Will You Be There For Me

Tifa couldn’t believe it. It was over. ‘I can’t believe it… it’s finally over! Sephiroth, Meteor, everything!’ the loud cheers of her companions filled her ears. ‘Finally over… finally.’ She smiled at her close friends as they threw a party in the Highwind. ‘But… where’s Cloud?’ She looked over and around the room. ‘Where is he?’ “Hey, Red, have you seen Cloud anywhere?”

“Hmm…? No, I haven’t seen him but I can smell his scent. From what I can get I think he’s outside.” He replied.

“Oh, thanks!”

“He’s right you know. I saw him go outside. He’s by the rail.” Came the voice from the dark figure that everyone had come to learn to trust… no matter how much of a vampire he looked like.

“Thanks a lot guys!” called Tifa as she ran out of the room to find Cloud.

“Do you think she’ll find her courage to tell him? I wonder how Cloud be so dense and not see that she loves him.” Red asked Vincent as they watch her run off.

“I don’t know if she’ll ask him but sometimes people are just too caught up in their own lives to see what’s going on around them… and the people who take care off them.” Vincent replied softly as his eyes glinted over, remembering Lucrecia.

Red stared at him. That was certainly one of the longest sentences Vincent had ever spoken out loud. ‘He must really understand the situation.’

::back with Tifa and Cloud::

‘Maybe now I can tell him how I feel… maybe now. Sephiroth, Meteor... Jenova are gone... b- but, what if he really does love Aeris? What will I do then? What….’ she thought as she ran, around the Highwind looking for Cloud. Her thoughts ran through her head again and again, doubting, wishing, and hoping. ‘There he is!' “Hey Cloud!” Tifa called as she slowed down, standing next to him by the railing and looking out at the sky. “Isn’t it great? Finally! Sephiroth and Meteor and Jenova are finally gone! We’ve defeated them!!!” she smiled.

“IF you haven’t noticed Tifa, but one of us didn’t make it back! I DON’T KNOW HOW YOU CAN BE SO HAPPY WHEN AERIS IS DEAD! DO YOU KNOW THAT? DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS?? HOW CAN YOU BE SO HEARTLESS? CAN’T YOU TELL I’M IN GRIEVENCE?? SHE WAS MY LIFE!!!! I CAN’T FUCKING CARE ABOUT ANYTHING NOW!!! I WANT TO BE WITH HER!!!” Cloud yelled at a heart-broken Tifa.

“I... I… I’m sorry… I... I didn’t mean to such a burden to you!” Tifa said softly, tears just brimming in her eyes. She backed away slowly from Cloud, “I’m really sorry… Aeris was my friend… I’m just really really sorry….. Cloud.” She ran off as Cloud finally regained his head.

“Wait! Tifa!!!! Come back!!” he yelled, realizing his mistake. ‘I didn’t mean to yell at her like that… please don’t hate me Teef’ he thought hopelessly as he watched her figure get smaller and smaller.

From behind the corner Vincent watched the exchange and had to feel sorry for Tifa. ‘How could you do that Cloud? Can’t you see? You’re making a grave mistake… like I made a grave mistake. Poor Tifa.’ He watched as Tifa ran off. ‘She’s crying. Crying…’ and Vincent faced his demons of the night when he left Lucrecia… his gravest mistake. One he was determined to pay back for. It was his fault she went to Hojo… ::flashback voice:: You don’t mean it Vincent!!! You can’t!! Don’t’ you understand my feelings? VINCENT!!!!!!!! ::end of short flash back:: ‘It’s my past all over again. Only this time it’s Cloud and Tifa.’ He walked back to his room knowing the nightmares that were to come.

Tifa sobbed into her pillow as she played Cloud’s harsh words over and over again in her head. ‘She was my life… I can’t fucking care… she was my life… I want to be with her…. She was my life… I want to be with her… she was my life…’ she cried harder… finally just crying herself to sleep. ‘Why can’t he love me? Am I always to be alone…forever alone…’ were her last thoughts before she sleep claimed her and dreams of happy times haunted her.

:: the next day::

Tifa woke up with an awful headache. She wondered what had happened that would give her such a head- no, such a migraine. And then she remembered. ‘Oh yea, Cloud… and Aeris. I don’t want to get up, I don’t want to see him.. I don’t want to—‘ she stopped herself before she shot her whole entire mask down and walked into the bathroom. ‘I really look bad.’ And she did. Her hair was like a rat’s nest, she had bags under her eyes, and her eyes themselves were red and puffy from all the crying last night. She washed her face and put make-up over the bags under her eyes, combed out her hair and tied it back into it’s usual fish-tail. ‘Now for the final touch. The mask of optimisticness and hope.’ And the next instant her face was a happy-help-everyone face everyone else knew to be her. She’d never been so good at lying like this, if you could call it lying, but after the first times she saw Aeris and Cloud together she’d learned… or the others would worry and that was something she didn’t want them to do.

She walked into the cafeteria smiling happily at everyone. ‘Hmm, Cloud’s not here’ she thought as she surveyed the room. ‘And neither is Yuffie but that’s to be expected.’ She laughed as she remembered the first time Yuffie got on the Highwind. ‘Poor Yuffie’ she sighed and sat down next to Barret...

“Hey everyone! We’re going to be in Rocket Town in two hours so I suggest everyone pack all your stuff!” came Cid’s loud voice before he even came into the room.

“What fucking stuff, Cid? We couldn’t bring any, remember? We were just in a war against Sephiroth, Jenova, and Meteor! What fucking stuff would we have?” Barret yelled at Cid.

