No Wish To Be Alone Chapter 9
By Chocobo Goddess
He was dreaming about her.
They sat beneath the willow tree by the stream, both laughing and kissing lightly. He held her in his lap, legs bent to support her. She touched his mouth with her fingertips, then touched them to her own lips, grinning. He tugged her into his embrace, and she turned to lean back against his chest. He nuzzled her ear, kissing her temple, then her neck. They both sighed and watched the stream run past, content to just sit there, quietly
"Sephiroth, you bastard, where is she?" One green eye opened at the touch of cold steel on his neck. Surrounding him on all sides were the assorted members of AVALANCHE. He narrowed his eyes at the blond man on the other end of the sword.
"Put your weapon away, Strife," he hissed, hoping the girl in his arms wouldnt waken just yet. She had burrowed down beneath the blankets entirely; they didnt realize she was there.
"Ill put it away after I sever your smug head from your body. WHERE IS SHE?" Cloud Strifes electric blue eyes burned. "If youve hurt her "
The General was losing patience rapidly. "Remove your sword first. Do it!" He tried to keep his voice down.
The boy scowled at him, but moved the massive flat blade into a ready position. He would take no chances with this man. "Now, where is she? You had her last."
He was about to reply when the blankets moved and a sleepy voice said plaintively, "Love, whats wrong? I thought I heard you talking." The girl in question sent her hands questing upward to go around his neck. She hadnt opened her eyes yet when she pulled his head down to hers for a sweet kiss.
AVALANCHE was, for once, entirely speechless, all eight faces slack-jawed. He chuckled.
"Love, we have company." She opened her eyes and looked at him questioningly, then focused on the dumbfounded people looking down at her. Still waking up, she met Clouds horrified stare. She saw the sword in his hands as he stood over her, and suddenly, her mind called up the memory of the last time shed seen him.
Shed actually seen her friend raise his sword against her. There had been the solid metallic clang when his sword descended. He was going to kill her, he had failed in the City, and here he was now, ready to strike...
She screamed, to everyones surprise, and turned away from her friend, burying her face against her lovers chest. He held her tightly as she struggled to get up and run away, as far away from the terrible weapon as possible.
"No, not again! Please, dont kill me ," her shoulders shook. He glared up at the stunned young man.
"Strife, put that thing away NOW!" he barked, keeping the girls face turned toward him. "Stupid boy, now youve frightened her." His face was angry, but his arms gentle. He bent his head to speak softly to her. "Its all right, love, he isnt going to hurt you. Its not like before. He didnt know you were here."
Slowly she calmed, mesmerized by his soothing voice. He glanced back up at the others. "If you wouldnt mind giving us a moment? Dont look at me like that, Strife, I want to give her time to come to her senses. In case you hadnt noticed, holding a sword above her head wasnt the best way to wake her." Ignoring the boys indignant retort, he turned his attention back to the woman in his arms.
A pretty brunette put her hand on Clouds shoulder. "Come on, just do as he says. Were all watching; if he tries anything, well be ready, OK?"
"Fine, but so help me, if he so much as looks like hes going tohey!" He was cut off as the brunette and the man in red each took an arm and dragged him backward.
"Hes not going to do anything to her with all of us here," the man said in a low voice. "Now leave them be for a minute."
The others followed, expressions ranging from disbelief to disgust as they looked over their shoulders at the man tenderly holding the girl in his arms, touching her face and murmuring calming things in her ear.
They sat in a circle around the fire, no one saying much of anything. The brunette started at a sound behind her and looked up to see a familiar tear-stained face. With a cry that startled the others, she leapt up and threw her arms around her friend.
"Aeris!! Youre okay!" She hugged the smaller girl tightly. Yuffie bounded up and joined in, the three girls laughing and crying at once.
"Ow, Tifa, yes, Im all right," she laughed, "But not so tight!" She smiled at the woman she considered to be her best friend, and then at the young ninja. "Itsoh, its so good to see both of you!"
"Hey, what the hell are we, chopped liver?" Cid teased, and she ran over to him, too, hugging him, Barrett, and Cait Sith each in turn. Nanaki purred and rubbed his head against her leg, closing his eyes in bliss when she scratched behind his ear. She kissed Vincent on the cheek when it was his turn, surprising him. Finally she turned to Cloud, and her laughter died. He was watching her with a strange expression, something between longing and hurt. She slowly walked over to him, placing a tentative hand on his arm. He looked at it, then covered it with his own.
"AerisIm so sorry. I would never have hurt you," he began, but the words caught in his throat. He couldnt look at her.
