Eleven: A Lesson to Shakespeare


(Cloud and the others stand outside the Temple of the Ancients. Watching. The camera pans up to the top of the Temple, as a great black ball of energy consumes it, sparking. When it fades, there is nothing left of the Temple but a great pit. Cloud goes to the edge of it; there is a small black sparkle at the bottom.)


"That's the Black Materia..."


"I'll wait here."

(Cloud makes his way to the bottom of the pit, followed by Aeris. He goes over to the Black Materia.)


"As long as we have this, Sephiroth won't be able to use Meteor."

(Cloud picks up the Black Materia.)

"Mmm?  Can you guys use it?"


"Nope, we can't use it right now. You need great spiritual power to use it."


"You mean lots of Spiritual energy?"


"That's right.  One person's power alone won't do it.  Somewhere special. Where there's plenty of the Planet's energy..." She looks over at Cloud with an excited expression. "Oh yeah!  The Promised Land!"


"The Promised Land?  No, but..."


"Sephiroth is different. He's not an Ancient."


"He shouldn't be able to find the Promised Land."

(The screen flashes white. When it fades, Sephiroth stands at the edge of the pit.)


"...Ah, but I have." (He floats up, over the pit.) "I'm far superior to the Ancients.  I became a traveler of the Lifestream and gained the knowledge and wisdom of the Ancients.  I also gained the knowledge and wisdom of those after the extinction of the Ancients.  And soon, I will create the future."


"I won't let you do it! The future is not only yours!"

(Sephiroth floats higher.)


"Ha, ha, ha... I wonder?"  (The screen goes white.)  "Wake up!"

(The scene fades back in, to the bottom of the pit. Cloud clutches his head and falls to the ground.)


"Sh... shut up!"

(Sephiroth floats to the ground. He kneels down.)


"There, Cloud... good boy."


"The... Noise..." (We see Cloud's double standing straight as Cloud writhes on the ground below it. Eventually Cloud stands up and melds with the double.) "Wa...... aaaa....aaa...."

(Cloud begins to run, in slow motion, to Sephiroth. It takes almost half a minute for him to make the few feet to Sephiroth. Cloud's double just stands where Cloud once had. Cloud gives the Black Materia to Sephiroth. Sephiroth stands up and begins to laugh.)


".......Well done."

(The screen goes white as Sephiroth rockets skyward. The camera moves to above the pit. Cloud falls and clutches his head, trembling. Aeris goes over to him.)


"Cloud, are you all right?"


"...I gave the Black Materia to Sephiroth...?"  (He straightens for a brief moment, then falls at Aeris’ feet.)         "Wha... what did I do... tell me, Aeris."


(Aeris bends down to him) "Cloud... be strong, OK?"


(Cloud starts writhing on the ground.) "Urrrrrrgh... What have I done!?"


(Aeris kneels down by him.) "Cloud... you haven't done anything.  It's not your fault."

(Cloud stands up slowly... and punches Aeris. She falls backwards and Cloud falls onto her, landing blow after blow.)


"I...! I'm----!"


(Tifa is frantic by the edge of the pit) "Cloud--!!" (Cloud continues to beat Aeris.)


"Cloud, what are you doing!?"


(Cloud stops and falls to one side. The screen goes white.) "Everything is white...  What did I do? I don't remember anything...  My memory... since when...? If everything's a dream, don't wake me."

(The screen goes black.)


Mark laughed and looked over at Amy.  “You okay?  I think I got you with one of those smacks.”

Amy punched him in the arm with a mock frown.  “You nearly took my block off, you big goon.  Sheesh!”

Mark flinched away.  “Hey, hey.  Stop beating me up.  I just followed the script.”

Mark stood to his feet and then helped Amy to hers.  Vanessa came over to them with a smile.  Garret hung back, leaning his hands against the back of the Executive Producer chair.  Amy briefly caught his gaze as she stood with Mark’s help, intercepting Garret’s wink with a slight smile.

“Good job, people,” Max grudgingly admitted as he came over.  “Two more scenes, and then Harrison has to go to a meeting.”  Max motioned them to the forest set.  “Alright.  Now we shoot ‘Aeris’ Wood.’  Places people.”

“Did you want to come over for dinner this evening?” Amy asked Mark as they make their way to their set marks.  “I figured you and Vanessa and Mr. Harrison, and maybe Vincent--”

“Are you kidding?  The guy’s a mobster, Amy.  Why the hell would you want to invite him?”

Amy’s mouth dropped open.  “Vincent is an actor, Mark,” she scolded with fists on hips.  “So he used to be in not-so-glamorous circles.  At least he’s trying to put that behind him.  You could at least make it easier.”