. “Weellll--- you could pack your damn ammunition for your damn gun arm and materia! And if you want me to be more fuckin’ specific, anything you brought on board!! What do you think?” Cid yelled back as he sat down. “So, what’s for breakfast?”

“Well, since I just got up you’re gonna just have to have coffee and cereal.” Said Tifa pleasantly.

“What the hell? I stay up all night to watch the ship and all I get is coffee and cereal??” Cid said in a disbelieving voice.

“Sorry Cid, but that’s not going to work with us. We know you have that automatic system!” laughed Tifa.

“And how the hell did you find out about that?”

“HA! Made you admit it!!!”

“Damn it!! Fucking kids today!!!” he swore and everybody had a good laugh. Even Tifa.

“Cid, you’re never gonna change, are you?” laughed Tifa.

“I don’t plan too.” He grumbled. “Pass the sugar. And the damn cereal if there isn’t gonna be anything better.”

“Sorry, but I got up late.” Said Tifa with an apologetic tone.

“Well, I guess we can’t always depend on your cooking anyway now that we’re going back to our homes, huh?”

Tifa smiled, “Well, there’s always visits! Besides, who are you to talk? Shera cooks great!”

“Yea, yea,” he grumbled and proceeded to eat his breakfast. “At least I know that I’ll get a good lunch.”

“I’m offended!” Tifa said with a mock tone of indignation while drinking her own coffee. Just then, Cloud walked in. Tifa stared… he looked like he had a terrible and wonderful night at the same time. ‘I can’t talk to him yet. I’m not ready. I’m not ready… he doesn’t love me!’ her thoughts were turmoil and finally her thoughts and her feelings came to the meeting of the minds by agreeing to leave the cafeteria as soon as she could… which was now seeing as all her coffee was gone.

Before she could get up Cloud sat down next to her. “Teef, can I talk to you later?”

Her heart beat several times first but she remained calm, remembering last night’s events. “Maybe but we’ll be arriving in Rocket Town soon and I really want to finish packing all my stuff. A lie of course, she couldn’t bring that much that would take two hours worth of time to pack. She gave him a smile as he looked at her with a sorry expression, willing her to say yes. “Maybe.” And then she left.

For the rest of the two hours she spent time trying to avoid Cloud. ‘He loves Aeris anyway... I know it. I should have always known. Why do I always hope so much? It just hurts… it really does.’ She sighed and wished she hadn’t fallen in love with a certain spiky-hair mako-blue eyed person. “YO TIFA!!!” yelled Cid, interrupting her train of thought.

“What? Do you really have to yell?” she yelled back.

“Come here for a sec. Will ya?”

“Sure.” And she walked over and joined him at the controls of the Highwind. “What do you want?”

“Um… well… I was just wondering…” stuttered Cid while he played with his cigarette. Tifa stared at him. ‘Cid stuttering? I must be losing my mind!’

“What is it Cid?”

“Well… during this last battle I realized that I might never come back-that I might actually die. And I realized that I wanted to see Shera before I died well… so… so… so well… so I could tell her I love her!” he got it all out in a rush. Tifa stared some more.

“And you need me here because…?” She raised an eyebrow.

“Well… how would you propose to someone… I mean I don’t even think Shera would accept me, I’ve been such a bastard to her.”

“OH CID!” Tifa cried in exasperation. “You two will be a perfect couple! You were made for each other! I’m sure she’ll say yes for Christ sakes!! Just ask her to marry you… and present her with a ring. You do have a ring, right?”

Cid nodded. “Yea, I got it awhile ago in one of the towns we were staying.”

“Well, when you get back to Shera, just ask her! It’s not that hard, yesh!”

“Thanks Teef.”

“Hey, no prob. What are friends for, right?” she smiled and left the room, knowing how happy Shera was going to be. ‘Someone needs a happy ending.’ Unbeknownst to both Cid and Tifa, another pair of eyes had watched the little discussion and was watching Tifa in the protective manner.

::A hour and a half later::

“OKAY boys and girls, we’re landing now so get ready to board off!” Cid’s voice rang.

Yuffie groaned, “Geez! Why won’t he fix that stupid intercom!!! Argh!!” then she groaned. “Ack… d- di-did he just say we were landing?” she started to get a little green.

“Yuffie… breathe, c’mon Yuffie, breathe.” Said Tifa in her more sisterly manner.

“I’m breathing… I’m breathing!” She said while taking deep breaths as Cid decided to do some maneuvers while landing. “Argh!” yelled Yuffie before promptly running off the nearest bathroom.

“I think that girl knows where every single bathroom is on this ship.” Barret said in a very amused tone.

“Hey! It’s not nice to take fun in another person’s misery you know!” Tifa defended Yuffie.

“Ok, ok, I won’t do it anymore!”

“Good.” And in the next 5 minutes of landing time everybody had to wonder what Cid was thinking… or if he was high off something.

::Five minutes of nauseating moments later::

“Shera!!” Cid yelled in his oh-so normal manner as he got off Highwind.

“CID!” yelled Shera. She was just so happy to see the boss. ‘ I thought he was going to die... ohmigod!’ she had fought off those thought and rampaging emotions throughout the whole time Cid was gone. She ran and hugged him, hard. “I thought you were dead!!” ‘I prayed so hard… I was so scared. I was soo scared…’

“Whoa! What do you think you’re doing? Shera! I’m fine already!!!” yelled Cid, trying to not look so embarrassed.

