Oneshot, Cloud x Aerith. Years after Advent Children. Can a broken heart ever be healed? Or were the shattered pieces too much? She was the only one who could heal him.
Disclaimer: I Don't Own Anything Nor Do I Make Any Profit From This Fanfiction.
Author Note: This is a One Shot fic, set after the ending of Dirge of Cerberus though it has nothing to do with Dirge of Cerberus's plot. This fic is Cloud-centtric and is a Cloud x Aerith fic.
Cloud walked along an empty road, how long had it been now? It had to be five years since those events with Kadaj, since the Remnant had summoned havoc and destruction. He reached the edge of that cliff, the Buster Sword was rusted and left there as always as he stared at it and the flowers below it.
"Hey Zack." he said kneeling down in front of the sword.
Cloud sighed to himself. "It's been a while." he said again to no one but himself.
Cloud closed his eyes as he took a moment before he spoke. "Things don't change..." he said again before he slowly stood up.
How long had Cloud been riding around now? Five more years? Everything was done, the world was repairing itself from Shinra's damage, the twisted pain of battle had left their lives. Cloud was supposed to be happy, wasn't he?
Would he ever be happy? He tried, he did cherish Tifa and the others, but things were just...lost. Cloud wasn't alone, he knew Zack and Aerith were with him, but why didn't it help? Why wasn't it...enough?
"He doesn't understand..." said Aerith.
She turned to Zack, and he shook his head. "He's trying to live but his life is partially empty, he's not whole even now. I don't think...he can be..." said Zack.
Aerith closed her eyes and clasped her hands together praying for guidance.
"Aerith..." said Zack.
She turned to look at him. "What is it Zack?" she asked.
"I don't think he can ever...have a full life. He's still in pieces, yes those pieces have so much around them, and he's been trying so hard. He cherishes, he loves, he gives. But Cloud is unable to live fully without...well you know." said Zack.
"I have watched him for these years." said Aerith.
"Aerith he's in love with you even now." said Zack.
She sighed. "But I...I can't be there." she said.
Zack smiled a little bitterly. "I know." he said.
She turned looking at Zack. "And what about you?" she asked.
Zack looked confused. "What do you mean?" he asked.
She giggled. "Don't you think he needs you?" she asked.
Zack rubbed the back of his head. "Lemme think a little more on that." he said.
Cloud walked into her church, the wooden floors creaking beneath his boots as he looked around, they had rebuilt it since those events, though they'd left a small hole in the roof, it helped the flowers grow. He walked over kneeling in front of them, he sat down next to them and closed his eyes.
"I did the forgiving...so why? Why do I still feel...so empty?" he asked.
Suddenly his cell rang, he answered it of course.
"Hey Tifa." he said.
"Cloud, I have a delivery for you. Also Denzel gets out of school tomorrow, you plan to pick him up, right?" she asked.
Cloud nodded. "Yeah I planned to. How's Marlene's project coming along?" he asked.
"She and Barret are working on it right now." said Tifa.
Cloud nodded again. "Good, really wasn't sure I could...pick up the slack on that." he said.
Tifa laughed a little. "Get back here so I can send you out again." she said.
Cloud hung up his phone and put it away, he still wasn't very good at phone conversations, he was better at just getting messages. Tifa nagged him about it though, she had turned into a doting mother of sorts with him. Not that it mattered, at least her incessant crush on him seemed gone. For that he was glad actually, he had thought about her that way as a kid, but as an adult he had...well he hadn't looked at her that way. Maybe it was the way she clung to him, or that she just wasn't his type, he wasn't interested in her, plain as day. Unfortunately that had taken her a while to realize, he was glad she didn't bring it up anymore.
Cloud rode back to get the package and then rode to to address on it, so it seemed he;d be dropping by to see Rufus. Interesting, he hadn't actually had a package that important in a while. He walked up to Rufus's office, where he saw the president overlooking Midgar.
"Here." said Cloud.
Rufus turned to Cloud. "I'm glad you arrived so quickly." he said.
