Sephiroth carefully closed the door of his room, hoping not to wake Aeris. A sleepy voice from under the blankets asked him where he'd been, and he knew she had been waiting for him. With a tired sigh, he sat on the edge of the bed and pulled off his boots. He looked down at her, stroking a finger down the side of her face.
"I was out talking to Cloud." At her alarmed look, he smiled reassuringly and bent to kiss her. "Do not worry, love. I think, perhaps, we have reached an understanding. He does not like me, nor do I believe he will ever like me, but he seems to have accepted the situation."
She sat up, clutching the sheet in front of her. "You don't think he'll try to attack you again, do you?" The fear and sadness in her eyes spoke volumes. He silently cursed Cloud for making this more difficult for her.
"No, love, I do not think so." He unfastened his coat and tossed it to the chair. Swinging his legs up onto the bed, he lay on top of the blankets beside her. He propped himself up on one arm to lean over her, cupping her face in his other hand. "You are so very beautiful."
"So are you." She moved closer to him, then yelped when she touched his chest. "You're freezing!"
He chuckled. "That is what happens when one walks about in the cold."
"Then let me help you warm up," she smiled, pulling him down.
The Planet dreamed.
There was a place like Inside, yet an Inside where no living person could go, a crossroads in the dreams of two entities that were part of each other, yet separate. Amidst the quiet blues of the Planet's consciousness and the fiery greens of the Lifestream, a vision arose of two people, ancient souls of great power.
"Planet," they said, "We are ready."
The Lifestream flared. So soon? It asked. Certain you should not wait further?
One of them, the female, smiled serenely. "It is past time. We have been waiting to come back together. This is our chance; the timing is perfect."
The male grinned at her. "The situation is perfect."
They are ready, the Planet said, effectively cutting short any argument the Lifestream had about giving up two of its most cherished souls. Will be needed, very soon.
Twining a wisp of green Lifestream about her fingers tenderly, the female said, "Dear Friends, do not mourn our loss. We are to be born anew."
The male went to her side and put a hand on her shoulder. "We will return again someday. You won't even notice we're gone."
Will still miss you, the Lifestream sighed. All Cetra love you. Will not be same until you return.
A third form materialized before them. "Ancestors, you honor me," she said, bowing.
The female moved to embrace her. "Oh, Ifalna, it is our honor to be reborn as your grandchildren. Your difficult journey and sacrifice will be rewarded. The moment you gave up your life to see your daughter to safety, I knew that great things would come of it."
The male nodded. "I feel better knowing that you will be our guide as we relearn how to live." He felt the atmosphere change, and a mixture of excitement and nervousness came over him. "Sister, it's time."
She smiled at Ifalna, suddenly happy and apprehensive as well. "I cannot believe it. I have waited for so long for this!" She took her brother's hand and breathed deeply. "Farewell, Ifalna!"
"Watch over us, Dear Friends!" called her brother, closing his eyes. Mischeivously, he cried, "And hello Father!" His sister laughed merrily.
First he, then she faded from view, as though they had not been standing there moments ago. Ifalna hugged herself in joy. To herself, she thought, Oh, Aeris, my daughter, who would have known? You'll need my guidance as well, to handle those two. Not to mention how much you'll have to teach your husband.
Ifalna, coming? The Lifestream's voice came softly.
Yes, I am done here. She sighed happily as its delicate tendrils surrounded her, comforting and supporting her, and soon the woman and the green glow were gone.
The Planet woke, and began to sing.
In the early morning gloom, just as the sun rose, Sephiroth and Aeris lay in each other's arms. The fire had long since died away to embers, but neither of them felt the cold on their heated skin. They laughed together, Aeris gasping for breath as her husband nuzzled her ear, clasping her against him.
Suddenly, she lay very still. Her hands gripped his arms, and a strange expression crossed her face.
"What is it?" he asked, becoming concerned. He had felton the edge of his mind. A faint call, or agreeting?
"Something is different," she breathed, closing her eyes. She turned her thoughts inward, seeking in her soul for the change.
The Planet's music flooded her senses. Aeris had a hard time understanding what it was trying to say, and she had to sort through the wild joy to find the central message. When she did, her eyes snapped open to find Sephiroth looking worriedly down at her. Gods and Planet both, she thought, I love him so much.
"Are you all right?" he asked, searching her face with his brilliant stare. To his surprise, she burst into tears and threw her arms about his neck. "Aeris, love, what's wrong?"
"Nothing," she sobbed, "Everything's right." She laughed through her tears at his expression. "There are two. Two children. Twins."
She watched the realization dawn on his face, the worry being replaced by astonishment, and then joy. "Children? Ours?" he gasped.
Two children, came the Planet's voices, Two very old souls. Very good.
"But when?" he asked, still in shock.
Aeris giggled, kissing him. "Just now."
Heat surged through him, burning away everything except the desire to be closer to her. He pulled her tightly into his arms, turning her light kiss into a more fervent meeting of their lips. His mind picked up the music that reeled forth from the Planet and was lost in it.
I love you I love you I love you Aeris
Oh I love you I love you my Sephiroth my husband
They made love again as the sun rose.
A very long Author's Note:
So, here's the last chapter. I know it's not very long, but it wanted to end here. Who am I to tell the story to go further than it wants to?
I hope you leave me a little review when you're done so I can see if you liked the story, if you didn't, whatever. I feel like I know some of you personally! Remember that I LOVE to get email from people about this story. My new address is firstname.lastname@example.org, so please use that when contacting me. Also remember that I keep an email list of people who are interested in NWtbA and updates, so if you'd like to be included, please email me at the above address.
The Chocobo Goddess web page will be up soon, thanks to some help from my friends. This story and others will be posted there. I also did some drawings to go along with most of the chapters, so they'll show up there as well.
I warned you this was nearly done. Now it's truly done. I'm taking a break.
PS: Many thanks to Aloria, Miras_Dragonfly, Lovely Lucrecia, aer_seph4eva, Chibi Taryn Demon, and everyone else (and I mean EVERYONE else) for all the MULTIPLE reviews & emails. I can't believe this went as far as it did!! You guys are the best! *MEGA WARK*