CloTi nonsense: "In Advent Children, Cloud only sought Aerith out because of guilt, not love."

This statement is absolutely and utterly wrong. Just because S-E refuses to give a direct answer to the love triangle
doesn't mean that they haven't provided subtle hints as to which woman Cloud loves. So, how do I know that
Cloud indeed loves Aerith? Please allow me to elaborate...

     a.
Cloud was devastated over Aerith's death. Not only does Cloud appear utterly heartbroken over Aerith's
death in
FFVII, but the official novellas Maiden of the Planet and Case of Tifa both confirmed just how
devastated Cloud was over the death of Aerith. These stories spoke of how his heart cracked and how the pain
tore him apart. They confirmed the sorrow Cloud bore over the death of Aerith and the anger and hatred he felt
toward Sephiroth for murdering her. However, they spoke only of
Cloud. Cloud was the one Aerith heard
screaming in agony over her loss, not
anyone else. Aerith was a friend to everyone in AVALANCHE and yet it is
Cloud's heart that breaks and Cloud's screams of anguish that reach Aerith in the Lifestream. In fact, in MotP,
Aerith states that she is surprised at Cloud's depth of feeling for her:

"She was surprised at the great sorrow he had for her. She was a little happy that he thought so much of her but
she also felt the pain that was many times greater. There was nothing she could do about Cloud's suffering and the
pain ached in her heart."

Why would Aerith be surprised if Cloud only thought of her as a mere friend? Aerith knew that they were friends
before all of this. But, with her death, Aerith sees that Cloud loved her a great deal, much more than a friend.
Aerith, realizing just how much Cloud cares for her, later wonders if she and Cloud would be seen as family or
lovers, if only she could make her feelings for him clear:

"Maybe she could be clear about her affections towards Cloud here. Then maybe they would be seen as family or
lovers... During her lifetime in Midgar, she felt many souls of the ones that tried to confess their love. Those that
still had those feelings or had those feelings left behind them could strongly retain their consciousness as a 'whole'."

Aerith clearly states here that the reason why many souls don't return to the planet is because they love someone
amongst the living and/or are loved in return by one of the living. This explains why Aerith is still present in
"Calling" at the end of
AC. While her mission is complete, she hasn't returned to the planet. The reason behind that
would have to be because Aerith loves Cloud, because Cloud loves Aerith, or because they love each other.
Personally, I vote for the latter-- because they love each other.

If this wasn't the case, Cloud's story wouldn't have ended with a bonus video ("Calling") of Cloud riding off to
meet Aerith in a flower field, thereby giving a satisfying yet subtle ClAeris ending to
AC. Aerith retains her
consciousness because of her love for Cloud (and the fact that she lives on in his subconsciousness); Cloud seeks
out the flower fields, spends time in them, picks flowers from them, and takes pictures of them because of his
love for Aerith and the fact that he can see/hear/interact with her there. "Safe and Sound" may have toned down
the ClAerisness of "Calling", but it doesn't change the intent behind "Calling".

For more information:
Cloud's Grief.

     b.
Cloud was depressed in AC. If it was "just guilt" that motivated Cloud, why the depression?

"At one point, I thought it would've been nice to have Zack appear a little earlier in the film and get mad at Cloud
for being so depressed." (Nojima,
Reunion Files)

So, as confirmed, it is not guilt alone that is eating away at Cloud; he is also overwhelmed by depression. Is part of
his depression due to his Geostigma? I am sure that is part of his problem. However, it isn't the main cause of his
depression. So, what, exactly, is Cloud's problem? Well, he says so himself in
Case of Tifa:

Tifa: "Did you fix the problem?"

Cloud: "What problem?"

Tifa: "Your problem."

Cloud: "Oh..."

Cloud was clearly deep in thought.

Tifa: "If you don't want to tell me, don't."

"I can't explain it well..." Cloud searched for the right words. "I didn't fix the problem.
I don't think I'll ever fix
the problem. I can't make somebody unlose their life
."

And Cloud reiterates his problem/sin in AC/ACC when he asks Vincent if "sins are ever forgiven". So, there you
have it-- Cloud's depression, his "problem", his "sin" is the fact that he was unable to protect Aerith and she lost
her life because of it. Cloud's depression is over Aerith's death. This should be clear when you consider what I just
said above about Cloud's devastation over the loss of Aerith.

      c.
Cloud sought forgiveness from Aerith only. Cloud felt guilty for the deaths of both Aerith and Zack.
The wolf,
"a symbolic figure that represents the deepest part of Cloud's psyche" and only "appears in response to
some burden that Cloud is carrying deep in his heart" (
RF, p. 86) appears in places associated with both Aerith and
Zack: Zack's grave, Aerith's church, and the Forgotten Capital (Aerith's grave).

