Disclaimer: I, Trilies, own none of the characters featured within this fic. They are property of either Disney, Square Enix, or both. Ana (AnakhaSilver on Deviantart) also does not own any of these characters, with the sole exception of our dearest plot device, Miss Rise. If you don't like the idea of an OC being used in fic, then try to counsel yourself with the idea that at least no canons were killed.
Author's Notes: So, Family Ties actually began way before BBS was ever released, like, me and Ana started it last August. Soooo expect no BBS spoilers or anything. In fact, this doesn't even vaguely follow BBS. XD The only thing that is consistent is that the Garden falls.
Now, you may be wondering, "What the fuck, James, Ana? Aeleus/Aerith with a canon character as their kid? How does that work? And isn't Aerith a little kid during this time? EEEEEW." Well, have no fear. The ever lovely Ana thought this all out, and as for Aerith… Well, I don't believe Kingdom Hearts ever showed or told Aerith's age during this time. The only thing given was in the manga, and that's only a headshot that is completely up to interpretation. So, just relax, go with the flow.
After all, you wouldn't want to miss all the lovely drama, would you?
I loved you before I even met you.
The word fits oddly in her mouth, foreign yet naturally just belonging there. Aerith's mind doesn't conform so quickly, and for a moment, she just sits there in the doctor's office, stunned. Unconsciously, one of her hands rises up to her stomach, resting. Even as the doctor begins to explain all the signs, a few which she had already known, Aerith almost doesn't hear him. She's too busy adjusting to the idea of a child, her child, resting inside of her, waiting to be born. And there's only one man who could be the father...
Shakily, she reaches up to cover her mouth, tears slipping down her cheeks and catching the light like liquid crystal. The doctor pauses in the middle of his explanation, looking alarmed, but Aerith just waves his concern off. Her hand falls away from her mouth, revealing a beautiful, proud smile. "It's alright," she whispers. "I'm just... It's..." She reaches up to wipe the tears from her face, but ends up covering her eyes then, laughing. "I'm just happy."
Eventually, she's escorted out to the front desk to make appointments to help her through this over the course of her pregnancy. For a moment, she's almost not sure if it's required; after all, she has a feeling that Aeleus and the rest of the apprentices could easily deal with something like this. Immediately, she shakes the thought out of her head. No, no, she couldn't be so selfish. They had more important things to do... Besides, she knows her Aeleus too well. While it both embarrasses and amuses her to know it, she's pretty sure that Aeleus is the type to immediately disregard all sorts of work for those he loves.
It's only when she's outside on the steps to the doctor's office, with the bustling streets of Radiant Garden spread out before her does Aerith finally snap out of it. Beaming, she gently presses her hands against her stomach and throws her head back, closing her eyes so that the light of the sun warms her all the better. It's a gorgeous feeling, a wondrous time... She couldn't be happier. Her and Aeleus' child...
Will it be a girl? A boy? Or perhaps it could be twins, or triplets... No matter who emerges, will they take after the two of them? Will the child have her sparkling green eyes, or their father's beautiful dark blue ones? They'll grow up to be kind, Aerith thinks, there will be no avoiding that, not with Aeleus as their father. Will they have that steadfast loyalty, that gentle touch? Will they love flowers as much as she does, or prefer testing their mind with puzzles, Aeleus favorite pastime? No matter what, she finally decides, it will be a radiant child which will be born. Deep in her heart, she just knows it.
Slowly, she opens her eyes, and the yawning expanse of the sky greets her. Not a cloud is visible, and the only thing that's there is the vivid, alluring blue...
"The sky," she murmurs, gently rubbing her stomach. "Aeleus, the sky is so beautiful today." Blue, she realizes. The child's eyes will have to be as blue as this rare, clear sky, mimicking their father's kind gaze. Just another thing she simply knows.
Aerith barely notices the walk home, running through things she will have to do, preparations she'll have to make. Their home will be big enough for three, she decides, sandals slapping along the pavement. Perhaps this will be the thing which pushes Aeleus to propose to her, something they've both known has been coming for a while. It won't be the 'white' wedding every girl dreams of, Aerith thinks with a small giggle, remembering all those cool nights, those soft kisses and gentle hands tracing her body...
