SPOILER WARNING: This story spoils some of the events and the ending of Final Fantasy VII. If you don't want to know, don't read. I certainly found much more enjoyment from not knowing what was going to happen.
This is a very short story, really a vignette more than anything else. My reasons for writing it are explained in the footnotes.
She smiled over the sound of the screaming. "Lovely, isn't it?"
The man - short, dusty, worn by many years - looked skeptical. "Er, I suppose." He looked down the street, as if looking for an escape.
Her smile grew wider. "Wouldn't you like one? Only one gil. A dozen for ten gils."
"Um..." The man looked down at the flower, turned partly away, then shoved a hand into his pocket. He pulled out a coin and handed it to her. He almost snatched the flower out of her hand and walked hastily away.
She watched after him. After a few yards, he slowed down. He raised the flower in front of him, then slowly tucked it into his shirt. His pace increased again, but he wasn't rushing any more. Rather, he seemed more vital.
She smiled; she'd been right about him. She'd sensed the peace in him, and reached out and tried to touch it. And he'd listened, and the peace would grow and spread.
Her hand fell among the flowers in her basket, feeling their dying energy. It pained her to harvest them, to take the life from them. But it was necessary, and the flowers understood. They sacrificed themselves to help spread the lifestream.
Her work was not yet done. She wandered down the street, looking for others with the spark inside of them. Most had it, but buried so deeply she couldn't touch it, their song so drowned out by the screaming that she couldn't hear it.
Some noticed that she was looking at them. Some looked back, and there was desire in their eyes. She knew that they found her form pleasing to look at it, and wanted more of her. Some had even made the mistake that she was selling something more than her flowers. She smiled at them and corrected their errors, willing to let them smile at her and help her spread peace. But nothing more, they would have nothing more from her. A very few had tried to forcibly extract more from her. She never held a grudge, however; she made a point of healing them afterwards, even revivifying them if necessary.
Today, right now, she couldn't see any peace, hear any life in any of the people around her. The screaming was loud, it was much too loud. She paused in front of an alley, then moved down it.
A power junction was malfunctioning. Green sparks were flying from it, sending up a small shower of energy that floated for a few seconds before fading. She crouched in front of it, listening to the screams of tortured life. This was not what life was meant to do, the powering of these lumbering machines. Life objected, and would make its displeasure known soon.
She looked in the sparks, and her mind drifted. Soon, so soon. She felt the patterns in the energy before her and the energy around her, and she knew what shape those forces would take. There was a force, warped by hate, that would try to seek solace in revenge. And it was powerful, very powerful. Much would be needed to stop it.
Her hand once again fell upon the flowers in her basket. Sacrifice.
And there was another force coming. A bright force, itself tortured, warped in its own way. But the core was good, and with the right guidance it would shine brightly. Brightly enough, perhaps, to save a world.
That core called out to her, seduced her. She could get lost in that core. She could find happiness there.
But she shouldn't; he would be hurt. She would be hurt to know that she would cause him pain. Better, perhaps, to distance herself, to go and guide, but not get drawn in too close. Better. Safer.
She sighed. She wouldn't. Couldn't. She was going to fall towards him, they would fall towards each other. They would touch each other once, twice. They would know a moment, two moments, of peace and... love. And then the needs of the planet would overwhelm them, and there would be an end.
But in that end, perhaps a beginning. Maybe, eventually, a reunion. It might be too much to hope for. But she would hope for it, and work for it, because life demanded it of her. And she loved life so. Enough to kill for it. Enough to die for it.
But she was selfish enough to want to enjoy life as she lived it. And she would enjoy as much of it as she could in the coming days. With help.
The sparks continued to flow, continued to scream, and all of a sudden she didn't want to listen any more. She stood and clasped her hands in front of her face, as if to warm them, silently praying. I'm coming, Mother. I'll be there soon.
She turned her head to the side and looked down the alley; she could sense him coming like the scent of flowers on the evening breeze. She walked towards him, towards the bright force that was coming close, oh so very close, and her heart quickened at his presence, not yet in her sight but very much near her spirit.
Not yet in her sight, but very soon. Just a little while longer.
She stopped at the end of alley as the traffic zoomed by on the street, and she and the flowers waited patiently to play out their assigned roles.
Either to die the death or to abjure
Thrice-blessed they that master so their blood,
-excerpts from "A Midsummer's Night Dream"
AUTHOR'S NOTE: I know, there isn't much story here.
I recently finished Final Fantasy VII. I went into the game knowing nothing, and Aeris's death hit me hard. I liked her character very much, and while her death was a good thing to do from a story perspective, it made me feel awful. I'd really liked her; very Belldandy-ish in nature, but with a mischievous, playful spirit I liked very much. The last of her race. Dead one-third of the way into the story.
Dammit, she was my best spell-caster, too!
Anyway, after finishing the game I felt the need to let out some of my mixed emotions about what happened to Aeris. So I wrote this up to allow myself a little peace of mind.
Comments and criticism welcome as always. And no, I won't be producing any more FF7 fanfics. Frankly, none of the other characters interested me as much as Aeris (Aerith) did, so I don't have a lot of motivation. Plus I'm still not sure what was going on there with Sephiroth. All I know was that was a cool final battle he and Cloud had. :)