Happiness

Disclaimer: I do not own Final Fantasy characters (Aerith, Cloud, Tifa)!

A/N: Italicized words are flashback!

I cheerfully swung my smooth legs back and forth as I soared higher and higher on the swings. The sun was slowly setting on the horizon, forming beautiful mixtures of yellow, orange, and red. Staring admirably at the heavens, I gradually stopped swinging. On this day, for the past five years, I've been coming to sit on this swing while gazing at the sky until midnight arrived. Today, I had on a angelic white dress – the dress I wore when he called me beautiful. I leaned my entire body backwards so that I was in a sleeping position, but I still held the metal chain handles tightly. I was afraid I'd fall again and this time he wouldn't be there to catch me. Closing my chestnut brown eyes, I let my long wavy black hair dangle down to touch the dirt. On this day, the memories always came back – always.

I had met him in high school and my first impression of him was "stoic jerk!". Every time I walked down the halls and passed him, he would pretend to accidentally knock me, making all my books scatter the floors. Of course, being me, I didn't say anything and just kneeled down to recollect my books. It was as though it bothered him that I wasn't pissed off because the next day he tried a new trick. Arriving at school only five minutes before class started, I quickly opened my locker to gather my books for my morning classes. As I was closing the locker door, I saw it. Sitting right at the bottom of my locker was a letter. Hearts decorated around my name on the envelope. I smiled for I had always been a deep believer of love. I delicately peeled of the heart shaped sticker that sealed the envelope and read the contents.

"Dear Tifa,

I have always admired you from far away. I really hope that you can meet me outside the west door after school today.

Secret Admirer"

Being the gullible girl, I waited at the west door for five whole hours. Harshly, I crumpled the letter and threw it on the floors before stomping my way home. The next day, I had been the center of attention. However, it was negative publicity because photos of me waiting outside the west door were hung at every corner of the school. The letter I had crumpled was photo copied and stuck into each classroom's mailbox. Confused, I began to take the things down when he walked over to me.

"Yo. Like my letter?" he mocked and smirked.

"CLOUD STRIFE! IT WAS YOU!?" I screamed as his smirk widened.

I landed a hard slap on his left cheek and ran home in tears. Love was a lie. The only time I was ever loved by someone was a lie. I had vowed for revenge on him one day. Constantly, I would pay close attention to what he did so that my revenge plan would go smoothly. It was then that I discovered he had a crush on my best friend, Aerith.

"I know your dirty little secret!" I sang into his ear as I passed him in the halls.

He grabbed my arm and dragged me to his side before saying, "What the heck are you saying?"

"Aerith!" I said in a high-pitched mocking voice.

Surprisingly, he asked me to help him capture Aerith's heart. Again, I must have been too kindhearted because I agreed to help him. What happened to the revenge? It was totally banished away. His devotion for Aerith was just too amazing – so amazing that I also fell in love with him in the process. Our relationship got closer; so close – too close. We were practically husband and wife. We did everything together; shared our happiness with each other.

"Teef! I love you!" Cloud screamed down the halls of the school before wrapping his arms around me tightly.

My heart tripled its speed and my cheeks blushed red. His words kept repeating in my mind for that split moment: "I love you!". He released me and kissed my right cheek prior to smiling.

"Do you know what happened?!" he said joyfully, "Aerith agreed to be my girlfriend! It's all thanks to you! Man, I love you so much Tifa!"

I stood still in place for a few moments before putting on my smile as I congratulated him. The truth was I couldn't breathe; I was dying. However, for every date with Aerith, he invited me to tag along. I declined politely, telling him I would be their light bulb but he insisted, so I obeyed. BIG MISTAKE. Aerith grew curious as to what our relationship actually was. Of course, I told her that Cloud and I were just big-brother-little-sister relation but I knew she didn't completely trust my answer. After that day, I never tagged along on their dates anymore, fearing that Aerith would be suspicious again. In fact, I tried avoiding Cloud completely. About a month later, Cloud ditched a date with Aerith to meet me by the swings.

"Tifa, why haven't you been hanging out with me anymore?" he asked worriedly while pushing me on the swings.

"Eh, you know. We're juniors already. It's about time I focus on school more so that I could get in a good college," I lied.

He stopped pushing my swings and walked around to come face to face with me, "You can't lie, Tifa."

"W-What do you mean? I wasn't lying," I responded nervously as I tried to revert my attention else where by swinging higher.

Cloud held the metal chains of my swing, forcing them to stop, "Stop lying. What happened?"

"Nothing. Eh, I have to go," I excused myself and walked off.

I stopped abruptly when a hand intertwined with mine and pulled me into an embrace. My head was placed under Cloud's chin and I could hear his every breath. His fingers tangled into my hair as he placed his lips on my forehead.

"I know something's bothering you. You can tell me anything, Teef," his voice muffled on my forehead.

"Anything?" I whispered.

"Anything," confirmed Cloud.

"I love you," I said in an almost inaudible voice.

I felt him halt his stroking of my hair and release me before examining me head to toe. Tears streamed down my eyes and I harshly turned away. Cloud continued staring at me with a blank expression that killed me. After a while, I forced on a smile and told him to go spend more time with Aerith or others would court her. Cloud shifted awkwardly and murmured an okay before leaving. After that day, we pretended as though we were strangers. Even when we bumped into each other on the streets, we would just casually walk off.

Two years later, Aerith came to deliver a message to me. I was shock, hurt, but happy. They were getting married. Why wouldn't I be happy? Smiling, I apologized to Aerith, lying that I had a midterm test to take. However, on the day of their marriage I stood outside the church and watched silently. I was a coward; I wasn't brave enough to watch them with the public. The music started as I closed my eyes and imagined I was Aerith. I kept my eyes closed during their vows letting warm liquid rushed down my pale face freely. STAB ONE. My eyes opened to see them exchange their rings. STAB TWO. Finally, the kiss; the kiss that fully killed me. STAB THREE. I smiled and left. This was going to be the last time seeing them.

Carefully, I let got of the chains and allowed my body balance on its own. Reopening my eyes, I realized it was already midnight. I pushed myself upright again and my fingers gracefully traced the swing – our swing.

"I love you," I whispered just like how I did every year.

Turning around, I headed for the nearby wishing well. Taking out a shiny coin, I clasped my small hands together with closed eyes. Swiftly, I threw it out of my hands and into the air. A splash was heard and I opened my eyes to see the coin land flat on the first layer of the fountain. The water rippled and I furrowed my eyebrows confusingly. Cautiously, I lifted my right hand to feel my cheeks. Tears cascaded down rapidly but I had a true smile plastered on my face. I was really happy – happy for them.