Cloud's boot crunched as it hit the ground. He swung his leg over his bike and set his kickstand down, allowing it to lean. He dragged a hand through his hair and took a deep breath. The idea of visiting Zack's parents had been on his mind a lot lately. It'd only been a few months since he'd saved the world (again) and Aerith had helped him forgive himself. He decided his next move was to confront Tifa about everything that's happened in the last nine years and apologize and hope to god that she'd understand. Along the way he decided that then was a good of a time as any to tell her about the feelings he's had for her. He'd expected that he'd need to gather all of his things and find somewhere else to set up shop. But Tifa, being the remarkable woman he always knew her to be, understood. She surprised him further by kissing him, and implying he was stupid for ever thinking otherwise.
Tifa's arm came around his waist as she dismounted the bike and stood next to him. They could see the Fair Household from where they parked. Even though it had been more than two years since Cloud regained his actual memories and returned to his actual self, memories of when he acted like Zack still popped up from time to time. It was surreal, he thought, how he could look back on memories still connected to Zack's, now knowing the truth behind them. The first time he was here Tifa and Aerith were with him.
The three had walked into the house and saw the older couple sitting together at the table in the main room. The man looked up at them, and squinted his eyes at Cloud. He got up and approached the group that walked through their door.
"You a traveller? Hey wait, that glare in your eye…you in SOLDIER?" The man asked, studying Cloud more intensely.
"Oh, you're right! Don't you know anything about our son?" The woman got up and stood next to her husband.
"His name is Zack. It's been close to 10 years since he left for the city, saying that he didn't want to live in the country…He left saying he's going to join SOLDIER. You ever hear of a Zack in SOLDIER?" Cloud thought back for a moment, trying to remember someone named Zack in SOLDIER.
"Hmmm…I don't know." Cloud shrugged. Tifa and Cloud looked over as Aerith brought her hands to her face.
"Zack…" She said, mainly to herself. Zack's parents looked at her, surprised and hopeful.
"Young lady, you know him?" Zack's dad turned to her and asked.
"I remember he wrote us 6 or 7 years ago saying he had a girlfriend. Could that had been you?" Aerith dropped her hands from her face and shook her head. She looked as if someone had knocked the wind right out of her.
"That can't…" Her voice faded and she turned to walk out of the house. Tifa took a deep breath and looked down, shaking her head.
"Zack…" Tifa's voice was fragile as she walked through the door before it had time to shut behind Aerith. Cloud, extremely confused at this point, took a step towards the door, ignoring the pleading parents in the room behind him to search for his friends.
"What's wrong with you two?" Cloud asked himself as he walked out of the house, looking to find his two friends. He saw Aerith standing by another building across the main square. With Tifa nowhere in his immediate sight, he began walking towards Aerith, who seemed to be finally calming down.
"Aerith…" He began.
"What a shock…I didn't know Zack was from this town." Aerith faced away from Cloud, so he couldn't see her face.
"You know him?" At this point based on her reaction he wasn't surprised. Apparently Tifa had known him too. 'Where was I to not meet this guy? Especially if the both of them know him.' he thought to himself. Aerith turned around and faced him with a small smile on her face.
"Didn't I tell you? He was my first love." When Cloud didn't respond, she continued. "Zack…SOLDIER First Class. Same as Cloud."
"Strange, there aren't that many who make First Class, but I've never heard of him." He thought back again to his days in SOLDIER, trying again to remember someone named Zack, even if it was a Second or Third Class. Sure he took a few of them under his wing during his SOLDIER days but no one named Zack came to mind…
"That's all right. It's all in the past now. I was just worried because I heard he's been missing." Aerith turned away again, taking deep breaths as she did so.
"Missing?" Cloud said, clearly shocked. How could an alleged SOLDIER First Class go missing?
"I think it was five years ago. He went out on a job, and never came back. He loved women, a real lady's man. He probably found someone else…" He could see that she was getting lost once again in her memories. He figured that it was time to give her some space, and decided to try and find Tifa. This did not prove to be a difficult task as he previously thought. Much like Aerith had been, she was staring off into space, farther away from Zack's house than Aerith was.
"Zack…" She said, mainly to herself, although she could sense Cloud's presence as he approached her.
"Did you know him?" He asked, curious as to what relationship this lady's man had with his childhood best friend.
"N-no I don't know him!" Her stuttering told him otherwise, and he felt a pang of uneasiness.
