A oneshot Clerith/Cleris/Clorith I had in mind. I was inspired by My
Chemical Romance's song The Ghost of You and so I wrote this. Lots of
angst and romance and a little humor Please review if you can and
please no flames. I really love this pairing!
The Rain Won't Hide Your Tears
The Ghost of You- My Chemical Romance
I never said I'd
lie and wait forever...
If I died,
we'd be together now...
Lately he had taken to just barricading himself in his room once he returned from doing his daily deliveries. He tried to avoid the avid stares from Tifa that he could feel radiating into his back as he walked past, not taking a moment to glance at her. He didn't really feel like being lectured by her yet again as if he were some child, and he had not wanted to see the sheer annoyance that burned in her dark eyes either. Though he cared for her, and she was his best friend, he had no desire to feel inferior because of her, nor did he want to confide in her either. Cloud just simply couldn't help how he felt. He just wanted to get away from everybody and everything. Burying his face into his pillows, the blonde lay on his bed face down with his eyes shut tight. Just below he could hear the busy evening and rush hour of the diner. People were getting off of work now, wanting to spend another Friday evening taking their spouses or girlfriends out to dinner and a drink or two. He could hear the sound of Tifa's voice ringing out orders to her employees.
Yuffie, who usually stopped by on Friday nights to help Tifa and the others, answerd Tifa's slight demands as the sounds of voices floated up the stairs towards Cloud's room. All of those people...the bar just always had to be significantly busy when he wanted to get away and be alone. Friday evening was always the busiest time of the week, and Cloud had helped out every so often there in the beginning. Though as time went by, he just found himself wanting to be further and further away from any human form. He didn't want to be near people. All the swordsman wanted was to just go somewhere to be alone. Somewhere private so he could delve into his memories of her, so he could think of only her. He wanted right now, more than anything to just leave the bar, jump on Fenrir and ride out to their flower field. Aerith had almost always shown up out there whenever Cloud decided to ride out, but Cloud knew he had to leave when he'd go see her. It was almost physically painful to leave that field. The swordsman just wished more than anything in the world he could be with her always, but he knew it wasn't pheasibly possible.
The only way he could be with her forever, in her arms wasn't the impossible however, but something that Cloud really didn't want to happen just yet...or did he? He often felt himself sometimes questioning that matter, but then his mind would drift back to what Aerith and Zack had said to him the Lifestream, it wasn't his time. His mind would then remember the children and AVALANCHE. They were his reason for continuing on with his life. Though he did know that Aerith didn't want it to happen yet. She wanted the best for Cloud. The Cetra wanted him to live a full, solid life. There was too much waiting for him in his life ahead. Cloud knew the Flower Girl had meant well when she sent him back from the Lifestream after the battle with Sephiroth and the silver haired remnants. Cloud knew that it wasn't his time, but at the same time he somewhat wished it had been. Atleast he would be with her again, but the blonde knew it wasn't time. He had too many friends and his family here on this Planet. They loved him, they cared for him and he in truth, cared for them just as much. Especially the children. Marlene and Denzel meant the world to him and were the only ones who could really bring a small smile upon his handsome features every now and then..except for her.
I can't always just forget her
But she could try
He remembered seeing her small, beautiful face so clearly. He could remember seeing the twinkle in her sparkling emerald eyes and the smile she gave him which in turn made him break into a genuine smile. It had been so so long since he had smiled. She pierced her shining, emerald gaze into his and he knew right then and there that everything was going to be alright. Aerith even told him everything would be alright. Cloud wanted more than anything to just get up, go on and move on with his life, but he was struggling. The swordsman just wasn't ready to go on yet. Everytime he found himself getting closer to starting over, the vision of her just poured back into his mind. The smile that never left her soft, pink lips clung to his mind like a band aid did to flesh and the thought of trying to tear it away was painful. Cloud just couldn't bring himself to do it. He just couldn't up and forget he. The swordsman didn't think he ever would forget her. He could still see her pink hair ribbon holding up her long chestnut braid. Cloud could remember the way it bounced as she walked. He could still remember the way she used to innocently put her hands behind her back and lean in towards him, that teasingly playful smile crossing her delicate features. The night of their date crossed his mind as Cloud rolled over onto his back and stared up at the ceiling, confined to the darkness of his room as his thoughts lolled over to that very night.
Cloud Strife was standing inside of his room at the Ghost Hotel, peering out of the window. The day had quickly turned from warm and sunny to cold and rainy. He watched as the raindrops drizzled and slid down the glass in streams and sighed. There was a soft knock on his door and Cloud turned towards it. Wondering who on earth could be summoning him this late at night, he made his way over to the door. Before the blonde could even reach it, the door burst open. The first thing that caught his eye was the soft glow of the green materia that sat atop her braid. Noticing it was Aerith now that had entered his room, the swordsman immediately thought the worst.
"What's wrong?" he asked the flower girl, placing a hand on her shoulder.
Aerith just looked at him with a sparkle in her emerald orbs and a smile played with her tender lips. She broke into a playful giggle as she placed her hands behind her back and leaned in towards Cloud, looking up at him.
"You want to go on a date?" she asked cheerfully.
Cloud could instantly feel his face go pink at the question. He'd never been asked to go on a date before let alone actually go on one. He wasn't quite sure how to reply to this question. In truth he really wanted to go. They did need to get out and have some fun, just to get their minds off of their mission ahead of them. He looked at Aerith with an ambiguous look on his face.
"What?" he asked, even though the blonde knew fully what she was asking.
Aerith just continued to giggle and smile at the blonde, making him blush even more. "A DA-TE! Or haven't you ever gone on one?" Her smile faltered somewhat and Cloud could tell she felt a little guilty at her words.
He reached up and scratched the back of his blonde head nervously. Cloud turned his body slightly away from Aerith, feeling the slight humilation of never have gone on a date with anybody before, taunt him.
"Well, not a real one...," the swordsman finally admitted.
"No, just a mixed-up kid," Aerith spoke quietly and she instantly felt a little sorry for Cloud at his words. She ran around behind the blonde and put her fragile hands on the small of his back, giving him a shove. She wasn't about to take no for answer. "Oh well. Come on, let's go!" the Cetra stated anxiously as she continued shoving Cloud towards the door.
