Watching him sit there is the hardest thing. He makes me think he cares, but I can tell by the way is eyes trace over the flower that he doesn't.
Don't get me wrong, I know he does, just not like he says.
It's that or something's holding him back; something's always holding him back. That's the only way he knows how to live. All he can do is just sit and brood over the mistakes in his life, wishing he could change what he wanted.
I know what he wants to change too, I want it too.
But what would we be like now?
I don't think we'd be living under the same roof, calling the orphans our children. That's far from it. He reaches up and scratches the back of his head, something he's formed a habit of when nervous or uncertain. He can probably feel my eyes on him, so I leave. I don't mind. I can't stand watching him anymore.
Walking out of the room, I notice he's at least got enough presence of mind to notice my movement. His eyes follow me as I walk out, but he makes no move to stop me. He's never before, so why should this time be any different?
I already know my path. I need to get outside and breathe. It's been a long time since I've felt this way, so angry at the world, but especially him. I don't know why, but every few months I get this feeling of apprehension and restlessness. I have to do something, be moving and not think about how things seem to have stopped and gone absolutely nowhere. I'll spend hours cleaning the bar, cleaning spots I've already clean, rubbing so hard that my knuckles will start bleeding. He'll stop me then, taking my hands gently in his own, folding mine securely in his massive palms, telling me to calm down. He says there's nothing there, but I protest, swearing there is something there. At least in my mind, I think there is.
I don't bother to grab a jacket, even though I know I'll probably regret it. I don't plan on being out here long, I just need a breather.
Stepping outside, the cold hits me in the stomach, stealing the breath from my lungs for an instant. I gasp, and then breathe out, my breath clouding up before my eyes. I let it fascinate me for a moment, breathing in and out, watching my breath hang in the air; my woman-made clouds.
Quick as it's there though, it's just as quick leaving.
Just like him, I can't help but spat in my mind.
I shake my head, frustrated. I hate feeling like this, I hate myself for acting this way. But after awhile, you can only do so much, or at least that's what I tell myself. I try to convince myself it's not my fault, but the other half, the larger half disagrees. It knows that I'm a rotten person really, for feeling so angry and acting so cold.
It reins its ugly head, spitting curses at me and telling me I'm such a fool and idiot for even hoping.
You don't have to tell me, I snap back at it.
This is something I'm all too aware of.
But can a person really stop hoping? Even after so much time has passed, and obvious concluded...can a person really stop hoping? In those tiny moments when something happens, it supplies such the faintest touch of hope, a mere, tiny prick of star in a vast dark night. It's there though, isn't it? Despite how small, the hope is still there. If there's more hope, does it hurt anymore? If it were a bright full moon in that vast dark night, would it hurt more when it all came crashing down around you? Or would it hurt less? To have such a small amount of hope to begin with hurts. Couldn't it hurt in such a way that when it did come crashing down, how pathetic it is really to have such a small amount of hope. How pathetic it is to have so little to cause hope. Maybe they hurt just as much as the other, but in different forms.
It doesn't matter, I've felt them all before. The tiny hopes, and the large ones overwhelming my life till I'm living in a daydream half the time, too blind to realize the hope that fueled it has already burned out. It doesn't matter anymore though if I have hope I suppose. My heart is too shredded to feel anything, to cut up to register the fact it's even dead.
I mentally slap myself. Honestly, I think, moping about nothing.
What do you really have to mope about? The ugly voice sneers.
It's teeth have sunk into mind, claws dug into my very being, and it's dragging me down. I'm suffocating in here, in my own mind. I'm dying on the inside, and it hurts. It has been such a long time since I've felt pain. Mostly I hide behind a facade of happiness, shining light onto others; or at least that's what I tell myself.
Just a nuisance, you are. The voice bites back.
I know, I am just a bother. I always pried into his life, trying to get him to tell me anything. But isn't that just the problem? Shouldn't he tell me at least something?
Do you deserve to know something? Why would he want to tell a sniveling brat like you, anyways?
Shut up! Shut up shut up shut up!