"Your face tells me differently." He pressed on. Something didn't sit right with him about this.
"I told you, I don't!" True to herself as always, Tifa was stubborn.
"A-all right." Cloud let it slide. He figured if it was important, she'd tell him when she was comfortable. He watched her as she got quiet. Truly, he had no idea what was up with these two ladies and this guy named Zack, and it was increasing frustrating to him. After a while, Tifa spoke up again.
"That sounds just like you, leaving town, and saying, 'I'm joining SOLDIER!'" Tifa looked at him and searched his face. Cloud didn't quite know what she meant or what she was searching for. Of course he had to be different from this Zack guy. He looked away, but not because he was embarrassed or anything.
"There were a lot of guys like that back then." He ran his hand through his hair not for the first time since arriving in Gongaga.
"You must be really something making it into SOLDIER out of a group like that. I really respect you." He looked away from his childhood friend. No, he was definitely not embarrassed, and his face was definitely not some sort of red.
"I just got lucky." He mumbled in response.
"Don't be so humble!" She said good-naturedly. "Cloud, thanks for caring."
He snapped back into reality from his memories, taking a moment to think again how bizarre it was that he could look back on those times and see the inconsistencies of his actions, how he truly did have similarities to Zack. Hell, he even competed in a squats competition and won! He took a deep breath and took Tifa's hand in his. He felt a pang of relief as she squeezed his hand. They walked in silence until they reached the door of the Fair household. Knocking on the door, his heart hammered in his chest. The few moments it took for the door to open felt like an entire lifetime. Endless thoughts ran through Cloud's head. Certainly there were specific things he wanted to say and talk about with his friend's parents. But what he worried about most was their reaction. The thought must've crossed their minds. It must have. He again squeezed Tifa's hand. She knew what he was feeling. She'd been friends with Zack too. She knew she wasn't as close to him as Cloud was, but Zack had an amazing ability to bring people together. She knew that Cloud was who he was because Zack had been there for him. Cloud knew it too. All guilt forgiven, he would always believe Zack deserved better. Zack was a hero no one knew about other than Cloud and the people he opened up to. His parents deserved to know everything Zack had done. Zack's father opened the door and squinted at the young couple standing before him. It took a few moments before he recognized the two.
"You two are the travellers who came by a few years ago. You're the young man who was a SOLDIER First Class like our son. The young woman in the pink dress…is she not with you this time?" Cloud looked down, attempting to gather his nerve.
"No, not this time." Tifa spoke, smiling sadly at the man at the door. "My name is Tifa and this here is Cloud. We…we'd really like to talk to you and your wife about Zack. Is now a good time?" Cloud looked at Tifa as she spoke, in awe of how controlled her emotions were. The two of them owed a lot to Zack and Aerith. He was so very lucky to have her with him today. The two looked at the man expectantly. He shifted his gaze between the two before inviting them inside.
"Please sit." He said warmly, gesturing to the empty seats at the table where his wife sat. "Honey, these two have information about Zack."
"Oh, they do?!" Zack's mother exclaimed, excitedly smiling at them as they sat across from her. "You've been here before, haven't you? My, it's been years!"
"Yes, it has been." Tifa replied, and introduced herself and Cloud once again as her husband sat next to her and took her hand. Tifa knew Cloud would need a little encouragement. "Zack was Cloud's closest friend while the two worked together at ShinRa."
"Oh, yes! You were SOLDIER First Class, like Zack. But wait…I thought you said you didn't know him all those years ago?" Cloud took a deep breath and looked at his friend's parents.
"That wasn't quite true. During that time of my life there were a lot of things that weren't quite right, and I'll get to that. But I think I should start with when I first met Zack. I was only an infantryman. I joined a SOLDIER First Class – Zack – on a mission along with a Turk named Tseng and another infantryman. Our airplane crashed on the way to our destination and we had to walk the rest of the way to Modeoheim. Zack led us there, since he claimed that being from the countryside, he could. After a while, Tseng and the other infantryman had a hard time keeping up. But I'd come from the countryside too, and I kept with him just fine. We started talked and laughed about how both of our hometowns were such backwater places. Of course as a SOLDIER operative he knew about the mako reactor in Nibelheim. He said to me, 'A make reactor outside of Midgar usually means…' and we both finished, 'nothing else out there.'
