Okay…sorry for the delay

Okay new chapter for this week. I want to thank everyone for reading my story and reviewing. I love hearing from you and I am really proud of these results! Please continue reading my story and I hope you all review for me. I hope you enjoy this next chapter. – Annubis

Disclaimer: I do not own final fantasy VII, Squaresoft does.

Chapter 35

Zack's body shook as he held onto the sides of the ceramic pool. He shook his head in disbelief, not understanding how any of this could have happened.

"It's not right! This isn't what was supposed to happen!" Zack clenched his fists and pounded the side of the pool. His mind shifted to Aeris, she was praying peacefully. She was finishing her mission, and Sephiroth came around and ruined everything for her.

"She wasn't supposed to die! She wasn't supposed to DIE!" Zack wailed into the marble floor. His arms drooped to his side. "Aeris…" He covered his face.

Low murmuring and moaning was heard from all around. The spirits of the Ancients were by his side, wailing and crying for him and the murdered woman. He could feel them buzz by him, trying to take away his pain.

"She was an Ancient! The last survivor!" Zack glared at the green orbs. "She was one of you!" He fell to the floor once again, laying his forehead against the pool's wall.

The room fell silent. Zack did not look up. He figured he upset the small orbs and they had left him alone in this illusionary world.

"Aeris…" Zack whispered. He wondered what would happen to her. Was she an orb now too? Why wasn't he an orb? He felt the pool vibrate. Zack slowly raised his head and looked over the edge. The pool showed an image of his dead body sliding into the green Lifestream within the Northern Crater.

"It's the Lifestream…" Zack mumbled. "Because my body is in the Lifestream, I am a whole being, even in death?" The dark haired man watched as a green orb rose from the water and rested on his hand.

"But…what about Aeris?" Zack lowered his head. "She never had a chance. He…struck when it was least expected. He…took her life and now, I'll never see her again." Zack rubbed his eyes.

"Unless I find her 'orb'." He said with sarcasm. He thought of never seeing Aeris' face again and began to sob. "This isn't right." He slid over the side of the pool and fell back onto the floor.

"Squee…" A small cry came from the little orb named Lila.

"Just leave me alone…" Zack muttered. He shook his head slowly; trying to figure things out, trying to find a way to save Aeris, lure her to him.

Quiet footsteps echoed in the corridor. Zack did not hear them though. He was busy in thought, trying his best to figure things out.

"Squeee!" The orb cried again.

"…" Zack ignored the orb as well. "Aeris, Aeris, Aeris…what the hell do I do?"

"How about look at me?" Zack felt a warm touch against his shoulder.

"Gah!" Zack leapt from his slump on the floor and turned quickly. He stared at the intruder, his face paled like he had seen a ghost. The green eyed woman before him smiled and tugged on her hands. She leaned forward, scrutinizing him.

"You've been crying." Her soft voice stated.

"Aer, Aeris!?" Zack wrung his arms around her, pulling the woman close to him. He was quiet; he did not say a thing. He just held her tightly, never wanting to let her go. He felt her hands run up his back and rest on his shoulders.

"I was scared." Aeris whispered into his chest. She felt a painful tug on her heart. "I didn't know what to do. I'm sorry, Zack. I didn't mean for things to turn out the way they did." He heard her sniffle.

"I thought I would never see you again." He mumbled into her hair.

"Silly. You thought you'd never see me again because I died?" She pulled away from him. Her emerald orbs stared at his face.

"I…my body fell into the Lifestream. Because of that, I'm not one of…those." Zack pointed at the small green orb floating nearby.

"My body must have fallen into the Lifestream as well." Aeris walked around him and stared at the pool of water, searching for answers.

"How?" Zack tilted his head. He joined her side.

"Do you know what happened to my body after I… died?" Aeris hesitated to say the last word. "I am dead, right?"

"…Yeah. Sephiroth killed you." Zack said quietly. "It's my entire fault."

"It isn't!" Aeris turned to him. "You are not the cause of my death!"

