Aeris quickly left the bar and walked down the sidewalk. The whole night she couldn't shake off the feeling that someone like her was around, and the feeling remained in her heart. She heard silent footsteps behind her and she stopped. After all these years, she still knew who it was. She smiled.
"Hello Vincent", she said still with her back facing him. Finally she turned around.
"How did you know who I was?" he asked.
"I just know, that's all", she said with a bit of fake arrogance in her voice. Vincent smiled.
"It's like you never changed at all. But I can never believe that you asked Cloud to do something like that".
"So, you did hear my story." Vincent nodded.
"It surprised me a little. Even I wasn't successful in killing Sephiroth".
"Actually it surprised me too". Aeris tried to think of a way to change the subject. She looked up at him and noticed his features. He was now a vampire but he still had scars on his face. He looked like he had gone through hell.
"What happened to you?" she asked softly. He tried to avoid her gaze.
"More than you'll ever know", he replied still looking away.
"Tell me. You heard my story, let me hear yours".
Before she could say anything else, Vincent took her hand and dropped something into it. He stepped back and Aeris looked at the shining, silver pendant that she lost so long ago. She looked at him in awe.
"How…did you…?" Vincent just smiled.
"Sephiroth had it", he replied.
"Then how did you get it from Sephiroth?"
"It's a long story and there's hardly enough time for that tonight". Aeris smiled and nodded. She looked at the pendant again and thought for a moment.
"I've been searching for you for so long", he said suddenly. "I wanted to see you again…before anything else happened".
"Why didn't you come back that night?" Aeris asked in almost a whisper. She looked straight into his eyes, almost fearing the answer he would give to her.
"I couldn't let you see me like this…"
"That sounds familiar", she quickly replied, looking away. Vincent sighed.
"But it's true. I didn't know how you would take it. I-I didn't want to scare you away", he said trying not to make the truth sound like a lie.
"But it scared me more when you didn't come back! You don't know how worried I was!" Vincent looked down.
"I'm sorry, but I was confused. I wasn't even sure what had happened to me. You wouldn't really understand because you had a choice". Aeris was hurt by his words but she knew it was true. She just looked down at the pendant in her hand.
"I'm sorry. Maybe I shouldn't have said that", he said.
"No, it's okay", she replied. "I have another question".
"What is it?" he asked.
"What happened to Tifa?" she asked him, looking up.
"When Cloud and Tifa went into the castle expecting to confront Sephiroth, Cloud was made into a vampire. I don't know what happened to Tifa. I went in to look for her but I never found her. But it doesn't mean she's dead". Aeris nodded.
For a few minutes, they both tried to think of the things they wanted to say to each other if they ever met once again. But nothing came to their minds. Finally Aeris spoke.
"So…what now?" Vincent looked up.
"I don't know". Aeris looked at the sky.
"I-I have to go now", she said with regret in her voice.
"I have to find out something for myself", she said beginning to walk away. Vincent became confused. But he knew they would have another night to talk about things. She couldn't just leave forever without him telling her everything. And he did have so much to tell her.
He looked down at the ground and she suddenly stopped walking.
"What?" he asked looking up at her. She took one last look at her pendant and turned around.
She threw the pendant to Vincent. He caught it and gave her a confused look. She smiled and began to walk away again. But she couldn't leave without telling him one more thing.
He heard her words in his mind and a worried feeling surfaced inside him. Before he knew it, she had completely vanished from his sight. But somehow, a part of him disappeared along with her. He began to walk back and he held the silver necklace close to his heart. It would forever be the most treasured of his possessions.
In no time, Aeris was back at the site of Nibelheim castle. Over the years she had learned how to rise into the sky, and eventually, how to fly. She walked around and thought of the memories that came back to her. But nothing was the same. The castle was completely gone and the meadow was overgrown with all kinds of plant life. She liked it better this way. She finally put her thoughts about what happened aside and focused on what she wanted to do.
