Darkness Falls Chapter 14
Kaede simply stared at Aeris. He was transfixed, unable to move.
Cloud felt a lump in his throat, his insides empty. Tifa felt as if she had been kicked in the stomach.
What in Gods name have you done to her? demanded Kaede.
Why, my dear Planeswalker, sneered Xizor, you, of all people, should be aware of the nuances of hypnotic suggestion.
Kaede could see it now, the glassy eyes, her robotic stature, she was under mind control. The accursed Sleeper had probably sent her down into a spiral of painful emotions, feeding the rage within her. Aeris had not been ready to resist such a force, and been drowned in that sea of despair. Now she looked ready to kill him.
Aeris! pleaded Kaede, snap out of it!
Too late Kaede, said Xizor, she is mine!
Kaede drew energy into his hands, preparing to fire at the monster known as Xizor.
You had better not do that, replied the evil being, if you kill me now, while I control the Cetra, you will kill her as well.
But only while you control her, reminded Kaede.
Xizor laughed again, content in the knowledge that he now had them where he wanted them, with the Cetra under Drahk control.
And after she kills you, she will kill the others as well...
Dammit! raged Cid, What are we going to do?!
Let me handle this! said Kaede.
And what the hell are you going to do!? snapped Barret, kill Aeris?!
That, said Xizor, is the only way you can survive. And if anyone interferes, she dies instantly.
Kaede drew his sword, preparing for battle with Aeris.
Cloud saw the look in Kaedes face. It was determined, as if he was ready to-
Dont you dare do it, said Cloud, dont you dare kill her.
Cloud, replied Kaede, trust me.
Tifa began to feel shivers crawl up her spine, You cant kill her! You have no idea how much you mean- she choked, unable to continue, you cant do it!
If you kill her, said Rude, you will be nothing but an empty machine...
Youll be no better than they are, continued Red.
I KNOW, GODAMMIT! I KNOW! shouted Kaede, IM JUST ASKING YOU TO TRUST ME!
The others flinched involuntarily. Never had they seen him lose his composure like this, especially not at them.
Xizor laughed as he studied their emotions, Come now Kaede, whats a little sacrifice for the good of the whole? After all, its not like she hasnt done it before...
Kaede stared daggers at the Sleeper, Know this worm, your reckoning is coming... soon.
Xizor sneered, The only way to win...is if you kill her Kaede. Otherwise, shes still mine. And when she dies, you will fall as well...
It finally hit Kaede. This was about more than just Aeris. If she killed him, they could use Aeris to do whatever it was they intended to do. And if he killed her, he would lose himself to the darkness, lose himself to his dark side. It was the perfect trap, even in victory, Kaede would still fail, it was the Drahks favorite ploy. However, Kaede knew an alternative. He had vowed he would never let anything like this happen again. He had found a way around the Drahk spell, a spell that no one save himself had ever been able to break. But the price...
Kaede steeled himself, knowing what he must do. He brought his sword back to ready position, preparing to fight Aeris. Aeris ran to meet Kaede, her staff swinging to attack the warrior.
Xizor kept his forces back, savoring the battle he saw before him. The other humans might try to enter the battle, but they would have to get through him to do that; and the weaklings seemed too shocked to do anything but stare.
They are like insects in my hands. And soon, they will be crushed...
Kaede and Aeris fought like raging demons. Every attack was parried and countered. Kaede shot Aeris in the stomach with a lighting bolt, flinging her back several feet. He ran to follow up on his attack, but was hit in the face with Aeriss staff. He stepped back several feet, spitting blood. Aeris used the staff as a pole-vault, flying through the air before ramming her feet into Kaedes stomach.
Why did I have to teach her so well? he thought sardonically.
Kaede reeled in pain, but continued to fight. Aeris brought her staff down in an overhead strike, but Kaede jumped away. Charging his sword, Kaede unleashed a wave of energy towards Aeris. She managed to block it with her staff, but was still thrown back by the force of the impact.
Every scar on her innocent body was like a stab to his heart, but Kaede continued to fight, it was his only choice. Aeris began to lose a little of the glassy look, her senses sharpening as she felt pain.
Good thought Kaede, Now for step two.
