The song On My Own: if from Les Miserables

Although the summer air was warm, no amount of warmth could embrace the young Tifa as waves of shivers ran through her. She walked to the edge of the well and closed her eyes in defeat, oblivious to the fact that Cloud Strife was watching her every movement, listening to her every breath as he hung his head. He knew the news was going to crush her but she deserved to know. What kind of a man would he be if he just left without telling her? Yes, he was leaving tomorrow and this would be his last night with her.

When are you coming back? The brunette suddenly asked in between small tears.

I don't know... he admitted truthfully. For as long as Shinra and the war needs me. That could be years...maybe many years.Cloud? Why are you doing this?

I'm doing this because I want to prove something to myself. And prove something to you...

So this is our last night together then? She turned around with a hopeful smile although the fresh tears were still evident in her eyes.

The blonde nodded and stood from his squatting position. He walked up to her and scratched the back of his head hoping that the action will relieve the tense moment between them. He wanted to stay with her but he also wanted her to see him more than just a little kid who anyone could constantly pick on. If he made it into SOLDIERS, no one would ever dare mess around with him. He envisioned himself being welcomed back into the town with praises and showers of delight for his valor and courage. This was the dream he wanted even if it meant leaving her because in the end, it will all work out.

Cloud shyly extended a hand to the other teen in front of him. She reached out as well but not before she gave him a curious look. He instantly felt his face flush with embarrassment at the small gesture. Um...would you like to take a walk with me? You know...before I leave tomorrow morning. I would love to explore Nibelheim once again and there is no one I would rather do that with...than you.

Tifa's flashed him a pearly white smile. Her heart skipped a beat as she clasped her hand into this, their fingers intertwined. She couldn't stop him from leaving but at least their night would not end in total despair. And maybe in the end, she will gain enough courage to tell him how she truly felt, to keep him from leaving her.

On my own, pretending he's beside me.
All alone I walk with him till morning.
Without him I feel his arms around me.
And when I lose my way I close my eyes and he has found me.

The two descended from the well. Her wine colored orbs widened as he made an attempt to bring her close to him. Smiling, she offered herself so he wouldn't feel awkward. The two strolled down the dark midnight streets of their town. The lampposts all dimmed, signaling that it was indeed very late. Although none of the lights in the houses were lit, they didn't need it. They had the heavens on their side which illuminated even the darkest shadows of their town.

In the rain, the pavement shines like silver.
All the lights are misty in the river.
In the darkness, the trees are full of starlight.
And all I see is him and me forever and forever.

Their walk was slow but passionate. With each step forward, their was no turning back. The night was gorgeous. The stars twinkled brightly against the velvet black as silver streaks chased each other around. There was a bit of wind, not too much, but only enough to ruffle the leaves of the tree, which sent them spiraling down the path as if they were guiding the couple.

Tifa sighed. Another lamppost had dimmed which indicated morning was just over the horizon. She observed the man beside her from the corner of her eyes. There was so much she wanted to say to him but now that she was actually this close to him, no words would come out. She wanted him to stay. She wanted him to stay with her but at the same time, she didn't want to be selfish and get in the way of his dream to become a SOLDIER. Yes, she would put her own needs and desires aside for the sake of him.

And I know it's only in my mind,
That I'm talking to myself and not to him.
And although I know that he is blind
Still I say there's a way for us.

However, other horrific thoughts came to mind as well. She heard terrible stories about the war and how people were constantly being killed. If something like that happened to Cloud, she would be the one responsible for letting him go. No, she shouldn't think like this. She knew deep down inside that Cloud was strong. Strong but a little blind towards her emotions. Couldn't he tell that she was forced to play with the other children even though she didn't want to? Couldn't he tell how much she cared for him but just never had the courage to tell him so? It was frustrating that he didn't know all this but it's even more frustrating because SHE couldn't summon up enough strength to tell him.

Did he feel the same about her? With another sigh of defeat, she shook her head. Probably not. Or, maybe just not in the way she wanted him to. Did she love him? Tifa Lockheart chuckled to herself. It was not one of happiness but rather bitterness. Her heart was aching, scorching with hot passion but her head was spinning from the emotions running through her. After this day, she would be burdened with worry and anxiety. If she tried to stray her thoughts toward something, it will only lead her back into thinking about him again within seconds. If she took walks by herself to clear her mind, she would return to the empty porch of Cloud Strife's house and stare until the darkened skies showered with rain which would merge with her own salty tears. So this is how being in love at such a young age felt like?

I love him, but when the night is over,
He is gone, the river's just a river.

The stubborn orange and red rays of the sun peaked over the horizon as each of the stars sparkled and disappeared within the blink of an eye. The golden rays flashed through the town, welcoming the coming of morning. She watched the young blonde step out of his house. His back was strapped with bags and satchels while he carried other supplies in his arms. His mother trailed out after him, bringing his son into her arms and hugged him tightly. She whispered some inaudible words into his ears and placed a kiss towards his forehead. She gave him a supportive smile although Tifa could tell she was having a hard time keeping it up. The middle age woman reached into her skirt pocket and pulled out a handkerchief to quickly pat the corner of her eyes. Unable to hold back her affection, she ran back into the house.

