A/N: Special thanks goes to Stryper, Kaarina HelveteandMyfinalfantasyVIIfor all reviewing on my last chapter!
So here it is, my final Chapter for this story, hope you enjoy it!
The huge black bike threw dust up behind it as it raced across the planet, its speed far too fast to be deemed safe. It followed the dirt roads but would meet the brunt of any monsters in the area. The sun was low in the sky, ready to set any time soon. The east had already turned dark and a few stars were able to be seen through the breaking of clouds, while in the west back towards Edge the sky was a deep orange like shade.
He'd been driving since the morning, determined to get as far as he could until he would have to call for a rest. A feeling of nostalgia would run through his mind that he was rushing to return home to Tifa those few months ago and his brain would cry at him telling him he was going west, where he should be going east.
Cloud had thought about leaving Tifa's bar the moment her head had fell on the pillow and her breathing had turned to a slow and rhythmic pace. But he simply couldn't bring himself to do it. He had decided to wait till the morning, to let Tifa wave him off and so he could tell her he'd be coming back and he would take care of her.
He'd seen the doubtful look flicker across her dark eyes the moment he had spoken and he wanted nothing more to promise her that he will be there for her. Then decided against it, he had already broken his first promise to her far too many times and adding an extra one will just make it worse. He couldn't form any words or sentences to convince her he will be coming back, so simply left it as it was.
The morning light shone through Tifa's curtains and hit her pale face, she winced against the bright light and twisted round in her bed. She opened her eyes once more and stared round at her own bedroom, for a moment she wondered how she's gotten here, but last night's events filled her mind and brought a smile to her lips.
She turned on her back and stared up at the ceiling and sighed a sigh of relief. She felt like she could stay in her warm comfy bed the whole day but Cloud suddenly entered her mind and she threw the covers off of herself. She prayed he was still here; surely he wouldn't disappear straight away again. She reached for the door and threw it open. "Cloud?!" She cried, with too much urgency in her tone than she would have liked. Tifa raced down the wooden stairs and managed to stop herself before she collided into the bar.
Cloud had been sleeping she guessed in one of the booths and he was now sitting upright his fingers running through his hair. "Is everythin' alright?"H e mumbled, his eyes narrowed while he still adjusted to the sudden light.
Tifa smiled at him, as slowly opened his eyes properly and stared at her. "Everything's fine." She smiled back. This was quite possibly the first time in a long time that Cloud was still here when she woke. She heard him grunt and Tifa held back a laugh. "Sorry for waking you." She replied, watching him reach for the black bag he had dumped in the corner of the room last night. She heard him say some inaudible, but guessed it was something like 'its okay'.
"I'm going to, get changed." He answered back heaving the bag up and heading up the stairs. Tifa watched him and wished she had told him she appreciated that he had stayed the night. As she heard the lock on the bathroom door click shut she headed back round into the kitchen, meaning to cook them both breakfast.
The blond soon returned and Tifa turned to him. He was back dressed in his normal attire and his hair was a little more presentable, but she was sure he didn't really care. Tifa turned away and smirked as she noticed him watching her cook. "I should go." He mumbled again.
Tifa turned to him and saw his eyes were fixed on her in a caring and sentimental way. She gave him her best smile, surprised how much emotion Cloud could let off in his eyes. She didn't want him to leave, but knew he was thinking of everything else he could be doing right at this very moment. "Okay." She cleaned her hands off and walked towards him before slowly kissing him on his cheek. "Thank you." She smiled again and watched his cheeks flush with colour. "Be careful."
"I will." He muttered, turning round and heading out of the bar. Tifa followed him round and lent against the door frame, watching him clean his bike's seat of any surplus water before slowing sitting back down.
"You know, you should get a helmet." She laughed and he simply shook his head and frowned.
"I'll be back, as soon as I can." Tifa sighed at him, he used to always say that to her and then a few hours later he'd ring and say he wouldn't be coming home until the next day or late that night."I will be coming back Tifa, and I'll take care of you."
'I'll believe it when I see it.' She couldn't help but think. His lips twitched at the corners, his small attempt at a smile.
The engine of his bike roared to life and she took a step back. Cloud looked to her once more before heading off down the street and away from her once more. She placed a hand over her stomach protectively and watched the street Cloud had driven down. Would he come back?
Tifa looked up and down the street wondering if Kenji was sat out there watching her and waiting for Cloud to leave so he could run in, in a mad rage. She smirked at the thought, but nonetheless locked the door once she closed it.
The blond young man was staring out of the gigantic windows of the Shera and at the deep blue sea below them as they headed towards Wutai. Earlier Cloud had pulled his bike to a stop when he could hear his phone ringing and quickly reached for it wondering if it was Tifa, telling him that that idiot of a man had returned. He had stared at the screen and was a little disheartened when he read Vincent's name. Cloud had told the enigma of the man his plan that he was going to destroy the Mako reactor in Wutai and then see how things work out from there. Vincent had agreed with him and had said he'd go with him. Cloud had been sure he could hear the teenage ninja near Vincent obviously asking him who he was speaking to. The two had agreed to meet at the reactor, that Vincent himself would make sure there were no rebels about. And with another phone call later, Cloud had reached Cid explained the situation and the pilot had agreed to fly Cloud over to Wutai.