Kaede ran forward, dodging a kick that Aeris threw at him. He reached out his hand, touching his palm to her forehead. Bracing himself, he forced a mind link with her, reaching out with all his being, hoping she would hear him through all the haze and mind control...
Somewhere from out of the depths of the whirling emotions, Aeris could hear his voice. She had been drowning in an abyss of despair, living her most painful moments, deprived of any hope. In her sea of pain and agony, Aeris could barely think, but she heard Kaede, calling out to her, and she reached past the darkness, hoping he would be there to pull her out...
Kaede felt white hot pain shoot through him as a powerful Flare spell hit him full in the chest. He flew through the air like a rag doll, landing hard onto the ground. Kaede heard Xizor laugh, but his plan had worked. He had managed to contact Aeris, deep down beneath the painful storms that held her mind captive.
Kaede brought his sword up again, blocking Aeris attacks. She kicked him hard in the stomach, staggering him. He managed to grab her and throw her back. Kaede rushed after her, slicing with his sword. Aeris got up and blocked the attack. Kaede swept her feet from under her, sending Aeris to land to the earth with a bone jarring thud.
Aeris simply rolled away. She raised herself to her feet again, then ran towards Kaede, whirling her staff above her.
Here comes the tricky part. thought Kaede.
Kaede blocked the attack, and glared at Aeris through their crossed weapons. He spoke out to her.
Aeris! I know you can hear me. Please, try and stop yourself! Come on!
Aeris punched at Kaede, but he grabbed her hands as he shouted out her name.
Xizor laughed as Kaede continued to plead with Aeris.
Dammit Aeris! voiced Kaede, dont make me do this! Dont you understand how much I care for you?
The words hit Aeris like a speeding bullet. Even from her stupor, she could hear that desperate, pleading voice. She could feel his warmth, his caring. And that warmth alone allowed her to regain some control.
A tear rolled down Aeriss face, and she jabbed Kaede in the stomach with her staff. She was about to step forward, but faltered. Her head felt as if it would explode from the pain. Aeris was fighting the control Xizor had over her, but it was so hard...
What is this? raged Xizor, You dare to disobey my commands?
He raised his hand towards her, Finish him you bitch! Finish him now!
Aeris tried to fight it all she could, but she couldnt stop herself. She stood above the prostrate form of Kaede, who made no motion to get up. He merely looked at Aeris with sad eyes.
More tears streamed down her face, and Aeris screamed as she felt Ultima being cast. Xizor was forcing her to use one of her most powerful spells.
Kaede simply looked at Aeris as she screamed, hoping his plan would work. He felt the Ultima spell being summoned. In his condition, the spell would be lethal. He didnt care, he only cared about the girl that stood before him...
Aeris... he whispered.
Aeris cast the spell, but turned her hand towards her stomach. Kaedes eyes widened as Aeris cast Ultima on herself. Energies seethed through the air, and a powerful explosion wracked both their bodies with pain. Aeris flew through the air, the torrents of the spell taking their toll. Kaede tried to stand, but he was hammered by waves of pain. At such close proximity, both of them had been hit by the spell. But Aeris...
When the dust settled, Kaede looked at the still form of Aeris, lying a few feet away. He staggered over to her as she raised herself to her knees. Kaede looked into her eyes, tears still streaming down her cheeks. Aeris grimaced in pain, blood coursing from her mouth, but managed to speak.
Kaede tried to speak, but coughed up blood when he tried. He simply nodded to her.
Xizor was fuming, dammit you harlot! Kill him now! Do it!
Aeris winced in pain, as she tried to fight his mind control.
Kaede, she breathed, kill me.
Kaede shook his head violently, No...
Do it Kaede, she pleaded, I cant hold off his control forever...if you dont kill me now, all is lost.
Kaede shut his eyes in pain.
Please Kaede...if you care about me at all, do it, now...
Tears streamed down Kaedes face as he raised his sword.
Cloud finally found his voice as he saw this, No! Damn you Kaede! DONT YOU DARE KILL HER!!!!
Avalanche tried to run to Aeris and Kaede, but Xizor cast a spell, causing winds to blow them back. They tried to run against the wind, but found themselves lodged in place.
DAMMIT MAN! shouted Barret, DONT DO IT!!!
Kaede! yelled Cloud.
Aeris! screamed Tifa.