“I’m sorry, it’s just that I was so worried… meteor, it was so close. I didn’t think anyone would make it.” She said a little meekly.

“Oh shit! Shera I’m sorry!”

“Huh?” everybody (with the exception of Tifa of course) had to turn and stare at him.

“Hey Cid… did you get hit on the head or something?” Barret asked while Shera promptly took his temperature.

“I TOLD YOU I’M FINE!!!!” he yelled, throwing off Shera’s hands and glaring at Barret at the same time. “I want you guys to be my witnesses.” He told his friends from AVALANCHE.

“Witness? Witness for what?” asked Yuffie, Barret, and Cloud.

“I’m sure Cid is going to tell us.” Said Red reasonably.

“Shera, I want to say I’m sorry for all the things I said to you over all these years. You’ve been by my side all these years and all I did was yell. I’m really sorry. But now I want you to be my partner…”At this point he kneeled down, ”For life.” he finished by opening a small case with a beautiful diamond ring.

“C…C… CID!” Shera cried as tears poured down her face.

“Shera?” Cid looked confused.

“I’ve been waiting to hear that from you since forever!!!!” she cried and hugged him, while accepting the ring.

“So that’s what we were suppose to witness?” Barret and Yuffie and Cloud couldn’t believe it.

“Uh huh.” Tifa said while laughing at their expressions.

“Wait a sec. You knew all about this?”

“Yea! Cid asked me about it!!” and Tifa almost died from laughter at their faces… well except for Red and Vincent who never had much of an expression. Red because he was a canine and Vincent was… well he was just Vincent.

“Congratulations Cid!” Red said and smiled… well as close to a smile as he could get anyway, and Vincent just nodded.

“Yea you old fart!” yelled Barret as he got over his shock.

“Yea! Congrats man!” and many congratulations were given to him and Shera.

“Thank you all guys,” and after seeing the pair of glaring eyes he added, “ and gals.”

“Your welcome, but who’re you going to invite to the wedding?” asked Yuffie.

“Well, of course all of you are invited! And the rest of Rocket Town if they want to come. Why don’t you guys stay until after the wedding?” he suggested and Shera nodded her head in agreement.

“Well, I guess so since you’ll probably want to get ready for the wedding so we won’t have a way back home, will we?” asked Red in a definite bemused tone.

“You got it dog-boy!”

“Hey, Cid, Shera, have you guys thought of a date yet?” inquired Tifa.

“I think three months from now will be good.” Suggested Shera.

“Okay then! Three months from now it is!” agreed Cid as they all walked back to his house………… which didn’t fit all of them by the way. “I guess some of you guys will just have to share rooms with more than one person.” Cid apologized.

“It’s okay. Don’t’ you worry, you have a wedding to plan for man!” Barret said in his best-man way. Turns out Cid had asked him just that afternoon to be his best man and Tifa for the maid of honor and Yuffie for a flower girl.

“I’ll take the couch,” came Vincent’s little muffled tone.

::As soon as all the news got out that Cid and Shera was getting married::

“Hey Cid! Of course we’ll be there! You kiddin’?” was all the responses when he asked.

“I guess that means we’ll have all the flower girls we’ll need then.” Shera laughed.

“Of course they’d want to come!”

“Yea, from what I can get you and Cid were the favorite people around here!” Yuffie said. They were at the dressing store for gowns.

“Well, what do you think?” Shera twirled around in a beautiful white gown that was part traditional and part modern.

“It’s you!” both Tifa and Yuffie chorused.

“You think so?” asked Shera doubtfully.

“YES!!” they chorused again.

“Okay okay!!” Shera laughed. “I get the picture, I’ll take it!”

:: the night after the wedding::

‘That was such a beautiful wedding! Oh… too bad I cried huh? Well… it was wonderful all the same. And all those preparations kept me busy…I could avoid Cloud the whole time. Cloud… do you really love Aeris? I wonder what you wanted to talk about. Cloud… I want you to know… I love you… I truly do, and if you truly loved Aeris I won’t try to get in your way. I hate to admit defeat though… and to a dead woman too!’’ Tifa gave a bitter laugh as her thoughts turned a little more depressing. ‘I guess that’s the life. You never get what you want. It just isn’t fair. I lost my friends, my town, and my family… I think someone is having fun with this. Some sick bastard.’ And thinking over the more depressing thoughts she cried herself to sleep again, just like that night when Cloud yelled at her. She knew he tried to apologize… but she never gave him the chance. ‘I just still want to have hope. Hope that maybe one day my knight in shining armor will come.’

A pair of eyes watched her fall into a fitful sleep. A man who was the only other one in the group to have red eyes. He watched her, and pulled the blanket over her and tucked it under her chin. “Sweet dreams Tifa. Have happy ones, certainly you deserve to.” Whispered a man named Vincent… who was supposedly a man of ice. ‘Yes, you are such a nice and kind person. You deserve to have hope… you deserve to have sweet dreams.’ His eyes looked kinder then before… kinder then anyone had probably ever seen. And no one was to witness it. The next instant they turned into their old icey stare as he remembered his guilt… his demons.

Tifa mumbled something and then rolled over into a more peaceful sleep. Vincent stared at her for a moment and walked out, as silently as he had come.

:: a couple of hours later, around midnight::

“Pst!! Tifa!” whispered a certain spiky hair guy. He threw a couple more pebbles at her window. “Tifa!” the whisper was urgent now. “Tifa!!”