“Yeah, say that when you find a--”

“Mark!” Max shouted.  “Cut the gab and get in character!”

Mark sent Max a dirty look and then did as he was told.  Amy stepped behind a tree and waited for her cue.


(The scene fades in... a calm green forest. Aeris pokes her head around one tree.)


"Cloud, can you hear me?"


(Cloud speaks, though he does not appear on screen.) "Yeah, I hear you. Sorry for what happened."

(Aeris comes out from behind the tree; we see her profile as she faces to the side.)


"Don't worry about it."


"...I can't help it..."


(She goes back behind the tree.) "Oh..." (She jumps out from behind another tree on the opposite side of the forest, not visibly walking the distance between them.) Then, why don't you REALLY worry about it?" (She runs forward and wipes one eye.) “And let me handle Sephiroth." (She starts giggling, turns pure white, and disappears. She comes out from behind yet another tree.) "And Cloud, you take care of yourself." (She walks back behind the tree, off-handedly leaning back so that we just see her head.) So you don't have a breakdown, okay?" (She goes behind the tree. She drops down from the sky, slowly, puppet-like, landing very softly on the ground. Cloud also floats down, closer to the camera. He looks around.)


"What is this place?"


(Aeris puts her hands behind her back and looks skyward.) “This forest leads to the City of the Ancients... and is called Sleeping Forest." (She looks at Cloud.) "It's only a matter of time before Sephiroth uses Meteor.  That's why I'm going to protect it. Only a survivor of the Cetra, like me, can do it." (She turns and walks a distance into the forest. She turns back to face Cloud.) “The secret is just up here."  (She shakes her head.)  "At least it should be. ...I feel it. It feels like I'm being led by something." (She cocks her head to one side and waves, cutely, femininely, childishly, to Cloud.) "Then, I'll be going now. I'll come back when it's all over."



(She turns and runs off into the forest, getting smaller and smaller, until she disappears into the bright green sunlight. Cloud starts to run after her, slowly, but does not go anywhere, just as in a dream. Eventually he stops, and Sephiroth speaks, from somewhere.)


"Hmm........ She's thinking of interfering? She will be a difficult one, don't you think?" (Sephiroth floats down from above, just as Cloud did. He lands, kneeling, where Aeris stood moments before.) "We must stop that girl soon."

(The screen flashes white, then goes completely dark.)


Amy stepped out from behind the back matt painting of the ‘Sleeping Forest’ and came to stand by Garret and Mark.  She slightly touched Garret’s elbow with her arm as she spoke to Mark.  “That was fun.”

Mark smirked.  “What part?  The floating?  Or the fact you got all the lines?”

Amy smiled.  “Not telling.”  Then she frowned.  “And besides, I’m only in one more scene, and I don’t even get to talk in that one.  I just have to look all ethereal and holy.”  She jabbed a finger in Mark’s chest.  “So don’t complain about me getting all the lines.  You have the whole rest of the movie.”

“Now, now, children,” Garret said with a slight smile.  “Let us play nice.”  Garret looked over at Max, noticed he was flipping through the script, and deftly caressed Amy’s back with a hand.  “Well done, Miss Burke.  If you continue such as you are, you will find yourself the newest addition to the male pin-up collection.”

Mark laughed.  Vanessa shook her head as she sipped her water.  Amy chuckled, sending Garret a eye-crinkling smile.  “Only one pin-up allowed,” she said softly.

Garret raised an eyebrow.  Mark stopped laughing, and his jaw dropped.  Vanessa shook her head again, smiling.

There was a clap.  “Alright, people.  Hardest scene of the day.  Let’s get to it.”

Garret’s fingers lingered on Amy’s back a moment more before he turned to make his way to his position on a cat-walk above the ‘Forgotten City’.  Amy and Mark and Vanessa all made their way to their respective positions on the ‘Forgotten City’ set; Amy on a circular platform while Mark and Vanessa would be on a platform several steps away.  Amy took up her kneeling position, adjusted her dress around her, and then motioned to Max that she was ready.  So did the others.

“Quiet on set!  And… Action!”


"Aeris' voice...... Coming from here?"

(He reaches a huge, elegant, crystalline city, suspended in space. Continuing on, he finds a small shrine. Aeris is kneeling inside it.) "Aeris?"

(There are five columns forming a path to the shrine, no wider than Cloud. Below them is a pool of pure, blue water. Cloud leaps onto the first column. The others move as if to follow, but Cloud waves them away. He leaps across the other columns and reaches the shrine. He steps onto the stairs leading up to the glass platform where Aeris kneels. The screen goes red for a moment. Cloud shakes his head and reaches for his sword... then shakes his head again and continues. He stands before Aeris. She does not move. He faces away and draws his sword. She still does not move. He turns to face her. He lifts his sword above his head. She still does not move. Cloud brings down his sword.)