She walked to a small area of flowers and admired them. They were just like the ones her mother grew in her garden. She smiled and felt the familiar feeling of the sun's heat on her back. She sighed and looked at the sky.
"Just a few more minutes", she said to herself.
She walked into a small open field and waited. Feeling the air get warmer, she suddenly had a sense of fear. What would happen if she did this? Her confusion about the situation was great but she needed to find out.
Her mind started to wander as she waited. She thought about the people she met, the knowledge she gained, and the world she beheld. But her mind eventually came to Vincent. A tear escaped from her eye as she thought how much she missed him over the years. Even if Cloud never showed up, how she could have learned to…love him. But Cloud ruined any chance of that happening. But Vincent didn't like her, did he? Even on those cold nights so long ago, when Vincent stayed with her, that was an act of friendship. Even when the blankets weren't enough to keep her warm, he put his arm around her. That was merely an act of friendship too, wasn't it? It was never anything more.
"I'm so sorry, Vincent", she whispered as she fought back the tears. The sun began to show itself and a ray of light hit the ground in front of her. As the sun rose, the beam got closer and closer. She steadily became more and more impatient, even with the warm air stinging her skin. She sighed and whispered something out loud.
May the angels of mercy find goodness in thy soul
And may they fly thee to the eternal nirvana
Where endless happiness reigns above sorrow
And one day, I shall meet you once again…
They were the same words her mother said over her dead father's body. She smiled, knowing her words were heard and walked into the ray of light. The amount of pain she felt then surpassed any other she had felt her whole life. She cried out and fell to her hands and knees. She knew the pain wouldn't stop for a while because she had become more resilient to sunlight over time. She cried out again and wondered if the whole world could hear her. One final tear fell from her face and she fainted, never to awake on this world again.
The pain stopped. She felt a soft, cool breeze. But she was too scared to open her eyes. She didn't want to see what horrors she could wake up to. But her fear was gone and she was filled with a sense that everything was okay. She slowly opened her eyes and sat up. She was in a meadow similar to the one near the castle so many years ago. But this one was more beautiful. Birds sang from the treetops and the wind rustled the leaves and grass. But the first thing she noticed was that it was daytime. The sun shone way up in the bright blue sky and she smiled. Her eyes and skin didn't burn anymore. She looked down and saw that she was wearing the same long, brown dress she wore the last few days as a real person. She stood up and walked to the small stream. Looking into the rushing water, she noticed her eyes didn't have that supernatural glow anymore. And her skin wasn't an eerie pale color. It was like she was human again. She smelled the sweet scents of the flowers nearby and a wave of relief washed over her. But, something was missing…
She didn't hear the footsteps coming from behind her. She didn't hear the figure picking a flower from a small group of them, just out of her reach. She didn't even hear the figure stop right behind her. The figure gently tapped her on her shoulder. Her eyes widened and she froze, refusing to turn around.
It was the voice she had longed to hear for so long. Happiness rose inside of her and she turned around. He also wasn't in his vampire state anymore. He looked so peaceful and angel-like that she almost looked to see if he had wings. But her eyes never left his.
"Cloud", she barely said through her tears of joy. She jumped up and hugged him. She couldn't hold back her tears any longer and cried with her head against his shoulder.
"There's no reason to cry here", he said as he put the flower in her hair. "It's perfect here. You should see how bright the stars are at night".
"I know. But I'm just so happy", she replied.
"So am I", he whispered back. "I've waited so long for you".
They didn't talk for a while after that for they knew that words could not express how they felt. Her promise land was in his arms and his was in hers. Their heaven was greater than they could have ever imagined. And so, finally the princess had found her prince.
That took a long time. Sorry, but it has been a rough few months for me. Anyway, I already have an idea for a sequel to this involving Vincent. And I have to thank everyone who told me to keep continuing this. I guess it turned out ok. Oh well, tell me what you think! See ya.
Yunalesca Strife ^_^