CH 16: Uncovered Emotions

Aeris gazed out the aft window of the Highwind. Ever since she first saw it, she knew she would eventually get to fly with it. Thinking back, it occurred to her that it could have been her last, if not for Pulse.

Pulse. She gave her life to save mine. I will always be grateful to her in that respect, and I truly wish I could have gotten to know her better.

But now X and Zero are saying that her death was intentional? That the planet had something else in store for her? Like what?

Ugh. Thinking of this always makes me wonder about what might've happened on that altar if our futuristic friends hadn't been there. Did the planet want me to die too? Me? The last ancient?

Well, actually, I'm a half-breed. My mother was the last pure-blooded cetra.

But maybe by altering time, the planet is trying to give me a second chance....

"Aeris?" Cloud said from behind.

"Yeah?" She replied.

"What's so interesting about the desert?" Cloud asked, knowing for a fact she wasn't watching the sand dunes in the first place.

"Oh, nothing. Just thinking." Aeris said, still not removing her eyes from the scenery.

"Well, why don't you give that brain of yours some rest and get some sleep? We're still in the midst of choosing a destination and if you want some rest, now's the time." Cloud said.

"...Yeah. I think I just might do that. Thanks, Cloud."

She turned and started walking to the lower-level barracks. She hadn't gotten far before she piped up again.

"Cloud....You've been so sweet to me these last few weeks. What's gotten in to you?" Aeris asked.

Cloud's answer was so simple it was beautiful.

"You. Alive and well. When Cait told me you were supposed to die, I had to rethink my life's choices. What I came up with is my love for you."

Aeris ran back to Cloud and hugged him as tight as she could.

"You have no idea how happy that makes me feel." She said.

"I'm beginning to. For the first time in a long while, I'm beginning to figure it out."

And they just stood there, quietly, holding one another, enjoying the moment.

*******************

"No! I can't believe it! I won't believe it!" Blaze said in a fit of anger.

X had just told him the theory he and Zero had cooked up in the lifestream. They were lucky the surrounding walls of the conference room were sound proof. He was resistant, to say the least.

"Why would the planet want to take Pulse away from me?!?" Why her, of all people?!?"

He slammed his fist into the wall, which he ended up denting.

"Hey, calm down. I'm sure there's a reason." Red XIII said.

He was there as well. Quite frankly, the "Pulse-was-killed-for-a-reason" idea was an intriguing possibilty.

"Look, why don't we go see my uncle Bugen. Maybe he can shed some light onto this." Red said.

"It couldn't hurt." Zero chimed in.

Blaze sat down. He buried his face into his hands and took a deep breath.

"Let's just get to the bottom of this, okay?" X said.

"....Tell Cid to fire up the engines. I'll be waiting in the barracks, so come and get me when we arrive." Blaze replied.

He got up, straightened himself up, and walked out the door and to the lower level.

*********************

The barracks were nothing more than an empty room with about a dozen cots strewn about the room. There were some travel bags sitting next to certain cots, so Blaze wisely laid down upon an empty one. He stared up into the ceiling, unaware of time passing by.

"Are you sleepy too?" Aeris asked, startling the firey one.

She was sitting on the cot next to him, and truth be told, he was totally oblivious to her entrance.

"What? Oh. No, not really. Just lost in thought, I guess." He replied.

"You wanna talk?" She asked.

"'Bout what?" He retorted.

"I heard about your little tantrum in the conference room. It's odd, you don't strike me as the angry, confused type."

Blaze chuckled.

"No, I'm not the type. I guess she meant more to me than I thought." Blaze said, lightening his mood a little.

"By "She", you mean Pulse?"

"Yeah."

"What do you think would have happened if she lived?"

"I....I dunno. I loved being with her. She was the most beautiful person I ever saw. Hell, she was the kind of person that loved life and never regreted anything she ever did. Who knows?" Blaze said, trying to come up with a answer.

"Were you in love with her?"

"...Yeah. Yeah, I was in love. Say, why all the questions all of the sudden?" Blaze asked, sitting up.

"Well, I guess...." She said, pausing.

She sat there and asked herself "Would he understand?" Blaze sensed that whatever was on her mind was troubling to her, and he knew it would be best if he encouraged her to continue.

"It's alright, go on."

She nodded as if she acknowledged his concerns.

"I've been trying to figure out some pretty deep questions. You know, like what is destiny or what is the meaning of life? ....Cait has been telling us about what happened in his time, and it just makes me wonder about the possibilties...."

Blaze was quiet for several moments before he responded.

"Yeah, I know where you're comin' from. But you shouldn't be thinking about those kinds of things. Destiny and all that doesn't really matter. You're alive, so enjoy it." Blaze returned.

Aeris laid back onto her cot, thinking about what Blaze had just said.

"You really think so?" Aeris said.

Again, Blaze streched out on his cot to his former position.

"I've always believed that your destiny is equal to that of your goals. If you start to seperate the two, then you can never truly accomplish one or the other. What most people don't understand, though, is the fact that your goals tend to change, and hence, destiny and therefore the future change with them."

"That's so...profound."

"I wish others felt the same. This whole thrown-into-the-past thing has really been screwing with my mind. I don't know if I can believe it anymore." Blaze sighed.

"You can't just give u-"

"No! There's no way in hell that I'm gonna just keel over in self-pity. I can never forgive Sephiroth for what he did to Pulse, and dammit, I'm not gonna let him get away with it." Blaze said, cuttng her off.

He sighed and both were silent for several moments.

"Did that help any?" Aeris politely asked.

"Huh? Whaddaya mean?

"Venting out your frustrations. Speaking your mind. Did it help any for someone to just listen?"

"Why you sly little- ....Yeah. That helped a lot more than you think. Thanks, katya."

"Katya?"

Blaze chuckled.

"A nickname. I always had a thing for giving my friends foriegn nicknames. I thought "katya" suited you best." Blaze explained.

"Oh, I see. Thanks for considering me a friend." Aeris said.

"No, katya. Thank you for being one." He replied.

*******************

"Ah, it feels good to be back in the air." Slash said.

"You said it. I was beginning to get claustrophobic in that tiny little submarine." Aurie replied.

They were both conversing by a tactical console, which was where Barret usually stood. But he was a little preoccupied himself.

"So tell me cat, what's th' future like?" Barret asked.

"Ooh, there's a buncha wierd stuff. Fer' one thing, not one of 'em knows about materia or the lifestream or any of that."

"Yer kiddin' me!"

"I swear to ya! And you'll never believe the technology they have-" Cait said.

As he went on and on about the future, Blaze stepped onto the bridge.

"I thought you were waiting in the barracks." Zero blurted out.

"I changed my mind. Aren't I allowed to do that?" Blaze said with a grin.

"Of course." Elena said.

"If you can find room. In case you haven't noticed, there are a bunch of us in here." Cloud joked.

Indeed, there were about fifteen people on the bridge, each conversing with one another. Blaze had one thing on his mind, though, and walked over towards Cid.

"How much longer 'till we reach Cosmo Canyon?" The firey one asked.

"See for yourself." Cid replied, pointing ahead.

In the distance, he could see the out line of the landscape that was arguably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. The combined resonating glow of meteor and the world-famous Cosmo sunset seemed to blend in with the color of Blaze's armor as he walked towards the main window.

In a matter of hours, he could have the answers to every one of his questions.

Well, not every one.






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