Cloud, a little surprised at Aerith's action, looked over his shoulder. "Hey!" he protested, but Aerith just ignored him. When she had shoved Cloud fully out of his room, she shut the door behind her and turned towards him excitedly. Aerith grabbed the swordsman's hand which made his heart flutter from her touch, but he didn't let it show. They soon found themselves at the Station Square being greeted by the attendant at the entrance.
"Tonight's Enchantment Night! All the attractions are free!" the attendant babbled on as Cloud stood there beside Aerith, his face fully flushed pink now. The attendant looked over towards the couple and smiled rather harmoniously. "How 'bout it you two? There's going to be an entertaining show in Event Square!"
Aerith nodded her head feverishly. She looked up at Cloud as though she were an excited little child in a candy store. "Come on, let's go!" the Ancient ushered the swordsman, grabbing his hand again. Cloud knew it wouldn't be worth it to try and protest so he followed the flower girl, though he wasn't reluctant to do so. 'Maybe this could be fun then...' He thought to himself as he followed Aerith out to the Event Square. Upon entering, the two noticed that the seats were actually filled this time.
"Congratulations!! You are our 100th couple today! You two will be the leads in tonight's show!!!!" came a clearly cheerful and keyed up male voice. Aerith and Cloud jumped slightly at the loud voice as the man approached them.
"Wha!?" Cloud stared in disbelief, trying to figure out that if he what he heard was right. He and Aerith were going to be the leads in the show tonight? No way...
The man just chuckled at the blonde's startled remark. "Oh, now, it's not hard. Just play it however you want to and the rest of the cast will cover up for you." He beckoned towards the couple. "Come this way."
"H, hey!" The swordsman cried out in embarrassment. The last thing he wanted to do was get on a stage in front of an entire audience.
Aerith, on the other hand, had that shining, excited light about her face. "This sounds like fun! Come on Cloud, let's do it," she declared. Cloud just shrugged his shoulders in defeat as the flower girl ran off. The blonde sighed and reluctantly followed behind her. The two found themselves backstage as the narrator's voice rang out over a loud speaker so the entire audience could hear.
"Long, long ago...An evil shadow appeared over the peaceful kingdom of Galdia...Princess Rosa was just kidnapped by the Evil Dragon King Valvados. What will become of her? Just then, the legendary hero, Alfred, appears!!"
Cloud felt himself being shoved forcefully onto the stage by a pair of hands and he had to hold his arms out and plant his feet to keep his balance. Cloud looked around with his eyebrow raised in slight confusion as a man dressed in a knight costume danced across the stage and stood in front of Cloud. His embarrassment was taking over him now as he noticed how big the audience was and how stupid he probably looked standing on that stage.
"Oh... You must be the legendary hero... Alfred!" came the Knight's voice.
Cloud just stood and looked around at the audience, trying to swallow the small amount of anxiety that had entered his stomach. He was interrupted in his thoughts by the Knight leaning slightly in and whispering to him.
"Psst! Hey, it's your line." he told Cloud eagerly.
Cloud just looked at the Knight confused. When he realized the Knight meant him, he pointed himself.
The Knight nodded in response. "Yeah, you. Ahem!"
The Knight stood up tall and began rolling his head dramatically. Cloud snorted lightly to himself. 'Over actor...'he thought, but nevertheless, went along with the play anyway.
"Oh... You must be the legendary hero... Alfred! I know in my soul. Please... please save Princess Rosa!" the Knight pleaded. He kneeled to Cloud and raised his arms up high in the air. "Now...please talk...to the King...!!"
The Knight stood up and danced off of the stage. Cloud turned around, quickly scanning the stage for the king. Once he spotted him, the blonde ran towards the king, trying hard to get himself to acting mode. Acting definantly wasn't this man's thing.
"Oh... legendary hero, Alfred. You have come to save my beloved Rosa," the King carried on dramatically. "On the peak of a dangerous mountain... dwells the Evil Dragon King, Valvados... who's kidnapped Princess Rosa...But... you can't beat the Evil Dragon King now! Talk to one who can help you...," the king finished.
Cloud turned and watched a wizard who had now danced out onto the stage and took his place next to the knight. 'I really cannot believe I'm doing this...' the swordsman thought to himself as he went and stood in front of the Knight and Wizard. Cloud figured he'd go ahead and ask the Knight. Maybe the Knight is the one that would help him. Hadn't wizards always been evil in most mythology? Cloud approached the knight with a dubious look on his face, but nevertheless chose him.
The actor hung his head sadly. "I am... a lowly... knight. How... can I help you?"
Cloud stared at him for a moment. 'This guy has got to be kidding me...okay Cloud, you can do this. Tell him that he can help you defeat the Evil Dragon King.'
"You can help me defeat the Evil Dragon King," Cloud told the knight, trying his best to act to their standards, but in his opinion it wasn't working.
The narrator's voice cut through the stadium once more. "Oh what is going to happen next...! Oh... Legendary hero... look!"
There was a rather large gasp from audience as a giant, green dragon swung out onto the stage, holding Aerith in it's grasp. Cloud could tell that there was obviously somebody in the dragon suit and he had to stifle a sarcastic remark. This had toof been one of the most ludicrous things he had seen in awhile, but then his eyes fell onto Aerith and his heart began racing. Cloud had noticed that nearly everytime Aerith left his presence he couldn't help but worry a bit. Though the moment she reappeared, this new feeling bloomed inside of him. Though it confused him and wasn't sure what exactly it was he was feeling, Cloud discovered that he rather enjoyed it. He was broken from his thoughts as the man, in what supposedly was a dragon costume, tried to sound ferocious and evil.
"Gaaaaaaah! I am the Evil Dragon King...Valvados! I have not harmed the Princess... I have been expecting... you!" the actor in the costume attempted to roar at Cloud.
The blonde just stood with his arms folded across his chest. He raised an eyebrow and had to resist the urge to laugh until he heard her angelic voice ring through his ears
Aerith was playing the part of the Princess and she wiggled in the Evil Dragon King's massive arm. Cloud could tell she was fightning back a grin. "Please help me...Legendary Hero!" she cried out, pretending to sound frightened. Making sure she was right, the flower girl looked up at the dragon.
