By mew-tsubaki

A Final Fantasy VII Advent Children one-shot

Note: Just to warn all of you Aeris fanboys, I HATE HER! This is a one-shot between Cloud and Tifa, so, flame me as you may, I won't change my mind as to whom Cloud should end up with. Since I've already warned you, read on and write a review. Also, the characters are not mine and belong to Square Enix. Damn! I wish they were my own… P.S. -Barret isn't really around anymore, so Marlene kind of thinks of him as…kind of an uncle, I guess.

I'll wait for you. No matter how long it will take you to forget, I will wait for you. And, when you're by my side, I won't ever let you go off by yourself again. You'll have to fight me to make me let you go by yourself. And, Cloud? I hope you wish just as much as I do that that day will never come, the day when you may have to fight again. But, if it does, we'll fight whatever obstacle it is together. You'll never leave me behind again.

"Tifa? Tifa. Tifa!"

The brunette snapped out of her thoughts and back into reality when the little girl tugged at her arm roughly. "Marlene, what is it?"

"Tifa, you were daydreaming again! We do occasionally have customers, you know!"

"Oh, sorry, boss."

Marlene's eyes changed and Tifa couldn't read the child's mind.

"Marlene, is something wrong?"

Tifa watched as Marlene shifted nervously and mumbled something. "Cloud, he's home."

Normally, Tifa would've been so happy to know that Cloud was within her grasp, but something in Marlene's expression told Tifa that it was not a joyous occasion. "Marlene," she asked, "where is he?"

Marlene didn't look up. "Out back." The little girl looked up at Tifa with wary eyes. "I think…I think you need to go see him," she finally said.

"Did something happen to him?" Tifa could feel her words getting caught up in her throat as her mind pondered all of the scenarios.

"Just go see Cloud!" Marlene pushed Tifa in the direction of the back and Tifa gave in. Tifa placed a hand on Marlene's shoulder and smiled at her to let her know that everything would be okay.

But everything was not okay. When Tifa found Cloud, he was slumped against a nearby wall, his covered arm the color of blood and dripping on the floor. When he saw her terrified look, he shut his eyes and exhaled smoothly. "Guess I'm not gonna get out of this one, huh?" he asked.

The fighter ran to his side and halted herself from touching the injured arm. "What happened to you!"

"I was fighting and let my guard down for one second, that's all."

"One second is all they need, Cloud! Why?" Tifa slumped her body next to his. "Why do you go on fighting so recklessly like this?" Tifa was about to lift her head but felt she couldn't do it when her eyes blurred. "It's over now. Stop all of this fighting."

"It's not over, Tifa." Cloud looked straight ahead, waving his right hand like there was still a sword in it. "Kadaj didn't use up all of the Jenova genes. Everyday the genes carry some form and I fight them; that's just how it is."

To hell with this! Tifa looked sharply at Cloud as she lifted her head and met his gaze. "Shut up! Just shut up! You got your fight with Sephiroth. Can't you be satisfied yet! Nowadays, I think you won't ever be satisfied until you are dead! Don't you ever think about how it will affect others when you die! People are going to be sad, dammit! Think about our friends! Barrett, Vincent, Cid, Cait Sith, Yuffie, Red XIII… Think about the kids. Marlene and Denzel…" Tifa's voice faded out as she let her head hang once again. "Think about…me…," she choked.

"Tifa…" Cloud stopped himself from saying anything further. Slowly, he stood and lifted Tifa up with him. "Why don't we go around front and eat something?"

"No. No, I'm so sick of this- your constant dodging of the subject. Just stop fighting!"

"I can't and you know that."

"But you can! You just refuse to accept that! Sephiroth's control of you is over now! Stop gambling with your life every day! And don't say you don't care, because if you care for your friends, then you wouldn't be doing this every day! If you cared at ALL ABOUT ME, THEN YOU WOULDN'T BE DOING THIS EVERY DAY!" The whole time, Tifa was punching Cloud in his chest, which would probably develop a large bruise later on.

Cloud winced as Tifa pounded her fists into him one last time and grabbed her wrists to stop her. "Tifa, stop this. You know I care about all of you, but we've been saving people for…how many years now? We can't just stop. There are probably only a few Jenova Specimens left, so it won't be long before we can live peacefully."

