Cloud looked down to see Denzel frolicking about in the water. A smile was spread from ear to ear all over his face. Cloud was relieved that he had finally found a cure for Geostigma, for it had tormented Cloud's body for months. As he looked up, he noticed a woman in a pink dress look over her shoulder at him. She muttered something under her breath and began to depart from this partially destroyed church into a magnificent white light.
Cloud just stared as he too formed a smile. He couldn't help himself. It had been so long since he had felt a happy moment. He slowly made his way through all of the children who had gathered around him, reaching the edge of the small body of water that had collected in the church. The water is what had purified his body of the Stigma earlier.
He jumped out of the water, hoisting himself up onto his feet, meeting with his group of friends. Yuffie ran up and hugged him without hesitation, squeezing his mid chest firmly.
"I knew you would pull through, Cloud," she said, still gripping tightly. "But like I said earlier, you are one pain in the ass. We love you anyway!"
She finally let go, winking back at Cloud. He said nothing. All Cloud did was wink back at her. No sooner than Yuffie let go, Barret, Cid, Nanaki, and Cait Sith all rushed up to him, giving noogies a pats on the back whilst cracking the air with bellowing laughs.
"Man," Barret started, slicking up his cornrows, "You sure are godly. You know that? First, you beat the ever loving hell out of Sephiroth, then you get killed and come back, and now you've healed Geostigma. I gotta tell ya, you are the craziest mofo I have ever met Cloud!"
Barret walked back to his original position, kneeling down to hug Marlene. Everyone else just nodded and walked over to all of the kids. Everyone except Tifa. She just stood, with her hands behind her back, smirking at Cloud. Her long black hair draped over her black tank top and her brown eyes glistened in the sunlight caving through the open rooftop. All Cloud could do was stare, until his mind started convincing him otherwise. What am I doing? He thought. Why does that look feel so much different now? Why am I just standing here? I need to talk to her, NOW!
Cloud finally started taking steps forward, towards Tifa, who hadn't even flinched. Cloud stopped just inches away from her, staring down into her deep eyes. She was looking back up at him, smirking just as she had been seconds ago. After a few moments, Cloud Gestured for Tifa to give him her hands and he took them in his own.
"I have to say something," Cloud finally said. "You have always been there for me, Tifa. Whether I was acting like a fool, or acting like a hero. You have stood by me through thick and thin. You have been my teammate, my ally, but, most importantly, my best friend. Whenever I needed something, I always knew I could go to you for guidance and help. For that, I thank you. I can't even describe how you have been to and for me over the years. Ever since we were children, you have been there. I am just sorry that I haven't given you the same support back."
Tifa was shocked to hear this confession. Cloud had never been the one to confide in her about his feelings, but this seemed to flow out naturally, like he had done it thousands of times before.
"Cloud," Tifa said, but was quickly interrupted.
"Let me finish, he said, releasing one of her hands and placing his on her cheek. "I love you Tifa. I can't put it any other way. Without you, I wouldn't be whole. I wouldn't be me. I just wouldn't be Cloud. My entire mind, body, and life would be pointless. With you I feel safe and secure."
"Cloud," Tifa began, a single tear falling from her eyes to her cheek, and finally to the floor. "I love you too. I love you so much more than you think. When we fought Sephiroth two years ago, I could only think about us. I wanted to help you defeat him, so that we could both live lives without the distraction of battle to deal with.
We have fought so hard together. You, for the world, and me, for you. Whenever we were together I only thought about us being together. I want to be yours, forever. I want to have your children, be your partner, and your wife. Ever since we were children, I hoped for that future for us."
Cloud was jumping with joy inside. His happiness was screaming to get out, as was Tifa's. He had finally released this enormous weight off of his chest, and it seemed as though he had done it at just the right time. This was as good of a time as any for Cloud, so e finally leaned in towards Tifa. His heart was pounding to escape his chest for the whole world to see.
Cloud and Tifa closed their eyes and gently embraced in a kiss, not noticing the silence that had just taken over the church. Every single person was watching, even the children. Cloud wrapped his arms around Tifa. She did the same as he. They stood there, kissing, as if there was nothing in this world that could bring sadness to them. Cloud finally eased away, reaching his hand inside his pocket, pulling out a small wooden box.
"Remember when we were kids?" he reflected. "We were sitting on the swings that we had made in our cave outside of Midgar. It was our own little place. I made you a promise that day. You asked that if we ever grew up, I would give you a certain ring when or if we got married. You handed that ring to me that say, remember? It was in a small wooden box like this one."
Cloud held up the case for Tifa to see, and she immediately knew what he was trying to say.
"Well, I haven't forgotten that day," he said, smiling again. "I kept that ring close to my heart for years, and now it's time I let it go…to you."
Cloud opened the box, revealing a small red ring with a red pearl in the center, the named Cloud and Tifa inscribed on the side. He gently pulled off Tifa's leather glove that covered her left hand and tossed it aside. He took the ring and slid it on her finger, looking back at Tifa's eyes after the moments passed.
"Tifa," he started, "Will you marry me?"
She jumped on to Cloud, squeezing above his neck tightly, forcing him to fall back into the water. With a huge splash, Cloud and Tifa stood there, drenched in water, until she finally began to speak.
"Yes Cloud," Tifa said, crying a little harder now. "You know I will."
Cloud could not say anything. He just grabbed hold of Tifa and hugged her tightly, sobbing a little as well. Am I actually crying? He thought. Cloud hadn't cried since he was a child. His emotions were taking over ferociously as he stood there. After a couple of seconds, Barret's voice boomed through the church like a gunshot.
"IT'S ABOUT DAMN TIME!" he yelled.
With that, cheering and clapping erupted and was loud enough to be heard all through the countryside. Neither he nor Tifa moved an inch. They just stood there, holding each other tightly.
"I love you," Cloud whispered. "Thank you for being my light."
"Thank you," Tifa began, "For being my heart."