Guided by Starlight Chapter 6
By Tifa Strife
It was midday when Cloud came out of his room. He gently wrapped on Tifa's door to check on her, but there was no answer.
"Tifa?" he asked. But still there was no response.
Tifa was lying down taking a nap. She tossed and turned through her slumber trying to wake up from the horrible dream she was having. She dreamt she was in a place, dark and cold, where no one could reach her.
'Hello?' she screamed but there was no answer. 'No, I dont know anything about that! Cloud where are you?'
Then she woke up, in her dream, to a place that was beyond words for explanation.
'This must be Cloud's subconciessness. I have to help him..'
Then the dream was most of a blur. Little by little Cloud was forming in front of her as a whole person, not a misty figure. Within minutes he was a solid. He told her many things that he kept in his heart for a long time, like the reason why he joined SOILDER. All of these things were new to her and she drank them in hoping to remember them when she awoke.
At the end of this strange dream, they floated up to the surface. Where were they? People surrounded them as they pulled her and Cloud to safety on the shore.
'Where is Cloud?' she asked someone.
'He's a big guy, he can take care of himself.'
She mumbled something else and was out like a light once more.
Finally Tifa woke up from her dream in a cold sweat. The covers of the bed were kicked to the ground and she sat up breathing heavily trying to catch her breath.
Again Cloud knocked on Tifa's door this time more forcefully. "Tifa, are you alright? Do you want to come downstairs?"
"Yes, yes I'll be there in a second."
"Ok, I'll make us something to eat." He said walking down the stairs.
Tifa got up and made the bed over. Then she opened her door and walked toward the staircase. She heard the sizzle of something on the stove and breathed in the heavenly scent of whatever was cooking. She took a few steps down the stairs when something from the other room caught her eye. She went back up and slowly walked towards it. Cloud must have heard her and stopped his cooking to see what she was doing, and tiptoed behind her.
She peeked into the room where she assumed her and Cloud slept. Sitting on the dresser was a little jewelry box that caught the light from wherever it was and reflecting it in a million directions. Tifa picked it up and examined it all around moving her hands smoothly on the gold and silver surface. On it were the words engraved,
"To the newly weds, ours dearest friends, and heroes of the world. Best wishes in this blessed event."
Tifa spun around taking her hands off the box and placing it down where she had found it. Cloud stood there watching her and recited the rest that was engraved on the box.
"We love you."
"I'm sorry. I shouldnt have been snooping."
"Why be sorry? It is yours too. It was a gift from everyone."
Cloud sighed softly. "Everyone. All eight of us on the airship. Barret, Cid, Red XIII, Yuffie, Vincent, Cait Sith? They chipped in and gave it to us at our wedding. Go ahead, open it."
She took a moment before picking the box up again. When she opened it, sweet music poured out as if it was trying to get out for a million years. The cheery tune lifted Cloud's heart as he heard it and reminded them he still had to hold onto hope. Inside the music box was a picture. Cloud turned on the light so she could see it better. It was a picture of everyone. They stood outside the airship in a cheerful pose after all the danger was over. Tifa could spot herself easily in the picture, although a few days ago she couldnt. She was the one with the long black hair and beautiful burgundy eyes. Beside her, in the picture, holding her at the waist was the small spiky blonde hair man that was standing before her now, and vowed to stand before her always for as long as they lived.
"I thought it was a jewelry box at first. It is very pretty."
"When they gave it to us you were bawling. We thought if you didn't stop we would all drown sooner or later." He said chuckling.
Tifa also found a smile on her face. It felt strange to feel happy after not being so for a long time.
"That's just like the time when I was crying over.." Tifa stopped in the middle of her sentence.
Cloud stopped laughing and looked at her, his eyes waiting for her words. "Go ahead Tifa, what were you saying."
"I was crying once, I remember that. I was crying for something but I dont know what. I was so small."
"Keep going, Tif."
She sat down on the bed but couldnt think anymore.
"I don't know, it's gone."
They both waited there in silence, one waiting for the other to say something. Cloud sat down beside her and put his arm on her just like he used to when she was sad about something. He knew her ticklish spot but didnt dare tickle her at a time like this. She felt so helpless under his arm and she squirmed uncomfortably under him.
"Please, I'm not ready for that."
He took his arm off and took her hand and held it instead. She seemed to like this better but still showed all the signs of discomfort.
"Come on. There's food waiting for you downstairs."
Cloud walked out of the room. Tifa got up after him and took one more look at the music box.
"I haven't cried like that since my mother died. My father tried to tell me everything was going to be alright, but I knew since that day things could never be the same. I knew with her gone I wouldnt have a normal life. "
Cloud and Tifa were eating silently at the table when there was a knock at the door.
"I'll be right back." He told her and stalked off to the door.
Tifa craned her head to watch him answer the door. A man was standing there and immediately took off his hat when Cloud answered.
"Mr. Strife, I am terribly sorry to hear of your wife's death." Cloud slammed the door in his face and leaned up against it. He shook it off and walked back to the kitchen. Tifa was standing there, tears streaming down her face.
"Tell me everything. Tell me Cloud, tell me everything that happened."
Cloud stood there peering over to her. How could he tell her how she died? The horrible way she died and how he couldn't save her. It pained him so much to even think about it, but to actually talk about it was beyond his control.
"I can't" he choked out.
"You have to! You have to tell me."
"I can't tell you. How can I tell you, the love of my life, that you died before my very eyes? I can't do it Tifa! Even if you dont have the feelings for me as you used to, I still love you and cant say such things. I have you back now, that's all that matters, we can start over."
"I dont want to start over until I know what I'm starting over from!"
This was getting to be too much for Cloud. All of this pressure on one person could make him or her snap, and he was on the verge of that already.
"I will not sit down!" she was screaming at him.
"Tifa, sit down NOW!"
She was taken aback by his ability to raise his voice. She sat down immediately and folded her arms with a sour expression on her face. He sat down across from her and put his head down on the table. He raised his head again and sighed deeply sitting back in his chair.
"Well, here it goes.." He said preparing for the worst. Tifa sat up tentatively and ready for anything. It was going to be a long night.
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