Disclaimer: I don't own Final Fantasy 7 or any of its characters. Life is so unfair.
Author's Note: Man...I'm kind of nervous. I hope the Final Fantasy critics are as nice as the Naruto critics. So here's the scoop. This is the first Final Fantasy story I've created. I think it turned out okey dokey. So, I hope you like it. I was sick today, so I spent the ENTIRE day writing this. The Naruto fans will probably hate me for not updating Changing Tune, but I just felt inclined to write this piece. I've been a fan of Final Fantasy ever since I played FFX...don't look at me like that...I know there's a lot of controversy about which is the best Final Fantasy game. I've only ever played FFX and FFXII, but I do believe FFVII is the best one. Anyway I don't want to start a debate, so on with the fic! That's if you haven't already skipped the Author's Note. lol. If you did read the author note. Thanks for caring. That's it, Enough of my ramble. Let's Mosey!
"I've got another delivery today."
Tifa looked over at Cloud questioningly from her dishwashing. "I thought you said you wouldn't have another delivery until Tuesday?"
"It was a last minute call," Cloud replied bluntly.
"Well, when will you be back?" Tifa asked as Cloud.
"…I don't know," Cloud paused.
Something in Cloud's voice unsettled her. She could only watch silently as he got up from the bar stool and made his way for the door.
"I…see...so you're leaving again," Tifa replied tilting her head down.
Cloud's footsteps faultered for a second, but resumed it's due course for the study.
The beautiful brunette could only watch silently as the blonde spiky-haired SOLDIER walked out of the room. She followed him slowly before peaking her head in the door. He had the 'family' picture in his hands. She couldn't help but notice the fleeting smile that was on his lips. It was soon replaced by a frown, however, as he set the picture down like it had burned him. He made his way hastily out of the room, brushing past Tifa like she wasn't there. He had started to walk towards the door when said door burst open and Denzel and Marlene came barreling in.
"CLOUD!" The children exclaimed before proceeding to hug him excitedly. They were barraging him with questions. Tifa would have thought it was cute, how helpless Cloud looked, if it wasn't for the situation.
"Alright kids, leave Cloud alone, he has to make another delivery," Tifa said over the children's interrogation.
Denzel, if it was possible, seemed to be more excited. "Can I come too, Cloud? I'll be really good!
Cloud shook his head putting his hand over Denzel's head affectionately. "Not today, Denzel."
Denzel lowered his head in a childish pout. Cloud ruffled his hair before walking out the door, pulling it closed as he left.
Tifa looked towards the kids. "Why don't you two go upstairs and work on your homework?" Tifa asked, "Okay?"
The children sighed before begrudgingly ascending the staircase.
Tifa walked outside the Seventh Heaven. Cloud had just put his goggles on and started the bike when she found him.
"So, that's it then?" She asked, "You're leaving again."
"I thought you had stopped running." She cut him off. "What's wrong with us?"
Cloud was silent.
"I thought…you, me, Denzel, and Marlene…we could finally be a family…" Tifa said quietly, the few tears she couldn't hold back were beginning to fall down her beautiful face. "I guess…I got my hopes up."
Cloud remained silent.
"I'm sorry," he said.
Cloud revved up the engine of his motorcycle before speeding away, leaving Tifa alone in front of the Seventh Heaven.
Tifa turned back towards the door; Denzel and Marlene were looking at the sight with sad looks on their faces.
"Tifa, is Cloud coming back?" Marlene asked.
Wiping away the tears that had fallen, Tifa replied quietly, "I'm not sure, Marlene."
It was just as he remembered it. A solemn patch of dirt located on the edge of a plateau overlooking the ravine. The buster sword lay to rest in the ground.
"So, What are you doing out here?"
Cloud turned his head towards the voice, but no one was there. He turned his head back around, a wolf was now sitting near the sword overlooking the ravine below.
Cloud blinked, and, in that instant, the wolf was replaced with a man leaning against the sword, his leg propped on the edge of the plateau. The man raised his hand to remove a strand of his long, spiky black hair from his eyesight. He wore a standard SOLDIER uniform, and radiated of confidence.
