Fandom: FFVII (Marriageverse)
Characters: Aeris/Sephiroth, OCs
Previous: Prologue | Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4
Summary: Aeris and Sephiroth hold their marriage together after a devastating loss.
It had become a family tradition, the drive to see the cherry tree. They went every spring, leaving any summer cherries for unfortunate mourners, or the birds. The tree was still young but it had begun flowering early, in its third year in fact, and the blooms had grown thicker each time in the four years since. It towered over their heads, raining petals down on them from the clouds of blossoms above.
Sephiroth and Aeris made their way up the hill, hand in hand, with the children trailing dutifully behind them. Mostly. “Ari,” Sephiroth called. “Stop jumping on people’s tombstones!”
“Why?” Ari said, landing with precision on a particularly fine black marble slab. “They're dead. What are they going to do?”
“They’ll reach up, grab your foot and drag you under, that’s what they’ll do,” Sephiroth snapped.
Ari promptly missed his next target to land rump first in the dirt. “No way!” he shouted.
“Yes way!” Sephiroth said, supporting Aeris as she tried not to laugh too loud. “Now stop disturbing the dead and get over here.”
Ari groaned. “Why do we even have to keep coming here?” he whined. “It’s not like we bring flowers or anything. We’re watering a tree. Why do we need to water a tree? Doesn’t it rain here?”
“Boy, stop making me repeat myself and get over here,” Sephiroth said, tired of talking.
Ella hid a smirk behind her gaming tablet. Beside her, Rei tugged at her sleeve. She slipped the gametab into a coat pocket to take his hand and watched as their parents approached the tree. Their mother was all smiles, marveling at the new growth the last year had brought, the girth of the trunk and the height of the topmost branches. Their father was not inclined to the same kind of bubbliness. The gloved hand he pressed against the trunk always carried with it a sensation of reverance, but in his own way he was just as happy.
“Ella,” Rei said, “how come we keep coming here?”
Ella shrugged. “Dad thinks you’re still down there.”
“Oh.” Rei frowned, staring at the pair on top of the hill. “Should I tell him?”
Ella shook her head. “He’ll figure it out when he’s ready to understand.” She held on tighter, watching carefully for the moment that rare spark of old memory in her brother’s eyes was subsumed by the present. “Come on, let’s go.”
“Okay!” Rei said. Ella was not sure he even knew what he was agreeing with. She let him pull her along to join the rest of their family, under the blooming tree.