"Psst...like that?" Aerith whispered, making sure she got it right. The man in the dragon costume gave her a curt nod and then turned back to Cloud.
He lifted his free arm and pretended to roar again which of course made Cloud fight back another snort of laughter at how ridiculous this guy was. "Gaaaaaah! Here I come, Legendary hero... Alfred! I already know... your name!"
The Knight ran across the stage and started beating on the man, dressed up as the Evil Dragon King, with his weapon. Cloud was really having a hard time now trying not to laugh as he watched the Knight pretending to fight and attempt to defeat the Evil Dragon King. There were ooos and aaahs and gasps coming from the audience as the knight let out a yell, attempting to finish off the Evil Dragon King.
"Urrrrrgh!!" groaned the Knight as the Evil Dragon King knocked him down to the floor of the stage.
"Gaaaaaaaahh! What now...Legendary Hero!?" the Evil Dragon King taunted. By this point he had now released Aerith and Cloud had to resist rolling his eyes.
Cloud faced the man in the dragon suit who was now giving him a pleading look. "You have to rescue the Princess and kiss her hand," whispered the man in the dragon suit to Cloud.
"Oh...to the Princess!" Cloud exclaimed in the best hero voice he could muster.
Aerith was standing next to the Evil Dragon King with one hand folded at her chest. Cloud rushed over to Aerith and knelt down on his knees. He took Aerith's hand in his and looked into her eyes, locking his aquamarine stare with her emerald one. Both of their hearts were pounding in their chests as a pink tinge crossed Cloud's cheeks. 'This will make the climax of the play...so just do it...don't be nervous...it's just her hand' He thought to himself as he held the flower girl's delicate fingers in his hand, and in truth he really wanted to kiss her hand. Cloud brought it slowly upwards and tenderly brushed his lips against her soft skin, his heart racing. There were soft aaaaaahs and awwwwws from the crowd before them.
Cloud heard a small gasp escape Aerith and he opened up his eyes, and averted them to her. She was smiling down at him. It seemed as though both of them forgot they were in the play for that split second.
"Cloud... I mean, Alfred...," replied her gentle voice softly. Cloud continued to hold her hand as he stood up and they turned towards the Evil Dragon King, who was now throwing a rather dramatic temper tantrum.
"Arrggaahhh!! Curses... The power of... loooooove!!" he cried out in mock despair. The next thing Cloud knew, the Evil Dragon King was being pulleyed off the top of the stage.
The man playing the King stood with a triumphant look on his face and tossed his arms into the air. "Oh... look! Love has... triumphed! Now let's all return...and celebrate!" the actor cried in kingly tones.
The wizard nodded his head frantically, agreeing with the king. "Yes let's... yes let's...!" he exclaimed. Cloud and Aerith but had to fight back another fit of laughter as the king and wizard stood on tip toe and danced off the stage.
The narrator's loud voice wrung out around the stadium, letting off a slight echo once more. "Oh, how profound the power of love... And so the legendary hero Alfred, his Princess Rosa and our story live on happily ever after!"
The entire audience clapped and cheered as Cloud and Aerith made their way off the stage. Aerith nearly collapsed in a fit of giggles that had overcame her. Cloud couldn't help but notice that seeing Aerith laugh only made her look more beautiful than she already was. He had to admit that this one hell of a date compared to what any normal date sounded like. Cloud was grateful he went with the flower girl, and he had to admit to himself that he was having fun.
Aerith laughed and smiled up at Cloud. "Oh, that was fun!" she exclaimed, clapping her small hands together and causing the silver cuffs on her wrists to tinkle musically along with her laugh. She turned towards Cloud with a bright look in her eyes. He could tell the flower girl had a new idea. "Hey, let's go on the Gondola!" she exclaimed happily and grabbed his hand once more.
"Alright then," Cloud agreed shyly as he followed Aerith to the Round Square.
Aerith walked up to the man who was giving out the tickets to ride on the Gondola and she smiled excitedly. "Two, please," she commented, holding out her small hand.
The man at the ticket booth smiled back at the lovely flower girl and handed her the tickets. "Here you are, two tickets, Miss! You two enjoy the sights of the Gold Saucer."
"Thank you! We will!" Aerith exclaimed, grabbing Cloud's hand and pulling him into the gondola with her. The doors closed as Aerith took a seat across from Cloud and he watched as she peered out of the window. Cloud looked out of the window as well, but the swordsman found it hard to tear his gaze away from her face. Why couldn't he just tell her what he was feeling right there? Why was he finding it so hard to say anything?
"Wow, how nice," she breathed softly, placing a hand on the window frame.
Cloud turned and looked out of the window as he saw what Aerith had been going on about. There were beautiful searchlights criss-crossing in the sky, followed by all kinds of different rides and the lights that emitted from them as well. There were people enjoying their night with their kids and many other various, enjoyable things. It made Cloud's heart feel a little more warm as he sat in the cabin of the gondola with Aerith. He turned and looked back at the Cetra, studying her facial expressions when he saw her eyes widen like an excited little girl's would in a toy store.
"Oh! Look, Cloud!" she exclaimed excitedly, pointing at the window.
Cloud leaned over and looked out of the window. The gondola was now passing the Chocobo track. Many different colored chocobos and their jockies were hurtling past. Cloud couldn't help but feel slightly amused by Aerith's actions, but then again he had to remind himself that she'd lived in Midgar in the slums most of her life. Seeing the sky had been definantly something for Aerith and seeing even this was so much more. He considered himself lucky to be in here with her right at this very moment.
The Ancient sighed softly as she rested her chin on her hand. "It's so pretty."
Cloud nodded his head in agreement as he continued peering back and forth from the window to her, trying to keep it unobvious that he was trying to look at her. The gondola continued to rumble along the track as a dazzling display of fireworks lit up the entire Gold Saucer. There were all sort of vibrant colors as they shot through the sky, only to burst, fall and vanish without a trace.
"It's beautiful, isn't it?" Aerith pointed out, a slightly sad look on her face, but Cloud didn't catch it.
