A/N: This collection of drabbles represents Cloud's past, present and future with Aerith – seen through theirs and others' eyes. Told in no particular order, most drabbles rely heavily upon memories and dreams, as opposed to real (present) interactions. And while names are almost never mentioned, you should be able to tell whose point of view is being expressed in each drabble. Hopefully. ;P
To Honour a Memory
She was always so free with her words, like her heart.
Why can't you forgive yourself?
But he's never been so liberal or so open with his emotions. His bruised heart is always heavy, burdened by guilt and regret.
But . . . I let you die.
He can't help but dream about her or see her in his waking thoughts. She's always on his mind, blurring the line between what's real and what's imagined. She is a reminder of his sins and the key to his salvation.
You came, even though you're about to break. That's a good sign.
He's obsessed with her – bent on living for a memory alone, honouring it. Without that memory, he isn't sure where he'd be. Perhaps even more lost than he is right now.
Why do we have to lose out to a memory?
He feels the repercussions, good and bad, of his obsession long after he wakes, long after he returns to reality. He knows he should move on from her but he can't. She's become a part of his soul and he wonders if she's always been there, or if she's something of his own creation, spun out of nothing from the middle of the Lifestream. His heart races at the thought of her there waiting for him.
So why did you come?
Why does he keep coming back to her? Why does he keep going on even though he's given up? Is it for himself? Is it for her?
I think . . . I think I want be forgiven, more than anything.
The days have begun to feel so much like falling, like the bottom has dropped out of his stomach and his heart has lodged up in his throat. Part of him is afraid to wonder what would happen if she answered him, if she forgave him.
I never blamed you, not once.
He imagines all the different places they've been together, the different lives they've lived together in the abyss, in the Promised Land. But in his memories and in his dream she's only a projection. It's her but it's not. Her skin isn't warm enough, her face not nearly as defined or lovely.
You came for me.
He finds himself wanting more, needing more.
That's all that matters.
She's left an ache in parts of him he hadn't even known were empty. She's softened a heart he once thought was frozen. Unused. Unfeeling.
I'm not alone.
And that's when he realises that he can't live without her.
Author's notes: The sentences in italics are lines takes from Aerith and Cloud in Advent Children, with exception to 'Why do we have to lose out to a memory?', which was said by Tifa to Cloud.