"Zack…?" Cloud questioned.
Zack smiled up at his long lost friend. "What? Don't tell me you've forgotten me already," he said jokingly.
Cloud looked away. Zack laughed, causing Cloud to look back up.
"You feel lighter, but not light enough," Zack stated. "Right?"
Cloud nodded. Zack laughed again, shaking his head back and forth before looking back towards the ravine. Zack's laughter eventually died down, but when it did Zack adopted a more serious face.
"Cloud," Zack said. "You need to loosen up. There are a lot of people in this world, like you, who carry regret for the sins they have committed. But unlike them, you've been forgiven. Why do you keep burdening yourself?"
Cloud looked down ashamedly. A silent tear fell down onto the dusty plateau.
"I don't deserve what I've been given. I let you down. I couldn't save you. I couldn't protect Aerith," Cloud replied bitterly.
Zack's features softened as he stood up and slowly walked over to Cloud. Zack patted Cloud on the shoulder before ruffling Cloud's hair.
"Cheer up, I don't blame you. There was nothing you could do. So don't worry about it," Zack said. "You don't have to live out both our lives. My life is over. You can't go through life half dead, so live your own life."
"But...How can I do that?" Cloud asked.
"I can't tell you how to live your life Cloud." Zack laughed. "But a good start would be to go home."
Cloud remained silent before replying, "Then, I'll go home."
Zack nodded but paused when Cloud tossed a delivery package toward him. Zack was about to ask, but stopped when he realized that Cloud had already sped off. Zack looked over the delivery package before opening it. Inside were a dozen flowers from Aerith's church.
Zack smiled and laughed at the gesture. "That's just like Cloud, too embarrassed to admit he cares." Zack stopped laughing, but the smile stayed on his face. "Thank you, Cloud."
Just as Zack thanked him, the flowers fell from his hands and scattered around his old sword. And Zack Fair dissipated back into the Lifestream.
Cloud drove up to the Seventh Heaven and parked silently. Cloud walked up to the bar slowly. For all of the battles he had fought, this battle was the hardest to face. With an undeniable amount of courage, he opened the door to the bar.
The bell rang loudly, alerting the residents that there was a visitor. No turning back now.
"Be with you in a minute!" Tifa hollered from the other room. Cloud went up to the bar and took his usual seat. Luckily he had made it back before the dinner crowd had gathered. In fact, it was only three hours ago that he had left.
"Seventh Heaven, can I—"
Tifa took one look at her customer before going pale. She looked as though she had seen a ghost. Neither of them spoke for the longest time. Surprisingly, Cloud was the first to speak.
"So did I—miss dinner?"
Tifa finally seemed to get a hold on the situation. "No, I was just fixing it."
Cloud nodded. Another long stretch of silence passed. Finally, Cloud decided to say what needed to be said.
"I'm sorry, I just—"
Tifa pushed her finger to his lips. "It's ok. I know."
"Then, will you have me back?" Cloud asked.
Tifa smiled before leaning over the bar and looking in his face, "Not without a lecture."
Cloud smiled. "I think I can handle that."
And, in that moment, Cloud's burdens were finally lifted. He no longer felt the regret or pain. Because when his lips met Tifa's, those feelings were washed away. He could now look forward to the life that Zack had presented to him. His life with Tifa.
Author's Note: Short but Sweet...with ANGST. Thanks for reading. I know there are a lot of mechanical errors. English...not my best subject. But tell me if you see any, because one of these days I'll go back and re-edit it. Oh, and PLEASE REVIEW. Can't say that enough. I like reviews. If you have questions about the story...I can try to fill in the blanks. If you think the characters were OOC, then tell me and I will try better next time. This story is different on a lot of levels for me. It's fluffy...unlike my other story so far. Oh and THIS IS IMPORTANT! I put updates every now and then on my profile page so YOU KNOW WHAT I'M WORKING ON. It will be helpful in helping you get to know the author and/or knowing when you can expect an update from your favorite fic. Anyway I hope you liked this fic. Later