[Author's note: I wrote this story to touch on a side of Aeris that is seldom explored in fanfiction. For the most part, Aeris is perceived as being angelic, even perfect, but such an interpretation ignores the glimpses of a darker side that are present in the game. (What darker side, you ask? I won't bother to list the little instances that point to it, since they pale in importance beside the big issue: How can such a sweet, pretty, innocent little girl survive in the Midgar slums? By being something other than sweet and innocent, I'd say.) And, frankly, I like Aeris better with an edge to her. It's hard for me to stomach her as an angel, but I can tolerate her as a human being.]
Planet, he's mine.
I can't believe this is happening, how that bitch of a barmaid is hanging all over him. So what if she was his childhood friend? She's already had her chance. And he fell into my lap like a shooting star, trailing sunlight, his perfect face kissed with blood...
And his eyes. Oh, sweet Planet, his eyes.
They're the reason I'm here now, getting cramps in my legs, feeling my lips tremble as I breathe white puffs into the air. Why is it so goddamn cold down here? And all this water-- why did my ancestors pick this place for a temple? How can I pray when my knees are shaking and my hands are blue?
I can't do this anymore, Planet. It's my turn to be happy. I don't want to sell flowers in the streets while those filthy drunkards leer at me; I want to fall asleep in his arms and wake up breathing his scent. I want to run away with him beyond the edge of time.
I want him, dammit.
And I want her to go away.
Look, Planet, I can't be nice forever. There's a shadow beneath the flowers, and coiled there is a green-eyed snake. What do they think I am-- perfect? I can't be anybody's angel. But he could be mine, Planet, with his silken hair... his soft skin... his shining eyes...
Oh, those eyes.
It's just not fair.
I can breathe softly on his cheeks, Planet. I can let my breasts brush his arms, but he's always somewhere else. Someone with her. Every moment he lives five years ago, holding her bloody body and caressing her face and hair. He was her hero then, wasn't he? But she acts as if it never happened, as if he never saved her life, as if she just wants to forget it all.
Planet, why didn't she just die?
That's cruel to think. I know. But I'm tired of being nice. I can't turn the other cheek when my heart is being trampled like so much dirt. "Oh, don't worry; Aeris won't mind. Aeris never minds. She's never unhappy." Hell with that. I giggle and twirl my hair and simper for someone to save me, but I have teeth.
I can snarl.
I can bite.
Does she know that the eye I turn so ingenuously to him is glaring daggers into her?
They want to carry me on their banner like some holy virgin, the gift of heaven. They only see me glowing with the aura of healing magic, turning my smiling face towards the sun. That's all they want to see. What they never notice are the glaring slits of my eyes when I pray... the lustful parting of my lips when I gaze at his body... the blood that spills when I crush a monster's head with my staff.
I am real, Planet. I am cruel as well as kind, shadow as well as light. But they don't see it. He doesn't see it. And for that reason he will never love me as I want to be loved. No man ever gives his passion to a star; he saves it instead for the flame that blazes and dies in a season. To him I am an ideal to be immortalized in stone, while she is flawed but living flesh.
And it's my own goddamn fault.
All I wanted was to be enough for him, Planet. I thought he was perfect. I still think he is. But he doesn't want what I became for him. He has made me into a saint, and I want to spit on their worship. I never wanted to lead them on a quest to save the world. Damn the world. I just wanted to lie beside him and feel an eternal bond form between us, no matter what happens to everything else. Let the universe collapse. Just let me melt into him...
But it won't happen now. I screwed up everything, Planet. I'll always be their child-like Messiah, and they'll always stare at me and whisper in awe.
I wonder what they'd think if they knew that I, the holy Cetra, left to pray for something like this? Perhaps I'll pick a flower and tear off the petals until I get to "He loves me not." Then I will wreathe my brow with blossoms and fall into the icy water, singing love ditties until my mouth is filled and my eyes are empty. Maybe I'll feel him in the embrace of the depths--
I hear steps now, Planet. My heart quickens. Is he here? Could any two men have the same uncertain gait? The air is colder now in my throat as sounds ring around me: the cry of steel against steel-- the rush of blood in my ears-- the muted voices that seem to come from beyond the sea...
I raise my head and let my eyelids part. Sweet Planet, he's beautiful. The curve of his lips, the lines of his body, the shaking hands that hold his sword...
And his eyes...
I smile, wondering if my face betrays the bittersweet hunger that leaves my mouth dry and my limbs weak. Let me tell him, Planet. Let me taste his lips and bury my hands in his hair.
Then let me vanish.
I open my mouth to speak when I hear a rush of air overhead.