Emotions Run Dry
The members of Avalanche all watched in suspense and fascination as the green fingers of light swirled from the depths of the Planet on a collision course with Meteor and Holy. All knew that Holy wasn't doing the job, that it alone wasn't powerful enough to destroy the evil powers of Meteor, and when the Lifestream sprung from the ground, hope was again renewed. As the swirling energy reached Meteor, a blinding and incandescent light was emitted, brighter than a hundred suns and more intense then a nuclear fireball. The anxious few onboard the Highwind turned their heads at the brilliance, only to miss Meteor being shattered and fragmented before their eyes.
"Look!" shouted Red XIII. "The power of the Lifestream and Holy combined is destroying Meteor."
"Holy alone wasn't powerful enough to kill an evil such as Meteor." replied Cloud. "But Aeris' prayer wasn't unanswered; not only was Holy summoned, but her returning to the Planet gave her control of the Lifestream, which effects we are obviously seeing now. She's using the Lifestream to assist Holy."
Tifa looked down at the sound of Aeris' name. Coming from Cloud's lips, that name cut through her like a hot knife. Did he love Aeris? Tifa knew she could never hate Aeris, even if Cloud had chosen her over herself; she was her best friend. But she still loved Cloud more than he could ever know, and that she was still living and right here in front of him. She wasn't optimistic, however. Deep down, she knew she would never have the courage to tell Cloud how she truly felt, and she assumed the same about him. If only I could tell him everythingâ¦â¦â¦
With one extraordinarily intense explosion and a blinding flash of light, Meteor, Holy, and the Lifestream had vanished. The Lifestream and Holy had returned to the Planet; Meteor had been annihilated out of existence.
"Holy @%$#! We did it, can you believe it?!" Cid exclaimed.
In unison, all the members of Avalanche let out a sigh of relief in achieving their long, hard fought goal. Sephiroth was dead. Jenova was dead. Meteor was destroyed. The Planet was saved. They were finally victorious. All of them. Except one.
Tifa had silently slipped away from the huge celebration now going on in the conference room of the ship, and had retreated to the main deck outside. She gazed out at the stars which were shining unusually bright that night, and thinking how they reminded her of Cloud's eyes. "I could stare into those beautiful eyes all day," she thought.
"Hey, has anybody see Tifa?" Cloud asked. Apparently no one had heard him since they all kept up their loud chatter and heavy drinking. Since Meteor had been destroyed in the few hours since then, Barret and Cid had invited a ton of people onto the Highwind for a victory celebration. Reeve, in the flesh, was there. Since Shinra is now no more, everyone trusts him a great deal. He was, after all, an executive in their second most hated enemy: the Shinra. Cloud looked around the room full of people once more for her, but in vain. "I've got to find her, it's now or never," he thought. "I'm going to tell her how I feel even if it kills me. Aeris helped me realize how much I really do care about Tifa, and I'm not gonna let that go to waste." What Cloud had seen which no one else had as Meteor was being destroyed was a person who he thought he was deeply in love with, a person who was responsible for all his grief and personal hate for his failure to protect her: Aeris. She appeared to him onboard the Highwind with the Lifestream and had spoken to him.
"It's me Cloud, I'm here, but I don't have much time."
"Aeris, God I've missed you so much, I'm so sorry Aeris, no words can make up for me letting you die. I've failed you Aeris, I failed to protect----"
"Shhh, Cloud, its ok. I forgive you, and no it's not your fault. If I hadn't have died, my prayer would not have reached the Planet, and Meteor would've killed everyone."
"Aeris, I love you."
"I love you too, Cloud, but you know we can't be together in life, because I've returned to the Planet, and I've found my Promised Land and been reunited with my mother, Ifalna. But there is someone right there next to you Cloud who loves you more than you will know. Someone who was always there for you, and will continue to always be there for you."
"Yes. Go to her, Cloud. She loves you unconditionally and wants nothing more than for you to love her as well."
"But Aeris, I don't know if I love her that way. I met you and I experienced feelings that I have never felt before. I think it is you I want to be with."
"Cloud, I have returned to Planet. You know I can't be with you, even though I want to."
"I'm delighted that you've found your Promised Land, Aeris. I really am glad to see you finally happy and at peace. And I was right. I did finally meet you."
"Thank you, Cloud, and I'm overjoyed to have seen and spoken with you one last time. Remember Cloud, Tifa loves you, and you should love her back. That's the one thing I ask out of you. I want you to love her Cloud and keep her safe always. Will you promise me that one thing?"
"I promise, Aeris, I will."
"Goodbye Cloud. Remember, I will always be with you in spirit, and I will see you once again when you return to the Lifestream as well."
