Author's Note: So, I've been kinda in a writing slump as of late. Couldn't really get myself to write anything good. So, I sat down and tried this idea out as a sort of writing exercise, to get me going again. Still, let me know what you think and if it's worth continuing.

Also, I'm looking possibly for a beta and am working on the title. If you have any suggestions, please let me know.

Disclaimer: Characters and settings belong to Square Enix.

Rating: T for now, but will most likely go up.

Worth It All

Prologue

Her heart clenched, breaking a tiny bit more with every second that passed. She could barely stand just sitting back and watching the tragic scene playing out in front of her, but she couldn't look away. It was just wrong, so horribly, insanely wrong to see him this way.

His knees were drawn up to his chest, clutched tightly in a desperate and defensive ball. The last withered blades of grass that remained in the once beautiful garden grew in sickly clumps from the cracked and darkened ground like grotesque ghosts from a memory and time long forgotten. It was painful, too painful for her bleeding heart to not do something for the grief stricken man.

She couldn't—wouldn't—tolerate it any longer.

Forcing herself to leave the huddled figure where he was, she went to take matters into her own hands once and for all.

And Cloud Strife wept on.

—*—*— *—*—

Cloud drew himself more tightly into a ball, trying vainly to block his view. He didn't need to see it though. He knew every detail of the sickeningly barren landscape.

There was no one else, would never be any one else, now. They had all tried so hard, and for what? For this? Gaia was still dying, was on her very death bed at this moment. Nothing that they had done had made any difference in the long run. All of their sacrifices, all of the loved ones that had been lost because of it, everything just didn't matter.

In the end, the human race had been so selfish and stubborn. They had been blinded by their greed and the easy convenience of all that Shinra had offered that Gaia's well-being hadn't registered as the top of their priority lists. No. Unable to change their ways, both they and Gaia had suffered. It came to pass that famine and disease had swept through the planet's population like a wild fire. In a matter of weeks, the human race had been wiped off the face of Gaia. It took only a few years for the irreversible effects of the Mako reactors to take their final toll on the ailing planet. Then, the animals and even the once grand forests fell to scraggly remnants of what they had once been. It took such a short span of time in the end for bustling life on Gaia to come to a stand still.

Cloud cursed both Gaia and Hojo for countless hours after the end had come. Unable to die and unwilling to carry on in solitude, Cloud was all that remained though he wished for death to claim him more fervently than any other ever had. He was alone. There was no comfort to be had from anything. None of his friends. Not even a single flower from Aerith's garden lingered on the dying planet. Mother Gaia was weak, far too sickly, to be of any comfort to him. The Lifestream didn't have any strength to do the impossible and allow him to be amongst the dead.

So he cried. He cried for his loved ones, now long dead. He cried for Gaia and her agonizing death. He cried for all that had once been and now no longer was. He kept crying until no tears would come. Then, he closed his eyes and let the darkness claim him even if he'd only be free from it all for a few precious moments.

The last thought he had before his mind went blank from the massive mental anguish he constantly suffered now, Cloud pictured piercing emerald eyes and long silky strands of silver. It was fuzzy, on the very edges of his memory, like an angel he'd seen in another lifetime.

—*—*— *—*—

In the fading Lifestream, she began to bring her plan's first stages to life. It would take everything she had, everything they all had. It would use up all that remained of the Great Mother's life force. Knowing all this, she didn't hesitate. This was worth all that they had to offer. Of that Aerith was certain.

And then Gaia took one last look at all that had been and what was left and died.

—*—*— *—*—

Author's Note: So, how'd you like it? I'd really like to know so just go on ahead and push that nice review button!