I grasp my head, it's pounding, and it pulls me back to the surface, the cold air stinging in my lungs again. It burns, but it lets me know I'm still alive, still breathing. I gasping for breath, desperate to feel the oxygen in my blood. My heart thumps painfully and wildly in my chest. Who knew a mental battle with yourself could bring such physical distress?
I press the palms of my hands into my eyes, trying to burn out the tears I fill trying to billow their way up. That lump forms in my chest, and I know it'll be a while before I go in. If I were to say anything right now, I'd just break into a sobbing heap on the ground. What good would I be then?
What good are you now?
I let out a exasperated sigh, angry at myself for letting the beast back up. I try to push it down and bury in the depths of my mind. But it's that time, when I feel so angry, and bitter, even though I know I shouldn't, and the beast won't stay down. It pushes itself up with a cackling laugh, and I feel a pain jerk in my heart.
Poor poor little girl...oh cry cry cry, little one...that's right, you have pain...living in a comfortable house with plenty of money, with friends and little ones scampering around your feet...why should you be happy? Why should you feel nothing but gladness all the time? You're still alive! That's right, you've every reason to feel awful, to act angry towards a man whose saved your life before...
I can't tell it to shut up this time, because I know it's right. Who am I to complain about the life I live? About the children I've raised and the friends I've made?
What about those I lost?
Aren't you angry with her? For stealing your dear man's heart?
That was not right, no...I can't be angry at her. She saved us all, gave us a reason for living. She was our hope in that journey, but more than that, she was what kept us going in death. We wanted to make sure her death would not be in vain.
She deserves him...he deserves her...the only thing that separates them is death, and that's one thing I wish would've never happened. I would've gladly taken her place beneath that monster's sword, especially seeing how things turned out.
That's right, worthless little you...should've died that day, huh?
Hah! What you really wanted was to cause the death, not replace it...
"SHUT UP!" My cry echoes out into the night.
A dog barks in response to my yell, and I feel the tears I had swallowed push their way up and spill out of my eyes. I sob once, pressing my hand into my face. How dare it tell me that. I've silenced it now, it won't show itself for a while. It'll be worse though, when it finally does. It always is. I'm waiting for the day that I won't be able to take it anymore, I'm waiting for the day when I hear it's voice I'll just fall over and die. Curl up into a tiny ball and let it beat me to death with its words, make it so the pain will stop. Maybe I should just do that. Just curl up and die...it'd be easy right now, just to fall asleep...that always helps too...
Even the voice in my mind is drowsy. It's the cold, I need to go inside, NOW...I scream it at myself, trying to make my legs move. But I'm frozen to the spot, my mind still in shock from it's war. I blink my eyes, all I can manage. It's now I notice that sometime in my mental war the snow had began, and I had slid to my knees.
This isn't good, move! Move!
My head droops down onto my chest, and I wander for a moment how long I've been out here, screaming at myself, to already be suffering from this cold. I conclude that I am crazy.
Yes, crazy, that describes me perfectly.
Crazy: 1. someone who battles with their inner self in the middle of below-freezing weather in a T-shirt and shorts and hopes to survive both mentally and physically; 2. A person who relives the mistakes of her lives and gets beat down by her inner self no matter what they say. 3. To put it simply, Tifa Lockhart.
I manage a choke of a laughter, I can't tell if it's in my head or actually escaped from my lips...yeah, they're probably blue by now...
It's amazing how I seem to find this all funny, dying on a frozen street. I mean I did come out here to clear my head and cool down.
Well, at least I succeeded in one thing.
My head is fuzzy, logic escaping me, but other thoughts as clear as day. Logic side says get the hell up and go inside, but the other side blocks, making the words fuzzy and unclear. The other side, the crazy side, marvels in the fact that it can make jokes while facing death.
Hooray, my hidden talent. Where have you been all my life? I mean, it's not like I haven't faced death before...
Death...wasn't I thinking about this earlier?
Oh yeah, curl up and die, that was what I thought about doing. Sounds like a marvelous plan. I can't feel anything now anyways, and I'm tired, I know it's sometime past midnight. That's when I came out here. Now I just need some sleep.
