Anything For My Flower Girl

songfic, oneshot Cloud and Aerith to Nickleback's Far Away! enjoy!


This time, This place

Misused, Mistakes

Too long, Too late

Who was I to make you wait

Cloud rode Fenrir out to the familiar place, the one place that would stick out in his mind for all eternity, the place where she knelt praying, alone and at peace. A place of innocent blood being spilt. This was the place he watched the only woman he ever loved, die right before his own eyes. Being stabbed straight through her small stomach with a long, thin, massive katana which was held by a cloaked figure with long, silver hair and mako eyes...Sephiroth. That name would forever burn evilly within Cloud's mind. Cloud turned Fenrir as he entered the Sleeping Forest that night. The trees were filled with a soft white glow that lit up the entire forest. Small glowing, white orbs had taken to floating around the trees gently, quietly in the night. Cloud looked ahead as Fenrir's headlights lit up the road. He could just see the Forgotten City coming into view. "Why am I coming here? It's only going to bring back more memories and pain from the past...but all I want is just to see her again," the swordsman whispered under his breath.

Just one chance

Just one breath

Just in case there's just one left

She looked at peace, with her beautiful chestnut head bowed and her hands folded up in front of mouth in prayer. She was filled solitude and Cloud could see that. He held out one hand in a stopping gesture as his friends made to follow the blonde up the alter. Cloud wanted to be there alone. He wanted to see her on his own. He wanted to make she was okay. Cloud wanted nothing but a moment alone with her. Maybe to tell her that he truly loved her. She deserved to know. He wanted her to know. As he walked towards her, something came over him, I feeling of annoyance and sheer hatred. Cloud unsheathed his sword and began to approach the praying girl, holding it high above his head. She was so lost in her prayer that she never acknowleged that the man she loved was coming straight at her with his sword, prepared to kill her. Cloud heard his comrades' cries and he struggled with the war going on in his head. He dropped the sword and it clattered onto the platform.

She opened her sparkling, emerald green eyes and saw Cloud for the first time since she arrived there. She smiled...beautifully. A smile that would forever remain within Cloud's memory...a smile that would never leave him...a smile that always stayed deep in his heart. Cloud didn't have time to react as a dark figure fell from a shining white light above and impaled the innocent beauty straight through her delicate middle. Her hands that were folded in prayer, unclasped and fell limply to her sides. Her eyes flew open in shock as her body fell forward. The pink ribbon that held a pale green orb came loose and the orb fell onto the platform with a small 'ping!' It fell, down one small step after the other and landed deep inside of the crystal clear pool of waters below them. The beast above her removed the sword that was pierced straight through her body and the blood began to flow from her center. It trickled down the corner of her mouth. Her eyes saw Cloud before her one last time and he caught a last look as her beautiful, emerald orbs closed forever. The sword was removed like a sound of grating metal and the Ancient began to fall to the crystalline floor. Cloud hurried to her and caught her in his arms, before she hit and held her close, listening as she took her last breath.

'Cause you know,

you know, you know

That I love you

I have loved you all along

And I miss you

Been far away for far too long

Cloud pulled Fenrir up just near the water where he had laid the innocent Cetra to rest. He remembered that day too clearly, it was still burned within his mind. He dismounted Fenrir and approached the water. Clasped in one of his gloved fists were a small bouquet of flowers he had picked from the church. They were the same flowers she was so sweetly selling on the outskirts of Midgar when they had first met. After he had blown up one of the reactors, Aerith had been selling the flowers and Cloud had graciously bought one from her. He remembered it was one of the white lillies. White seemed so pure. And he remembered the touch of her hand as she handed him the flower, and he handed her the gil. Cloud knelt down to the water's edge and lightly ran his fingertips across it's sparkling surface. "Hey," Cloud whispered gently. "I thought I would come and see you. I brought you some flowers. I know how much you always loved these. You were so good at tending to the flowers. I still take care of them for you."