"But I died to protect you and now look. It didn't even matter. That bastard still got you. I shouldn't have died. I should have stayed with you. I should have been stronger, prevented it from happening." Zack watched as the tiny green orb floated into the water, showing Aeris the events of her death.

"Don't say those things, Zack." Aeris whispered as she watched herself praying on the platform in the city. "It would have happened regardless." Aeris lowered her head as she watched the sharp blade invade her torso. She rubbed a hand over the spot it had cut through her.

"But I…" Zack stopped and watched the woman. She was staring at the fatal location of her wound. The material in her dress and the hole in her flesh were both healing quickly.

"I…really am dead." Aeris sniffled. "I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to think I was killed after successfully summoning Holy."

"Aeris. Everything will be alright, okay?" Zack held onto the woman.

"I sure hope so…" She wrapped her arms around him. "I thought that maybe I had just come here because of my prayer. I entered the room, thinking it was another process of summoning Holy, but I was wrong. I saw you here and immediately knew…that things were over."

"When will Holy come?" Zack stared into the liquid of the vibrating pool.

"I, I don't know. Anytime, I suppose." She stared into the pool as well. An image of Meteor crossed the surface.

"It's so close." Aeris covered her mouth. "I hope I wasn't too late."

"Even if you were, we'll find a way to stop it. We've got to." Zack turned Aeris to face him. "To keep everyone safe."

"Yes. To save everyone and the planet." Aeris smiled faintly.

"Squee!" A call came from Lila.

"What?" Zack stared in awe as thousands of green orbs flooded into the room and gathered around the poll and the couple.

"Something's happening!" Aeris pushed through the spirits. She crashed into the pool. The woman leaned forward; a loud gasp erupted from her lips. "Oh no!"

"What!?" Zack joined by her side. The room was full of noise. The orbs were crying and chanting all at once.

"It's Meteor! It's heading straight for Midgar!" Aeris tugged on her hair nervously. "And Holy! It's…" She grabbed Zack's hand.

"Flower lady?" Marlene ran to the windows and shoved the shutters open. The small girl's eyes shot open wide at the sight of meteor so close to the planet.

Red fires emitted from the giant rock. The heat scorched the land. Tornadoes of fire burst from meteor, tearing up the areas surrounding Midgar. Meteor was low in the sky, in the next minute all of Midgar would be annihilated. The spinning flames swept through the city, tearing buildings and metal structures apart. Meteor's target was melting away in debris, soon nothing would be left. The city above and below the plate were suffering dramatically.

A flash of white light lit up the sky. It soared across the planet, wrapping itself around the giant rock in the sky. The civilians ran for cover, the world was in turmoil. The white light, known as Holy, faded into a bright pink. Across the planet, people could witness this monstrosity, due to the massive size of it all. Holy trembled under Meteor's weight. There was a decision to be made, and Holy had its mind made up. The underside of the white light cracked as Meteor shoved through. The remnants of buildings began to burn once again as Meteor continued its descent into Midgar. The Shinra Corporation burst into flames and soon exploded from the amazing force of Meteor's power. There was nothing left of the upper plate. It was completely annihilated. The next destination was below the plate.

"Wait a damn minute!" Barret leaned against the front window of the Highwind. "What's going to happen to Midgar!?" He looked back at Tifa, fear crossed his face.

No one responded they all just stared in awe at the spectacle. Slowly, they joined Barret's side. He slammed his fist against the wall.

"We can't let that happen!" He shouted.

"Wait! I had everyone take refuge in the slums!" Cait Sith waved his arms frantically. "But…I'm afraid. By the look of things…" He lowered his black and white head, his pointy ears pulled back. He wiped a solitary tear with the back of his gloved hand. He stared at it, a confused look on his face.

"It's too late for Holy." Red XIII growled. "Meteor is approaching the planet. Holy is having the opposite effect." The animal shook his head, his mane and beads tangled together.

The group watched as Holy and Meteor continued to decimate the planet. The winding debris joined with meteor, feeding its power and contributing to its size.

