chapter one ; wandering lost
It had only been a year.
Everything around him still sent shivers down his spine and painful memories would burst into his mind's eye in quick succession, destroying him all over again. She was everything and everywhere in this world and he couldn't escape her. He might once have thought that to be a wonderful thing, but it now only filled him with a deep sense of shame, regret and an ever more powerful guilt, haunting him as one day meshed into another.
Sometimes, he found himself wondering why he'd let himself get so lost in her; that attitude, that spirit, had been a warning sign from the very beginning. Her irrational kindness and her ability to see right through his stony facade had slowly broken him down until he found he had no will to leave her side or to give her the cold shoulder. Why had he let himself fall in love with her?
He could have stabbed himself with his own sword and it would never have hurt him as much as that thought did - it passed through his mind, inevitably, every day. She was the best thing that perhaps had ever happened to him and his repayment was to question what they had.
He tried to think of something else, to numb himself from the subject. He hadn't spoken to her, or rather he supposed, their friends in more than a month now, though he admitted to failure in the realm of friendships anyways. He had several messages sitting in the phone Tifa had given him before leaving... but he couldn't bring himself to respond to any of them. How did you say what someone wanted to hear when they asked you how you were, when you felt the complete opposite? Tifa especially would always know he was lying, so what was the point?
He wished he could go back to what he had been like before she had come into his life, to feel nothing.
And, thinking that, he knew he should have left this world behind with Aerith the day she had died in his arms.