It's time for my story now. This is the story of my childhood in my old hometown and my best friend…of course…the boy next door.

My name is Tifa Lockhart; I am currently twelve years old. I have black hair and dark eyes. In my opinion, I'm too short for my age and am far too flat chested. I dunno, maybe I'll grow up…or I could just stay this way forever… (That sucks.)

I live in a small town called Nibelheim along with a large group of friends, my father, and Zangan—my martial arts instructor. My mother died when I was eight years old and…do you know about all that Lifestream stuff? Yeah…I think that maybe my mother's spirit might have passed through the mountains…and that's where our story begins…where I started to open my eyes a tiny bit more…

"Tifa…? Are you sure this is all safe? I mean, Mt. Nibel…"

My so-called friend…at the time she was my best bud… but you'll find out what happens with her later…

"Absolutely!" I said excitingly, "My mother has to be there! The highest point close to here is Mt. Nibel!"

"But Tifa…it's so dangerous!" She cocked her head to the backward so her short red hair flopped back.

This was only our planning point, we weren't even close to the mountains…maybe we'd get a chance tomorrow…

"She has a point Ti…You don't seem to be cut out for this stuff…what if you fall? We might not be able to help you…"

My other friend…I knew her from martial arts and stuff…I was a year ahead of her with that but…well…she had stopped growing…and she wouldn't ever let me forget it…

"You're just jealous! Of course I'm cut out for this stuff!"

She rolled her eyes.

"Well…I'm with Tiffa…"

I smiled at her…she was the youngest and shyest kid in the bunch. I'd known her since she came to our school and I was kind of her "body guard" through her first year there…she had bullying issues because of her lisp.

"Why thank you," I cheered as I patted her on the back, "I always knew you were the bravest out of these two cowards."

I watched her beam with pride, "I know I'm th'afe with Tiffa, you can do anything."

"Yeah, I know. Thanks."

After a few minutes of arguing on this fact we all decided we'd leave together to go to Mt. Nibel in the morning so we'd all be back in time for dinner. Of course, we would all go secretly…like my father would let me do this—even if I asked him to go with me.

"Well Tifa, I have to go home…it's getting dark."

"Yeah."

"Yup. Yup."

I watched them all head home. I didn't need to go home; I was already here! I stared at the front door for a while and decided I didn't want to go in…I turned and sat on the front step and gazed at the purplish sky.

The first stars were just coming out; they always seemed to trigger many memories. "Mother…Momma…I hope I'll find you tomorrow…I have to find you…" I sat there in the quiet, listening for the bugs to start chirping…I watched the moon get higher and thousands and thousands of stars started to come out of their hiding spots.

I rubbed at my arms…it got so cold here in the evenings…

Then, as if almost on cue:

"Tifa," my father called from inside, "I see you there; come inside or else you'll get a cold."

"Coming Father," I yelled back.


I took a final glance at the sky before I turned back to go inside the house.

My eye caught sight of the hair before my brain did.

I muffled my scream so it came out in a short squeak. I watched the blonde head pop out from under his windowsill.

"C-Cloud! Were you watching me?!" I accused, pointing a finger.

"Heh…uh…hi," he waved a hand quickly, "…please just forget that you saw me…"

He mumbled those last words as he sunk quietly back under the window. I laughed at that.

"What?" He muttered, not coming up.

"You're just funny that's all…"

"I'm glad I amuse you." His voice sounded utterly embarrassed—or it could've just been annoyed…

I giggled, "You're funny, Cloud."

Cloud was the boy who lived next door to me. He's one year older than me, but I'm two inches taller than him. (Yay, I'm taller than someone here!) I've known him from since…I don't know when…he's always seemed to live next to me really. We weren't ever really that close.

Hey! Don't get any ideas! I don't like him like that!

That's when I decided to go inside; I shut the door quietly behind me.


"Flirting with the neighbor boy?" Father asked as he invited me to sit next to him.

"You know I don't like Cloud like that!" I said as I sat down.

"I know, I know…" he smiled, "I'm just glad I can trust that kid…not like your other friends…"

"Father!" I yelled and he pulled on my leg.

I laughed, "Just pullin' my leg, huh?"

"You bet."

I enjoyed my conversations with my father he always talked about interesting stuff…Lifestream…Ancients…materia…martial arts…machines…anything you can think of really…but after today's long conversation I remembered I had to leave early tomorrow…

"Father, I'm sorry…but I'm so tired…" I mumbled, rubbing my eye with a fist.

"Okay Tifa…but don't rub your eyes like that or you'll need glasses."

"'Kay…" I grumbled, faking a yawn.

He yawned too—for real. "Good night, Tiffs…"

"Night."

I thumped to my room and leapt onto the bed; I didn't bother to change my clothes tonight…I could do that in the morning. I tried to shut my eyes but sleeping was useless so I lay there all night in a strange state of mind…not asleep…but not awake either…All I could think about was Mother…I'd get to see her tomorrow…I had to!