“Ugh…” Tifa rubbed her eyes and wondered what woke her up… on the other hand who the hell tucked her in? She was pretty sure she was not in bed when she fell asleep. “Huh?” Tifa stared at her window, not really wanting to get up. Besides… what time was it?

? “Tifa! I need to talk to you!!” ‘Cloud? What could he want?’

“Cloud?” she asked as she opened her window.

“Finally! I stood here forever trying to wake you up!”

“Um… Cloud… do you happen to know what time it is right now?” Cloud nodded.

“Yea, it’s 12:00 midnight.”

“What are you thinking? Why…” she never got to finish her question as Cloud looked at her urgently and said: “Tifa, I need to talk to you. I mean it. It’s really important. Please Tifa!” he look pleadingly at her, even using the old ‘puppy eye’ trick.

‘Oh Cloud, don’t you know I would give you anything you want? Don’t you understand that I could never refuse you anything?’ she thought to herself as she replied, “Alright, I’ll be down there in five minutes.”

“Great! Thanks.” Cloud looked relieved, and he walked to the back door as Tifa got dressed.

‘What could he want to talk about? C… could it be about his love? Aeris?’ she thought nervously as she walked down the stairs and to the back door. “Okay, what did you want to talk about?”

“Wait, let’s go into the garden first. That way nobody can hear us.” “Um... Cloud… it you haven’t noticed, it’s 12 midnight. Nobody’s up, except you of course. And me due to a certain spiky hair someone.” Tifa teased. He ran his hand nervously through his hair and laughed. “Yea, well, I just wanted to be sure.” “So, what did you want to talk about?” Tifa looked at him curiously. “Um… well… I wanted you to know that I’m leaving tomorrow on the ship Lifestream.” He said softly. “What…?” Tifa couldn’t believe it… she felt her heart break--again. She felt the hot tears fill her eyes but she refused to let them fall. ‘I will not cry… I will not cry… I REFUSE TO CRY!”but it was a hopeless battle and she felt the warm river slowly slid down her cheeks. She kept her head down and spoke softly, “What did you say?”

Cloud stuttered a little and said, “I’m leaving tomorrow, Teef. Please don’t be mad at me but…” “Why Cloud? Why do you want to leave?” she breathed deeply. Over and over again.‘This is not happening. This is not happening. Oh God! Why does this always have to happen to me?’

“Because I need to find myself Tifa! I don’t know who I really am. You say I am your best, childhood, friend and I believe that. But I always wonder, who else am I? I have a blank space in my heart and in my head that I can’t fill here. I’m too surrounded by people that want to just fill in the blanks for me. I don’t want that, I want to fill them in myself by finding it by myself. Please understand Tifa. Tifa?” Cloud looked worriedly at her.

“I… I understand Cloud. I understand…” she cried silently, her heart… was there anything left of it?

“I knew you would.” Cloud sighed in relief. “Tifa, one more thing. Promise you’ll wait for me, please promise! I’ll come back for you! I promise I will!!! Promise me… Promise…” he trailed off as she lifted her head, showing her tear-stained face. “Tifa…?”

‘I’ve always been waiting Cloud. Can’t you see that? Or maybe it’s because I’ve always been such a coward. I can’t even admit my feelings when it counts. I’ve been waiting Cloud. I’ve been waiting… it feels like forever since I’ve been waiting…. And now you ask me to wait some more. How much longer Cloud? How much longer will I wait for you?’ Tifa whispered so softly that Cloud could hardly hear it, and even when he did hear it he couldn’t be sure he truly did.. “I’ve been waiting Cloud… for the longest time…”

“Tifa… just a little longer… please!” and Cloud hugged a now silently sobbing Tifa until she finally stopped and ran back into her room.

‘I’ve been waiting… waiting so long. How much more must I wait? I’d give you anything Cloud… yet you never seem to notice… but that’s part of me too. I’m such a coward. I can’t even tell you my feelings. I’m pathetic. I guess I really did lose to you, didn’t I Aeris?’ Tifa gave a soft better laugh and whispered, “I’ve been waiting so long. How much more will I have to wait Cloud?” as she stared out her window at Cloud who was left there standing at the spot she was. All sleep forgotten.

::the next day::

Tifa smiled as all the people came down to have dinner. “Tifa! What have I been telling you all these months? You don’t have to cook! You’re a guest here!” Shera said in an exasperated tone.

“I’m sorry Shera but I like to cook. I haven’t had much time to work on my cooking skills while fighting Sephiroth you know.”

“All right, it’s just that I don’t want you to think that you had to do it or something.” Shera sighed but got herself ready for Tifa’s delicious cooking.

::That afternoon::

Tifa stared at the cruiser Lifestream. She stared at Cloud, who was pretty much her center of attention at the moment… Cloud… on the ship. ‘On the ship. Oh God… he’s really leaving. Really and truly leaving… not just some horrible nightmare.’ The sound of a whistle brought Tifa out of her thought and she managed a smile and waved to Cloud as his ship began heading out to sea. ‘Oh God…’ She waved harder and wished that she could tell him she loved him…She thought of the words… the promise he wanted her to make. ‘Tifa! Promise me you’ll wait for me! Promise!! I didn’t promise him… why didn’t I promise him?’ She stared at the small object, now far off to sea, that was the ship Cloud was suppose to be on. ‘I’ve been waiting…’ Tifa turned around and followed everyone else home. ‘I can think my feelings over then.’

::At Nilbehiem::

Tifa and Vincent were the only ones aboard Highwind now. Tifa had decided to move back because many of the resident were staying there anyway and more people were moving in. “Vincent… you don’t have anywhere to go, either, do you?” she looked up at him.

