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 wouldn’t waken just yet. She had burrowed down beneath the blankets entirely; they didn’t realize she was there.

"I’ll put it away after I sever your smug head from your body. WHERE IS SHE?" Cloud Strife’s electric blue eyes burned. "If you’ve 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, what’s wrong? I thought I heard you talking." The girl in question sent her hands questing upward to go around his neck. She hadn’t 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 Cloud’s 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 she’d seen him.

She’d 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 everyone’s surprise, and turned away from her friend, burying her face against her lover’s 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, don’t kill me…," her shoulders shook. He glared up at the stunned young man.

"Strife, put that thing away NOW!" he barked, keeping the girl’s face turned toward him. "Stupid boy, now you’ve frightened her." His face was angry, but his arms gentle. He bent his head to speak softly to her. "It’s all right, love, he isn’t going to hurt you. It’s not like before. He didn’t know you were here."

Slowly she calmed, mesmerized by his soothing voice. He glanced back up at the others. "If you wouldn’t mind giving us a moment? Don’t look at me like that, Strife, I want to give her time to come to her senses. In case you hadn’t noticed, holding a sword above her head wasn’t the best way to wake her." Ignoring the boy’s indignant retort, he turned his attention back to the woman in his arms.

A pretty brunette put her hand on Cloud’s shoulder. "Come on, just do as he says. We’re all watching; if he tries anything, we’ll be ready, OK?"

"Fine, but so help me, if he so much as looks like he’s going to—hey!" He was cut off as the brunette and the man in red each took an arm and dragged him backward.

"He’s 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!! You’re okay!" She hugged the smaller girl tightly. Yuffie bounded up and joined in, the three girls laughing and crying at once.

"Ow, Tifa, yes, I’m 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. "It’s—oh, it’s 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.

"Aeris—I’m so sorry. I would never have hurt you," he began, but the words caught in his throat. He couldn’t look at her.

"It’s all right, Cloud." She laughed a little, a clear tinkling sound that relaxed everyone. "I’m saying that an awful lot today, aren’t 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 wouldn’t have acted like that if I’d 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 from—what? 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 can’t they just let go of their hatred for now? I don’t understand why they can’t 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 I’m just a woman infatuated with a handsome man, and they don’t want to hurt my feelings.

More warm comfort enveloped her, a few low notes from a flute.

Why can’t they realize that they’re hurting me more by fighting him?


She came back to herself. Turning around, she didn’t 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. "You’ve 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 couldn’t even keep track of you, et cetera, et cetera…So he would have come out himself, but he’s been, um, detained." He glanced at her again. "Are you all right?"

"No, Vincent, I’m 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 don’t get me wrong, I missed all of you terribly, but—,"

"But at least you didn’t 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. "It’s just getting worse, isn’t it?"

He nodded, watching her face carefully. Something had crept into the tone of her voice. "Aeris…you really are in love with him, aren’t you?"

She met his eyes. "Yes," she said softly, then her expression changed to one of worry. "Please, I really mean it! He’s—different now. There’s always been a bond of some kind between us; the Planet strengthened it. I—there are ways for us to keep him from Jenova’s control, and part of it involves our staying close to each other. I won’t 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 don’t like a lot of attention, and I wouldn’t 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 you’re 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 didn’t like the idea. Then, as if he heard her mental question, he looked back at her.

"So, are you coming, Little Sister?"

Chapter 10

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic