Heartbreak in Nibelheim
By Sorceress Fantasia
The cold wind blew across my face as I entered. My hometown. Nibelheim. The place where all my dreams started. The place where all my nightmares started
I walked into the opening in the middle of the ghost town as the wind grew stronger, their spine-chilling coldness cutting into my skin. The wind howled beside my ears, accompanied by cries of agony and anguish. The incident which happened nearly eight years ago, flashed by my eyes. The great fire of Nibelheim
AHHH!! Shrieks of terror could be heard clearly across the whole town. Flames engulfed everything. Few managed to escape from the fiery hell. Those who did, failed to escape from Sephiroth. His masamune finished the cold-blooded murder. I too, had fallen victim to his sword. A deep slash on my back nearly cost my life.
I opened my eyes. The sight of the building that was once my house greeted me. I walked to its door and opened it gingerly. The interiors were the same. The same furniture, same decorations, same looks but yet a different feeling. I felt a slight twinge of pain in my heart as I recalled the memories I had created here, a long time ago. I saw mother in the kitchen, cooking dinner. And father sitting comfortably on the chair he loved so much, reading the papers as I sat on the floor beside him, playing with my dolls. I muttered, "Father Mother " Then, I realized this was fake. They were both dead. I forced myself to shut my eyes, shaking off the illusion that seems so good. I headed for my room, mesmerized, as though there was someone telling me to go there. I stood at the door of my room. Nothing had changed either. Throwing my backpack onto my bed, I sat down before my piano and ran my fingers on the keys. Suddenly, I started to play my favorite piece. I closed my eyes, my fingers moving instinctively. "Hmm " I hummed along as I played. The music was slow and sad. Her voice sounded in my head. Wow! You play well! She had exclaimed when I first played it for her. Memories of Aeris flowed into my mind.
Hey, youre the one with Cloud in the park
Right, in the park.
Dont worry. We just met. Its nothing.
What do you mean, Dont worry about what? No, dont misunderstand. Cloud and I grew up together. Nothing more.
Poor Cloud, having to stand here and listen to both of us call him nothing.
I had disguised myself as some floozy to get inside so as to wring information from Don. And they had sneaked in after me. When I saw Cloud, I swear I felt my eyes popped out and my jaws gone loose. He had actually dressed up as a girl! How cute he looked! But then again, I was shocked that hed embarrass himself and dress up as a girl for me and even more shocked that he accepted her idea. Was she that trustworthy? He barely knew her. I guess it was because of some type of magic she had around her, one that made hating her difficult. Few had ever been able to raise their voices or stay angry with her for long. This was the first time we met each other, face to face. I had seen her before, in the playground.
When I saw them in the playground sitting together as I was being taken to the Wall Market, they looked as if they belonged together. At first, I thought they were a loving couple, sitting there, enjoying some quality time together. It was only when I took a second glance that I noticed it was Cloud with another girl. At that time, I felt a twinge of jealously. I heard a voice say to me, Give up, Tifa Lockheart! Forget it! Cloud has his match! And its not you!
I felt like surrendering and succumb to the voice. I told myself that I would feel a lot better and more carefree if I listen to it. But in the deepest recesses of my heart, there was another me, encouraging me to go on. I also knew that I couldnt give up Cloud. I never could. I need him.
Aeris was chosen by Don Corneo to keep him company while Cloud and I were rewarded to his henchmen. After I escaped, I met Cloud in front of Don Corneos bedroom. He just practically ignored me. He was so worried about Aeris that he didnt even ask about me, whether I was hurt or if I was bullied. Maybe its because he sees that Im alright already or is it because he knows that Im strong and would be able to take on any enemies if needed to. Or is this just an excuse Im giving myself? To console myself?
The Shinra held her captive soon after that. At her house, Elmyra told us her tear-jerking story. Who would have expected that she, a cheerful and optimistic soul, would have such a horrible past? Her father had died and her mother died after handing Aeris to Elmyra. She had been an ancient, pursued by the Shinra for years. She tried so hard to hide the fact that she was different, and that she was the last of a race. I had sympathized with her, pitied her.
During our stay in Gold Saucer, she and Cloud had gone on a date, only to be ruined by Cait Sith. Aeris confessed to me later, telling me of all the fun they had: the play in which they acted in and the romantic gondola ride. At that time, I felt so afraid, so alone. It was as though there was ice inside my body, spreading. My heart was frozen and numb. My mind nearly went blank. Ive never felt like this after the Nibelhiem fire. Why did Cloud date her? Why not me? Is it because he likes her?