Thanks to her daydreams, mixed with memories of the past and hopes for the future, the walk home seems short and sweet. Clasping her hands together, Aerith grins in both excitement and nervousness as she walks up to the front door-
Only to pause. Frowning, Aerith feels her blissful happiness slowly drain away only to be replaced with fear and caution. The little stone chocobos she normally had by the front door were overturned, scattered everywhere as if some one had been in a hurry. That was where she and Aeleus kept the spare key... And the door is open, even if just a few inches. Tensing, Aerith quickly looks around for a weapon of some sort, knowing that all of her neighbors were gone at this time of day. The only thing around was a rake which she quickly took in hand. Although scared, Aerith isn't the type of woman to just sit idly about, crying for the cops, when some one is quite obviously invading her home, possibly robbing her of everything she holds dear.
Gently, she nudges open the front door with the rake and edges inside, quiet as a mouse. Shaking with anticipation and nervousness, she sneaks throughout her own house, rake at ready. There are sounds coming from the kitchen... Setting her jaw, Aerith creeps towards the door just as some one's footsteps inside began to get louder. Bracing herself, Aerith twists around the corner, yelling courageously as she prepares to bring the rake hard down on the intruder's head-
Both her and the 'intruder', who had been screaming in surprise, suddenly freeze. It's a rather... awkward and long moment before he speaks.
"Xehanort?" Slowly, Aerith lowers the rake, a relieved laugh bubbling out of her. After a hesitant moment, the dark skinned apprentice joins her, rubbing the back of his neck sheepishly.
"I apologize for breaking in," he says, and gestures to the kitchen table. Lying on the wooden surface is a pen, hastily discarded, and a sheet of paper. "However, Master Ansem wanted me to deliver messages to all of the families of the apprentices. You weren't here, so..." He shrugs. "I had to let myself in, since I didn't know when you would come back."
"I see..." Smiling, Aerith sets down the rake so that it's leaning against a wall. "Would you like me to make some tea or-?"
"No, no." Xehanort waves his hands in front of himself quickly. "I'm in a hurry. I just wanted to tell you that Aeleus won't be able to leave the castle for a while. There's something big going on, an important project- I hope you understand."
Disappointment sinks deeply in her breast, but Aerith just brushes it away, nodding. "No, no, don't worry. I understand how hard all of you work." She just can't manage to shake away her sadness, however. Who knows how long Aeleus will be stuck inside the castle... Oh well. She doesn't want Xehanort to deliver the message for her; undoubtedly, he'll be stuck with things from all of the other families as well. Besides... He's still recovering from losing Rise and his child... She doesn't want bad memories to pop up. "But if you could just bring one thing to Aeleus?" At Xehanort's nod, she smiles gratefully and disappears for a moment, only to return with a small branch. On it, orange blossoms flourish, their white blossoms practically glowing in the light. "Just this, if it's alright."
"It won't be any trouble at all," Xehanort assures her, taking the little branch. "Hopefully, we'll all see you later, Aerith. Good bye."
"Bye!" she replies with a smile and a small wiggle of her fingers. Once Xehanort is gone, Aerith laughs again to herself, shaking her head. Well, that had been embarrassing! All that panic for nothing... Smiling softly, she begins to make some lemonade for herself, only to stop when she hears the heavy clacks of a chocobo's claws on the street. Beaming, she rushes to the nearest window and waves at her best friend who's just beginning to tie up her chocobo to the fence of the house next door. "Tifa! You'll never guess what's different about me!"
So! This bit, written by me. In the next chapter, you'll get to see just what Xehanort has been going through...
If you're confused about this dead chick and baby that Xehanort is hung up over, than it may help if you read the fic "The Dying of His Light" on AnakhaSilver's DA.
I'll be updating the next few chapters over the span of this week, as we've been working on this for a while. As I said before, we just haven't put it up yet. ^^;
Review and concrit are much loved, but not mandatory. For reading, gratzi!