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They awoke much later and found themselves in some sort of cell. After checking themselves to see if they were alright (and Yuffie checked to make sure she had all her materia) they soon discovered Cloud was missing.

"Where do you think they took him?" asked Reeve.

"I don't know." said Red. Jenova mentioned something about an examination. I'm willing to guess that that's where he is."

Cid examined the wall of the cell they were in. It was made out of the same material that the homes were back at the Forgotten City. There was no opening, but the glow of the wall gave the perfect amount of light.

"Do you think we're in the Promised Land?" asked Tifa. She was sitting on the ground hugging her knees.

"The %*&# would I know?" asked Barret.

"I wonder what's happening to Cloud." said Vincent.
Cloud stood in the center of a large room. All around him were people seated at strange looking desks. Each person wore a robe of ivory coloring and looked over at him with curiousity.

"Tell us about this company of yours." commanded a voice.

"It wasn't mine." repeated Cloud, wishing they would understand that. "I only worked for it until they threw me out. They had injected people with Jenova cells, gave mako infusions, experimented on people.."

"Jenova cells." said another person as she exchanged troubled looks with the man who sat next to her, then back at Cloud. "Do you carry these cells yourself?"

"Yes." said Cloud and several people whispered to each other. "Jenova already noticed that."

"Why do you think you should be able to enter the Promised Land?" questioned another.

"What, do you people control the Land?" asked Cloud "Why are you asking all of these questions?"

"We monitor the entrances to our Land." answered the man who asked the previous question "We began this soon after your company took much life from here."

"It's not my company." said Cloud through his teeth, but he calmed down "In fact, my friends and I brought them down after kicking Sephiroth's butt and stopped meteor. What other reasons do you need to let us in?"

"We don't judge people by how many good things they've done, only by their heart." smiled a young woman. "Besides, only people with good hearts and strong mind are allowed in. In fact, many people who die show up here afterwards."

"Well, I find that kind of hard to believe that it's possible to look at somebody's heart." said Cloud.

The same woman laughed. "Not for us. We have been watching your heart ever since you were first brought before us. We know your thoughts revolve around a certain female friend of yours."

"I don't know what your talking about."

"Of course you do. You're thinking about her right now. You've always thought about her, hoping to impress her, earn her love."

"No I don't." defended Cloud but he felt his face beam bright red.

The woman smiled at him.
Tifa looked up as the wall seemed to make a moving noise. Suddenly a door opened up where there was no sign of one before, and Cloud walked in.

"Cloud!" said everyone in unison.

"Hey." said Cloud.

"What did they do to you?" asked Reeve.

"Questions." said Cloud "They asked me way too many questions."

"Like what?" asked Cid.

"About all of us, what our history is, personality, the works." said Cloud.

"And you told them?" asked Yuffie.

"Why wouldn't I? They could tell anyways. They told me what I was thinking." admitted Cloud.

"What were you thinking of?" asked Cid.

Cloud paused. "Jus' some things I was wondering about the questions."

The door opened again and the same woman who told Cloud of his thoughts stepped in.

"I'm sorry." she said "But it's time for another one of you. Miss Lockheart?" Tifa stepped up and they started walking down the hallway together. Cloud could hear them talking as the door closed."Hi my name is Diera.."
Finally everyone had gone through the examination, and they were so sick of it they were ready to turn back and face the shambles of the world they tried to leave behind. It wasn't getting much better ever since the destruction of Shinra. In some ways, it was getting worse. Cities fought for control over the others, many close people were dead, including Aeris, and they couldn't get over the memories.

Eventually they were all brought into the large room. Even though none of them would admit it, they felt a lot safer when everyone else was there.

"Even after all the questions, we still haven't come to a conclusion. In some ways, you are more than welcome to enter, but in other ways, we feel we should turn you away. Maybe there isn't something we haven't covered. Is there anyway you can prove you can stay here? Is there anyone who can speak for you?" said Diera.

"I'm afraid the only ones who can speak for us are ourselves." said Red sadly. They put all their hopes on being able to start new lives. Tifa lowered her head and wiped a tear away. They were going to be tossed away. What kind of 'Promised Land' was this?

Diera nodded sympathetically. "Then I'm afraid you won't be allowed to.."

"Wait!" called a voice from the entrance. All eyes averted to this sudden distraction.

A female figure stepped in, wearing the same ivory robe as Diera and the others but the hood was up and her face hidden.

"I can speak for them." she said "These people are more than qualified than ever to enter our land. Can't you see it? They've all got great hearts, no matter how deeply they try to hide them."

"Very well." smiled Diera. "You people are allowed in. Welcome to your new home."

The group cheered as Diera left with the others but the strange woman still stood in her spot. Cloud gave Tifa a hug so strong he could've given Barret a lesson or two. After a while, they quieted down and faced this stranger who hanged their lives.

"Thank you," said Cloud "What is your name?"

They could see her smiling at them. Slowly she pulled her hood down and they found themselves looking into the face of a beloved old friend.

"Aeris?" asked Tifa and Aeris nodded, a tear of happiness running down her cheek.

"Welcome home." she said.


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