Of course this wasn't after having a lecture from Cid, telling him he should appreciate women much more, especially women who stood by him through everything. Cloud had wondered why Cid didn't simply say he shouldn't have left Tifa alone by herself all those months ago. He had also quickly explained he'd made it up with Tifa and she was no longer with that Kenji and back home.
He had received a grunt of recognition off of the blond pilot before they finally took off.
The world was speeding below him at an incredible fast rate like his life the last few months. That it had slipped from his fingers each time and had happened too fast for his mind to even to begin to comprehend. He could hear Cid talking behind him as he controlled his pride and joy, but it sounded nothing more than a lost voice in a large crowd. Would Tifa take him back? Would she let him live with her again? Would everyone accept him back into their lives?
Cloud massaged his temples, trying to rid of the headache that started a dull pain in the back of his mind. What was he thinking? He was out of his depth here, he was sure of it. He knew people would laugh at him for saying so, that not even Sephiroth was out of his depth any longer. But come to dealing with every day sort of things, he was definite he was out of his depth. In those five years he'd been trapped with Zack he was sure he'd missed out on too many things.
He felt his anger with Hojo rise, for stealing another thing away from him, something he's only just realised he's lost.
"Are you even listening to me?!" Cloud jumped at Cid's sudden loud voice right besides his ear. He turned and glared at the man for invading his thoughts. Cid jerked his head out of the window and Cloud spots the red cloaked man and besides him the young Wutain girl. She was looking up through the window and Cloud could see the slight hint of fear in her eyes, despite the way she held herself in a confident manner. "You're not pissed at her are you?"
Cid stared out the window and at the teen that stood besides the black haired man. "No." He heard Cloud say. The pilot couldn't help but laugh at the younger man besides him. Cloud watched him, he could hardly picture Cid standing up for the teen, and the two were forever arguing most of the time anyway.
"'Cause I'd be pissed if I was you." Cid smirked slapping a hand down on the other man's shoulder and heading out with Cloud behind him.
The heat struck the two men the moment they stepped out of the Shera, there was a strong gnawing wind that hit them across their bare flesh. Cloud rubbed at his bare arms wishing he'd wore a jacket to protect his pale arms from the sand and dirt that slashed at his skin. He followed Cid round to the front of the Shera to where Vincent and Yuffie both stood.
The mako reactor loomed behind them, the fence that surrounded the reactor was still broken and lay in pieces across the land. "There's no one around here." Vincent muttered, following Cloud's gaze. "Yuffie and I said we'd take care of it."
Cloud smirked at the pun, wondering if Vincent knew he had even said it. "Surely, they'll know you guys had a hand in this, right?" Cid asked, lighting up another cigarette as he spoke. Cloud watched him for a moment and saw the sigh of relief as he released a puff of smoke into the air that was quickly swept away into the wind.
"It won't matter." Vincent replied, tilting his head slightly to try and remove his long dark hair out of his eyes.
There was an incredible long awkward silence, Cloud could have been sure that Vincent had nudged the girl besides him to give her a reminder. "Okay, I'm sorry, I shouldn't have done what I did and all that stuff..." She mumbled out. Cloud smiled slightly at the teen as she turned her head away from him and tried to act like she was far more interested in the clouds that flew by in the sky above them. "So if you want to cleave me in half go for it." She shrugged turning to look at Vincent. "Not that you'll be able to anyways." She mumbled to herself, just loud enough for Cloud to be able to pick it up. He turned to Vincent and was sure there had been a faint smile on his face before it had been wiped away.
"I'm not angry at you." Cloud muttered. Yuffie twisted round and stared at him her mouth hanging open slightly as she watched him. "You were fighting for what you wanted." He shrugged and returned her gaze.
"Oh." She simply said and glanced to Vincent before turning back to Cloud. "So you're not going to drag me out to the middle of a desert and leave me there to die, or, throw me off the top of the building?" She asked quickly, her eyes narrowed as if she was trying to pick up any hint of Cloud lying. The blond didn't move and frowned at her.
"I'd stop now if I was you, kid." Cid muttered, speaking from one corner of his mouth. "Anyways, these guys have got a job to do right." Cid turned from Yuffie who fell silent. Vincent nodded in agreement and headed towards the reactor with Cloud behind him.
"You're going without me!" Yuffie cried jumping on the spot turning from Cid and to Vincent, who simply pointed at the Shera before heading forwards.
Cloud followed Vincent up the few stairs and to the main door that was still open. He glanced at the keypad on the side, remembering it was Tseng who had opened the door and left it open. He'd forgotten about the head of the Turks. It had been clear Elena had been deeply hurt over what Rufus had done and wondered if the blonde headed woman would continue to work for him.