'Not as beautiful as you...' the swordsman thought to himself as he found his gaze back on her again. This time he noticed she wasn't looking out of the window or at him. The Cetra's gaze had fallen into her lap and she was moving her fingers nervously as though she wanted to say something important. Cloud tilted his head slightly to try and get a better look at her. He drew his eyebrows in slightly, trying to read Aerith's expression. Cloud knew Aerith could feel his stare and he was about to ask what was the matter when she spoke up.
"First off, it bothered me how you looked exactly alike. Two completely different people, but look exactly the same. The way you walk, gesture...I think I must have seen him again, in you..."
Cloud was about to ask who she was referring to when Aerith just shook her head.
"But you're different," she admitted softly. She looked back down at her dress and twisted it nervously in between her fingers. "Things are different..."
Fireworks continued to zoom and burst through the sky, emitting soft colors of rainbow light inside of the gondola and the lights washed over Aerith's beautiful face. The flower girl stood up almost gracefully and looked out of the window. Cloud, assuming that this was the right thing to do on a date, stood up and took his place beside her. He stared out of the window, trying to figure out what exactly Aerith was saying. Confusion was beginning to take over his warm feeling he had been growing all night and Cloud began to find it bothersome. He drew his eyebrows in as he tried to piece together what she had said. What was this beautiful girl trying to tell him? He wondered if he could gather up the courage to ask her. Aerith turned towards Cloud and entwined her arms around his waist, pulling him close. Cloud could feel his face going even more red. No girl had ever made physical contact like this with him before...ever...and the feeling was welcoming. Cloud returned the gesture by putting his arms around her as well. Aerith's eyes traveled upward to meet his confused gaze.
"Cloud...," the Cetra began softly. "I'm searching for you..."
Cloud looked at her with a perplexed expression. 'What does she mean, searching for me?'
Cloud could see the flower girl's own cheeks beginning to grow a slight tinge of pink now, despite all of the fireworks' fluent light falling on them.
"I want to meet you," Aerith said shyly.
Cloud looked at her now thoroughly lost and confused. He raised an eyebrow slightly as he stared down at the Cetra's jade green orbs. He was right here with her, they were in each other's arms. They had met, which the swordsman was ever grateful for. He wasn't quite sure what she meant...or what to say...
"But I'm right here," Cloud insisted. He shook his head slightly.
Aerith sighed softly and laid her head against Cloud's chest, listening to the sounds of his ryhthmic, beating heart. 'I know, I know... what I mean is...' "I want to meet... you."
Still not understanding what she meant, Aerith just sighed in a 'nevermind' sort of way and continued to rest her face against Cloud's warm chest. She smiled lightly as she breathed in his scent. Cloud had taken one hand and placed it under the flower girl's chin, turning up towards him so he could see her face. She had tears brimming in her emerald eyes and he looked at her worriedly, but the Cetra just smiled as a yellow flower of fire lit up the night sky, interrupting the two in a close to intimate moment. The couple turned towards the window and gazed as the fireworks continued to burst rapidly at the night sky above the Saucer.
Cloud sighed as the picture stayed burned into his mind. How he had wished he kissed her that night. How he wished then he had understood with Aerith meant. If he had, maybe she'd be in his arms right now instead of at the bottom of the lake in the Forgotten City. Maybe if he understood that what Aerith wanted was to be his sweetheart, his girlfriend, and maybe if they had became a couple or lovers he would have been able to protect her and keep her from dying.
At the end of the world
Or the last thing I see
You are never coming home
Never coming home
"I was your bodyguard...great job I did," Cloud spoke to the darkness.
Cloud could remember that faithful, chosen day he had defeated Sephiroth. He could remember the entire planet shaking underneath his feet as though it were about to give out. It was Aerith's summon stirring underneath, but it was also the force of the Lifestream, struggling to burst through the surface, desperate to save the world. The Cetra had called Holy and activated it with her white materia that had fallen out of her soft folds of hair when her body fell on that alter. The blonde understood what Aerith had meant to do, but he still continued to fight and struggle with acceptance of her death. Why was this so hard? Because I loved her...that's why. I still love her. I'll always love her.
Why did it seem like as every day went past, he grew ever more lonely? I mean here it was he had it all. Cloud had Tifa and the kids, Strife Delivery Service which brought in plenty of extra money, he had the whole group of AVALANCHE, everything was there, but yet it wasn't. Something was still missing. She was missing. She was absent from his life, non-existant in his arms. This desolate feeling overwhelmed him. He could remember seeing her face when they were sure the planet was to meet it's demise. Aerith had died to save them all. It was her destiny and while Cloud couldn't come to terms with it, it had happened. He remember falling to his knees after he saw her beautiful face fade from the sk. He could remember the struggling feeling in his chest and the burning in his eyes as he fought back tears. That was when he realized then that she was gone for good and she'd never come back home. She would never go home with him. He had found himself wondering on more than one occasion if she had lived, would they have created a home life together? Would they have gotten married, had children and raised them together?
The swordsman pictured the two of them living in a house much like the one Elmyra and Aerith had lived in when they first met. He could imagine his Cetra having a rather large garden filled with all different types of flowers and plants. Cloud could picture her tending to her flowers almost as preciously as she would their children. Then his thoughts lolled over to what kind of mother she would have been like. He could picture Aerith sneaking quietly into their rooms, pulling their blankets up softly around their sleeping forms and kissing them gently on their peaceful faces, while he stood in the doorway watching his wife and their young with a proud smile.
"But that can never happen now, can it?" Cloud sighed softly. He rolled over onto his side and looked out of the window. Darkness had now swept over the city of Edge as night had fallen. The swordsman sat up in bed and ran a hand through his blonde spikes. He stood up and walked over to the window, resting his, normally gloved, hands on the sill. He pressed his forehead against the cool glass. "Why did you ever have to leave me Aerith?" he whispered softly, his breath leaving a soft foggy mist on the window. "We can never have a life together like I had dreamed of."
Could I, should I
And all the things that you never ever told me
And all the smiles that are ever, ever, ever
There were so many things he had wanted to tell her. There were so many things that she had wanted to tell him. Aerith watched Cloud from the Lifestream. She watched his depressed form lean against the window helplessly. She watched his desperation and longing to be with her. She could feel the loneliness radiating from his body and her heart clenched painfully. Aerith held her fist to her chest and clenched it along with her aching heart. The Cetra felt a warm hand on her shoulder and she looked behind her to see a tall, dark-haired man standing next to her. He was smiling which made the girl feel a bit better, but deep inside, she was still hurting.