"Forget Midgar, we've got to worry about the planet." Red glared at the mixture of red and white light below the Highwind. The lights flickered in his good eye. 'How could this have happened? Was everything in vain?'

"#mn Piece of #&!" Cid pounded on the Highwind's panel frantically.

Cloud sat on the railing, his back facing the window and the sight of destruction. He stared at Nanaki, not knowing what to say or think. Everything was happening too quickly, and now it looked like things were only going to get worse. He placed a hand on Red's head and ruffled his mane. A small noise emitted from Tifa. She looked down at Cloud and then glanced back at the window. He followed her gaze.

"What's that!?" She pointed in the distance.

Within the mountain range a green glow burst from the ground. The horizon lit up a bright green as spirals of energy flowed from within the planet. The power lifted into the sky and quickly headed towards Midgar and the disastrous Meteor. All over the planet holes broke open within the surface, spewing the green light. Barret and the others quickly rushed to the window, trying to get a good look.

"What the hell is that!?" Barret pressed his face against the window.

"…" Cloud watched as the green light passed by underneath the Highwind. "Lifestream." He said aloud, his face blank and full of thought.

"What's going to happen to the planet!?" Zack felt panicked.

"It'll be destroyed. But, we can't let that happen!" Aeris slapped the side of the pool. She looked around the room. The thousands of orbs grew in number. The entire room flooded with green light. "I have an idea!" Aeris smiled.

"What's that?" Zack looked down at her.

"Just…pray with me." Aeris smiled. She gripped Zack's hand tightly. She was not sure if it would work but she had to try. The woman closed her eyes and began to whisper in her foreign language. Immediately, all the orbs in the room seemed to gather energy and join in the prayer.

"It's working…" Aeris smiled. "There's one last thing we can try to summon."

"What's that?" Zack held his eyes shut tightly, trying his best to keep up with the prayer.

"Lifestream." Aeris grinned.

Green burst throughout the planet. Lifestream seemed to engulf the world, not letting anything pass by uncovered by its presence. The planet was covered in a web of energy. It had multiple conflicts, Lifestream trying to conquer it all and prevent any more destruction. The light grew more intense as the Lifestream collided with Meteor and Holy, entangling itself within its destruction. A bright flash of light consumed the entire planet.

Cloud, Tifa, Barret, Nanaki, and all the others in the Highwind covered their eyes. The light engulfed them as well. This was it, the final battle. Which power was going to win? The entire planet grew silent as it exploded with light.

Cloud could only think of the reason this was happening. Aeris flashed through his mind. Even in death, she still insisted on helping everyone.

2 Years Later

Tifa was busy washing the dishes. The telephone rang upstairs, she paused listening to the receiver as it was picked up. There was silence at first. She waited nervously, holding her breath. She sighed when she heard Cloud's voice. He had gotten another call for a new delivery. His delivery service provided a lot of money for the orphanage. Together they were able to rebuild the new Seventh Heaven and house all the children. Reeve, of course also had helped a lot financially. Barret was gone most of the time, for many days at once. He regretted it, but he believed he could find a new source besides the Lifestream to power the planet. Marlene was left in the care of Tifa and Cloud. She never complained though, knowing what her father was doing was very important.

The sound of the receiver hanging up startled her. Tifa lowered her head quickly as she heard Cloud's footsteps coming down the stairs. She did not want to look in his eyes. It hurt too much, knowing he was gone on another one of his trips. He would be home soon, but not after he spent a few days wandering around Midgar and the remains of Aeris' church in the slums. He never did tell her what he did, but she figured that was where he was. His mind was always somewhere else, he kept himself distant. Tifa set the glass on the counter next to her she stopped when she saw the shimmering ring on her right hand. It was the ring Cloud had given her. She felt her heart sink; knowing that Cloud would never be the same, that he had died the day everything was destroyed…or died. She shoved the thoughts out of her head.

"I have another trip to make. I'll be back in a few days." Cloud's voice interrupted the silence of Tifa's thoughts. He always said that. No matter where he went, even if it was across the street, he'd disappear for days. He never did tell her where his service was taking him, but then again, she had never asked.

