Hi! It's been ages. My long hiatus away from is hopefully over for now. I came across this chapter on my laptop and I thought to myself, 'I really should publish something!' Hopefully it will motivate me to carry on with 'It's Not Fair' if anyone's still reading that one! Haha. In the meantime, enjoy this short, but sweet, chapter!

I own nothing.

Cloud's body was feeling less and less accustomed to the space-whatever, it really was-he was standing in with his deceased friends. He wondered if it were simply his imagination that Aeris and Zack seemed to get a little blurry around the edges, a little brighter or if they might really dissolve into light at any time.

"Can you feel it Cloudy?" Zack asked, as if he could read his mind. Cloud simply nodded.

"You have to go back sooner or later," Aeris said softly, stepping forward and running a hand up his arm as if to encourage him. He shook his head.

"No, I know. I'm going back. I'm going to live."

"For yourself," Zack nodded towards him and gave Cloud a meaningful look, as if to say, 'And not for us, or the past-not anymore.'

"Yeah," Cloud smiled. And it really felt good.

Zack scratched the back of his head awkwardly, "I've never been good at goodbyes."

"You are good at dramatic exits," Cloud said.

"Did you just make a joke, Cloud?" Zack jumped forward and threw his arms around him, wrapping Cloud up in a headlock, "I don't believe it, Spike made a funny!"

"And one of rather poor taste," Aeris added, fixing a serious look on her face, and resisting the urge to giggle.

Cloud suddenly looked horrified, his eyes becoming wide and he moved to open his mouth to speak.

"No, no! I meant-"

"Don't you dare say sorry, man," Zack gave him a noogie and flung his own head back with laughter.

"I just meant-"

"If you're referring to that time in Junon-"

"What happened in Junon?" Aeris wanted to know.

"He took me and a couple other infantry out for dinner. He thought it would be funny to start a food fight, and we were kicked out. Of course, Zack had to make an exit-he left singing and dancing out the doors."

"And it was a tradition I kept all that time," Zack nodded proudly.

Cloud nodded back, "We were kicked out of 23 eateries over 6 months."

"Good times."

A pleasant silence settled over the three friends again. Cloud sighed, "It's time, isn't it?"

Zack and Aeris nodded simultaneously.



"Goodnight." And as Cloud stepped towards his two friends, in a movement to possibly hold them one more time, it was as though the ground was swept out from beneath him and he was suddenly looking up into white nothingness. He couldn't feel their warmth, their presence, and he knew that they were gone. He shut his eyes against the now blinding white light but as soon as the harsh light seemed to be penetrating his eyelids, everything went dark.

His nostrils were filled with a familiar aroma – of floral scents and the decadent, musky smell of a dilapidated church.

Please R&R! xoxo.