Author's Notes: :suspense music intro: dun... dun-dun.. dun-dun-dun... dun .... The Last Chapter of the series!

Oh yeah, Please forgive me for the many 'skips' and incorrect 'dialogues' you might see here but not in the game... If you see a ~ then I skipped to the next important part.... ty ya'll! ^_^

Behind the Name.

Chapter 6: Slipping

-Monday- (Tifa P.O.V.)

It's been well into a month now...

Tifa sat near a window sill of her room, peacefully watching the small kids outside play.

Since I last saw him...

- 6:48 am-

Sighing, she wrapped her legs closer to her chest.

Everything seemed to go along normally after my escape, except for the small depression holes I fall in every now and then. I guess, I just miss him.

A small knock on the door interrupted her peace. Tifa turned her head towards the entrance of her room, spotting Wedge on his knees.

"Tifa!! Please make some food?! I'm really, really, REALLY hungry!" he bawled.

Tifa laughed lightly and stood up, "Okay Wedge, I'll be down soon."

Wedge bowed happily, "Oh thank you!" he quickly ran down the hall and into the kitchen.

Tifa started to follow him. As she entered the kitchen, she was greeted by Wedge, Biggs, Jesse and Barret. She looked at Barret as he smiled kindly to her and gave her a good morning.

Barret knows who exactly Rufus Shinra is to me... and he knows he has to keep it to himself and not tell the others. I recently found this out a couple of weeks ago, and I was surprised he knew. He told he could just tell by the way I'm 'sulking' around in the bar nowadays.

"Hey, you're up late! You and that guy talking all night, again?" Barret asked.

That 'guy', in case you were wondering, is none other than Cloud Strife. Yeah, can you believe it? I found him at the train station three days ago. At first I didn't recognize him, but I was shocked when he recognized me.

"No, he went straight to bed last night." She responded, heading over to the refrigerator and pulling out eggs and bacon.

Now he works for us because he quit SHINRA. He needed extra money so I offered him the job to be an Avalanche member. He recently did his first mission with Barret yesterday.

"Well, you better wake him up 'cause we need to start heading over to that reactor soon." Barret walked up to a chair and sat down, folding his arms in front of him, "You're coming this time, aren't you Tifa?"

Tifa nodded silently as she opened the stove and placed a well-oiled pan over it.

It's going to be my first reactor mission ever since that... incident. I don't know why I didn't join them before now. Well, the reason I wanted to go this time was to watch over Cloud... I don't know why, but lately my feelings have been switching sides. Now that Cloud was here with me, my feelings for him suddenly bursted up into a huge flame. Yet I can't let go of the love I held for Rufus... even though it feels like it's about ready to die.

A familiar presence soon joined the group. Cloud yawned out loud and plopped himself on a seat across from Barret, his eyes still full of sleep, and his hair tousled around madly.

"Coffee?" Jesse offered, and poured some in a cup.

Cloud nodded and thanked her. He carefully drank his cup, looking around the small kitchen gazing at the people with him, "Morning, everyone."

Biggs, Wedge and Jesse all greeted him back. Barret on the other hand just nodded his head, and Tifa remained silent as she cooked.

As Tifa moved the eggs around the pan, carefully separating each one from each other, she began to space off as she stared at the frizzing oil at the edge of the eggs.

I wonder what he's doing now... how he's coping with all this? Is he missing me like I am, or did he give up on me? Rufus....

Her thoughts were interrupted as soon as she felt something painfully burn her left hand, "Damn it!" She jumped at the unsuspecting feeling of the hot oil on her skin.

Jesse quickly rushed to her aid, and everyone else looked up worryingly.

"Tifa, what happened? Are you okay?" Jesse asked, grabbing her hand and inspecting it.

Tifa quickly pulled away, a sudden memory of someone else holding her hand to tend a wound came to her. She turned over to the sink and placed the irate boil under cold, running water, "It's okay, I just burned it a little. It's nothing, really.."

I can feel tears coming to me now, not because of I was in pain, but because I couldn't stop wondering if he still cared for me. As soon as I felt Jesse grab my hand, it immediately reminded me of the time he held my hands, and how soft and warm his touch was. I often wondered if everything I felt back then, was all but a stupid dream.