"Where are you going this time?" She turned to him, folding her arms. Cloud stopped at the doorway. He turned slowly to face her; he knew this day would come. He couldn't meet her gaze. She always looked hurt, like everything he did was chipping away at her heart, killing her more and more with each beat. His eyes shifted to hers momentarily.

"Tifa…I…" Cloud tore his gaze from her to the floor. The room was silent for a minute.

"Tifa! Cloud!" A girl's voice called out. In a flash the child rushed into the bar, stuffed Mog in hand. She always had the stuffed toy with her. "I found it!" She held the toy in the air.

"…" Tifa and Cloud were separated by the child in the room. She saw Cloud turn, ready to leave.

"That's great! Where was it?" Tifa kneeled next to the girl, she glanced at Cloud momentarily.

"The boys were hiding it from me! They were playing keep away!" She hugged the doll.

"You really love that thing, why would you let them take it in the first place?" Tifa stood up slowly. She noticed Cloud was still in the room, his hand on the doorknob, ready to push it open. He looked as though he was deep in thought.

"They took it away when I wasn't looking! It looks just like the one mom made me when I was little."

"It's not the one your mom made?" Tifa looked down at the girl.

"No! This one was given to me by a very nice man!" She nodded her head.

"Who was that?" Tifa asked, expecting her answer to be Reeve. Cloud pushed the door open; obviously he had his mind made up.

"I, I don't remember his name. It started with a Zzz…." She scratched her head.

"Zack!" Another voice called out. Marlene leapt from the last few stairs. She had been upstairs tending to Denzel. Cloud stopped dead in his tracks.

"What?" Tifa turned to Marlene. She ran to the girl's side and poked the Mog doll.

"Yeah! Zack! That was it!" the girl smiled and nodded at Marlene.

"I'm going out to play." Marlene waved and rushed outdoors. She hugged Cloud in the doorway before continuing.

"I was at the fair in Kalm when I lived with Reeve. This man won me a prize at one of the booths! He had dark hair and these really bright blue eyes!" The girl continued. Cloud stepped back inside. It was the first time since that day he ever heard his name mentioned. No one really spoke of it, it caused too much pain.

"And his name was Zack?" Tifa bit her lower lip. The memories flooded into her mind.

"Real nice guy! He was with this other lady and Marlene. This lady had bright green eyes! She was pretty and had this pink bow in her hair. That's all I remember." She swung the doll by its arm. "Anyways, can I go play outside with Marlene?"

"Um, yes. Go ahead. Dinner will be ready in an hour…" Tifa placed a hand on the girl's shoulder as she spun and darted out of the bar. She shut the door behind her, leaving Cloud and Tifa alone in the silence.

"…Zack." Cloud muttered after a minute. "There wasn't a day that went by where I didn't think about them." He looked down at the floor.

"Me too. It was just a shock to hear it from someone else. Hear his name…" Tifa shook her head. She turned quickly, making her way to the bar.

"I haven't heard his name mentioned since that one day…" Cloud had a pained expression on his face. Tifa turned around, her shoulders slumped.

"That was awful…" She hung her head.

"I never knew a name could hurt so much…but hearing her in all her pain, I never wanted to hear that again." Cloud thought about the day he had told Zack's parents what had happened.

It was pouring down rain, a fitting mood for what was about to occur. Cloud and Tifa stumbled through the thick mud towards the small cottage in Gongaga. They stood silently at the door for a moment before deciding to knock. The door flew open quickly. Zack's mother rushed outside, her head looking all around. Her smile faded quickly as her gaze stopped on Cloud and Tifa.

"Well, what a surprise! I wasn't expecting you." The woman gave a warm smile as she held the door open. "I am afraid I thought you were my son coming home. Please come in!"

Cloud and Tifa stood on the doorstep for a second before making their way into the tiny living room. The woman plopped on the couch next to her husband who was reading a piece of paper over and over again. A smile crossed his face.

"What brings you here in this awful weather?" The man set the paper down next to him. The wife immediately snatched it up and stared at the writing, she looked so happy. This was going to be even harder than they originally thought.