"Seeing ole' Spike again huh?" the black haired man stated, nudging Aerith playfully.
"Yeah...he's just not letting his hurt go away. How do we make it go away, Zack?" the Ancient asked, looking up into Zack's eyes almost pleadingly.
Zack shrugged as a sad and serious look played onto his face. "I wish I knew Aerith. It's hard seeing Spike this way. He doesn't deserve to feel this way either. I mean...man I'm not good with these things," Zack replied with a half chuckle and shrugged his shoulders again.
Aerith smiled. "It's okay Zack. I just wish there were some way I could just let him know that I'm still here with him."
Zack leaned back against an invisible barrier and stared at Aerith for a moment. "What about all of your times in that flower field?" he asked. "Isn't that enough?"
Aerith just shook her honey-brown head. "We are only allowed so much time together in the field. I mean there have been many times where he's went out there to wait for me and I just couldn't go," the Ancient sighed as she peered down at the woeful form of Cloud. "Zack, there's so much I want to tell him. So much he should know, but I just can never find the right words. It hurts so bad to see him like this. Cloud doesn't deserve to be alone."
Zack stood back thoughtfully for a moment and scratched his chin. "Well, they don't have to be the right words, do they Aerith? Why don't you just, say it as it comes to mind. Nothing has to be perfect, does it?"
Aerith sighed as Zack opened up his arms to welcome his friend into a hug. She sighed as she rested her head against Zack's chest. Aerith had to admit she was grateful that Zack was there. Despite the fact that Aerith was in love with his best friend, he could still continue to look past that, offer comforting words to her when he could, and she was always had his shoulder if she needed to shed a tear or two. The Lifestream wasn't always full of happiness and Zack knew that Aerith was feeling pain. Feeling the pain of not being with the one whom she loved more than anything ever, his best friend Cloud Strife. Zack was tired of seeing Aerith saddened and he was tired of seeing Cloud broken.
Cloud continued to stare at the window as the fog billowed down the quiet street of Edge. Everybody was inside restaurants and stores. Not a single soul could be seen out on that road. The swordsman closed his eyes he pictured his beloved Cetra in his mind. He could still see that beautiful, gentle smile that never left her lips. That smile had stayed forever tattooed in his mind, and he would never ever forget it as long as he existed. Would it continue to haunt him forever? Cloud lifted his forehead from the window and turned towards his dresser. He slipped on his black leather gloves and snapped them into place. He strapped his sword over his back and left his bedroom. Cloud didn't care if Tifa, Yuffie or anybody else down in the bar would see him or not. He just wanted to get away from this place. He wanted to go somewhere that he could just stand and be in the presence of his beloved Flower Girl.
Get the feeling that you're never
All alone and I remember now
Cloud came down the stairs, but the diner was so full that none of the customers seemed to notice his appearance. He walked down with his sword strapped across his back and his gloved hands were twitching slightly. Azure eyes scanned across the bar searching for were the keys to his motorcycle hung up. Cloud began to go towards them when he felt a hand on his sleeved arm. He turned around to come face to face with Tifa.
"There you are Cloud! It's so crazy in here tonight. Do you think you can help me?" she asked, her big brown eyes shining hopefully.
Cloud just replied with a swift shake of his blonde head. Don't people understand anything? Do they not just realize that I just to be left alone and not bothered? Do they not want to accept the fact that I don't want Tifa or anybody else for that matter? Do they not get it that I just want to leave? The swordsman thought furiously, but he kept his cool, not allowing his anger to rise.
"Sorry Tifa, can't," he stated cooly, turning his eyes back to where his keys still hung.
"Why not?" Tifa asked, sounding a little hurt. "Are you just going off to hide again? Always running, aren't you Cloud?" she added, a note of frustration sounded in her voice now.
Cloud just shook his head and broke his arm from Tifa's grasp again. He strode across the floor, snatched his keys off of their hanger and turned towards Tifa. "It's something you just won't understand," the blonde replied.
Tifa just sighed and let her shoulders fall. She knew what it was all about, but didn't speak a word. Cloud still loved Aerith. He would always love her and the martial artist couldn't help but feel a twinge of jealousy. Would Cloud ever grow to love her the way he had loved Aerith? No, she didn't think that he would. They were close, yes. In fact, Cloud was her best friend and she was his and that was all it would most likely ever be. She started to say something else to Cloud, but he had disappeared from the bar before she had the chance to say anything else. Tifa ran over to the door and pulled it open just as Cloud slammed his foot on the gas of Fenrir and roared away from the bar.
He rode Fenrir fast, nearly soaring through the rocky terrain. Cloud lifted his head slightly as he felt the cool, night wind blow through his hair. He could smell rain just in the air, but he was close to his destination. The swordsman began to slow down as he found himself down in the ruins of Midgar. He pulled the massive bike up to the broken down, decrepit building before him and came to halt. Cloud turned the key, shut Fenrir's engine off and dismounted the bike. He walked across the graveled ground and approached the giant, wooden doors of the church. After the battle with Kadaj and Sephiroth, Cloud had felt deeply sorry about just busting through her church and breaking off the doors. He had gone back and repaired them, putting them back in their rightful place. He remembered feeling proud of himself for doing a good deed for his Aerith. He could remember the time she had told him how much she loved her church.
This was his place now and would always be his place. Cloud could go here if he wanted to find any kind of solace. If he wanted he could delve into his memories of her privately and not be disturbed by anyone. This was where they had first 'officially' met. Cloud still counted the time he had met her in Midgar and bought a flower from her as well, but this place held one of the most precious memories of them being together. Cloud gently pushed open the doors and walked into the church. He looked ahead where the massive pool of healing waters used to be. Her flowers had regrown after the pool had vanished. The swordsman had taken it upon himself to go back and care for her flowers for her with every opportunity that arose. He walked over to the flower bed and knelt down in the grass, removing his gloves and lightly touching the soft petals. He could remember back when he landed in this flower bed. Cloud could remember seeing her beautiful face, her sparkling emerald eyes. It was like the face of an angel peering down at him. For a split second, he thought it was.
