Another Time, Perhaps
This fic is set in the world of Kingdom Hearts, after the Heartless have taken many worlds. They have not yet, however been restored by the keyblade. Though set in such a world, it is not a Kingdom Hearts fan fiction, as it involves mainly two characters from the original Final Fantasy VII game. The story revolves around Aerith and Sephiroth and how they must cope with one another's company while fighting hatred
Please note: slightly AU (due to setting), and somewhat OOC, due to predicaments. Main characters are Sephiroth and Aerith
Disclaimer: I do not own any of the squaresoft characters, nor do I own anything related to Disney in regards to game or otherwise. The plot of this story, however, is entirely my own. Thank you.
Sunlight danced across the pink comforter and warmed the face of the young woman whose head peeped from the top. Light illuminated her unusually beautiful face as she slowly opened her long-lashes to reveal to the world her striking emerald eyes. It was a normal day. It was another normal morning. It had been yet another normal night, plagued by those horrible nightmares.
Aerith stretched as she recalled the night's dream, the one that was identical to every other one since she had arrived in Traverse Town those many months ago.
She remembered the flames. She remembered the crystalline city. She remembered the pain of dying. She remembered her mother's face, and the soft song of the planet as she was told she wasn't meant to die. She remembered being flung back into the world of the living only to see her much beloved planet be swallowed up by darkness. She remembered the man in black with platinum hair.
How she had originally ended up in Travers Town, she didn't know. She remembered waking up to Cid and Yuffie's familiar faces, but empty somehow, at the loss of her dear earth, and of her dear cloud.
Though she had never openly admitted her feelings for the spiky-haired ex-SOLDIER, she had always secretly pined for him to return her feelings.
Despite the feelings deep in her heart, her strong will prevailed and she started everyday off on the right foot, no matter the situation of circumstances. She was determined to make good of her new life, since the old one was unattainable.
Though she shared it with no one she desperately missed to voices of the planet. She was not accustomed to the flow of this places spirit energy, and could no more hear the voices within it than a normal person can hear the dead. When she woke, she ached inside and out for the warm voice of her life-long and most trusted friend.
But times change, as do people, and Aerith found herself growing more accustomed to the routine life she shared with what friends she had left. Every morning she woke, made her bed, cooked breakfast for those in the accessory shop, and then proceeded to clean the shop and the gummy garage. It wasn't much of a living, but then again life for Aerith was never easier. The only thing she could complain about was lack of events, but Aerith never was the whining type.
Stretching out all her limbs enough to make even the most flexible of cats jealous, Aerith let out a tremendous yawn, stood, and made her bed. She looked down, contently, at the finished product, then proceeded out of her bedroom and down the hall. She started up the stove and dug in the fridge for the rest of the bacon and a few eggs.
Aerith would only be making breakfast for two, this morning.
Cid walked into the kitchen not long after she had started the bacon. There wasn't much that could wrestle the old, stubborn pilot out of bed, but apparently a few strips of greasy, frying meat did just the trick. Aerith placed bread in the toaster, walking about the kitchen, readying the rest of it for the remainder of the meal.
Scratching the back of his head and yawning, Cid looked about the kitchen. "Where are the other two hooligans?" he asked, sleepily.
Aerith smiled at the older man. "They left for the tournament over at the coliseum late last night."
Nodding, Cid showed he understood. "Bacon ready soon?" he asked, just as sleepily as the question before.
Giggling, Aerith nodded her own head. The bread popped out of the toaster, and Aerith set to buttering it. She brought the plates to the small kitchen table and set the food down. Cid grinned like a wild animal. "Thanks, Aerith," he smiled as he began at his food.
"No worries, Cid," she smiled back, watching him devour piece after piece of bacon until the plate had all but licked clean.
"Why didn't you go?"
Aerith turned on the sink and plugged it up with the stopper, pouring few drops of liquid soap into the warm water. "Go where?" she questioned, placing her hands into the soapy mixture, liberally applying elbow grease to the pan the bacon and the eggs had been fried in.
"Go to the coliseum to watch Yuffie and Leon, of course!"
Continuing scrubbing, Aerith gave off a small shrug. "You need help here," she replied simply, rinsing the soapy, but clean, dish off under the faucet.
"That's a load of crap, Aerith," cid chuckled, taking a swig of his orange juice. "You know perfectly well I can manage things on my own."
Aerith shrugged again.
"Take a vacation, girl," Cid persisted, leaning back in his chair. "In fact, I'll take you there myself."
Aerith dried her hands on a nearby dishtowel that hung from a cupboard door. "Cid," she made to protests, but the stubborn, blonde old pilot would have nothing of the sort.
He held up his hand to signal her not to even try. "You deserve a break," he laughed. "You do more around this shop than I do, and we can't have that- you wouldn't want me to have to rename the place 'Aerith's accessory shop', woud'ja?"
Aerith smiled coyly. "I suppose not," she confessed.
