Guided by Starlight Chapter 3
By Tifa Strife
Cloud got up the next morning with no hesitation. For some reason he had a very heavy heart today, he missed his Tifa more than ever.
"Snap out of it Cloud! She's not coming back." He said to himself leaving the house.
It was a beautiful day outside and Cloud stopped to take a deep breath of the cool crisp air. All around him people were happy and going about their business like it were any other day. Cloud walked with both hands in his pockets kicking the ground as he walked down the street. He dared not look up to see the people watching him with pitiful eyes, if he did he knew he would turn right around and go back to the comfort of his empty house. No one had seen him in nearly a week and was very worried about him. He had loved her very much, no doubt about that, and when she died no one was sure how he would take it. Locking himself up in seclusion was the least expected, but that was decision.
Cloud kept his eyes to the ground as he walked to the Seventh Heaven bar a few blocks away. It looked so desolated and lonely without the bustle of people going in and out getting the "Best food in Midgar" is was so proclaimed. Cloud turned the key and walked inside closing the door behind him.
"So many memories.." Cloud said trailing off looking at the counter. He walked over to it and took a seat as if waiting for someone to make him a drink. When him and Tifa would close up for the night they would just sit there by themselves and talk about their day. He would look forward for those few minutes of talking with her all day long because in those short minutes he felt truly complete. On the very first day the bar was opened they had a huge line waiting outside just to sit in the "Seventh Heaven" bar of the famous Tifa and Cloud Strife. But it didnt start out that way. The sign outside has always said the "Seventh Heaven" with Tifa Lockheart and Cloud Strife below the name since they were the owners. But when they were married they got a new sign posted outside to which they were very proud of.
Cloud sat there for a long time remembering everything from they day they opened, to the last day he would close the bar with her. It was here that he knew that there was no other woman out there for him. That the beautiful woman waiting tables was his true love. No one else could ever take her place after everything they had been through. It just wouldnt work. Tifa knew Cloud inside and out, no other person could know so much about a person and want to stay with that person for the rest of their life, but she did.
Cloud got up and walked around a bit noticing the lightly powdered dust on the seats and tables. He dusted some of them off before he knew that he couldnt do this by himself. This was no place to get over his grieving for her. Again he sat down and remembered a time that was not too long ago when he admitted his feelings to Tifa, in this very place, this very table, this very chair. Cloud leaned his head back and envisioned it all.
"Tifa?" He said, his voice shaking.
"Yea Cloud, hold on. I'm almost done." Cloud remembered exactly what her voice sounded like. How could he forget? It was the sweetest voice in the entire world.
"Take your time."
"Ok, done. What's up?" Tifa said sitting down across the table from Cloud.
Cloud felt his throat choke up. He was getting red in the face. "Tell her!" he screamed to himself.
"Cloud, is there something wrong?" Tifa said putting her hand on his face. "You're a little warm"
Cloud grabbed her hand and she looked at him with surprise. He rolled his eyes knowing that he grabbed her too hard. But then he smiled letting his grip loosen a little. He put her hand to his heart, which was beating very fast.
She looked at her hand on his heart and then back to his face. He was smiling slightly at her and she smiled back, still now knowing what he was trying to say. Inside she felt her own heart beating as fast as his was, perhaps faster. She took a seat next to him and gazed into his eyes waiting for him to say something.
"Tifa.." Cloud said feeling that it was now or never. He looked down at his hand on hers and knew he had to do it.
"Yes, Cloud?" Tifa said leaning into him a bit.
"We've been through a lot, haven't we? And when it was all over we didnt have anywhere to go. So we stuck together and look where we are now. We are successful."
"Cloud I have been so happy since we opened the bar. It just like old times, except without Big, Wedge, Jesse, and even Barret when he wasn't ordering everyone around." Tifa said giggling.
She looked up at Cloud and saw he wasnt smiling. He had such a pained expression his face it pierced her heart knowing he was upset about something. His eyes met hers and they looked into each other's souls. They both knew what he wanted to say. Tifa had wanted this ever since Cloud decided to do the mission for AVALANCE.
"Cloud, please tell me what's-" She said. But before she could finish the sentence Cloud moved forward and kissed her. It took her by such surprise she couldn't react to it. They stood there motionless with his lips on hers. He moved back and looked at her, his eyes pleading for an answer. Her eyes were closed and her mouth waited there for an explanation. Everything was so right. Finally the man she loved for so long must love her back. Without thinking of what to do next she kissed him back, this time taking him by surprise. They knelt there in the middle of the room, each in each other's arms kissing passionately like there would be no tomorrow. This was the beginning of a new life for them, no longer would they have to be alone, they now had each other to wake up in the morning for.