A suspecting look came to Barret's face, "Tifa, I don't think you should come to the mission today?"

Tifa turned around, placing her 'happy' mask on, she smiled at him skeptically, "It's just a measly oil burn, Barret. It's not like it's gonna bother me during a fight, let alone cause me any harm."

"That's not what I mean..." Barret said softly.

Tifa frowned.

Everyone else looked at both faces, clueless as to what the two were referring.

Tifa stared pleadingly at Barret, "I'm going..."

"Tifa, you-"

Barret was interrupted as Tifa raised her voice in protest, "No, don't you say it! I'm going and that's that!"

Tears, there's tears running down my cheeks now... I can't let them see.

Quickly, Tifa ran to her room, slamming the door behind her.

In an instant, Cloud ran after her, leaving the four in the kitchen.

"Hey boss?" Biggs started, "How come you told Tifa to stay instead of come along?"

Barret didn't answer, instead he picked up his newspaper and started to read.

Biggs looked at Jesse, who just shrugged and started to finish cooking breakfast.

Meanwhile, down the hall, Cloud stood near his friend's door. He knocked softly, "Tifa? Can I come in?" There was no respond, so he tried again, "It's me Cloud... Tifa?" the door slowly opened after, revealing a tear-struck Tifa sniffling as she motioned him in.

She shut the door behind him, looking down to the floor as she did.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Cloud asked softly, bringing his friend to him and giving her a comforting hug.

Tifa shook her head, "... nothing." she pushed herself away from him, a little embarrassed.

Cloud looked at her apprehensively, "Tifa, tell me. It's my job as a friend."

Looking up at him warily, Tifa raised her eyebrows.

Cloud sighed heavily, "As a friend, I take heed and must notice problems of other friends as a showing of respect and loyalty yadda, yadda, yadda..."

Tifa gave a smile, "Where'd you learn that from? It's really stupid."

"I heard it from some guy in a movie," he shrugged, "besides, it worked. I made you smile." he gave her one of his cocky grins.

Tifa turned red.

Here it is again, another rush of affections for Cloud... I can't help but fall for him again!!

"Anyways, if you need any help," Cloud placed an arm around Tifa's shoulder, "don't hesitate to ask, 'kay?"

She simply nodded.

Okay, whatever, just please leave now before I start getting frustrated with my feelings again!!!

Cloud arm slipped out from her shoulders, just as if he had heard her. He slowly walked to door and held it open, "Come on Tifa, I'll tell Barret to cut 5,000 off my payment so you could come along?" he teased.

Tifa appreciated his offer and shook her head as she approached his side, "Okay, but you really didn't need to. I was gonna go anyways, whether or not Barret agrees."

Cloud pondered, "Then I won't offer to cut off 5,000 of my payment. So come on already!"

Tifa giggled, and walked along with Cloud back to the kitchen.

~

- Tuesday- (Tifa P.O.V.)

THUD!

Ow damn, my head!!

- 8:22 p.m.-

I felt a dull pain as I fell. I turned my head and felt something wet around my head and body. Was I on water?

Slowly lifting her head up, Tifa looked around.

"Tifa are you alright?" a worried voice called.

Slowly standing up, holding her head as she did, she meekly smiled to her friend, "I-I'm okay Cloud."

Cloud nodded and ran towards another fallen girl, helping her up to her feet.

Tifa stared at them, a small twinge of jealousy covered her eyes.

I was recently introduced to a new person by Cloud. Aeris Gainsborough. Very sweet and kind, she automatically became my friend. But... watching her and Cloud together....

Her eyes shifted to a huge monster, about to attack them, "Uh.. Cloud, I don't think we're alone..."

Looking up behind him, Cloud lifted his sword and prepared to attack. Tifa ran to his side to aid him, and Aeris followed beside her.

-(Author's moment note: Hope you don't mind if I skip the fighting part... I just can't think of any way to do it ,;)-

~

- 10 minutes later - (thoughts)

Lifting the lid open, Tifa made her way out. She inhaled the slum air deeply, rather having it than the one in the sewer. She turned around and helped Aeris out, and Cloud who followed behind them.

As all three looked around, they noticed they were at the train graveyard.

"Cloud!! We have to go to Sector 7 quickly!!" Tifa suddenly blurted out, remembering Don Corneo's words of Shinra's intentions.