"You know! I can't believe we barely missed him!" She waved the letter in the air. "Our little Zackary wrote us a letter and posted it on the door. He was here the morning before we got home. We however were in vacation and barley missed him. Oh well. It's been over five years since we've seen him, what's a couple more days, right?"

"Yeah. He was really looking forward to seeing you." Cloud managed to get out.

"What was that?" The woman asked. "You've seen our Zackary?" She dropped the letter in her lap; an even bigger grin appeared on her face. The husband however frowned at this statement.

"What do you mean 'was'?" He cleared his throat.

"Zack…" Cloud took a deep breath. "Came with us to defeat Sephiroth in the Northern Crater. He fought with amazing strength in hopes of saving the planet from Meteor. He did it with the thought of keeping you two safe, along with everyone else." A tear fell down his cheek. He glanced at Tifa. The woman had her mouth covered.

"What's going on?" The woman stared at Tifa.

Tifa felt her gaze burn into her. It was too hard; she shouldn't have come with Cloud. The husband grabbed his wife's hand.

"What happened to my son?" The woman watched as Tifa covered her face and broke down right in front of her.

"I'm, I'm sorry!" Tifa turned her back on the woman and man.

"Don't say it! Don't say it!" The woman stood up from the couch.

"Ma'am…" Cloud began. "We regret to tell you that you're son, Zack, is dead." The word dead echoed in the silence of the cottage. He glanced at their faces once and forever regretted it.

"Zack…?" The woman stumbled backwards. Her husband leapt from the couch and placed his hands on her shoulders.

"Zackary!?" She screeched. "No! He isn't! It was…just the other day…he was here! He wrote me this letter. He was going to bring his girl home with him. They were going to get married! He was coming home!" The woman cried.

"Honey…" The husband whispered.

"I'm sorry." Cloud wiped his hand across his cheek. The woman stared into Cloud's brilliant eyes. He looked so much like her son. First he was saying he never knew Zack and now he was telling her he was dead.

"Zack!" The woman sobbed as she fell to her knees onto the floor. She dug her hands into the carpet. "ZACK! ZAAAAAAAAAAAAACK!" Her screams continued. Her husband kneeled on the floor next to her. The shock was settling and now realization was hitting him. He was never going to see his son ever again.

"My son…" He whispered as he held onto his wife. The man burrowed his face into her back, crying with her. "What about the woman he was to marry?" The husband spoke after what seemed like hours.

"…" Cloud and Tifa looked at each other. More tears stung their eyes. The wife stared at them, a hint of hope flickered in her eyes. "She…was killed as well…" Cloud whispered.

"Her name was Aeris." Tifa managed to push out.

"Zack…" The woman gripped the floor. "Aeris…" She sniffed. Her husband pulled her into his arms.

"Please…you can leave." He said to Cloud and Tifa. With that the two turned and left the room.

"I'm very sorry…" Cloud said to the empty room.

"Cloud…let's go." Tifa put a hand on his shoulder. A loud scream came from the backroom as they headed out the door. Zack's name was repeated over and over again. The sound pierced Cloud's heart each time.

"I blamed myself for a long time…" Cloud shook his head. Actually he still blamed himself for both of their deaths.

"I felt like there was more I could have done…" Tifa sat on a bar stool.

"Her mother was just as bad." Cloud remembered Aeris.

"Maybe even worse." Tifa muttered.

The two had gone back to Kalm and reported to Aeris' mother what had happened. The woman sobbed at first, but quickly pulled herself back together. She questioned how her daughter had passed away and smiled, knowing Aeris had died doing her duty as an Ancient. She looked around at the walls, staring at the old pictures of Aeris and her husband who had passed away years before.

Cloud had walked by her side. She stared at him as he pulled a long pink ribbon from his pocket. He placed it softly in Elmyra's hands. She stared at it silently. Her next words were blank. Tifa remembered them clearly.

"I take it since it is only you who are telling me all of this, that Zack is dead as well."

