Remember when you wanted to make a promise?

A promise that I would wear pink every time we meet?

I didn't agree to it then.

I promise now. Please come home.


The girl laid the pen down with a sharp, shaky exhale. Every signature, on every letter, was like signing a little bit more of herself away to him, as if her words had some unforeseen power which, in a large enough number, had the ability to bring him back to her. And she did wear pink, everyday, in the feeble hope that she would meet him on the street, or at her flower cart, or at the train station she visited a few times a day, or at Shinra... she wore pink, just in case.

And she thought of him often. Every thought led to him. Every sight, every smell, every sound. She remembered him atop her, moving inside her and breathing hard as she panted and gave herself to him. She often gave herself to him. Both when he was there, and when he wasn't. She gave herself to him in her letters, in her prayers, in each and every flower she handed to a little girl and sent out into the world. Maybe the flower would reach him somehow.

The first time she pondered his disappearance, she feared the worst. Captured. Missing in action. Wounded in combat and left to die.

Then she began to doubt herself. Maybe he had loved her and left her. She was a stupid, gullible girl from the slums. And he was a soldier, after all. Hired by Shinra. No cares, no attachments.

But when she closed her eyes and felt his voice in her ear and his hot chest against her chest, she couldn't believe it to be true. That last night in the chapel, when their lips finally met, when their hands finally touched, and they touched each other and tore away clothes and barriers- that was real. Zack was real.

When his naked hand left a flat, searing print on her bare stomach as she lay down in the flowers, she thought vaguely of a life with him. It seemed possible at the time. Was it possible? She couldn't be sure. She didn't know anything about him except who he was. She didn't know what he was caught up with. She remembered him plummeting through the chapel ceiling and into the flowers. She remembered his mako-blue eyes- the insignia of a SOLDIER. She remembered him crying on the floor, and holding him and not asking why but just holding him.

She imagined the flowers against her skin and his body against her body each and every time she touched a white petal or grasped the handle to the door of the church or put the pen to paper. What letter was this? The 71st or 72nd? She had lost count. She briefly contemplated writing a birthday wish on the page. She didn't know his birthday, but at least a year had passed, meaning the day had passed at some point. And he was still gone.

She exhaled. Shakily. Sharply. A tear rolled down her cheek and down her jaw and jumped to the paper, splattering softly. Aerith cried on the floor of the chapel- more times than she cared to remember- and wished that Zack was there to hold her, as she had done for him.