Cloud looked back once before proceeding to the young girl waiting outside his house. In back of her, he spotted the boys he resented so much. They were snickering and urging him to get out as quickly as possible.

One of the boys walked up and tugged on Tifa's arm. Lockheart, let him go. Who needs him? You got us!

Cloud furrowed his brows in anger but immediately softened in surprise when Tifa latched on to his hands. She slapped the other guy's arm away and embraced the blonde. In response, he gently stroked her soft silken dark locks of hair. He watched as she blinked back glistening tears behind her glossy eyes.

It wasn't fair. Their night was too short.

I'll read the newspapers everyday...just to keep myself updated on the war and on you.Newspapers? You've always hated reading them! You're always complaining how boring and how small the prints are! Cloud exclaimed.

Tifa giggled. Cloud joined in the small laughter as well but it was short lived. Cloud, I'll learn to love the papers and I will devote myself to reading them so I can learn what's going on with Shinra and the war. So...in a way, I'm right there beside you without actually...being physically there.I'll come back. I promise.You better. You still owe me that promise.

Yes, how could he forget about the promise?

There was a long silence between them. Neither of them spoke, only glared down at their feet. Tifa felt her emotions surging again. If she wanted to admit everything, this was the time. This was the time to pull him back into her arms. This was the time to show him how much he meant to her. This was the time to show him how much she loved him. She was about to open her mouth but-

I better get going. They're waiting for me outside.

Tifa hung her head and nodded. She pursed her lips together and forced an encouraging smile. Yeah...I'll walk you out. She tightened the grip around him and together, they strolled to the gates of Nibelheim. Beyond the gates, she spotted a truck with the Shinra logo proudly presented. An escort descended and picked up Cloud's items, haphazardly tossing them into the back of the truck.

he asked.

Yes. That's me... he confirmed.

All right. Board then.

The doors of the truck opened, beckoning him to enter. He placed a foot on to the ledge, oblivious to the fact that Tifa was still holding on to his hand until he felt a gentle pull. He turned around to meet her pale and expressionless face. Her head was bowed and he could have sworn he caught a single crystalline tear fall from her lashes. He squeezed her hand reassuringly and said, I won't forget about my promise to you...don't worry.

The engine of the truck soared to life as the driver was prepared to take off. Tifa allowed her hand to slowly slip from his. Their fingers briefly met each other before the vehicle started to move. She tried to grip on to them again but the truck already started to drive off. She raced after after automobile but there was no way she could catch up with its momentum. Her fingers brushed against the tips of his for one last time before the vehicle took off in the distance. Shocking blonde spikes poked out from the window as the male looked behind him. The figure of the brunette became smaller and smaller and soon became out of eye's range.

Tifa Lockheart watched as the truck drove off into green land. She dropped to the ground, knees supporting her drained form. The world was huge. Midgar was literally on the other side. They were separated by the endless oceans and everything in between. Would he really be back? Would she ever get to tell him her true feelings? Right now, she needed more hope than anything. The only thing she found reassuring right now was Cloud's promise to her.

Without him the world around me changes.
The streets are bare and everywhere the streets
Are full of strangers.

That evening, Tifa carefully slipped out of her house. She shivered as chills were sent down her spine. The night was so dark and depressing. She lifted herself up to the well and tilted her head to the heavens but saw nothing twinkling. There were no stars, just an empty black void. The wind was strong but there were no rustlings of the leaves on the trees. In fact, when she gazed at them, she saw them on the verge of limping.

She suddenly realized that the summer was coming to an end and a new season was about to begin. Fall was just around the corner and with fall, new blossoms will spawn from the dead oaks and willows. Hopefully, new hope and strength will spawn within her too.

Her eyes wandered to a few boys beneath her calling her name. She just stared at them with emptiness in her orbs that were now devoid of any emotions. For some reason, her so called friends appeared to be so foreign to her. Her own home, her own town had lost its spark. It left with that man...

I love him but everyday I'm learning
All my life I've only been pretending.
Without me, his world will go on turning.
The world is full of happiness that I have never known.
I love him, I love him
I love him, but only on my own.

Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months as Tifa patiently flipped through the pages of the newspaper. There had been some events going on in Shinra that regarded the war but so far, she didn't find anything on Cloud. With a sigh, she stacked the morning paper along with the others that now accumulated into a huge pile next to the garbage bin.

She walked over to the window ledge and watched a few children running around the center of the town through the glass panes. She smiled at their childish innocence. It was only a couple of years ago when she and Cloud did the same thing. Her thoughts drifted to him once more. Is he okay? Is he eating well? Is he sick? Did he find a pretty girl?

In Midgar, he will be offered new chances and a wide range of opportunities than what she and Nibelheim could ever give him. Perhaps this was for the best...

Author's Notes: I just love this couple so much...and this song. I thought the lyrics went pretty well so...there you have it! Thanks for reading everyone!