The words were unexpected and rather cold. When the couple had confirmed her assumption, she covered her mouth and sobbed some more. Barret had taken Marlene out of the house for the conversation, but they returned shortly. Elmyra stared at Marlene a moment and handed her the pink ribbon. Marlene stared at it for a moment, knowing whose it was. She glanced back at the woman who smiled faintly. She mentioned it was too painful to keep. Elmyra then covered her face and walked to the back of the room, shutting the door behind her, never coming back out. Cloud and Tifa decided to leave her to herself, to have time alone to think things over. Together the group made their way away from Kalm and back to Midgar.

"The house…" Tifa mumbled.

Cloud and Tifa stumbled over the rubble of what was left of Sector Five slums. They were searching to see if Aeris' home was salvageable. They stopped abruptly. Half of the house was missing, torn into a million pieces, but the other half, next to Aeris' old garden was in perfect shape. Tifa rushed to the house, her footsteps clanged against fallen sheet metal and other metallic obstacles. She stopped momentarily and stared at the perfect garden to her right. The bright light shown over it like always and the waterfall still poured pure blue water. Cloud stood by her side, watching it peacefully. It was a beautiful sight and he couldn't help but imagine Aeris standing in the middle of it, tending to the flowers.

"Let's go inside." Tifa tugged on Cloud's hand. He followed her slowly. It would take a lot of repairs before Elmyra would be able to life in the house again. Tifa and Cloud decided to check things out for her to see if everything was intact and to get a few personal belongings.

Tifa walked through the cracked doorway and made her way slowly through the house. Cloud and her went their separate ways, boxing things up that Elmyra would want kept safe while the house was being repaired.

Tifa had gone into the laundry room to see if there were any clothes left. She stopped and stared at the dryer. She felt her heart skip a beat. A dark item of clothing was splayed across the top of the dryer. Next to it was a white article. She recognized the clothing. Slowly, she lifted the black jacket that belonged to Zack. She held it in front of her remembering the night Vincent had carried in an unconscious Zack into the house. He had been impaled by a piece of rebar during an attack by Shinra. Tifa stared at the dried blood on the dark jacket. She shoved her finger through the large hole and wiggled it slowly. She stared at the white shirt covered in his blood. Tifa felt her heart pounding and her eyes burning.

"Things…shouldn't have ended this way…" Tifa whispered to the jacket. She pulled it to her chest and fell to the floor, crying uncontrollably. She reflected on the night her and Zack had shared that kiss. In a flash, their romance was over, there was nothing left. They never mentioned it again. And she never had gotten the chance to apologize.

The coffee haired woman sat on her knees, hugging Zack's jacket. She leaned forward, tears falling down her cheeks. Seeing his blood on his clothing was a harsh reminder of his fate.

"Zack…I am so sorry…" Tifa shook her head to herself. She wept in the laundry room for a few minutes before Cloud entered.

"Tifa, I was looking for you- ." Cloud rushed to her side and sat next to her. "Tifa! Tifa!" He held onto her.

"I'm sorry Cloud; I thought I could handle this. I'm not strong enough." Tifa squeezed the jacket.

"It's okay to cry, Tifa…" Cloud stared at the clothing she was holding. "Things will get better. I promise." He whispered in her ear.

"It's just so hard, Cloud. I don't know what I'd do if I lost you…" She gasped at her words. "Or anyone else!" She quickly added.

The two only remained in that house for a few more minutes before leaving. It took a couple of months to get the house in good shape again. Elmyra had moved in and Cloud and Tifa would visit her frequently. Each visit got shorter and worse. She soon began to push them out and later never answered the door. Tifa and Cloud felt it was a painful reminder every time they came back to visit. Elmyra was hurting more with each day they visited. One day Cloud and Tifa came to visit and talk with her and she was not there. Worried, they had checked the front door. It was unlocked so they let themselves in. They stared at the home in shock. The home was left the way it was, but all photos and clothing was taken from the home. On the counter was a small note.

