Cloud's conscience took over. He was drifting away, slowly but surely. His mind though, was keeping him alive. His memories of Aeris. The last one, in particular…
Cloud was on his way to meet everybody, but he had to make a stop first. Before he could be with his friends and his family, he had to see one very special person. Aeris. He knew he could only do this in the vast sea of flowers. He wasn't sure what to expect. He just felt it. He knew he could meet her there. His heart was racing the whole trip there. His fenrir roaring loudly with every beat. He was smiling the whole time. He couldn't wait.
Will I see her?
When he reached his destination, he made sure to park his bike safely on the side of the road. He didn't want to disturb this sacred place. He took off his sunglasses and made his way into her. As he was walking, his arms were stretched from his sides, his hands gently brushing through the soft and delicate flowers. He closed his eyes. He felt her.
"So you came. Why did you come this time? There is no reason to seek forgiveness."
Cloud opened his eyes. "Aeris?"
"Yes, silly, who do you think it is?" She laughed.
"I'm sorry, so it's really you?"
"Yes it's me! I've been watching you. You're doing better."
"Only because of you. I live for you, Aeris." Cloud said.
"Just for me? You're funny. Come closer. Sit with me."
Cloud reluctantly took a seat on the soft flowers next to Aeris. He was shocked when she rested her head on his shoulder. He was even more shocked though, that he could feel her soft frame against him. He wanted to put his arm around her, but he knew if he did, he could never let go.
"You're heart is pounding Cloud. What's wrong?" Aeris asked, concerned.
"I…it's just…I'm nervous I guess. I didn't know what to expect coming here."
"You don't have to be nervous around me."
"I know…you're right. Aeris I…" He couldn't say it.
"I just miss you so much. I miss having you around. I miss your voice, I miss the sight of you. I miss your laughter. I don't know how I am ever going to learn to live without you."
"Hmmm…funny. You were never like this when I was alive."
"It took a lot for me to realize certain things. I've changed Aeris. I changed because of you. You made me realize, that everything was worth fighting for. I wish I hadn't wasted so much time when you were around. I wish I wasn't so stubborn back then. I was so confused when we first met. I had never felt like that with anybody. I never --"
"You never felt like what, Cloud?"
"I never felt so good around anybody in my entire life. I was completely lost when you were gone, because I knew I would never get that feeling back."
"But don't you have that feeling now?"
"Yes, but now it's different."
"How is it different?"
"Because you're not really here. We can never have a life together. I want to have a life together."
"Cloud, you will be just fine. I will always be with you. Always. If you ever need to talk to me, I will be here. I'm going to return to the planet soon, but I will always be alive, inside you. Always. I don't want you to be like this, because of me. I want you to have a life Cloud. If you truly care for me, then live your life. Have a family, for me. That will be our family, that will be our life together."
Cloud sighed. "Can't you come back?"
"Now you're just being selfish! You already have me Cloud. Don't you realize that?"
"Cloud?" Aeris innocently asked.
"Will you hold me?"
"Of course." Cloud said as he leaned into her and grasped her into his arms. Aeris' fragile form melted into him. A tear ran down his eye. Aeris looked up and saw it run down his face.
"What is it?" She asked.
"I don't ever want to let go."
"You never will let go. I will always be here."
"Aeris…I…I…" He couldn't say it.
"I love you too Cloud. I have to go now though."
He couldn't say anything. He clutched her tighter. His arms began to tremble around her.
"Cloud it's ok. Don't keep beating yourself up over me. You never wasted time back then, with me. I cherish the time we were together. You were a little stubborn back then though! That was one of the reasons I liked you so much." Aeris said while affectionately rubbing her head on Cloud's chest.
"You're going back to the planet?"
"Yes, soon. I have to say goodbye to some people first."
"No! I'm not saying goodbye to you. I will always be with you, and I will be waiting for you, when it is time."
"Are you scared?"
"No. I'm just curious. I don't know what to expect. I'm so tired though Cloud. I know I had to fight. I had to help you and the others, but I am so tired. I need to rest. You're a real hand full, ya know!" They both shared a brief laugh before Aeris unexpectedly perked her head up to Cloud's and met his lips with hers. Without even thinking, Cloud kissed her back. He couldn't think. His body was on fire. The two of them shared a long and tender kiss, but when Cloud opened his eyes, she was gone.
Back in Junon, Cloud's heartbeat was waning.
"We have to get him some help." Vincent said. "Here, get him up. Help me Cid. Hurry!" Vincent and Cid propped Cloud up and they each put one of his arms around them. His legs were limp.
The Turk's were squirming in their seats when Tseng arrived to the dimly lit room.
"Jesus." He said. "Look, get him to the infirmary, we have a doctor. Take him there. Now!" Tseng demanded.
Cid and Vincent carried Cloud out, following Aeris. They were moving quickly. Aeris opened the door. She immediately made her way to the doctor, who was stirring on the floor from the shock Reno had given him earlier. Aeris kneeled down, she put her hand on his shoulder. "Are you alright?" She asked.
"You…you're the girl from before." The doctor replied. "What's going on?"