The blonde laid the flowers down into the water and watched as they began to drift lazily across the spring. Cloud lowered his head as he could feel tears threatening him for the first time in a long time. The day he had laid the girl to rest Cloud could remember he had cried for her. He had buried his face into her hair to hide his oncoming tears. He didn't want anybody to see he was weak, but since that day, Cloud had not shed a tear though they had threatened him on more than one occasion. He felt like he had to be strong, he had to be strong for his friends and so he built strong, unbreakable barriers around his heart. They were grieving for her as well and if Cloud showed his grief it showed signs of weakness and Cloud was a hero. He had saved the planet from Sephiroth's destruction and from Meteor. Cloud wasn't weak, not be any means necessary, but lately...everything that happened weighed on his mind. There were was just that one thing that continued to haunt him, in his dreams, in his life, in his mind. He stared down into his reflection in the water. "I hate you," he told himself. "Do you know that? I hate you for letting her go!"

Cloud could never forgive himself for just letting her go, letting her die. He could have stopped it. He should have been the one to die, not Aerith. She was a Cetra, she was just a beautiful, sweet innocent flower girl who was never given the chance at a full life because of him. It was all his fault. "Aerith...I'm so sorry," Cloud choked as his body began to tremble The blonde could no longer hold back his tears. Cloud let his body fall by the side of the lake and he broke down. Cloud buried his face in his arm, crying for his love, crying all the tears he could have shed so long ago just for her. "I miss you so much. I wish you could come back to me," he sobbed into the earth. His body shook and trembled with his unbidden tears and he cried harder, feeling more sorrow wash over him like it had the day her life had ended. "I...I never got the chance...to tell you...," his voice broke with sobs and Cloud couldn't finish what he had longed to say to her.

I keep dreaming you'll be with me

and you'll never go

Stop breathing if

I don't see you anymore

And she watched him, sadness filled her jade green eyes as she watched the man that she loved more than anything breaking down harder than she had ever seen. She had seen him that day her life was ended and it looked like his heart was going to fall into pieces. She had seen him cry silently for her that day and she had watched his face, torn with sorrow as he laid her sleeping body to rest there in the spring. "Oh Cloud," she whispered softly.

Cloud felt the warm breeze around his sobbing, shaking form, but he paid no attention to it. He didn't care. Nothing mattered anymore. All he ever wanted in his life was gone now. All he wanted after they all saved the planet together was to be with her, lead his life with her. Nothing was pain compared to this. The swordsman had survived a thousand battles and the pain those battles had inflicted on him were nothing compared to this. He would rather have died than to hurt so much. Cloud never thought possible it could hurt this much, and as he lay there, weeping his heart out, he remembered what she said that day. "I'll be going now. I'll be back as soon as it's over."

Those words never left his mind. They still continued to ring inside of his head. "But you never came back," he cried in a soft, broken voice. "You never came back." Cloud was so shaken with tears, sorrow, remorse and regret that all he wanted to do was to end it...he just wanted to stop breathing. All he wanted was to see her again, hold her in his arms like he longed to on the gondola. Cloud wanted nothing more than to be with her for all eternity. "I don't want to do this anymore," the blonde whispered into his arm as his tears soaked his face and the earth below him. "I can't keep doing this..."

On my knees, I'll ask

Last chance for one last dance

'Cause with you, I'd withstand

All of hell to hold your hand

"Cloud," came her voice. "Please...don't." He lifted his tear streaked face from his arms and looked ahead. Was it her? Was it really her? She was walking across the water as if it were the ground. The scenery around them changed and the two were together in a field of flowers. Just like the flowers that grew in her church, but they were neverending. Cloud could see Aerith's body was thoroughly solid as she approached him, but there was a glow about her. Aerith came to a halt just before the broken swordsman. Cloud got up on his knees. "A-Aerith?" he asked, staring up at the form above her. She reached one hand out to him and he grabbed it both of his hands, lowering his head as he was overwhelmed with fresh tears. His head hung between his arms as he began to cry brokenly again. "Aerith...you're here. Why did you have to leave me? Why can't you stay with me?"

Aerith reached down and ran her fingers through Cloud's soft, spiked locks. "Oh Cloud. Please don't cry anymore. It hurts me to see you this way. There's so much I want to say and want to give you. I can say the things I want to say but...I can't give you what I want to give you," she whispered as she carassed the sides of his face and hair lovingly with her soft, pale fingertips. "I can't give you what you want either. I'm so sorry Cloud," she closed her emerald eyes as her tears began form on her eyelids. Cloud dropped his hands at his sides, fought back his tears and brushed them away.

