His feet ached from the long distance walks through the forest to a place where he didn't know exactly where. There wasn't a specific goal he had, just merely walking mindlessly through the forest at his own pace. His mind was struck on thoughts far away. Thinking of everything in his life. Everything that has happened up to his days now.
'When will you forgive yourself?' The familiar feminine voice said softly in his mind.
"Haven't I already forgiven myself?" he asked bitterly back.
'Then what are you still doing here? Shouldn't you be with her?' the voice spoke gently again.
He stopped abruptly and stared off into the distance of the dark woods. His eyes flashed with fear and excitement at the same time. The mention of her surfaced deep emotions he had kept within. He had been too afraid to face her after everything that happened with Kadaj. It was a foolish mistake on his part. He ran away with not a reason why he did what he did. Running away didn't mean living in another place or city. His form of running away was one that involved him watching her from a high up roof that stood in the dark at night.
In the day he would spend his time in the forests, talking quietly to himself in his mind. Sometimes however, an unexpected feminine voice would speak up her thoughts to him. It seemed she forgave him and that it was up to him to forgive himself.
"I've been away for so long, if I went back how do I explain?" he asked and continued walking.
'The truth will be a wise thing to start with in an explanation,' her feminine voice rang with a hint of sarcasm.
He grunted silently at her words and sat down briefly on the bank of the river. The caps of waves formed at the corner where a small waterfall met the water. His eyes fixed upon the waves as it slowly rippled out into a calm field. He could almost swear he saw her face in that water shining back at him.
Her eyes were brown and her expression gloomy and sadden. She seemed to stare right back at him and just briefly he could almost see a tear trickle down her face.
Looking away he turned to his side, "Would she forgive me?" he asked.
'She would forgive if you if you gave her something in return.'
"And what is that?" he asked, gathering a stone in his hand and throwing it into the water where her reflection stood. It rippled away as the stone touched the water and slowly it returned back into the waters surface.
'Be where you belong Cloud,' she said sincerely.
"My name explains who I am," he said wearily, "A cloud that drifts in the sky."
'You are far from a cloud in the sky,' the voice scolded.
"Then what am I? A fool who doesn't know how to apologies for a mistake he so stupidly made?" Cloud asked angrily.
'A fool is a man who walks into a battle he doesn't know how to fight in,' she answered boldly.
He leaned himself back against the large boulder behind and sighed. "My hope and reason of living is simply for her," he confessed.
'Tell her that Cloud,' the feminine voice replied softly at his confession.
Sighing at himself he stood up, "Night will fall soon, I will speak to you again tomorrow Aeris," he bid that voice goodbye and left.
The ride to the city was quiet as expected at that time of night. Though yet he could hear his loud thoughts in the back of his mind speaking loudly to him. Past memories hung in his mind, reminding him of the troubles and pain he caused a certain woman.
One turn left and he would reach that familiar bar. It was a quiet part of town, meaning that very little traffic would pass by at night. No lights shined onto the upstairs window of Seventh Heaven. All that shined was the little light which was lingering above in the night sky.
The clouds had turned grey in the sky as time went on, and eventually rainfall fell down. He stood outside her window, watching her sleep inside. It seemed that just where her window was planted, a small crippled set itself there for him to sit down. He touched the glass as if to want to hold her hand. She sobbed hopelessly each night for him and yet he was too afraid to comfort her.
He could only be there to hold the glass and to cry with the rain. His pain came out in one single tear that mixed with the rain and quietly dripped down with the rest of the water.
"Tifa," he whispered with a stab of pain.
'Watching her cry and crying yourself isn't going to solve problems Cloud,' that same feminine voice entered his head again.
He blinked away his blurry eyes quickly and took his hand away from the glass. "I never cry," he stated confidently.
The voice ignored his comment and then spoke, 'Knock on the door Cloud. You've been doing this for an entire year, don't you tire of it?'
"No," he answered softly.
'Wouldn't you rather wipe her tears away rather than let her wipe them up herself?' the voice replied warmly.