"Its all right, Cloud." She laughed a little, a clear tinkling sound that relaxed everyone. "Im saying that an awful lot today, arent I? I mean it. I realize that Jenova was making you do that. It was just a shock to see you standing over me with a sword this morning. I wouldnt have acted like that if Id been completely awake." She gazed around at her friends, the only people in the world she had besides her adoptive mother and the man she loved. "I am so glad you are all here. We have a lot to talk about."
"Maybe we should start with what do we do about him?" Tifa jerked her head in the direction of the silver-haired man. "What exactly is going on here?" She eyed him with distrust.
His eyes narrowed at the brunette as he moved to stand beside his love, one hand possessively on her waist. It seemed to him as though the others had suddenly ranged themselves in a protective half-circle around the girl. Protecting her fromwhat? Him? His hand tightened reflexively and she jumped, breaking the tension that had sprung up at his arrival. She looked up at him, reaching a hand up to touch his face.
"Please, love, it will be all right," she whispered. Sighing, he nodded, wishing he could just whisk her away from them again. This was going to be a very long day.
It took most of the day to explain what had happened to each group since the City of the Ancients. The afternoon came and went, and the meeting degenerated into anger and distrust, fueled by the rivalry of two men over one girl. After eating a dinner that she hardly tasted, she slipped away from the arguing voices and glaring eyes to sit by the stream, knees drawn up to her chest, arms clasped around them. Her eyes glistened with unshed tears.
Oh, gods and Planet both, this is going to be a very difficult task.
Thought would be easy? Sympathy and comfort, in lavender and grey. Thought would be simple?
Of course not, but why cant they just let go of their hatred for now? I dont understand why they cant try to work together.
Too much pain on both sides. They must forgive. Must do before he can forgive himself. You can help.
She closed her eyes, letting the tears fall. I can only do so much. They stopped listening to me a long time ago, my Friend. They think Im just a woman infatuated with a handsome man, and they dont want to hurt my feelings.
More warm comfort enveloped her, a few low notes from a flute.
Why cant they realize that theyre hurting me more by fighting him?
She came back to herself. Turning around, she didnt expect to see Vincent standing a few yards away. She wiped the tears from her face. "Oh, hello."
He motioned to the grass beside her. "May I?" At her nod, he sat, one leg stretched out before him, the other drawn up like hers. He looked over at her, head cocked to one side. "Youve been crying."
"Hmm. Not like I can hide it very well, right? Just feeling sorry for myself, I guess." She sighed and gazed out at the rushing water of the stream. "How are things going back there?"
"Not well. I actually came to make certain you were all right. Sephiroth noticed you were missing, and Cloud began tearing into him about how he couldnt even keep track of you, et cetera, et cetera So he would have come out himself, but hes been, um, detained." He glanced at her again. "Are you all right?"
"No, Vincent, Im not." She rested her forehead on her knees. "You know something? I was so happy just with him, the two of us, alone here. Please dont get me wrong, I missed all of you terribly, but,"
"But at least you didnt have to worry about the people you love trying to kill each other, right?"
She bit her lip to keep from crying again. "Something like that." Her head turned toward the camp, where the voices were rising in anger. "Its just getting worse, isnt it?"
He nodded, watching her face carefully. Something had crept into the tone of her voice. "Aeris you really are in love with him, arent you?"
She met his eyes. "Yes," she said softly, then her expression changed to one of worry. "Please, I really mean it! Hesdifferent now. Theres always been a bond of some kind between us; the Planet strengthened it. Ithere are ways for us to keep him from Jenovas control, and part of it involves our staying close to each other. I wont leave him alone now."
"Would you choose him over us if it came down to it?" He kept his tone even. "Truthfully. I promise to support your decision either way." You look like you need an unbiased friend, little girl, and I have reasons of my own to help Sephiroth.
"If forced to make a choice, then I would go with him in a heartbeat." There were a few shouts, then the voices died down again. She bowed her head once more. "I hope I never have to make that choice."
"Maybe we should go back."
"Yes." There was definitely steel underlaying the soft word. Vincent stood, offering his good hand to help her up as well. She straightened her dress and began walking to the camp. After a few steps, though, she stopped and turned to look at the dark-haired man. "Vincent, I know you dont like a lot of attention, and I wouldnt say this in front of the others. Thank you for watching over me. The others are kind of irresponsible, or hotheaded, or both, and I love them all dearly, but I am so glad youre here. My family died so long ago, and Elmyra has been wonderful. Sometimes, though, I wished I had a brother or a sister to talk to, who would tease me and look out for me."
The red eyes widened, then smiled. "Are you asking me to be your brother, Aeris?" Amusement coloured his words.
She smiled back at him. "Sure."
He shook his head and began walking again. She wondered if he didnt like the idea. Then, as if he heard her mental question, he looked back at her.
"So, are you coming, Little Sister?"
Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic