Hello, my name is CLOUDxTIFAforever, and welcome to On The Eve Of Love.

Summery: This is a dual-shot taking place on Christmas and New Years Eve. Cloud gets Tifa a present for Christmas, what events will it set in place?

Author's Note: This story was going to be longer but lack of inspiration caused me to abandon it. I may continue it in the future, but for right now its finished.

Disclaimer: I've been writing for these characters for almost a year now, and with every word, every chapter and every finished story I wish I owned them more and more, but sadly I don't.

Song Playing: I Hate This Part ~ The Pussycat Dolls


A Cloudy Christmas (Cloud's view)

Snow is falling lightly on the city of Edge; it swirls around the buildings, forming the drifts that I've seen children play in so often before.

As I speed down the street broken memories of my own childhood creep into my mind. I never really played in the snow, but instead I watched the other village children from my bedroom window, especially Tifa…

The Fenrir catches of a patch of ice and begins to slide, jerking me back to reality. Once I regain control I let my thoughts wander back to the lonely days of my childhood, and Tifa…

Tifa had been my only friend when we were kids; everyone else had thought I was a bit odd and always made fun of me, but not Tifa. She was always there to comfort me whenever the got out of hand and said something really hurtful. So when I left for SOLDIER she made me promise to always be there for her. I made the promise, but I haven't done a very good job in keeping it. Sure I was there to save her from Sephiroth, but lately I've been distant, confused. My feelings for Tifa grow more intense each day, but I don't know how to tell her. I deal with the problem by leaving for months on end, and leaving Tifa to look after Denzel and Marlene, alone.

I reach a hand inside my pocket and grip the small box inside. The box contains a locket, with a picture of me and the kids inside.

Today is Christmas Eve, and I've spent the day driving all over the city trying to find a place where I can get the locket inscribed. When I finally find a place I park the Fenrir, jump off and run to the door. But the minute my hand encloses on the handle, a lady, whom I assume to be the owner, locks the door and flips the 'open' sign to 'closed'.

"Sorry sir, we're closed." She turns to walk away, and I knock on the door to get her attention.

"Please let me in! Come on its Christmas, help a guy out!"

"Exactly, it's Christmas Eve, we're closed, I'm sorry." She turns away again, and I bang on the door even harder, rattling the glass.

"Please miss; you're the only place left in town."

She looks down at the floor, her face screwed up in thought. She looks back up at me and walks to the door, she unlocks the door and stares at me, her expression annoyed, yet slightly apologetic.

"What do you need?"

I dig my hand into my pocket and pull out the box, I fumble to get it open and when I finally do, I take out the locket and show it to her.

"I need this engraved."

She looks at it critically and then rolls her eyes.

"Fine, I'll do it, but you're paying extra."

She laughs lightly and walks to a small counter at the back of the shop. I pause in the door, how much is 'extra'? I smile and follow her in.

"What did you want me to write?"

I've thought about this a lot; the locket is meant as a reminder, a reminder to Tifa that even though I may leave from time to time, she's never truly alone.

"I would like it to say 'Remember Tifa, you're never truly alone'."

She writes the words down on a piece of paper and takes the locket into a back room, leaving me to wait. I begin to wander around the shop. There's not much in here, just some watches and odd pieces of jewelry. I stop in front of a small case on the far wall; it's full of engagement rings.

I would love to one day buy one of these for Tifa and I find myself envisioning that day. I've thought about asking Tifa to marry me so many times, but I'm afraid that if I get too close to her she'll end up hurt. It's already happened once, and I can't bare to let it happen again, but I can't help my feelings for her, I love her. And I know she shares these feelings, but could we make it work..?

"Sir?"

I jump violently and spin to face the shop owner.

"Sorry if I startled you hun, but the lockets finished."

"Thanks." I walk toward her, pulling my wallet out as I do.

"How much do you need?"

"Thirty gil even."

I count out the money and hand it over. I pick the locket up from the counter and open it. The children's faces smile up at me and own as well. I had actually managed to smile for this photo, something I rarely ever do; Tifa's going to love it.

"Do you mind telling me who 'Tifa' is?"

"She's my girl…my friend."

She laughs quietly; she must have noticed my blunder.

"And who are the children?"

"The girl is our friend's daughter; we're taking care of her at the moment. And the boy is an orphan we took in after Meteor hit. I love these kids so much, but I'm not there for them often enough, same with Tifa."

"You have feelings for this woman?"

"Yes, all of my life, I've never loved anyone the way I love her."

"Does she know you love her?"

I can't help but laugh.

"No…I don't think she does, but I can't find words, or the courage to tell her." Why is she asking me these questions?

The lady looks at me, a sly smile on her face. She shoves the money back into my hand, what is with this woman?

"Why are you doing this?"

"Because it seems wrong to take money from a man with a heart as pure as yours, but there is a condition.

I stare at curiously, my mouth hanging open slightly.

"And what might the condition be?"

"My condition is this. Go to this Tifa, and tell her how you feel. Remember, this is a season for miracles, you might get lucky."

I take a minute to consider her offer, it just might work.

"I'm going to do it, I'm going to tell her how I feel, wish me luck."

She smiles and me widely and laughs loudly.

"You don't need luck hun."

I return her smile and run full tilt out the door. I jump onto the Fenrir, kick the engine into life and take off down the road. When I get back to 7th Heaven Tifa is cleaning up for the night. She smiles when she sees it's me walking through the door.

