries of horror.
'This is all my fault. Yes, it must be my fault.'
"Aeris… Don't cry. Please, don't cry." Cloud coaxed as he reached out to wipe the tears from her face.
A blinding white light engulfed her the moment his skin brushed against hers and flung him back, flung him back through time and space.
He treasured the silence. Sometimes he felt that silence was all he had.
'It's so dark here.' He contemplated as the darkness swallowed him and he flew further away from the light.
'No, wait. I'm not being thrown back… I'm... falling.'
Falling away, away from the light… through the church…
'Déjà vu.' He thought, as he closed his eyes.
...You all right?
...Can you hear me?
"......I came crashing down?"
"The roof and the flower bed must have broken your fall. You're lucky."
"Flower bed... is this yours?"
"They say you can't grow grass and flowers in Midgar."
"But for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here."
"I love it here."
Cloud jerked his head up, his eyelids fluttering open.
"I must have dozed off." He chided himself.
The warm rays of the morning sun filtered through the musty air and danced off his face. Cloud leaned his head against the pew he had fallen asleep against. He came here often to tend to her flowers. Cloud surveyed them, sighing. They had seen better days.
"Maybe they miss her, too."
He glanced up and what he saw caused his heart to skip a beat. There she knelt, tending to her flowers, just as always.
"Aeris…?" He crawled over and reached for her face.
The sculpted doors of the church swung open and a cold gust swept through the aisle, carrying the image of her away, like a breath on the wind.
'Must have been another hallucination.' He ridiculed himself inwardly.
"Yo, foo! What ya doin' here? We've been waiting all mornin' for your spikey ass at the orphanage!" A familiar voiced boomed through the empty church.
'It must be later than I thought.'
"Yeah, alright, I'm coming." With that he picked himself up and made his way down the aisle, following the towering figure before him out of the sacred ground.
"I'll come back later." He whispered, to the ghosts of his past.
O ships of mine, whose swift keels cleft
The enchanted sea on which they sailed,
Are these poor fragments only left
Of vain desires and hopes that failed?
--John Greenleaf Whittier, Burning Drift-Wood
Yay, the first chapter's done! Sorry if it got too confusing! Alright, please vote! I can't decide, should I bring her back? Promise it won't be cheesy (I hope, I pray). I can't tell you what I'm gonna do with her, though. Or perhaps I shouldn't bring her back... I need to decide soon, as the story will be very different in a few chapters if I do. Hmm… *blames my indecisive mind* Yeah, so please give feedback! Oh yes, I did a fanart of the chapter not too long ago. Here it is! www[dot]deviantart[dot]com/view/5590053/ There's a link to an alternative version as well. The colour for the latter looks better. ^^'