"If you have a tip send it to Tifa." said Cloud as he turned to leave.
"Cloud." said Rufus.
Cloud sighed. "What is it?" he asked.
"I have some news." he said.
Cloud turned to look to him. "What is it?" he asked.
"It seems our top scientists who have been restoring the planet and developing other energy sources have been working on a side project." he spoke.
Cloud frowned. "What kind of side project?" he asked.
"A project to speak with the dead." he said.
Cloud's eyes suddenly grew interested. "What do you mean?" he asked.
"I know you...you spoke of your tails from five years ago. That you heard Aerith and Zack, that you felt them. I became interested in this and had them begin development on communication with the life stream. We have finally made a break through it seems, as I was able to speak with none other then my father the other day." he said.
Cloud's hands clenched a little. "What did you tell him?" he asked.
"That he was an idiot." said Rufus.
Cloud looked up surprised and Rufus walked around placing a hand to his chin. "Do you wish to try?" he asked.
Cloud looked away as he remembered Tifa's words. Which is it? A memory or us?
What if...what if he could have both? He wondered of course, but didn't dare get his hopes up even if he wanted to.
"After Genesis returned with Weiss...we were unsure of the consequences, but he has been working on this more then anyone, I am still unsure of why." said Rufus.
Cloud sighed. "So what does this have to do with me?" he asked.
"Genesis specifically asked for you today in fact." he said.
Cloud looked to Rufus and nodded a little, finally he was escorted down to the labs. Once he arrived there he looked around curiously. Genesis walked over looking at Cloud.
"I'm glad you came." he said.
"What is this about...the life stream?" he asked.
Genesis smirked. "Cutting right to the chase? Come, follow me." he said.
Genesis lead Cloud to an underground tunnel, there was parts of the life stream, or at least Cloud could see it, many machines were set up around the large lake that was there.
"Go on, give it a try." said Genesis.
Cloud gulped and walked forward, he closed his eyes as he reached the lake. "Hello?" he asked.
As he opened his eyes he looked around, the field of flowers, and there she was standing in front of him...Aerith.
"Cloud." she said.
Cloud looked at her and gasped. "Is this...is this real?" he asked.
She nodded. "Well I have to say Genesis tried but...you seeing me is not his doing, and he can't hear us right now, I simply skipped over his equipment." she said with a giggle.
"You can...do that?" he asked.
Aerith nodded. "Well I'm one of the few spirits who can, after all I live on inside of you Cloud." she said.
"Aerith..." he said.
She shook her head and put a finger to his lips. "Cloud, this is the promise land...you're here." she said.
Cloud looked around and Aerith spoke again. "But I'm afraid...you can't stay." she said.
Cloud looked at her. "Why not?" he asked.
"You're not dead." she said.
Cloud looked away. "But I.." he said.
"Cloud...I have a question for you." she said.
He looked back at her. "Yeah?" he asked.
"Are you...in love with me?" she asked.
Cloud closed his eyes and opened them but then..
He was back, awake, Genesis had shaken him. He looked at Genesis. "Are you alright?" Genesis asked him.
Cloud sat up and shook his head. "Your machines...work on most spirits. But the one...I want to speak to. Doesn't need them." he said.
Cloud stood up and walked out quickly, Genesis looked after him and Cloud rode his bike, he quickly left Midgar as he rode for days and days until he reached it, the place of her death. Cloud ran quickly before he dropped down in front of the large lake and stared at it.
Cloud was unsure what to think or do, his mouth was dry and he tied to grasp what she had asked him. Was he in love with her? Cloud didn't...he wasn't, how could he? But as he thought about it, his heart ached more and more, the thought of her...the thought of her being dead, the thought of her not there with him...when he thought about Zack, he missed him, but not the same way, not with this fervor. He wanted...no what was the word?
"Need some help buddy?" asked a familiar voice.
He turned and saw Zack there looking at him. "Zack..." he said and stood up.
Zack smiled a little. "I knew it." he said.
Cloud looked bewildered. "Knew what?" he asked.
