originally written for springkink @ lj
"I promised you a date, didn't I?"
The dream landscape or Reeve's mind shifted in that gradual and fantastical way that dreams did as he and Aeris walked down the hall outside of his office in the Shinra Building, only to have it merge into a corridor lined with flashing neon lights, garish and gaudy like so much of the Golden Saucer. He and Cait had spent a lot of time together there, taking in the overwhelming swirls of sights and sounds and amusing children and lovers with their fortune telling. Because it was a dream, Reeve accepted this blending of locales without question. Like a gentleman, he offered Aeris his arm and she placed her dainty hand upon his sleeve. Her hand felt so warm, so substantial. It was only a dream, he told himself. But it felt like more, much more. The weight on his arm, the way the fabric creased under her fingers, it quickened his heart. Only the smile of a young woman or the spark of life coursing through his electronics could make him feel this way. Alive. The good kind of alive.
"This is the kind of date you like to take," he said to Aeris, like he could read her mind. Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. He could only make this guess based on what he had seen of her.
She nodded and smiled, assuring him he was right. "I like to have fun, to really let go."
"I like that too," he agreed. Just because he worked for Shinra didn't mean he didn't have a substantial light and favonian side. He might dress each day in a black or navy suit, but he was a man who built mechanical cats, was he not? He playing at mimicking accents and loved to sew or wander the streets of Midgar, buying blue cotton candy from a half-hearted street fair and sharing it with eager orphans.
Aeris had the same floriferous aura of joy in living. "You should take me dancing," she suggested as they passed through a jungle of green balloons, emerging onto the darkened dance floor of an underground club.
"I don't think I know how to dance like you nice younger folks," he admitted as music struck up to fill the black emptiness.
One by one, colored lights, as bright as the streaks of neon before, flicked on and illuminated the area, revealing Cloud and Tifa, Rufus and Scarlet, Yuffie and Cid and Shera, all of them dancing along to the beat. "Just follow Cloud's lead," Aeris encouraged him. "He's the best dancer in Midgar."
"If it's ballroom, I have to lead though," Tifa remarked, swinging past his side.
"You won't laugh at me, will you?" He wondered why he doubted himself so much. It had to be a sign that Aeris' opinion mattered a lot to him. Maybe this wasn't as casual a date as he had tried to tell himself it was.
"I would never do that." Aeris took her hand from his arm and whirled away into the shadows. Was she floating? The touch of her feet to the ground was so quick and light as to be nonexistent. How did she manage to be at once so spunky, a tease in a red thong (how did he know she wore a red thong?), and a goddess of compassion, reaching out to every living being with love? He didn't know.
The ground was sparkling under the multicolored lights, and though he could not float, he chased her, dancing, anyway.
At the end of the tunnel was the sun (since when had they been in a tunnel?) and it was there he caught up to Aeris, reaching out to grab her hand. How pink her pretty fingernails were!
But no matter how he strained to reach her, she always remained outside his grasp. She was close enough to touch, but where before she had been solid, she now was like a gas, passing through his fingers like the wind. She didn't realize how ethereal her body had become, or perhaps she didn't care. "You can dance after all!" she applauded him with giggles.
The sun behind her was growing still brighter. She was fading. Evaporating into the light. "No," he protested," This date was too short to count, Aeris! You can't go!" He thought he was strong enough to fight a dream. It was his own dream, after all. "This doesn't count for our promise!"
He miscalculated and the ground, like the plate, fell out from underneath him as she turned to air, sucked into his frantic lungs with every breath. He fell into himself, eyes snapping open in the dark of his room. The clock was flashing "12:00" over and over, a clear sign that there had been another power outage during the night. Since Shinra's destruction, power in and around what was left of Midgar had become unpredictable. For Reeve at least, it didn't seem to go out at particularly inconvenient times, so he was content. He would give up a steady stream of power to allow the planet to begin to heal.
The only thing about the power outages at night was how they always gave him the strangest dreams. Who could say why?
When he breathed out, he thought the air smelled like Aeris.