In the temple, just before we escaped, Cait Sith appeared and offered to tell a fortune for us. When she asked him whether she and Cloud were compatible, I felt my blood drained off my face. My heart pounded on my ribcage and threatened to jump out. I didnt know what to do. So, I ran off to the side. Then the results came. Cait Sith said they were a couple made for each other. When I heard that, I almost died. I suppressed the urge to ask him whether the prophecies were true or was it just to console her. I couldnt ask. I didnt dare to either.
When we lost her, Cloud cried. That was the first time I saw him cry. For the first time his cool exterior melted, showing us the other side of him. He was always acting cool and was even a little cold towards us. He was our leader and a leader seldom or never shows his soft side to his friends. Its just unlike a leader, a captain to do such things. They had to be calm and able to handle any situations. But then I realized no matter how strong, how powerful he was, hes still a man made of flesh and blood, capable of feelings. He wasnt a robot with no heart.
By a quirk of fate, we stumbled upon her house in Icicle Lodge. The look Cloud had in his eyes when he watched the video clips of her infancy; he looked so concerned, so engrossed. It was as though he was looking at someone he loves. Has he ever looked at me this way before?
At that time of her death, memories of Aeris dominated his mind. She had died an honorable death. A noble one. Was this the reason why Cloud remembers her so well? No, Im sure. It was because of her character, her personality. Her enchanting smiles, her friendliness, her silky brown locks everything. Would Cloud feel so depressed and remember everything about me so well if I were the one who had died?
The music piece continued, as though never ending, just like my memories, never stopping
The Whirlwind Maze it is one of the places that I will never forget. It was the place where the truth about Clouds past was finally revealed. He had always thought that he was First Class in SOLDIER. Thus, when Sephiroth showed us the truth, he didnt believe him. But I was afraid. Sephiroth was going to reveal everything. And I thought that Cloud wouldnt be able to deal with it then But Cloud was sure of himself. He kept reassuring us that all that what we were seeing was just a stupid illusion, a lie. But I was afraid that he would go berserk, ballistic. He was a man full of pride and dignified. There was no way he could have taken it. How can he believe and take it, that he had been weak? I was worried for him. I didnt want to know the truth at that time. I thought I needed time more time to sort things out. I wasnt sure what had happened five years ago.
Five years ago you were constructed by Hojo, piece by piece, right after Nibelheim was burnt. A puppet made up of vibrant Jenova cells, her knowledge, and the power of the Mako. An incomplete Sephiroth-clone. Not even given a number. That is your reality.
All those things that Ive been hiding for so long, for fear that Cloud couldnt take it. But it was finally out. Cloud knew. He never made it into SOLDIER. He was only a lowly Shinra guard, who was merely sent to Nibelheim with Sephiroth and Zack to fix the reactor. He was, referred to by Hojo, a failed Sephiroth clone.
Jenova cells and Mako, with my knowledge and skills, have combined with science and nature to bring him to life.
This is the truth. When Cloud learned about this, he lost his confidence. His pride was shattered like glass. Dashed. He gave up the fight in his mind for himself and handed the black materia to Sephiroth.
I wasnt pursuing Sephiroth I was being summoned by Sephiroth. All the anger and hatred I bore him, made it impossible for me to ever forget him. That and what he gave me.
He went to the extent that he said that he wasnt the real Cloud, and that he had failed to live up to being Cloud. He had lost himself.
Youve been so good to me I dont know what to say I never lived up to being Cloud. Tifa Maybe one day youll meet the real Cloud
Then, in my dreams, I saw the scene where we first met after seven years of separation. Come to think of it, he was strange that day. He just didnt seemed to be the Cloud I knew. He felt like a stranger.
Thats right. Im Cloud.
Is it really you, Cloud? I never thought Id find you here!
Yeah, its been a while.
What happened to you? You dont look well.
Yeah? Its nothing. Im okay.
How long has it been?
What is it?
its really been a long time.
Actually, its been seven years. He got his wish and joined SOLDIER, quit after the Sephiroth incident, and now hes a mercenary He told me a lot about what happened after he left Nibelheim But Somethings wrong. I felt there was something strange about the things he talked about. All the things he didnt know that he should, and other things he shouldnt know that he did I wanted to make sure But then I heard he was going far away And I didnt want that I didnt know what to do. So, I thought I needed more time. And thats why I told him about the AVALANCHE job. I wanted to be with him, watch him. Thats why, I tried to keep him with me.