"Good," the elder man smirked. "Go get what you need and meet me in the garage in five minutes." Cid stood and walked out the kitchen door. "And don't even think about doing them dishes!" he shouted over his shoulder. "You're on vacation as of now!"
Letting out a heart filled laugh, Aerith sighed and placed her hands on her hips. She knew that arguing with Cid wasn't an option, and secretly, she really had wished to watch her friends compete in battle for some time. Though she rarely fought, considering her weak physical nature, and she had always enjoyed the tournaments the Gold Saucer held.
"This may get my mind off things," she decided, finally. She entered her room and grabbed what she thought necessary, and met Cid in the garage. He climbed in the cockpit of his favorite gummy ship, Aerith right be hind him, and grumbled something. "What was that, Cid?" she questioned, hoping that she wasn't the reason for his sudden change of mood.
"Those two hooligans took my cruiser ship!" he said, holding in a strand of expletives that would make a sailor blush.
"Cruiser ship?" Aerith asked, inclining her head just slightly to show her confusion.
Cid nodded. "Yea, my pride and joy- it's a ship with not only a cockpit, but a full-sized kitchen, separate rooms for sleeping, and my strongest shields." He stomped his foot. "I wanted to take all of you on a vacation trip in a few months as a reward for doing such a damn good job helping me out around the shop, but because of those two, I'm not so sure anymore."
Aerith held in a giggle. "Don't be too hard on them," she smiled.
The old pilot rolled his eyes. "I'll give them what for when they come back. Right now, they have to keep their minds on fighting and winning."
Though Aerith couldn't say the trip through gummy-space wasn't fun, she couldn't exactly claim that she enjoyed Cid's driving. It was nearly evening when they arrived at the Olympus Coliseum, and Aerith was happy to place her feet back on solid earth. "So this is what other worlds look like," she gaped, climbing off the ship.
"There are more, but not like this," Cid chuckled from above. "Hitch a ride home Leon and Yuffie, all right? Have fun." With that, the old pilot took off, returning to gummy space.
Aerith stood still in the gates. She was still amazed at what beauty surrounded her- such structural design! Such style! It was dazzling! And so many people! Groups of friends stood and chatted amongst themselves, many other loners practiced their special moves or made sure their items were equipped properly.
"Aerith?" A familiar voice rang out from the crowd. Aerith looked around for the source of the voice, and sure enough a smiling Yuffie was bounding right at her. Placing her arms in front of her to brace the impact, Aerith was pulled into a large bear hug provided by the younger ninja. "I can't believe you're here!" Yuffie gleefully squealed.
Carefully, Aerith pried herself from the iron grip the ninja had on her. "It's good to see you too, Yuffie," she laughed.
Yuffie took a step back and sized up her friend. "I thought you said you were going to stay behind and give Cid a hand at the shop," she accused playfully.
Shrugging, Aerith smiled. "He kicked me out. Told me I needed a vacation."
"How right he was!" Yuffie laughed. She grabbed the flower girls' hand and led her thought he crowd. "The real tournament doesn't start until tomorrow, but the prelims are almost done!" she called over her shoulder.
"Did I miss your fight?" Aerith asked.
Yuffie nodded her head. "Don't' worry though- they wouldn't have let you in to see the match anyway."
A little more than disappointed, Aerith sighed lightly, still following, or rather, still being dragged by, Yuffie. She could see Leon up ahead, leaning against a wall, lost in concentration.
"Hey Leon," Yuffie shouted. "Look who's here!"
When Leon refused to depart the sanctuary of deep thought he was lost in. Yuffie proceeded to kick him square in the shin. That got his attention.
"What do you think you're doing?" he spat, annoyed. His eyes made contact with Aerith's.
"Hey," she smiled and waved her hand.
"Hey," Leon answered in reply. "What are you doing here?"
Yuffie slapped Leon on the back. "She's here to watch us kick some butt!" she chirped, grinning madly from ear to ear.
"The tournament isn't until tomorrow," he informed Aerith, running a hand through his hair.
Aerith smiled. "So I've heard. You guys wouldn't mind me crashing in the ship with you, would you?"
Yuffie threw her arms around Aerith neck, as a little sister might hug an older sibling whom they haven't' seen in a long while. "Of course we don't' mind! There's room in that ship for everyone!" she giggled.
Aerith and Yuffie happily chatted for the rest of the evening, debating who would pose a challenge and who would have their rear handed to them on a platter in the first round. Most people had returned to their ships to rest for the night, or to return home, when a small murmur shot through the crowd that remained in torch lit arena.
"What's all the fuss about?" Aerith asked, trying to peer over the heads of the fighters.
"The champion is in the arena," Leon replied, sounding as if he was bored.
"Champion?" Aerith asked.
Excitedly, Yuffie nodded. "He won the last tournament, and he is totally unbeatable! Look there he is!" Yuffie waved her hand in the air eagerly. "Hey, Seph! What's up?" she called over the crowd.
