- “Aerith: My hero!
Cloud: Never a dull moment with you.
Aerith: That a compliment?”
- — Cloud after saving Aerith.
Both Cloud and Aerith are two of the main characters in the Final Fantasy VII trilogy, along with both of them having their own kind of links to Shinra and Zack Fair. Even after her death Aerith still has a huge impact and role in the game through Cloud, as she helps him and the others within the Lifestream, where she watches over him from.
Final Fantasy VII
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Cloud first met Aerith shortly after he arrives in Midgar, where he had bout some flowers from her. Their paths later crossed with each other again when Cloud falls into the Sector 5 Church and wakes up to find Aerith standing over him, after she wakes him up. After they both told each other's names Aerith asks Cloud to be Her Bodyguard, Cloud agrees for a date as a reward, to which both agree to, as they have it at the Golden saucer (one of the options in the game). Aerith opens up to Cloud a lot before she asks him if he enjoys her company and says that she hopes that they can do it again. Cloud also has a dream of his Mother, where she tells Cloud to find a older woman that would take care of him (referring to Aerith as she is one year older than him), Cloud says he’s not interested in a relationship at the moment and the dream ends.
When Cloud and his party finally found Aerith prying to obtain Holy for them in Forgotten City, something inside Cloud forces him to nearly attack Aerith if it wasn't for their friends snapping him out of it. Shortly after Aerith looks up at Cloud, Sephiroth kills her before Cloud could do anything to save her. Cloud holds Aerith in his arms as he demands Sephiroth to tell him why he killed her, only to have Sephiroth brush Cloud's outrage off before he has Jenova∙LIFE attack them. After Cloud and his attending party members defeated that part of Jenova, Cloud watches his friends morn Aerith's death before he picks up her body and lays her to rest in a near by pool of water.
Even though Cloud is deeply saddened by the lose of Aerith, he continues his journey to find her killer. On the way he stumbles across the place that was once home to Aerith's parents before she and her mother were captured by Hojo, after he killed her father. Through the recording Aerith's parents had made, Cloud gets a better understanding of what Meteor is and why Sephiroth wants to summon it.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
Years later, Aerith's death still haunts Cloud as he feels guilty for not doing anything to prevent her death from happening as she was killed in front of him. He drifts away from his friends and instead chooses to live in Aerith's church, right beside her flower bed.
When Cloud had found the orphan boy Denzel by his motorbike, Fenrir, he felt that Aerith was the one who had led Denzel to it so he'll be able to help the boy; by taking him in instead of leaving Denzel at a hospital. Along with searching for a cure for Denzel's and possibly his own Geostigma illness. As a spiritual avatar of the Lifestream, Aerith's possible presence in the Sector 5 Church could have been what healed both Cloud and Tifa as they lay in its flowers. Aerith later visits Cloud in a vision as he rides to the Forgotten City to rescue Denzel and the rest of the children. He tells her of his refusal to move on from her death along with his failed attempt to cure Denzel, as well as how he felt about failing to save her life when he tells Aerith that he wants to be forgiven, to which had gotten Aerith to ask him, "By who?", but when Cloud turns to see her, the vision ends.
Aerith did, however, leave a reassuring message to him on his phone that says that she never blamed him for her death, as the phone shank into a pool of water. During the battle against Bahamut SIN, Cloud is consumed in its attack, and amid the fireball where he has another vision of Aerith, who takes his outstretched hand and transfers enough energy to him to cut through Bahamut's attack and destroy it. While Aerith's spiritual connection within the Lifestream itself has her using her Limit Break ability, Great Gospel, to infuse parts of the Lifestream with water so she could cure Cloud's Geostigma illness, along with the other victims of it.
After Cloud defeated Kadaj and had ended up in a white void where he hears a woman's voice. Cloud mistook it as his mother's voice, to which she and Zack joke about it before sending Cloud's spirit back to the living world, since it wasn't his time to die yet. As Cloud uses the church's floated water that was left by the rain that Aerith created from within the Lifestream, it cures Denzel and the rest of the reused children of the Geostigma, along with the other victims that weren't present at the short healing drizzle.
