asked if I would post his new essay here.
Here I met a Flower Girl.
She’s a girl with impressive eyes.
She’s around my age, or elder by one or two years.
But the innocent radiance in her eyes simply makes her suddenly look younger.
Aerith Gainsborough: ”Excuse me, what happened?”
She asked me the question, and then I bought a flower from her, which is rare in Midgar.
Maybe she’s pleased that the flower was sold, because the worried look on her face had vanished.
If this smile costs only one gil, it is a good purchase.
—Final Fantasy VII Dismantled; Square Enix
Shortly after this, Cloud agrees to become Aerith’s bodyguard for the price of a romantic date. This is the typical beginning of a love story: love at first sight and the hero protecting his heroine (in exchange for a romantic date, nonetheless!)
Afterwards, Cloud and Aerith start developing chemistry together, with Cloud laughing for the first and only time in the game with Aerith. She even convinces Cloud to dress up like a girl!
Cloud then canonly tells Marlene that he "hopes" Aerith likes him, showing his romantic attraction to Aerith even further.
“Marlene is a sharp girl - Even though she’s only 4 years old, Marlene is perceptive and well attuned to the woman mind. The scene where she ascertains that Aerith has favor for Cloud and tells him so, then says, “I won’t tell Tifa!” demonstrates this grownup behavior.”
—Final Fantasy 25th Anniversary Ultimania; Square Enix
In order for Marlene to say "I won’t tell Tifa" Cloud is required to say he"hopes" Aerith likes him. Therefore, this is the canon version of this scene:
Marlene: ”Guess what? Guess what? Aeris was asking me lots of questions. Like what kind of person Cloud is. I bet she likes you, Cloud!”
Cloud: "Let’s hope so.”
Marlene: "I won’t tell Tifa."
After this, Cloud vows to save Aerith from the Shinra headquarters "by all means".
Once inside, Cloud and Aerith share a romantic exchange. Aerith, very flirtatiously says, "I knew that Cloud would come for me." Cloud responds with, "Hey, I’m your bodyguard, right?"
Cloud references back to the conversation he and Aerith had in her Church, when Aerith promised Cloud a romantic date in return for his protection.
Aerith picks up on Cloud’s flirtation and responds with, "The deal was for one date, right?"
Cloud and Aerith were very obviously flirting back-and-forth. If Tifa hadn’t been in the jail cell with Cloud, the flirtatious banter between Cloud and Aerith would have most certainly continued. However, because Tifa was in the same room as Cloud, she picks up on this flirtation, which is why she interrupts with, "…………oh, I get it." The mutual romance in this scene is so obvious, even Tifa can’t deny it.
After this moment in the Shinra headquarters, Cloud subtly lets slip his romantic feelings for Aerith in Cosmo Canyon:
After Cloud’s romantic confession, Cloud and Aerith share a canon date at Golden Saucer:
"In Aerith’s case, if you play the game normally, the partner that generally comes will be Aerith."
—Final Fantasy VII Dismantled; Square Enix
“#111: The Planet’s largest amusement park is run by Dio. Cloud and company visit this place many times in their battle. They meet Cait Sith here.A promised date [there is only one promised date in the game] that ends in a magical night. In the city of desire that floats above the sands, the light memory of the two people is asleep even now…Aerith: “I think I must have seen him again, in you… But you’re different. Things are different… No, Cloud… I’m searching for you…”
—Final Fantasy Art Collection; Square Enix
“Oh, Cloud…I enjoyed our date at the Gold Saucer. The view from the gondola that night was really beautiful. I’ll never forget it. I’ll never forget you, Cloud…”
—Aerith, Final Fantasy VII Dismantled, Square Enix
Cloud and Aerith’s canon date is pictured on Square Enix’s "For the One I Love" page:
"…the love of the protagonists develop."
"…the two’s value to one another."
—Final Fantasy 20th Anniversary Ultimania; “For the One I Love” page; Square Enix
Only the *canon* Cloud x Aerith date can be applied to the “For the One I Love” page.
Afterwards, Cait Sith gives Cloud and Aerith a romantic wedding prediction:
“Looks good. You are perfect for each other!”
“Aerith’s star and Cloud’s star! They show a great future!” "Poor Tifa!”
—Cait Sith, Final Fantasy VII
“After solving the puzzle about Cait Sith’s replaceable body, he tells one last fortune of Cloud and Aerith’s affinity. Cait Sith’s lines, which seem to expectCloud and Aerith’s wedding, now makes it more painful.”
—Final Fantasy VII Dismantled, Square Enix
Cait Sith’s wedding prediction becomes “more painful” after Aerith’s death. The only way Aerith’s death would make a wedding prediction “more painful”is if Cloud and Aerith had a mutual romance that would have led to a marriage had she not died.
Despite Aerith’s eventual death, their love transcends traditional boundaries. Cloud associates his Promised Land (his supreme happiness) with Aerith at the end of Final Fantasy VII, and they will one day reunite in the lifestream.
"I think I’m beginning to understand. An answer from the planet…the Promised Land…I think I can meet her… there…"
—Cloud Strife; Final Fantasy VII
FRENCH: “Cloud avait ete son ami, et son amant.”
ENGLISH: “Cloud was the woman’s friend, and lover”
—Case of Lifestream: White; Square Enix
The essay originally had pictures, but when I was copy pasting the essay to this journal they didn't show up. If you want to see the pictures, you can look at his journal here: dansantcaparet.deviantart.com/…