(A/N) Here's the epilogue. It's pretty short, but I think it ties up the story a bit better. ;)
To Have Loved and Lost
It's been several years since that day, the day I lost the man that meant everything to me, but I can still see his face clearly every time I shut my eyes. His vivid blue eyes and easy, carefree smile will be forever etched into my mind, just like the sound of his voice and the music of his laughter. I can almost feel his arms around me when I dream of him, and I am able to remember perfectly the feeling of his kiss and the wonder of his touch.
Even though he's not able to share it with me, Cloud gave me my freedom, and I'm grateful to him every single day for it. I made it to that little oceanside town that we were going to live in together, the one called Junon, and I've been able to start a new life here. Granted, it's a life that lacks the joy of being in love, but it still holds everyday things that bring me happiness, like the sound of the waves and the salty smell of the air.
It's a quiet, pleasant place, where I now live in a small house with a wonderful view of the sea and the sunrise every morning. Zack and Aeris eventually made it here too, following Cloud's advice from before we left together, and they built their home next to mine, so I'm able to see them on a regular basis. They brought their son and daughter here with them too, of course, and now I get to watch the two of them grow bigger with each passing year.
Although I made a point to write my father a letter after all the mayhem to tell him that I was alright, I have no idea who has assumed power in my old home kingdom of Nibelheim. Quite frankly though, I couldn't care less. I'd be willing to bet that Rufus has or will find another bride to make his queen, and I can only hope that whoever she is, she won't have to share the same fate that I was forced to go through.
Despite everything that's happened to me though, I'm happy now, even if I do still miss Cloud terribly. He was my best friend; the only man I could ever imagine loving. I will always have the memories of my time with him, even if it was unfairly cut short, and ripped away from us because of circumstances we couldn't control. I could never forget all those little things about him that I've stored within my mind, or that amazing feeling that comes from being with your soul's perfect match; those are things that I will keep with me for as long as I live.
They say that it is better to have loved and lost, than to never have loved at all. Now that I have experienced both love and loss, I finally understand what that means. My heart will always ache for the death of the only man I have ever loved, but I'm grateful for every second that I was allowed to spend with him, and for everything that he's given me. Everything, including child lying fast asleep in my arms now. A beautiful little girl with dark hair and bright blue eyes; her father's eyes.
(A/N) Tragedy or not, I suppose it's sort of a happy ending…maybe? O.o And I'm hoping that you'll all get the message I tried to weave into this: that you should be thankful for the good times and not complain when they're over, because no one really deserves happiness like that anyway; it's a gift. That's what I've always understood the "It's better to have loved…" phrase to mean. ;)
Anyhow, I absolutely adore Cloud and Tifa together, so I hope I was able to do them justice even in this odd setting. :3 Even though this is over, it doesn't mean that I won't be writing anymore! As you can see if you check my profile, I've got several stories in the works at the moment, and I'm nearly done with a new oneshot. :3
Of course, I would be horribly remiss if I didn't appreciate all of you that took the time to review this story, so thank you so much to everybody who reviewed and supported me with this!angelockheart, ashleystoletheworld, Awww, Cedarville, chinatulip, cloudlover2989, computerangel21, crackitlackin, DrakeGirl-San, eitaro00, elebelly, EternallySurprised, EverythingRPG, goatgod, GundamWingFanatic90, Heloeyes, Honest101, KCVII, keywordparamore, LOstGirlz, MyfinalfantasyVII, Rend, sam, sarah, Sheiky, Shibara1310, Spacer196, SugarHoney91, Summoner Yuki, sweetdeadlysilence (andy), Twilight-Imp-626, VivaLaQueen, vx-Luna-xv and Yukina-Kun62.
And thanks to anyone who favorited it or will review/favorite in the future. You guys are all completely, unbelievably awesome, so I hope this won't be the last time that I hear from any of you. :D