"Cloud! Stop!"


(Cloud shakes his head and steps back.) "Ugh... what are you making me do?"

(Aeris continues to pray in the small shrine. She looks up for the first time and sees Cloud. She smiles. Beautifully. The camera pans up. Falling from the bright white light from above comes a black figure. It falls faster and faster. We see that it is Sephiroth supposedly holding a sword. Faster he falls, straight for Aeris.  His ‘sword’ pierces Aeris' body. Sephiroth, his sword through Aeris' body, just stares at Cloud. His eyes glitter, cat-like, a sly smile on his lips. With a great noise of grating metal, he makes the motion of pulling his sword from her body. Aeris falls forward, her eyes wide open in shock... but the smile does not leave her face. Then her eyes close. As she falls, her hair ribbon comes undone and a small materia, glowing a pale green, falls from it. It bounces once, emitting a small, pure sound against the glass floor. It bounces again, and again, until it falls off the platform into the clear water below.)

“Cut!”  Max stood, clapping as he stepped forward.  “Great job, people!  That’s a wrap!”

Mark handed the plastic sword to the prop person as he sent Max an inquisitive look.  “Hey, Shepherd.  Any idea what the pop was as Garret came down.”  Mark looked to Garret as he came to kneel beside Amy.  “You heard it?  Right?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact,” Garret said.  He placed a hand on Amy’s back.  “Well done, Miss--”  He lifted his hand and stared at the deep red.  “Oh my god.”  He looked up at Max.  “Call 9-1-1!”  Garret turned Amy over onto her back, cradling her in his arms.  Her eyes opened and she took a gasp of air, eyes wide as they focused on Garret’s.  “Be still, Amy.  Be still.”

Max and Mark both frantically keyed 9-1-1 on their cell phones, rushing toward the exit to wave them in.

Amy swallowed hard and gripped one of Garret’s arms as it held her.  “D-Did you get the sh-shot?”

Garret grabbed the towels from Vanessa’s outstretched hand and pressed them against the growing stain of blood in her abdomen area.  Vanessa knelt beside Amy, taking her hand in hers.  “Shh.  Don’t speak, Amy.  Just be still.  The ambulance will be here shortly.”

Amy slightly nodded, gasping with pain as she squeezed her eyes shut tight.

The ambulance was there shortly.  Less than two minutes, thanks to the fact the studio had already arranged for one to be on call in case anything happened.  They loaded her up onto the gurney, keeping the towels pressed tightly against the wound as they heaved her up into the back of the ambulance.  Garret was reluctantly allowed to ride with her on the way to the hospital.  So he sat at her side, holding her hand as the EMT set about informing the hospital of what to expect on their arrival.

Amy tried to speak, but both the EMT and Garret shushed her.  She didn’t try again.  She only tightly clasped Garret’s hand as he watched her paling complexion with growing dread.

Once they arrived at the hospital, Garret had to wait in the waiting room while Amy was rushed to the ER.

All Garret could do was stare at the swinging double doors in stupefied silence.  The blood.  That’s all he could see.  Her blood.  Garret looked down at his hands… and his clothes… her blood.  Her life.  Garret swallowed hard, backing up a step as he continued to stare at his bloody hands.


Garret looked sharply over at the nurse.

“Sir, if you’d like to get washed up,” she motioned to the far hall, “you can do that on the bathroom down that hall on the left.”

Garret moved toward them without a word.

Garret scrubbed and washed and dried and scrubbed again, but all he could see and feel on his hands was the vision of her blood.  Finally, hands rough, raw, and peeling, he stepped from the bathroom to make his way to the waiting room.  Mark and Vanessa were there, and they stood at his arrival.

“Well?” Mark asked.  “Anything?”

Garret shook his head, jaw clenched tight.

“Damn.”  Mark sat.  “Max’s at the studio,” he said as he ran a hand through his spiked blonde hair.  “Trying to find out what the hell happened.”

Garret gave an absent nod before turning to stare again at the double doors leading to the ER.


"How is she?"

Garret looked back from where he stared out the window onto the hospital parking lot.  "She is still in surgery," he said evenly.

Max grumbled under his breath as he came further in to the waiting room.  Vanessa was napping fitfully against Mark, who had an arm around her shoulders.  Mark stared ahead of him with a blank expression.  Garret changed his gaze back to an examination of the cars coming and going.

Max came to stand beside him.  "It wasn't your fault, Garret, just so you know.  We found a missing rivet in one of the girders that supported your descent.  The metal snapped.  Somehow it missed the inspection."  Max raised his eyes to Garret's profile.  "I'll have someone's ass for that screw up."

