Aerith's First Love Part 4

No Worries, Just Doubt

By Hyper Angel

This turned out shorter than I wanted it to be… oh well… -Hyper


The train station at Sector 7 was filled with activity the following night, Aerith found she had to push her way through several large groups to even make it to the main platform. The low hiss of the train's engines sounded in a slow rhythm even above the hum of the many conversations. Confusion loomed about the platform that evening. It was, of course, one of the busiest times for any and all of Midgar's Train Stations. Business men shoved their way through the crowds harshly, caring only to keep their placid schedules on time. The usual crowd of drunks, residents, and bums milled about on the outskirts of all this, waiting only for the hordes to die away before they in turn boarded as well. It was the same chaos as every night, another reason why Aerith hated the transportation of the slums.

She looked around uneasily along the platform, searching her surroundings for a sign of Zack. Had she missed him already? No, it couldn't be, he had specifically told her 11:30 sharp. Nervously, Aerith began to pace the hard concrete platform, muttering things to herself restlessly.

Pulling her wool shawl tighter over her shoulders, Aerith shuddered from the biting wind that constantly whipped past her. It was March, thus meaning there was little surprise for the relentless winds lately, but it was rare that the cold winds blew into the slums. Nonetheless, it was cold, and Aerith was growing tired of waiting in the chilling weather. She wished she didn't have to be there. Not because she didn't want to see Zack off, but because she just didn't want to see him go. Her heart ached every time she thought of it. And even more she worried about what would happen along his mission.

It was silly of her, she kept telling herself that over and over again. It wasn't as if he didn't care for her. It wasn't as if he'd meet someone else. It wasn't as if he'd forget her. It wasn't as if he'd die out there. As if she'd be alone, without him. She shivered again, and immediately wrote as the wind again. She was so stupid to think such things. Everything was going to be fine. Wasn't it?

An ear-piercing whistle cut through the roar of the crowd suddenly, signaling that the train was about to leave station. Aerith jerked back from the unexpected noise. She looked to the clock hanging over the main platform. It read 11:45.

Where was he?

Slowly, those who hadn't already done so boarded, crowding into the dingy cars and pushing their way to find a seat from within the flow of people. The trio conductors slowly walked over, a few of them glancing up at her from beneath the heavy caps of their uniforms. As they passed by her, the small group exchanged hushed words to one another while they still occasionally looked back to her.

Feeling immensely self-conscious from their actions, Aerith shifted back uneasily. The thought that she should just leave crossing her mind more than a few times. The conductors casually stepped up to the doors of each car. As two of them boarded the train with little more than a short glance to the now nearly deserted platform, the last one still remained. He in turn, stepped forward hesitantly. "Coming, Miss?" He asked her softly, his tone showing he was obviously no newcomer to the job. Aerith shook her head, and forced a calm smile upon her face. "No…I'm waiting for someone." She replied smoothly. A few more people stepped up to the platform, some of them stumbling forward as if the slightest touch could topple them over. The usual drunkards, she noted. If not a bit early.

"Wait! Waiiit!" A voice suddenly cried over the dull murmur of the crowds swarming through the station to the train. There, desperately pushing his way through the crowd, was Zack. More than a few of those he pushed out of his way hissed a few curses for his trouble. Aerith waved over to him eagerly, trying her best not to get pushed back by the flow of the huge group.

He caught up to her finally, panting for breath. He smiled to her and tried to straighten his hair, which was even more tangled and messed up than usual. He pulled out a small box from out of his pocket, still gasping wearily to catch his breath. "Sorry….I'm…Late." he wheezed between breaths. "I had to….get you…this."

He held the small rectangular black box up to her, opening the lid of it carefully to reveal the contents to her.

Within it, there was a small crystal necklace, there bluegreen colored tears hung delicately from the slim golden chain. Beautifully crafted in nearly every aspect, it shimmered brightly in the fluorescent lights that hung from the makeshift platform ceiling.

"Oh…Zack." She whispered in awe.

Zack smiled brightly to her. "I knew you'd like it." He pulled the chain out from the case's satin lining, unclasping it and holding it up to her. Pushing Aerith's hair back from her face, he fastened it around her neck. She stared at the tiers that hung from the necklace's gold chain, fondling the smooth crystals with a faint smile. "It's so beautiful." She whispered, turning to face him. "But…it must have cost a fortune."

He shrugged and shook his head. "The price didn't matter." He said flatly. "I just wanted to give you something before I left, so you won't forget me…"

Aerith threw her arms around Zack and lay her head upon his shoulder lovingly. "I could never forget." She whispered. "Just take care of yourself out there."

Zack nodded and grinned again, pulling back to look to her once more. "Promise you'll wait?" He asked her softly. Aerith grinned just the same and nodded. "Of course."

He leaned forward slowly and placed his lips to hers, the kiss almost taking Aerith by surprise. God, she didn't want that moment to end.

"I really have to go." He whispered to her. Aerith was slow to respond, a part of her wanting to throw herself at him, and beg him to stay. It was so childish, she knew that much, but it was what had ran through her mind since he had told her of that mission. Why couldn't she just let it go? It was only that simple.

The answer was easy, though she hated to admit it even to her self. She was afraid.

"Aerith-?" Zack's soft voice cut through her worries.

"Oh…okay…" The words left her mouth before she had even realized. And to her they hung upon the air, as if to crush her. Of all the things she could have said…

"Don't worry about me." Zack added quickly. He tilted her head up with one hand and smiled reassuringly. "I'll be back…I promise."

She could only manage a weak nod.

"Goodbye then, Aerith." He finally said. The very words, as simple and innocent as they were, stung her heart again. The question of why still evading whatever reason was left within her muddled thoughts. What was wrong with her? Why did she worry so? She wished she could make herself except what she already knew was the reason.

Before she realized, he was gone. Her mind snapping back to the present just in time to see him disappear from sight.

The finally blaring whistle of the train pierced the air, and the gears and wheel shuddered to a start. The last conductor boarded the train, sliding the heavy metal door shut behind him. Slowly, the huge train lurched away from the platform, picking up speed with every second.

In what seemed like no time at all, it had left. She was alone on the platform, completely alone. The winds whipped past her, brushing her warm cheeks with their icy touch as though to silently mock her withheld pain. She was a fool to ever fall in love. The thought stung her mind with a touch as icy as the winds. Turning reluctantly, Aerith trudged away from the deserted station, and back towards home.

"Don't Worry about me." The words rung through her mind with every step she took. She really wished she didn't, but she cared too much not to. He'll be alright. She told herself for what seemed like the thousandth time. There's nothing I should fear. Again, that stinging feeling. Aerith wished she could believe her own thoughts anymore. It seemed she had begun to doubt her own intuitions more and more these past few weeks.

"Love's sweet agony…" She muttered. The winds lifting her words away into the heavens. As she walked onward, it started to rain again.


Return To FF7 Fanfic