Title: Power Of Love
A/N: I hope my account doesn't get frozen by the administrators of I didn't know songfics weren't allowed and the last CloTi oneshot I wrote was a songfic! Anyhow, this fanfic is kind of like a continuation of that one, only it's set after Aerith's death and post AC and there are some other characters in it as well. Enjoy!
"Tifa, I'm scared!" cried a frightened Marlene as the girl buried her head into Tifa's shoulder as a deafening roll of thunder echoed throughout the skies. It wasn't long before Denzel followed after Marlene taking refuge in Tifa's outstretched arms.
"It's ok, it's only a storm, it can't harm you while you're in the house with me," Said Tifa reassuringly kissing Denzel and Marlene on their heads lovingly.
Yuffie Kisaragi came hopping down the stairs before settling herself beside Tifa and the two children, who smiled at the teenage ninja girl as a greeting.
"What kind of sucky weather this is; can't even go out for some fresh air." Sighed Yuffie stretching her arms out to receive a grinning Marlene, who just plonked herself down onto the ninja girl's lap.
However, Tifa wasn't listening; her mind was drifting off somewhere else. Her mind was drifting further and further away, thinking of someone else; someone who was ever so close to her in her heart, yet so far away, Cloud Strife.
The blonde warrior had disappeared all of a sudden two months ago, and there had been no sign of him since. Despite the fact that Tifa was worried sick for him, she knew she couldn't show it for Marlene and Denzel's sake.
The rest of the AVALANCHE team searched for Cloud whenever they could as well, and although Cloud's sudden disappearance was not an unusual thing, he'd never been gone this long before.
"Tifa!" called Yuffie, slightly annoyed that the dark-haired girl had been ignoring her questions for the past three times. The ninja girl sighed, "You're thinking of him again, aren't you?"
Tifa just glanced over at Yuffie before forcing a smile and staring down at her feet, "Denzel why don't you take Marlene to your bedroom and show her the castle you've made with your block set?"
"Yeah! Come on Marlene, it looks awesome!" said Denzel taking the girl by the hand and dragging her off up the staircase and disappearing out of sight.
Tifa sighed deeply before burying her face in her hands and rubbing her face lightly.
"We all know how you feel for Cloud, Tifa. There's no use hiding it, you obviously look at him as more than just a good friend." Said Tifa bluntly, looking at the hazel eyed girl who just bit her lower lip, looking dreamily into the distance.
"So what if I do? It's not like he cares," mumbled Tifa quietly, an obvious hint of deep sadness in her voice as she rested her arms on her knees before resting her chin on her fair and slender arms.
Yuffie knew all too well what Tifa meant. Ever since she joined the AVALANCHE team and had gotten to know the team's members better, she had noticed along with the others that although Tifa never expressed her feelings in words, her actions spoke a thousand words.
Cloud had grown up alongside Tifa and if life had remained that way there would have been a good chance that both of them could've gotten close, but when Cloud joined AVALANCHE he met Aerith Gainsborough and developed strong feelings for her. Then when Sephiroth murdered Aerith right before his eyes, he blamed himself for her death.
Since then the blonde young man had sunk into depression and often left the unexpectedly only to return days later. Cloud had always been hopelessly blind to Tifa's feelings for him, and as the days passed on he only hurt Tifa more. Suffering in silence was what you or anyone could call Tifa's ordeal.
"Vincent's out looking for him. He said he might try Aerith's church again today," said Yuffie, putting an arm around Tifa, who just forced a smile.
"Remind me to thank Vincent later, although I think he should've stayed here seeing the risk of injury is higher in this blustery weather." Said Tifa knowingly, though her mind was half thinking of Cloud.
Where was Cloud? Was he safe? Was he alright? A myriad of thoughts and questioned were flooding Tifa's mind, a little more and maybe the hazel eyed girl's mind might just burst from overload.
"I really wonder Tifa, why you do all this?" asked Yuffie puzzled, looking over at Tifa, who just looked up curiously, wondering what the ninja girl meant.
"What d'you mean?" questioned Tifa, looking intently at Yuffie who just cleared her throat.
"I mean, you've helped Cloud through all his rough patches, you've housed him, and fed him and looked after him, but you've received nothing in return. You obviously love him Tifa, but you can see, even I can see, that there's only one in his heart, Aerith." Said Yuffie quietly, knowing very well she had been tugging at Tifa's heartstrings as the dark-haired girl was now on the verge of tears.