“No.”

“Why don’t you stay with me? I have more than enough room in my house anyway.” ‘Besides… I hate being alone… I hate the emptiness!” she stared at him, trying to look cheerful.

“…”

“Come on! It’s not like you have anywhere to go either, plus, I have way too much room! You won’t be imposing or anything!” Vincent stared at Tifa, ‘She’s scared of being alone… I was like that… when I… when I…’ “Sure.”

“HUH? You will?? Cool!” Tifa smiled and ran up to help him with his bags… not that he needed any since he didn’t have any luggage at all.

“Where is your house?”

“Over there.” Tifa pointed at a house down three blocks. They walked in silence. It went like that, the silence, until Tifa broke down n her living room. “Why does this always happen to me? Is this how you feel Vincent…? The loneliness? The silence? Being isolated from everyone because they don’t understand you?” she cried and Vincent, very awkwardly, hugged her as she buried her face in his chest.

“I isolated myself. I am paying.”

“Vincent…” Tifa stared at him, finally understanding a little more about this dark and mysterious man. ‘Well, as long as we’re on the whole spilling our hearts out thing' “I’m glad you decided to live with me. I hate the isolation… the loneliness. I felt it ever since I saw Cloud… and Aerith. But I was being selfish… I want Cloud to be happy.”

“I know you hate the loneliness… I saw it on your face. That’s why I decided to stay.” ‘What am I doing? Why am I telling her this?’ He looked at her. ‘I guess this will be a first of many ‘bonding’ times.’ He almost smiled at the thought. Almost. And the rest of the night was spent spilling hearts. Not all of it but enough to start a new friendship of understanding.

::Two years later::

“HEY VINCENT! GET IN HERE WILL YA?” yelled Tifa while holding a very dangerous ladle… not that anybody knew how dangerous she could be with it, well… except for Vincent who made a mistake… a mistake he was sure never to make again?

“What?” he grumbled. Appearing behind her.

“ACK!!!” she slapped him with her ladle and yelled, “DON’T SCARE ME LIKE THAT! YEESH!!!”

“Geez… sorry.” He shook his head and began again. “What did you want?”

“I was trying to tell you dinner is ready but if you want to scare the hell out of me then you don’t need to eat.”

“HEY!!!! Come on!” he looked at her desperately. She laughed and dragged him into the kitchen.

In the past two years they had become very good friends, shared secrets they would never tell anyone else, and Vincent actually changed his outfit! He wore dark cloths still but with out the cape and not too much red… more black then anything. And Tifa wasn’t wearing her short skirt anymore, except sometimes; it was the same with her tank top too. They went to Barret’s and Elmyra’s wedding and watch Marlene cheer the couple on but Vincent decided to revert to his old attire to put on ‘appearances’ he said. They never heard anything from Cloud… at all. Tifa was sad about it but she learned to deal with it and life goes on.

“Huh? I wonder who is that on the PHS?” Tifa asked, “Hello? Who is this?”

“TIFA!”

“Cid?”

“Yea it’s me! Who else?”

“I don’t know. So, what’s up?”

“I’m coming to pick you and old vampire boy up.”

“What? Why?”

“It’s a surprise.”

“Well… okay then.”

“Bye.”

“Good bye.” Tifa hung up and wondered what could this be about. “Hey, Vincent!”

“What is it?” he peeked from the doorway.

“Cid is coming to pick us up. So get ready!”

::After many grumbling… or five minutes of fast packing::

“Back in your old attire?” Tifa raised an eyebrow at his outfit. His old outfit with the cape and everything.

“Hey! I have a reputation to keep up!” he grumbled, lugging a small duffel bag down the stairs.

“What took you so long? And some reputation! If they really knew the real you…” Tifa broke off and giggled… and couldn’t stop. “N…n… now that would be funny!!” she was laughing so hard that she was crying and not making a sound at the same time.

“I fail to see what is so funny.” He drawled while glowering at her.

“Sorry.” She giggled and wiped her tears away. “But it was a thought that cracked me up.”

“I can see that.” They heard the engine of Highwind ran toward the plane/ship.

“COME ON! WE DON’T HAVE ALL DAY!!” Tifa sigh. “Still the same old Cid, huh?”

“Definitely.” Vincent and Tifa climbed aboard and listened to Cid for the next hour or two talk about nonsense. Blabby nonsense at that too.

“Um… Cid… what’s going on?” Tifa stared weirdly at the pilot who was talking about… Shera’s third foot…? ‘Wha…?’

“Um… you’ll find out in five minutes! Buckle in your seatbelts boy and girl!!!” ‘He sounds nervous.’ Both Tifa and Vincent narrowed their eyes at the identical thought.

::Five minutes later::

Vincent and Tifa got off the Highwind, they first thing they saw was a smiling Cloud… and… AERIS? No… that wasn’t Aeris, but it sure looked like her. ‘What? Who is she… but… why is Cloud’s arm around her waist?’ Tifa stared in shock but managed her expression enough not to arouse any suspicions.

‘What is Cloud doing with that Aeris look alike? And who does he think he is… doing that in front of Tifa who has been waiting all this time for him…???? That bastard!!' Vincent glared at Cloud, discreetly of course, as his thoughts turned even more protective of a certain dark red eyed and chestnut colored hair girl. They climbed down the ladder and walked toward the group, which consisted of Barret, Aeris-look-alike, Red 13 or Nanaki he was now called these days, Shera, Cloud, Yuffie and Cid plus themselves who were coming down the Highwind.