"You know, she was my girlfriend first." said Zack.
Cloud looked away and Zack laughed a little.
"But you know what she said...when I asked her about you or me?" he asked.
"You asked?" asked Cloud.
"Well lemme put it this way, in the life stream we met and she shot me down." said Zack.
Cloud looked even more confused. "Cloud, she loves you." he said.
Cloud sighed. "But I...I let her die." he said.
"You're still on about that?" Zack asked.
Cloud looked at Zack. "No what I mean is..." he tried to say.
Zack smirked. "Cloud it's ok, I get it, now just...admit it to yourself before you lose it." he said.
Cloud was suddenly alone, he stood there as he thought about what was being said to him. It suddenly..hit him like a ton of bricks...
He was unhappy with his life because the woman he loved then and still loved now was dead. His heart was still in pieces because she wasn't there. Because he needed her in his life, even now, even with how short a time she had been there, the mark on his life she had left could not be healed by forgiveness alone. No, not with the way he loved her. Cloud stood up looked at the lake..he didn't know what to do when suddenly his cell phone rang. He answered it but it went straight to his voice mail...and he voice on it made his breath catch in his throat.
"I'll see you at the church...Cloud."
Aerith, Aerith's voice on his phone, that sweet amazing pure voice. The voice he could never ignore, never forget, the voice that had haunted him for years since those days he had been around her. Time seemed to freeze, everything around him almost crashed, he was losing his mind. He had to be, right? There was no way...she wouldn't be there...she couldn't...he didn't wait to find out.
Cloud quickly got on his bike, he rode and rode until he couldn't ride anymore, he then ran the rest of the way to her church, sending a message to Tifa to pick up the bike. He ran in through the doors and stopped.
There she stood...dressed in pink, those green eyes looking at him with the sweetest gaze he'd ever seen. His own blue eyes staring into those green eyes, his breath caught in his throat, his body sweating. Cloud was standing there dumbfounded by the site before him...Aerith.
She ran over and hugged him, and he...he stood there for a moment still in shock before he hugged her back. Cloud closed his eyes and for the first time in years...he wept. The woman he loved, the woman he desired, the woman he needed was finally in his arms. Aerith, sweet Aerith, he couldn't even stop himself from thinking her name until it might burst from his head. If this was a dream he dared to hope he would never awaken again from such a sweet slumber as this, the sweetest dream possible, and yet he did pinch himself, and the pain was there. No he was not asleep, she was real, she was in his arms hugging him, the two of them...were finally together again.
She pulled away and looked up at him, as he looked down at her. "I..I missed you." he said.
She smiled at him. "I missed you too." she said.
Cloud leaned down then kissing her sweetly on the lips as she wrapped her arms around him pulling him closely. The two locked together in an embrace.
As he pulled away from the kiss and she did as well, the two of them held hands and walked out of the church. Cloud looked to Aerith.
"You're going to stay...right?" he asked.
Aerith nodded. "Yeah, this time I promise." she said.
Cloud smiled and they made their way to the Seventh Heaven to see everyone again. When they got there Tifa immediately hugged Aerith while Barret sent word to all the others. Aerith wasn't used to such a fuss but she was glad when everyone showed to greet her back, even Genesis and the Shinra company. She was of course checked over fully by doctors to make sure she was ok. Only a small scar remained of what Sephiroth had done to her to kill her. Everything was perfect..Cloud knew it would be as well from then on. Finally he felt...whole.
Cloud and Aerith were married not too long after that, producing several children, but of course Tifa was the godmother to them all. Barret and Marlene lived with them all of course with Denzel who Aerith helped raise. They all lived happily of course, and 500 years in the future Red XIII's pups ran up that large hill and howled at the gorgeous world around them, lush and amazing. The planet had healed itself. Aerith and Cloud had been reunited and Zack had watched over them until their deaths where they joined him in a true promise land all together at last. Everyone's spirits together forever.
Author: Just a one shot I decided to write, yeah it's cliche I know. Reviews are appreciated though