"But, what if you don't make it out of the next fight?"

"Well, they have been getting stronger and smarter with each battle, but I've never lost a battle yet, have I? Don't put so little faith in me, Tifa." As Cloud turned to head to the front of the bar, he gently patted the top of Tifa's head and left her by herself.

I think my problem is that I put too much faith in you, Tifa thought.

"And then I want to learn how to fight just like Tifa!" Marlene exclaimed excitedly.

Denzel shook his head. "Using your own fists is cool and all, but I want to swing a sword just like Cloud!"

"Well, maybe you'll both have your wishes granted," Cloud said, smiling.

"We have no use for any more fighters around here, Cloud," Tifa coldly said when she entered the room. She sent Cloud an icy glare which caused him to add "when you're older" to his sentence.

"Aw, come on, Mom!" Marlene pleaded. She was definitely old enough by now to know that she wasn't Tifa's blood daughter, but Marlene did still call Tifa 'Mom' sometimes, including when she wanted or wanted to do something. "I wanna be tough like you!"

"We both do!" Denzel added.

Tifa smiled at both of them as she placed a hand on either's shoulder. "And both of you are tough, tougher than a certain someone in here who believes he is, so you don't need to learn how to fight with your fists or a sword. Now go wash up and I'll start making supper." The children smiled and dashed off to the washroom. Just out of Cloud and Tifa's hearing, Marlene stopped and mumbled something.

"Marlene, what's wrong?" Denzel asked.

"I was just wishing to myself that we could call Cloud 'Dad' some time in the future. He really cares for Mom, I can tell, otherwise he wouldn't be so scared of her when she glares at him." Marlene smiled at Denzel, who agreed and reminded her that they still needed to wash up.


"I'm not talking to you." Tifa turned her head away from Cloud and started taking food out of the cupboards.

"Fine. But then I know that you'll listen. To tell you the truth, I wish that I could stop all the fighting, but I can't. Doing that is just outside of my grasp. You should know that if I had the power to make everything right and live peacefully with you, I would." Tifa paused and Cloud went on, not noticing her pause. "Look, I'm going out to take care of something, so I may be home for dinner, but if I'm not, don't wait up for me." Tifa didn't turn around as Cloud placed a hand on her shoulder and gripped it, but Cloud left before Tifa could even think to say anything.

After Cloud's bike had roared off, Tifa fell to her knees, drained of all her power. Do you mean what you said, Cloud? Do you want to live with me? Do you really think of my home as your home? Did you even realize what you implemented to me just now? Am I just reading too much into this? Am I hoping too much?

"ARE YOU KIDDING ME!" Yuffie nearly toppled over when Cloud had just come out and asked her.

Cloud sighed. "Well, considering you're a female, I thought I would ask you, but you don't seem to be of much help."

"No, it's not that," Yuffie retorted, "I just never thought that you would want to do anything…romantic. No offense, Cloud, but you're just an Ice Queen." Cloud shot her a nasty glare. "Oh, sorry, Spiky, an Ice King."

A shuffle from behind Cloud caused him to reach for his sword, but a voice stopped him. "No need for use of such a weapon on an old friend, is there, Cloud?"

"So nice of you to drop in," Yuffie said through gritted teeth, her anger suddenly rising. Vincent seemed to feel uncomfortable, Yuffie's bad vibes reaching him from across the room.

"I'm allowed to come home when I want to," the vampire replied.


Cloud's face was twisted in thought. " 'Home'…?" he echoed. He faced a crimsoned Yuffie and glanced at the vampire, dressed in the usual attire that now matched Yuffie's face. "I see." He sent a smirk Vincent's way. "So you do like us mortals." Vincent growled under his breath. "Oh, that's right. You probably tolerate us and love Yuffie. Nice. For a vampire, that is."

Vincent plopped himself down beside Yuffie and took a strike out on Cloud. "So what? A guy can change his mind. You've demonstrated that quite well, I might add, considering you were asking about a gift to give to a woman. How's Tifa doing?"