With that, Aeris had faded off, and Cloud was returned to reality with a hard smack on the back from an overjoyed Barret exclaiming that they had finally won. Cloud was left to his thoughts, looking back on every memory he had of Tifa, and slowly it had come to him that it was her that he truly loved. She had always been there for him, in the hospital in Mideel, and at the train station in Midgar. He knew that he owed it to her, to return her love that she so graciously and unconditionally gave to him. He was going to tell her...
"I could end this pain right now." Tifa said aloud. "The ground a thousand feet below could be the answer to this." She knew she would never be able to live with herself knowing that she had lost her only love to a dead girl. "I'm sorry Aeris, but I guess I will always be second best to you," she said to herself.
"Tifa, are you out here?"
Oh, that voice, thought Tifa. The voice she had been head over heels for since childhood. Immediately, her heart began to pound in her chest as she slowly turned around.
"I'm over here." she shouted back.
Cloud looked over and saw her standing at the railing, facing him with a half smile on her face. She is so beautiful thought Cloud. As he stood there, he began to examine all of her physical features which only made him love her more. Her velvet soft skin, her long, flowing, raven black hair, her gorgeous crimson eyes, and her mountainous breasts.
As he walked over to where she was standing, she turned her back to him, unable to look him in the face for fear and uncertainty of his expression. He stood right behind her; she could feel his warm breath on the top of her head. It was enough to stop her heart where it beat.
"The stars really are beautiful tonight, aren't they?" asked Cloud.
"Yeah, they are." replied Tifa. "I wonder which one is Aeris." Tifa was tyring to get a reaction out of him so she could know for sure how he felt about her.
"I think Aeris has found her Promised Land, but not in the sky, in the Lifestream."
"How do you know?" Tifa asked.
"I can feel it; I believe she has found supreme happiness, for which I am grateful." Cloud replied, not letting Tifa know that he actually spoke to Aeris only a few hours earlier.
There was long pause which seemed like an eternity, before Tifa finally managed to say almost inaudibly, "You loved her, didn't you?" She held her breath for the few seconds it took for him to answer her.
"I did love her, yes, but more like a sister than anything else." Cloud coolly replied.
Tifa shut her eyes tight and breathed a sigh of relief. Only like a sister he said she thought. All the muscles in her body became suddenly tense as she felt his arms slide around her waist. His touch alone took her breath away and caused her heart to beat wildly.
Cloud was feeling a twinge of nervousness as well, but as he leaned over her ear, all his cares in the world suddenly blew away with the gentle breeze which passed them by, and everything was once again clear to him. Perfectly clear. He loved her. He wanted to spend the rest of his life with her.
"I love you, Tifa Lockhart." he whispered softly in her ear.
It took what Tifa believed an eternity to fully understand what she had just heard, or if she had truly heard it come from his lips. Her heart momentarily stopped in her chest as she slowly turned to him and asked with tear filled eyes, "y-y-you l-love me?"
"Yes, I do. I love you, Tifa."
Unable to hold her emotions in any longer, the tears began to burst forth as she lept into his arms. Cloud, surprised at her reaction, fell back with her weight and stumbled to regain his balance, but returned the embrace nonetheless. Slowly she released her grip on his neck and came face to face with him. She finally managed to say the words which she had longed to say to him since she couldn't remember, "I love you too."
Cloud leaned forward and kissed her, and all of her feelings for him were finally able to escape her body at one time, and she kissed him with more passion and intensity then she could have ever thought possible. All her agony that had tortured her so long was forgotten now, and all that mattered to her was the present, and the man she loved right in front of her.
Cloud pulled her close to him, allowing the heavenly feeling of her lips and the sweet taste of her prying tongue to crash over him. God, he was in heaven, and didn't want this moment to end. He loved her with all his heart and soul, and there was no doubt in his mind about it either.
After the couple finally ended their long embrace, Tifa looked up at the man she loved with sparkling eyes in question. "So what do we do now?" she asked.
Still holding on to his angel, Cloud replied, "We live another day, Tifa. And then another, and then hopefully another. But all of the rest of my days will be filled with happiness now that I get to share them with you."
Tifa smiled at his loving words and gazed into his glowing blue eyes. He stroked her cheek with the back of his hand as she closed her eyes and leaned into his tender touch.
Aeris had indeed found her Promised Land, as did Tifa. Hers was right here on the Planet, with someone she loved and cared for more than anything else. As did he. She was his angel, and he was hers. And after all the years of Tifa's unending love for Cloud, she was finally able to express her feelings for him, and let her emotions run dry.
Ok, finished my first fanfic in less than 2 hours, so this was a minimal effort, but I'm still satisfied with it. C & C, suggestions, flames >=( , and the lot, send 'em in to me. I wanna hear from you, at least to know that it's being read. I'm gonna start on another much longer fanfic fairly soon, once I get moved in at OU and find the time to start on it. This was just a practice thing, just to get my feet wet, and I would like to establish something by my name in the fanfic community before I really start writing. So anything you want to say, email it in. firstname.lastname@example.org, or email@example.com