The night after, they held each other.

There weren't words, at least not initially. And despite what the rest of the group might have thought, there wasn't any type of sexual activity. He was watching over her; she had sustained a horrible injury. Just because Sephiroth's blade hadn't killed her didn't mean that it hadn't injured her. It was quick thinking on Vincent, Tifa and (ironically) Barret's part that had managed to stem the bleeding enough to allow for healing material to do the rest of the work.

They would've taken her to a hospital, but the Forgotten City was so far out of any town's scope that if they hadn't relied on their own skills, they would have well and truly lost her, and that would've dealt a critical blow to not just him, but everyone in the group.

Luckily, they'd found a small homestead in the City that was livable, and would allow the group downtime while her injuries healed and they planned their next moves, because like it or not? They still had a mission to undertake, and not a lot of time to get to their destination.

But for that night, for that lonely piece of the world, it didn't matter to him. Sephiroth had tried to steal his love away in front of his eyes, but he had failed. The super soldier had missed his target by a quarter of an inch, and instead of cutting her spine, he'd cut through ribs and muscles. She would hurt for a while, but she would live.

He thanked the Planet that night, that he'd get to hold his love in his arms, that instead of burying her, he'd be able to watch her sleep, watch her wake up at the break of dawn, and maybe, Planet willing, marry her and have a bunch of rowdy kids with her.

He knew he was lucky that Aeris Gainsborough hadn't died that day.

But more than that, Cid Highwind knew that he was lucky to get himself another chance at the woman he loved… and he'd be damned to hell and back if he was going to waste that precious commodity, that wonderful opportunity given to him. So, for that night, he held her, cherishing the wonderfully fragile and strong woman in his arms without any request for anything further to make the moment anything other than what she needed, and what he was in desperate need to give her.

When she woke up with a death-defying smile on her face… it made it all the better.

This one's a short one; plain and simply short at that. A little plot bunny that wouldn't let me go with a pairing I don't normally ship, or at least that I haven't shipped in years in an fandom I haven't touched in as many years. What brought on this delicious piece of unbeta'd goodness?

I was watching an old FF7 AMV I had saved to my computer, and I noticed that Aeris' death is… for lack of a better term, perfect. Sephiroth's blade pierces straight through the middle of her back. Simply enough, she never stood a chance, which is why suddenly I understand why people are sometimes bothered by the revive-Aeris trend that used to be so popular (is it still? I haven't perused the FF7 fandom in years.)

The idea that Sephiroth missed actually is a nod to fellow author Peptuck, and the Firefly-verse fic he's writing Forward. You should check it out if you have any interest in that sort of thing, but the simple fact from my limited knowledge is, if Sephiroth hadn't hit dead on, Aeris may have been able to walk away, as evidenced by what they are capable of doing with material and items. Barret and Tifa having enough knowledge to help her in that state was a stretch, I know, but given the choice of characters, I needed ones who A) weren't Cloud and B) may have had some kind of medical training.

Anyway, lengthy Author's Note has now come to a completion. Hope you enjoyed it; and it got me out of Clouded Horizons for a bit.