Now it was Cloud's turn it was to turn deep red. "You don't know why I'm asking." Once Cloud realized that that was not convincing, he added, "How did you know it was Tifa?"

Yuffie slapped Vincent's leg. "You jerk! You were listening to the conversation before letting us know you were there!"

"I do it all the time," Vincent said, which he realized he shouldn't have said when he felt an icy chill run down his spine, receiving every one of Yuffie's bad vibes in one blow.

"I'll have a word with you later, mister."

Cloud ignored the odd-ball couple's mishap and gazed at the floor. "I'm not sure," he continued, catching Yuffie and Vincent's attention, "I'm not sure what's on Tifa's mind right now. She wants me to stop fighting the remaining Jenova Specimens, but I can't do that. I've told her that, but she says that I won't be happy until I've killed myself, but I've told her that's not true. Although, I'm starting to think she may be right…"

"Cloud…," Yuffie mumbled. She shot Vincent a nervous glance and he nodded. "I think I have the answer to your question." The ninja stood and walked across the room, retrieving what looked like a world map from an old, dilapidated bureau. She walked back and spread the worn map on the floor in front of the three of them as she sat down and pointed to an area in the north. "Northeast of Bone Village, there are some caves hidden deep within the mountains. I've heard from other ninja that a cave exists there, full of mythril. It's known as Diamond Mythril Cavern. Inside the cave is the best mythril around, diamond mythril. There's also a weapon shop in Bone Village that will synthesize the special mythril into whatever weapon you want. Vincent and I will go with you…"

"What!" Vincent exclaimed. "You've gotta be kidding me…"

"…so you can retrieve some of the mythril and have it made into a pair of gloves for Tifa. Sounds like the perfect gift for the perfect girl, right?" Yuffie urged.

"Yes," Cloud agreed, "but why are you so willing to help, Yuffie?"

"I can't do anything out of the goodness of my own heart?"

"There's materia in that cavern, isn't there?"

Yuffie smiled. "It'll be like hitting two birds with one stone! Come on, Cloud, I haven't had any materia for a while and I desperately need some! Please, Cloud! PLEASE!"

Cloud sighed. "All right, all right, already. That means that we'll work together in case we run into any Jenova Specimens, okay, Vincent?"

Vincent, whose eyes were closed and arms were folded, said, "I'll go to protect Yuffie, not you." Yuffie hit him again. "Okay! I'll watch out for both of you! Jeez!"

'Spiky' stood and grabbed his sword. "Let's go!"

"Mom, are you okay?" Marlene patted Tifa's hand and gave her a distressed look.

Tifa half-heartedly smiled. "I'm fine, Marlene."


"Yes, Denzel, I'm okay. But both of you need to get your butts to bed! Bedtime! Now!" The brunette ushered the two into their room, kissed them good night and shut their door. Tifa walked back to the dinner table and hid her face in her arms as she silently cried herself to sleep. Cloud! I know you disappear like this, but…but it hurts me too much! Where are you right now? Why won't you take me with you? Are you trying to get away from me? Please, Cloud, come back soon! Cloud…!

Shit! Cloud lifted his head from his bike a little just in time to see three, no, four Jenova Specimens jump in front of him. "We each take one!" he shouted to Yuffie and Vincent.

"Then that leaves one for us to share!" shouted a figure over Cloud's head.

"As long as you don't horse around," Cloud muttered to himself. He turned his attention back to the monster in front of him. Cloud pulled a sword from his motorcycle and, with one wave of his hand, sliced the Jenova Specimen in two.

"Nice!" called the same voice.

Cloud finally faced the origin of the voice and smiled to himself a little. "I should've known you would be out looking for a good fight…Reno."

"Shucks, you caught me." The flame-haired male smiled that wide grin of his and motioned behind him. "Then you should've also known that I wouldn't be alone." Sure enough, right behind Reno, Rude was fending off a Jenova Specimen from Yuffie. "Yo! Rude!"

After a final blow to the monster, Rude removed his sunglasses, wiped them, and waved a little wave.

"Anyway," Reno continued, turning back to Cloud, "What's a spiky head like yours doing here in the northern part of the region?"