In the middle of everyone celebrating, Cloud's eyes sweep over the happy moments around him, before abruptly stops when he sees Aerith's spirit as she spoke with one of the children next to the entrance. Time slows down, and with a stunned expression (eyes get larger, jaw slightly drops), Cloud sees her getting up on her feet before walking to the light-filled doorway where Zack waits, but not before she turns to give Cloud a warm smile and tells him that everything is alright, which brought Cloud peace. Cloud's last line is "I know. I'm no longer alone." with a full and genuine smile at last.
Aerith's spirit continues to watch over Cloud, as she stands in among the fields of flowers while he got on his motorcycle as he rides through the countryside.
Final Fantasy VII Remake
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While there are a few differences between the original and remake of Final Fantasy VII, the bond Cloud forms with Aerith remains the same.
Cloud and Aerith meet first time at Loveless Avenue in sector 8, where she tries to sell flowers. Cloud noticed that there is something strange at girl, she flail air around her likes trying to drive something away. Then Cloud get vision of of Sephrioth, who says he can’t protect anyone.
Cloud then hears Aerith voice that bring him back. Unlike OG this time Aerith wants to give Cloud a flower, not matter what Cloud does.
Aerith tells Cloud that lovers give these flowers when they were reunited.
Then suddenly Aerith starts to flail air again and touches Cloud. That moment they see shadow figures, these things start to attack them, at same time group of guards arrive and Aerith runs away shadows after her.
Later back in sector 7 under-city, at Seventh Heaven bar, Cloud wonders the flower what is now at display on the bar. Cloud wonders what was up that girl.
They next meeting is at Aerith’s church, when Cloud falls there after bombing of Mako reactor 5. There Cloud learns Aerith’s name. Cloud also have other vision of Aerith, but brush it off.
But they are interrupt by Reno who has come to get Aerith. Aerith ask Cloud to be his bodyguard, when Cloud says it cost her, Aerith anwers that one date should be enough.
Cloud fights off guards and Reno, but then shadow figures intervene and take them away.
Cloud and Aerith walk across rooftops where Aerith starts tease little at Cloud. Where they are almost at the end Cloud jumps down but Aerith fall, but Cloud catch her at his arms, Aerith’s thanks him.
Aerith then lead Cloud trough the slums of sector 5, they avoid Rude and go back alleys. Aerith ask who Cloud give the flower, Cloud says he can’t remember, Aerith teses him for lying.
When they arrive Aerith house, Cloud meet Aerih’s mother Elymra. Aerith promises to guide Cloud back to sector 7, but they decide wait until next day.
At meantime Cloud follows Aerith when she shows Cloud the slums. They help group of children safely back. But when black robed man appears Cloud has again vision of Sephrioth, Aerith takes his hand and ask her to keep it together.
Cloud starts to take jobs from people of the slums, Aerith mostly is quiet and follows what Cloud is doing. People of slums start to give more mission to Cloud and start to the attention from people. Finally he finish all jobs and people start to respect him.
When they go back to Aerith house, Rude is there waiting for Aerith. He challenged Cloud at the fight when he notice that he was the one who beat up Reno.
Aerith tries to stop Cloud from fighting, but eventually helps him. Rude was forced to leave.
Then Aerith goes to garden and Cloud watches how she interact with flowers in her garden. This does make Cloud to ask her about it.
When Aerith goes upstairs to prepare guestroom for Cloud. Elmyra ask Cloud to leave without Aerith. Cloud was taken aback by this and stays silent. When Aerith gets back she noticed something has happen.
At that night Cloud has dream about her mother Claudia, how she wanted to him to find good girl, mature, little older, who would look that he would stay straight and narrow. Also would say if he would be silly. Cloud wakes up and goes downstairs. Elmyra is downstairs and ask that Cloud does to speak Aerith again, Cloud leaves leaves house and start his lonely walk towards sector 7.
When he is almost out of sector 5, he run into Aerith who is waiting for him. Cloud accepts her company and ask her lead the way. Aerith happily accepts and start to walk away. That moment Cloud has vision on something and cries single tear, quickly he hides this from Aerith.
Aerith lead Cloud to back route to sector 7 and avoid going through the Wall Market. As they make they way through tunnel Aerith start to get Cloud little bit out of him cold mercenary act. They cooperation start to improve during trip, when they fight through monsters and bandits.