“Cloud… who’s this?” Tifa stared at the Aeris-look-alike, trying to figure out if she was the real Aeris or not. ‘It can’t be Aeris. Aeris is dead. I saw her dead body… she was dead… Cloud placed her into that lake… dead… Aeris… Are you coming back to haunt me… again?!’ Vincent stood behind her in a protective or threatening manner, depending whom you were, manner, although quite unconsciously doing it.

“Um… well… “Cloud scratched the back of his head and looked a little sheepish, “This is my wife, Rose.” ‘Wife…?’ Tifa could see the world crashing around her… again. That night when Cloud had called her into the garden to tell her she was leaving… and that time he yelled at her and told her… told her…told her Aeris was the only one for him. 'I guess he was right. Why else would he marry a girl that looked like Aeris? I’m so stupid… I thought I actually stood a chance… how could I have been so stupid? Cloud…’ It was hard for her too see… but she kept a straight face and pasted on a smile. “Nice to meet you.” Tifa said with hardly a crack in her voice to give her away. Vincent and Red stared at her. The two that were closest to her… besides Cloud... who used to be close, but not anymore. ‘How could he do that to Tifa? She deserves better! I can’t believe him! That fuckin’ bastard!!!! Tifa’s too good for him!!! Vincent’s mind was and absolute tornado of anger… and that was bad.

He merely glanced coldly at Rose without even offering his hand and walked toward the house, following Red into the kitchen. “What’s wrong with Vincent?” Cloud stared angrily at him.

“I’ll go see!” Tifa volunteered herself quickly. ‘Another moment and I would have broken down. I can’t take this anymore, there have been too many of these. Rose. A Aeris-look-alike, I should have known.’ Tifa sighed and walked into the kitchen to witness a hilarious sight that brought her spirits back up. Red and Vincent were trying to make tea but Vincent was the type to burn water and Red… well Red just didn’t have any hands! “Jeez guys! If you wanted tea you could’ve just asked me!” The two looked up, not realizing at first someone was actually there. They gave a start.

“AHH!” Red yelled as the kettle began to teeter precociously.

“Oh!” Said Tifa, noticing their predicament. She leaped over Red and grabbed the kettle before it could fall and then they’d end up with a bigger mess. “Next time guys, try to have someone who doesn’t burn water or someone who has hands to hold the handle with make tea, k?”

“Yes ma’am.” They both mumbled, embarrassed. Tifa, how are you feeling? About Cloud and Rose…?” Red asked tentatively, trying to make sure his good friend was okay. Tifa set the kettle down a little harder then necessary when Red mention Cloud and Rose.

“I’m fine,” she said through gritted teeth. She sighed and apologized, “I’m sorry guys. I was just so excited about seeing Cloud again… and… this happened. It just really took me by surprise.”

“It’s all right Teef.” Said Red while pushing his head against her leg and Vincent just looked on sympathetically.

“Thanks guys. For all of your support.” She smiled, “What would I do without best friends like you?”

Vincent smirked, ”Drown in your grief, go into depression, and try to kill Cloud and Rose.” They both chorused.

“What?” she stared at them as they grinned back and suddenly she burst out in laughter. “Kill Cloud and Rose?”

“Hey, it’s not a bad idea, right?” asked Red while winking, and they all laughed at the thought of an evil Tifa. The kettle whistled and Tifa turned off the stove and made the tea for three.

“Hey guys, if I become a Sephiroth evil incarnate, will you still be there with me?”

“Sure!” they both cried while trying not to burn their tongues on the hot tea. “Besides, it’ll be fun to be evil for a change.” Vincent’s eyes glittered merrily as he sipped his tea.

“I guess it would, wouldn’t it?” Tifa grinned and Red smirked.

“Sure. I’d like to research what a evil person thinks about anyways and what their motives are.”

“REEEEED!!!” Tifa rolled her eyes and Vincent chuckled.

::three days later::

“Cloud hoooooney!!!” called Rose while standing on a ladder and holding a banner ‘daintily’ between two fingers.

“What is it dearest?” he asked while dropping his load off on the floor.

“Could you put this up for me, please sweetie? It’s too high for me and I might break a finger nail!” her lips frowned at the latter of the sentence.

“All right honey bun!” Cloud called back. He walked over and finished putting the banner up for her.

“Thank you!” Rose smiled a full 100-watt smile and gave him a kiss on the cheek. “You’re just the best!” Cloud just smiled and went back to work. This had been going on for awhile. Rose calling Cloud to help her. She hadn’t done a thing since she walked into the room except to ‘supervise’ the decorating.

It had been about three days since Cloud came back, and they had decided to celebrate with a welcome back party. Of course not without a lot of cursing and swearing and damning of Cloud for a little bit from Barret and Cid about how Cloud just left Tifa and married Rose like that without even sending invitations. Tifa had to repeat over and over again that it was all right before they calmed down and even after that they were steaming and exactly on their best manners.

Tifa, Vincent, and Red were working in their own corner and chatting at the same time. “Yeck…! How long are they going to call each other names like that?! Ew… I think I’m going to puke!!” Tifa groaned at the too-sweet conversation that was giving her cavities.

“I have to agree,” Vincent’s voice was strained, “I feel like strangling one of them just to get them to shut up! Somebody help us… too bad we’re not allowed to kill one of them…” he muttered under his breath for a little while longer.

“Do all humans do this?” Red inquired while wincing as another mushy moment happened between the two.