"He's looking to get some diamond mythril gloves made for Tifa," Yuffie answered.

Reno looked surprised. "Huh! No kidding? You chose a good one, Cloud. She's got a nice bod." At once, Reno could feel the edge of Cloud's sword being pressed against his throat.

"You may want to tread carefully," the blonde said, "my hand may slip."

"Joke! Joke! It was just a joke, man!" Reno fearfully stated, a sweat breaking across his forehead.

"Reno…," Rude piped; Cloud glanced in his general direction. "Go ahead," he said to Cloud. "If you kill him, then he'll just come back to haunt us. He'll be around more often." Cloud acknowledged Rude's point a stuck his sword back in his bike.


"So, you guys are just hanging around here, then?" Yuffie asked, Vincent appearing behind her and wrapping an arm around her waist to stop Reno from eyeing her.

"You could say that," Rude replied. "We're just tracking down the last of these monsters. Do you know where they came from?"

"They're Jenova Specimens," Cloud interjected. "Kadaj didn't use up all of the Jenova cells and some escaped. Now they take on their own form and attack innocents."

"You want some back-up while you're heading to get those gloves made?" Reno asked.

"One idiot is plenty," Cloud breathed. Yuffie smacked Vincent upside his head when she heard him plotting Cloud's death. "Whatever floats your boat. I don't really care if the two of you tag along, but you carry your own weight, got it?" Cloud knew that Rude would be okay; his question was mainly directed at Reno.

"I'm not very heavy," Reno said jokingly. "In fact, I'm quite light!" Cloud's sword suddenly appeared out of nowhere against Reno's throat once again.

"Haven't you learned by now not to piss him off?" Rude asked of his partner.

"By the way, how do you plan on getting to some cavern way in the north?" Reno asked, the sword still pressed against his throat.

Yuffie was surprised. "You know where diamond mythril comes from?"

"Hell yeah! You learn a lot of things from Shinra. Diamond Mythril Cavern not only has the best mythril around, but it has the best materia, as well," Reno added.

"I was thinking we'd head a little farther north and stop," Cloud interrupted.

"Stop?" Reno and Rude inquired in unison. Just then, a large airship flew overhead, answering their question.

"Isn't she a beauty!" he exclaimed when the ship landed.

"Of course she is, Cid," Cloud stated exasperatedly. As soon as the group had seen Cid's latest ship flying above them, they had sped to the landing site.

"Well, well, Cloud," Cid said heartily, "looking good. Keep that swinging arm of yours in shape?"

"I've had to," the blonde replied.

"That doesn't sound too good," the mechanic said as he hopped down from the ship. Seeing the others behind the spiky-haired male, he asked, "What brings you all here?"

"We need a favor, Cid," Yuffie affirmed.

"A favor?" Cid echoed. He scratched his head. "Boy, I don't think I'm gonna like this too much…"

Cloud looked Cid in the eye. "Can you fly us to Diamond Mythril Cavern?"

"Sure, but I can't land on mountains, remember. What's your business up there?"

"I'd really rather not say," Cloud uttered, his face turning the shade of pink he oh-so despised.

"We're going to get a present for Tifa so she'll forgive Blockhead here," Vincent nonchalantly put it.

"Ah," Cid commented, a smile appearing on his face. "So you're ready to forget?" he quietly asked of Cloud.

Cloud thought a moment. I'm never ready to forget… But she… Cloud closed his eyes and cleared his mind. "Yeah," he lied, "I'm ready to forget."

"Well, then," Cid said, "let's get this show on the road."

"How many days has it been now?" Tifa muttered to herself. She was so lonely without Cloud there.

"Five days," Marlene replied.

Tifa turned around and saw the little girl come out from her room. She looked almost as reckless as Tifa herself. "Marlene, did I wake you?"

Marlene shook her head. "No, I've been thinking about Cloud, too, Tifa. I wish he would come home."

"Out there is his home. Not here."

Marlene gazed out the kitchen window and watched as the sun floated lifelessly in the sky, lie it, too, had stopped working because Cloud was gone. "I know that, whatever he's doing, it's for you, Tifa," Marlene quietly mumbled before going back to her room, even though it was morning.