"Hello? Hello!" came a very warm, angelic voice.
It sounded almost mystical and slightly far away. He struggled to open his eyes as a blinding light hit them from above and the voice came again. He felt a warm hand on his forehead brush back the blonde bangs from his eyes. The blonde opened his azure orbs as a face englufed with the bright light appeared before him in a blur. 'An angel?' he thought to himself as he struggled to regain his vision properly. The face was now coming into view and he found his eyes falling into a pair sweet, gentle emerald ones. He could just make out a few strands of honey colored hair hanging around them. He had looked into the face of the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. Her soft pink lips were smiling gently. She wore a dress just as pink as her lips and a small, red jacket over the dress.
The Flower Girl was kneeling down beside him, making sure he was alright. He had came down through her roof and she wanted to make sure that he wasn't hurt. The blonde man watched as her eyes scanned over his body, checking for anything that might be cut or broken, but he seemed unharmed. He placed a hand over his head and forced himself to sit up. He looked around himself and realized he was sitting in a bed of flowers. They had broken his fall...but where was he? The beautiful woman had now stood up and took a step backwards from him, allowing him some space. Her concern took over and she placed her hands behind her back, leaning slightly forward.
"You okay?" she asked worriedly. She couldn't help but realize how adorably sweet this man looked and his confusion made him look all the more sweet. "This is a church in the Sector 5 slums," she added, noticing the questioning look on his face. She placed a hand to her mouth and giggled a little. "You suddenly fell on top of me. You really gave me quite a scare."
Cloud scratched the back of his head and then looked up at the ceiling of the church. Light was pouring through the broken rafters. He gave the woman before him an inquisitive look. "...I came crashing down?"
The burnette beauty nodded her head. "The roof and the flower bed must have broken your fall. You're lucky."
Cloud looked down around him and noticed that he wasn't imagining things. There were white and yellow lillies surrounding him and blades of grass as well. He instantly felt guilty for falling and crushing her flowers. "Flower bed... is this yours?" the swordsman asked, blushing slightly. He stood up and brushed the debris, grass and dirt off of his clothing. He rubbed the back of his neck feeling embarrassed. "Sorry about that," he apologized, not looking at her. He was worried that he could have upset the flower girl by ruining her flowers, but she just let out a tinkling laugh.
"That's all right. The flowers here are quite resilient because this is a sacred place. They say you can't grow grass and flowers in Midgar, but for some reason, the flowers have no trouble blooming here." The flower girl looked at her flowers with a smile and sighed. "I love it here." She knelt down into the flowerbed and began to tend to her flowers. She had a watering can held in one hand as she gently sprinkled droplets of moisture on her precious flowers. While she worked she continued to speak to the bewildered man. "So, we meet again." Cloud gave her a confused look and raised his eyebrow slightly. "Don't you remember me?"
Cloud thought back to before after they had blown up the mako reactor. Of course he remembered her! She was the girl selling flowers. He had bought one from her and gave it to Marlene. He nodded his blonde head. "Yeah, I remember you. You were selling flowers."
Cloud finished tending to Aerith's flowers and half smiled at his work. He wondered, could Aerith see him taking care of her flowers? Would she appreciate that he had taken it upon himself to continue caring for them? He chucked lightly at what kind of job he did taking care of these delicate plants compared to how she did. She probably did a much better job considering she knew more about caring and tending to flowers than what he did, but still the blonde tried his best. He wasn't going to let that memory of her die along with herself.
Cloud brushed his hands off and put his gloves back on. The swordsman turned away from the flowers and walked back across the creaking floorboards and advanced towards the door. He stepped outside and closed the massive, double doors behind him and reapproached his Fenrir. Cloud mounted the bike and turned the key, starting up the engine. His phone began to buzz against his thigh as he rode and Cloud pulled it out of his pocket. He looked at the caller ID and noted it was Tifa calling him from Seventh Heaven. Feeling irritated, he flipped open the phone and hit the ignore button. It would send her straight to his voicemail anyway. After hitting the ignore button, he figured it best to shut the phone off. If he didn't, she would consistently call him and bother him. Cloud just didn't really feel talking to anybody at all right now. He stuck the phone back in his pocket and continued to ride on into the night. He knew his next destination wasn't far, but he found himself lost in more memories, painful ones, of her.
At the top of my lungs,
in my arms she dies...she dies!
At the end of the world
Or the last thing I see
You are never coming home
Never coming home
Aerith finally lifted her graceful head and for the first time, since they had all arrived, she saw Cloud. She never realized that the man she loved was about to attack her with everything he had. Aerith smiled beautifully and tiredly at him which Cloud took into his every being and captured her smile within his heart. She was so beautiful, so peaceful and so endearing. Now was the time. Now was the time to give his Aerith his full heart. Cloud was about to step forward and take the Cetra into his arms when there came a blinding white light just above her. It was so brilliant it nearly blinded the swordsman. He never saw the falling form as it descended downward. Faster it fell, straight for Aerith. Cloud now saw who it was, but it was too late. Without warning or time to scream for her to move, his long, thin, massive sword pierced through Aerith's delicate flesh.
Cloud never felt or heard the scream of terror leave his throat. His heart was pounding his ears as he watched the sword easily slide through Aerith's small stomach. He watched her eyes fly open, her hands that had been folded in prayer against her chest had come unclasped, and he watched with sheer terror as her arms fell limply at her sides. Blood trickled down from the wound of where Sephiroth had impaled her straight through the middle with his Masamune. He looked down with an evil glint and stared at Cloud, a smirk bringing up the corners of his thin mouth to a sly grin. There was a disgusting sound of grating metal, as he pulled his sword from Aerith's body. Her eyes were widened in shock.
There was blood trickling down the side of her mouth and her stomach was covered in blood that steadily trickled onto the floor of the shrine, she still continued to smile and then, her beautiful green eyes looked into Cloud's as he took one last glimpse of them and they closed forever. As the young Ancient fell, her pink hair ribbon that held up her long, waves of honey-brown hair came undone. Nobody noticed the small, pale green glowing orb that fell from it. It bounced once, emitting a small, tinkling, pure sound against the floor. It bounced again and again until it fell off of the platform and down into the crystal clear pool of blue below.