Despite the fact that Cloud feels guilty over the deaths of
both Zack and Aerith, he seeks forgiveness from Aerith
alone
, as confirmed in RF:

"The incredible guilt Cloud feels because of what happened to Aerith can only be lifted by forgiveness from
Aerith herself
." (Nojima, Reunion Files)

*********************************************************************************************

"As long as Cloud blames himself for Aerith's death, he won't be able to move on with his life. One of the first
ideas we had for Advent Children was to have Cloud overcome and resolve that immense feeling of guilt.
For
Cloud, no one other than Aerith can solve that problem for him
. I tried to create an atmosphere in which she
still seems to be by his side - in spirit at least." (Nojima,
Reunion Files)

If Cloud feels guilty for both Zack and Aerith's deaths, why does he seek out only Aerith? Why is it that the guilt
and sorrow over her death is so much greater for Cloud? Cloud was unable to stop either of these people from
dying and yet feels a deeper burden on his heart because of the death of one of them (Aerith). In fact, Cloud
carried extreme amounts of regret and sorrow over the death of Aerith for
two years after FFVII.

The passage I quoted above from
MotP is a good answer-- the fact that Aerith herself was surprised over the
depth of Cloud's feelings for her make it clear that she is no mere friend to him. Cloud's devastation over her death
is seemingly greater than what Cloud experienced over Zack's death. Therefore, he needs to be forgiven only by
her, to know that she never blamed him for failing to protect her.

The logical conclusion, then, would have to be that Cloud seeks forgiveness only from Aerith because of his love
for her. Cloud failed to protect the woman he loved. That is his burden; that is his sin. And Cloud needs to be
forgiven by her "more than anything".

     d.
Forgiveness from Aerith means more to Cloud than anything else. As stated by Cloud himself in
AC/ACC, Aerith's forgiveness is what matters most to him. Funny how some CloTis paint Cloud and Tifa as this
great romantic couple and then say that Cloud was "just guilty" over the death of a "mere friend". Funny that the
death of this "mere friend" would keep Cloud from the "love of his life". Funny that forgiveness from this "mere
friend" is more important than
anything else in Cloud's world, including his family and friends (or some non-
existent romance). Funny that sorrow, regret, and the need for forgiveness over the death of a "mere friend"
continues over a span of two years.

If you look at things logically, only one answer makes sense: that Cloud loves Aerith and seeks forgiveness from
her alone because of the great amount of guilt and sorrow associated with failing to protect the woman he loves
from harm. That is why her forgiveness means so much to him. That is why Cloud alienates himself from
everyone who cares for him. That is why Cloud angsted over her for two whole years. And that is where Cloud's
depression stems from.

    e.
Cloud cannot bear to go to Aerith's grave. Cloud is shown in AC/ACC visiting Zack's grave. From the
flower petals strewn about (obviously picked by Cloud from Aerith's church), it's obvious that Cloud has visited
Zack's grave before. He seems sad as he talks to the rusty Buster Sword, and full of regret. But, that sadness isn't
an agonizing open wound that keeps him from visiting the site of Zack's death and burial.

For Aerith, it is quite different for Cloud. In fact, Cloud absolutely
avoids going to the Forgotten City. Why is this?

The Forgotten City is tied to Aerith throughout the film. Here, Cloud is constantly reminded of her no matter
how painful it is for him
. (Nojima: p.9, Reunion Files)

*********************************************************************************************

Cloud finds himself lost in emotion, as he races his motorcycle to the enemy's base. (p.111, Reunion Files)

*********************************************************************************************

I think part of the reason we decided to have Kadaj's base in the Forgotten City is because it's the one
place that Cloud avoids. But at the same time perhaps he's drawn to it.
There's a sort of hidden meaning to
the maternal essence of Aerith that lingers there. (Nojima: pg. 29,
Reunion Files)

*********************************************************************************************

When Cloud regains consciousness, Reno and Rude tell him about the orphans being abducted, and that they had
been taken to Kadaj's base, in the 'Forgotten City'.
Upon hearing this, Cloud hesitates, because of the
association with Aerith's death
. (p.111, Reunion Files)

*********************************************************************************************

The Place where sorrow never heals

In the capital of the Ancients where covered with grief, fierce flames of war scattered.