It was still dark inside and Cloud barely noticed Vincent reach down and heave a bag onto his back. The dark haired man turned and checked Cloud was still behind him before heading down the rusted ladder. "You said you took Tifa home." Vincent said quickly. Cloud jumped off the final few steps and turned to Vincent. He nodded once before heading forwards, remembering the route with ease.
"I did." Cloud voiced, even though he had already answered the other man's question. He heard a grunt off of the man and continued walking. "I told her I'd take care of her, instead of running away." Cloud answered, giving a half-hearted laugh at the end. He still couldn't picture himself taking care of Tifa and racing round the bar for her. But he had made a promise and he was determined to stick to it and not run away this time.
"I suppose, you don't realise what you had, until you lose it, or so they say." Vincent murmured. Cloud watched the enigma of a man and nodded in agreement. He felt at ease to speak to Vincent somehow, he knew the man didn't judge him and wouldn't slam his head through a wall like Barret would probably do. He summed it down to that the both of them had suffered in similar ways during their lives and could relate to one another because of it. He wondered for a moment if Vincent felt the same when he was in Cloud's company.
"If I could turn back time, I would." Cloud replied. He walked through a set of doors and the eerie blue lights were still on, they were flickering occasionally casting the room into a second of darkness frequently.
"I will agree with that." Vincent answered, looking round the room and heading across the same bridge. The stench of mako pervaded through the air and the smell dried the back of Cloud's throat. The blond watched Vincent begin to set the bomb before turning to watch the entrance they had come through in case they had been followed once again.
Eventually Cloud could hear the clash of Vincent's metal boots against the metal floor and turned to the man who nodded and they both started out. "We have twenty minutes." Cloud nodded once more in agreement and followed the man back out.
The thought of Yuffie entered his mind suddenly like an unexpected stab in the stomach. "Is Yuffie okay?" He asked quietly, knowing Vincent won't have any privacy the moment they get out of the reactor.
"She is, I think she was expecting you to not to forgive her." He replied. Cloud didn't answer, after his conversation with Tifa he had expected the same.
"What of you and Tifa?" Vincent asked. Cloud turned to him, he was sure he'd never seen Vincent as talkative as before and frowned at him. Vincent turned to face him and was clearly waiting for an answer.
Cloud looked forwards and stared at the rusted ladder again and climbed up, he waited for Vincent at the top and the two headed out of the building. Cloud opened his mouth to answer but couldn't string a sentence together. He knew most of his friends had somewhat of expected himself and Tifa to end up being together and it had happened but now, they were just friends nothing more. He smiled, wondering if any of them had seen this coming as he certainly hadn't seen it.
"I don't think I'll be alright, living a normal life." Cloud began, spotting the Shera and followed Vincent towards it. The wind was still strong and began biting at his arms once more. "And I can accept that now." Cloud voiced. He was right; he knew he wouldn't be contempt with waiting behind a bar for the rest of his life after everything that has happened. But he would try and get used to it the best he could, for Tifa's sake. "Maybe if I didn't run out, everything would be okay now." Cloud thought aloud, not expecting an answer from Vincent.
Cloud had become fixed with watching his boots as he crossed the khaki coloured dirt underneath their feet, not wanting to hear Vincent's answer however helpful it would be. The two continued walking towards the Shera which had flown a safe distance away. They reached the ship and turned to face the reactor.
"I don't think you should resign yourself to that." Vincent murmured as they both stood quietly, watching the reactor for a moment as it stood quite still before the ground suddenly began shaking beneath their feet. Then all of a sudden a fume of fire escaped from the reactor and it collapsed inwards.
They both stared at the pile of rubble that now stood in its place and shielded their eyes as more dirt was thrown into the air and the wind thrust it towards them.
"I never thought everything would turn out this way." Cloud spoke aloud, glancing at the reactor once more before turning and heading towards the entrance to the Shera.
Vincent watched the blond and felt sympathy inside for him. He knew how it was to lose someone you loved and wanted to warn the blond to not to give in. But he decided against it, he was sure the younger man was far more capable now to stand on his own two feet. "Sometimes we're too late." Vincent spoke, loud enough that he knew Cloud would hear.
He watched the blond turn and shield his eyes against the sun as he stared at Vincent he saw Cloud's small smile and remembered Tifa telling him how much of a miracle it was to see him smile, then with a nod the mercenary headed back into the Shera.
There we are everyone my First proper story! I hope everyone enjoyed reading it, I know I did enjoy writing it.
Again, thanks to everyone who added it to their favourites, alerted or gave me a review, it really was appreciated and I'm sure everyone on this website will agree with me that it does encourage you to continue to write your own story.
Hopefully you will all keep a look out for my next story, I have the plot written out and just need to chapter it out everything and I'm hoping the first chapter will be out within the month!