Afraid to Sleep

DISCLAIMER: I do not own FF7, or any of the songs I used in this chapter. Also, if you don't like some of the content, well, tough cookie. This Fic is rated Mature for a reason and contains Aerith/Sephiroth and Cloud/Tifa.

Also, if you notice that some stuff is different, well, that'd be because I edited a little. Hope you like it! And PLEASE REVIEW! It's the nice thing for readers to do!

Dido: I'm afraid to sleep

We slept in this room together
But now you're gone
It's so quiet I turned the tv on
We lived in this room together
We painted the walls
Now time doesn't stand still it crawls

Aerith sat alone on the dome slide in the small park that was outside of Sector Seven. She had her knees pulled up against her chest as she stared off into the area ahead of her. It wasn't as if she had anything better to do, she was just waiting... For him... But somehow, she knew he wouldn't be coming. Not ever again.

First it had been Zack, ripped from her by death, now Cloud. But the strong spirited young blonde man was now married to another woman. He'd been taken away by life.

And I'm afraid to sleep
'Cause if I do I dream of you
And dreams are always deep
On the pillow where I weep
I never realized how much
I was in love with you
Till you started sleeping
with someone new
Last night I dreamed again
and you were there
You kissed my face
You touched my hair

Cloud was married to Tifa, the large breasted fist fighter who said she'd been his best friend. Aerith knew the truth, and yet Tifa continued to lie to Cloud. Tifa had never thought of him before that time he told her he was going to go join SOLDIER.

Aerith slowly lifted her eyes toward the ruined upper plate of Midgar. No one really lived in the city anymore, only those who really didn't want to leave their homes. She had returned though. Her sacrifice to the Planet had worked and it had been the choice of the Planet to give her life again for her service. She'd been too late though.

And I'm afraid to sleep
'cause if I do I dream of you
And dreams are always deep
On the pillow where I weep
Lying alone in the darkness
With a memory in my head
There's a big hole where my heart is
And a lonely feeling rolling round my bed

Pulling her legs closer against her chest, she tightened her arms around them and lowered her face against the pink fabric covering her knees. Her curled chestnut bangs fell over her knees like curtains, hiding her face from the one who watched her in silence.

He too had been returned to life, cast out of the Lifestream. No longer could he feel its ebb and flow. Never again could he attempt what he had. He was an island of life... a puddle cut off from return to the earth from which he was created.

Perhaps he could make amends to the one he'd caused so much pain for. Yet he doubted she would accept it. He had done far too much to her, to her friends, to her world. Even her old house was crushed under the rubble of the upper plate. He could not fix that, for his extraordinary powers of will had been stripped from him by his being cut off from the Lifestream. He was just a man. Immortal, perhaps, but a man none the less.

Aerith slowly lifted her face and looked at him directly, her eyes somewhat red from crying. He dropped his gaze, looked away. He started to turn and leave her to herself when he heard her voice. "Sephiroth..."

His heart stopped for a beat then continued and he looked back at her vibrant emerald eyes framed by shimmering dark lashes. She slowly stood atop the cat-shaped dome of the slide and looked down at him. Finally she spoke. "Do you forgive me?"

Sephiroth almost fell over, having been so startled by her sudden address. "... Why should I forgive you?" he asked her and saw her eyes narrow and he found himself wanting to explain his words, "- I- it wasn't you who did anything," he stammered.

Aerith shook her head.

And I'm afraid to sleep
'Cause if I do I dream of you
And I'm afraid to sleep
'Cause if I do I dream of you
And dreams are always deep
On the pillow where I weep
On the pillow where I weep
I'm afraid to sleep

"I chose for you to be returned to life like this," she stated. "It was my wish that made you like this."

He gazed at her levelly, a flash of anger rising in his heart and he looked away once more, his bangs hiding his dull eyes. Eyes that no longer shone in the dark. He shrugged and Aerith's eyes watered once more, though she didn't shed her tears. She saw Cloud mirrored in his pose. She could almost hear Cloud's voice saying 'Whatever, it doesn't matter to me.'

She looked down upon the one who had once lead a great army to victory over the entire world, a man who's pride and will had kept him from death even after being cast into the Lifestream and almost taking on the planet's energy. A man who was now- though physically un-scarred, his soul carried the burden of being forever shunned from the world. He walked as a ghost among the living. He existed, could not die, yet none could see him for what he truly was except for her.

"What does it matter? I brought it upon myself," he replied finally, lifting his head to look at her straight on once more. He was still stunningly handsome as ever, his eyes still captivating. Yet none could see that. Even if Cloud were to see his old enemy now, he would only see what looked like a blasted and bent corpse of a man. It was only an illusion. A reflection of the state of Sephiroth's soul.

He turned then, and left her. Left her in her own island. Cut off from the people by her love for a man already taken. Aerith lowered her head, her tears falling and landing in her uplifted palms as she stared at her fingers. "And... I feel guilty for punishing him."

'I brought it on myself', were his words. "And somehow... I feel like I could have saved him," she whispered into the silence that stretched around her like iron walls, cutting her off from the people she'd once loved.

She could never return to them.

For them, she was dead.