Back in the present time, Cloud was smiling. He could still taste the kiss from that night. No kiss could have been sweeter or more deserving.
Tifa made it through the forest fighting a few battles and winning them triumphantly. Now she stood somewhere by the coast, a dead end.
"Keep going to your left." The voice said.
"What's to the left?"
"You'll see, just keep going."
Tifa walked all day to what she presumed was "the left." She came to a wall of rocks that must have been a hundred feet high.
"Now what?" Tifa said stammering one foot.
"That rock over there, look behind it."
So Tifa walked over to the largest rock in front of her and behind it was some kind of flying machine.
"The 'Tiny Bronco'? What is this?" She said looking up. But there was no response. "Where are you, voice?" but still there was no reply.
She dragged the "Tiny Bronco" to the edge of the shore. She wasn't very sure why she did it, but something inside of her let her know it didn't fly, but it sailed. Pushing it into the water, she boarded it standing there quiet confused. Then she saw that it could be rowed places.
"I guess this is what I have to do." So she sat down, and rowed until she couldn't see the coastline anymore.
After a few hours the sun was shining directly above her. Sweat droplets were forming on her forehead as she rowed onward to no where in particular.
"Where am I going," she thought, "What am I doing?"
"Dont give up, Tifa!"
Tifa kept pushing on until the sun was now on her right side. In the distance the brilliant colors of sunset were forming and Tifa stopped to admire them.
"I have to keep going, just a little more." She kept repeating.
It was nearly nightfall when the signs of land were approaching. Tifa smiled with delight and pushed on harder. She pulled up on the sandy beach touching ground for the first time all day. It was strange to stand on the solid ground after rocking in a boat for so long.
"Now where am I?" she asked to the stars forming in the sky.
"You are home, Tifa."
"Home? I dont see any houses."
"Look up ahead."
Tifa turned opposite the ocean and stared at the gigantic city facing her. It was covered in green vines and flowers. Tiny houses could be spotted almost everyone up and down the city greeting her. She smiled and took a breath in.
"Home." She said with pleasantness in her voice.
"I have to leave you now, Tifa."
"But I dont even know your name! How will I explain to people how I got here?"
"I can't tell you my name. It would cause too much confusion. Go into the city and take a right turn, than a left, another right, and go straight ahead. That will be your house. If anyone talks to you, dont listen to them. You must find your husband and let him explain everything to you first. Goodbye Tifa, we will meet again."
"Goodbye. Thank you for all that you've done for me."
Tifa walked into the city stopping to remember her directions.
"Was it make a right turn, a right turn, and a left turn? Or a right turn, straight ahead, and a left turn?"
He first turn was a left one, then to the right, and again to the left.
"'Seventh Heaven?' Maybe they can help me?" she thought.
She came to the front door and pushed it open gently. Peeping her head in, she called to see if anyone was around. Then she pushed the door all the way open and took a step in.
"We're closed." Said a sad voice sitting in the middle of the room. His arms were folded and his head down, a drink half full on the table.
"Oh, I'm sorry. I just needed some directions, you see, I'm lost. This is going to sound so stupid, but where is this place?"
The man seemed a little annoyed with the question and didnt even bother to look up to answer her.
"This is the "Seventh Heaven" in Midgar, as if you didnt know that."
Tifa was now annoyed right back at him.
"The least you can do is look me in the eyes!" she stammered. He didn't respond to her, just sipped his drink and sighed. "Fine, so sorry to bother you from your drinking!" She said turning away.
Cloud knew he was being rude and didnt care, but now he was sorry for doing that.
"I'm sorry. Please, sit down. How can I help you?"
She stopped from walking out the door and turned around to answer him. Immediately his eyes opened wide and his mouth dropped. He jumped up faster than lightning and knocked over the chair behind him scaring Tifa to death in the process. She took a step back and held onto the door.
"Tifa!" he screamed out to her.
Tifa didnt know what to make of this. So she looked at him back questioningly.
"Who are you?" she asked plainly.
His faced filled with horror. The color drained out immediately and he went completely cold. She didn't remember him, she didnt remember him at all. Now her death was not the ultimate pain, this was. Having her alive again but without her memory seemed worse than having her dead. This was the nightmare he was living, and he prayed he would wake up from it.
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