Love and Life Chapter 3


By Medina

Cloud ran through the streets of the town, searching for the Inn amidst the darkness. He rounded a corner, and noticed the familiar sign, so he rushed through the open door, and stopped. Sitting in the lobby were the rest of his friends: Yuffie, Nanaki, Vincent, Barret and Marlene, but no Tifa. They didn’t notice him at first, so they were still in the middle of whatever they were doing. Nanaki, being a cat/wolf/whatever, had curled himself up into a ball on one of the couches and gone to sleep. Yuffie was sitting next to him on the couch, going through her materia stash, and also sneezing every now and again; she was allergic to Nanaki’s fur. Opposite them, Barret was sitting with Marlene asleep on his lap. The girl and he had just returned from a two-day stay at the Gold Saucer for Marlene’s fifth birthday, and she was wasted from all of the fun and partying that there had been. Barret himself was flipping through the channels on the TV, with the remote control in his new prosthetic hand/gun/arm. He had found someone who designed things like his gun-arm, and figured that it would be more practical for him to have a hand instead of a gun although inside of the hand was a laser mechanism just in case the need be that he needed it. With the remote control, he was searching for some good reruns of “Sanford and Son”. Vincent, however, was sitting, looking downright bored. He was drumming his clawed hand on the arm of the chair he sat in, and was was spinning his gun in his other.

Cloud sauntered in, without yet getting their attention.

“Aw, yeah, a classic! Damn, LaMont, you gots some more a’ dat junk on your truck! Haw, haw!” yelled Barret, having finally found the show he was looking for, then quieted down when Marlene stirred a bit.

“How can you watch this drivel?” asked Vincent, still twirling his gun.

“Whatchoo talkin’ ‘bout, Cracker? Dis is one of da best shows eva’!” Barret replied, not even taking his eyes off of the tube.

“Don’t complain, Vamp, at least it isn’t the ‘Dukes of Hazaard.’ Cid would be yodeling like a hick...” said Yuffie, trailing off at the end due to her disgust.

“How many times do I have to tell you that I’m not a vampire!” Vincent emphasized to her. Yuffie rolled her eyes.

“You’re unaging, you sleep in a casket, you wear that cape thing. If you’re not a vampire, you must be, at least, some sort of psycho-gothic. Either way, you’re still a... (hatchoo!) -sniff- Vamp.” she concluded. Vincent groaned and went back to twirling his gun.

“Hey, guys, where’s Tifa?” asked cloud, finally making his presence known. The three who were awake all looked at him, well, Yuffie hastily put away the materia she had been counting before she gave him a good, guilty look.

Barret frowned. “Where’s yo’ skinny-ass been all night? You made da’ chitlins get cold!” he said, ignoring Yuffie’s retching expression when he mentioned the chitlins.

“I was... thinking.”

“And what happened with Tifa? She was so out of sorts that she let me, ah, ‘borrow’ her materia! Normally if I even get within ten feet of them, she’s blasted my ass out of there faster than Cid could say ‘Shit’!” Yuffie commented with her hands behind her back. She was about to say something else when a yellow materia rolled out from behind her and on to the floor, of which she hastily fell to her hands and knees to fish from under the coffee table.

“We had a, er, misunderstanding.”

Vincent brushed a lock of his goth-ish black tresses and peered at Cloud. “Tifa went upstairs. She said that she was tired, and didn’t feel well,” he said to Cloud, finally answering the guy’s question.

“Thanks, Vincent.” Cloud gulped a lump of uneasiness down his throat, and turned to the stairs. Would she be mad? Or just sorrowful? Cloud sighed; he was going to have to face her, for her sake and his own, for he wouldn’t feel right if there was such a rift between him and such a good friend like Tifa. As he climbed the grade, he thought about her, and how she felt for him, but more importantly, how he felt for her. Cloud wasn’t very sure if what he felt for Tifa was ‘love’ in the way that a man and a woman would love each other; the way that he had loved Aeris. If there was one thing that Cloud was sure of, it was that he had loved Aeris. He had hardly known her for a few months, but he had felt so drawn to her, and she had been so charming that he was caught by her in no time at all. He wondered, now, what would it have been like if they had been able to go farther in their relationship? He would never know.

At the top of the stairs, he went down the corridor to where they were lodged. Cloud and Tifa had been set up in the same room, mind you, different beds, but it had been awkward with them being together. He opened the door, and walked into the darkened room; the only illumination was the moonlight that peeked in with a silvery beam from the open window.

“Tifa?” he whispered, not wanting to startle her by bursting in on her. No answer. “Tifa, are you ok?” he said louder. He walked deeper into the room, and felt the chill wind blow in through the window, sending the curtains into a dance. He stood at the sill and gazed out over the town, and the wind blew in again. Suddenly, it occurred to him that it was awfully strange to have the window open at night, and on such a cold night as this was; why would Tifa have the window open, and be hiding... Oh no, she couldn’t have! He flicked on the light to see all of her things gone, her bed made, and a letter on the nightstand.

With a trembling hand he picked it up and looked at it. On the front, in Tifa’s neat, stylized handwriting was the name ‘Cloud.’ He opened it up, and read:

Dear Cloud,
I don’t really know what to say to you, now. I had no idea that you would still be so sensitive about that, and still so rejective of me. I love you, Cloud, and I always will. I wish I didn’t anymore, but I can’t do anything about my feelings; they are not to my choosing most of the time. So, as you can tell, I’ve left. I don’t know where I’m going, or what’s I’ll find, but maybe, somehow, I’ll be able to forget you and find someone who loves me for who I am, then I can come back to see you -- as a friend. I hope that you can find happiness as well. You know, if I could bring Aeris back for you, I would, or I would be happy to take her place on the other side if it would please you. Cloud, I’d do anything for you. Sheesh, I’m just rambling now, aren’t I? But it’s the truth, and a sad one for me. So until I can straighten myself out, goodbye.
Love, Tifa Lockheart


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