Aerith's body began to fall forward but Cloud was there to catch her in his arms before she fell. She laid back in his arms, the smile still on her face, blood was staining the entire front of her dress now. She took her last breath as she met Cloud's arms and was gone.
"Aerith...," Cloud spoke softly, gently shaking her body. "Aerith...c'mon don't go on me. Don't fade out...Aerith!" He choked back a quite sob. "This can't be real!" Cloud cried to the top of his lungs. He was about to give her his whole heart. Cloud was going to give Aerith everything. He was going to do all he could to protect her, but now it was just too late. He had transgressed...he had failed to save her. Overwhelming cries of anguish threatned to take over his body as the beautiful, innocent flower girl whom he had just realized he loved more than anything, died in his strong arms.
Sephiroth stood looking skyward, his arms spread as though victorious of his murder of the beautiful Ancient who lie before them in Cloud's strong, muscular arms. He laughed sinisterly. "Do not worry. Soon the girl will become part of the Planet's energy," he told them. "All that is left is to go North. The Promised Land waits for me over the snowy fields, and there I will become a new being by uniting with the planet. As will this girl...," he pointed down at Aerith, with the tip of his sword that was covered in blood.
"Shut up...just shut up," Cloud stated. He bowed his head closer to Aerith, his entire body was trembling. Cloud abruptly looked up at Sephiroth. "The cycle of nature and your stupid plan don't mean a damn thing!" Cloud slowly turned his head and looked down into Aerith's kind, beautiful and gentle face. The smile still never left her soft, pink lips. He took a shuddering breath. "Aerith is gone. Aerith will no longer talk, no longer laugh, cry...or get angry..."
He held her body closer to his and bowed his head forward, still continuing to tremble fiercely. Cloud could feel tears burning his eyes. "What about us...," the blonde whispered softly as he ran his fingers over her pale cheek. Us was never going to happen now. "What are WE supposed to do?" Cloud gently rested Aerith's limp body on the floor of the shrine. Cloud stayed knelt down next to her, clenching his fists, still looking down at her. "What about my pain?" he questioned as he began to tremble even more. "My fingers are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes are burning!" Cloud cried, trying to force back the tears, but did not succeed. He buried his face into the soft foldes of her dress to hide his tears and let himself cry softly for her..
Could I, should I
And all the things that you never ever told me
And all the smiles that are ever gonna haunt me
Never coming home
Never coming home
Could I, should I
And all the wounds that are ever gonna scar me
For all the ghosts that are never gonna catch me
"It was all my fault you died," Cloud spoke outloud as he sat astride Fenrir, riding down the smooth road. "I just...let you die. I'm sorry Aerith. I can't forgive myself...not yet...I know you didn't blame me...but, this pain. I just wish I knew the things you wanted to say to me and I wish you knew the things I always wanted to tell you. Or maybe you already do know?"
The blonde continued to cruise, not going too fast or too slow. He just wanted to enjoy the feeling of riding. Even though it was night, Cloud noted the grass becoming greener and greener. He was getting closer to his destination now. You're always the last thing I see before I go to sleep. You're always the last thing on my mind. I wish so much that you could just be here with me. I wish I could wake up to your beautiful face...Cloud commented to himself as he rode on.
"But I...should I...," he thought aloud. Cloud shook his blonde head as his eyes began to tingle and fill with unrelenting water. It had been so long since he had cried for her, so why was it happening now? Trying to keep himself under control, Cloud lifted his hand and wiped his eyes harshly with the back of it. You can't keep doing this to yourself Strife...it's going to hurt. It's always going to hurt...but atleast you can always find her when you need her. She can just...never come home with you.
Her smile was never going to leave his mind. Everytime Cloud closed his eyes he could see it. He could see her hands folded right underneath her chin. He could see the Cetra's face lifting as her eyes opened, and he could see the love she felt for him the moment those emerald orbs met his own aquamarine ones. The two had gazed at one another for a moment, before the inevitable happened. Cloud tried hard to shake the thought from his mind, but her smile still lingered, still torturing him, still reminding him of what he could have had if he had been quick enough to get her out of the way of the silver blade, permanently wounding her and forever scarring him.
If I fall
If I fall (down)
At the end of the world
Or the last thing I see
You are never coming home
Never coming home
Never coming home
Never coming home
And all the things that you never ever told me
And all the smiles that are ever gonna haunt me
Never coming home
Never coming home
Could I, should I
And all the wounds that are ever gonna scar me
For all the ghosts that are never gonna
Cloud looked ahead as the vibrant yellow of the flowers came into view now. He could feel his heart lurching into his chest the closer he came. He was going to see her. He had hoped so anyway. There had been quite a few times he had gone out to that flower field and waited for her, but she never appeared. Maybe tonight she would show up? The swordsman would wait all night for her if he had to. He would even sleep in that flower field if that meant seeing her again.
The blonde stopped Fenrir just at the side of the road and shut the engine off. He removed his sword sheath from his back and lay it on the seat of Fenrir. The sweet smell of the wildflowers filled his scent as he dismounted the bike and stepped into the field. The wind was blowing, drifting like waves through the grass and the flowers. It felt cold and Cloud could feel himself shiver, but he didn't care. No, all this man cared about was being with her, right here in their special place, locked into one another's arms. Cloud walked out to the center of the field and looked up into the overcast, night sky.
The gray clouds were rolling slowly across the massive, celestial sphere above him. Cloud sighed as he stared up at the sky and closed his eyes. He lay on his back in the middle of the field and continued to watch the overcast element of the sky float slowly. Cloud immediately noticed them as the familiar rainclouds, and he was certain it was going to start raining at any given moment. Cloud lay with his arms above his head. One leg lay out flat and the other was drawn up and slightly bent. He sighed as he continued to watch the gray heavens. I miss you...Aerith please come and see me. As the blonde lay in the flowers a few wet drops splashed on his face and he grimaced. Figures it would have to start raining now. Cloud stood up from the grass and looked up at the sky. There was no sign of a thunderstorm, no signs of lightning. It was all just rain, like the heavens were weeping his sadness for him.