I'd give it all

I'd give for us

Give anything but I won't give up

'Cause you know,

you know, you know

"Aerith," Cloud began as he looked up into her eyes. "I'd give anything. I'd give my life. I just want to be with you again. I don't want this anymore. What good is my life without you in it?" the swordsman told her almost desperately, still clinging onto her hand with both of his. She smiled down at him, tears showing clearly in her eyes now and Cloud could tell she was struggling to keep them back. Cloud couldn't figure out what was wrong with him. This wasn't him. This wasn't how the strong, Cloud Strife acted. Now it was if he were lost, crying like a frightened child who wanted what he wanted more than anything in the world and knew he couldn't have it. You're so weak, you're pathetic! Look at yourself! He thought almost angrily.

Aerith leaned over with her hands behind her back and smiled. She reached one hand out and put that hand down on his damp cheek. The Cetra turned Cloud's face up to look at her. "Oh Cloud. You can't do this to yourself anymore. You know I'm always here. I'm with you everyday. I watch you everyday," she told him softly. "I've seen you tend to my flowers," she added with a smile. Cloud looked up at her astonished. She had been watching him? She could see him? Aerith giggled. "You look so sweet tending to my flowers. I wouldn't want any other person to give them the care that you give them." she continued to stay light hearted about the flowers and she saw a shadow of a smile cross Cloud's face. "You're smiling," she grinned at him.

"Aerith, please, don't go away from me," he pleaded. "I really can't do this alone anymore." Aerith sighed and shook her chestnut, honey-brown head. "Cloud, I can't. I can't go back with you. You know I'm part of the planet now." Cloud looked up at her. "I know, but I can feel you now! I am holding your hand! I'm not slipping through you. Aerith!" he exclaimed as he threw himself onto her, burying his face into her stomach. She felt warm to his touch. Cloud wrapped his arms tightly around her waist. "You're right here. Please tell me you're not going anywhere."

Aerith sighed again. "Oh Cloud. You're not alone. You have so many people who care for you and love you. You have Tifa, you have Denzel, Marlene and Barret. You have so many that would be broken inside if you came back with me," she explained as gently as she could. "You need to go and live your life to it's fullest Cloud. You're strong. This isn't you."

"Aerith I...there was so much I wanted you to know," Cloud told her, his voice trembling again. There was so much he wanted to tell her and here she was right now. He was holding onto her again like nothing had ever happened. It was almost as though she had never left. As though she had never faded away. "I wanted to tell you that I...I..."

That I love you

I have loved you all along

And I miss you

Been far away for far too long

"I-I l-love you," Cloud finally spilled out, feeling his cheeks burn and his face go red. What was wrong with him? "I've always loved you. I think I've loved you since I first laid eyes on you. I just never realized it...until...until you were gone." Cloud's voice cracked as the realization hit him that Aerith couldn't go back with him and he couldn't go back with her. He continued. "You were everything to me. You were what made the journey worth it in the beginning. I still continued on though Aerith. I still fought for you. I wasn't going to let the planet die! I did it for you! I miss you Aerith. I want you to come back with me or I want to go with you." Though he knew it wasn't possible, he still said it.

Aerith gently kissed the top of Cloud's hair. "Oh Cloud. I love you too. I have always loved you and I'll never stop loving you," she replied. "That's why I am always with you. I've never left you." Aerith reached her hands down to Cloud's muscular shoulders and she pulled him up into a standing position. She looked up into his sparkling, azure eyes. "You may not see me, but I'm always there." She told him, staring up into his eyes. She carassed his face gently with her soft fingertips. She giggled softly. "You'll always find me in here and I'll never leave you."

Cloud couldn't help it anymore. The overwhelming feeling slammed into his body and he did the one thing he always wanted to share with her. He closed his eyes and leaned down into her face as their lips met. He brushed them gently against hers as he shared a long, slow, sweet kiss with her that he had so longed to share with her. Aerith responded by pressing her lips back into his, opening them ever so slightly and pouring her love for him into his soul. All she wanted was for him to know he wasn't alone. She wanted him to know that she would always love him and that she would be waiting, in the Lifestream for the day he returned to her side, but right now more than anything, Aerith wanted Cloud to live. She wanted him to experience a full-filled life before he returned to her. Even if Cloud and Tifa were to be a family, she knew that his heart always belonged with her and her heart belonged to him. Though the thought of Tifa and Cloud broke her heart, she knew that Cloud deserved to be happy. Aerith also knew that when the day came, she would be waiting for him in the Promised Land and Cloud would be there to join her.