Garret absently nodded.



Garret looked over at Mark, who motioned up to the entry of their private waiting room.  The doctor entered.  Garret stood and stepped forward.  “Doctor?”

Mark and Vanessa came to stand behind Garret as they waited for the answer.

The doctor’s expression was serious as he slightly shook his head.   Vanessa turned into Mark’s comforting embrace with a gasp and a cry.  Mark’s complexion went yellow.  The doctor looked to Garret, whose stricken expression paled.  “Are you Garret?”  Garret wordlessly nodded.  “She’s asking for you.  This way.”

The doctor motioned for Garret to pass.  He did, and then he wordlessly and thoughtlessly followed the doctor’s slow steps toward the recovery room.  The doctor held the door open for him, closing it after Garret passed through.  Garret halted in the middle of the room when his eyes focused on Amy’s form in the hospital bed.  Pale.  Unmoving.  Pained expression… and then she opened her eyes and smiled.

Garret’s eyes burned and his throat nearly wouldn’t let him breathe as he moved toward her bed.  He slowly sat in the nearby chair and reached out to take her hand in his.  His eyes couldn't lift from her hand to her face.  “Amy…”

Amy’s eyes crinkled at the corners as she tightened her hold on his hand.  “Garret Harrison,” she whispered, "you're speechless."

Garret brought her hand to his lips.  "I am afraid to speak lest that breath deplete from your own," he said softly.  Garret couldn't meet her gaze.  "Do not make me face this world without you, sweet muse."

Amy's smile faded as her eyes glimmered.  “Poet mine, you shall always have my presence within you," she said in a tight whisper.  "Do you not know I have bestowed it upon your very heart and spirit?”

Garret pressed her hand against his lips again, and then his cheek, and then his forehead.  He closed his eyes.  "Yet I have given you that which I have always hidden within.  My very self."  He slightly shook his head.  "Should you leave...  I would not survive the parting."  And his voice choked on the last word.

Amy watched his face as her tears escaped.  Her lips tipped downward.  "Sweet poet," she whispered, "my world will be gray until once again your voice is present to color my sky..."  Amy's voice cracked, and she sniffed.

Garret shook his head again, opening his eyes to meet her tear-filled gaze.  "No..."

Amy's thumb lightly caressed his cheek where he held her hand against his face.  "Remember me, poet mine, that the delicate petals of my soul might again embrace you to the heart you hold within the palm of your gentleness."

Garret leaned forward, holding her hand tight against his chest as he pressed his lips against hers, and her cheeks, and her forehead.  "Amy... please do not leave me."

Amy took in a slow breath and released it.  "Garret," she said in a broken voice, "please don't ever regret our time together."

Garret lifted his head to meet her tear-filled gaze.  "How can I regret that which gave me life, Amy?" he asked, tears glistening.

Amy's smile faded between one of pain and happiness.  Then a tear escaped Garret's tenacious hold and dripped down his face to drop onto her hand.  Amy flinched.  "I never wanted to hurt you, Garret.  If I knew this was going to happen..."  Amy blinked the tears from her eyes so she could him.  "Garret, I-I'm sorry."

Garret shook his head.  "Do not be sorry, sweet muse," he whispered.  "Just live.  Live and be my muse forever and always."  He pressed his lips against her hand.  "Live and marry me, sweet."

Amy choked out a laugh as she raised her other hand to cover her face.  She gripped his hand and whispered.  "I will marry you, Garret.  I will..."  She lowered her hand from her face and gazed up into his face.  "But I fear I die, forever separating me from your intensity..."

Garret caressed her face, Amy smiling sadly up at him as he did his best to comfort her.  Words were no longer enough.  Then Garret felt a gentle hand on his shoulder.  He looked to his left.  The doctor stood there.

"She needs her rest," he said quietly.

Garret slightly nodded as he deftly wiped the tears from his cheeks with his free hand.  Then he turned back to Amy with a slight smile.  He pressed a gentle kiss against her forehead.  "I shall return, sweet muse," he whispered against her soft skin.

Amy took in a broken breath.  "Please... sweet sweet poet, tarry not in the presence of damsels and dragons."

Garret's throat tightened.  "Surely I cannot tarry when my soul and heart are held captive within your song and warmth."  He pulled slightly back, kissing her hand as he held her gaze.  "Sleep now.  Replenish that warmth and song I adore."

Amy slightly nodded, a choked sob escaping.  "I beg of thee, sweet poet, bid me 'until our dreams', for I shall surely seek you there," she whispered.

Garret tucked her hand under the blankets.  "Until our dreams, dearest and most tender muse.  Until our dreams."


Chapter 12

Final Fantasy 6 Fanfic