"After laughing again, Zack exclaimed that we were both backwater experts to Tseng and we continued on our way. It would be a while before I realized after that mission Zack had changed. Sure, he changed his hairstyle and carried around a new sword but I didn't know the significance until much later. It wasn't long before this mission in particular we received a message in the ShinRa newsletter stating that two other SOLDIERs First Class were reported KIA. One was named Angeal. And this new sword Zack carried was Angeal's sword. Even as an infantryman, we all knew who the Firsts were and what they looked like. It just so happened that one of Angeal's main characteristics was this big sword he seemed to never use. Zack never told me about what happened for him to acquire Angeal's sword, and I never asked. But his sword, his hair, and the scar on the left side of his face were all three indicators of a change in Zack.
"After that first meeting, Zack and I became close friends. I was just a foot soldier and there was Zack, an actual SOLDIER First Class. He took me under his wing. He was the closest thing I had to a brother. He watched out for me. That first mission wasn't the only mission we went on together, but it and the last mission we went on together will stay in my mind forever.
On our last mission Zack was assigned along with Sephiroth to go to Nibelheim, my hometown. We stayed there for about a week, and that's when Sephiroth broke down. We fought him, Zack and I. And for a long time I thought we killed him. But after that battle, Zack and I were badly injured. Sephiroth injured Tifa in that battle too, and I wasn't able to help her. Zack and I both passed out. My memories here get fuzzy." He sighed and ran the hand that wasn't intertwined with Tifa's through his hair. Zack's parents looked tense, eager. They knew that there was a point to what he was saying, and there would be news about their dear son.
"Zack and I were kept in mako tanks for four years. As you know, SOLDIER operatives are exposed to mako energy as a part of their training and initiation. In addition to that they are injected with Jenova cells. Zack didn't experience the mako poisoning like I did. I was conscious but not responsive. Zack broke out of his tank, then drained and removed me from mine. Zack was not only a brave individual, but he was also extremely smart. I'd heard from someone that he had a nickname given to him from one of his superiors – Zack the Puppy. Looking back on some of his actions I can see how that nickname would be appropriate. After I was removed from the tank, Zack found a different set of clothes – a SOLDIER First Class uniform – and helped me change. He fought his way out of Nibelheim, and somehow I ended up in a side-seat of a motorcycle. We went to Banora, and he found someone he knew. He had to leave me and I drifted in and out of sleep until he returned. He brought one of the SOLDIER First Classes back with him who was supposedly KIA. He received a letter while in Banora from his girlfriend – I'm still not too sure how. She wrote that it had been four years since they'd last spoken, and that's when we learned how long we'd been out of commission. I figured out later, much later, that his girlfriend was Aerith, the woman who was with us the last time we were here.
"It was then we left for Midgar. At some point we ditched the bike and a man in a truck picked us up. While on the way he chatted to me about mostly random things, like how we could hide with his girlfriend and her mom until the chaos settled down, what I'd do if he'd left me behind, and he asked me if I was okay. He looked over and said, 'What are you going to do once we get to Midgar? Hey, we're friends, right?'" Cloud paused as he started to tremble slightly. He could no longer keep eye contact with his parents. He swallowed the lump in his throat. "At some point we got off the truck and he set me down in a crevice and ruffled my hair. He walked away to fight the army of infantrymen that had found us. I reached for him as his back was turned but he didn't see. This was the first time I moved on my own. I heard so many gunshots…I didn't know how much time went by. But I tried to join him, to help if I could even stand. It started raining. The closer I got, the more I moved the more difficult it became. I stopped moving to catch my breath and an infantryman debated on killing me. His superior officer told him not to bother, that I would die anyway. They left and I was alone to finish my trek of crawling to Zack.
"There was…so much blood. He'd been protecting me, and been shot multiple times. Seeing him like that…with his sword limp in his hand…" He noticed his vision blurring with tears, and he continued. "We made a promise. That I'd live. Live for the both of us. That I'd be his living legacy. That his honor, his dreams were mind. He handed the sword to me and gave me a push before his hand dropped to the ground. He smiled…and then he was gone." He looked up, searching the faces of Zack's parents. Tifa's hand was tight on his, and he felt tremors of her own. His parents had moved closer together, comforting each other as tears streamed down their faces. They didn't seem surprised. It was clear to see where Zack got his everlasting optimism and belief everyone had good in them. "I thanked him. I told him I wouldn't forget. I-I told him good night, because I couldn't bear to say goodbye. I managed to make it back to Midgar somehow.