Cloud came to her, "Don't worry Tifa, we'll get there before anything happens. I promise."

Tifa nodded.

Cloud smiled and began leading the way out of the maze of broken trains.

"Don't worry Tifa." Aeris calmly said, "I'm sure they're still okay." She motioned her to come follow, so she did.

As Tifa ran behind the two, she couldn't help but think why Rufus isn't doing anything to stop this.

He knows I live in Sector 7, why isn't he stopping his father?

Looking up, she noticed they have already reached the Sector 8 station. Ignoring the two who had stopped, Tifa kept on running towards Sector 7.

~

-Wednesday- (Tifa P.O.V.)

It's dark now... and I can't sleep.

- Shinra Prison: 2:11 a.m.-

Tifa sat on a small bed, looking up to the ceiling in thought.

Caught... I'm caught again...

A soft snore made her look to her side. Cloud was asleep against the wall opposite of hers, he seemed comfortable.

A smile crept her face, and she turned back to the view of the ceiling.

He sleeps through anything, sheesh!

Sighing, she rested her head to the side, now viewing nothing but the wall. Thinking, her eyes soon began to fill with tears.

Sector 7... is gone. My bar... our hideout... and the children who used to play outside my window... all gone.

Without hesitation, tears began to flow, and she quickly wiped them.

You're probably wondering why we're in Shinra Prison. Well when we got back to Sector 7, we didn't know that we were close to being late. Turks had already began their duties to destroy the Sector 7 tower. Cloud and I decided to help Barret up in the tower, and I asked Aeris to bring Marlene to a safe place. Cloud, Barret, and I did fine, but Aeris was caught by one of them. We didn't get to save the tower, it exploded and we quickly escaped just in time... but no-one else did. Cloud.... she paused, ... We decided to go save Aeris, after all she's a friend. So we made a hasty plan, and ended up getting caught in the end..



She paused, feeling the reality of her situation.

Jesse...

Biggs...

Wedge..

All the people of Sector 7 died because of us....

Tifa found herself crying more and more as faces of people she knew came to her head. She didn't know she was sobbing softly though, catching the attention of the man in the same room.

"Tifa?" Cloud's voice asked, sounding a little sleepy.

Quickly, Tifa turned her whole body towards the wall. She heard his body slowly stand up from his position and slowly make his way over to her. She closed her eyes tightly and covered her face with one hand.

Her heart pounded when she felt his hand brush a strand of her hair. She closed her eyes tighter, and almost jumped as soon as she felt Cloud's lips gently kiss her forehead.

"Night, Tifa." he whispered and walked back towards his wall.

Tifa felt her face turn red, What did he just do?! She began to calm down. She smiled shyly and whispered, "Goodnight, Cloud."

~

- 4:58 a.m: same date-

"Tifa, wake up!"

A coarse, but careful whisper woke her up. Tifa looked up, meeting a pair of blue-green eyes, "Cloud? What is it?" She stood up slowly, and eyed Cloud as he walked over to the door. Tifa noticed it was open.

"Clou-"

Cloud hushed her, and motioned her over to him.

Tifa nodded and walked towards him, following behind as he made his way out.

As she turned the corner of the doorway, she gasped at the sight in front of her.

Cloud crossed his arms and watched her reaction.

Tifa came closer slowly, swallowing down hard, "W-what.." she asked shakily, "-could have.. done this?!"

Shaking his head, Cloud turned his eyes back to the mutilated soldier, "I don't know, but..." he pointed to the body and the blood marks along the walls and floors, "It looks like some sort of monster."

Tifa nodded. She then frantically looked around, "Yeah, but where is it now?!"

"Don't worry, whatever did this, already left." his eyes trailed the blood, watching it disappear at the end of the dark hallway. Turning back to Tifa, Cloud spoke, "Why don't you wake Aeris up while I go get Barret and the other guy, Red XIII?"

Keeping silent, Tifa nodded again. She then took the key, Cloud had offered, and made her way to Aeris' cell.

~

The trail of blood came to halt around the body of President Shinra himself. A long, slender sword, pinned his lifeless body down on his desk, leaving the others in a state of shock.

"Is that.. President Shinra?" Aeris faltered to say.