"I'm sorry to leave, but I can no longer live here. Everyday I wake up I cry knowing my daughter won't be coming down those steps for breakfast. I make two breakfasts still, two lunches and two dinners. Throwing the extra food away hurts more and more each day. Seeing you two hurt more and more with each visit. I am leaving and I am afraid to say, I don't think I will ever be coming back."

That was all that she had written. Cloud and Tifa left the house the exact way they had found it. No one ever disturbed it, and the flowers never died either.

They never did find out where she moved to and had not seen her since.

"I wonder if she is okay." Tifa sighed.

"Who knows? I just hope she did not give up…" Cloud frowned at his words. Wasn't that what he was doing now? He looked up at Tifa. "I should be going before it gets too late." He turned away from Tifa.

"Cloud." Tifa rotated the ring on her hand. He looked back at her slowly. "Don't forget…" She raised her hand into the air, showing him the ring he had given her.

"…" He stared at her a moment and smirked. "I'll be back soon." He replied and walked out the door, leaving Tifa to herself.

Reno walked the lonely streets of the reviving Midgar. He had just gotten back from the bar, had a lovely conversation with a giggly, bubbly girl, but had refused to walk her home…or to his home. He trudged through the dimly lit street, smoking his last cigarette. There was one thing on his mind, and he couldn't push it out. He looked around at the small shops and new restaurants. One in particular caught his eye.

"Marrick's Blue." He smiled. His favorite restaurant had been rebuilt and was already full of business. Reno leaned forward, looking through the giant window by the entrance. It looked the exact same and was as dressy as ever. Reno's eyes drifted over the couples. One in particular made his heart skip a beat. There was a man in a suit. His long, dark hair was pulled back. He had a traditional Wutain look in his features. A second later a slender blonde wearing a sleek, shimmering black dress came into view. She stood across from the man at the table. She messed with her dark shawl as she pulled out her chair. She paused a moment and looked back towards the entrance. Her eye caught Reno's.

"Oop! Shit!" He turned quickly and glanced back once. She was still staring at him; the man was looking at his menu. The woman smiled at him. Reno gave her a sideways grin and waved quickly before leaving her sight.

The woman tilted her head and leaned sideways, trying to follow him with her eyes, but he was gone. She turned quickly to the man at the table.

"Tseng. I'll be right back. I forgot something in the car. I'll be right back!" the blonde grabbed her purse and rushed away from the table, trotting in her high heels.

"Take you're time." Tseng smirked. He actually had seen Reno as well and knew where she was going.

The woman shoved the door open quickly. She looked all around trying to gain sight of the redhead. She ran down the sidewalk towards the street corner.

"Reno!" She hollered. "Reno!" She skidded to a halt and looked to her right, nothing but an empty alley. Straight ahead no one was in sight. She turned quickly to her left and bumped into the man she was looking for.

"Sheesh, Elena. What're you yelling about?" Reno rolled his eyes and tugged on the tie around his neck.

"I saw you! You were caught!" Elena shook a finger at him.

"What!? It's not like I was spying!" Reno cleared his throat. "You having a good time, Elena?" he said with a serious tone. She smiled at him softly.

"Yeah, I am." She pulled the shawl tightly around her shoulders.

"Well then why would you ruin it by running out here after me!?" Reno threw his arms into the air. "Tseng's a real gentleman, isn't he? I bet he opened the door for you as well and will pay for everything, won't even hear a protest." Reno chuckled.

"That sounds about right." Elena giggled. "But, stop changing the subject. I came out here to thank you."

"Thank me?" Reno cocked his head to the side.

"Yeah for a wonderful evening." She said softly before planting a kiss on his cheek. With that she turned and trotted away from the red head.

"Wonderful evening?" Reno thought a moment and then chuckled. He watched the woman enter the restaurant. "Silly, Elena. I never told him to take you to Marrick's Blue." The man sighed and shoved his hands in his pockets. He turned and continued his way back through the alley going back to his apartment.

'I didn't tell him cause I was hoping that I'd be the first to take you there.' He sighed as he stared at the brightly lit sky. There were so many stars and the moon shown so brightly there was no need for street lamps. Reno tapped his cheek where he had received the kiss.