Im not a hero and Im not famous. I cant keep the promise.
But you got your childhood dream, didnt you? You joined SOLDIER. So come on! Youve got to keep your promise
Was he still alive? Nobody knew. The ground had swallowed him up at the crater. I didnt dare to ask about him because I was afraid that he had died. I wouldnt be able to take it. Cloud couldnt die. He cant.
Hey, why dont you ask? About him.
Because Im scared.
After we finally located him in Mideel, I was so delighted, so glad, so relieved. I thought that that was the best piece of news Id received in such a long time. But when I saw him, I found him to be wheelchair bounded. I felt so painful to see him suffer this way. He couldnt speak. He couldnt walk. It just wasnt like him. Cloud was always the one ordering us around, telling us what to do. He was our leader. But then, there he was, sitting on a wheelchair, paralyzed and in some sort of daze, perhaps for life. My heart bled. I didnt want to see him like this. I wanted to see the Cloud we all knew. So, I decided to stay with him, and try to help him recover. I couldnt abandon him. Even if it means thisll take up the rest of my life, it doesnt matter, just as long as hes okay.
Some time later, Weapon attacked Mideel. The attack caused a large crack to form in the middle of the town. While trying to get Cloud out, we plunged into the lifestream. It caused me to enter his subconscious. Inside, I saw the real Cloud. I saw myself, our childhood days and most importantly, his reasons for wanting to become a SOLDIER. He wanted to get stronger. He wanted to get everybodys attention. Especially mine. Does that mean he loved me? What about now? Does he still loves me, or has his love for me diminished? Or even threatened by Aeris existence?
Piecing together Clouds life, I found out everything. Sephiroths lies, Hojos experiments and Jenova cells. Everything. He was the Cloud I had known as a child. He saved me from Sephiroth. He had kept his promise.
Hey, why dont we make a promise?
Umm, if you get really famous and Im ever in a bind You come save me, all right?
Whenever Im in trouble, my hero will come and rescue me. I want to experience that at least once.
Come on--! Promise me----!
All right I promise.
At that time, I felt so useless. I was right by his side and yet I didnt do anything. That time when I met him in the Sector 8 station, I knew there was something fishy. Sephiroth had destroyed Nibelheim and killed all the townspeople as Cloud had said, but his version of the story was far from what I remembered. At that time, I feared the worst. My fears were confirmed when I heard of Clouds alternate version of our past. Although I didnt know what had happened to him, I was sure it had something to do with the Shinra. I knew the truth but I couldnt bring myself to say it. I was afraid Cloud would be shattered. I didnt want to hurt him.
I didnt know what to do. I was always like that
It was only then I realized how naive I was. I had always thought that I could tell everyones feelings just by looking by their face, but now, I finally know how deep a persons heart could be. They keep everything to themselves, and refuse to let anyone understand them fully. But I want to understand him. I want to know every single detail about him. I have to and I must. For him and for myself. I would be able to relate to him better. I would also be more confident about our relation.
Aeris. I was always slightly jealous of her, but surely I didnt want her to die. At least not this way and so young, with a bright future in front of her. Once I put aside the jealousies, I saw she was a good person, every bit deserving Cloud as much as I do. She was everybodys friend. There was a very special aura around her, one that attracted us to her like bees to honey. She was the most angelic person I ever knew. She didnt deserve to die.
I know that I cant weigh love by time. But I had spent so much time with Cloud, so much effort. Aeris, she had only knew him recently, and died so soon. Me? I knew him since childhood, helped him through so much, and gave him so much. By rights, he should love me. But love is a difficult matter that cannot be measured by time. Love is a two-party affair. I understand that giving someone all your love is never assurance that they'll love you back. So, if Cloud chooses Aeris over me, I understand why. But I just cant help but feel that its unfair.
Finally, I struck the last note. The piece was finished. Even so, the music resounded in my head over and over again, just like her words, her actions. I stood up and slumped onto my bed. Slowly, I crawled over to the window. The things in front of me went blur suddenly. I closed my eyes and shook my head. When I opened my eyes, I saw him. Cloud. He ran up to my house, like he always did, and stopped, hesitating, as though he was waiting for someone to invite him in. I chuckled, then shouted as I wave my hands, "Hey! Cmon in! The doors not locked!" However, he disappeared. It was only then I realized it was just another of my illusions. I sank into my bed once more, leaning against the window. I stared into emptiness, my mind blank. Soon, something caught my attention. The well.