Eventually they get to Sector 6 park right next to door to sector 7. There Aerith make Cloud to take a break. When they sit together, Aerith tells Cloud that she had first love that was once a SOLDIER like Cloud.
Then Aerith shows hidden route to sector 7. But now when is time to separate came neither of them does not want to do it. Cloud even want escort Aerith back home, not wanting leave her go back herself. Aerith reassures him that she have backup route. That moment Cloud realized that Aerith took this route that they could spend more time with together.
Just when Cloud was about to leave carriage came through sector 7 gates and Cloud noticed that Tifa is there and she is wearing a dress. Tifa says that Cloud should to return to sector 7, when she go to meet don Corneo, so Cloud let’s her go.
But Aerith insists that Cloud should not let Tifa go alone to crime lord Don Corneo den. So Cloud and Aerith continue to Wall Market. There they find out Tifa is select to be bride candidate to Don Corneo. Aerith suggest that she also tries to get be candidate, even Cloud is reluctant he accepts Aerith plan. Aerith and Cloud find out way to get Aerith in but Cloud have to win a fight at the local Corneo Colosseum. There Aerith insists fight his side. First audience is fond of this “battle-couple”, but after several battles audience start cheer up to them and after tough fights they are crowned as champions.
When Cloud goes to do some jobs, Aerith goes to change into dress and get approval of Madam M, to be candidate of Corneo's bride. Thought Cloud start to worry that this might be to dangerous.
Then crowd has started to gather, when it parts Cloud see Aerith at stunning red dress, stunned for the sight, Cloud could only stare when Aerith comes to greet him. Aerith smiles when she sees Cloud reaction at her dress.
Then Aerith tells that she had plan how to get Cloud come with her, into Corneo manssion. Cloud follows and finds out he have to take part dance performance in Honey Bee Inn, he is about leave, but then he noticed Aerith cheering for him and changed his mind. Cloud put his best on the dance floor. Aerith cheers for him. After that Cloud was put a makeup and into a dress. Aerith was more then stunned what she saw.
After that they get in Corneo Mansion to meet Don Corneo and save Tifa. They managed get to Tifa and find out that Shinra was going to drop sector 7 plate. Don Corneo dropped them from trapdoor to sewers. They fight they way to surface, but at the train graveyard ghostly creature Eligor captured Aerith. Eligor torments Aerith with her painful memories, but Cloud and Tifa managed to find her in time.
They managed to get sector 7 just when Shinra was about drop the plate of sector 7. Tifa asked Aerith to find Marlena and get her into safety, after that she runs after Cloud. Aerith managed to find Marlena, but Turks learder Tseng finds her.
Shinra managed to drop the plate, but Cloud, Tifa and Barret manage to escape and find out that Aerith is captured. Cloud takes Barret and Tifa with him and they head Aeriths house to see if Marlena is there and tell Elmyra that Shinra has her daughter.
There they find out that Marlena is safe. Elmyra tell that Aerith is an ancient, that is why Shinra wanted her. Elymra, Tifa and Barret stop Cloud to go after Aerith then and there, reasoning that Shinra would not treat her badly be course she had be came voluntarily.
Group returns remains of sector 7 and finds out underground Shinra lab and Wedge who is still alive. When they return cloud is more determent to save Aerith, be course he seen what had happen in the lab and Aerith fate would not be kind. Elmyra still refuses and ask that they all would rest.
At night Cloud wakes when he hear someone downstairs, when he goes the garden he finds Aerith waiting for him. Cloud realize he is some kind of dream. Aerith says she sorry to make Cloud worry, she is also thankful all time and memories she and Cloud made. Saying Cloud make her more happy then he knows.
Then she warns Cloud not fall in love with her. Cloud is taken back by this and wants to have his say on this matter. When Aerith starts to vanish, Cloud says he will come for her.
Morning Cloud ask third time permission from Elmyra to go after Aerith, this time others support him as well. Elmyra then ask them to bring her daughter back.
After this Cloud main goal is to get to Aerith. He makes deal Corneos henchman even others doubtful. When they towards the plate and he reminds others they goal and avoid unnecessary fights. He is now taken role as a leader of the group.