"I don't know how long it took me to get there. But I lost myself entirely on the way. I took the knowledge I had from the stories Zack told me throughout our friendship, and they became my memories. I was never in SOLDIER. But I'd convinced myself I had been. Zack's life became mine and the memories of Zack disappeared. Blocked." He took another deep breath and wiped the tears from his mako blue eyes. "Tifa eventually found me and brought me to a group called AVALANCHE. They wanted to save the planet from ShinRa. This persona I created didn't give a damn about anything. But Tifa was the only connection I had to who I was, who I really was. We'd both lost our parents years ago and looking back, that's probably why I stuck with her as long as I did. I knew somewhere that something wasn't right, that I wanted to fix it. I just…didn't know how.
"Then I met Aerith…I fell through the ceiling of her church, and there she was, like some sort of savior. We travelled the world together, the three of us, with other friends as well. Our inevitable main goal was to shut down ShinRa and save the world. It was during this time that we discovered that Sephiroth in fact was not dead. No, he was not dead and he was making his way to the Temple of the Ancients in an attempt to find the Black Materia. He wanted to utilize its power and call Meteor. Sephiroth…he was able to get into my head, bend my will. We'd successfully gone through the Temple and acquired the Materia. He convinced me to give him the Materia. And sure enough, once he had it, Meteor was summoned.
"Aerith left us then. I'd passed out, and woke up here, in Gongaga. It felt like a dream…but Aerith visited me in that dream, she told me where she was going. She had a way to save the world and she thought she could deal with Sephiroth. This was all my fault. Sephiroth got the Black Materia and now Aerith was going to fight by herself. I felt like I wasn't worthy to go and help her…" He looked over to Tifa lovingly. "But being with my friends kicked me out of that stupor.
"We made our way to the City of Ancients, climbing our way through the Northern Mountains. I could feel her presence as we got closer. But I could also feel Sephiroth's. I felt a pull, urging me to get there. I couldn't get there fast enough. I went on ahead of the group and I saw her. There she was, praying. Doing what she could for the planet. I was so relieved that she was okay. We all were. I stepped up to the platform where she kneeled, and I felt the disconnect. Sephiroth began to control my movements and I…I almost killed her. But she didn't look up. She just kept praying. They called out to me, my friends, and because of them I fought it, and I returned to myself. I thought it would be fine, that the danger was gone.
"I should've known. She looked up from praying, and she smiled at me, as if to tell me she was proud of me for resisting, for listening to the people close to me – even if I wouldn't admit that I cared about these people at the time. Sephiroth seemed to come out of nowhere. He impaled her. A pure White Materia dropped from her hair as she collapsed into my arms. Sephiroth flew off and we all mourned for her. Soon after laying her body to rest, we left. We still had a planet to save.
"Not long after Aerith was killed I had a complete mental breakdown. Everything that made me who I thought I was broke apart. Tifa and I fell into the Lifestream. She helped put me back together. And not who I'd been pretending to be, but the person I really am. I remembered Zack, I remembered the promises I'd made, I remembered everything. That wouldn't have been possible without Tifa. Without her, I'd probably be in another coma, unable to ever really be conscious again. Because of her, we were all able to defeat Sephiroth. We used Holy – the White Materia left to us by Aerith – to stop the Meteor. But inevitably the planet saved itself.
"A few years went by and I completely closed in on myself. I was wracked with the guilt that I not only let one close friend die, but two. It was my fault Zack was dead. If I hadn't been there, he would've been able to continue going without always coming back to get me. If I hadn't been so weak, Sephiroth wouldn't have been able to get into my mind and control me. Anyone who got close to me paid the price. I moved my things into Tifa's bar in Edge. I started a delivery service. I stayed away from Tifa, and from the two kids we'd adopted. Granted Marlene was Barrett's daughter, but at the time he'd needed to take time for himself. Denzel was ours. Denzel is ours. He will always be ours.
"This is when the remnants surfaced, and many people were sick with Geostigma. I had Geostigma myself, and in a way, I was relieved. I was always torn – should I let myself die and be with the friends I let down, or should I stay and bear the guilt, avoiding the people who only wanted to support me. I didn't search for a reason to live, and I didn't search for a cure. I stayed in Aerith's church more than I stayed at home. I was afraid. I didn't want anyone else to die because of me. The remnants sought me out and the change began. They were searching for Jenova – for mother – and demanded I tell them where she was. After fighting them I went to see one of the Turks, Reno. Upon arriving I met the previous ShinRa company president. They told me in few words that there was a chance that Sephiroth would be revived if the remnants got their hands on Jenova cells.
