Aerith, Dreaming of Forever Part 2

A Dream More Real Than Reality

By Aerith's Man

    She reached out to him.  Not physically.  Spiritually.  Spiritually reached out to Cloud, took his hand in hers.  Looked in his eyes.
    She knew she was dreaming.  Aerith had always had an uncanny ability to sense reality, to seize her dream, and, should it become a nightmare, will herself to wake up and escape whatever fright awaited her.
    But this was a special dream.  Because, just as surely as she knew she was dreaming, she also knew that she was reaching Cloud, touching his mind, because she could feel it.  She could feel his worry.  It seemed strange, this honest, open care for someone coming from Cloud, but she knew it was because he was dreaming also.  He couldn't wear his emotional mask when he was in his subconscious mind.
     "Aerith?  Aerith!" cried Cloud, from far away, it sounded, although she knew she was right there beside him.
     "It's alright, Cloud," she said softly.  "Don't worry about me.  I'll be fine."
    "Where are you?  We've been looking all around—you just vanished—"
     "I'm in the Sleeping Forest, north of the town of Fossil.  I'm going to the City of the Ancients.  I have to do something there.  Something important, but I don't know what."
    Cloud digested this information with relief, but then asked: "Why did you run away?"
    "I have to do it alone.  I knew if I told you, you would want to come with me."
    "But—it's dangerous!  You might need backup."
    Backup.  Even in his subconscious, Cloud still retained his military attitude.  Aerith could tell from his voice that he really meant, You might need friends behind you in case you get hurt.  Because I don't want you to get hurt.
    "...I'll be fine.  You don't really have to worry."
    "It's just that....I have this horrible feeling...."
    "Just forget about me for the moment.  I'll be fine," she said again.
    Cloud grasped her hand tighter, still with a pleading look on his face, and she knew that no amount of explanation would stop him from caring.  And, she realized, that was a good thing.  Cloud the Uncaring had emotions after all, veiled if they were.  What childhood trauma, she wondered, or despairing event happened to him to cause him to hide his feelings from everyone like this?  Was it because he was a SOLDIER?  Or was it something else?  I suppose it's not really my business.  Whatever the reason, he is like he is, and I have to accept him that way.  I understand him better now.  Perhaps when I get back to the group, if I get back, I'll finally be able to talk to him like a normal person .
    " careful," he said.
    "I will."
    "....and.....good luck."
    She could feel herself leaving his side.  Turning from Cloud's kneeling body, turning away from the humongous crevasse in the ground that only a few days or a few centuries ago was the Temple of the Ancients,  turning away from the camp where the rest of her friends, Barret, Tifa, Cid, and Nanaki lay slumbering, she saw shimmering rays of sunshine beam down upon her from above, and she found herself running through the Sleeping Forest, running and running and never looking back, and she felt as if she had the wings of an angel and were, indeed, flying.


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