When they finally get in to Shinra building and with help from inside they get to listen board meeting. Cloud listen with cold fury when he hear that Shinra intends to use Aerith as a breeder. But he focus on getting Aerith out. Finally after several fight they get to Aerith and start to make they escape. Thought thing get complicate when Avalance strikes into building and Sephrioth appears.
Eventually they got into roof, president Shinra was killed by Seprhioth. Almoust soon after battle they escape helicopter was shot down. Then Rufus Shinra arrive. Cloud ask Barret to take Aerith to safety, when he buys them time to escape.
They managed to get out building and escape pursuers. At end of road Sephrioth appears and open gate. Aerith ask all of them to help and challenge the fate. Cloud agrees to Aerith’s request.
They win but now future is uncertain and unknown journey begins. Mayby this Cloud can change Aeriths fate and save her.
Final Fantasy VII: Remake
- Cloud and Aerith meet in the familiar Loveless Street. Note that shortly before they meet, the song "Promised Land" from Advent Children plays.
- Cloud is (perhaps) the only one who gets visions of Aerith's death. Visions of the future occur throughout; Cloud's most recurring are of Aerith's death and his reaction is consistently focused on.
- Cloud mysteriously lies to Aerith, when she asks to whom he gave the flower that she gave to him, answering that he doesn't remember.
Note : if the player interacts with the flower in the bar, Cloud's mind goes back to his and Aerith's meeting, and to Aerith herself (most likely referring to her quirk). Though he only knows her as "that girl".
- Elmyra, Aerith's mother, is most likely the only stranger he's polite with (he bows to the old woman).
- Cloud insists that he's an EX-Soldier when Elmyra (Aerith's mother) outwardly says she disapproves of Cloud due to his occupation (SOLDIER). He then bits his lip from continuing the argument when he sees Aerith coming down from the 2nd floor.
- During the night in Aerith's house, Cloud has a dream of his mother, where she tells him the perfect type of girl that she thinks is perfect for him : "An older, more mature girl that could keep you on the straight and narrow. And tell you when you're being a silly goose." Aerith is 1 year older than him.
- Moreover, Claudia has a fairly assertive woman in mind. One who will challenge many of Cloud's tendencies and habits; rather than only follow his lead. Aerith fits these criteria very well. As she ignores Cloud's posturing's and pushes him to do the right thing frequently. And, owing to her foreknowledge, takes advising him and his "journey" seriously.
- Cloud and Aerith both show a sad, bittersweet expression when they have to separate in Midori park. Cloud asks her whether she's okay to go home, to which Aerith teasingly replies "What if I'm not?", so he then says he will escort her back; immediately making a move to go back from where they came.
- A trophy titled "Reunion" is acquired when a player completes Chapter 8. A reference to her giving a flower symbolizing reunion (of lovers) in their first meeting. Cloud and Aerith's iconic second meeting in her church happens in Chapter 8 for context.
Note : the title of Chapter 8 itself is "Reunion Flower" in Japanese, French, and Italian languages. Meanwhile, in English, the title of chapter 8 is "Budding Bodyguard". Most likely a play on the phrase "budding romance".
- Cloud and Aerith win the Corneo Colosseum, together, with the audience cheering for them. Scotch and Kotch verbally hype the pair with at least 16 different couple nicknames.
- Aerith's Wall Market dresses all include a cutscene where Cloud reacts to them, even appreciatively. From the "best" original timeline red dress that shows him openly gawking at her, to the "worst" dress (for which Aerith has more complaints than he does).
- In the "worst scene" Cloud (really, the player) is quizzed if they really did their best by Aerith. Before the "best" dress reveal, a character named Madame M congratulates Cloud (and the player) for helping the people of Sector 5. This framing of the original timeline dress as a reward suggests it's the preferred or superior outcome.
- Cloud is the first, and initially only, one to insist on rescuing Aerith in Shinra HQ and he dreams of Aerith at the same night. He asks her whether she's okay, and when she starts fumbling and showing distressed expression, he assures her that they should embrace the moment.
- Cloud looks upset when Aerith says he shouldn't fall in love with her. When Aerith is in the middle of removing her hand from his face, Cloud quickly tries to grab it to no avail. He grumbles and clenches his fist in annoyance when he finds that his hand can't physically touch her.
