Wings of an Angel
By Henrika

Henrika- I just had this image of Sephiroth's angel wing being kind of a shadow, thus my muses attacked me. Voila! It has potential to continue, so if you'd like it to, please tell me and I will begin work. Enjoy and review!

Night had long ago descended over the quiet town of Edge before Tifa Lockheart ushered the last patron out of Seventh Heaven. She locked the door, gave the bar a quick wipe-down and shut out the lights before she headed up the stairs, knowing by constant repetition where each step lay in the dark.

Reaching the moon-striped landing, she inched her way along until she reached the first door. Even in the dark, Tifa could make out the brightly colored sign on the door that proclaimed, "Marlene and Denzel's room". Tifa opened the door silently and peered in at the two small bodies, her eyes finally adjusting to the dark.

The two children were sleeping soundly, Marlene clutching a plush chocobo that Barrett had brought her on his last visit. That pair had somehow convinced Cloud to play with them all day and the man had done the impossible and finally worn them out. Tifa had jokingly accused him of casting sleep on the two when he had come through the door with a snoozing child slung over each arm, but he had claimed innocence and went to bed not long after the children. "Good night." Tifa whispered, shutting the door softly.

Moving along to the door at the end of the hall, she hesitated for a moment before opening it, even though she had done this routine for a few years, even though she had known the occupant since they were kids.

She pushed open the door and gazed at the sleeping man, his blonde hair scattered messily over the pillow. He was facing her, but his normally brilliant mako eyes were shut in a peaceful sleep. Unfortunately, Tifa knew exactly how fast that peace could morph into one of too many nightmarish memories. And almost as soon as she thought of this, Cloud's handsome face changed from its peaceful expression to completely slack with the hint of a frown drawing on his lips, something she had never seen before.

She squinted her eyes in the dark, praying she wasn't seeing what had suddenly appeared. But she couldn't deny it. Rising above Cloud's shoulder was a large, black, translucent, angel wing. Just one. And Tifa knew of only one person that had earned the title "one-winged angel".

She stifled her scream as she rushed across the room, grabbing hold of and desperately shaking the man. Her hand passed through the wing and she shuddered, an icy chill racing up her arm. "Cloud!" He wasn't responding. "Cloud!" The wing expanded, nearly filling the small room. "Cloud!" It became more solid, the black feathers brushing over Tifa's hands. "Cloud!" He still wasn't moving and she made a quick decision. Her fist rammed into his stomach, full force.

Blue eyes flew open in the second before he flew off the bed. The wing disappeared as he thudded against the floor and there was a slight groan after Cloud skidded and slammed into the dresser.

Tifa ran to the door and flipped on the light before she ran to Cloud's side. "I'm so sorry. You weren't waking up and you were scaring me and…" She stopped suddenly as something small and black swished into her frame of vision. Cloud was still clutching his stomach with both hands, but he opened eyes that were clenched shut when Tifa stopped talking.

The small black feather floated down between the two, Cloud's eyes widening in horrified recognition as he saw it. He looked up at Tifa, who was struggling for words. "You weren't waking up. I was so afraid and I'm so sorry." He closed his eyes again, but not before Tifa caught sight of the glossy tears already starting to form over his too-bright mako eyes. Drawing his head into her lap, she ran a hand through his hair.

"I'm so sorry."

Henrika- My "s" key keeps falling off my laptop keyboard so if you notice mistakes, please tell me. I think I caught most of them, but still...