Darkness Falls Chapter 44

By Gemini83

Everywhere, the Planetary forces cried out in joy, for the Drahk forces were no more. Already, their minds were beginning to forget the taste of immortality they had experienced, their minds not prepared to deal with such a powerful concept. Only a select few, those with the strongest minds, would remember what really happened. Everyone else would attribute the victory to the “miracle weapon” of the Ancient. But for those who knew the truth, they would never forget.

Such as the elders among the Cian, Seto and his mate. Such as Lord Godo of Wutai, and his generals. Such as Elmyra, Shera...such as Avalanche and the Turks...

The Guardians of the Planet gathered around the dais, slowly drawing close to Aeris and the man she was rocking in her arms, Kaede.

Cloud looked down at the Planeswalker’s broken body, and tried not to shiver. Yuffie buried herself in Vincent’s arms, as did Shera in Cid’s. Barret looked away, and Red’s eyes were downcast.

Kaede, the savior of the Planet, had given all he had to its protection. And after they had destroyed the Drahk, after they had saved the world, they still couldn’t save him...

...For Kaede Knight, Planeswalker, warrior, lover, and friend...was dying...

And this time, the Planet had nothing left to give for his revival...the Lifestream had been drained nearly dry, and it would be years yet before it could be replenished. Life would flourish, already Aeris could feel the sprouts of new beings coming into the world. But there was nothing left to save Kaede. Even the lake in the City of the Ancients could not help him now...

Kaede coughed out blood, and pulled a face as his senses came back to him.

“Aeris...I’m tired...and cold...so cold...,” he croaked.

Aeris closed her eyes, as tears streamed down her face, and hugged him all the more tightly.

“Just hold on Kaede,” she struggled to say, “you’ll be alright.”

Kaede smiled up at her face, “I wanted to do so many things...I promised you I’d take you to see the stars...”

“You will Kaede,” cried Aeris.

“No...I won’t...I can feel my life...draining away...”

“Don’t say that!” pleaded the Cetra.

Kaede shook his head, “not...anybody’s fault Aeris...I have no regrets...after all...I met you...”

Aeris shut her eyes again, as she struggled not to scream. She was a healer...she had come back from the dead...saved countless lives. She had even brought back her love once...now she was useless. There was nothing left for her to save him with. Kaede would die...in her arms...in the arms of a healer...

“Don’t blame yourself...Aeris,” smiled Kaede, “we did...what we had to do...”


“Aeris,” heaved the Planeswalker, “Aeris, where are you...?”

She gripped his hand tighter, bringing his close “I’m right here Kaede.”

He looked up at her, tears streaming down his face. In the blink of an eye, he saw the life he had wanted to make with her...he saw all the happiness, peace, and joy he had hoped to share with her...and in the next, he saw it all fade away.

“Aeris...I never got to...I’ll never...”

“Hush Kaede...no words are needed between us.”

She silenced his doubts with a kiss. She had finally found life again, found love again...and now it was being taken away...again. Her insides screamed as she felt herself tearing apart inside.

She felt him fading away in her mind, his hopes and reams crumbling as he fell away. He died in her arms without another word...

Kaede had been a brave soul, fighting for those he loved. He had made the ultimate sacrifice...

...As had Tifa. She felt her head grow dizzy, and knew what was happening.

Tifa let out a strangled scream, and cried out, “Cloud...”

The leader of Avalanche turned to his wife, and caught her as she fell down.

“Tifa, Tifa are you alright? Answer me Tifa!” shouted Cloud.

Tifa rolled onto her back, cradling her stomach in her arms. Red forced his way to her.

“Cloud,” he said, “open her arms, let us see the wound.”

Cloud nodded shakily, slowly prying Tifa’s hands away from her stomach.

He looked down, and sharply breathed in.

“Dear God...” said Barret.

Tifa had a gaping hole in her stomach, where the Emperor’s claws had cut her. Before, the blood soaked into her clothing had hid the fact, but she was still bleeding.