- He then voices his disagreement regarding her statement, asking whether he has a say in that decision. She smiles sadly, before saying she is grateful to have met him and that she cherishes every moment they spent together. Cloud then declares that he is coming for her (in Japanese, he said "mukae ni iku")
- As relevant trivia, Cloud speaks 11 lines in Ch. 14 scene with Aerith. That's almost 3x more than the number of lines he speaks in other scenes (Barret's and Tifa's).
- The dream with Aerith is the only Chapter 14 resolution scene that appears in the Credits montage.
- Besides the credits, the song "Hollow" only plays in Sector 5 (Aerith's home sector). Hollow's lyrics, while perhaps not the sole breadth of the song's meaning, are seen to embody Aerith most of all.
Final Fantasy VII: Advent Children
- Cloud leaves the team and chooses to live in Aerith's church alone, with a poor makeshift bed and a lantern as the only source of light, right beside Aerith's flower bed.
- Cloud knew that the Geostigma cure was from Aerith.
- An iconic scene where the two of them stand back to back in a vision. In Advent Children Complete Cloud is given a similar scene with Zack. However with Aerith he has a furtive and vulnerable mood, particularly as Aerith gingerly feels his side, while with Zack he has more confidence and appears resolute with no further contact between them.
- When Sephiroth asks Cloud what he cherishes the most so that he can have the pleasure of taking it away, Aerith appears first and more often than other characters.
- Aerith's spirit touches Cloud's forehead in the white void.
- At the end of Advent Children, Cloud says that he no longer feels alone. That implies that the whole time prior to this, he does feel alone.
Kingdom Hearts (series)
- Aerith greets Cloud, when he joins her and the others in Hollow Bastion's library.
Kingdom Hearts II
- When Cloud is about to leave, he tells Aerith that he doesn't want her involved. Aerith understands. Then he promises her that no matter how far he goes, he'll always be back. Aerith is the only one to whom Cloud makes such a promise to in the KH series.
Kingdom Hearts HD 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue
- In the credits roll, Cloud and Aerith is the only pairing shown in romantic montage. They're also the only representation from Final Fantasy series.
Cloud/Aerith has been extremely popular since 1997. It is a popular Final Fantasy VII ship and one of the most popular ships in the entire series. It is considered a "rival ship" to Cloud/Tifa. Both ships have had evidence and materials to support them, although the fandom ship wars are ongoing.
Since some brief Clerith moments were seen in the Kingdom Hearts series, a small group of fans base their fanwork on their KH counterparts. Due to the color of Aerith's brown hair and Cloud's blue eye, as well as the spiky style of his blond hair, it inspired a few KH Clerith fans to feature them as Sora and Roxas' parents, for fun.
On AO3, Clerith is the fourth most written ship for Cloud and the second most written ship for Aerith; with over 680 fanfics.
Clerith is the fifth most written ship in the Final Fantasy VII and Compilation of Final Fantasy VII tags and the second most written ship in the Final Fantasy VII Remake tag.
- Cloud/Aerith tag on AO3
- Cloud/Aerith (FFVII) tag on FanFiction.net
- Cloud/Aerith (KH) tag on FanFiction.net
- Cloud/Aerith (Dissidia) tag on FanFiction.net
- A few Clerith-like moments were seen in the Kingdom Hearts series.
- Aerith's death, including Cloud holding Aerith in his arms before he lays her to rest in the water, is considered to be one of the most memorable moments in Final Fantasy history.
- Cloud's crystal in the Dissidia Final Fantasy series takes the form of the Light/Holy Materia that Aerith created to help Cloud and their friends in their task, before her death causes it to fall into the water.
- Many of Yoshitaka Amano's sketches for Final Fantasy VII are of Cloud and Aerith together.
- Clerifa refers to the ship between Tifa Lockhart, Cloud and Aerith
|SHIPS||het||Clerith • CloLight • Cloti • Highspecs • HopuRai • Lightis • Noctluna • Raire • Squaerith • Squinoa • Snerah • SnowRai • Tiduna • Zerith|
|slash||Clack • Nocloud • Sefikura • Strifehart • Strifentine|
|femslash||Aerti • FLight • Lightifa • VanLight|
|CHARACTERS||m/f||Cloud Strife • Lightning Farron|