Cloud nodded, "And I'm pretty sure that's Sephiroth's sword." he turned to Barret by his side, "No one else is able to use his sword, except for him."

"Damn man.. what the hell's happenin'?" Barret frustrated, "I thought that damn Sephiroth guy's already dead?!"

As the whole team pondered with thought, a soft whir, gradually closing in, was heard outside the window. Everyone looked towards it, spotting a helicopter hovering over the balcony.

"You guys get out safely," Cloud ordered softly, "I'll handle this."

The others looked at him with a slight discomfort.

"You're kidding, right? I'm not about to leave you fighting by yourself?" Tifa started.

"She's right," followed Aeris, "What happens if you get hurt?"

Cloud turned to Barret, "Take care on your way out. I'll be at the meeting spot soon."

Barret shrugged, caring less for Cloud, "Alright ladies! Let's go!" he started to walk away, and out towards the exit.

A little angry for ignoring Aeris and her, Tifa stood still in front of him and gave him a cross look.

Aeris joined her side and did the same.

Cloud almost fell back at the sight of their eyes, "Look," he rubbed the back of his neck, "sorry if I won't listen, Tifa, but you've got to go. For once, trust me that I could do this."

Tifa's face faltered, "What do you mean? I do trust you, but..."

"Then go before it's too late, Tifa. Friends come first, and you're my friend." Cloud grinned.

Almost laughing, Tifa turned around with a smirk on her face, "You watch too much movies." With that, she ran after Barret and Red XIII.

Aeris watched as Tifa left and wondered why she had quit on him so soon.

"I'll see you later too, Aeris. Both of you be careful." Cloud smiled.

Whipping her head back to him, Aeris flustered red, "Oh.. um .. yeah, right." She waved a hand and ran after the others.

He watched until her silhouette was no longer seen, and turned around his spot and headed over the back door leading to the balcony.

~

You're crazy Tifa...

Her heart palpitated rapidly as she ran down the stairs, hoping to find an elevator around.

Leaving him like that!

They were a good 3 floors down from the president's room, and suddenly an idea seemed to appear in her mind.

She was running in between Barret, Red XIII and Aeris. She started to slow her pace little by little until she was at the very last. Fortunately, Aeris or the others did not notice the quick change in her speed.

Stopping to a halt, Tifa watched as the others disappeared down the steps. She almost got a second thought about heading back to Cloud by herself, but decided to brush it off.

Spinning her heels around, Tifa headed back the way she came from, unknowing what will happen next.

~

His eyes pierced to the person in front of him.

"Rufus Shinra." Cloud gritted his teeth.

Rufus gave him a sly smirk, "Hello, how nice of you recognize me."

Cloud watched as he advanced a step closer from the helicopter, "What the hell do you want?"

Rufus kept silent, eyeing the ex-soldier as he started to circle around him, "Revenge," he hissed, "for my father's death."

Cloud made his stance, which made Rufus jump a few feet in front of him, getting himself prepared as Cloud was doing.

"Why take it on us, when it was clearly Sephiroth's fault?" Cloud asked.

"That doesn't matter to me." Rufus answered, his voice growing menacingly, "For years and years I have watched my father treat you people using fear and power. I admitted to not approving to his strategies... that is.. until now." He gave small shrill whistle that echoed past the whirring of the helicopter's propellers.

Cloud watched cautiously as a large black, dog-like creature, sided beside Rufus. It was an odd creature, possibly a new 'Prevention-invention' of Shinra.

Rufus gave off a laugh, "I will take after my father's reign, and rule this continent and this planet with fear!" His eyes seem to oculate evilly, "Everyone will fear the name Shinra, and will be forced to work with us or die!"

Stepping back, Cloud drew his sword as he watched the unknown creature beside Rufus, bare his large fangs and spout out a thick white liquid to the floor.

Rufus watched this amusingly, and petted the black creature on its forehead, "Now it's your chance," he paused, "will you join Shinra, or die?"

Cloud gave a small mocking laugh, "I'd rather pick death than coming back to that shit!"

Slitting his eyes to him, Rufus smirked, "Then so be it." and he whistled once more, automatically commanding the black creature to lunge forward to Cloud.