Aerith's feet froze in place and her body became rigid with cold fear as her eyes met with the champion's. Only one man wore such an outfit; only one man had such a magnificently sculpted face; only one man had such a glorious silver mane; only one man had eyes that glowed the color of the lifestream; Sephiroth.
Aerith raised her hand and pointed her finger directly at the man who stood no more than ten feet away from her. "You!" she screamed. Her voice echoed in the deadly silent arena.
Sephiroth's own eyes grew wide with astonishment.
Yuffie grabbed Aerith's outstretched hand and began to drag her through the silenced crowd. Soundless tears fell down Aerith's face as she choked back a sob of utter disgust and complete discomfort. Yuffie pulled Aerith into their gummy ship and into one of the back room, shutting the door tightly behind her.
Sighing heavily, Yuffie began to explain things. "He's the reason we didn't invite you in the first place," she confessed.
"You knew he'd be here and you didn't do anything?" Aerith shrieked, not trying to hold back the tears any longer.
Yuffie shook her head. "You don't understand Aerith. I am not as strong as you think I am- even if I did something, it wouldn't have mattered; I can't take him on by myself."
"Leon could have helped you!" Aerith tried to argue.
"No, Aeri, this isn't Leon's problem. And me personally- I have nothing against Sephiroth."
Gasping, Aerith put her hands to her mouth. "He killed me, Yuffie!"
Stomping her foot, Yuffie grew impatient. "And Cloud killed him- but the both of you came back just before the planet was taken by the heartless."
Aerith fell silent. She didn't understand why the planet would bring him back. Was there something he was doing in the new world that was meant as atonement? She shook her head at her own silly thought; that monster could never be forgiven for all the lives he stole.
Yuffie wrapped her arms around her friend in a caring, hope-giving gesture. "I know you really hate him but please, Aerith, please just stay and watch Leon and I."
Letting herself relax slightly, Aerith nodded slowly. She had come to see a tournament, and see a tournament she would- whether or not in the company of a monster.
There came a small knock on the door. Yuffie opened it and came face to face with Leon. Leon pointed over his shoulder at Sephiroth whom was standing behind him, facial expression blank. "Seph says that Cloud was looking for you, Aerith."
Aerith swallowed the lump that was in her throat and her eyes became wide with hope. "Cloud was looking for me? Cloud is still alive?"
Leon nodded. "Seph says he left right before we got here for Traverse Town. There had been rumors going around of a kind woman working at the accessory shop fitting your description, and he just took off."
Narrowing her eyes, Aerith glared at Sephiroth from over Leon's shoulder. "And why would you know where he went?" Aerith demanded, accusingly.
Sephiroth crossed his arms, face blank, voice monotone, but deep. "He and I have been close for a short while," he answered.
Aerith gasped. "You lie!"
Sephiroth raised an eyebrow. "And why would I? Cloud knew that it was Jenova controlling me. He claimed he would never forgive me, but he acted kind enough toward me and talked with me of many things, no less. I may have ruined his life, but it wasn't really me doing the things that I did. You were one of the subjects he brought up often."
Sephiroth nodded. "I didn't mean to kill you, Aerith. It simply happened. I wasn't in control of my body. It was done by my hands, but not by me."
"So that's why-"
Again, the ex-general nodded. "That's why the planet brought me back. It purified my body and purged me of all the evil Jenova had created."
Aerith was speechless. So it wasn't him that had killed her, it was Jenova, the monster that was controlling him.
"I am not asking your forgiveness, Aerith. That would be far more than what I could ever hope to deserve. Because of my rebirth, the planet's defenses were down- it had a hard time purging me of such great evil, but it managed. Because of me, the planet couldn't protect itself and fell into the clutches of the heartless." Sephiroth's eyes remained as cold as ice. "I plan to travel to Traverse Town to retrieve Cloud and bring him here," he explained.
"No," Aerith whispered. "I still don't trust you."
Raising an eyebrow, Sephiroth shifted his weight onto his left foot. "Then am I to assume you shall be accompanying me?"
Aerith stomped her foot. "You can bet that damned sword of yours I'll be going with you! I don't trust you as far as I could throw you!"
"Aerith-" Yuffie protested. "I don't know if that's such a good idea.
"Yuffie," Aerith sighed. "It's not- but if Cloud really is alive, I don't want him alone in the company of this monster!"
Leon wore a rather confused look upon his visage. "Did I miss something? What's all this talk of death and rebirth?"
Yuffie rolled her eyes. "You wouldn't understand," she sighed, pulling Leon by the collar of his jacket. "You two take this ship- it's safer, and it has auto-pilot. See you!"
The door to the ship was closed, and Aerith and Sephiroth continued to stare each other down.
"I still hate you," Aerith said. Though she detested the man before her, she also feared him- there was evidence enough in her voice.
"You have more than enough right to," he replied, simply. "Shall we depart? I still have a wish to compete in the tournament tomorrow, and I am sure that Cloud wouldn't mind fighting either."
Aerith crossed her arms, determined to remain firm in her hatred.
"I'll take that as a yes, then," he sighed, making his way to the cockpit.