Title: Crash Into Me
Fandom: Final Fantasy VII
Characters: Aerith, Cloud
Prompt: 025: Strangers
Word Count: 740
Summary: There was a familiarity about him...
Author's Notes: Every once in awhile one of the prompt words immediately brings to mind an entire scene or situation all at once...this was one of them. I've looked this table over countless times, but this time as soon as I read the word 'Strangers,' the scene where Cloud and Aerith officially meet popped into my head, and I knew it had to be written from her point of view.
She had been out in the alley when she heard the explosions. They were faint, and obviously from the plate above, but she heard them nonetheless. She listened for a few minutes, trying to place the sounds. They weren’t like the explosions from the day the reactor exploded, or even the sounds from the past, on the many days Shin-Ra tested their new projects. This…this was a battle. Someone…several someones, were using magic above her, quickly, and with aggression. She could feel the spirit energy as it flew through the air, the Lifestream sending its power to help those who fought above.
She retreated into the church, honestly, to check on her flowers. She was naïve, yes, but not to the point where she believed if the battle above made its way down to the slums the church would protect her. The Lifestream…her mother…the spirit energy of the Planet itself would protect her wherever she was, but she was worried about her flowers. Whenever the Planet cried, her flowers could tell, and they often became depressed, their petals wilting and their colors beginning to fade. She would speak with them during these times, reminding them of their beauty and of the power they had to bring happiness to so many others—so many, who could not hear the cries of the Planet, nor be comforted by its songs. And so she entered the church and knelt with her beauties, singing softly and sharing what she could with them.
And then…the Summoning stopped. The energy of the Planet stilled, and the noise above reached a final climax before finally falling silent. She cradled the bloom of one flower in her hands, closing her eyes in reverence, though for what she was not quite sure.
She looked up seconds before the roof collapsed, showering her in an explosion of flowers and dust and a sudden beam of rare sunlight. A shock had coursed through the beauty resting on her palms telling her to open her eyes to the roof…and that shock had allowed her to see him, as though his emergence into her life had been planned all along.
He was the blond Soldier she had sold a flower to earlier, but this time carried with him a familiarity that stretched far beyond the flower, far beyond the situation, but through his very soul, and she could feel something within herself reach out to him, caught in a dream of the past, and tinged with a hope that this was different.
She would later tell him the flowers broke his fall, but it was only partially true. The flowers themselves were nearly unharmed, though he lay in the center of them, flying on the edge of consciousness but otherwise unharmed. She didn’t know if the magic had been cast by her or by the Planet, but, as with the last time, he was alive and uninjured. She studied him—studied his face, his hair, his clothes…but mainly she studied his Spirit. It called to her in a way that actually was unfamiliar, despite the similarities on every other level, and the feeling that there was a connection here that transcended the flower to gil they had exchanged before—one that neither of them would understand anytime soon—and as she studied him, a feeling swelled inside of her, indefinable, but too huge to ignore. She watched his eyelids flutter and his lips part, almost as though he were having a conversation within himself, until he finally moved, shifting his weight and forcing his eyes to crack open, and she greeted him with forced surprise.
“Oh, it moved!”
She continued to call to him as he awoke and became aware of his surroundings, until his eyes were fully open, searching the room until he found her, and she felt herself falter under the intensity of his stare—the raw, intense lie of his stare. And as the tears burned within her own green orbs, she once again felt the energy of the Planet begin to swirl around her, and she blinked them back, determined to face this intruder not as the Soldier he was in the hours before, or even the Soldier he could have been in another lifetime, but as the blond haired boy who crashed through her roof and landed on her flowers, and who could be the one to lead her to the answers for which she so desperately prayed.