...Cloud could see through the rent in her skin...he could see bone and...

“Planet save us...” whispered Cloud.

She looked into his eyes, one gesture telling more than words could ever have.

Cloud let the tears fall onto her face, as Tifa’s breathing grew harsh. He raised her lips to his, and drowned himself in one last, sweet kiss...

...Then her hand lost its grip, and her body fell limp in his arms...

Cloud raised his tear-ridden face to the sky, and let out a scream of pure agony.


Weeks later...

It was raining in buckets, along the shores of Costa del Sol. Bullets of water pattered on the grass fields, as if in grief for the events they bore witness to...the funeral of Kaede Knight and Tifa Lockheart Strife.

The gathering wasn’t particularly huge. The friends and family of the two had insisted it be conducted privately. People could understand that...

...That didn’t keep the event from being broadcast. The world was in mourning for all its heroes, and the death of two of its greatest warriors added to the pain. The wake of Tifa and Kaede was the wake of every living being that had died in the Drahk attack.

The funeral was short and simple. There were no dramatics, no long speeches, simply teary-eyed friends and family saying goodbye to their loved ones, two brave, selfless souls. The officials said a few words, encouraged others to take heart in the miracle of their own lives, especially after so great a threat. Then it was over, a few pleasantries, tearful hugs and kisses...time to go on. Forget the past, move on to the present, and continue their lives.

...Or what was left of them...

Aeris walked up to the summit of the hill, coming to a halt beside Kaede’s grave.

“I hope you’ll like it here Kaede,” she said, “peace...quiet...just like it was when we first kissed.”

Aeris heaved a heavy sigh, “I think you’d be happy to see what’s happened in the past few weeks. The world’s starting to rebuild. Believe it or not, this whole thing helped to end years of tension.”

Aeris laughed slightly, then spoke again, “you got what you wanted Kaede...the world accepted you as their hero. They’ll remember your image, not you, but that’s true of most of us. We forgave you Kaede...and I’m glad you were able to forgive yourself...I’m glad I was able to touch your heart before you...”

Aeris a quivering hand to her face, shuddering as her tears overcame her, “oh God...I miss you Kaede...I miss you so much...”

She felt a comforting hand on her shoulder.

“It’s alright,” said Cloud.

Vincent was with him, the others had gone inside Villa Cloud.

Cloud looked at her, tears in his eyes, “Aeris...I miss her so much...”

Aeris turned to him, not saying a word.

Cloud smiled slightly, “Tifa always said she’d hunt me down if I left her, but now...what will I do now? Dear Planet...how am I going to...”

Cloud closed his eyes, arms hanging limp at his sides.

Aeris held his hand, looking down, “Cloud...you’ve been through it before...does the pain ever stop?”

He shook his head, “never, but it does grow bearable in time, doesn’t it Vincent?”

The ex-Turk nodded, “you’ll never stop missing them...there will always be an emptiness left behind...but it will get better. You must remember what they fought to bring you, you must remember how their lives were filled with joy.”

Vincent pointed to the horizon, as the sun peaked through the storm clouds in the distance, “look...a new dawn arises.”

Cloud and Aeris turned to see the view, and understood. This was the legacy of Kaede and Tifa. They had strived for it, sacrificed for it, so that the others might enjoy the sun of another day.

And although the pain ate at them, they had hope. The world was growing all the time, life would go on, as it had for centuries.

...And so would they...to pursue new dreams, as dawn brought new hopes...

...As was fitting, for the Saviors of the Planet...

Author’s Note: AARRGGHH! I almost hate myself for writing that last chapter, but I did it on a dare. Someone thought I couldn’t bring myself to write an ending like that. Well, the other ending is next. If you want to review this chapter though, I suggest you do it before you read the next one. Anyway, next chapter is coming soon, it’s just one more, and the last one too, so please read. Thanks.


Chapter 45

Final Fantasy 7 Fanfic