"For me…" The words hung in Tifa's throat, stinging her after she had called Cloud reckless. Cloud…is doing something for me? Maybe I'm the selfish one… I just want him where I can see him… I want him all to myself…

At about a half mile, the airship floated majestically above the snow-capped mountains near Bone Village. Figures dropped from the ship down onto one of the said mountains and found the entrance to the Diamond Mythril Cavern.

"Doesn't this seem too easy?" Cid questioned as the group entered the cave without a problem. "Usually, it's about now when some giant monster appears and we have to do a boss fight." At that moment, a distinctive roar echoed throughout the cave, confirming Cid's suspicions.

Reno turned to Cid. "You just had to say something, didn't you?"

"Now's the time to shut up and fight!" Cloud shouted, the monster appearing within their sight. At once, each member of the group leapt into action, each taking their best shots at the monster. The dragon-like thing survived each attack and swung its tail at Reno, Rude, Yuffie, and Vincent.

"Un-…" Reno said.

"-believable," Rude finished.

"Shit!" Cid exclaimed. He leapt into the air and came down with a hard hit by his Venus Gospel. Luckily, it was a critical hit. The next blow would probably be the last. "Next one's yours, Spike!" Cid bellowed.

Cloud nodded. Slowly, he lifted his Ultima Weapon and began the last attack: the Omnislash.

In a matter of mere seconds, the dragon-creature was defeated by overkill. Cloud walked farther into the cave and saw something glinting in the light. White materia…? But Cloud realized that it was not materia when he knelt down and touched the hard rock. Diamond mythril…

"Are you sure you guys can get to where you wanna go from here?" Cid asked.

"We'll be fine," Cloud firmly stated. "Good luck with the new airship, Cid."

"Cloud?" Cid waved him back as the others started leaving. "I know you lied to me earlier," Cid whispered to the blonde, "but it doesn't mean you can't be true now. Take good care of Tifa, and if I see you're ass out on the streets because she got rid of ya… Well, let's just hope that never happens." Cid disappeared back into the ship, heading towards the ship's helm. And, for once, Cloud was actually scared of what Cid might do to him if he did anything wrong to Tifa.

Cloud gulped and secretly wished that that would never happen. Not the Cid killing him part. Well, partially, yes, but the part about him possibly doing anything to hurt or displease Tifa. That he did not want happening.

"Thanks for the adventure, Cloud," Reno said playfully as they stopped to let Reno and Rude go. "Hope we can have another one soon."

"What was that?" Cloud scarily asked.

"I was JOKING!" Reno nearly screamed, Cloud's Ultima Weapon pressing harder than it did ever before against his neck. Cloud sheathed the sword in his bike. "Can't a guy take a joke anymore!"

"Personally," Rude commented, "if it were me, I would just kill you. Cloud hasn't actually followed through. Yet."

"See you guys!" Yuffie shouted over her shoulder as she, Vincent, and Cloud disappeared into the distance.

"Damn…," Reno mumbled.

"What is it?" Rude asked.

"I think the vampire has dibs on the ninja…"

"Go get her, Spiky!" Yuffie exclaimed when the three had reached Yuffie's (and now Vincent's) place. "I know she'll love those gloves!"

"Let's just hope that she doesn't use them against him," Vincent stated. Yuffie nodded.

"Aren't you a bundle of joy?" Cloud retorted sarcastically, roaring off on his bike once more, giving Vincent no time to kill him (this time, at least).

"So," Yuffie began, a mischievous grin painted on her face, "shall we start on a hybrid ninja vampire?"

"Uh…!" That 'cheered' Vincent up (or at least cheered "something" up).


All was quiet inside the Seventh Heaven. Usually, one could find at least Tifa behind the counter, whether or not any customers had decided to appear.

Cloud's ears perked up when he heard a noised coming from Marlene and Denzel's room. He rushed there to find their door locked. "Marlene, Denzel, it's me, Cloud."

At once, Cloud heard a small click and the door opened, and Marlene threw herself onto him. "Cloud!" she said, frightened. "Tifa! She's fighting the last Jenova Specimen! It had showed up here, but she told us to hide in our room and that she would draw it away from the bar! You need to go save her!" Marlene had broken into tears halfway through her explanation, but, when she had finished, Cloud patted the top of her head and, oddly enough, smiled warmly at her.