The next day when I walked out the door, I stood there in silence to think. I was tired, I was confused, and I was…

Crash!

It came from next door. I smiled to myself as I walked around the neighbor's house and tapped on the back window. The tween opened the window with his pants halfway zipped and his hand stuck to his hair.

He screamed and slammed the window down in my face.

"Having trouble getting dressed, Cloud?" I asked with a smirk through the pane.

"…yeah…" He said reluctantly as I heard another crash in the background. When he stuck his head out again he was fully dressed. "S-so, what's up?"

"I just have to be somewhere today," I said, "so don't bother me."

He shrugged and said, "Yeah…me too." Shutting the window, that was the last of our conversation I turned and walked to the spot where I planned to meet my friends.

"Tiffa! I'm here! I came, th'ee?"

She was the first one to show up, happily running, with her light brown curls flopping in two sloppy pigtails.

Next to show up was my neighborhood friend; I could see her bright hair from a mile away…

"Tifa…are you sure you can do this?" She asked, patting my arm.

"Of course."

All three of us waited for about a half an hour before we decided the last person that was supposed to come wasn't coming…

"Oh well," I said with a sigh, "her loss."

We started up the path to Mt. Nibel. We walked about a few miles…

"Ti-fa…my feet hurt!"

"Tiffa, I'm thir'thy..."

"Well maybe you shouldn't have come if you weren't ready…" I accused.

"Okay, I'll stay here!" My oldest friend pouted, violently shaking the fire she had for hair.

"Well fine," I grumbled shrugging.

And we left her there…I continued to follow the path to the mountain as my most loyal little friend tagged along behind me. We actually made it almost all the way to the mountain.

That is until we got up to that rope bridge…

It was a rickety old thing that barely looked like it was able to hold a squirrel…I stared at it for a moment before going stubbornly towards it.

"Tiffa, I'm th'cared. I don't wanna go on that thing!"

"Then don't," I said with a grin, "I'll cross and you can wait here."

"I'm th'orry Tiffa…but maybe it'th be'th I head back…I don't know how long you might be up there…"

"Okay…" I said with a sad smile, I really believed she could've did this…oh well, "…go, have a nice walk down."

Moreover, she didn't walk…she ran. Downhill

I shrugged her off and started carefully across the unstable-looking rope bridge.

It felt like such a long bridge…I reminded myself that I shouldn't look down but I did anyway—just for kicks. The gorge below seemed so far away…a long, long drop…I breathed slowly and tried to keep my footing.

I felt like I was going pretty well along this thing…gently inching my feet steadily to each rope.

"Giant hole below…" I whispered to myself, "…no big deal…"

One foot in front of the otherjust like the winter special…

There was one spot on the bridge where the rope had snapped…maybe if I leaned forward and took a large step…

I lost my footing and I was left dangling by my right leg because luckily my foot was twisted in the rope…I tried to swing the rest of my body up so I could climb the rest of the way up but as soon as I tried that I felt the rope loosen under my ankle.

"Help!" I screamed, "Somebody help me!"

"HELP!"

I looked wildly around for some sign that I'd survive today…there wasn't any.

"HELP!"

"Tifa!"

My head automatically flipped to see where the voice was coming from. And like magic, he was there…I don't know how in the world he was here but I felt a rush of relief fall over me.

"C-Cloud, help! Help me Cloud!" I yelled reaching my arm out as far as it'd reach. All I seemed to be catching was air. I watched him hastily try to cross the rope bridge as my foot slid out of the rope.

"CLOUD!" I screamed as I felt myself falling into the ravine.

That's when my adrenalin kicked in, you know, the 'Fight-or-Flight' thingy? Well, obviously, there was no way I could choose 'Flight' because well, I was already flying at top speed through the air to my death…and well, I couldn't 'Fight' because my case was pretty much hopeless…but…

Cloud chose 'Fight.' (Well he could've choose 'Flight' but 'Fight' sounds so much braver)

I could only see his mouth yelling something I couldn't hear as I watched him jump after me down the gorge…after seeing him do something like that…

I never saw him as the same, dorky, boy-next-door ever again.

My body seemed to fall faster than expected…I felt the horrible pain against my skull first before my ears betrayed me.

Crack!

I felt a sharp tug on my wrist as I was being tugged up on something rough then my eyes betrayed me as well… everything went dark.

"Tifa…I'll go get help, okay?"

His voice was the last thing I heard...


Okay, this is only the first chapter. I plan to follow up through their whole teenage lives...Yes, Tifa's three closest friends shall remain nameless and you might have noticed a different twist to this story...well you have to put a slight twist, right? I made Cloud and Tifa...childhood acquaintances? I guess that's what they were anyway... Yes, I don't own the main characters or else I'd have made Cloud a lot more...louder.