"I didn't want to be a part of it. I took my bike and I rode back to the church, hoping to find some shred of solace. I walked in and could instantly tell that something was off. As I neared the flowers, I found Tifa, passed out. White-hot dread washed over me. This couldn't be happening. I rushed to her, and held her shoulders in my arms. She spoke and I felt slightly relieved. She told me that Marlene had been kidnapped, and passed out once more. My Geostigma started to act up, and I passed out too.
"I woke up back at the bar. Reno and another Turk had been trailing the remnants and ended up in the church. They found us. Tifa woke up shortly after I did, and the Turks told us the kids had been kidnapped, and taken to The Forgotten City. I didn't want to ruin anything else. I told the Turks to go get the kids, and that I needed to talk to their boss. Tifa had had enough at this point. She turned and lectured me about facing my fears. She was right, I was scared that even if I found them, I might not be able to help them. There was nothing else I could do but accept that and go. So that's exactly what I did.
"I left for The Forgotten City. Aerith often appeared in my headspace when things were especially stressful. We spoke for a moment, and she asked me why I came to her. I told her…I told her I wanted to be forgiven. More than anything. To which she instantly replied, 'By who?' and disappeared from my mind. At this point I'd already made it to The Forgotten City. I was able to retrieve Marlene with the help of one of the friends who'd fought with us. I brought Marlene home and she too talked some sense into me. It was at this time I knew I had to start doing something. I had to start protecting my family. I couldn't just be idle when others were fighting. The next day we were able to retrieve Denzel just as Kadaj summoned Bahamut Sin. Thanks to everyone's help we were able to defeat the summon before anyone was seriously hurt. Then it was time to take care of the remnants.
"By this point, the remnants had obtained Jenova's cells, like they had originally wanted. During the pursuit, the cells began to leak from the container. Once in the church, the cells that escaped caused a rain that hurt Kadaj, but healed my Geostigma. The chase continued and once he was unable to flee any farther, we fought. I had the upper hand for a while, but then he consumed the cells. The ShinRa company president was right. Kadaj had turned into Sephiroth. I had some hope despite that. I'd defeated him once, hadn't I? So I should be able to do it again. I started to lose my advantage. Sephiroth was as strong as I remembered, if not more so. I was struggling.
"Time seemed to stop for a moment. I went back to that headspace, and there was Zack. 'So what if it looks hopeless? If it were me, I still wouldn't give up. Embrace your dreams. And, whatever happens protect your honor as SOLDIER. Okay, you never made SOLDIER, but it's what's in here that counts.' He told me and motioned to his heart. I could do nothing but say his name, as I was having a hard time speaking. 'Well, do you need a hand with him?' He asked. I replied that I didn't. He made the point that since I'd defeated him before this should be a cinch. He then said, 'Cloud. You know what I told you.' I did. That's right. I am your living legacy, I stated, and reality came rushing back. And sure enough I was able to defeat Sephiroth. The remnant soon faded into the Lifestream. I thought it was all over, that I could relax. It'd begun to rain (everywhere) at this point, and I looked up to take a deep breath. That's when the remaining two remnants shot me before they too disappeared.
"I woke up in the church, surrounded by children who had been cured by rain that had turned into a small lake. I was fine, and Denzel still needed to be cured. Once he was, everyone started celebrating. I looked over to Tifa, who had this knowing smile on her face. Behind her in the doorway was Zack. Aerith was getting up from talking to the children. 'You see? Everything's all right.' She said to me. She and Zack walked away into the light. They both had made me realize that the person I needed to forgive was myself. And because of everything that happened, I finally had. I finally forgave myself. Once I came back to my senses, I was able to have a long conversation with Tifa about everything. Somehow, regardless of all the shit I put her through, she stayed with me and loved me." Of course being the emotionally shy person he was, Cloud flushed slightly. He looked up at the couple who had once again became teary-eyed.