"Hey Cloud, how did the deliveries go today?"

"Fine, great actually."

I sit down at the long bar and fold my hands in front of me to keep them from shaking. I'm so nervous.

"Do you want something to drink Cloud?"

The sudden sound of her voice makes me jump slightly. I look over at her and shake my head.

"Alright, suit yourself." She turns away from me and continues to clean.

"Are the kids in bed Tifa?"

"Yeah, they have been for a few hours now, they might actually sleep 'till morning."

"That's good. Um…I'm going to go upstairs."

I get up from me stool and head towards the stairs. I pause before going up and look back at Tifa.

"Will you be up soon?"

She looks up at me, brushing a lock of her hair out of her face.

"Yeah Cloud, just let me finish up.

I nod and go upstairs to the living room. The tree automatically catches my eye, making me smile. We went and picked it out a few days ago. We began decorating it the minute I got it in the house, and when we finished we had sat in front of the fire place, admiring its perfection.

After I relive that memory for a moment I cross to the fireplace. I bend over and throw a few logs in and stuff some old newspaper in any gaps. I reach up to the mantle and grab the box of matches sitting there. I take one out and strike it against the side of the box. The match lights and I stare at the flame for a second before throwing it in.

The paper catches quickly and soon there's a large fire roaring in the grate.

"Good you built a fire; I was starting to get cold."

I spin around to find Tifa standing in the doorway.

"Yeah…it was starting to feel chilly."

There's a moment of semi awkward silence,

"Hey, do you want to help me with the presents?

She nods her head towards the hallway and she bites her lower lip.

"Sure."

"Great, thanks Cloud."

She smiles widely and bounces on the balls of her feet, she nods her head again.

"Let's go."

She walks down the hall, I hang back for a moment, she's so beautiful. I mentally smack myself.

"Get it together Strife, geez."

I walk slowly down the hall and I find Tifa in her room, taking presents out of her closet and stacking them on the bed. We could actually afford to get the kids some nice gift this year, what with 7th Heaven being the most popular bar in Edge and the delivery service more used everyday. Tifa hands me a tall stack of packages, I take them out to the living room and start placing them under the tree. Tifa joins me a minute later, her stack hiding her face.

"Cloud, there's a few more gifts left in my room, could you go get them?"

"Sure Tifa."

When I get back to her room I begin gathering the boxes in my arms, checking the tag on each one of them, hoping to find my name for some crazy reason. But I know my search is futile, me and Tifa had agreed not to get each other a gift weeks ago. She's going to be upset when I give her the locket.

I grab the rest of the boxes and take them out to the living room. I put them under the tree and search the room for Tifa. She's sitting in front of the fire, her knees tucked under her chin. I see her shiver and I grab the blanket we keep on the back of the couch. I unfold it and walk to stand behind her; I drape the blanket over her shoulders and sit down next to her. She pulls the blanket tighter around her and looks over at me.

"Thanks Cloud."

"Don't mention it."

We sit in silence, stealing glances at each other when we know the other isn't looking. Why do I have to be so damn awkward around her?

"Tifa?"

"Hm?" She keeps her eyes on the dancing flames, but she looks away when she sees me reach into my pocket and pull out the small box that contains the locket.

"Cloud…"

"I know we said we wouldn't get anything for one another, but I saw this in a store window on one of my deliveries…and…I couldn't help myself."

I hand her the box and grin stupidly.

"Merry Christmas, Tifa.

She reaches out and takes the box from me, but hesitates before opening it.

"Go on, open it." She moves to open it but her hands are shaking so badly she can't. She hands it back to me.

"You open it."

"Alright." I take the box from her and pop it open with ease. I hold the open box in front of her and her jaw drops. Just the reaction I was hoping for.

"Cloud…it's beautiful."

Her hands aren't shaking anymore and she picks up the heart-shaped locket.

"There's more."

She looks at me questioningly and I can't help but laugh a little.

"Open it up."

She looks down at the pendant and pulls apart the two halves. Her eyes fall upon the small picture and tears well up in her eyes, she smiles and let's out a choked laugh.

"You actually smiled…"

"Yeah…"

Her eyes drift to the other half of the locket and she reads the inscription aloud.

"Remember Tifa, you're never truly alone."

She looks over at me; the tears are now flowing freely down her cheeks. She throws her arms around my neck and gives me a powerful hug.

"It's perfect Cloud, thank you so much."

"You're welcome, but there's more."

She pulls away from me, her tears suddenly gone.

"What is it?" Her eyes are frantically searching mine.

"Tifa, I have something to tell you." I close my eyes and take a deep breath. I drop my head down. I open my eyes but keep my gaze on the floor. I take both her hand in mine and bring my eyes up, they instantly lock with hers.

"Tifa…I love you. I can't stop thinking about you; you occupy my every waking and unconscious thought. I can't be in the same room as you without my heart going to insane, and when you touch me…"

She places a hand over my mouth and slowly takes it away. She brings her face very close to mine, so close that our lips are almost touching.

"Cloud…shut up."

She crushes her lips against mine and I push her back onto the floor. I can't believe this is happening. This is the best gift Tifa could have ever given me; she has given me the gift of love.


So how was it? I really like this chapter, its definatly one of my favorites. Anyway, I hope you enjoyed it and please leave a review!!!