"Aw hell. That was better than dinner anyways." He smiled and whistled to himself.

Zack held onto Aeris tightly. She snuggled under his arm, whispering in her sleep. He opened his eyes slowly and grinned. This time she was talking about him.

"Aeris." He nudged her.

"Yeah?" She opened her eyes.

"Look." Zack pointed out in front of her.

"Oh! What's that!?" Aeris stood up quickly. A beautiful flower garden stretched for miles.

"I made that for you while you were sleeping." Zack smiled. He stood up next to her. "I knew you missed the flowers." He kissed her on her forehead. It was interesting being dead. Over the last couple of years he learned a few benefits of it. They could always watch over their friends and family, though Aeris was not happy with what had happened with her mother. Zack learned that through dreams he could manipulate the darkness and turn thoughts into illusionary worlds. Aeris learned to communicate to the living through dreams, though that took a lot of energy, she rarely did it.

"Zack, what do you think Sephiroth was looking for?" Aeris held onto his hand. She swung it back and forth.

"The Promised Land, right?" He walked with her through the flower field.

"Yeah, but you know what I think the Promised Land is?" Aeris turned her head upwards to look at him.

"What's that?" He plucked a flower from the ground and handed it to her. She smiled as she tickled her nose with the petals.

"This place." She whispered.

The two stared off into space, looking at the never ending fields and the never ending darkness. Things could be perfect here, if a person had the power to make it so.

"We'll make it the Promised Land. We've got nothing else to do." Zack smiled.

"That means we'll have to protect it, no matter what." Aeris squeezed the man's hand.

498 Years Later

Nanaki galloped across the dusty road. His beads clanked together as his trot got quicker. He always made it a point to return to this place regularly. It was a promise he made to his friends, his friends from so long ago. The fiery animal looked behind him. A small grin crossed his face as he watched his two cub children struggling to follow behind him closely.

The animals darted along the dusty path nearing a crumbled valley wall. Red led the way leaping onto the large boulders and rocks upwards to the vacant plateau. Slowly the beast padded to the edge, looking down at the valley below. Forests and wildlife stretched for miles. His cubs caught up with him, trotting slowly to the edge as well. They stared in awe at the remains of what used to be a city called Midgar. They made whining noises and looked up at their father, whom was raising his head towards the sky. Red XIII let out a mighty roar, it echoed throughout the valley.

The honking of nearing geese followed after. The flock flew high overhead, nearing the empty city. Nanaki stared silently at the overgrown foliage and rubble. A smile crossed his face when he thought of his friends from so long ago. The birds sang in the distance, the view was peaceful.

"Dad? Can you tell us more about your friends?" One of the cubs lay in the dirt.

"Yeah! And…why don't they live there anymore?" The other cub batted at his father's tail.

"Sure…I'll tell you another story." Red sat in the dirt, his gaze never leaving the ruins of a once, strong city.

Authors Note:

This concludes my story. I want to thank everyone for reading and reviewing. I hope you all enjoyed it. I know a lot of you didn't want me to have Zack and Aeris die. I'm sorry but I decided to keep up with my original plan. I did consider changing it a few times for a sequel, but I went with original intentions. I did this because originally, I wanted the entire story to fit perfectly with Advent children. I wanted all the flashbacks in advent children to make sense even after reading my story. So the death scene with Aeris would still fit in and the events that happened with holy and everything else would still fit in as well. BUT don't worry, I did leave it open for possibilities of a sequel. So maybe some day I will create a sequel to this story, but not until I have more time. School's really keeping me busy.

Now, I only have one request from all of you. Can you please leave me a review? This was the first story I have ever written and I want to know how I did. Tell me what you liked, what you didn't like, what was you're favorite part of the story? Funniest part, saddest part? Did I make you laugh did I make you cry? Would you all like for me to write more? But I really would love to hear from every single reader! Please! It would be great to hear from all of you. Thank you so much for reading and keeping up with the story I hope you all enjoyed it, I know I enjoyed writing this and hearing from you all! Thanks!