"It's okay," he whispered. "Nothing's going to happen to Tifa. We love her too much to let anything happen to her. Stay in your room with Denzel and I promise I'll bring Tifa back. For the three of us." Cloud stood and turned, but he felt Marlene poke him in the back. He glanced over his shoulder at her. "Marlene…"

She just smiled sheepishly at him. "I knew you loved her!" Then she ran back into the room and locked it once again.

As Cloud was heading out of the café, he thought to himself, Did everyone know I had feelings for her?

"KYAAA!" Tifa screamed as she was flung back into a nearby dumpster. "Unghh…"

"Tifa!" Cait Sith jumped on Red XIII's back and charged the Jenova Specimen, the attack proving futile in the end. The two were flung back, as well, but these two were knocked out.

"Dammit…," Tifa mumbled. She tried to stand, but her strength wasn't completely with her. Cloud! she thought, tears streaming from her eyes. I need you!

"GYARGH!" roared the monster.

This is it! Tifa winced, expecting to feel the Jenova Specimen's claws go right through her, but nothing happened. Confused, she looked up to discover Cloud protecting her with the Ultima Weapon. "Cloud…"

"Tifa! Move out from under me!" he said through gritted teeth. She did as directed and Cloud slashed at the monster, jumping back a few feet to where Tifa was. Pulling the gloves from the pouch attached to his belt, he handed her the gloves. "Take these and put them on."

"These are…!"


Tifa ripped off her old, worn gloves and felt her power returning as she donned the diamond mythril ones. I can fight now! After a series of powerful sword attacks by Cloud, Tifa was the one who delivered the final blow, just as it swung a claw at her, reaching her left arm. "It's over," she whispered to herself, panting.

"I'm glad they worked," Cloud commented.

"What are these gloves made of?" she asked.

"Glad you asked. Diamond mythril, the best out there. It took one vampire, a ninja, an idiot, a silent dude, a crazy airship mechanic, and one handsome, spiky-haired guy to get the diamond mythril from the boss in the cavern."

"Maybe I shouldn't have asked," Tifa suggested.

"Your loss," Cloud replied.

"Speaking of losses…," Tifa playfully stated, walking over to Cloud. She hit him over the head. "You jerk! How could you leave me here without you just to get gloves for me!"

Cloud, for the first (and probably only) time, spoke up. "You idiot! How could you fight that Jenova Specimen on your own! You almost got yourself killed!"

"That was the last one. Red and Cait Sith were trailing it, so I had some help. Hey, I didn't die," Tifa said coolly, but she froze to the spot when Cloud wrapped his arms around her completely. He hugged her. He HUGGED her. HE BLEEPING HUGGED HER.

"And if you had, I would've killed myself," he uttered. "Tifa don't do anything to scare me like that again."

"And what about you?" she asked. He looked down at her.

"What…" But she didn't let him finish that question. Tifa had slithered her arms around his neck and now had him locked in a passionate kiss.

"We won't leave each other's sides from now on, okay?" she said.

Cloud hesitated. Just then, Tifa's left arm, where the monster had struck her, started dripping a little blood. And then it fell. The pink ribbon they all wore to remind themselves of her…Tifa's fell to the ground, bloody and tattered. Cloud glanced at Cait Sith and Red's arms and noticed that theirs, too, had fallen, but not during the battle. Theirs had come off a long time before that, he could tell. Then he looked at his own left arm. Amazed, his was gone, as well. I guess this means that we all can forget you, Aeris…, he thought to himself. "Yes," he answered, "we'll never leave each other behind again from now on. Ever." This time, Cloud encouraged the kiss, and Tifa willingly allowed.

In the shadows where they had been hiding the whole time after Cloud had left the bar, Denzel asked Marlene in a whisper tone, "So what do you hope for? A brother or a sister?"

Thanks for reading! I think this may have been my most well written fanfic yet, so I'm really happy with it. Don't forget to review it, guys! love, mew-tsubaki 3