Before the Forgotten City, Cloud saw an illusion. Behind his back, Cloud had a sense of yearning, and then heard
the innocent, tender voice, which never changes from the first-----
“Why did you come?”
Being queried, Cloud uttered the wish in his mind.
Toward his answer, the girl who has that voice seemed amused and said:
“By who?”

Cloud couldn’t help but looking back, then he was pulled back to the reality. (
FFVII 10th Anniversary Ultimania,
AC Story Playback, p. 122-131)

*********************************************************************************************

During their holiday, Tifa and Marlene were cleaning the room that was now Cloud's office. There were many
papers that laid scattered about unsorted. One of them caught Tifa's eye.

Client Name - Elmyra Gainsborough
Delivery Item - Bouquet
Destination - The Forgotten City

Tifa put the paper away with the others as if nothing happened. But she was trembling severely. Transporting mail
around the world meant Cloud was traveling around his past too.
She knew that Cloud was in great pain
because he couldn't protect Aerith. Cloud was on the verge of overcoming it but now, going back to the
place where he and Aerith got separated meant that his sorrow and regret was going to tear his heart
apart once again
. (Case of Tifa)

*********************************************************************************************

As confirmed, The Forgotten City is a constant reminder of Aerith's death for Cloud. Seeing that place again would
bring his sorrow and regret bubbling to the surface once more to tear his heart apart. Because of the pain that
seeing this place causes him, Cloud avoids going there.

You'll notice that words like "pain", "sorrow", "emotion", "grief" and "heart" are used in conjunction with the site of
Aerith's death and burial. Only once was a word used that signifies guilt- "regret". If it is guilt alone that motivates
Cloud, then why is there such a focus on his
pain and sorrow over Aerith's death? If it is guilt alone that motivates
Cloud, then why isn't his heart being "torn apart" by regret only? Why such sorrow over a mere "dead friend"?

By comparison, Cloud has no trouble at all visiting Zack's grave, the site where his best friend died trying to
protect him. This is a glaring indication that Aerith's death is much more difficult for Cloud to deal with than
Zack's. If Cloud's grief over Zack's death is equal to that of Aerith's death, then why is Cloud able to visit Zack's
grave, but not Aerith's? Why is it too painful for Cloud to be reminded of Aerith's death, but not Zack's? Why does
Cloud's heart get torn apart at the site of Aerith's death, but not Zack's? Why does the death/burial site of this
flower girl have such a profoundly painful impact on Cloud? After all, the death and burial site for his best friend
and mentor doesn't cause him this much pain and sorrow. Does this not indicate that Aerith is much more than a
friend to Cloud?

    f.
Tifa is jealous over Cloud's bond with Aerith two whole years after FFVII.

A close friend as well as rival?
The complicated emotions she feels towards Aerith.

Both of them share feelings for Cloud. Tifa was close to Aerith, who can also be called a love rival. With that point
in mind, they were also good friends.
Nevertheless, it is not hard to imagine that she carries complex
feelings as a woman toward Aerith, who had built up a special bond with Cloud that was different from
Tifa's
.

Tifa's complicated feelings continue even in AC, two years after Aerith had departed the world. This was
due to the fact that Cloud, succumbing to the notion that Aerith's death was his fault and condemning himself,
construed that Denzel was "the child which Aerith brought here" and took care of him. In addition, Cloud had also
gone away to the church that Aerith had been in. The thing which she is unable to hide her irritation towards Cloud
is the fact that he isn't merely dragging the past around, but because that reason might perhaps be related to Aerith.




















(Caption with picture above) AC: Upon knowing that Cloud had been residing in Aerith’s church after
leaving the place they had been living in together, her expression becomes complex
. (FFVII 10th
Anniversary Ultimania
, Tifa's profile)

If all Cloud was carrying around for Aerith was guilt, why would Tifa still have "complicated feelings" toward
Aerith for
TWO YEARS after Aerith is dead and gone? Why all of the jealousy over Cloud's bond with a dead
girl if all he feels for her is guilt???
And why the "complex" expression in regards to Cloud living in Aerith's
Church? If it's just about guilt and not something more, there is nothing complex about it, and there is certainly no
reason for her to feel threatened or jealous. However, if it is something more, she has plenty of reason to feel
jealous and to experience "complicated" or "complex" feelings about all of it. After all, she realizes Cloud is still in
love with Aerith and that his bond with Aerith far outweighs his bond with her [Tifa]. She has plenty of reasons to
still feel jealous of her "love rival" if Cloud is still in love with this rival.
Cloud's Guilt