one passing night

the evening is spread out against the sky

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lost in thought
kaiserknuckle wrote in onepassingnight
[ Stained glass creates colorful rainbows of patterns on the wooded floor, beams of sunlight streaming in through the holes in the roof. Despite the decrepit nature, the church is fairly well kept, clean and free of most forms of debris (though there are more than a few shattered wood beams and pews scattered here and there); the one thing that stands out the most being a large flower garden in the center of the main area.

It's a healthy garden, growing lush and vibrant, almost sticking out like a sore thumb in its surroundings.

And Tifa is there, kneeling next to it, looking for weeds and other things that might keep the garden from growing.

It helps her feel like Aerith is really still there.

She comes here, sometimes, to clear her head, to take a break. It really is a peaceful place in what's left of Sector Five, a small private world for those who remember the flower girl who used to come here. Sometimes Tifa thought about taking some of the flowers home with her, decorating the bar with them..

But she always ended up feeling as though they were better off here, hidden away, where only those who came looking for them and knew they were here could find them. ]

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[he steps into the church and the thick soles of his boots sound hollow against the weathered wood. He ends up here often enough in his life that there's nothing to alert him to the fact he's dreaming.

Aerith's church.

He doesn't come often. He doesn't know why he comes when he does. Just... it's his penance - for not being fast or strong enough to save her so that she could return to her flowers. It's his peace because somehow despite what the church no longer has inside it, it still echoes with the feeling of the flower girl that adopted it. It's his duty, to keep the place safe and as together as it can without disturbing it's rest. He owes her that much at least, a drop in the bucket of what he owes her. It's where he first met Aerith - and where she started her first steps toward her death - because of him. The place digs at him and soothes at the same time and he visits when he's feeling the most lost or confused because it lets him be alone without really feeling alone. He never really sees the place, each time he first steps inside it, instead absorbing what it does to his battered soul first, sight coming a far second and so he's already halfway down the length of it hearing echoes of 'don't fight here. You'll ruin the flowers!' mixed with the smell of mako and water and blood in his memories and so it takes him a long minute to realize he's not alone.

Usually he's more aware when he's not alone but this one person has never set off any internal alarms or defenses in him. His eyes still widen a little when he sees her and he feels guilty without knowing why. It doesn't stop the quiet way her name comes out.]


[ She isn't expecting company, least of all Cloud, so her look is sharp at first, surprised. She softens when she sees who it is, though, and smiles, standing up to greet him. ] Cloud.

[ She wipes her hands off on a nearby towel, and steps towards him, shaking her head slightly -- his presence here has her confused, a little bit. ] What are you doing here?

[he blinks and feels guilty again without knowing why. Her question also confuses him. She knows he comes here because she knows this is where Denzel was given to them. Maybe... she's upset because he didn't call to ask if she wanted to come too this time? He had agreed that they'd go together next time. He just - he hadn't really been thinking when he'd turned Fenrir this direction on the way home. It had just been a gut feeling, a quiet tug. He hadn't had anything planned. Just... standing near the flowers and going blank inside his head for a while.

Should he have had more of a point to coming?

His chin tucks a little and his voice is low.]

I don't know.

[his blue eyes lift back to the woman in front of him.]

I just thought I should come.

[ Tifa can read him like a book, has been able to since she found him at the Midgar train station. So many years ago...

Well, not really. But it seemed like it, with everything they'd been through.

So she could tell he was feeling guilty, and that made her feel guilty in turn. She hadn't meant to make him feel bad. This was his place, after all, and she was the interloper here, right? ]

I'm sorry.. I just wasn't expecting company.. I'm glad it's you, though.

[he has to pause and sort through what she means. Things have been so unsure between them for... a long time now. He doesn't want to do anything else to damage her or the rest of their family. And he knows he misses a lot, that there are parts of being a family that he just doesn't catch. That's why it's easier to find excuses to travel. He can't mess things up if he's not there. Even if it just makes him miss them even more. Lately though he's felt as if maybe there's hope for him after all. As if, maybe, he's finally starting to get this whole 'family' thing, and where he fits in it. But, if he's finally starting to do things right, it makes him even more worried about messing up and doing something wrong that will undo everything they've almost got. He knows her well enough to know that she really isn't angry or upset with him though. She really is glad it's him. And that makes his lips relax just a little bit and curve the smallest bit at their edges. Even with the distance between them he can smell the dirt and flowers on her. His eyes shift to her hands.]

You were... weeding?

Mm. [ She nods, and turns back to the flowers, kneeling back down. ] I thought since no one else comes here.. That way they could still keep growing. For her.

[ She knows -- or at least assumes to know -- how he feels about Aerith. She assumes to know that she was someone special to Cloud, and possibly more. It aches a little bit, but Tifa has long learned to ignore that dull throb in her chest, that pang of jealousy when it came to Aerith and Cloud, and just be happy for her friends.

Getting jealous, being hurt by those kinds of feelings.. no one ever came out okay from that.

So she had decided, after everything had been done, after the Remnants had been taken care of, that she would come here and try to take care of these flowers. ]
I think it's what she'd want.

[feeling a little awkward but not unwelcome, he slowly moves through the distance between them until he's standing behind and just a little to the side of her. The flowers are growing. The way, to him, they've always seemed to have grown. But Aerith fussed over them when she was here and somehow he supposes they need someone to fuss over them still. It would be Tifa to fill that spot.

The warmth from the sunlight through the broken roof warms both flowers and the earth under them and the scents mix in the air with old wood and dust. It's a familiar smell, one he sometimes remembers in his dreams, and it's both peaceful and lays heavy on him. Absent he rubs at the ache of muscle and joint in his arm as he watched Tifa's clever fingers somehow sort weed from flower and know the difference. Looking across the garden, not really concentrating on anything after a while, he quietly says:]

I think she'd want you here too. You always understood her better than the rest of us.

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