I keep dreaming you'll be with me

and you'll never go

Stop breathing if

I don't see you anymore

The two broke apart and Cloud smiled, genuinely through his pain down at Aerith. He could see now that Aerith now had tears streaming down her beautiful, delicate and perfect face, but she was still smiling. He reached his hand up and brushed them away. She was too beautiful to look like this. "I dream about you every night," he whispered to her. "I dream about the life we could have had...I dream about what happened and what was and what might have been." Cloud told her. He had always kept it to himself that he dreamed of her. Cloud never told anybody else that he truly loved this woman, though his friends could see right through him.

"Cloud, I wish I could stay. I would stay here with you and savor this moment, but I can't," Aerith replied honestly. "I just hope you understand. I don't want you to think you're alone. You're not alone. No matter what you're not alone, ever. Everybody is here for you and I'll be right beside you forever." She lowered her hand to his muscled chest and laid it gently across his beating heart. "I'll always be in here."

So far away

Been far away for far too long

So far away

Been far away for far too long

But you know, you know, you know

I wanted

I wanted you to stay

'Cause I needed

I need to hear you say

That I love you

I have loved you all along

"Aerith please," Cloud began. "Please don't go. There's still so much I want to say," Cloud pleaded softly. "You've been too far away from me. I never had the chance to tell you what I wanted to tell you."

Aerith shook her head, causing her long braid to swing gently down her back. "There is nothing left to say Cloud," she stated honestly. She reached up and brushed a blonde lock of hair out of his eyes. "I know."

Cloud gripped onto the girl's shoulders with his gloved hands. "I let you die...I just let you die, right before me. I should have been the one to go. If only I had seen Sephiroth in time I-" but he was cut off by Aerith holding a finger to his lips to shoosh him.

"You couldn't have known," she spoke so tenderly and so softly that it sent a cascade of goosebumps over Cloud's body. "Sephiroth was too quick. He already knew. Cloud, you couldn't have saved me, even if you tried. I was the only one who could stop Sephiroth. This was my destiny. It was my destiny to activate Holy and it was my destiny to die for this planet...for you, Cloud."

"I just...I want you to...," he struggled with his words as he held Aerith close to him, burying his face into her small shoulder. "Please, forgive me...I need to hear you say it...please."

And I forgive you

For being away for far too long

So keep breathing

'Cause I'm not leaving

Hold on to me and

never let me go

"Cloud, I never blamed you," Aerith spoke in soft tones. She lifted his face from her shoulders to see his eyes sparkling with tears again and she felt her own overwhelm her. "You were there for me. I know you wanted to protect me. It wasn't your fault. You never did anything. It's not because of you that this happened," she said. Aerith poked him playfully in the chest and laughed. "So quit blaming yourself. You're just too hard on yourself," Aerith scolded him gently. "You need to be a good boy and stop torturing my Cloud."

My Cloud...I'm her Cloud...Cloud shook his blonde head. "I can't help it. I just want you to stay with me always," he whispered. Aerith stepped back from him as he looked in horror. Her body was beginning to fade. "Cloud," she spoke in barely above a whisper. "I have to go back to the planet now. I have to go home and so do you." She ran her hand across his cheek as she brushed her partially fading lips against his once more. "I'll always hold on...and I'll be waiting for you, in the Promised Land," she told him as she began to leave him. The flowers were fading now...their place of solitude was disappearing and Cloud was finding himself back in the forest, back on the solid ground. He was watching Aerith drifting back towards the water.

"No, please Aerith, don't go," Cloud pleaded as he held a hand out to her. She reached her hand out to him. "I'll never let you go. I'll hold onto your heart always. I promise I'll never let you go," she called out to him. Cloud felt the tears escape again and cascade down his face. The swordsman watched with pure sadness as she looked to the sky and faded from his sight. Cloud knew how badly Aerith wanted him to go on living his life. He knew how badly she wanted him to be happy more than anything. "I'll live Aerith," he told her through his tears. "I know you'll never let me go. I'll never let you go." Cloud reached up his hand harshly wiped his tears away. "I'll do it for you." The swordsman got up and composed himself. "I'll do anything for my Flower Girl."