Right, I must admit that I didnt know Cloud very well as children, although he lived just beside me. I was always with the other kids in town. Cloud was a loner, rebellious and wild. He was always fighting and thus, it wasnt surprising to find parents of the other children complaining to Mrs. Strife. Even so, I desperately wanted to know him. He was different from the other kids. The daughter of the mayor playing with the number one rascal in town, my father simply forbade that. So, I never had a chance to talk to him, and even lesser chances to know him. Yet, I felt a special something for him, something I never felt for the other boys in town. I didnt know what it was, and I didnt dare to ask anybody. So I thought time would slowly explain it all to me.
When he called me to the well that day, I was a little shocked. There was almost nothing we could talk about and my father hated him. If he saw us together, he would certainly fume. Even so, I knew I had to go, although I didnt understand why. So I sneaked out of my house once my father went upstairs. Cloud was already there. He told me that he wanted to be a SOLDIER. And to do so, he would have to leave town very soon and he might not be able to come back for quite some time.
Isnt it hard to join SOLDIER?
I probably wont be able to come back to this town for a while.
All of a sudden, I felt emptiness engulf me. It was like I was left alone. I didnt know why I felt that way. It was only when he left town then I realized what was the feeling. It was love. That was why, I read the newspapers everyday, hoping there would be an article about him. I just wanted to see him again, to hear about him. I missed him.
So, when the Shinra came to fix the reactor, I was terribly disappointed. Cloud did not return. I felt betrayed. Why didnt he come back? He had promised to come back. Didnt he want to see me?
With that thought in mind, I walked over to his house. I laid down on his bed, my legs on the ground so as not to soil it. I could feel Cloud here, in his house, on his bed, caressing my cheek. It felt so good, just like that time
That night before the final battle against Sephiroth, Cloud and I waited together in the plains for everyone. We talked about the battle tomorrow. He was so gentle towards me. Can I take it that he likes me? Then, that romantic night, I rested my head on his shoulders. It felt so good.
This night will never come again so let me have this moment
Finally, I could not hold back my tears anymore. Droplets of tears cascaded down my cheeks. "CLOUD!!! WHERE ARE YOU??!!" I shouted in desperation, as I buried my face in my hands. "Where are you?" I sobbed. I recalled the last time I saw him two years ago. Holy had activated to stop meteor from crushing into our planet, but it wasnt enough. Meteor continued to push forwards, destroying Midgar. Just when we thought all was lost, the lifestream came to Holys aid. They formed a protective shield below meteor. Then, light engulfed everything. The glare forced all of us to shut our eyes. When the light finally ebbed away, when we could finally open our eyes, he was gone. Cloud had disappeared from the face of the earth, never to be found again. All of us tried looking for him, but to no avail. After everyone else had given up, I went on, to find him. This was at least the fifth time Ive been here, in Nibelheim. Where could he be? I had searched every corner of the earth, from Midgar to Icicle Lodge, from the Temple of the Ancients to the Round Island. Cloud, Just where are you? Oh God, please tell me Tell me the answer Guide me Please
I wasnt the type who cried often. But once I started, it was hard to stop. For what seemed like hours, my tears finally dried. Slowly, I crawled out of the comforting bed and exited, for I knew the longer I stayed there, the worse I would feel. This is my last stop. After this, I would feel sad no more.
I made my way to my room again. Sweeping my backpack off my bed, I kicked off my boots and sat down comfortably on my soft bed. From my pack, I took out a bottle of green mixture, one that would end all my miseries, pain, heartaches. Everything. Everything would now end. Popping the cork, I poured the sticky mixture down my throat. Once I had made sure that I had downed every single drop of the potion, I flung the bottle onto the floor. It smashed into a hundred pieces, or even a thousand pieces. That I dont know. All I know is that a dizzy spell overcame me as I lay carefully on my bed for the last time.
Tifa! Over here!
Cmon! Lets go!
To our promised land!
Finally, I smiled.
Authors Notes: When I saw the ending of FF7, I felt that there were two possibilities. One, meteor is stopped and everyone else lives happily ever after. Another was that Aeris soul came back for a while together with the lifestream and took Cloud with her. The second inspired me to write this fan fic. So now, Tifa leaves as well. Im sorry the fic had to end this way, but I felt it was for the best. This is actually my very first fan fic. I wrote it about 2 years ago, so there may be errors somewhere in the fic. Please tell me if there really are, or if you want to tell me something about my fic. Feel welcome to mail me. Flames too. But do tell me where have I gone wrong, and not things like I think your fic is nothing but crap " Thank you for reading this anyway.
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