The rain started to fall now. It was a very light rainstorm but the drops still felt cold. It came down, curtaining the swordsman in it's light sheet. As the blonde stood in the rain, he called out for her. Aerith...I'm here...please. I need to see you. I need you to hold me. I want you and only you to be the last thing I see before I fall asleep tonight. I need you here with me. These wounds won't heal on their own. They've done nothing but scar what's left of me...Help me, Aerith please. Make the hurt go away.
Cloud thought to himself that he could feel a sensation of sorrow from the rain as it washed over him, or atleast it seemed that way. Maybe it was just his mind playing tricks on him? Maybe he was just using his own sadness and inner anguish and mixing it with the rain because it matched the habitual and constant pain in his heart. The cool water continued to stream down his face in streaks and soon Cloud could feel warmth mixing with the rain water. He had tears coursing silently down his cheeks now. Cloud reached his hand up to try and brush them away, but it wasn't worth the effort. They still continued to fall and mix on his face with the rain. He let out a soft sob and lowered his head, squeezing his eyes shut to try and prevent the tears that were attacking him now, but it did no good. They still escaped, warm and cascaded down his cheeks.
"I didn't think...I had any tears left," the blonde said softly to the rain. I guess all of them have always been for you.
Aerith watched as Cloud was standing in the flower field, standing all alone in the rain, just waiting for her. She felt his sadness close in around her like a blanket of torment and she could hear that familiar cry of his fragile, close to being shattered, heart. She sighed and shook her elegant head as she watched the broken man sobbing quietly for her. Zack continued to stand next to Aerith and she turned her head, looking upwards at him.
"Spike needs you. Go see him," the SOLDIER encouraged Aerith.
Aerith just replied with a small smile and a nod of her head. It was tearing the girl apart to see Cloud so broken, so fragmented over little her. The Cetra never believed she could have such an impact on a human being the way she had with her beloved Cloud Strife. Aerith descended from the Lifestream, making her way down into the flower field as the rain continued to cascade of Cloud's shivering body. He had his feet planted firmly, his blonde spiked head was lowered and his fists were clenched at his sides. He looked as though he were about to fall on his knees any moment from the remorse and the sorrow he was feeling in his heart. The Flower Girl walked up behind him and wrapped her arms tightly around his waist. She rested her head on his shoulder.
Cloud felt the warmth of her body pressed against his back. He could smell her gentle, flowered scent mixed with the rain and he smiled very lightly. His flower girl had come. She was there with him right now. All he had to do was turn around, she'd be there and he'd see her. He was almost certain of this. Cloud was positive that his mind wasn't playing tricks on him. His thoughts were confirmed right, the moment he heard his angel's voice come from behind him.
"The rain won't hide your tears, Cloud," his tenshi whispered gently, letting her lips brush the silver wolf earring. "I'm here now."
Cloud turned around and looked at the blurred form of Aerith. He lifted his hand and harshly wiped his eyes yet again. The blonde took the Cetra in his arms and held her tightly, as the two continued to let the rain wash over them, they stayed locked in a tight embrace for quite awhile. He buried his face into her shoulder as Aerith ran a hand gently through the back of his wet spikes. She smiled as he held onto her Cloud and felt happy knowing she was his pillar of strength. Cloud knew she would eventually show up. She would eventually come here and be with him. His Cetra was here now, so why did he still feel so wracked with sorrow?
"I never thought you'd come," Cloud stated quietly, trying to keep his voice steady to the best of his ability for it was still slightly shaken from his momentary breakdown.
"I was watching you. Oh Cloud, why are you doing this to yourself?" Aerith whispered, running a hand across his face to feel the warmth of his tears mixed with the coolness of the rain water. She brushed them away. "It's been so long since I've seen you this way. I thought you were doing better?"
Cloud just shook his head and let himself collapse down into the flower field. Aerith lowered herself gently and continued to caress Cloud's face.
"It's just so hard, continuing to go on everyday without you by my side," the swordsman admitted sheepisly. His eyes opened and he stared up into the beautiful, angelic face of Aerith. She emitted a soft glow, but her body was fully solid. Her emerald eyes carried so much love for him and so much truth as she continued to caress his jawline. She smiled that beautiful, endearing smile that Cloud loved so much. He could feel the love pouring from her body into his very soul. Cloud returned the feeling.
"But I'm always here Cloud. You know all you have to do is come out here to find me. I may not always show up, but you know I'm here and all you have to do is look in your heart when you can't make it out here. I'm always there too. Cloud, I never left your side. I'm still right here with you and will always be right here with you," Aerith told him.
The two lay in the flower field together as the rain slowly began to let up. Cloud rested his sleeved arm across his stomach as he lay on his back. Aerith snuggled up next to him and held his hand against her chest. She rested her forehead against his. Everything was perfect at this very moment. Nothing could ruin it. Aerith used her other hand to run her fingers lovingly through Cloud's wet hair and she let out a small giggle.
Cloud opened his azure, mako-infused eyes and looked up at his tenshi. She continued to giggle. "What's so funny?" he asked, staring upwards at Aerith.
"Oh nothing, I was just thinking your hair isn't so spikey when it's wet," she answered him with another swarm of fresh giggles. "That was something I always wanted to tell you."
Cloud smiled at the giggling Cetra and he reached his free hand up to brush back the wet strands of bangs from her eyes. "Was there anything else you wanted to tell me?" he asked curiously as the two continued to lay in the field together.
"I just hope that you know Cloud, that I want you to forgive youself. I don't want you to make this difficult on yourself anymore. I just want you to remember that I'm here and I'm always with you. I love you, Cloud Strife. I've never stopped loving you and I never will. If you love me, live for me Cloud."
Cloud leaned his head upwards to meet Aerith's soft lips in respose to her statement. The girl returned the kiss, entwining her fingers in the damp, blonde spikes. Cloud held one side of Aerith's face and wrapped his other arm around her as he moved to lay on his side. The two shared a long, deep and meaningful kiss as the rain completely came to a halt now. Even though he knew that she couldn't go home with him like this, he would alteast always have her by his side forever. Cloud knew that someday he would be reunited permanently with his flower girl and until then, he would drive out to this field, to always have his special private moments with his Aerith. For it was moments like these that truly made him happy, and Cloud would cherish them until his dying day. Until the day he was back in his tenshi's arms forever, an even then Cloud would never stop cherishing every single moment he had with her or all of the moments that were yet to come.