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, you’re the one with Cloud in the park…’

‘Right, in the park.’


‘Don’t worry. We just met. It’s nothing.’

‘What do you mean, ‘Don’t worry’…about what? No, don’t 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 he’d 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 it’s 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 couldn’t 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 Corneo’s bedroom. He just practically ignored me. He was so worried about Aeris that he didn’t even ask about me, whether I was hurt or if I was bullied. Maybe it’s because he sees that I’m alright already or is it because he knows that I’m strong and would be able to take on any enemies if needed to. Or is this just an excuse I’m 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. I’ve 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t ask. I didn’t 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. It’s 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, he’s still a man made of flesh and blood, capable of feelings. He wasn’t 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, I’m 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 Cloud’s past was finally revealed. He had always thought that he was First Class in SOLDIER. Thus, when Sephiroth showed us the truth, he didn’t believe him. But I was afraid. Sephiroth was going to reveal everything. And I thought that Cloud wouldn’t 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 didn’t want to know the truth at that time. I thought I needed time…more time to sort things out. I wasn’t 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 I’ve been hiding for so long, for fear that Cloud couldn’t 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 wasn’t 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 wasn’t the real Cloud, and that he had failed to live up to being ‘Cloud’. He had lost himself.

‘You’ve been so good to me……I don’t know what to say…I never lived up to being ‘Cloud’. Tifa…… Maybe one day you’ll 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 didn’t…seemed to be the Cloud I knew. He felt like a stranger.

‘Oh Cloud!’

‘That’s right. I’m Cloud.’

‘Is it really you, Cloud? I never thought I’d find you here!’

‘Yeah, it’s been a while.’

‘What happened to you? You don’t look well.’

‘……Yeah? It’s nothing. I’m okay.’

‘How long has it been?’

‘Five years.’


‘What is it?’

‘…it’s really been a long time.’

Actually, it’s been seven years. He got his wish and joined SOLDIER, quit after the Sephiroth incident, and now he’s a mercenary…He told me a lot about what happened after he left Nibelheim…But……Something’s wrong. I felt there was something strange about the things he talked about. All the things he didn’t know that he should, and other things he shouldn’t know that he did…I wanted to make sure…But then I heard…he was going far away…And I didn’t want that……I didn’t know what to do. So, I thought I needed more time. And that’s why I told him about the AVALANCHE job. I wanted to be with him, watch him. That’s why, I tried to keep him with me.

‘I’m not a hero and I’m not famous. I can’t keep ……the promise.’

‘But you got your childhood dream, didn’t you? You joined SOLDIER. So come on! You’ve got to keep your promise……’

Was he still alive? Nobody knew. The ground had swallowed him up at the crater. I didn’t dare to ask about him because I was afraid that he had died. I wouldn’t be able to take it. Cloud couldn’t die. He can’t.

‘Hey, why don’t you ask? About him.’

‘…Because I’m 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 I’d 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 couldn’t speak. He couldn’t walk. It just wasn’t 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 didn’t 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 couldn’t abandon him. Even if it means this’ll take up the rest of my life, it doesn’t matter, just as long as he’s 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 everybody’s 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 Cloud’s life, I found out everything. Sephiroth’s lies, Hojo’s 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 don’t we make a promise?

‘Umm, if you get really famous and I’m ever in a bind……You come save me, all right?’


‘Whenever I’m 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 didn’t 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 Cloud’s alternate version of our past. Although I didn’t know what had happened to him, I was sure it had something to do with the Shinra. I knew the truth but I couldn’t bring myself to say it. I was afraid Cloud would be shattered. I didn’t want to hurt him.

‘……I didn’t 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 everyone’s feelings just by looking by their face, but now, I finally know how deep a person’s 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 didn’t 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 everybody’s 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 didn’t deserve to die.

I know that I can’t 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 can’t help but feel that it’s 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! C’mon in! The door’s 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 didn’t 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 wasn’t 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 didn’t know what it was, and I didn’t 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 didn’t 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.

‘…Isn’t it hard to join SOLDIER?’

‘…I probably won’t 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 didn’t 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 didn’t he come back? He had promised to come back. Didn’t 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 wasn’t enough. Meteor continued to push forwards, destroying Midgar. Just when we thought all was lost, the lifestream came to Holy’s 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 I’ve 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 wasn’t 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 don’t 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!’

‘Cloud! Aeris!’

‘C’mon! Let’s go!’

‘To our promised land!’

Finally, I smiled.



Author’s 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. I’m 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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