"I do it because I know it's right for me to do it. What's more, Marlene and Denzel look to him as a father and every time Cloud leaves he's oblivious to every one else! He doesn't know how difficult it is for Marlene and Denzel because they don't know where's he's going, and how am I supposed to tell them he's gone looking for someone who's dead!" said Tifa desperately, tears flowing slowly from her eyes as she felt the jolts of pain hitting her chest.
Yuffie didn't mean to be harsh on Tifa, but she had talked to Vincent and Barret about Tifa's situation secretly many times, and all agreed that it was time Tifa did something about it. For more than a decade Tifa had held a little candle, representing her love for Cloud, in her heart but the moment Cloud met Aerith everything changed; that little candle in Tifa's heart was hopelessly snuffed out.
Yuffie shared a room with Tifa, and she often noticed that Tifa shed streams of tears even while asleep. The hazel eyed girl obviously dreamt of Cloud a lot, probably of how he had unknowingly chucked her aside in favour of Aerith.
Tifa's shy nature made it no easier when it came to expressing her feelings, especially those for Cloud. She often bottled her feelings up inside, opening up to no one.
"Tifa, those are just excuses. Maybe the one about it being hard for the children is true, but you know why you really do everything. You do it all out of love for him, and as heartbreaking as it is for me to tell you this is that Cloud doesn't seem to realise it," Said Yuffie trying to sound soothing instead of tough and harsh.
Tifa had broken down fully now and she had her hands clamped over her ears, obviously wanting to listen no more. She remembered how she had asked Cloud if he loved her while he was sleeping, but the moment he woke up she abruptly changed the question.
Tifa had given so much of her time, her feelings and her love to Cloud; she had given so much she felt she had nothing left to give, and it broke her heart to know that she gave away everything but received nothing in return.
The memory of seeing Cloud and Aerith talking on the balcony once flooded Tifa's mind. They were talking quietly to each other, and Cloud was looking deeply at Aerith with a loving look in his eyes before they kissed. (A/N: Note that this was something I made up, it never happened in the actual show.)
As much as Tifa wanted to forget that memory, it just lingered ever so clearly in her mind. Like someone once said, 'The love you can't have, feels the strongest, lasts the longest and hurts the most.'
Yuffie wrapped her arms around Tifa, letting the girl cry into her shoulder. Barret was watching from behind the stairwell and could only say one thing, "We have to find Cloud,"
The front door suddenly flew open to reveal a drenched Vincent, with someone thrown over his back. "We have found Cloud, or should I say, I have found him."
Yuffie and Barret perked up, even Tifa's head flew up from Yuffie's shoulder, her eyes widening, half filled with joy and half filled with hurt.
Tifa and Yuffie rushed to Vincent's side as he brought an unconscious Cloud back up to his room, a curious and excited Denzel and Marlene darted out of the bedroom, attempting to slip into Cloud's room but were stopped by Barret.
"I found him unconscious by the Lifestream, he's obviously been battling things again." Said Vincent, thanking Tifa who threw a towel over him.
"You should be caring more for Cloud; he needs your attention right now. Don't worry about me," said Vincent placing a concerned hand on Tifa's shoulder.
"Ok, let's go," said Vincent hushing Yuffie out of the bedroom and closing the door, leaving Tifa alone in the bedroom with an unconscious Cloud.
Denzel and Marlene's questions and cries could be heard from outside, but Tifa's top priority right now was the blonde young man that lay unconscious before her.
Cloud had a deep gash across his back and had cuts all over his arms, and the sight alone just ripped Tifa's heart to pieces. She quickly brought a first aid kit out of the drawer and started taking out everything she needed; bandages, alcohol, plasters.
Very slowly and carefully she removed Cloud's top placing her hand on the base of his neck and running it down his back, careful not to tread on the gash. If only life had been different, different in such a way that she would wake up every morning with his warm and masculine body by her side.
Tifa treated all of Cloud's wounds, bandaging him wherever needed before placing the blanket over him. She stood up and looked at him, fresh tears rolling down her soft cheeks as she watched him. Cloud's eyes fluttered open for a moment looking over at her before they slid shut again.
Tifa bit her lip as she felt more tears flow from her eyes, slowly she bent down and planted a gentle kiss on his forehead, "Please get well, Cloud, I love you,"
Tifa left the bedroom, to see an eager Marlene and Denzel run to her and start bombing her with questions about Cloud.
"He awoke for several seconds about a minute ago, but he fell asleep right after that. He's probably exhausted, but he'll be alright." Said Tifa, trying to keep her voice from shaking.
That night was probably one of the toughest nights Tifa would probably have to experience in her entire lifetime. What would Cloud do when he woke up fully? Would he still be as depressed as before? Would he ever leave again?