He opened his mouth to protest, but shut it after finding no words to speak for his own defense. His eyes lowered as he glanced over at her again. Her sobs had ended and was now restlessly sleeping in her vivid nightmares. Touching his forehead against the glass he brought his hand up again to touch it.
'You don't belong on the otherside of the glass Cloud,' the voice said with annoyance.
He wanted to be there at her side holding her as she slept and to kiss her forehead as she snuggled closer at his chest. There were so many things he wanted, but a part of him was always holding back. The long list of 'what ifs' kept replaying themselves in his mind.
'You won't know until you try,' the voice seemed to know his thoughts.
Staring at her again he stepped down the roof and stood at the door. He lifted his hand to knock the door but instead paused and stared blankly. There was so much detail when he came to take notice of this door. It wasn't just a pure maroon door, but actually filled with other shades of red. Each stroke of the paintbrush was so fine and clean that one couldn't tell between print and paint.
Lowering his hand he touched it to the handle and tilted it to the side. The faint click was heard, and quietly he pushed the door.
'What would you do without me?' the feminine voice mumbled sarcastically. Of course thanks to her abilities she opened that door for him.
He smiled, "Thank you," he whispered and stepped into the warm house.
The drip of each droplet touched the floor and echoed with sound. Slipping off his shoes he walked to the steps. Taking each step slowly he made sure to not let one creak escape it. He hoped neither Denzel nor Marlene would wake up and find him walking up the steps. They would only scream with fear and joy at the same time. It had been such a long time since he had seen those two kids.
Leveling with the top level he turned to the left and stared down the hall to her room. Demanding his legs to move, he walked quietly to her door and stopped once he reached his destination. His eyes fixed themselves on the handle on the door which he was too afraid to touch.
If he turned now and walked away, no one would ever know how close he had been. But then again, walking away would be another mistake added to his life. He would continiously look back on this day and wonder, what if he had opened the door? What if?
Just before he made his mind, the door opened and she stood before him. Slightly startled she couldn't help but stare at him with red puffy eyes. She didn't move and nor did he. His eyes softened at the very sight of her. Inside his heart broke in two.
"Cloud," she let the name escape her lips.
He took a step forward and circled his arms around her shivering frame. Her tears dripped down onto his shirt and eventually it soaked together with his wet clothes. She sniffled and coughed as she held him closer and tighter.
"I thought I would never see you again," she choked out in his chest.
"I'm sorry," he apologized sincerely. The essence of his eyes draining themselves as he whispered over and over again that he was sorry.
She hadn't known this man to ever show his emotions so dearly toward her before. But in a way, felt overwhelmed with joy as he did. He deserved to after all the pain he caused.
Her tears had long gone and stopped, however he remained still sobbing hopelessly into her neck. "Cloud," she said softly into his ear.
He swallowed and kept still.
"I think you've cried enough," she said.
Drawing back he now held puffy red eyes, an expression on his face she had never witnessed to see before.
Deep inside, she forgave him already for leaving so suddenly a year ago. He returning was what she wished. Though all that pain was so hard to endure, as long as he would stay she would be happy.
"Would you ever forgive me?" he choked out.
"If you stay," she answered.
"Can I kiss you?" he asked with a small smile.
"If you love me," she reflected his smile.
Leaning in he touched his lips to hers softly, and whispered, "I do." Their faces seem to fit perfectly together as did their embrace.
"Go to sleep Tifa," he said softly and guided her into the room.
She sat down and slipped into the blankets, her eyes staring up at him. "Would you stay here with me?" she asked and patted the empty space beside her on the bed.
He looked across to the other empty bed that sat beside hers, and then looked back down to her. She pouted childishly and he couldn't resist but slip of his wet jacket and hung it on the nearest chair.
She snuggled close to his chest as the cool air danced around them. "Would you stay from now on?" she asked softly from his chest.
He nodded, "Always Tifa."
Just as he closed his eyes, she stood outside the window. Giving him one last look yet again she said softly in his head, "This is where you belong right?"
He smiled warmly and nodded, 'I belong on this side of the glass, not the other way around.'