Whoo! My birthday today!
This is my very first FFVII fic, and I have to warn you now, it is very angsty!
On a cliff, about fifty metres away from the town of Junon, the sea crashed against the rocks, sending up a spray that sparkled forcefully as veiled jewels. On the top of the cliff, the moon illuminated some windswept trees that gave way onto a flat expanse of milky pastures.
They sat quietly, side by side. Tifa's legs dangled off the edge of the cliff as she gazed at the star studded sky. The neat pleated skirt she'd bought last week wasn't so neat or clean now, and her arms were scratched from all the branches she'd caught on whilst she'd been running through the forest.
Though they'd been running for only two days, it felt like an eternity. She still couldn't get that haunting image out of her mind when the TV had suddenly cut off and the house she'd hid in had plunged into darkness. The look of horror on Barrett's face as he'd indicated desperately with his gun-arm that she run. His firm set face, resolute. Jokes aside, serious, not the Barrett she knew.
That was the last time she'd seen him.
The swish of the waves chipped bit by bit at the rock, as if relentlessly asking back for what the earth had taken.
Cloud leaned against the tree in that laid back way he always did. He too had been part of the blood bath; he too was partly responsible for the hundreds of lives lost. His clothes were ruined; combats ripped, blood staining his shirt. Great. Since when had he cared about what he'd looked like?
The gel in his blonde hair was hardly keeping up the spikes anymore. Aside from his tendency towards arrogance, he was extremely good looking. His eyes had that all-knowing look, deep whorls that trembled with memories of horrific events from long past. His face, youthful and handsome though it was, turned to disgust as he remembered returning to the Multipla base from his scouting.
They'd been there, they'd been discovered. Everything had been wrecked: the house, the furniture, the weapons. He'd screamed in anguish as he gazed at the communicating device, now useless, and had thought about how he could never contact Barrett or Tifa again.
But no, it was the faces of Jessie, Biggs and Wedge that really got to them- the recurring blank Os, the corpses lying there, in pools of blood half congealed. He wasn't sure whether he could refer to them by their names anymore.
He felt really guilty about how indifferent he'd been to them when they were alive, how arrogant he'd been, and now…they were all the same. Rotting lumps of inanimate flesh, no different from the next corpse. He hadn't said sorry when it mattered. And now it was too late. But what was worst was that he hadn't given them a decent burial; hadn't returned them to the Planet.
He'd managed to get a message to Tifa- their secret code was working still, and had arranged to meet her here. He knew from Tifa…about Barrett, and he knew that they were the only ones left. It was all going to be over sooner or later; the ShinRa always kept their deadlines.
"You know," Tifa said softly.
Cloud turned to look at her.
"The last thing I always wanted to see were the stars."
Tifa had cut her hair, Cloud suddenly noticed. Since being on the run, he hadn't really had any time at all to pay attention to small details, but it was funny how much the mind did absorb when you were about to d- kinda brought the situation down to ground.
In the moonlight, Tifa trembled slightly like a butterfly in the wind, a quaver in her voice as she carried on. "- Remember when we were young and we used to make wishes on the stars? I used to dream at night that I'd spread my arms out and fly, and that I'd fly all the way to the moon. And when I reached out, I could just touch the stars with my fingertips."
Her sad smile lasted for a moment, before she dusted her pleated skirt and said, "We never saw the end of that TV series, you know, the shoujo series with the two lovers-"
"Sakura and Kazuya," Cloud finished. He smiled. "Castle Paradise. Who played Sakura Takamatsu again?"
"It was Sofia Oto," Tifa said.
"Yeah. You don't think…they never aired the last episode, did they?"
"No. But I know for sure that Sakura and Kazuya get back together…they were perfect for each other."
Cloud laughed. "Remember that night at the playground when I made that promise? Must've been five years ago."
"How could I ever forget?" Tifa said quietly, eyes down.
"I just wish the world could've stayed as it was then on that night. You know, the crystal clear water, the cool night air…" He drifted off into some private contemplation.
Tifa tucked a strand of her brown hair behind an ear. Bringing her legs up, she hugged her knees.
"Cold?" Cloud asked. He looked around but he had nothing he could offer her besides his body warmth.
"It's OK." She edged closer to him. Their fingertips touched.
"What I really want is an ice cream. Then a trip to the movies, a game of baseball with the guys-" He laughed softly again.
"It's great how we can still act normal- have a normal conversation even, no matter what the circumstances are. That's one of the things I always admired about you," Tifa said. Along with your eyes and smile.
Cloud sensed the deeper meaning of the words, and smiled faintly, though it would've been hard for Tifa to see him.
"By the way, I like your hair."
Too many people had died in their name. Anyone who'd been associated with them, no matter how trivial were gunned down. Innocent people slaughtered like cows with not a single thought. All because of a small group of liberators, who'd gone one step too far. They should've planned the bombing of the ShinRa Headquarters more carefully, they should've anticipated suspicion when they'd…they should've anticipated the monitoring systems…
And still, he thought about himself. The great Cloud Strife, reduced to a… He'd been rash and reckless, too arrogant for his own ego even…but he'd been a good kid. And as a guy, he'd been good. Moral, always fighting for a cause, always believing that one day… Well, that one day would still have to come, but for him now, his day was over.
There was a rustle in the bushes behind them.
As if that was the signal, Tifa and Cloud rose. Time to board the train and ride out of here, away to freedom.
Knowing that they'd been caught, that it would be over in a matter of minutes, Tifa asked him a simple question.
Next stop on the train: the castles in the sky.
He turned her face gently towards him. As if deliberately misinterpreting the question, Cloud replied-
"I wanted to see you, one last time."
Their eyes met, and they became one. They shared a passionate kiss, a kiss that spoke of all the simple things that they'd never have in life again- a walk in the park, the taste of rice cakes, the magical moment in bed when you know that you are truly one. The simple pleasures of chatting with friends whilst waiting for the bus, the memories of everyone they loved and cherished.
Breaking away, they gazed at each other, still holding hands like high school teenagers.
There was nothing left to say.
A single tear fell from Tifa's eye, splashing into the black ocean far, far below. In the distance, machine gun fire echoed off the town walls, carrying over to this secret paradise. Time froze for a split second, and they jumped.
He was too late. Bent double, Barrett wiped the sweat from his forehead with his gun-arm as he choked on his own sobs. Wincing with pain from his side and leg, he saluted AVALANCHE one last time before he turned away. The war would go on for another day, and for Barrett, he would be facing the battle all on his own.
In the moonlight, two bodies danced in the air like fireflies, interlocked for a second in the passage of eternity. They were still holding hands.
How was it? Any concrit appreciated!