The hazel eyed girl had been up all night, and it was about three in the morning now. Yuffie was sleeping soundly on the mattress beside Tifa's bed on the floor, and the ninja girl was even snoring from time to time.
Out of the blue, Tifa heard footsteps outside her room door. Fearing the worst, Tifa slowly slid out of bed and out her bedroom door.
The masculine silhouette of Cloud stood just steps away from her, he was moving toward the front door but he froze when he heard Tifa's footsteps.
He was leaving again, why? What was he thinking? Why did he want to keep going in search of Aerith? Tifa was starting to worry greatly about Cloud's mental welfare; Aerith's death had obviously scarred Cloud for life.
"Why do you keep doing this to me?" asked Tifa, her voice shaking madly as she tried to hold back that familiar feeling that came whenever she was about to break down. "Why're you leaving again?"
Cloud just froze, his back still facing Tifa. "I'm going to the church, to see if I can find her."
Tifa expected that answer. Aerith was gone, what did he not understand about that?
"Cloud, Aerith's gone forever, why d'you have to look for her?" asked Tifa, taking a step toward Cloud.
"Just let me go," said Cloud bluntly, taking a few steps forward and opening the front door and stepping out into the storm, which hadn't stopped since the day before.
"Please Cloud don't go!" said Tifa, her voice starting to trail and eventually becoming nothing more than a whisper, "Don't leave me again, I'm lost without you."
Tifa's legs gave way and she fell to her knees in the rain, unaware that Barret, Vincent and Yuffie had woken up and were watching from the hallway.
Tifa broke down completely her face in her hands, shivering madly form the cold of the rain. Tifa just let her tears run freely, she cried out loud, letting her cries and sobs ring out throughout the rain. She didn't care if she was crying in front of Cloud, she wasn't ashamed, and after all, did he even care?
Yuffie ran out to Tifa's side looking angrily up at Cloud.
"Why're you so stupid? Are you that blind?" exclaimed Yuffie, placing an arm around a wailing Tifa, who just continued crying loudly.
Cloud just froze where he was, lowering his head and staring at his feet. He was lost, his heart was torn two ways. When he was a teenager he had always had a secret crush on Tifa up till he met Aerith, and even though he had loved Aerith very much in the back of his heart he still held feelings for Tifa.
Cloud didn't want to hurt Tifa, he never wanted to. He felt he was endangering both Tifa and the children, and at the same time he wanted to seek Aerith's forgiveness for not saving her.
"Cloud, you're so blind that for a long painful decade, you never realised how Tifa felt for you. Then after Aerith's death you kept leaving unexpectedly in search of her, when it was plain ridiculous that you were looking for someone who's dead!" hollered Yuffie angrily, not meaning to sound harsh of hurtful.
Then Barret stepped in, a teary eyed Marlene and Denzel alongside him by the front door, "You've hurt her, Cloud. You've wounded Tifa's heart, and years and decades can pass but as long as you remain blind to her love for you, the wound in her heart can never heal."
Cloud closed his eyes, feeling his own tears well up within his eyes. What had he done? He had become depressed and overwhelmed in Aerith's death that he had disregarded Tifa's feelings totally and had caused her hurt.
Slowly he turned around, to see Yuffie, Vincent, Barret, Marlene, Denzel and even Tifa staring up at him. Tifa's cheeks had become blotchy from all her crying, and her lower lip was trembling as she stared up at Cloud, the one and only love of her life.
Tifa's hazel eyes were filled with longing and there was a slight glint of hope in her eyes, and Cloud knew that if he were to walk out on her again, that tiny glint of hope would be lost forever. The blonde young man knew how it felt to lose a loved one, and he didn't want Tifa to feel that way.
Cloud walked toward Tifa, his tears blending in with the rain before he fell to his knees in front of her crying along with her. Yuffie rose to her feet and stepped back, tears of joy filling her eyes.
Barret was unable to stop Denzel and Marlene from running out to the couple. Tifa hugged them both before they both hugged Cloud, all of them crying in the rain.
Denzel and Marlene then stepped back when Cloud spoke, "I'm sorry Tifa, and I never wanted to hurt you. I'm so sorry,"
"You're forgiven, what matters if you're with us now, so long as you don't walk out on us again." Said Tifa caressing Cloud's cheek before she leaned up locked lips with him in a soul- searing kiss.
Barret, Vincent and Yuffie could only watch from the door overjoyed and laugh when Denzel and Marlene let out a long, 'Eeeeeeew'.
A/N: Ok, hope that was ok! Little long-winded but I hope you liked it! Sorry for errors and pls review!