Kaede simply stared into Aeriss eyes, enjoying the serene beauty for one last time. He raised his sword higher, preparing to strike.
Cloud broke into a mad dash, running forward despite the winds, You cold-hearted bastard! Ill kill you Kaede! Dont you even think about it!!!
Its time, thought Kaede, to finish this.
Im so sorry Aeris, said Kaede, please forgive me.
Aeris closed her eyes, as Kaede prepared to strike.
Kaede thrust his sword through the air, closing his eyes...and screamed in pain as he stabbed himself...
NOOOOOO!!! yelled Xizor, What have you done?!!!
Aeris opened her eyes, and saw a sword through Kaedes chest. His screams rattled and echoed within the valley, as if tearing through the very fabric of the air. She felt her heart stop as the realization hit...
Kaede had stabbed himself through the heart...
Cloud stopped running, overcome with confusion and uncertainty, what the hell was Kaede doing?
Aeris watched in horror as Kaede twisted the blade in his chest. Wrenching the blade free, Kaede screamed his pain again as the sword finally came out. Blood flew from his gaping wound, falling onto Aeris face, spilling all over her clothes, but she only looked at Kaedes anguished face.
I found another way Aeris..., he thought, only my blood could break the spell, only the purity of love can set you free...
Dark blue smoke swirled around them as it rose into the air, and the shrieks of a thousand voices screamed into the heavens. Then it was gone, the spell was broken.
Kaede dropped his sword, and fell forward, into Aeris grasp. Aeris cradled the fallen Kaede in her arms. She turned him, desperate to look into his eyes again.
His eyes were open, and he grunted harshly in pain.
Kaede...what have you done? whispered Aeris, letting the tears come.
Im...sorry Aeris, breathed Kaede, but it was...the only...way.
Why Kaede, Aeriss tears fell onto Kaede face, why?
Kaede managed to raise his hand to wipe away her tears. Aeris wrapped her hand around his, holding it close to her cheek. Kaede smiled at her, and Aeris lost her voice, unable to speak.
It was the only way Aeris, said Kaede, because...I...love you...
The realization hit Aeris like a train. All this time, he had protected her, watched over her, and spilled his blood...because he loved her. And she realized...that she loved him as well, ever since she had woken, that fateful day, in his arms. Ever since she had looked into those beautiful eyes, she had been captivated. And now he was dying, because of her...
Aeris hugged Kaede close to her heart.
Please no...Kaede, dont leave me...not now, cried Aeris.
The blood had soaked itself into Aeriss clothing, but she didnt care, she didnt care if the world ended tomorrow, she only cared about Kaede. And now, now that she had finally found out the truth...
Im so sorry. But at least, Kaedes voice began to grow weak, ...at least I got to give you...a second chance.
Kaede whispered the words to that song he had sung, not so long ago.
I am lost, yet I have won,
...For you remain, to carry on...
Aeris cried as she brought her face close to his. Their lips brushed as she felt his breath grow ragged.
Kaede had finally found peace. The calm and quiet that he had never found in life, he had found now, now that he was dying. It was ironic, but Kaede still thanked the fates, for having finally given his a taste of that bliss, for the first time after a lifetime of searching. He felt at peace, melting into the passionate kiss. He gave to Aeris all his emotions, his very being, and all he could think was, I am so...happy...
Aeris, please forgive me, Kaede managed to breath.
Aeris looked back through the tears, for what?
He stared into those beautiful eyes, one more time, for everything...
Then all was silent...as the two lovers shared one last kiss.
Aeris continued to cry. She cried as she felt Kaede slipping away. When his hand finally fell from her cheek, and his breathing stopped, Aeris knew he was gone. He had died, still in her arms, still kissing her.
Aeris cried in pain, and let the flood of emotions overtake her...
Authors Note: Just when you thought it couldnt get any worse...it does! Wow, this was a really fast chapter for me. I think Im really beginning to push this PG-13 rating, but I dont think future chapters will be any more, graphic than this one was. That doesnt mean they wont be...intense though. Oh, and true to the classic Final Fantasy format, yes I did name Xizor after a character in Star Wars, dont you just hate him? Anyway, hope you like it, and keep the feedback coming! What do you think about this chapter in particular?
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