"You need to help us, my friend was shot. He needs help. Fast!" She said. "Can you get up?" Aeris handed him his glasses, which were on the floor next to him.
"Yes." He said while trying to get up. Aeris helped him to his feet. He went over to Cloud. "When did this happen?"
"Just now." Vincent said. "I can help you." He placed his hands on the open wound. Blood was gushing through Vincent's hands. Cloud's heartbeat was fading.
"Oh god!" Aeris screamed while covering her eyes.
Cid went over to her and hugged her. "He'll get through it. It'll be alright. One damn bullet aint gonna stop him!" Cid looked at Vincent. Vincent nodded.
"Maybe you two should wait outside. I won't lose him Aeris. You have my word." said Vincent.
Cid took Aeris outside. His shirt was soaked from her tears. "It'll be fine kid."
"It's my fault Cid. I--"
"Don' even think that way. Cloud wouldn't want you to. You two deserve each other. Trust me, that damn vampire in there knows what he's doing. I promise."
Aeris laughed. She wiped her eyes. "You're right. Did you see all the blood though?"
"Well if he needs some, we'll give him some."
"Cid?" Aeris asked.
"It's really good to see you again."
"You too, Aeris. You too."
"So boss, what are we gonna do now?" Reno asked Tseng.
"What do you mean?" He replied.
"Well, for starters Rufus has gotta be pretty pissed about all this. I mean --"
Tseng's laughing cut him off. "Rufus? Rufus? I don't think we'll be having anymore problems with him. I was tired of taking pointless orders from him. Which is why he was…forced into early retirement. Or should I say…permanent retirement."
Reno gasped. Rude just stood there. Elena smiled.
"But…Rufus…the president. You can't just…" Reno muttered.
"You are looking at the new president of ShinRa Inc. Now…who is going to be the new leader of the turks?" Tseng said while looking over the three of them.
"Me! Me! It's gotta be me! I'm the senior member so it HAS to be me…right?" Reno asked.
Rude cracked both his fists and neck. He forced what some would call a smile while looking at Tseng.
Elena smiled and winked at the man she loved and the man she took orders from. "Well boss?"
"Well of course, by default, the new leader of my turks would have to be…"
Reno nodded in assurance.
"But! Damn. Is it because of the --" Reno started.
"Excuse me, Reno." Said Elena. "As your new commanding officer I have orders for the both of you. Take a hike!"
Rude and Reno looked at each other. They both shrugged and left Elena and Tseng. Elena walked up to Tseng and did something she was always afraid to do. She wrapped her arms around Tseng and planted a long and wet kiss on his stern lips. Tseng passionately kissed her back. "So, are you satisfied with your new position?" He jokingly asked.
"Oh I think so, boss. Maybe sometime you can except my FULL appreciation."
"Someday is right." He laughed.
"So what about Cloud and the others?" She asked.
"Oh I think he'll be fine. He has a lot to live for. Especially now. Besides, just think of what a powerful partner he can become."
"Do you still have feelings for her?"
"Of course I do, but I don't love her. You're more my type." Tseng smiled.
"That one was deep." The doctor was saying in the infirmary. "I almost didn't think we would ever get that damn thing out!"
Vincent said nothing. He dropped the bloody bullet on the medical tray and crossed his arms. Always deep in thought.
"So, uh…I'll just bandage him up and…"
"That'll be fine. Keep him off the meds though. He doesn't need them."
"Whatever you say. Say, where'd you learn how to do that?" The doctor asked, but Vincent was already out the door.
"Is he…alright?" Aeris asked.
"Of course. He's fine." Replied Vincent. "I never break my promises."
"OH THANK YOU!" Aeris exclaimed whilst jumping up and hugging Vincent. She placed a delicate and brief peck on his cheek, which surprisingly made him blush, only slightly though. "Can I go see him?"
Aeris walked into the room. Cloud was just lying there motionless. She felt so good to see his bare chest moving in and out with each breathe. The doctor noticed her and nodded while leaving her in peace. She walked up to Cloud and put her ear against his heart. A smile formed across her face as she stood back up and sat next to him. She grasped his hand with both of hers. Cloud began stirring when she squeezed harder. His eyelids began to flinch. They slightly opened at first, but once he caught a glimpse of what was staring at him they shot open. He was lost in that vast sea of green that were Aeris' eyes. He then noticed a huge smile forming across her innocent and bewildering face. He smiled back. His eyes were confused though, as to the turk suit she still had on. He squeezed her hands back and opened his mouth.
"What are you wearing?"
Author's Notes: Hey everyone! Thanks for all the great feedback and I welcome all the new readers to my fanfic! You all can rejoice though, did you honetly think that I was going to let Cloud die? Come on! Well, not much to say here on this one, keep up with all the reviews. I absolutely love opening up my email and seeing a new review alert. Quite frankly it's the only think I look forward to when checking my mail. I'll try and get the next chapter up soon. I fear the last remaining chapters are going to be flooded with warm clerisy goodness, or mabe I'll just scrap all that and have Cloud dump Aeris and go to the dark side...CLOTI. Ha Ha, NEVER! Anyway, plz R&R!