Okay. My last topic concerning this fanfic I wrote was doing pretty well and then fell into oblivion. So let’s try this again, starting from where we left off (good up till the ending).
Cloud was now settled down quite happily in Nibelheim. He decided he wasn’t quite ready to tie the knot with Tifa, but she was waiting anxiously for him to pop the question. It had been three months since they had defeated Sephiroth. Strictly speaking, they didn’t stop Meteor. It was Aeris controlling the Lifestream that beat it.
Aeris. The name reverberated in Cloud’s ears. It was his fault she was dead. Despite his friends’ reassurances that it was what she wanted, he couldn’t shake the thought. What did she think of him? In the short moments before her death, Cloud had almost killed her for Sephiroth. Did she blame him for her death? Was he truly the one who had killed her, not the clone of Sephiroth, the puppet of Jenova?
He had to know for himself. He wanted to see her again, to take her hand in his, to hear her tell her story. What had really happened?
Midgar was demolished, that was true. The Planet had decided that it wasn’t safe, but thanks to Aeris speaking with it, the Planet decided to spare the human race and give them one more chance.
Was there any way to bring her back? Cloud thought. Could he meet her again? She had said she wanted to meet the real Cloud. Could she have another chance at life?
He would find out. He was determined to.
There was one place that held the answers: Shinra Mansion. In its library, some ancient tome might hold the secret to Aeris’ revival. Chances were that there would be nothing in there. But didn’t he have to try? His hopes would most likely shattered, but he had to hope against hope.
He began scanning the books in the basement of Shinra Mansion. Philosophy books. The beginnings of novel-writing. 800-year-old almanacs. Nothing of great use. His dreams were shattered.
But wait? What was that thick volume lying open?
Cloud flipped through the book’s pages and finally found what he was after. He read the page aloud. “The Guardian Materia. The Guardian Materia forges a strong bond between the finder and another of the finders’ choice, whether dead or alive. The possessor of the materia, or the ‘guardian,’ is bound to protect he or she whom he chooses. If he fails, he is doomed to eternal damnation.”
Maybe that could bring back Aeris, Cloud thought. There was little to gain and everything to lose. But he had to try.
One main problem was that Cloud had no clue where to start. Where could this Guardian Materia be located? He had no idea. But then he remembered there was a Mako fountain in Mt. Nibel. When he had gone there for a mission, there had been pure Materia in the fountain. Could that be it?
Cloud began the hike up Mt. Nibel. It was monster-free, since the Planet had decided that monsters were bad for it and had purged the land with the Lifestream. Ironic, but that’s how it happened.
Soon he came to the Mako fountain. Sure enough, there was a Materia in it.
“Looking for something?” a female voice behind him said.
Cloud whirled around. “Tifa?” Then he clearly saw who he was looking at. “A-Aeris…”
“It’s all right, Cloud,” she reassured him. “Everything is going to be all right.”
“I came for the Guardian Materia,” Cloud said.
Aeris raised an eyebrow. “The Guardian Materia? You’ll just get yourself into trouble with that. Who were you planning to bind yourself to, Tifa?”
Cloud shook his head. “No… I wanted to be connected to you.”
“Me?” Aeris asked. “You never showed any sign of loving me at all.” Seeing that her words had deeply hurt Cloud, Aeris apologized. “I’m sorry, Cloud. I only meant it as a statement of fact…” But this hurt him even more, and Aeris was left with nothing to say.
“I know,” Cloud said. “I should have been warmer to you, I should have done something when you…” Cloud couldn’t say it. “It’s all my fault.”
“No, Cloud,” Aeris replied. Cloud looked up, and the sincerity in her eyes was apparent. What his friends had told him was true. "It wasn’t your fault. Nobody is to blame for what happened. Not you, me, Sephiroth, or the whole world. It was destined to happen.
“But it all worked out. For my work against Meteor, the Planet decided that it would be best if I stay living and protect the people from doing something terrible to the Planet. And that’s why you didn’t need to use the Guardian Materia to save me.”
“But I still want to be bound to you, Aeris.”
“Why?” Aeris asked, even though she knew the answer.
“Because… Because I love you.”
“Yes,” Aeris answered. “I thought that was it.” She smiled and kissed Cloud. A thrill that neither of them had ever felt passed through them.
“All right,” Cloud said. “I’ll use the Materia. After all, if the Planet needs you alive, then it’s important that somebody protect you. This will make it easier.”
“It told me to find you,” Aeris said. “It said that you would be willing to protect me. I daresay Tifa won’t be happy, though.” She giggled like a schoolgirl.
Cloud slapped his forehead. “Tifa! I told her that I was going to find her a pretty rock! What am I going to do? Now I’m just toying with her emotions, making her think that I love her. She’ll be crushed if I tell her that I love you!”
“We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it, Cloud. In the meantime, let’s just think about making the bond.”
“Right,” Cloud nodded, and touched the Materia. Breaking it off, he thought, Aeris. I will protect Aeris, no matter the cost.
Cloud felt an electrical charge of sorts, and could suddenly sense every move that Aeris made. He could hear her breathing, feel her pulse, sense himself dragged whenever she moved, as if an invisible wire between them suddenly was going taut. “I think it worked,” Cloud said.
“Yes,” Aeris said. “Do you feel anything besides me?”
“I feel like whenever you’re in danger, I’ll be stronger to protect you.”
“But doesn’t that happen anyway?” Aeris joked. They both chuckled and kissed again.
Cloud’s face was immediately serious again. “Yes, but more so now. I feel like when you’re in danger, I could slice the Planet itself in half.”
“Yes, but you wouldn’t want to try that,” Aeris giggled.
“Dying must have given you a new and improved sense of humor,” Cloud said with the hint of a smile.
“And saving the world must have given you one, too,” Aeris replied.
Cloud’s smile widened into a broad grin. “Yes,” he said.
“Do you think there will be a happily ever after for this one?” he went on.
“About that… This will take some explaining. Do you remember when Bugenhagen taught us about the cycle of the Lifestream? People are born, then live and die, then are reborn as new beings.” Cloud nodded. “The Planet has spoken to me about this. I was revived with the main goal of finding you, so you could protect me. We have been chosen to protect the Planet. And when we die, we will be reborn as the same people, with the same memories and goals and personality.” She paused. “Romantic, isn’t it?”
“Yes, it is,” Cloud said.
Tifa was, of course, heartbroken when Cloud left her. But he helped her move on, as she helped him in the Lifestream. She did and married, to everybody’s surprise, Reeve. They lived happy lives until their inevitable deaths.
Cloud and Aeris became legendary figures, and mothers the world over prayed that they would be their birth mothers. They protected eternal generations from the ravages of crime, monsters, and weather. But not only did their legacy of heroism last eternally, their love did as well. Cloud and Aeris were forever the symbol of an ideal couple.
Did they live happily ever after? That could be argued. For the most part, they were happy. Of course there were good times and bad times, so it wasn’t a perfect fairy tale. Happily ever after is pushing it, but they were a happy couple. Cloud and Aeris watched over the planet eternally, and the planet never died the death that most do thanks to them.
Anybody like it?