“No Red. This is called mushiness with idiocy and stupidity combined.” Explained Tifa while putting up another balloon. ‘This is really grossing me out. I never want to be called such icky names! Yuck! ::sigh:: But I wanted to be Cloud’s wife… but… for some reason I don’t think about him that much anymore. I wonder why.’ Tifa looked over at Cloud and Rose ‘sharing a moment’ as they had been doing all day… and yesterday, and the day before. ‘Why Cloud?' Tifa closed her eyes and then turned around and smiled at Red and Vincent. “Aren’t you guys we’re not setting stuff up near them?”

“Most definitely,” chorused Vincent and Red.

::That night::

Tifa smiled and waved and pretended to be happy. She stared at everyone all dressed up and congratulating Cloud and Rose. ‘Cloud… I wanted you to love me but you’ve already chosen Aeris. Why else would you marry someone who looked like her? I really lost this game… maybe one day… one day my knight in shinning armor will come. Not likely. I’ll always be the ‘odd one out’. I’ll never have anyone love me beyond friendship.’ Tifa closed her eyes as the tears slipped down.

“Guys! I’m really sleepy so I’m going now, okay?” Tifa called over the noise and walked out the door… and in a sense, on the idea of Cloud ever loving her. ‘Sometimes, life’s just not fair. One huge pain the ass and loves to be a bastard. I hope whoever it is likes what’s going on.’ Unconsciously, Tifa found herself at the harbor/dock. ‘What am I doing here?’ she stared at the dark swirling waters at her feet. ‘Why am I here?’ The swirling waters were hypnotizing… she forward toward the edge and leaned forward…

A dark figure, which had been following Tifa ever since she left the party, suddenly leapt from the shadows, running toward her and grabbing her.

“What?” yelled Tifa as she elbowed the dark stranger in the stomach.

“OOF!” gasped the stranger with a very familiar voice.

“Vincent?” exclaimed Tifa as he set her down. Vincent just nodded. “What the hell are you doing here? Were you following me? Why the hell did you just do that?” she yelled.

“I couldn’t watch you commit suicide.” He whispered.

“What… the hell are you talking about?” she stared at him while he stared blankly back. “I was just going to touch the water!” her voice lowered to an almost inaudible whisper, “it reminds me of my own feelings…”

“Oh…” suddenly Vincent blushed at his mistake.

“Why were you so worried about me anyways?”

“Because.”

“Because is not an answer Vincent.” He stayed silent.

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“What…” she paused and lowered her eyes. “Vincent… why?” she whispered. And she hugged him while crying silently. “Nobody will ever love me Vincent… not the way I want them too.”

Vincent stared at her while trying to sort things out. ‘Should I tell her? But what if she laughs at me?’ He stared at the crying girl and made up his mind. ‘Damn the consequences.’ “Tifa… I love you.” Tifa looked up, staring at him.

“W… what did you say?”

“I love you Tifa. I fell in love with you after spending those two years with you. You’re smart, pretty, and great with your fists,” He smiled at that. “A wonderful cook and a very kind and loving person, and I’ll understand if you don’t love me… or hate me for telling you this.” he whispered the last part, scared to be hated by the one person he loved now.

“Oh Vincent… I could never hate you!” Tifa cried. I could never hate you. You were a great friend… there when I needed you. You helped me through everything, and over these past two years you’ve come to mean a lot to me… I love you too!” Tifa’s eyes widened as she realized the truth. ‘I’ve loved you for a long time… that’s why I don’t’ think about Cloud that much anymore!” “Vincent… I love you too!” she whispered softly.

“Tifa…” he leaned forward, placing two fingers under her chin, lifting her face to him, and closer their faces got… until… their lips met. Tifa gasped, and cried, “Air! I need air!!” Vincent chuckled and hugged her around her waist.

“I’ll never hurt your Tifa. I promise!” Tifa looked up at Vincent’s honest expression, and smiled.

“I know Vincent, I know.” Together they watched the sun rise, beautiful and presenting a new day, just like the love they felt for each other.

::back with Cloud::

‘Where could she be?’ Cloud ran through the streets of Midgar. ‘Where could she be?’ He rounded a corner and saw… he saw Tifa and Vincent together in each other’s arms. ‘What…? What is Vincent and Tifa doing together?’ He stared with incredulity at the sight. Suddenly, his thoughts turned into anger. ‘That BITCH! How could she two time on me like that?? I’ll… I’ll… I swear…. I’ll make her regret it for the rest of her life!!!!’ (::sweatdrop. Yes boys and girls, it’s NOT THE END! Okay, so it was a long one-shot, but I hope you like it!! >.< yes yes… cloud is being the biggest bastard in the world!! HEY CLOUD!! She didn’t two time on you! You two-timed her!! You %)*&^&%^$^%#^%@%T(&^*)^&%&^(*&^!!!!!!! Okay.. I’m done now. Promise! ^^;;)

Cloud walked quietly away. ‘She’ll pay. I swear she will!’

::Later, in the afternoon::

“Hey, Teef, can I talk to you for a sec? Our here?” called Cloud from the garden. The plate had been removed and most of the slums, abolished. Everybody had at least one garden and the board of directors that were currently in charge of Midgar was thinking of creating a garden.

“Sure! Be there in a minute!” Tifa called back. ‘I wonder what he wants to talk about?’ She walked up to cloud. “So… what’s up?”

“Tifa… I know.”

“What do you mean, you know?” ‘He can’t mean about me and Vincent… nobody is suppose to know… yet.’