"I realize I've taken a lot of your time telling you an excruciatingly long story. I know a lot of it might seem like it didn't have much to do with Zack. But the reason why the whole story was important to tell, was because none of this would have been possible had Zack not been there. He always kept me in his sights. He always made sure I was doing okay. He believed in me more than I ever believed in myself. I was only able to do everything that I've done because of Zack. There is nothing I can ever do that will live up to what he's done. I just…I kept thinking back to the years ago when I met you here. You didn't know what happened to your son, and you were so proud…I know he's gone, but you should still be the most proud parents in the world. Because it is still around today because of him." He finally silenced. Tifa was extremely proud of him for coming all this way and relaying the story of his best friend to his parents. Overcome with love and admiration for her childhood best friend, she leaned over and kissed his temple. His thumb stroked hers in the hands that were intertwined, and he brought their joined hands together and kissed hers. He was more thankful and appreciative of the support she gave him than she would ever know.
A comfortable silence filled the room for a few moments. Zack's mother stood up, wiping her eyes and smiling at the couple in front of her. "Would you two like some tea, or are you hungry? I was just finishing up dinner and I'd be more than happy to have you join us?" She bustled off into the kitchen, squeezing Cloud's shoulder as she walked by, not giving him and Tifa a chance to answer. Cloud and Zack's father just sat looking at each other. The older man took a deep breath before running both hands through his hair. He gave the two a wistful smile.
"Ever since we heard Zack's been missing, she's begun cooking for three or more. Just in case he came back and needed a place of refuge from ShinRa. We did begin to worry when the company was destroyed, but…he's our son. We had to believe. We wanted to believe." He paused for a moment. "We…we've been wondering for such a long time. We tried to contact ShinRa for years now, and every response we've gotten told us he was KIA. But something about the response didn't sit right with us. He sent us letters often telling us about – what was that girl's name? – Aerith. He loved her so much. He wouldn't let himself die on a mission to a mako reactor. No, I knew my son. But protecting someone else…" His eye searched Cloud's, before his mouth ticked up at the corner. "You must've been important to him. I want to thank you for being there for my son." Tears started to well again in the corner of his eyes. Cloud stood up, and walked to the other side of the table where his friend's dad sat. He decided that now was not a time to be embarrassed about his emotions. He wrapped his arms around the older man in a hug and they both let tears stream down their faces, gripping onto one another like there was nothing else to hold onto.
Tifa watched the two with her heart in her eyes. She knew this was a long time coming for Cloud. For the entire ride from Edge to Gongaga, he was tense and worried. What upset her the most was that she knew she couldn't do anything to help him, other than be there for him when he needed her. And recently, he always needed her. She felt presence by her shoulder, as Zack's mother returned to the room, carrying the tray holding dinner. She looked up at the older woman who had just set the tray on the table. She looked over at the younger woman and slid her hands through her hair. Tifa smiled in response. It'd been almost fifteen years since she's had a mother figure in her life, and the tender touch from Zack's mother brought tears to her eyes. It had been a long time since she herself had become a mother, and now the tender touch of a mother who hadn't stopped being a mother even in the dark about her child's well-being meant the world to her.
Cloud had finally broken away from Zack's father and sat down next to Tifa once again. Before moving back to her husband, Zack's mother ruffled Cloud's hair in a very maternal gesture and kissed his temple. He was just as affected by the action as Tifa was. It had been an extremely long time for him since he had parents as well. While at first he was uncomfortable, something had passed between the four of them through the duration of Cloud's story. Of course they would mourn their son, but hadn't they begun to do that anyway? Here were two young people who knew Zack and loved Zack. They made their way from their own home with their own children to relay to them what happened to their own. If Zack had become friends with these people, then they were family already.
"We would both like to thank you so much for telling us about our son. We always had hope, but the possibility we'd never see our son was always there. I know my husband and I feel the same way about this. You two will always be welcome in our home, and that being said, I hope you will visit often. Had Zack lived, I'm sure we would've met one another and have spent time together already. We can't thank you enough. I do have one request though." Zack's mom quieted. Cloud and Tifa exchanged a look before returning their gaze to Zack's mom.
"We've always wanted grandchildren you know, and seeing as Zack is gone…would you bring your kids to visit us one day?" Tifa's heart almost broke. "We would love to learn about them. Would you mind telling us about them?" The older man reached over for his wife's hand, which rested on the table and smiled at her. Mimicking him unconsciously, Cloud did the same.
"Yes. We would love to." Cloud said, as he and Tifa launched into exhaustive explanation of their two children. Of course this experience was emotional for everyone, but they all had a feeling of peace once his story had been told. He knew Zack would've wanted someone to come to his parents, even if it was to just let them know he was dead. Everyone felt closure, and everyone had just a bit more family than before. Neither one of them could wait to bring Marlene and Denzel to meet the people in front of them.