~



Running back to the president's room, Tifa looked around, still a little shocked, more or less terrified, that President Shinra's body still lay on his desk. She also noticed that Sephiroth's sword was no longer buried on his back.

This scared her even more. She breathed heavily, hoping he wasn't near. As her eyes cascaded towards the balcony window, she spotted two figures. One she noticed as Cloud and the other one...

Her eyes widened, and she hurriedly ran to the backdoor.

~

As the creature charged towards the man, Rufus suddenly snapped his head up as a female made her way in front of Cloud.

Tifa?

Without another thought, he brought up his gun from his side and shot the animal before it leapt up and made contact on Tifa's shielding body.

The creature fell down gasping for it's life, then eventually died.

Cloud looked up, surprised to see a pair of worried eyes, "Tifa?"

"Cloud?" she spotted blood on his side, and quickly urged him to sit down.

Gazing down on his stomach, Cloud saw that he had been grazed. Finally, he felt its pain. He kneeled down with the help of Tifa, but stopped shortly as he saw Rufus make his way over. He looked over to Tifa, "Watch out, he's behind you..." he gruffly whispered.

Tifa looked at him with a smile and shook her head, "I-It's okay, Cloud."

Cloud looked back at her with curiosity.

"Tifa? What are you doing here?" Rufus' calm voice spoke, careful to let his emotions out so soon.

Tifa breathed in, and stood up to him, a disappointing look in her eyes, "You haven't forgotten I am an Avalanche member have you?"

Rufus stood before her in silence, as they both locked eyes. With one swift move, he let out a sigh or relief and reached out to her for an embrace. He buried his face in her hair, taking in the sweet perfume of rain, "Tifa..." he held her tighter.



Tifa felt tears around the corners of her eyes, once again able to be held by his arms. She too wrapped her arms around him tightly, wishing it wasn't just another dream.

Like an over-protective friend, Cloud stood up with his buster sword in front of him, "Tifa, what are you doing? Get away from him now!"

Rufus spun himself, and Tifa, to the side and stepped back. He gave a silent nod to the left, and suddenly the helicopter made its way closer to him.

By this time, Tifa was still wrapped around him, and trying to avoid eye contact from anyone. Cloud remained confused.

The entrance of the back door swung open to reveal more guests. As soon as Barret saw the odd couple beside the hovering helicopter, he knew he was too late.

Aeris gasped, "Tifa?!"

Tifa shut her eyes, trying to block the possible situation that may occur.

A soft, soothing voice tilted her head upwards, "Tifa? Come with me...?" Rufus whispered, "Please?"

It was what she was afraid of...

"Tifa, dontcha' think about doing that!" she heard Barret shout to her.

"What? What is she doing?" Aeris asked him.

Over the sounds of the shouting, and the loud whirring of the propellers, she still could here the frustrated murmuring that Cloud spoke.

"I-I don't understand Tifa? Do you know this guy?" Cloud asked softly.

Without answering him, Tifa decided her on her decision. She stepped away from Rufus' embrace and gazed directly in his eyes.

"Rufus..." her words suddenly created a look of pain in his eyes.

Tifa turned around to her friends and continued, "I'm sorry, but..."

Rufus took a step back, knowing he was a little too late, until he felt her hand in his.

"I..... want to stay with you." Tifa finished.

Rufus' sadness quickly faded as he pulled her to him in another tight hug.

The others watched, not sure what to do or say, as the two boarded the helicopter. Finally, with all his might, Cloud stood up and ran towards the edge of the balcony where the helicopter left from.

"Tifa?! Wait!!!" his voice rattled the windows as he desperately tried to call back the woman he admired....

~

Holding her hand and cradling her head on his shoulder, Rufus smiled at his angel. He was filled with joy with her presence, and he felt like he couldn't have possibly lived without ever experiencing that feeling. Resting his chin on her gentle head as she slept peacefully, Rufus closed his eyes and whispered, "I love you."





Author's second notes: Dat-duh-duh DA! End of Series 1! Sequel coming up soon! ^_^ Also, I will be posting shout-outs to all my reviewers as soon as FFnet get's that all fixed. ^_^ alrighty peepols! I luv you all, and all your reviews! You guys have inspired me to continue this fic to the end so why not a round of applause to all the reviewers! ::Stands up and claps to ya'll::