“About you and Vincent. I saw you at the docks.” Cloud’s mako-blue eyes glinted with some unknown emotion.

“So…?” ‘Why does he want to talk then…? He already has a wife…’

“Tifa… you were supposed to wait for me! I told you to! You little bitch… you little fuckin’ two-timer!!!” he hissed, his voice only loud enough to be heard by her. Tifa stared at him. ‘What… two-timing bitch…? H- how could he! I never promised anything!! H… he… he called me a bitch!’ Tifa couldn’t stand it, she was just insulted by one of her ‘supposed’ friends. Her eyes teared, first she had to find the surprise of seeing Cloud being married, then watch them cuddle, and then… AND THEN he was accusing her of loving someone else besides him!

“YOU BASTARD!” she almost yelled but kept her voice down so that no one else would hear. Red and Vincent looked up from where they were working, feeling something was amiss.

The looked around, “Where’s Tifa?” asked Red. Vincent and Red looked at each other and ran around to the garden where they saw Tifa and having a ‘heart to heart’, if you could call it that.

“I DIDN’T PROMISE ANYTHING! THINK BACK TO THAT DAY! I DIDN’T PROMISE A DAMN THING! HOW COULD YOU CALL ME A BITCH? YOU WERE THE ONE WHO TWO-TIMED ON ME BY TRYING TO GET ME TO PROMISE SOMETHING AND THEN MARRYING SOMEBODY! IF YOU HAD EVER PAID ATTENTION TO ME YOU’D KNOW I’VE BEEN WAITING! BUT I’M TIRED OF IT NOW CLOUD! I’M SICK AND TIRED OF ALWAYS BEING THE SUBSATUIE! THE ONE YOU CAN COUNT ON WHEN YOU NEED SOMETHING! I’M SICK AND TIRED OF WAITING FOR YOU AND PROMISES YOU ALWAYS KEEP BREAKING! CLOUD…. YOU… YOU… YOU’RE….” Tifa never finished her sentence as she just slapped him in the face and walked back into the room. ‘I couldn’t say it. No matter how mean or cruel he is to me I can’t say it. Not in his face anyway…’ Tifa smirked at the thought and decided to call him a bastard, in her head of course, and it made her feel a little better.

“You okay?” asked a very concerned Vincent.

She smiled at him, “I’m fine. I guess I just needed to let it all out.”

“If you need us, you know we’re here for you, Teef,” Red said gently.

“I know guys, I know.”

::Back in the garden::

‘I didn’t’ think she’d slap me…’ Cloud rubbed his sore cheek and was glad she hadn’t used too much strength because then it could be bruising and he’d have a hard time explaining that. ‘But Tifa… you were suppose to promise me… you promised me! ::flashback to a few moments ago:: I didn’t promise anything! Think back to that day! ::end flashback:: didn’t she…? ::flashback to the night they talked:: promise me Tifa! Promise!! Tifa: silent. ::end:: she didn’t’ promise me… she didn’t promise me…’ he stared at the house, knowing he was going to have to do some apologizing, but watching… seeing, Vincent and Tifa together was so hard for him… some emotion filled him when he saw them… laughing together, talking. What was it? ‘Jealousy… I feel so much jealousy when I see them together! Why…? Because… because I love her… oh god… I love her! But… but…. But….’ He stared, couldn’t believe it. ‘I married Rose… I drove Tifa away… I… I need to get her back!’ “Tifa! Can I talk to you?” she stared at him. “Please?”

“Fine. But make it short.” She was hurt. He could tell.

“Tifa, I’m sorry about what I was yelling… I didn’t really mean it. Let’s be friends again, okay?” Cloud offered his hand. ‘Friends? At least we’ll be close again…’ “All right! Lets start over!” she smiled and clasped his hand, and they shook.

::Half a year later::

Tifa stared at the envelope. It was from Cloud. “I thought so. He’s not coming… but it was over a week ago so even if he did come it would be too late.” A pair of arms encircled her waist.

“It’s better this way.” Was the husky mummer.

She laughed at turned around, the letter forgotten. A golden band glinted off her finger. “Hm… probably seeing as Cloud couldn’t bare to see us together and to attend our wedding?” she shook her head.

“Yea, I guess so.” Vincent smiled at his newly wed-wife and leaned down and kissed her deeply.

‘Cloud…. Your greatest mistake was my greatest joy… forever till the end of time.’

Vincent smiled again and laughed. Tifa stared at him. “My my! Vincent, laughing!” she laughed too and kissed him, as the sun set behind them in the open window. ‘Yes…Cloud… this was your gravest mistake, letting someone as wonderful as her go.’

~*~Author’s notes. (a.k.a. rants… but that’s not nice… is it?)~*~ HI!!! This is for all of you who don’t’ get enough of my rants on the rant section of our web page!! You- ::sweatdrop:: Okay okay!!! Anyways, yes yes, it’s very biased against Cloud!! YES I turned him into a ::censoredbeepcensoredbeepcensordbeepcensoredbeeeeeeeep!!!:: so don’t flame me about that, k? besides, don’t’ you think Vincent and Tifa are sweet together?? :*( please don’t flame me!!!! I’m only a little innocent girly who’s too young to be killed by your sarcasm! And mean words!!!! But! C&C are always welcomed!!! ^_^ Yufferz (a.k.a. yuffie-chan!): PLEASE!!! When have you ever been innocent…? Angel: ::glare!:: since the day I was born!! Thank you very much! Humph! ::bonks Yuffs on the head:: so there! ;p