I let out an escaping breath, watching it as my head hits the ground. Disappear, reappear, disappear, reappear. I'm laughing at it, it's positively fascinating.
Just like him.
Wait, haven't I been here before?
Ahh yes, that was how it all started. That was how my death started, thinking about him...I remember now.
Hey...where'd my breath go? That was my entertainment!
Ouch! That's bright.
Warm light, not the dim, cold light I'd come accustomed to in the deep night. No, that light, wait...why am I seeing the ceiling? Blue? What?
God, I was so numb, I didn't even feel him pick me up. I was too busy staring at my breath. At my clouds.
His voice is muffled, like someone's shoved cotton in my ears. That wasn't very nice of them to do that.
"Tifa...Tifa!" Even in his muffled state, he sounds worried.
He holds me close to his chest, rubbing my arms and I'm on my bed. He yanks off my soaked shirt, grabbing a blanket and wrapping it around my shoulders. He pulls me into his chest again, stroking my hair and letting me know everything is going to be okay, that I'll be okay. I vaguely register Denzel and Marlene coming in.
"Blue!" I hear Marlene cry out.
"Cloud! Put her in hot water! That'll warm her up." Denzel says.
I feel Cloud's head move back and forth, his chin knocking up against the top of my head.
"No, the shock could kill her."
Now where have I heard that before? Ahh yes, when I fell in the river and he tried to save me. I remember when I came to, my doctors told me that. The water had been so cold, I remember that. Cloud must've been through something like that. The doctor would've told him too.
He did care.
He does care.
Damn my monsters, damn them to hell.
I register Denzel and Marlene climbing into bed with us, wrapping their tiny arms around me, heating me up slowly. I can feel my limbs sear with pain as the blood starts moving again. The numbness wearing off in a painful and glorious sensation. I start feeling little things, like how Denzel is nervously pulling on the blanket with one hand. I try twitching a toe.
I manage a goofy smile I know they can't see. Cold does strange things to you, I discovered.
Seeing my toe twitch, Cloud gives out orders. Marlene: hot chocolate...Denzel: more blankets.
They rush out of the room, a slight chill where their small, warm bodies had been. But Cloud wraps his arms tighter around me, I can feel them too, crushing me against his chest. The heat is making me sleepy though. I just need to close my eyes for a minute.
"Tifa...Tifa!" He shakes me with his shoulder, but I don't feel like talking to him right now.
"Tifa you can't leave me...I'll die."
These words strike in me though, a sparkle of hope, healing a small patch on my butchered heart.
This is a new sensation, one I haven't felt for a long time.
What is this? Warm lips pressed against my cold ones? Gah! It must be like kissing a gravestone! Dammit!
But who cares?
He does, and that's all that matters.
I fight off the sleepiness, the dark calling out in a loving fashion, begging me to slip deeper into its depths and forget all the pain.
But I decline politely, telling it I've found a way to be rid of the pain, not forget it. The dark seems to sigh in disappointment, but relinquishes it's hold, and I thank it, planting a warm kiss on it's vast expanse. It seems to chortle with delight and embarrassment, and it pushes me to the surface and I find I'm no longer kissing the dark. My eyes flutter open, and I'm kissing him.
He breaks the kiss looking startled at being caught.
And so the prince revives the princess with a kiss of true love, I hear a familiar feminine voice chuckle in my head.
I must be crazy, with all the voices I've heard today.
Don't worry us like that, kid-o...You and Spike have got a ways to go. Just let me know if he messes it up for ya. I'll teach him! Another voice I haven't heard in so long crows.
Zack! A slap, a playful slap on the arm no doubt.
It's true Aerith! You'll be the one telling me to do something!
Wa...Ae-Aerith! Wait, come back!
I can't help but smile at them, and at him as I return to the world of the living.
Ahh, I can live like this.
I bury my face in the crook of his neck, and I feel him kiss the top of my head.
A/N: Just a little oneshot I came up with to take a break from me stories...a little dark at the beginning, I know, but it all works out...I'm just to nice to write a truly sad ending about these two...I guess I just pity Cloud and Tifa. Enjoy!