When The Storm Is Over

It was a dark, stormy night. The kind where most people- those who counted themselves securely sane- went inside, drew all the blinds, turned the keys in their door and a warm, glowing light on, and retreated into their warm, safe havens. It was the kind that Tifa Lockheart half-loved and half-feared, for the one reason- its wildly fierce unpredictability.

So instead of doing what the multitudes would be doing, she had climbed one flight of stairs and a small sturdy ladder from where she had been polishing glasses when she had heard the first ominous rumble of thunder, and stepped out onto the roof of the Seventh Heaven.

It was the best place to be during a storm, she reflected, right in the midst of the uncontrollable ferocity. The rain came down fast enough to sting on impact, except it didn't because of the massive size of the drops. She was instead drenched to the skin in moments and glad she'd thought to remove her leather jerkin before ascending the ladder into the beautiful, dangerous hell.

Instead of fearing for a few brief minutes, she allowed herself to exult in such an overwhelming display of the power humans could never possess. She yelled with joy to feel the warm drops lash across her eyelids and mouth and bared throat, and felt the water trickle down between material and skin to places that would usually have remained untouched a while longer.

All her senses were dulled- she could not see more than a few paces before her, the rain was so heavy; wind battered her flesh until she was numb all over; she couldn't hear herself think for all the thunder and the crash of rain on solid surfaces all about her.

Yet it was this same wild beauty that she feared: for something as beautiful as this could not come without its share of thorns. The wind could do untold damage, ripping and tearing and shredding with its many-fingered hands. The rain would soak those things that needed to stay dry; failing that, it would batter and bruise with all its resenting fury; even eventually flood all with water. The lighting lit many fires even in the surrounding deserts, small flares dotting the landscape that not even the drenching rain could quench.

It was power, and Tifa felt she was defying it simply by bearing witness to its displays.

A few metres away, through the gray blanket, she could see a small figure dancing with the drops, spinning sharply as each tongue of lightning dipped sharply towards the earth, dropping to the rooftop whenever thunder rolled and up and off in a flash in the lulls when all that could be heard was the wind and rain. She watched the cavorting figure with a small smile. At least she had sense enough not to bring her shurikens, she reflected ironically.

As if on cue, the girl leapt out of sight at a particularly loud clap of thunder, She knew better than to worry overmuch about the girl- Yuffie's the best ninja I know, she thought with a grin.

The winds were beginning to abate noticeably, the rain also diminishing, and the black-haired beauty moved back a little to stand near the trapdoor she had emerged from earlier, ready to descend. She lingered a while though, gradually discerning shapes of chimneys on other roofs, and glanced to her left when she heard a squeaking sound.

"Tifa?" a forlorn little voice called form inside. Only the voice and a glow that indicated warmth escaped the crack of the open trapdoor.

"Hai, Denzel," she replied kindly, crouching to observe two little eyes peering out at her. Dimly she registered a definite lapse in the rain, and began to notice puddles forming all about the edges of her split leather skirt.

"Can you come down now?"

He didn't need a reason. "Sure." Glancing about, she noticed that the storm was all but over. And when the storm's over, what do you do? She asked herself silently. When it's all over, you go back to the way you were before, but a little more caring and wiser.

Dedicated to Tairako XD I hope she enjoys it.

"Australian Made And Owned"